Julianna Margulies Tells Oprah Why She Quit ER in Season 6 — Despite a $27 Million Offer to Stay (Watch Video)

Julianna Margulies left a lot of dough on the operating table when she checked out of ER in 2000 after six seasons — and now we know why.

In the latest edition of Super Soul (premiering Saturday, May 1 on discovery+), the Emmy winner — who is promoting her new memoir, Sunshine Girl: An Unexpected Life — reveals to Oprah Winfrey the exact moment she decided to turn down Warner Bros. Television’s $27 million offer to continue playing nurse Carol Hathaway for two more seasons.

“I went to the Bodhi [Tree] Bookstore [in Los Angeles] — I had heard a friend got some spiritual books and I had been studying some Buddhism, so I went,” she recounts to Winfrey in the exclusive clip above. “And I ran my finger down a shelf and I picked out a book, Awakening the Buddha Within. I brought it home…. I opened the book, I closed my eyes and I [pointed to a line in the book]. And I opened my eyes and the line was, ‘I knew I wanted to learn more, not earn more.’”

Margulies, who would go on to make TV lightning strike twice via her Emmy-winning run on CBS’ The Good Wife, has been waxing nostalgic about her ER days quite a bit lately. While participating in last week’s virtual ER reunion, she shared that it was leading man George Clooney who informed her that her seemingly ill-fated guest stint in the ER pilot was about to turn into a full-time gig.

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“George called me and said, ‘If you’re thinking of taking another job, I urge you not to. I think in the next couple of days, you might be offered a series-regular role,’ she explained. “And I said, ‘But [Carol] died, how does that work?’ … A week later, they called and said, ‘We’re going to make you a series regular.’”

Margulies is set to return to TV later this year with a major role in Season 2 of Apple TV+’s The Morning Show. Meanwhile, Sunshine Girl: An Unexpected Life arrives in bookstores and online retailers on May 4.

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