By Michael Miller, People
After nearly 20 years apart, Mayim Bialik has reunited with her childhood costar from Beaches – and it turns out the two still have a lot in common.
Bialik and Marcie Leeds played the 11-year-old versions of Bette Midler and Barbara Hershey’s characters, respectively, in the 1988 classic. Reuniting for the first time since the film, the now grownup ladies decided to reenact their iconic opening scene.
Shortly after Beaches, Leeds decided to leave show business and is now a practicing surgeon (with a very interesting former patient). And while Bialik continued her acting career – appearing in numerous movies and TV shows including the Big Bang Theory – she also has a love for science and a degree in neuroscience.
The two former costars recently met up for lunch, where they discussed everything from Leeds’ decision to leave Hollywood to her craziest experience as a surgeon. Later, Bialik posted a transcript of an interview with Leeds to her website.
“After Beaches, I did an episode of [the 1990 TV show] Parenthood withLeonardo DiCaprio,” Leeds says. “That was the first time I had kissed anyone and it was actually really heavy and weird for me, so I decided that having to deal with stuff like that was not what I wanted to do. I decided after that to leave acting.”
After a high school visit to a cadaver lab got her hooked on science, Leeds decided to become a surgeon. During one of her craziest experiences in the operating room, the former child star operated on Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords the day she was shot.
“On the day Congresswoman Giffords was visiting Tucson, Ariz., I was coming on call Saturday morning to be the senior resident on the trauma service that day, Jan. 8, 2011,” she remembers.
After being informed that someone had opened fire during Giffords’ visit, Leeds was told 10 gunshot wound victims would be brought to her hospital. The first victim, a 9-year-old girl, died soon after arrival.
“They then brought in a woman dressed in a black dress with this huge thing over her head. They said, ‘This is the congresswoman – she has a gunshot wound to the head.’
"And we started resuscitating her, I started asking her if she could move certain limbs and all she was doing was grunting. She couldn’t speak.”
The congresswoman survived, and for the next two weeks it was Leeds’ job to check in on her every day. “It was such a circus between the press and the cops and the Secret Service,” Leeds says. “She had 10 people outside her room at any given moment. So I’d go in at 4 o'clock in the morning when there was nobody there, and I’d see her and do an exam. Her husband was always by her bed and we would chat about how she was doing.”
Leeds is currently opening up a new practice in the suburbs of Phoenix and says she has no regrets about leaving acting behind. “I love what I do; I don’t regret my decision to leave acting,” she admits. “The grass is always greener I guess, but actually being where I am now has truly been quite a feat in itself.”