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Monica Horan Rosenthal and her Nissan Leaf. (Erin Champion/Erin Champion)
Monica Horan Rosenthal and her Nissan Leaf. (Erin Champion/Erin Champion)

My Car: Monica Horan Rosenthal

Everybody Loves Leaf: Actress digs her EV Add to ...

Monica Horan Rosenthal

  • The car: Nissan Leaf
  • Profession: Actress and philanthropist
  • Age: 49
  • Hometown: Darby, Pennsylvania

Notable achievements

  • In 2006, she won a Gracie Allen Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for her role in Everybody Loves Raymond

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  • She is a board member of Inner-City Arts, a non-profit arts education centre in Los Angeles’s Skid Row. Founded in 1989, it has served 150,000 of the city’s most at-risk children at no cost to the students. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited the Inner-City Arts campus and made art with local kids from Skid Row during their California visit last July.
  • Supports arts through the Flourish Foundation, a non-profit organization to bring arts education to LA schools.
  • The Rosenthal Family Foundation supports personal, social, environmental, health, and education issues.

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Actress Monica Horan Rosenthal gained international fame for her role as Amy MacDougall-Barone in the series Everybody Loves Raymond.

Horan Rosenthal is soft-spoken and humble. She’s also an environmentalist at heart, who practices what she preaches by driving a 2012 Nissan Leaf. Her husband Philip Rosenthal, the creator and executive producer of Everybody Loves Raymond, drives a Lexus hybrid.

Why did you buy an electric car?

I have been wanting an electric car for so long.

When we moved here in 1989, the air pollution was so terrible and I thought, it’s such a crime. So that was the beginning of wanting an electric car.

You’re one of the first to jump on the all-electric bandwagon. What do you say to people who don’t believe in the technology?

I understand them because it’s not for everybody. But if you can afford it and it fits into your lifestyle it should be a requirement – get an electric car because we want to do everything we can to support the industry. Eventually the technology will improve and the cost will come down and it will become part of the lifestyle.

It isn’t for everybody yet, but it will be. For people like me, who do the in and out of traffic, schlepping kids, running errands, it’s great. You just have to remember to plug in your car at night.

How far can you travel on a full charge?

People constantly ask me, "How much do you get per charge? How much has your bill gone up? What’s your mileage?" I get so many questions about it, and I’m never able to answer them. I just don’t have an analytical brain or personality. I just say I love it!

Have you ever run out of juice?

I’m really lucky that from Pasadena to my house, it’s downhill, because I did almost get stuck once. I did not figure out the math properly. I would have been majorly screwed.

You have to start strategizing on what you’re using in the car. I was sweating it out as I got right into my driveway and was able to charge without running out.

It was because I had forgotten to plug it in the night before. I have a charging station in my house. Generally from 120 volts it would take 13 hours. But from my 240, I can do it in four hours. I have a timer and I set it so it only charges when the rates go down for less usage.

What does a Leaf say about you?

It says I’m a global citizen, and I like to get where I’m going without hurting anybody.

What was your first car?

It was a Datsun. I got it in 1989 and it was probably a 1983.

A tree fell on it while I was in it. I’ll never forget. It was a month before I got married. I was doing a play and I had a 7:30 call. I was stuck in traffic and they were cutting down this tree after 7:00 at night on a sidewalk along the road. I thought they must really know what they’re doing to be cutting a tree right next to the road. It was making me nervous. I inched up in traffic and the minute I inched up, boom! That thing came down on the back of my car! I could have been killed!

My car was technically totalled, but I still drove that thing around with no bumper and a smashed trunk. I was a starving artist – you don’t care. You just got to get to your audition.

What came after that?

A used Honda Civic. It was $5,000.

Our first real car was a Plymouth Sundance – that was our fancy car when we were starting out. We couldn’t believe we could afford a Sundance.

With the kids, I had a gas-guzzling Honda Odyssey and then Prius all the way until I got my Leaf.

What’s your best and worst driving memory?

My worst driving memory was when I first moved to Los Angeles. I was so terrified and I had to go on the freeway. It was on the 101 and I had to cross a couple of lanes. I followed someone onto a shoulder right before it was merging with two other lanes. I could have really bought the farm.

But instead a kindly police officer pulled me over with the sirens running and I burst into tears! He took pity on me and wrote me up for one thing, but he could have written me up for three! I went to traffic school and it never happened again.

I know its going to sound Pollyanna and you’re not going to believe me, but my best memory was getting that Leaf. I am really proud to have an electric car.

If I could only broadcast it a little more that it was all-electric – if it looked a little more like an electric car, I’d be happier. I love that I am finally driving a 100 per cent electric car. I think that’s really cool.

If I could bring you the keys to any vehicle what would it be?

It would be a 100 percent electric car that drives like a Lamborghini.

The interview has been edited and condensed.

pgentile@globeandmail.com

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