An article and Video From ET Online back in October 2009.
Alex O’Loughlin segues from CBS’ short-lived “Moonlight,“ on which his vampire character drank blood, to playing an organ-transplant surgeon on “Three Rivers,“ where he is up to his elbows in blood.
O’Loughlin’s role as the vampire Mick St. John made him a heartthrob and earned him a large fan base. The Aussie hottie is hoping that his fans follow him to “Three Rivers.“
“It is telling an important story,” says O’Loughlin, who tells ET’sKevin Frazier that he is a real-life organ donor.
“I absolutely am.
As an organ donor, I can save up to eight people’s lives if I pass away — and change up to 50 people’s lives with tissue donations.”
“Three Rivers”is a medical drama that goes inside the emotionally complex lives of organ donors, recipients and the surgeons at the preeminent transplant hospital in the country.
Before taking on the role of Dr. Andy Yablonski, O’Loughlin shadowed real-life transplant surgeon Dr. Gonzalo “Gonzo” Gonzalez-Stawinski at his hospital in Pittsburgh.
“I have seen about nine procedures now,” says O’Loughlin, who admits to not being bothered by the sight of blood.
“You are there, scrubbed in, watching him do his thing. They are in surgery 12 hours sometimes. You get in touch with all sorts of things. You see how resilient we are and it raises questions of faith and God, and all sorts of philosophies flash through your mind.”
Since donning scrubs to play the TV doc, O’Loughlin has become a trained Donate Life America ambassador, and is featured in a public service announcement in which he reveals that he is an organ, eye and tissue donor.
“That is at least as important to me as the success of the show,” he tells Kevin.
(This original article is no longer available, but we do have the videos with parts of what was said.)
Kevin: You know you look back on Moonlight, and do you think, “Dammit, we were just a little ahead of our time.” Because if you look at all the Twilight success and you’re like…. Come on, come on.
Alex: Maybe … maybe … maybe. I …. I still think our vampires were the best, by the way. I mean … I will fight to the death on that one. To the death.
Alex: Or to the undeath. Bad … that was bad.
Kevin: Also, it brought you a lot of female attention. A lot of love from the females.
Alex: We can always do with more of that.
Kevin: [Laughs] I love the whole thespian thing, but you also have to deal with the heartthrob thing. I mean, you know. What is that like?
Alex: Well, you tell me man.
Kevin: I don’t know dude. I’m a regular dude.
Alex: Look at you, come on.
Kevin: I am a regular dude. I’m a regular dude. I don’t walk in here and like and women are punching me and like, “Are you in the interview with him?”
Kevin: I’m like, yeah.
Dude I don’t even know…. Ugh … It’s funny you know, because I’m a regular dude too. You cannot take it seriously.
The minute you take it seriously, you’re dead.
Kevin: Tell me about the new show. Kind of explain to people who don’t understand, this …. How this hospital specialises in a certain thing.
Alex: Well, it’s a … The show is called Three Rivers. It’s set in a hospital called Three Rivers, in Pittsburgh, funnily enough. And it’s about …. it’s a medical show …. It’s about the show, it’s about … the core of the show is about organ transplantation and transplant medicine.
I’m head of surgery at the hospital. And I specialise in transplant medicine. My name is Andy Yablonski. I’m based on an actual character called Gonzo Gonzales Stawinski, who’s a doctor … staff surgeon in Cleveland. At the clinic up there.
Kevin: What was it like shadowing this guy .. this real life doctor? What did you learn? I mean, pretty intense situations, I’m sure.
Alex: It’s hard to explain. I mean, there’s something … that’s not tangible, that happens with you, when you see the inside of someone else’s chest, which hopefully resembles yours, you know. And you get in touch with all sorts of things. I mean of course your own mortality. You see how resilient we are, on the inside as well as on the outside. But you start to question the questions of faith and of God, and of existence.
Kevin: Have you gotten all the medical jargon down? How hard has that been?
Alex: Oh my god. It’s another language. It’s like … it’s like science or law.
Kevin: Do you ever use a cheat sheet? Do you ever pull out the cheat sheet?
Alex: I haven’t done the Brando yet. I will though.
I want the earpiece.
Kevin: Is that when you hear? “Just tell me. Just tell me”
Alex: Yeah, what is it? I do that though.
Our script supervisor, Patty, who is the best, you know, she’ll be just be ….. she’s just on the other side of the wall and often it’s the case I’m like, “Patty! Patty! Do I have to answer. Here we are going back”
There’s a lot of that. Because like I said, it is another language.
Kevin: Are you an organ donor?
Alex: I absolutely am. Eye …. organ, eye and tissue.
Alex: And I’m also a spokesperson – now officially I am an ambassador for Donate Life America.
… Good question.
Kevin: After seeing these surgeries and all that kind of stuff, does it change the way you eat and you treat and take care of your body.
Alex: Let me tell you, when I … when they open up a chest, which I find … I love watching it. I’m fine with the blood and everything. But they cut through the pericardium around the heart and you see a deceased heart. And you smell a deceased heart … eeeww.
Yeah, I mean it’s like, “Oh my god.” And that’s from? And you learn …. like you become so conscious of what you put in your body. I mean what …. you know, if you smoke, or drink, what you eat. How much water you drink.
But the big things as well. You know, what people don’t know about, is like your dental health … is, your dental health is crucial to … I mean, bad dental health can cause you know, cardia failure.
You can really … you can … you can die from bad … bad teeth. Because it all goes into the bloodstream …. And it’s, you know, straight into the heart.
And so I’m really excited …. I mean, fundamentally I want …. I want the show to bring awareness to people around America, but across America, but around the world about the importance about organ donation.
I want to get …. I want to get the amount of donors … help Donate Life, get the amount of donors up. I want people to become donors, you know.
And … and, become a part of this, you know, “I’m giving a gift of life”
Link to Video:
The rest of this interview was edited by ET and the transcript was done here in 2015:
#AlexOLoughlin on ET for Three Rivers – 24 October 2009
Back then I already promised to do this one as well. I guess better late than never. 😮