Marsha Warfield: Roz couldn’t have been gay on original ‘Night Court’
Author: Trudy Ring
Marsha Warfield, whose Night Court character, Roz, has been revealed as gay in the reboot of the series, says that portrayal wouldn’t have been possible during the show’s original run.
The sitcom first ran from 1984 to 1992 on NBC, and the reboot began airing last year. Warfield, who came out as gay in 2017, guest-starred as Roz in two episodes of the new series, and in the second, which aired Tuesday, it was revealed that Roz is engaged to a woman.
During the original series, portraying Roz in a same-sex relationship “would’ve been a bold thing,” Warfield recently told United Press International. “Ask Ellen.” Ellen DeGeneres came out as a lesbian on her TV show and in real life in 1997, and there was substantial backlash.
Making Roz gay in the first run of Night Court “wasn’t even considered,” Warfield said. If the character had been gay, “I could have played her, but I don’t know if I could’ve come out then,” the actress added. “My mother had asked me not to while she was alive, and she was still alive.”
Roz was a bailiff in the original show and returned as a private investigator in the reboot, getting into a scheme with Dan (John Larroquette), a prosecutor in the first series, now a judge. Playing Roz and acting with Larroquette felt natural, Warfield told UPI.
“It’s like riding a bike without the danger,” she said. “This was getting back on the bike, but it’s a stationary bike, and I was safe.” She was pleased to see that the new bailiff on the show, Donna Gurganous, is a Black woman, played by the one-named actress Lacretta.
“She deserves to take that role and do with it what she will,” Warfield said. “I hope if there’s anything I can pass, it’s a torch, a flashlight, but she’s got big enough feet to make her own steps.”
After Night Court’s first run ended, Warfield guest-starred on some sitcoms, including the subsequent shows led by Larroquette and Harry Anderson (Judge Harry Stone in the original), and did stand-up comedy, but at the end of the 1990s she took nearly two decades off from performing. She was taking care of some family matters — she declined to divulge details about these — and her own mental health, she said. She’s now back to doing stand-up and appearing in a variety of series and TV movies.
“I’m in a good place right now,” she said. “I’m in a good place as far as where I am and where I see myself going.”
Pictured: Warfield and the original cast of Night Court
Original Article on The Advocate
Author: Trudy Ring