Candace Hopkins, who played Maggie in the show, has passed away. It seems so unreal, as we were just shooting episodes with her six weeks ago. She has been fighting her battle with cancer for years. I’ve been amazed at her strength and perseverance over her ordeal. But, even more amazing – her enthusiastic embracing of life. The days with her on the set echoed with her infectious laughter and upbeat spirit.
What many people didn’t know was that she has been going through chemo the past few years, and was in such pain. I kept saying to her – “Candace, you don’t have to come to the shoot, seriously! I can write around you.” But she wouldn’t have it. In fact, as the show progressed, she was in the show just as much as before she was sick. Most times, because of her upbeat attitude, it was easy to forget the hell she had been going through. Only brief moments, small signs and hints of pain would show themselves, after a particularly long take standing up for instance. It was at these times I tried to get her to sit down. She said, “I want to be here.” She was enjoying herself so.
Candace said the most amazing part of watching the show as they were released, was seeing her physical transformation as the show progressed. To see her weight loss, and then see her as she battled cancer. It’s easy to forgot how much time as passed. A running joke with all of the cast members over the years has been the duration of the shoot. (On and off, for two and a half years) I kept saying to everyone, “We’re almost done, we’re almost done! Keep at it!” I think Candace was glad that she was able to finish out shooting the series. I am proud to have had those moments working with her.
I am saddened today. I feel privileged to have worked with her these past few years on the show. And I am inspired by her strength.
She will be missed.