CLEVELAND - Emmy award-winning actress Patricia Heaton stars in ABC's hit comedy "The Middle." But her attraction to the role of middle-class housewife Frankie Heck had nothing to do with where she's from.
"The first thing I look at is the paycheck. That's what attracts me to a show. It's four kids to put through college," Heaton said jokingly. She even spent time during the 1970s working at WEWS .
And that's the kind humor that's made the Bay Village native a household name. From "Everybody Loves Raymond" to her current show "The Middle," she's a Hollywood star who hasn't forgotten her Midwestern roots.
"I've always thought generally it's not represented enough on television, is that sort middle class, average Midwestern family who deals with things like money struggles and tries to keep all the balls in the air," Heaton said.
And "The Middle" definitely fits that bill.
"I just think also the Midwest, particularly the Rust Belt kind of area that Im from Cleveland, Detroit and all these kind of places. It's just a very solid, hard working, sort of no nonsense kind of attitude there," Heaton said.
Heaton left the Midwest for the big apple right after graduation, a step that put her on the road to success. But some would argue Heaton's natural comedic ability is in her blood. Sort of a family trait.
"I have to take credit for all of her success because I moved to New York City first when I got out of college and she followed me," Patricia's only brother, Michael Heaton, said. He is the minister of culture at the Cleveland Plain Dealer. He said he had no problem being the only boy out of five children.
"It was great, you know. People always say 'You poor thing,' but you know the way I look at it was I got my own room, no hand-me-down clothes and I dated all their friends. What's the negative?" Michael Heaton said.
There are no negatives at all. Michael Heaton said they had a very funny family and humor helped them get through some challenging times. He said Patricia has always been a hard worker, and he is proud of her and her success.
"I still can't get over turning on the TV and there she is. Because Raymond is on like three times a day. So you know in airports, you're in a bar, you look up at a TV and there she is. It's still pretty wild. No, I haven't become jaded to how cool it is. She's my rich relations," Michael Heaton said.