October 15, 2001 -- New York (ABCNEWS.com) — Drew Barrymore had to deal with a lot more than the typical stage fright when she hosted Saturday Night Live this past weekend.
The Charlie's Angels star headed up the show from NBC headquarters at Rockefeller Center in Manhattan, a day after the network announced that an NBC News employee had been diagnosed with anthrax. The woman became ill after opening a letter sent to the newsroom.
Barrymore, who is promoting her new movie, Riding in Cars With Boys, told the audience she had been hesitant about traveling from Los Angeles to New York for the show.
"I got on an airplane, then we started rehearsing and I got calm," said Barrymore. "I got really excited, and then yesterday, they discovered anthrax in the building!"
Inspired by RudyBarrymore said that when she left the studio Friday, after news of the anthrax case had broken, she was somewhat shaken and tempted to skip her turn on the long-running comedy show. But she said she found courage and inspiration in thinking of the city's newfound hero, Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, who has been urging New Yorkers to remain strong and to go about their lives.
"I went back to the hotel, and I thought again about being brave. So, I came back, and I'm here and you're here and you're being brave, too," Barrymore told the audience during the SNL broadcast.
She said she was getting support from her husband, comedian Tom Green, then pointed him out in the audience. He was jokingly wearing a gas mask.
Saturday Night Live has taken a more serious tone this season in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon. In the season opener, Giuliani — flanked by New York rescue workers — kicked off the show.
ABCNEWS.com's Nancy Chandross and ABCNEWS Radio contributed to this report.