August 19th, 2011  |  Leave a comment

The Kim Zimmer Interview – I’m Just Sayin’! Three Deaths, Seven Husbands, and a Clone! My Life as a Daytime Diva!

Photo Credit: Jan Cobb

Once in a soap opera lifetime there comes an actress that breaks the mold, and in doing so becomes a true icon.  In scene after scene not only does she often chew the scenery, but delivers time and time again riveting, memorable, and gut-wrenching performances to our daytime television screens.  I can only be talking about four-time Daytime Emmy winner, Kim Zimmer.  The daytime dynamo whose soapy career started by replacing Kathleen Turner as Nola Aldrich on The Doctors, then on to her original turn as Echo DiSavoy on One Life to Live (Yes, we know she was also a terrorist named Bonnie in Llanview too) and then to her signature role of Reva Shayne on Guiding Light, and then back again for more One Life, is an amazing body of work that few would argue.

Never one to mince words, or refrain from telling it like it is, the outspoken Zimmer, finally decided to bare all about her legendary career in her new memoir autobiography, I’m Just Sayin’!: Three Deaths, Seven Husbands and a Clone! My Life as a Daytime Diva (New American Library).  We can tell you if you have not picked up your copy, get it now!  It is a wild-ride page-turner filled with delicious and juicy backstage revelations, and the ups and downs of Zimmer’s life, which as one of its main focal points is the demise of Guiding Light. Is Ellen Wheeler discussed?  You bet!  But that is not all!

On-Air On-Soaps had the opportunity to chat with Zimmer prior to her rehearsals for Sunset Boulevard where she is appearing over the next few weeks at the Barn Theatre in Michigan, taking on the role of Nora Desmond to revisit the moments in her life that are documented in the book.  During our conversation, we shared together (through our different perspectives and vantage points) her many twists and turns, and that of soapland over decades.  From her DUI and visits to Alcoholics Anonymous…to where Guiding Light made some very bizarre turns… to her Emmy wins and the infamous “Slut of Springfield” fountain scene…. and working with her many A-list co-stars, Zimmer reveals some jaw-dropping, humorous, and tear-jerking life experiences.  Here is what the fantastic and fabulous Kim Zimmer had to say about it all!

MICHAEL

Going through the process of writing your memoir, I’m Just Sayin’! Three Deaths, Seven Husbands and a Clone! My Life as a Daytime Diva, was there ever a point where you were like, “I don’t want to do this anymore!”  It can be very challenging for people to recount their lives and personal experiences, especially when they tell their story to someone who is helping them shape their life story in book form!

KIM:

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It was a labor of love and hate, and all that stuff.  It got tough when I was with Laura Morton (co-author) and she started making me really be super specific, and it was so hard.  I would tell her these great elaborate stories and she would say, “OK, when?  Why?  How?  For how long?  And that was when?”  And I would yell,  “I don’t know!”  And she said, “Well, we can’t tell the story unless you can be more specific.” You know me?  I will start a story and then something will fascinate me and I will start on that, and I am off.  So I am sure I drove her absolutely crazy, but she was so good at what she does, even though I am pissed off at her.

MICHAEL:

You were pissed off about the fact that Laura Morton also worked with Susan Lucci on her new book and did not tell you, right?

KIM:

She was all about not telling me that she did write Lucci’s book until after we were done. But, I talked about Lucci in the book, so I told her there were so many opportunities for her to tell me she was working on Susan’s book. We were done, and it was like a month later when I found out about it when I was researching Lucci’s book!  So I felt I was gut-punched.  And you know what is funny?  I just read Chappell’s interview on your site. (laughs) I loved it. Oh my God, that is perfect.  She is writing a book, too!

MICHAEL:

Pretty soon every one of the famous soap “divas” will have written a memoir!

KIM:

Courtesy/NBC

I know! Isn’t Jeanne Cooper (Katherine, Y&R) writing one now?  I am glad I got mine out early, (Laughs) and I am sure Chappell’s is going to be brilliant, and that is going to piss me off. (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

The book is a real page-turner and riveting for any soap and Zimmer fan.  I want to start off where I  saw you for the first time, when you came on The Doctors and played Nola Dancy Aldrich.  Kathleen Turner and Kathryn Harrold had previously played her.  Nola started out as such a gold-digger, but you made her more emphatic.  Was that your intent?  And, did you ever say to yourself, “Damn, I am good in this role?”

KIM:

I found her vulnerability through my on-screen family, that was my approach to the character.  I had Barney, my dad, (played by Larry Webber) who was the pillar of the earth, and Frank Telfer, who played my brother.  I never watched and went. “Damn, I am good.”  In fact, every time I happen to see an old tape, I go, “Wow!  That is really bad.” (Laughs) It was my first show and that is when I fell in love with the soap genre; having that second family, going to work, and loving the people you worked with.  It was about having such a close time with the actors you work with, as opposed to when I would go out to L.A. for those five years and did a lot of guest spots on primetime television.  Nobody wanted to get to know you, because you were gone in seven or eight days.

MICHAEL:

One of the moments that had me choking back the tears was when you discussed your mom’s passing. What was also interesting is how you got through the grieving process.  And then, to have her death happen two weeks after Guiding Light was cancelled, and it was your mom’s favorite soap, too!  Hankies!

KIM:

There I was in New Orleans two weeks after my mom died, having to answer questions from these fans going, “What can we do?  How can they do this to us?  This is our show!”  It was my mom’s show, too.  It was just too weird that we got our notification on April 1st, and she died on April 9th.  That was one time I have to say that Ellen Wheeler (Ex-executive producer GL), and Jan and all the producers were so sweet and wonderful, and I do not say that in the book.  But Ellen Wheeler stood up and said, “Don’t worry about a thing, just go.”

MICHAEL:

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Ellen Wheeler said this?

KIM:

Yes, and if it involved tears, (laughs) of course.  So that was tough, but then again I was grateful that I had those So Long Springfield tours to go to, because it kept my mind off mourning my mom.  I did not fall into a depression.  It was kind of uplifting to go and be surrounded by so much love. You know, I am so glad I got to be there when my mom died.  I do remember watching Guiding Light with her growing up, but I was a tomboy.  I wanted to be outside.  I did not want to be inside watching soaps.  But when it rained and I had nothing to do, she would make me cinnamon toast and she would iron in front of the TV, so she could have more time in front of the soap operas.

MICHAEL:

Regarding Ellen Wheeler: One of the things I took away from the press junket in Peapack, when they had flown us out to see how the new production model was executed, was while Ellen was addressing the press; all she would do is cry!

KIM:

She was an actress and was so manipulative.  When they vetted the book and the lawyers looked it over, the only thing they questioned was if I could verify that Ellen Wheeler was a crier.

MICHAEL:

I could have verified! (Laughs) And I felt so bad for everyone at Guiding Light during this time, when they showed us on the junket how Ellen was converting the production offices that people worked in, into makeshift tiny sets that barely more than two actors could fit into, let alone a crew!

KIM:

It was embarrassing! And you know what also was embarrassing?  Actors would come to audition for roles, and we would be sitting doing our scenes in this little alcove area, sweating our balls off with too many lights, waiting to be called into some little cubicle to do a scene.  And as this was happening, actors were coming in at the same time auditioning for the show. You wanted to grab them at the same time and go, “Turn around and walk the other way! You don’t want to be here!” (Laughs)

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MICHAEL:

When they said, “Kim, we are going to be in Peapack now when we tape Guiding Light, what did you immediately think?

KIM:

Well, the fact that we were still at the studio in Manhattan at that point made it OK then.  Because what we were led to believe was that Peapack was just going to be used for establishing shots and seeing people walking around the town of Springfield.  Then, it became more and more obvious, that we were spending more time in Peapack and it was obviously cheaper.  All of those kids were non-union who worked behind-the-scenes…the camera people and the sound people.  The show was getting around a lot of things because Peapack was out of the New York City jurisdiction.  So when it started becoming a regular thing and we were moving into this house… that became scary.  There were no dressing rooms to escape to so you could be by yourself.  That was bad, that was really bad.  And as I said, for someone who is older, you want to have a space. You want to have a refrigerator with wine in it! (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

The drinking you detail in the book… so you would go to a bar, down a few drinks, and then go back to the set?  Did you know what you were doing?  You must have hated it at Guiding Light so much, at that point.

KIM:

Looking back at it, if I would come home and be there for five days, I would not be drinking wine in the afternoon.  It wasn’t a problem; it was only when I was at work!  So it became a thing…if I am going to be here, I am going to have a glass of wine or two.  I did it so I would not chew somebody’s head off.

MICHAEL:

And then everyone loved you when you came back to the set inebriated?

KIM:

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Not everyone mind you, not everyone.  But the crew guys got a big kick out of it, but Ellen Wheeler avoided me like the plague.  She really did.  It was funny because I thought the more disgruntled we got with each other the less I would work, but it wasn’t that way.  They kept writing for me!  I don’t know if subconsciously, I was trying to be fired, so that I would not be the one who “quit,” and I did not want to be the scapegoat.  I think there was a lot of that like, “Go ahead and fire me, because I will never quit.”

MICHAEL:

The big blowout with Ellen you detail in the book…where you were running down a flight of stairs away from her…that must have been something to see.

KIM:

She had a lot of energy; let’s put it that way. (Laughs).  After the blowout, it was not like I left feeling satisfied at all. You could not say anything to her that she did not have a rebuttal for.  You could never win an argument with her.  She could cry and make you feel bad that you said anything.  I would always walk out of the room.

MICHAEL:

Do you think they wanted to decimate Guiding Light piece by piece?  You intimate that in the book.

KIM:

I think P&G wanted out.  And I think they gave Ellen Wheeler the opportunity to try whatever she wanted to try.  They were done with it anyway.  It wasn’t about saving it.  I think Ellen thought she was going to reinvent the wheel, because she was going to be this real hero.  And, people from other shows were coming to see how this was being done, because if it had worked, she would be lauded for it.

MICHAEL:

Do you think, after the fight you had with Ellen, that the lighting and the camera work got better, thanks in part to your argument?

KIM:

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In my imagination, I would like to think because of the fight, the lighting and camera work got better, but in actuality people were just sick of it.  I had lots of conversations with CBS Daytime executives, Barbara Bloom and Richard Mensing.  I would have lunch with them and I would say, “Can you seriously put this on your network in the state it’s in?”  It just really boggled my mind.

MICHAEL:

Did you feel the weight of the show was on your shoulders?  After all, you were the most recognizable star and name attached to the show.

KIM:

I think I just put that on myself, seriously.  When I was talking about leaving the show again, (the very last time my contract was up) people were like, “If you leave now, the show will go off the air.“  I don’t think that was the case at all.  I really don’t think that would have made too much of a difference.  I mean, the show survived without me before.  The weight that I talk about in the book that was lifted off of my shoulder was my emotional weight, my connection to the show, not the weight of feeling like I carried the show forever and ever.  The weight was the pressure I put on myself; including that I gained 35 to 45 pounds.  I was miserable because I was battling menopause without any medication at all.  I hated how the show looked.  I hated that they broke up Josh and Reva.  It was like everything they were doing was a stab in my back.  I took it all personally, and that was because I was a fan.  I wasn’t just an actress on the show.  I would be trying to get some of the actors to take my side on something and they would be going, “You know what?  You have got to stop watching the show. You are taking this way too seriously. This is a job.”   I would try to convince myself of that when the day was over.  But I watched the show and I enjoyed it.  I adored watching my fellow actors act.

MICHAEL:

You were about to get in a car when you heard the news that Guiding Light had been cancelled.  I was really worried to read what came next!

KIM:

I heard the news of the cancellation in my driveway getting ready to go to Peapack. I went back inside and told A.C, my husband. So I had a moment to collect myself before I got behind the wheel of the car, but then the phone calls started.  So yes, I was driving illegally while talking on the phone.

MICHAEL:

Were you relieved or truly devastatingly upset when the news was handed down?

KIM:

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I was not upset till I got to Peapack and I saw everyone.  There was that instantaneous relief, until I realized it meant so much to so many people.  There were a lot of tears that day, but Ellen did not cry that day!  I don’t know if she had already cried when she was in New York, but she did not cry when she was in Peapack. (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

The “Oprah Incident” – so here you are on the Oprah Winfrey Show with lots of dazzling actresses from daytime, including AMC’s Susan Lucci, and Y&R’s Jeanne Cooper (Katherine).  However, you detail that Oprah ignored you during the panel conversation and you walked off the set.  But what I found so fascinating was how it all played out!  What went down?

KIM:

It was simple.  Her assistant came to me first and must have gone back to Oprah, and then Oprah caught me in the wings.  She said, “I am a fan of the ABC soaps, and I have watched these women all of my life.  I don’t know you.  I have note cards on you.”  She admitted she was enthralled by having those other women sitting in front of her.  I am sure maybe in the third segment she would have gotten around to us, but I just was not going to take that chance and be sitting there with her and no one speaking to me for another whole segment.  I went back to the set though, and she asked me a question.  She did not apologize on the air.  I was fine with that.  I was young and I was feisty.  And as I said, I would like to think I had something to do with her success as an interviewer! (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

You have been married to actor and director, A.C. Weary, for 30 years.  You met while you were both on One Life to Live. What is it about A.C. that makes him the man for you?

Photo Credit: Diane Carlton

KIM:

I have to attribute it to both of our families.  He comes from a wonderful well-rounded family and so do I.  And A.C. was so funny, and is funny (Laughs).  He was charming and a good dad and a great husband.  I know it sounds sappy in the book, but I meant every word of it.  I don’t think I would have succeeded in my career the way I did, without knowing my children were safe and well cared for by their dad.

MICHAEL:

So I have something to tell you.   I was contacted to be a contributor for this upcoming e-book on some of soap operas most memorable moments.  I was asked if I could write something up on Kim Zimmer‘s “Slut of Springfield” scene.  They wanted to know why it was a memorable moment, and what the set-up was, and what the fans said about it.  And then, I decided to watch your Emmy win back on YouTube, with the spiky hair and the throwing off your shoes.  I remember it like yesterday!

KIM:

So do I! Only because I can remember the look on my mother’s eyes when I had my hair like that, and I went up to accept my award. (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Am I correct, I thought you won the 1984 Daytime Emmy for “The Slut of Springfield” scenes?  But in the book you said, those were not the episodes you submitted.  This shocked me!

KIM:

No, I did not use those scenes.  It surprised me that they used that clip on the Emmy telecast, so I assume people thought that was on my reel, but is wasn’t.  Seriously, that scene when I dubbed myself “The Slut of Springfield”, that was like Act 6C.  And everything else before that were party scenes.  Those were the days when you had to submit every scene you were in, in the episode.  You could not edit anything out.  I am telling you, voters would have been asleep by the time they got to “The Slut of Springfield” if I had chosen that reel. (Laughs)  I think I submitted the aftermath of that.

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/CBS

When you did the fountain scene, did you know at that time that it was THAT amazing?

KIM:

No.  All I know is when I finished that scene I did not hear them call “cut” because it was the most I ever lost myself in a scene.  Now, I have had a few of those moments since, but not a lot of them.  I mean, I was really good if I had emotional scenes, and I used to piss off one of the make-up artists, because they would say, “cut” and I would crack a joke!  Or, I would say I just peed in my pants just to get out of it.  But that day after that fountain scene I was lost, and then the crew started applauding.  And I can tell you that was the first time I ever had applause on a set before.  That was rare.  Every body was so quiet that you could hear a pin drop.

MICHAEL:

There were two all-time great moments in daytime for actresses… Judith Light’s courtroom scene as Karen on One Life to Live, and yours with the fountain scene. Those are the two that transcended the genre and were bigger than anything viewers had ever seen before.

KIM:

In regards to what I felt after the scene, I would have to agree.  But again, then I would never in a million years ever think that it would be her defining moment… that the entire rest of Reva Shayne’s life on Guiding Light would be defined by dubbing herself, “The Slut of Springfield”.

MICHAEL:

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That is true.  It was a through line, because years later the writers would bring it back with the Reva Clone story and when Jonathan jumps into the fountain!  I went on Twitter and asked those who follow me, what comes to mind when you think of Kim Zimmer in “The Slut of Springfield” moment?  And here is what some tweeted back – I remember Zimmer’s emotional honesty.  I had never seen anyone quite like her before.  Reva was larger than life but vulnerable.”… “Zimmer reminded us during that time of Judith Light, damn hair and makeup, they gave it to you Raw!”… “Conviction.  She believed so we believed.  I remember watching it and crying right along with Reva.”… “Kim Zimmer’s fountain scene is AMAZING!!  It is SUCH a joy to watch raw, passionate talent!! … “Reva Shayne’s character was amazing.  It was hard NOT to love her, despite various flaws she had.”

KIM:

I loved what they said about it, because that is what I felt about it, too.  It was so raw, and I did fall away from the dialog.

MICHAEL:

The one Emmy year I also thought you had a shot of winning, was for the clone. That was amazing work and when Dolly died… it was sad.

KIM:

Yeah, and I heard the blue ribbon panel laughed at that reel from what I understand, because it was out of context.  I mean, she OD’s on the rapid aging serum.  I would pick out my own scenes and then have A.C. watch them.  And the day I wanted him to watch those scenes with Dolly dying, my son Max happened to be home that day, too. They were both in the TV room and I popped in the tape and I said, “Watch this for me and let me know if you think it’s as good as I think it is.”  I then left the room.  I came back and they were both mesmerized and crying.  So I was like, “Ok, I am using it.”

MICHAEL:

The suicide scene where Reva jumped off the bridge in her teddy…you had issues with this; that Reva would never want to commit suicide.

KIM:

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No, she loved herself too much.  This was hard for me.  It was one of those situations where I had to do it, whether I liked it or not.  And I did like the story that evolved out of that… the whole “Laura on the Edge” story that Fletcher Reade wrote.  Remember, we won the award and Reva had to come forward finally, and all of Springfield was freaked out, because it turned out to be Reva Shayne that attempted suicide.  Pam Long (former head writer, GL) knew what she was doing.  It probably was one of the issues of the many fights we would have. (Laughs)  But it ended up being wonderful, because I got some incredible letters from fans that had been on the edge as well.

MICHAEL:

In the book, you detail how the producers asked Tom Pelphrey (Ex-Jonathan, GL) to act a certain way to see how you responded during his screen test.  There were so many reports that you hated the guy!  But in the end, you ended up being close with Tom, right?

KIM:

Tom Pelphrey was the best thing that ever happened to me!  He came into my life at a time when I was starting to hate my job again, and at that point it didn’t have anything to do with Ellen Wheeler.  It was just that I was not being challenged by the work anymore… and that is always when I got…

MICHAEL:

…Drunk?

KIM:

….. Oh no, no, that was even before that.  The wine in the dressing room did not come till much later. (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

I want to talk to you about the final episode of Guiding Light.  When you got the script, were you happy with how Reva and Josh were reunited?  I was still confused at where the hell Jeffrey was?

KIM:

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Well outside of that, and that we had his kids between us (which was a little strange) it was kind of sweet that Reva and Josh were going to get to raise another child together. But I thought it would be cool if Jeffrey was somewhere in the distance with binoculars watching us.  And so it would seem that Jeffrey just chose to let us go and live our lives. So I don’t know what that was about.  But, Bradley Cole was in town and available to tape scenes.  But I was very touched and honored that I got to utter the last word of the show, which of course was the famous Josh and Reva, “Always.”

MICHAEL:

Was it a hard scene for you to film?

KIM:

You know what?  We had so many goodbyes already, that when we finally got to it, it was like, “Thank God.”  We shot that scene before the last day.  The scenes I did on my last day were with Robert, where Josh is going away to Venezuela to the oil wells to think for a year.  That was taped before the flash forward scenes of a year later. Confused? (Laughs) But I loved it.  We all cried.

MICHAEL:

I remember you looking so beautiful coming to meet Robert in front of the lighthouse.  The story had fast-forwarded a year, and you had long hair in the scene and those big blue eyes that expressed so much.  Tell ya one thing Kim… prettiest eyes on daytime.

KIM:

And Robert looked so handsome!  I have to kind of bite my tongue when I say I was happy that Josh and Reva ended up together, because there were rabid Jeffrey and Reva fans, too. That whole thing was a slap in my face also.  It was like they threw me a bone, knowing that Reva and Jeffrey were never going to take!  And they were putting Josh and Cassie together!  So they gave me Jeffrey O’Neill, the player of the town, and the fact that we made that work, and there was a large portion of the fans who loved us together…that was success in my book, baby!

MICHAEL:

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You write about the Daytime Emmy telecast the year that Guiding Light was to be honored, which was also the year I produced the tribute for the show.  And what started out as a four and half minute video package, when it went to air what was shown was a revised one minute and thirty second version.  Now I know from being there and talking to you, and many other cast members, that people were very unhappy about the way the show was honored that night, not only because the clip package was so short, but because of the actual screen time given to you guys who were in attendance!

KIM:

The reason we felt like we were so shortchanged was when we watched the playback and see them panning, they cut away from that, too.  All day long we were like cattle.  It had started disrespecting the genre when the Emmys started airing at night.  They just became a total debacle.  I love Sesame Street…but…. those little kids are not watching the primetime Daytime Emmy award telecast.

MICHAEL:

I would like to throw out some names of some of your co-stars and some of your colleagues you talk about in the book.  Tell me in a couple of words, what you would say about these people.  Let’s start with your Alan Spaulding’s….Chris Bernau and Ron Raines….

KIM:

Oh, that is a tough one.  Chris Bernau….  Amazing actor…. scared the be-Jesus out of me!  Ron Raines - Funniest man… Ever.

MICHAEL:

How about Reva’s husbands? Larry Gates, Jordan Clarke, Robert Newman and Bradley Cole?

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KIM:

Larry Gates – Love of my life.  Jordan Clarke – Love of my life (Laughs) Lucky to have had him in my life.  Robert Newman – Always falling into his eyes.  Bradley Cole – Incredibly romantic, believe it or not.

MICHAEL:

Soap execs….Paul Rauch and Pam Long?

KIM:

Paul Rauch- the best executive producer I ever worked with.  Pam Long – the best head writer who has ever written for me. Crazy-assed bitch.

MICHAEL:

Best broads in Daytime, ever…. Beverlee McKinsey, Erika Slezak, and Robin Strasser.

KIM:

Beverlee McKinsey – Great Dame.  Erika Slezak – Salt of the Earth.  Robin Strasser – Crazy.  Wacky.  Divine.

MICHAEL

Currently you are playing Echo DiSavoy on One Life to Live.  Now with the heartbreaking news that it has been cancelled, how are you doing over there?

KIM:

I don’t know.  When Frank Valentini and I talk to each other, we have great conversations about nothing.  I do not want to put any pressure on him.  I don’t want to rock the boat over there.  At this point in my life, it is everything I have wanted it to be.  I love working with Frank.  I think if Guiding Light had to do it all over again, and we were back two years ago, and Frank Valentini was the executive producer, and was being faced with the stipulations that P&G and CBS were throwing at Ellen Wheeler, I think Frank could have made it work.  I think he is the Paul Rauch of the 21st century.

Courtesy/ABC

MICHAEL:

How has it been working with John-Paul Lavoisier (Rex) as your on-screen son?

KIM:

Talk about a crazy man.  I don’t know what goes on in his head.  He lives on so many different levels and he is super intelligent.  He can quote lines from every Peter Sellars movie ever made. The guy is a dictionary of movie quotes.  And I think the reason I am so attracted to it is that my sons can do the same thing.  JP knows comedy like the back of his hands.  He reminds me of Justin Deas (Ex- Buzz, GL) in a lot of ways; where he can just look at a page of dialog, and just know it.

MICHAEL:

Do you think you will be on OLTL till the end of its run in January?

KIM:

I don’t know.  I am so flying under the radar there.  And I really like it.  That is not to say that I would turn Bradley Bell down if he called me tomorrow and asked me to be on The Bold and the Beautiful. I like their shooting schedule!

MICHAEL:

Daytime dramas are dying a painful death on TV.  From your perspective and having been in this business for decades, what is your perspective on it at this point?

KIM:

I think it’s over for network television.  I find it really hard to believe that one of these cable stations doesn’t just buy up the whole lot.  I think they have the same problem, though.  I don’t think anybody has the money to produce these shows the way they need and should be produced.  I am going to bring this up again.  When I watch Venice, and I see what Crystal had done on a wing and a prayer, it is amazing.  At Guiding Light they were even discussing doing a bedroom scene and a pop-up coming up between my legs, going “Do you like these sheets?  Click here, and you can order these now at Bed Bath& Beyond.com!”  If that is what it means to keep these shows on the air, I don’t think people are going to want to watch that!

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/ABC

In the book, you tell the real life tale of the DUI you received after being drunk and driving in Los Angeles post-Guiding Light. What comes into question is if you are an alcoholic. You reveal that you are not.  However, you did say you attended AA meetings that really helped you.

KIM:

I had a lot of friends in Montclair say to me after my DUI incident, “I don’t know.  Am I an alcoholic?”  I would say, “I don’t know that I am Alcoholic.  I just have a problem with the amount of alcohol I chose to drink on any given moment.”  But I told my friends, “A good way for you to find out is to go to an AA meeting and you will know immediately, if you are or aren’t.  It really put thing into perspective for me.  When Guiding Light was finally off the air, I was out in L.A.  The DUI came from a stupid moment that was kind of serendipitous.  I am so grateful I got pulled over because I was headed towards south central L.A.  I was going in the wrong direction from where I was supposed to be going.  Any number of things could have happened that night.  So, whatever the higher power is that I learned about in AA, they intervened that evening and saved my life.  But the AA meetings I really loved going to.  I absorbed so much about people and the human character and what people can sustain and what they can’t, and what the bottom line is to one person is not the bottom line of another person.  But in my small little world of drinking, that DUI was my bottom line, which is so far away from alcoholic’s bottom line.  I have not stopped drinking.  I still have wine with dinner and I will go out and drink.  But wine is my beverage of choice.  I am a Wino! (Laughs) I do not drink and get behind the wheel of a car anymore.  The lawyer who represented me in my DUI drilled into me, “Read. My. Lips. You say this will never happen to you again. I am telling you, unless the way you change that way you think, and unless you keep a card for a car service for you in your wallet, it will happen to you again.“   So now if I am in that situation I call a cab, or a car, or I have some other drunk driver drive me! (Laughs) I am kidding bada-bing-buh-ching…

MICHAEL:

What life lessons do you think this book illustrates?  I mean, there is a very rich interesting life you have led as a soap star, mom, wife…what is the takeaway?

KIM:

What my credo is: If you can maintain a sense of humor and a respect for other people you can do anything in this world. You can face anything.  Everyone will say to me, what do you attribute to the fact that you and A.C. have been married 30 years?  And I say, the fact we laugh at each other, and we laugh with each other.  My children are funny people, and there is a lot of laughter in this house.  And whenever that laughter has gone away is when I got into trouble.  I lost my sense of humor with the whole ending of Guiding Light. That was the darkest time of my life, and the fact of losing my mom two weeks later, and my femininity, and gaining the weight.  I mean, you think you are dead!

MICHAEL:

So Kim Zimmer, as we close,  is being a soap star all you thought it was cracked up to be?

Photo Credit: BroadwayWorld

KIM:

Being a successful actress in daytime was something I never thought I would do.  I never thought I would be a four-time Daytime Award winning actress, on a soap opera.  When I started out I was a serious actress.  The thought of doing a soap opera was cheap. I fell into that whole thing that we deal with now as actors, when we try to go get other work. And they say, “They are a soap opera actor.” That is a phrase that is so bad; all those nighttime actors are on shows that are like soap operas, too!  When all is said and done, I could not have been happier the way my career went as an actor…period!

You can get your copy of I’m Just Sayin’! at a bookstore near you or log on and order it online here at Amazon.com!

  1. Doe says:

    Hey, Michael. What a fabulous article and a revealing one from Kim Zimmer. What a woman! She is like one of us girls. But, she is also one of the great actresses of daytime.She will always be remembered for Guiding Light and the role of Reva. And how lucky for us that she is on another great show OLTL as Echo. On this show she has been conniving, but also very caring with her son, Rex. And now with Rex losing his wife Gigi, and all he is going through, she has become sympathetic. I think Kim can play almost anything she chooses. I would be interested to read her memoir and learn some more of her opinions on her acting roles and what she has learned about herself from doing those soaps and how long she will grace our TV screens. I thought “The Slut Of Sringfield” was tremendous . Wild and funny…Also, I did watch that Oprah show and was horrified that Oprah didn’t know who Kim zimmer was. Please….. I was mortified that when she brought out Tony Geary and Genie Frances She talked to them for only five minutes. And then never talked to them again. It was insulting. And good for Kim Zimmer by not returning to the stage after being slighted by Oprah. But worst was all the time she gave Susan Lucci which was most of the show. I felt so bad for everyone else. It was embarassing for them. I lost all respect for Oprah that day. Kim, you are a star and will always be one! Great, great interview, Michael. Once again, you have delivered……

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  2. Brian says:

    Yay Kim–We Love You! :)

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  3. Jane says:

    I really miss The Guiding Lite and Kim Zimmer. I never disliked her in her acting career. She was the best there is in acting.

    The interview was awesome. I also enjoyed Tom Pelfry. I truly wish we could have them all back Jane

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  4. RICKIE says:

    My first memories of Kim was as terrorist Bonnie Harmer on “One Life to Live” (Edmund Genest played Herman Cantrell, her comrade). She was fantastic! Bonnie & Herman kidnapped Jenny Wolek Siegel (then Kathy Glass) and Joe Riley (Lee Patterson). I remember her oft-repeated line, “It’s for the cause, Herman!” OLTL was its greatest during this time!

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  5. Vicki says:

    Ahhhh, Kim Zimmer! Love her! Grew up with her…and I’m 40+ now! Will definitely be buying her book ASAP. I miss Guiding Light so much. Great interview!

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  6. Pat says:

    Spent 33 years of my life watching GL. I miss my stow so much. Kim you were awesome and my husband had the word “always” set in a bracelet for me.

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  7. BOOTIE says:

    kim Zimmer , I love you and Reva so very much. I have watched the Guiding Light for as long as I can remember (I was born in 1953 so Kim and I went through some things together through Reva)and I miss it very much. I think in some ways Reva and I are the same. it was a very depressing time for me and still is when it should be time for The Guiding Light to be on. Read your book and will read it over again and again. The only thing to say now is. “Love you, ALWAYS,

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  8. Sue says:

    Kim – YOU were Guiding Light. I watched it for decades and each time you left the show, it was NEVER the same. You left a big gaping hole. When the show was cancelled, I was so sad because Guiding Light was so much a part of my life and I loved to see you act. I saw you win each of your four daytime Emmy awards and was so proud you won because you so deserved them! I miss you and Josh and the rest of the bunch. Sure wish we could have Guiding Light back! P.S. Am reading your book and I love it! Sue

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  9. Ann says:

    I too grew up with Guiding Light, I was born in1954, my mother watched, Search For Tomorrow, The Secret Storm, The Edge of Night, and Guiding Light. One by one they all went off the air, oh how I loved those shows. Sometimes I still look at the clock and say darn, it use to be time for my show. My daughter also became a big fan of Annie on the show, we both sure miss it. I still have the last shows recorded.

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  10. marty gatewood says:

    Like everyone else here i to LOVE you Kim and miss THE GUIDING LIGHT so much.life just isnt the same anymore.i wish that the people over at YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS OR BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL would bring some of the characters from GUIDING LIGHT to their shows.i to grew up with REVA SHAYNE n has named a character in one of my comic books i’m writing REVA Mc VANE.all i have now is my memories and you and every one else on the show are trully missed. Marty G

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