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Daniella Dheutscher

April 27, 1998

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Daniella Dheutscher, who plays Julie Connor the only girl on the Deering High boys' basketball team, on the Saturday morning show Hangtime (NBC), says she had many of the same experiences as her character. "At the beginning of the show, the fact that Julie was a girl was a big issue. The guys didn't think she could play," explained Dheutscher, 22. "That's become less of an issue on the show now, but I remember playing basketball in high school. Often when I went to practice on the courts I'd be playing the guys. I learned a lot playing basketball with them, and I showed them that I could keep up and play just as hard."

Until she was injured during a game and couldn't play for the rest of the season, Dheutshcer was a star player. The injury, however, gave her a chance to figure out what she wanted to do. "I already knew I wanted to act, but I was living in Washington State at the time, and I knew I'd have to move to California to act. So the injury gave me time to figure out that acting was what I really wanted to do and I made the move," she remembered.

"When I first got to California, though, it wasn't easy. I didn't know anyone here," she continued. "But now, working on the show feels like I have a big family. I'm close to everyone on the set and it's just been great."

In her spare time, Dheutscher is a keynote speaker for the "R.I.D." (Remove Intoxicated Drivers) organization, an anti-drinking organization for teens. "People ask me if I knew someone with a drinking problem," Dheutscher explained. "I didn't, but you don't have to know an alcoholic to feel strongly about it. I usually tell kids that I wouldn't be where I am today if I'd made an irresponsible choice and let drugs or alcohol fog my life. Those things get in the way of your goals. Also, I remind kids that's it okay to refuse alcohol even if everyone else is drinking, and that in the long run, you'll be more respected for that."

Dheutcher would like to work in films in the future, and she also has plans to attend college (she'd like to major in broadcast journalism). She credits her family with being very supportive of her career choices. "No one else in my family is in the entertainment business - my father is a civil engineer, my mother is an entrepreneur, and my brother is in the Air Force, so we're all doing our own thing. It's great to have my family as a support group to count on, because then I can do anything. I think that's more important than having connections in Hollywood."

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