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'Big Bang Theory' star Mayim Bialik giving talk in Davie

"The Big Bang Theory" actress Mayim Bialik visiting South Florida.

Mayim Bialik has done plenty to distinguish her acting career since the 1990s, when her title role on the hit NBC sitcom "Blossom" transformed her into a teen idol whose face often adorned the cover of "Teen Beat" magazine.

Bialik, who now portrays deadpan neurobiologist Dr. Amy Fowler on the CBS comedy "The Big Bang Theory," quit Hollywood for 12 years to play the harpsichord, raise two children and earn a Ph.D. in neuroscience. Parenting and conducting full-time research at the same time, naturally, proved impossible, Bialik admits in a phone interview from her home in Los Angeles. Both of her sons needed health insurance, and so she returned to working in Hollywood.

"As much as I believe a woman can do it all, I can't be in two places at once," says Bialik, also the author of two books, including a 2014 cookbook, "Mayim's Vegan Table." "Being a research professor would have me away from my sons longer than I wanted to. But I didn't think I'd ever be on, like, 'The Big Bang Theory.' I just needed to get a couple of lines here, a little of that, so I could get insurance."

Now, with three Emmy nominations from "The Big Bang Theory," the 39-year-old actor and author is in town for a South Florida appearance titled "An Evening With Mayim Bialik" on Thursday, May 14, at the David Posnack Jewish Community Center in Davie. Bialik knows Broward County well, having visited her grandparents in Sunrise during her youth. She speaks here about her return to acting, success and her Jewish upbringing, which will inform her Davie talk.

How is success different for you today than it was on "Blossom" two decades ago?

Well, I'm a grownup now with two children, so everything that happens outside of work is more important than what happens inside of work. The Internet didn't exist when I was on "Blossom," and the Internet has made a lot of actors' lives, in some way, more labor-intensive, meaning people care what you do and wear in more ways than you ever wanted to share before.

But are you finding that your audience from the "Blossom" years is following you to "The Big Bang Theory"?

It's funny, because people under 30 have no idea what "Blossom" is or what that means. If you're under 30, it's "Big Bang" all the way, and if you're over 30, it's often both.

Was acting something you always wanted to do?

I'm considered a late bloomer in terms of child acting. I grew up in a traditional Jewish home. My grandparents are immigrants, so my parents were taught, "You go to college, and you are valued for what's in your head rather than for what you did between the ages of 14 and 19." And on "Blossom," I was fortunate that it was a very clean set. I never saw drugs or alcohol, so I never witnessed the pitfalls that affected child actors.

You've referred to yourself many times as a "character actress." What does that mean to you in terms of being a young woman in Hollywood?

There's a certain look in Hollywood that, if you don't look like that, you don't get those leading-lady parts. But that doesn't make you a character actor. Character actors tend to do broad comedy or specific characters that leading ladies don't. I think we're returning to a more classic, generic perspective on beauty. I can't change the way I look, so I'm just happy to be working wherever.

What will you be talking about during your appearance in South Florida?

I'll be talking about the values of Judaism that keep me sane in Hollywood. But I'll also be doing a general talk about how I started acting, how I left acting. Basically, I'll highlight the rhythms of Judaism — the Jewish calendar, the Jewish week — and how my faith guides me in an industry that tends to be gossipy and materialistic.

"An Evening With Mayim Bialik" will begin 7:30 p.m. Thursday, May 14, at David Posnack Jewish Community Center, 5850 S. Pine Island Road, in Davie. Tickets cost $36-$40, and $150 for a 6 p.m. VIP champagne reception. Call 954-851-9999 or go to TBIFL.org.

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