On-Air On-Soaps caught up with Kim Zimmer today to preview her return tomorrow, Friday, October 1st to One Life to Live as Echo DiSavoy, the role she last played way back in 1983, and before she landed in Springfield and played Reva on Guiding Light. In this “quickie” interview with Kim, we touch upon the secret that facilitates Echo’s return to Llanview, and the question that everyone is asking; how can you fit three of the biggest female talents in daytime history (Zimmer, and castmates Erika Slezak and Robin Strasser) all in one scene, in one room, on one set? Kim fills us in. Check out the interview below!
Do you remember when you and I were sitting together at the Daytime Emmy gift suite, at the 36th annual Daytime Emmys at the Orpheum Theatre in L.A? I said to you, I think it would be great if you could come back as Echo on One Life to Live. And then shortly after that you ran into OLTL EP, Frank Valentini.
KIM: I ran into Frank at the airport at a rental car shuttle. Frank and I were giggling about it; that wouldn’t it be great if Echo came back, hahaha, hahaha. And then, I remembered our conversation, and lo and behold a year and half later… ringy dingy dingy… and it’s Frank Valentini calling. So it was kind of cute.
Just to set the record straight, One Life initiated calling you. You were originally coming out to L.A. when I last saw you to look for work.
KIM: Well, I was trying to get on The Bold and the Beautiful. A lot of good that did me! (Laughs) Frank is my savior and I miss doing daytime so much. I have been kind of enjoying my retirement, but not that much. So, I was ready to work. When Frank called I think he did not think I would have any interest at all. And I go, “Oh, my God.” And then he said, “Wouldn’t it be great? We are throwing around the idea of having it be Echo.” And I go, “Well, what else would you have it be? I already played three other characters on that show.” I was a terrorist at one point on OLTL named Bonnie Harmon! So I was like, it has to be Echo. You already have history built in there. Frank’s secretary called on a Tuesday to set up a meeting with him. I think I was in Frank’s office later that afternoon talking with him. Then, he called a few days later and told me he had run this by the powers-that-be, and then he said, “We are all excited. Can you start next week?” And I have to tell you, I am having the time of my life.
And I love that for you. And let’s not forget, you get to play on real sets with real cameras and real lighting!
KIM: I know, I know! They stopped the scenes the other day because the lighting wasn’t right and I screamed, “WHAT?” (Laughs) I said “Oh, my God. Bring on the lights!” It was unbelievable, and they come in and touch up your make-up. (Laughs) I can’t even tell you… I feel like I am thrown back into the heyday of daytime television.
Echo departed Llanview after the botched 1983 scuba diving plot, where Echo and her brother Giles (Robert Gentry) tried to get back at Clint. For fans that need a refresher or for newbies to One Life, what happened there?
KIM: We were going to set-up the demise of Clint Buchanan. So we were setting up an argument on the bridge that was going to result in getting Dorian to show up at that bridge. And, we were going to make it look like Clint pushes Echo off this bridge to get him accused of murder, because we held him responsible for the death of our mother. That was what the scuba stuff was about; so Giles could find me in the water under the bridge and he could meet me with a tank of air, and then I can safely make it back ashore. So Echo was indeed alive, and of course that Viki, being the crack investigator that she is (laughs) figures out it was a set-up and they arrest Giles, and they tar and feather Echo and run her out of town. For her, it was either get out of town or go to jail, and so she left town. So now, when she comes back, it’s knock, knock, knock. She is on Viki’s doorstep and Viki is like, “You were told never to come back.” But then, she realizes that Viki’s new husband, Charlie, had a history with Echo. So instead of making her leave right away, Viki wants to find out why Echo is in Llanview, and if she has every intention of stealing another husband of hers. The scenes are just wonderful. So Viki goes, “You already tried to steal one of my husbands, and tried to ruin my life. Are you planning on doing it again?” And I am like, “NO. Why would I ever do that? That is not at all my intention. I have other things to do.” (Laughs)
I hear Echo dresses quite well?
KIM: Oh, yes. I have a wonderful wardrobe with a lot of leather again. The last time I was on the show, Linda Dano dressed me. Now, I adore Susan Gammie, the costume designer at One Life and she has pulled together some fun stuff for me. It’s not haute couture though, because Echo is not supposed to have a lot of money. In fact, she is broke and needs money.
My God! Every one is saying, Erika Slezak (Viki), Robin Strasser (Dorian) and Kim Zimmer in one room, in one scene! There will be so much scenery chewing going on. How is that ever going to work? I mean, was that ever a consideration for you and the thought process of, “I am a big heavy hitter here, and these are two other power women in daytime?” Or, were you thinking this was going to be just fantastic?
KIM: When you have Erika Slezak calling you at home going, “Please, please, come play with us,” you know this is what it was. And so I knew as far as Erika is concerned, she had an open door policy, and had no qualms having me back. And can I tell you something? Echo is not Viki Buchanan, and she is not Dorian Lord. She is a supporting character and she is there to facilitate storyline for other people. I am an actress first, and a diva second. (Laughs) I am just there to have fun. It’s such a freeing experience for me, because I don’t give a damn about carrying the show, and that is not my job there. It became such a burden for me at Guiding Light, because people expected it from me. Now I am just an actor on this soap opera called One Life to Live. If people want to be afraid that I am going to steal the limelight, then let them be afraid. That is not my intention. I consider myself as ‘guest-artist’ there. That is all I am going to say about it.
Can we then expect to see you on the show for a while?
KIM: Well I don’t know. I am not under contract. But, they do tend to use their off-contract people a lot at OLTL. I told Frank, I am open to whatever you want to throw my way. I love working in daytime and I love working in this genre. I love the fact that the show is in New York City and you are the last one there. If you want to keep me around three months, six months, nine months, a year…whatever you want to do, I am game as long as it works out for everyone I will be there. It’s kind of nice because it’s a juicy role, and if a theatrical show comes up or regional theatre, I can say, “I am going to be gone for a month and they have to deal with it.” It’s the best of both worlds!
So since Echo knew Charlie somewhere in her past, how was working with Brian Kerwin (Charlie)? Had you met him before?
KIM: No, and what a doll he is. And you know, I never really worked with Jerry ver Dorn (Clint) before either. I am like a pig in mud! It’s so much fun. Jerry and my story never crossed at Guiding Light, and now I have a lot to do with him. Brian could not be sweeter. I am surrounded by goodness.
So Echo has an agenda for returning to Llanview?
KIM: She has an agenda and she is missing something in her life. She is in Llanview to find it, whether it be an ex-lover, or a future lover, or whatever it may be. There is something in Llanview she needs, and it needs to be tied up, and that is her secret.
So she is not there for payback of those citizens who “wronged her”?
KIM: Well, no. But, if the secret results in Viki being knocked off her pedestal, then that is just going to have to happen! (Laughs) It all depends on how Viki handles the information. (Laughs)
And where does Echo stand with Dorian? Last time out they were sort of gal pals!
KIM: Dorian was Echo’s champion when she was in Llanview 27 years ago. Dorian loved the fact that Echo was screwing around with Viki’s life. I think you will find she gets a surprising reaction from Dorian when she meets up with her.
Ok Kim, do you know the secret? And if you know, do you like the secret?
KIM: I know what the secret is. And when I learned about the secret, it made me a little nervous for reasons we will discuss at some point after it’s revealed. But, I am hopeful after it is revealed, that it could be a really, really wonderful fit for this person and myself who are involved in the secret.
When you came to OLTL this time, were there any actors you had never met before?
KIM: I do have to say, I met Florencia Lozano (Tea) for the very first time and she was just lovely. I had never met Trevor St. John (Todd), and I met him in the hallway. Michael Easton, (John) I met briefly at a personal appearance before, but I never really chatted with him. And, Melissa Archer, (Natalie) is just a doll. I was reconnecting with Bree Williamson (Jessica) who is now on maternity leave. I got to be there on her last days on the show until she comes back, and that was fun. It’s a great bunch and I cannot wait to mix it up with them. I could not be happier.