Annette O’Toole reveals how ‘Virgin River’ role exceeded her expectations


We know Annette O’Toole as the woman sticking her nose in everyone’s business in Netflix’s “Virgin River,” but we actually got to know her mom during the pandemic.

A year ago O’Toole’s mother, Dorothy Geraldine Niland, fell and broke her hip. The now 96-year-old ended up teaching her physical therapist how to tap dance. Niland is a known dance instructor.

The tap-dancing duo ended up becoming great friends and KTLA’s Lynette Romero featured them in her segment Link up with Lynette.

When it comes to the dancing gene, O’Toole definitely inherited it as well.

“I was tap dancing at three. You can’t escape it in our family,” she explained. “We all tap.”

Things haven’t been slowing down for O’Toole either.

Her role as Hope McCrea in Netflix’s “Virgin River” has opened her up to a newer and larger fanbase.

“It’s very exciting, the people are amazing,” the actress exclaimed. “Everywhere I go, if I happen to have my mask off which is rare, I get recognized all over the place and it’s not just a certain group of people. Young people really like the show and older people certainly. It kind of runs the gamut. It became this interesting monster, this show.”

The 70-year-old is proud to play a role that steers away from the stereotype actresses of a certain age tend to play.

“It’s turned into this really exciting new way of looking at, I think, older women in film. Her life is not one thing. It’s not just her grandchildren, she doesn’t even have children,” she explained. “It shows you life for her character, and life for me- I didn’t expect to be at this age still being able to do all this work and it’s more fun than it’s ever been for me.”

The series is currently filming Season 5 in British Columbia, Canada.

Season 4 of “Virgin River” debuts on Netflix July 20.

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