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Greeneville, Tennessee, United States
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Park Overall (born March 15, 1957) is an American actress, environmental and women's rights activist, and former U.S. Senate candidate, known for her trademark heavy Southern accent. Her best-known role was as nurse Laverne Higby Todd Kane in the sitcom Empty Nest, though she has appeared in a number of feature films, including Biloxi Blues, Mississippi Burning, Talk Radio, and more recently, In the Family.
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Park Overall (b. March 15, 1957) is an American film and television actress, known for her trademark heavy Southern accent. Her best-known role was as nurse Laverne Higby Todd Kane in the sitcom, Empty Nest, though she has appeared in a number of feature films, including Biloxi Blues, Mississippi Burning, Beer For My Horses, and more recently, In the Family. Overall is also an environmental and women's rights activist, and in 2012 ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate.
Overall was born in Nashville, Tennessee, and raised in Greeneville. She is the daughter of Frances (nÃ©e Bernard), a professor of English, and Thomas Wesley "Jack" Overall, Jr., a federal magistrate. She has described her parents as Yellow Dog Democrats. As a teenager, she worked on the political campaigns of Tom Wiseman and Jim Sasser.
Overall graduated from Tusculum College with a degree in English, and briefly attended graduate school at the University of Tennessee. In her late 20s, she moved to New York to pursue an acting career. One of her first roles was in Skin, an Off-Off-Broadway play about Andy Warhol and Edie Sedgwick. She also appeared in the Neil Simon play, Biloxi Blues, and had a role in a failed pilot with Dinah Manoff, with whom she would eventually costar on the NBC series, Empty Nest.
Empty Nest, which aired from 1988 to 1995, provided Overall's breakthrough role. She played Laverne Higby Todd Kane, nurse to Dr. Harry Weston, played by Richard Mulligan. She played the same role in the early episodes of the Empty Nest spinoff, Nurses, in the early 1990s. She later starred in the short-lived TV series Katie Joplin and Ladies Man, both from 1999.
In 1995, she was the voice of Alice Tompkins in the animated series The Critic. She has appeared in several TV movies, including the Lifetime drama Fifteen and Pregnant (1998). She has made guest appearances on TV shows such as The Golden Girls, Nurses, The Young Riders, and Reba, in which she had a recurring role during the series' first season.
Her first feature role was in Tainted (1988); she appeared in four additional films the same year: Biloxi Blues, Vibes, Mississippi Burning, and Talk Radio. Her role on Talk Radio was voice only. Her most recent appearances were in To Kill a Mockumentary (2006), the Toby Keith film, Beer For My Horses (2008), and the Patrick Wang film, In the Family (2011).
Overall has actively supported a number of environmental causes, primarly those affecting her native East Tennessee. In 1995, she gave an interview on ABC's news show Primetime attacking the paper company Champion International, which had for years been accused by environmentalists of polluting the Pigeon River. Abnormally high levels of dioxins in the river had been traced to the company's plant in Canton, North Carolina, and were believed by environmentalists to be the cause of the relatively high rate of cancer deaths in the area around Hartford, Tennessee.
In recent years, Overall has been a vocal critic of Nuclear Fuel Services, which operates a uranium processing complex in Erwin, Tennessee. She has charged that the complex has poor safety standards, pointing to a study released in 2010 that found soil samples along the Nolichucky River contaminated with enriched uranium traced to the complex. Overall has filed numerous petitions with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which insists the complex's radiation output levels are safe.
In 2002, Overall helped thwart an attempt by Louisiana Energy Services to build a uranium enrichment facility in the Erwin vicinity. The complex, known as the National Enrichment Facility, has since been constructed in New Mexico. In subsequent years, she sought to prevent NFS's implementation of the Blended Low-Enriched Uranium (BLEU) project in Erwin, which will provide fuel for reactors at Tennessee Valley Authority nuclear power plants.
2012 U.S. Senate campaign
On April 4, 2012, Overall, entered the Democrat Primary, to become their candidate to oppose Republican incumbent, Bob Corker. She stated she plans to focus on the environment, as well as women's issues, opposing the Senate transportation bill's Blunt Amendment, which would have provided a religious exemption for the Obama Administration's contraception mandate, asking, "Why is my womb attached to a transportation bill?" She criticized various measures introduced in the Tennessee General Assembly, including Stacey Campfield's "Don't Say Gay" bill and Richard Floyd's bill that would have forced transgender people to use restrooms for the gender listed on their birth certificate, stating that such legislation was meant to "denigrate" and "inspire fear." She also accused Republicans of "poisoning" the Nolichucky River through lax environmental regulations.
In the Democratic primary, Overall garnered less than 15% of the vote, placing a distan
Tusculum College, University of Tennessee
Deep Southern drawl
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