Meet the real-life nurse behind ‘Grey’s Anatomy’s’ longest-lasting supporting character

Meet the real-life nurse behind ‘Grey’s Anatomy’s’ longest-lasting supporting characterMeet the real-life nurse behind ‘Grey’s Anatomy’s’ longest-lasting supporting character
via ABC
Michelle De Pacina
April 16, 2024
Nurse BokHee, the longest-lasting supporting character on “Grey’s Anatomy,” is played by Kathy C. An, a real-life medical professional. 
Key points:
  • An, 84, worked as a scrub nurse prior to being cast on “Grey’s Anatomy.”
  • Despite minimal dialogue, scrub nurse BokHee has become a beloved character that brings authenticity to the long-running medical drama, which premiered on March 27, 2005.
The details:
  • An, hailed as a “protect-at-all-costs” character by fans, debuted in the pilot episode and has appeared in all 19 seasons of the medical series so far. She has since been featured in 265 episodes and one episode of the “Grey’s Anatomy” spinoff series “Private Practice.”
  • An reportedly worked as a scrub nurse in Los Angeles for 56 years before retiring in 2015. Actor Giacomo Gianniotto, who portrayed Andrew DeLuca, observed a surgery in which An assisted to prepare for his role. 
  • BokHee has become a beloved character, known for her facial expressions and reactions. Her presence on the show underscores its attention to detail and enhances its realism.
  • “Grey’s Anatomy,” which first premiered in March 2005, was recently picked up for a record-breaking renewal for a 21st season earlier this month. 
  • The medical drama series has undergone cast changes over its two-decade run, with only a few cast members remaining consistently, including Chandra Wilson, James Pickens Jr. and Ellen Pompeo, who announced her departure as a regular last year. 
About An: 
  • An was born in 1939 in Chungnam, South Korea, where she defied her parents’ and societal expectations by pursuing education in Seoul rather than marriage. With no formal training, she impressed an OB-GYN with her skills, leading to a job in surgical equipment sterilization.
  • In 1968, she moved to California and worked multiple jobs before eventually becoming a cardiovascular scrub tech in Santa Barbara. She credits her TV career to Linda Klein, a registered nurse who became the medical advisor of “Grey’s Anatomy.”
  • An made her TV debut in 1983 on ABC’s medical drama “Ryan’s Four” and has since appeared in over 600 episodes and movies, including well-known shows like “Family Ties,” “Doogie Howser, M.D.,” and “Nip/Tuck.”  
  • “I love working on [“Grey’s Anatomy”], but for me, it isn’t work. I get to continue seeing my work family on ‘Grey’s,’ and hope to stay on the show for many years,” An told Bustle last year.  
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