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Close-Up: Helen Hunt

The actress couldn’t resist the ”Mad About You” script

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Helen Hunt hadn’t planned on doing any more TV, not with two feature films — The Waterdance and Billy Crystal’s Mr. Saturday Night — in the can. But then Paul Reiser sent her the pilot he’d written for Mad About You. ”So I read it,” she says, ”and thought, ‘Oh, s—, I’m really going to have to consider this.”’

Television may be what put the New York-bred, L.A.-based actress on the Hollywood map — she was the sexy student activist, Clancy, on St. Elsewhere — but theater was her first love. Her father is director and acting coach Gordon Hunt, while an uncle heads the Williamstown, Mass., summer theater. (Moviegoers saw her in 1987’s Project X with Matthew Broderick, whom Hunt dated.) Single and 29, Hunt has come to terms with her Mad About You success: ”I’m doing a two-character romantic comedy — a play, really. I want to call my shrink and laugh over how many times I sat on her couch trying not to feel intimidated by actors who were on the other side of that imaginary line drawn between television and theater.”