Chandra Wilson Had a Second Job During First Season of Grey's Anatomy : 'My Bread and Butter'

·3 min read
Chandra Wilson Had a Second Job During First Season of Grey's Anatomy: 'My Bread and Butter'
Chandra Wilson Had a Second Job During First Season of Grey's Anatomy: 'My Bread and Butter'

Michael Rozman/Warner Bros.

Chandra Wilson has starred in Grey's Anatomy since it premiered in 2005, but she wasn't always sure about her character's longevity on the show.

The five-time Emmy Award nominee, 52, opened up about juggling a second job during the first season of the hit medical drama during an appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show Thursday.

"As a working actor out there in New York, you're used to having your bread and butter," Wilson told guest host Mario Lopez. "My bread and butter was my job in the document processing department at Bankers Trust at the time, before it became Deutsche Bank. It was long-term temp, and it was perfect because it was overnight, and I could still audition and work during the day and make the high-end money."

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Wilson has played Dr. Miranda Bailey for all of the show's 18 seasons, making her one of only three actors to stick around since the first season (including James Pickens Jr.'s Dr. Richard Webber and Ellen Pompeo's Dr. Meredith Grey).

"I had an actor friend who said, 'Don't ever put all your eggs in one basket, especially when they call you out here to L.A., because jobs don't last,' " Wilson explained. "And I had gone through a series before, that we only got six or seven episodes before we were canceled.

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grey's anatomy
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"So, it was in season 2 when I came back to do it — as a long-term temp, you just check-in for your availability. And so, all season 1, I just kept checking in, saying, 'Oh, I'm not available this weekend.' So, when we got to season 2, my supervisor said, 'Will you stop calling and telling us that you're not available? Because we see you on TV. So, why are you telling us that you're not available?' So basically, they had to kind of force me out," she recounted with a laugh.

Wilson has earned four Emmy nominations for her portrayal of Dr. Bailey. She also marks her 22nd time in the director's chair for Grey's Anatomy with Thursday's episode.

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The NYU alum previously expressed that she has no intention to leave the show. "I always say until the wheels come off, I'll be there," she told Variety last December when asked the "million-dollar question."

"I think there have been so many versions of when the show would end and how the show will end that there isn't a version at this point," Wilson continued. "I keep showing up when they call me and tell me that we're doing another one."

Grey's Anatomy airs Thursdays at 9/8c on ABC.

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