Catching up with Sheryl Lee Ralph of 'Ray Donovan'

Posted: July 18, 2014

"I MAY be an actress in Hollywood, but I'm the first lady of the 7th District of Pennsylvania. The only thing that would be better would be the governor's wife. Then I'd have a helicopter," said Sheryl Lee Ralph, her priorities clearly straight, about her marriage to state Sen. Vincent Hughes.

Ralph called me while she was in town recently to catch up on her projects, including the second season of Showtime's "Ray Donovan," where she plays the ex-paramour of patriarch Mickey Donovan, played by Jon Voight, who was recently nominated for an Emmy for his performance.

The second season began last Sunday and continues Sunday at 9 p.m. "Let me tell you, I had one table read and I screamed [at the script] during the read," Ralph said about the second season. "They all made fun of me."

Not that she's complaining about her gig.

"It's interesting, with all of the guys in the cast, they all have their own kind of sexiness," she said. "If you see them in real life, they can all dance. Every single one of them can dance, and some of them can sing and dance, which is like, 'Whoa.' "

So how about a musical episode?

"If it happens it would be in a bad dream," said Ralph, who originated the role of Deena Jones in "Dreamgirls" on Broadway. ( Beyonce played Deena in the film version.)

Ralph's next project involves singing and dancing - but not her own. She's producing an off-Broadway play about the life of '70s gender-bending pop pioneer Sylvester, called "Mighty Real." It opens Sept. 5 at the Theatre at St. Clement's (423 W. 46th St., New York). "Sylvester was always so uniquely himself. Here was a man who stood in his truth long before it was politically correct, with hair bigger than mine and lashes bigger than mine and covered in sparkles," she said.

So does Ralph ever take a vacation? She told me she won't get any beach time until state funding for education is sorted out. "There's nothing right about not educating some children and choosing to educate others. All of our children matter," Ralph said, with gusto.

"You can sign onto $400 million to build prisons but you can't assign $400 million to educate children? That kind of thinking isn't good for our children and it's not good for our country. Philadelphia deserves more than that."

Hugh Douglas: Not drunk

Former Eagle Hugh Douglas was on the inaugural episode of "Cheap Shots," a new radio show from former Eagles tight end Luther Broughton and Micah Warren. Among other things, they discussed the incident that led to Douglas' firing from ESPN last August.

Douglas allegedly called "Numbers Never Lie" co-host Michael Smith an "Uncle Tom" and other racially charged epithets at the National Association of Black Journalists Convention in Orlando, Fla.

Douglas told Broughton that he was not drunk during the incident, "yet it was certainly a party atmosphere." He admitted there was a confrontation between Smith and himself after Douglas tried to get onstage with Smith and "Numbers Never Lie" co-host Jemele Hill.

This agitated Smith, who voiced his anger at Douglas. "So I walk up to Michael and I whisper in his ear. I said, 'Mike, don't you ever talk to me like that again, because I will beat your m-f'ing a.' Just like that," Douglas said.

Douglas said he returned to Connecticut hoping to smooth things over with Smith the next day. Then his agent called him and relayed Smith's version of events, including threats of physical violence and name-calling.

Douglas still says that's not how it went down, but he told Broughton and Warren he's not angry with Smith.

"Mike is a different cat," he said. "You know, I had a lot of respect for him, but when he did that . . . I mean I'm not mad because I didn't see it coming. You know how they say you're supposed to be able to identify snakes? Didn't see that one coming. That one's on me. I thought our relationship was more than what it was. You know, I thought we were cool, bottom line. But we weren't, so . . . "

This was not the end of public troubles for Douglas. In September last year, Douglas was arrested for allegedly assaulting girlfriend Hope Davila. Douglas pleaded no contest to misdemeanor breach of peace and served no jail time. In May, Davila sued Douglas over the assault.

Play it again

Hang with Comcast SportsNet personalities Danny Pommells, Ricky Bottalico, Ben Davis, Leslie Gudel and Marc Zumoff at CSN's We Live Philly sports fest on Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon at the Please Touch Museum (4231 Avenue of the Republic), featuring kids activities of the sporty variety.


On Twitter: @PhillyGossipDN


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