Posted on June 2, 2016
She is as sunny as San Diego’s near perfect weather. But on the day of our interview with NBC 7 San Diego weather anchor Dagmar Midcap, wouldn’t you know, it rains. (So who says it never rains in Southern California?)
The irony is not lost on us — we all laugh. Undaunted, Midcap pulls out an umbrella and poses gamely in the backyard of her Del Mar bungalow, a few blocks from the beach. Dressed casually in jeans, a striped top, and deck shoes, she is bright and breezy. But as we learn, there are dark clouds in her past.
Midcap left Atlanta, where she reported the weather for the CBS affiliate, after a very personal tragedy — her boyfriend, who suffered from severe anxiety, committed suicide. The city held such painful memories of her “sweet Southern boy,” that Midcap moved to the West Coast to start a new life. Turning down a job at a Los Angeles TV station, she chose San Diego instead because of its outdoor lifestyle. “It’s paradise,” she says. “Any day windows are open, and the more I can bring the outside in, the better.”
When she isn’t reporting the weather nightly, Midcap is walking the beach or hiking Torrey Pines with her beloved dogs, all from animal shelters. Buster, a Mississippi coonhound beagle mix, survived tear gas during a SWAT team raid in Georgia by hiding in a hole under the front porch. Dolly and Pogo were bound for “death row” before Midcap saved them. “Go get two that nobody wants,” Midcap told the folks at the animal shelter because she couldn’t bear to choose. Turns out the dogs were supposed to be put down that very day.
Midcap’s house is decidedly animal friendly. “Everything in this house has to be suited for dogs,” she says with a laugh. “I can’t have anything too nice. They chew it. They eat it.” A case in point: the whitewashed coffee table in the living room is held up temporarily with duct tape after one of the dogs jumped on it and broke it. No matter, Midcap bought much of her furniture at the Rancho Coastal Humane Society’s thrift shop in Cardiff, she says, because the money “goes right to the animals.” There is also a large grey sofa, a cozy place to cuddle with the dogs, which, of course, have their own blanket.
Reflecting Midcap’s love of nature, accents throughout the house are organic. Pinecones from the 80-year-old Torrey Pine in the front yard top the mantel above the fireplace. A shell collection, which she framed, now adorns the walls. An old white armoire displays baskets; vases are filled with greenery.
Midcap works with Del Mar’s Free Flight Aviary, loves doing stories at the San Diego Zoo, and is interested in wildlife photography. Working with biologists, she sets up her motion-sensitive, night vision cameras at watering holes in San Diego County’s backcountry, capturing images of deer, bobcats, coyotes, and other wildlife. “My natural passion is the planet, the environment, and the ecosystem — how everything works together, the science of it,” she says. “And then the compassion comes in because I love the animals. I just love the critters.”
Raised in a religious family in Vancouver, Midcap describes herself as a “holy terror,” who loves “anything with wings,” anything with speed. Like any good Canadian, that meant ice hockey growing up. “I liked playing goalie — a puck shot at 90 miles per hour — being able to pluck it out of the air.” After attending broadcasting school, she worked in television in Akron and British Columbia, before eventually co-hosting Global Television’s automotive show, Driving Television, for which she test-drove cars and motorcycles. Her favorite show, to no surprise, is the BBC’s Top Gear.
Midcap also has had dozens of parts in films and television series, shot in Vancouver, usually playing a reporter or anchor, in such movies as Catwoman with Halle Berry and Sharon Stone, Shooter with Mark Wahlberg, and Case 39 with Renee Zellweger, along with the Air Bud flicks and The Last Mimzy withRainn Wilson and JoelyRichardson. She has appeared in the TV series Dead Zone, Medium, Numb3rs, Smallville, Stargate SG-1, Touching Evil, and The Twilight Zone, with recurring roles on the series Dark Angel with Jessica Alba.
Now, Midcap is content to be in San Diego, reporting the weather with the NBC 7 news team she loves. “One of my greatest joys,” she says, “is being able to make other people smile.” She has no regrets choosing San Diego over Los Angeles, a much larger television market. “It’s more important to be happy, “she says. “It’s much more important to love going to work.” Andrea Naversen
Photography by Vincent Knakal