1.You seem like such a positive, upbeat person. What did you think of Kim? Did you like her? How did you prepare yourself to play such a role?
At first I was afraid because I knew I was supposed to be a bad girl that the audience hated and people would think I was really like that and not like me. But mean people don't think they are being mean so you can't play OOH, look how mean I'm going to be now.
They are people who believe they are defending themselves against being used or hurt, etc. You can't play a character that you don't like, so instead of getting scared I found justification for getting mad.Louise taught me that. In real life she's the most gentle soul I have ever met.
Were you ever allowed to make suggestions about the plot, the dialogue? If you could have written Kim's story, would you have done anything differently?
NO. I was not a writer I was an actress/ I wouldn't have done it any other way. There are so many ways to play characters that an actor always has a couple of ways they think of to play it and then it's up to the
director to choose the right way. ie--is the character sad, angry, plotting, sincere,happy about the situation,hiding something, trying to get through to someone, etc. See? As you gain more experience you might change a word
or two to make it easier to say, with the director's permission. It goes like this--the head writers come up with the storylines, send breakdowns to a writing staff, and they then each do the separate episodes;the writing staff doesn't even change the storyline, much less the actors.
2.First day on the set in front of the cameras?Thoughts ,fears.
My first thought was how cool it was that my dream was coming true--I wasn't crazy after all. Then I was afraid that they would figure out that "I didn't know what I was doing"-my whole thing was about not getting fired. They cut my hair REALLY short and I was in shock! But nothing I could do about it, so I tried not to think about it. Louise pointed to the red light on the camera and told me the light was my best friend and I tell newcomers the same thing to this day, it was so effective.
3.Let's hear about your apartment and who crashed on your couch?
I had several apartments all on the Upper West Side, not far from the studio--at least walking distance. I loved walking in NYC. When Marg Helgenberger first came to town to do the show she stayed with me until she found an apartment. We had a great time. That was about it.
4.Talk about the famous guest stars you worked with?Van Johnson,Joan Fontaine,Christopher Reeve.
My mother had been a big fan of Van Johnson in her day. I also worked with him on Murder She Wrote. Joan Fontaine was a real live movie star, Bentley,lovely home, total lady. I was so impressed. Christopher Reeve was very nice and down to earth. He had started out on Daytime and had a great attitude.
Michael and I had a blast doing that storyline. I was really trying to be as grown up as possible with Louise and John, but Michael was in my age group so we had a different dynamic that way. Not that I didn't have lots of fun with them, too, just in a different way. It wasn't a triangle, it was a square. Security vs a more normal life in Kim's case. Not that it's normal to share a lover with your mom, but in age range and not a daddy figure. I thought it was a fascinating study in human nature
for all the characters involved.
6.Favorite castmates you went to lunch with and where you ate.
It was mostly ordering in from the corner deli. Once in awhile Louise and I would walk to a little truck stop type cafe just to get some air if we had time. I had my rollers in and didn't even care.
We had two babies in case one didn't feel like co-operating. They grew at different speeds so it soon became obvious that they weren't the same kid. Wildly different personalities--one was more like Kim, one was very quiet. We really tried to avoid that thing where the kid is screaming its head off and the actors are just plowing through the scene anyway. So, we never knew which baby would end up being on camera. It seemed very normal at the time. It all did.
8.The hate mail you received for playing Kim.
Oh, the usual---insults about my voice--hey, I was just a kid still " I hate you" Watch out because Rae and Seneca know"--LOL, but usually I got sane people who wrote nice things, sent me recipes, etc. When Arley was born I got 'new baby' cards and stuff. It was fun.
Peter was just nice and very down to earth. Did a lot of good work with at-risk kids, etc. Hollis was your typical ruthless Gordon Gekko type, but Kim and Hollis were two of a kind so he understood her. That meant so much to Kim and was important to her, his acceptance and approval. In real life, I was close to Peter, too, because he and James Sloyan took me under their wings when they came to the show and were very supportive of my work.
10.Last day on the set after you were brought back in 1982?
Do you mean my last day of the first time or the last day ever? The first time I had a cake and a little send-off, where the director Lela Swift, said to me, "Sorry I can't stay, I have somewhere IMPORTANT to be." Just in case I thought I was important. LOL I say that with love, of course. The second time we all went at about the same time and took turns taking each other out after the show for dinner. No, I don't remember the name of the neighborhood restaurant, but we were close. Me, Peter, Jimmy, Marg and Mary often had a drink or dinner after the show. Actors usually stay focused on the "What's next" phase of work rather than dwell too much on the last project.