Bellamy Young was finishing the penultimate episode of Scandal, and even she did not know how the ABC hit would end on April 19. “We talk about it all the time, and none of us have any idea,” Young says. “I’m dying to see what is going to happen.”
As Mellie Grant, Young began as the first lady with a philandering husband. During the seven-season run, Mellie has been blackmailed, her son was murdered, she was kicked out of the White House, she had an affair, and she became senator and president.
Not bad for a character who was supposed to be only on three episodes in the first season.
The show’s melodrama has been deeply satisfying for the actor, who’s been on Broadway and is in the movies A Wrinkle in Time and Bernard and Huey. She begins shooting False Profits, an ABC pilot, when Scandal ends.
Young marvels at her fortune. Adopted and reared in North Carolina, she is a Yale graduate who studied at Oxford. “I went to college for physics, but it turns out I did not have the gift one needs on a global level,” Young says. “But I wound up doing what I really, really love.”
And she loves Mellie. “She has always had her own path,” Young says. “It will be an evening scene, and they light the fireplace, and I will be overwhelmed with a happiness for Mellie. I know she is a fictional character, but she worked so hard, and she is there. I got very verklempt for her.”
With her cat Sadie mewing in the background, Young answers our “5 Questions.”
- What three foods have to be in your pantry or fridge?
Avocados, soy milk and spirulina.
- If your television only carried three stations or shows, what would those be?
The Daily Show, Last Week Tonight With John Oliver and SuperSoul Sunday.
- Tell us about a time you were starstruck.
I went up to the Griffith Observatory for [All Space Considered], a science program at night. I loved it, and I lined up for Brian Greene like the Beatles were in town. He just put out a book, The Hidden Reality, and I got up to have him sign my book and literally couldn’t talk. And he was like, “What’s your name?” I had all these things I wanted to say to him, and nothing came. Nothing! Needs-oil-in-a-cog croaking came out.
- If you could have three celebs — living or dead — at a dinner party, who would they be?
Stephen Hawking and Brian Greene and Maya Angelou. I would leave that dinner nourished on every level.
- What would surprise people about you?
I am terrified of sharks. I don’t go in the water because Jaws was a documentary. They are prehistoric. They have not had to evolve. They are immune to science.