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Fear Factor: S. Epatha Merkerson Is Scared of Snakes

Award-winning actress S. Epatha Merkerson has a case of ophidiophobia – that’s a severe fear of snakes!

The former “Law & Order’ star admits that almost passed on the chance to star opposite Samuel L. Jackson and Justin Timberlake in “Black Snake Moan” until she was assured there were no snakes in the film.

“I won’t even read a script with a snake in it,” confessed Merkerson, during an interview. “That’s the first thing I asked when they sent [the script] over. I don’t think even the President could order me to do that.”

The 62-year-old thespian nearly had a panic attack once while watching an episode of “Battlestar Galactica” on the Sci Fi Channel because a snake appeared on screen.

S. Epatha Merkerson

“I was running around the apartment! I closed my eyes when I heard them. Then I heard the woman say, ‘How many did you see?’ She said, ‘A dozen,’ and I just lifted up,” the actress recalled.

The Saginaw, Mich.-bred actress, whose reign on “Law & Order” made her the longest-running actress ever to appear on a TV series, won an Emmy, Screen Actors Guild, Golden Globe and NAACP Image Award for her role in the HBO movie “Lackawanna Blues.”

Merkerson is set play the lead role on NBC’s “Chicago Fire” spinoff, “Chicago Med.”

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