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August 29, 2014

Kim Zimmer Talks About the End of 'Guiding Light'

by AOL TV Staff, posted Sep 10th 2009 11:00PM
Kim Zimmer of Guiding LightKim Zimmer created a true original when she brought 'Guiding Light''s Reva Shayne Lewis to life back in 1983. The character has stripped in fountains, battled postpartum depression, driven her car off a bridge, suffered from amnesia, traveled in time, been comatose, kidnapped and cloned and has "always" loved Joshua Lewis. Along the way, Zimmer took a break to work in Hollywood ('Seinfeld,' 'Designing Women,' 'Babylon 5'), returning to Springfield in 1995, where she's remained ever since.

Soap fans will bid adieu to Reva -- and the rest of the show's characters -- on Friday, Sept. 18 when the CBS soap opera airs its final episode. AOL TV recently caught up with the fan favorite to get her thoughts on starting a new chapter in her life, her four Golden Girls and what she hopes viewers will remember about the beloved series. -- By Michael MaloneyKim Zimmer of Guiding LightKim Zimmer created a true original when she brought 'Guiding Light''s Reva Shayne Lewis to life back in 1983. The character has stripped in fountains, battled postpartum depression, suffered from amnesia, traveled in time, been comatose, kidnapped and cloned and has "always" loved Joshua Lewis. Along the way, Zimmer took a break to work in Hollywood ('Seinfeld,' 'Designing Women,' 'Babylon 5'), returning to Springfield in 1995, where she's remained ever since.

Soap fans will bid adieu to Reva -- and the rest of the show's characters -- on Friday, Sept. 18 when the CBS soap opera airs its final episode. AOL TV recently caught up with the fan favorite to get her thoughts on starting a new chapter in her life, her four Golden Girls and what she hopes viewers will remember about the beloved series. -- By Michael Maloney

When did you know that the role of Reva was something special?
I knew from the minute I read the breakdown for the character. I wasn't going to do another soap opera [having just come off 'One Life to Live'], but I'd read the character description and I knew that she was special. It's why I auditioned.

What was the audition scene?
There were two. One was with [ex-husband] Billy and one was with [true love] Josh. In the first one, Reva blasted into Billy's office, and she told him they were still married when he was ready to marry Vanessa. The other scene was Reva and Josh seeing each other for the first time after so many years apart.

A reverse of the whole "cougar" thing was Reva's relationship with Billy and Josh's dad H.B. What response did you get when you worked with Larry Gates [H.B.]?
People loved it. Fans still wanted Reva to be with Josh, but Reva's relationship with H.B. was a lovely one. Reva was pregnant with his baby until [a pill-addicted] Vanessa ran her down and she lost the baby. People were into that relationship. He was like her father, but Reva loved him in a very special way.



In your famous fountain scene, in which Reva baptized herself "the Slut of Springfield," were there truly tiny goldfish in the water?
[Laughs] Yes, there were! Seriously! People thought I was freaking out after we were done shooting and I had plopped myself down in the water because of the intensity of the scene, but I was really just freaked out by the fish swimming between my legs!

You were nominated for a 1987 Daytime Emmys and the clip shown for you was not as Reva, but your character as a "flapper" within Phillip's novel. When the camera dissolved to you live at the show, you jokingly put your purse in front of you face in faux embarrassment -- and then they called your name as the winner.
That was a great moment. That was my second win. I wasn't anticipating I'd win. The only times that I ever thought I might win were the years that I didn't. The years I won were the ones I was surprised. That's how it works. You can't judge your own work.

You won four Daytime Emmys -- 1985, 1987, 1990, 2006. Where do you keep the Golden Girls?
The Golden Girls? That's funny. There are four of them, too! They're on top of a cabinet that I have in my living room. They're up really high. Some people see them. Some don't. If people who come to my home ask to see them, then I'll show them.




Different writing regimes kept coming up with new storylines for you -- cloning, time-travel, Amish Reva, Ghost Reva -- how did you keep a through line for the character?
Some of it was better than others. The unfortunate thing about writing Reva living among the Amish was that it forced me into losing Reva's accent. I'd come back after being lost on the island. I couldn't do the Amish language [with my accent]. I tried. [The producer] said, "What are you talking like that for? Lose the Southern accent!"

Reva had some great leading men over the years and some great rivals, including Alexandra, played by the late Beverlee McKinsey.
It was great working with Beverlee. She used to go up on her lines in scenes with me. I used to think I was doing something that bothered her. I said to her, "I never see you lose lines when you work." It wasn't until years later that she finally said to me, "I get lost in your eyes when I work with you." I loved working with her. She was a pistol!

You and Robert Newman [Josh] have great chemistry. But there's a contingent of Reva/Jeffrey fans, too.
Yes. I'd say it is split -- 60 percent for Josh and 40 percent for Jeffrey. There are some fans who didn't want Josh and Reva together but [we'll see what happens].



It's pretty emotional to realize the show is going off the air. How are you feeling?
I'm feeling great. I'm looking at it as a whole new chapter in my life. I've done the show for so long. I haven't had the opportunity for what I really love to do, which is theater. And now I'll have the time to pursue that. I'd love to do something at the Guthrie [in Minneapolis] or the Globe [in San Diego] or the Indiana Rep or the Seattle Rep or the New Jersey Shakespeare Festival.

Sounds like you're open to traveling!

Yes. I [also] have an offer to do a TV movie. I haven't read the script yet. But it was nice to get the offer. [Laughs] I don't even have to audition for it! Jake [Weary, my son, who's an actor] and I are going to apartment hunt together [in L.A.]. We're looking for a three bedroom so he can have a roommate, and I'll have a place to stay, too.

How great is it that so many of the cast came to Los Angeles to say goodbye to the show as part of the Daytime Emmy broadcast, which aired on the CW on Aug. 30?
It's great. We've had so many little gatherings; it's been endless. I think we're all partied out. Someone said we should all get together on [Sept.] 18 to watch the last episode. But I'm actually going to be up in San Francisco [with old friends] where we do our 'Big Chill' weekend. I'll probably record the last episode. [Laughs] I'm partied out!



What do you hope fans will remember about the show -- and about Reva?
When I think of 'Guiding Light' I think about the impact it's had on generations of viewers. I think of the show as an heirloom that has been passed down from generation to generation. I can't tell you how many people I've met who've said, "I've watched with my mother and my grandmother." It's that family feeling that I hope people will always remember. With Reva, I hope they remember that everything that she did she did for love.


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Kim Zimmer fans will also enjoy the Mr. Media VIDEO interview in which she talks about working with her friend Alec Baldwin on "The Doctors," replacing Kathleen Turner on "The Doctors" and playing her double onscreen in "Body Heat," her 26 years on "The Guiding Light," and her struggles with alcohol in the show's final years. Check it out: http://www.mrmedia.com/?p=2172

August 04 2011 at 9:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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