One of the people I enjoy following on Twitter is the actress, Catherine Bell (@reallycb). She’s one of the celebs that actively keeps in touch with her fans, but there’s more. She has become an icon of the female military–especially Marines–due, in large part, to her nine years playing Major/Lt. Colonel Sarah “Mac” MacKenzie on the television series JAG.
Here are some example tweets to illustrate:
There are tweets like this all the time. You’d swear that Catherine had actually been in the corps. So why would an actor be so associated with the job one of her characters held? Respect. The creative team respected the Marines. Marines, when respected, gladly give back in return. More, Ms Bell has also reciprocated. She understands the honor being offered to her and doesn’t diminish it.
This isn’t the first time I’ve seen this happen with actors and the Marines. Some might roll their eyes when I say Jim Nabors. After all, Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C., was quite the farce about a bumbling young Marine who seemed like such a “Gomer”. But here’s the thing: Pyle loved the Marines and would never do anything to dishonor what the uniform stood for. Marines knew that.
Perhaps the most important thing, and why Catherine/Mac and Jim/Gomer are thought of so well, is that they made Marines into people. Yes, these real-life warriors are highly trained and lethal weapons of war, but they are also our sons and daughters. Sometimes we forget that. That’s why iconic characters can be so important and why actors who understand that importance matter. By respecting the men and women who serve, they also respect the country those men and women are willing to die for.
Of course it doesn’t hurt that Catherine Bell is funny and beautiful and talented and all the things most fans would hope that she is. Real deal, people. If you aren’t following her on Twitter, dropping by her website, or checking out her shows (JAG is out on DVD, Army Wives has just been renewed for a fifth season) and movies (The Good Witch – continuing series), then you’re missing out.