Take Five with ... Marilyn Denis: Standout moments from 1,000 episodes

It’s hard to believe that cameras began rolling on The Marilyn Denis Show in 2011, and now the talk-show host is getting ready to celebrate her 1,000th episode. Marilyn will mark the milestone with a special edition of the show on Nov. 17 (CTV). With that in mind, we asked the star to recall some of her most memorable experiences on the small screen. “There are so many,” she tells Hello! “Every day is different, which is what I love about it.” Here, she narrows down her list of favourite on-camera adventures for us.

Our first show was on Jan. 10, 2011. My first guest – which was a surprise to me – was my father calling from Calgary. He was adorable. It was a joyful moment for him because he was happy I was continuing on with my TV career, but also because he got to see me every day – and it wasn’t on Skype! The first actual guest was James Denton from Desperate Housewives. He said to me after our interview, “Now who are you going to remember as your first guest?” I said, “You.” He said, “No! It’s your dad.” I said, “Oh my gosh, thank you for saying that. You’re absolutely right!” What a nice man.

Photo: ©CTV

In the show’s first year, we had an avalanche of unbelievable guests. It was good to get back into my groove on TV, while my radio job continued. I heard that Elton John was coming to Toronto and I knew that the time I was going to have with him was going to be limited. He ended up staying longer than we anticipated, and we were so grateful. During the interview, he and I were having such a great time! I thought, “Oh my gosh, this is a moment.” During the commercial break he asked if he was talking too much! I thought, “Are you kidding? No! You’re such a great storyteller!” His husband, David Furnish, was standing at the back of the room watching our interview. He gave me a nice smile and that made me feel good.

Photo: © CTV

In our second year, Diane Keaton came to the show. I love her so much she has no idea. She may never come back again because I love her so much! In the middle of the interview, she says, “Hang on a minute. I know you’re going to ask me who the best kisser was, as far as all of the leading men I’ve worked with.” So she pulls out a piece of paper and starts listing them! It was so wonderful. We had a good time.

Debbie Travis and I have been friends for a long time. She had a project in Tuscany and kept inviting me to go. In 2014, we took our crew with us and we did a week’s worth of fabulous things that became part of our first show for season 6. Debbie was our leader. When we weren’t shooting, she would say, “Go rest. Then I’m going to take you out this afternoon.” It was amazing. She’s such a delight to be with, and the trip exceeded all of my expectations.

Photo: © CTV

In 2013, we covered the Calgary Stampede and got to go to Drumheller, where my dad was born. It was questionable because they had had that terrible flood. But they still said, “No, please come.” The narrative changed. It was about how wonderful – as I always knew – Calgarians were and how they said, “No, the show must go on. We are going to put on the Stampede.” I took a couple of my friends and experts here, like Christine Cushing, Peter Papapetrou, Aly Velji and Alexis Honce. We went to Drumheller on that same trip to meet up with my wonderful Uncle Al, my dad’s brother, a year after my dad had died. He showed us the house where he was raised. After that we went to the Royal Tyrell museum, a wonderful dinosaur museum. It’s not all about what happens in studio, when we go on adventures we take viewers with us.

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