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The Discovery of Mary-Margaret Humes: The Girl Next Door

Cover of "Mel Brooks' History of the Worl...

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As I think back on my high school days before my long trek out to Hollywood, I recall how my life seemed to be just one boring episode after another. Not that I wasn’t busy with the important little things that occupied a teenager’s life such as learning to play a musical instrument. I chose the guitar thinking that I would become a famous guitarist in a rock and roll band with a flock of pretty girls chasing after me as my adoring fans wherever I played. Next on my list was sports. Surely if I got involved in a couple of team sports, I would surely be noticed by the cheerleaders. The only problem was there were no cheerleaders in either track or gymnastics. I only weighed in around 120 lbs., therefore football was definitely out of the question. I could run fast, walk on my hands and zip around on the pommel horse and still rings like a madman but girls weren’t really impressed by all that nonsense. They gravitated toward the big. muscular athletic football players that could rip your head off and throw a perfect spiral for 30 or 40 yards. Just my luck. I was scrawny, blind as a bat without my glasses, and would have been the perfect spokesperson for Proactive, had it been around back then.

Myth #1 Not all guitarists become famous and have beautiful adoring fans chasing them around.

Myth #2 Not all sports attract cheerleaders!

My point to this silly little recollection is that I somehow recall that whenever I would run across the street after school to the local drugstore to buy a bottle of soda and a candy bar I remember my encounters with a sweet, pretty little brunette who always smiled and was always the first to speak usually with a hello or how are you kind of a salutation. This beautiful girl always made me feel like I was someone other than a 120 lb., four-eyed, pimple-faced, semi-athletic, wanna be musician. I discovered that her name was Mary-Margaret (could have been her name tag that gave it away if I recall correctly). Little did I know at the time that I was speaking with the future Miss Florida, and the 3rd runner-up for Miss USA, to the one day famous actress from Dawson’s Creek. To me she was just Mary-Margaret, a cashier at the local high school drugstore and the first attractive girl that treated me like I was somebody. I believe it was a combination of Mel Brooks noticing a billboard across from the 20th Century Fox studio with Mary-Margaret’s photograph, name and phone number (how brave) and calling her up to do a reading for him and the encouragement of a certain actor named Burt Reynolds who persuaded her to move to Los Angeles in the first place that started her acting career moving forward. The rest is history. Mary-Margaret Humes (born April 4, 1954) is an American actress best known in recent years for playing Gail Leery, the title character’s mother on the WB television drama Dawson’s Creek from 1998 to 2003.


Born in Florida at Mercy Hospital on April 4, 1954, Humes is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Neale C. Humes. She is a graduate of the Watertown High School Class of 1972. Humes competed as Miss Thousand Islands in the 1973 Miss New York State contest she won the Miss Florida USA pageant and was third runner up in the 1975 Miss USA pageant behind eventual winner and fellow actressSummer Bartholomew of California. She was urged to try acting by fellow Floridian Burt Reynolds and her best known movie role is as the Vestal Virgin Miriam in Mel Brooks‘s History of the World, Part I. Humes has a long list of guest starring roles to her credit on such diverse shows as Grey’s AnatomyThe Dukes of Hazzard,MatlockKnight RiderMurphy BrownThe A-TeamThe Fall GuyHardcastle and McCormickT.J. HookerRiptide and Touched by an Angel. She was also a regular on the short-lived NBC seriesEerie, Indiana in 1991.

The ironic part of this whole story is that we were both living out in Hollywood at the same time chasing our dreams, but our paths never crossed again. We were both busy pursuing acting careers in the 80’s, not knowing we were on very similar, and yet very distant paths. Unless you live in a cave, we all know by now what happened to that girl next door! As for the boy next door, well, I’m still around but not quite as famous, rich or beautiful. As a fellow Aries, I can say I once knew Mary-Margaret way back when she was just a drug store clerk with the most contagious smile and dreamy eyes that melted my heart and at the same time unknowingly gave me the confidence to conquer my own fears and take a chance out in Hollywood as well! Thank you for that gift Mary-Margaret, I will always be forever indebted to you!