Winnipeg Free Press January 17th 2012

PASADENA -- Well, since we've survived another edition of the U.S. networks' semi-annual press tour and are on our way back to the chillier climes, it's time to think about home while cleaning out the cocktail-stained notebook.

With that in mind, let's call this one the Winnipeg column.

Former Hollywood bad girl Shannen Doherty, whose tabloid-filling antics of a couple of decades ago would seem positively quaint and quiet by contemporary showbiz standards, was positively effusive in her praise for Winnipeg during a private chat with the Free Press last week.

Doherty, 40, has decided to re-enter the pop-culture fray by starring -- with new (third) husband Kurt Iswarienko -- in a U.S.-cable reality-TV series called Shannen Says, which documents the stresses and meltdowns leading up to that quickly planned wedding.

But when she met with the Free Press, she was less interested in discussing the new series than she was reminiscing about her frequent visits to our Prairie burg during the first half of the last decade.

"Oh, my God -- Winnipeg was, like, my second home for a while," she laughed. "I love Winnipeg."

In fact, Doherty spent extended periods shooting TV movies in our city in three separate summers -- 2001, for Another Day, which co-starred Julian McMahon, 2002, alongside Shirley MacLaine and Parker Posey in Hell on Heels: The Battle of Mary Kay, and 2005, with Randy Quaid and Robert Wagner in the disaster flick Category 7: The End of the World.

She said the efforts of local production crews and industry insiders like local film czar Kenny Boyce made working in the 'Peg a pleasure.

"But do you want to know what it really was?," she asked. "The people. I fell in love with the people of Winnipeg. I mean, I'm just waiting for someone to say, 'Do you want to go do a movie in Winnipeg?', and I'd be all over it.

"There's something so nice about that place; the people are so embracing, so kind, so genuine. For me, it was a breath of fresh air. Nobody cares what you're doing -- 'Oh, you're shooting a movie? OK, well, have fun.' And then they leave you alone. You can go out for dinner. There's great restaurants there. And in the summertime, it's absolutely beautiful."

Added Doherty, with a hint of mischief in her voice: "I mean, I do have a key to the city."

When informed that the honour has been the subject of some small controversy lately, and that KISS bassist Gene Simmons also has a key, the actress laughed.

"You've got to tell Kenny to stop giving them out so much."