by Paula Hendrickson
On CBS’s Moonlight, Australian actor Alex O’Loughlin got viewers’ blood boiling as private eye-turned-vampire Mick St. John. He is once again setting pulses racing – this time, as surgeon Dr. Andy Yablonski on CBS’s new medical drama, Three Rivers.
“It’s a different role, but I still deal with lots of blood – I just don’t guzzle it,” teases O’Loughlin, who served as a spokesman for the Red Cross toward the end of the Moonlight run.
When CBS considered dropping Moonlight after it’s first season, some fans organized blood drives, quite literally giving of themselves to attract attention to the show. The series didn’t get a second season, but now that O’Loughlin is playing a transplant surgeon, he hopes he can likewise use his popularity to increase organ donations.
His interest in public service is hardly new. “My mom, my dad and my grandparents have always taught me the importance of giving. It’s a real principle in our family,” he says. “Organ donation is a really important topic, and it’s something not everybody knows enough about. So I’d like to be a part of educating people.”
Along with Dr. Gonzalo Gonzalez-Stawinski – the surgeon his Three Rivers character is based on – O’Loughlin plans to join forces with a charity that encourages organ donation, such as Donate Life America.
O’Loughlin spent a lot of time observing Gonzalez-Stawinksi and other transplant surgeons when preparing for his new role. “They’re my heroes. They’re like rocks stars to me. I get kind of giggly and nervous around them because their lives are so surreal and they’re so important. They save lives three, four, five lives a day.”
His work as a spokesman, he says, can be helpful because “there might be people who are interested in me as a person or as an actor, and hopefully they’ll come on board. We’ll get their support and they’ll tell other people. I just want to carry the message.”
Here is the link to the very first story we wrote about Three Rivers: