By Ron Donoho / Photos by Rob Hammer
She attended a Canadian broadcast journalism school with the goal of becoming an NHL play-by-play announcer. In fact, Dagmar Midcap was herself a hockey goalie. "You have to be a little off to play in the nets," she says. Now, she's well-versed at being in front of the camera, and does weekday weather reports at 4, 5, 6 and 11 p.m. on NBC 7 San Diego. She's a redhead with a big smile and a big heart when it comes to animal issues. And taking a deep breath, she recounts - for the first time - the suicide of her former boyfriend, and the darkness that forced her to leave TV for a while.
According to my count on IMDb.com [Internet Movie Database], you've played a reporter or anchor in at least 30 movies and TV shows. How'd that come about?
I think it's probably more than 60 total - not all of them are on IMDb. When I moved back to Vancouver, I didn't have a lot of marketable skills, so I went into acting. At the time, [Vancouver] was Hollywood North.
What was your favorite experience portraying a news person in a show? Catwoman? Smallville? Air Bud: Seventh Inning Fetch?
I didn't meet Halle Berry in Catwoman, but I had a scene with her nemesis, played by Sharon Stone . I definitely enjoy hanging out with the crews more than the casts.
What's the difference between playing a newsperson and being a weather person on TV news?
When you're an Anderson Cooper , yes, there is a difference. But reporting is basically good storytelling. In movies, news people are always yelling. That's what I'd do for directors, and they'd be, "Wow!" That's the stereotype from smaller markets.
You're from Vancouver, Canada, so you were raised to be nice, eh?
Eh! That's just Canada. That's something I noticed when I moved to the States, that there's no race issue in Canada. Nobody cares in Canada. We just chill.
Give us a little history of the origin of the name Dagmar.
Well, my family is German. My mom says my name in ancient Hebrew means "God's gift to the land." [Laughs] That's not a lot to live up to.
You were on a show called Driving Television. Tell us about life in the fast lane.
I am a car enthusiast and by nature I'm an adrenaline junkie. I played hockey...I wanted to be an F-18 pilot, but my mom freaked out when I tried to join the Air Force. I still love the speed and the mechanics of fast cars, but I can't justify it anymore because of the gas guzzlers that are helping destroy the planet at a ridiculous rate. I love the sound of a V-8 engine; I love leaning a car over on a track. But I have a Honda Fit, now.
I started that but never finished the classes. My grandfather was the Red Baron's mechanic in the German Luftwaffe. So, it's in my blood. Helicopters are difficult to fly, but I love the freedom and maneuverability. And, yes, if I was good enough I'd fly the chopper and report the weather at the same time.
From 2008 to 2010, you were the weather anchor at the CBS affiliate in Atlanta. According to the Internet, you were a pretty big deal there.
I loved being in Atlanta. The audience took to me so well there. They understood that I was being myself at all times. I get it here, but there I was often called "a breath of fresh air." They liked that I smiled when it was appropriate, but I'd be serious when the tornados were coming through. I wasn't always trying to pretend it was a serious weather situation just to get you to watch. Plus, I was always out doing things with animals.
And then, something happened and you had to resign your job and leave the public eye. Has enough time gone by now that you can talk about it?
Yeah...it's never a day that goes by that I don't miss Neal. We'd been dating for two years. He took his life in July 2009. I tried to stay in Atlanta for a year, but I just couldn't do it. There's a minefield of memories in that whole town...It was a shock I don't think I'll ever get over. I got the call while I was in the middle of the 4 o'clock news. CBS didn't want me to go, but I told them it wasn't about TV, it was about me. It's hour-by-hour, still...It changed me forever and I'm still trying to figure out how. I didn't know if I was going to go back into TV, that's why I was out for a year. It's odd that I ended up here; I had forgotten that Neal had said San Diego was a place where he would have liked to live. That was unique, because I wasn't looking to live here.
What advice do you have for others who might be in your position now or in the future?
In hindsight, I see how I missed it. But there's nothing I can do about it...It's so different for every person. I heard women usually try to take their lives because it's a cry for help. With meds. Men will often hang or use a gun, because they mean business. I went through a lot of therapy after Neal died. I learned that society dictates that men hold their feelings in. Neal did that. At the time I thought he was just going through something. I didn't know how bad. The best you can do is ask. I asked Neal, and I remember he responded glibly. I told him he needed to eat better, to get out there, to exercise, to adopt a dog, get your focus on something else. But we all missed it. He was such a reliable, ethical, moral individual, and we never saw it coming. So I wish there was advice. The only thing I can say is ask questions if you have any concerns at all. And keep watching.
It seems like four-legged creatures have helped you get back on your feet.
Fins, feathers and fur. I was raised on farmland so we had it all - geese, chickens, ducks, rabbits, cats, goat, sheep.
What kind of dogs do you have, and what are their names?
Pogo is a yellow lab. Dolly - Neal named her - is a cattle dog/Shiba Inu. They were death-row rescues. Buster is a Mississippi coon hound beagle, from a SWAT team raid.
What do you do for fun in San Diego?
I don't have a life. Nothing. By my own choice I've turned into a recluse. I don't go out. I don't like going to the movies or any place by myself because I'm a talker. I have to have somebody to talk about it with.
You know, PacificSD has a pretty popular feature every month that involves two people going on a blind date. Would you be available for that?
I can't. After Neal died, I'm in this place that if there's somebody out there for me, then it'll happen on its own. The universe will make it happen. If I try to choose, I'm going to screw it up. And I can't do that again...I still talk to Neal every now and then. I'm still stuck in that.
In the Can
Here's a sampling of the movies and TV shows in which Dagmar Midcap has portrayed a TV anchor or reporter:
Case 39 (2009) movie with Renee Zellweger
Numb3ers (2007) TV series with Rob Morrow
The Last Mimzy (2007) movie with Joely Richardson and Rainn Wilson
Medium (2006-07) TV series with Patricia Arquette
Hollow Man II (2006) video with Christian Slater
Stargate SG-1 (2005-06) TV series with Richard Dean Anderson
Catwoman (2004) movie with Halle Berry and Sharon Stone
Smallville (2003) TV series with Tom Welling
Dark Angel (2002) TV series with Jessica Alba
Air Bud: Seventh Inning Fetch (2002) video with Jeffrey Ballard