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ATWT's Colleen Zenk on her amazing run in Oakdale & real life battles!

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

ATWT’s Colleen Zenk’s 32 year run as Barbara Ryan ends this Friday.  The actress caught up with TV Guide to share her thoughts on the shows final moments, her real life cancer battle and how it affected her both on and off the television screen, and how through it all she still brought joy to the role that has made her beloved to long time fans of As the World Turns.  Here are a few excerpts!

Zenk on how she is feeling with just a few episodes left to air! “All I can think is why? The cancellation makes no sense. The last few episodes have been wrenching. Oh, my God! Those scenes with John and Lucinda! And Reid’s death! And the ashes! It’s all so emotional and poignant. I just can’t believe we only have a couple of episodes left because I still haven’t dealt with the loss of the show and the loss of Barbara. To continue shooting months and months after we got the cancellation notice created a grand illusion. It was easy to fall into a place of denial and say “We’re fine!” because we were still telling great stories. Someone told me it took Victoria Wyndham five years to accept the loss of Another World. [Laughs] I’m a different kind of human being than that, but the loss is still huge.”

Zenk on dealing with her cancer battle in such a public way:  “I had a lot of resistance at home and elsewhere about taking it public. But I did it anyway. It was a lot harder than I thought it would be, but I had tremendous emotional support from everyone at work. Procter & Gamble didn’t have to keep me employed, and certainly not under contract, after I got sick. They could easily have said, “This is not going to work.” The show worked around all my surgeries and treatments and radiation. And I sounded like hell for a very long time, and I didn’t look so good, either. I’m told no one can hear my speech impediment anymore. I sure can hear it, and it doesn’t sound so good to me. But people have ignored it, and that’s extraordinary. Having that kind of love all around really changes you. Having that unrelenting, unquestioning, no-holds-barred kind of love was what kept me alive.”

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amina
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amina

Gifted with that amazing glow and acting talent, I’ve always considered Colleen a class act. It wasn’t until reading this article, though, that my jaw-dropping admiration for her soared even further into the heavens. I just cannot grasp the reality of fiercely muscling my way through two horrifying bouts of oral cancer and re-emerging as badass and beautiful as she did! We clearly saw Colleen’s remarkable traits resonate through Barbara, whom I cannot believe will disappear from permanent view come Monday. Jeesh, I’m depressed…. As for Colleen though, I know we’ll be seeing her really soon in some amazing role… Read more »

Phyllis
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Phyllis

Colleen is extraordinary and exudes beauty, inside and out.

Nia Liz
Guest
Nia Liz

I want to thank Colleen for being faithful to Barbara throughout the years, even while she was undergoing her real life battles. I pray that Colleen continues to have exceptional health and performs for an array of audiences for many more years.

Marcy
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Marcy

I am writing this message with complete adoration of Colleen Zenk. No human being should have to face this much hardship in one gulp. I cannot fathom enduring a health crisis of that proportion, becoming strong and stable again, then receiving notice that my amazing job is ending, my beloved character that I’ve put my all into (and it showed) will no longer exist and realizing that my marriage has run its course. This quadruple whammy is all too surreal, and unjust until the old adage comes to mind that “what doesn’t kill you can only make you stronger” and… Read more »

tricia
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tricia

as far as daytime TV icons go, Colleen ranks at the top of my list. her wide range, longevity, comedic timing and stunning good looks have made the character Barbara a soap legend. reading this posted article reminded me of when i’d read about Colleen’s Big C scare a couple years ago. i was scared to death for her. i am so grateful to the real PTB for allowing her to overcome those complex surgeries without impairment so that she could continue working and educating people on the importance of early detection. i love this great actress and will miss… Read more »

mmc
Guest
mmc

She’s lovely and a brave woman…I loved her happy ending with Henry.I wish her continued success…and as she gets older she gets better, in every way!

Val
Guest
Val

I applaud Colleen for using her celebrity to address the dangers of oral cancer. The message that we’re all susceptible needs to be voiced loudly because so many people are under the perception that since they don’t smoke, they’re not at risk of contracting the throat and tongue cancers…..just as we all thought smokers only developed lung cancer until Dana Reeve, who’d never smoked, died from it. Colleen was one of the super unfortunate ones to develop oral cancer but thankfully, she was fortunate enough to survive it. She’s so brave to put herself out there for the greater good.… Read more »

EJ
Guest
EJ

can’t believe that colleen is no longer married! her ex – like most men in their 50’s – is most likely going through some personal crisis of his own. or he is one of those men who can’t handle situations like illness. colleen will get through this rough period. she’s already conquered C twofold so the worst is definitely over. and with her energy and stunning good looks she’ll find happiness soon and probably without even looking for it. in the olden days she reminded me so much of a young natalie wood but with more splendor. and even today… Read more »

Jamie Lynn
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Jamie Lynn

IN MONTHS PAST, HER STORYLINES AND ACTING RANGE HAVE BEEN EPIC AND WORTHY OF EMMY CONTENTION.

Jamie Lynn
Guest
Jamie Lynn

OUR HEARTS GO OUT TO COLLEEN. WE LOVE HER!!!!

steph
Guest
steph

what colleen is doing to spread the word is so admirable. people at risk need to hear what she has to say. her fans need her too……daytime needs her !! i hope in time colleen’s able to act again on another soap. i think that she would be amazing in a role like gloria bardwell’s on young and the restless…..just my two cents

nadal4life
Guest
nadal4life

Listened to her podcast on Daytime Confidential. It was long but informative and uplifting. The recent low blow of the day (I think the DC interview happened on 9/17)didn’t seemed to dull her spirit. She’s a very positive person and I could tell that she was all smiles during the podcast. I hope the others vets are doing okay.

Estelle
Guest
Estelle

Thanks nadal4life. Listening to Colleen’s podcast on DC now. Very inspiring…..

Scherrie
Guest
Scherrie

michael, thank you for posting this interview. colleen is a champion. what i loved the most about atwt was that it preserved the good ole’ days by keeping those historic characters like barbara, bob, kim, nancy, lisa, and lily around. keeping the vets brought forth the familar and served as a reminder of how incredible the show had been 20 and 30 years ago. racking my brains for weeks now, i still feel that there’s NO good reason whatsoever why oakdale should stop turning. with guiding light, i could easily see the end in sight since the storylines were so… Read more »

Trudy
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Trudy

Since Colleen looks too young to play the role of cougar, I’ll call her a puma. I loved the puma storyline with Barb and Henry. LOVED IT. I wish Chris G. would’ve cast someone from the outside to start up a genuine romance with Lisa. By the end of the show, she was the only adult whose life remained sort of cliche and mundane……

RogerR
Guest
RogerR

A PUMA STORYLINE? THAT’S QUITE HILARIOUS! I AGREE THAT LISA DESERVED A BETTER FAREWELL THAN SHE WHAT SHE WAS GIVEN. BUT I AM HAPPY, BEYOND HAPPY THAT BARB FOUND HAPPINESS. I’D LOVE TO SEE BOTH COLLEEN AND TRENT DO COMEDY IN THE FUTURE.

Karen
Guest
Karen

Colleen Zenk was a GODDESS on this soap. She’s gotta get grabbed by another one!!!

Reagan
Guest
Reagan

catching up on atwt…..i’m watching barbara and henry compete in a dance contest. those two are sizzling together. i love love love them! their scenes remind of what soaps used to be like.

AaronZ
Guest
AaronZ

i grew up watching Colleen her outer beauty is matched by her inner strength. i wish her a continuing success in whatever new projects she decides to do. i cannot believe ATWT is off the air and for the garbage that CBS has put on in it’s place it is a disgrace these are the dog days of broadcasting on daytime television. i truly wish ATWT’s had been picked up by HBO or SHOWTIME cable network instead of them just reruning rotation of movies in the morning hours. i think ATWT or GL unbound without public broadcasting restrictions and with… Read more »

As The World Turns

As the World Turns and Guiding Light Favorite, Lisa Brown, Passes Away at 67

(UPDATED) In just more heartbreaking news in the soap world in 2021, we have lost another beloved performer.  Lisa Brown, who was so noteworthy for her spunky and emotional turns as Guiding Light’s Nola Reardon from 1980-1985, and later as Iva Snyder on As the World Turns from 1986-1994, has died.

Brown passed away this week on November 24th at the age of 67 following a brief illness.  The news came via the As the World Turns Facebook Fan Group and Soap Opera Digest.

This comes just two months later following the death of her former on-screen love interest Michael Tylo (Ex-Quinton, Guiding Light), who passed away in late September.

Those that followed Lisa’s career know she also starred in the Broadway Musical 42nd Street, while still playing Nola each and every day on Guiding Light.

She is survived by her children: James “Buddy” Nielsen, and daughter Victoria from her first husband Tom Nielsen (Ex-Floyd, GL) in addition to her two grandchildren, Penelope Ruiz-Nielsen and Brayden Hopf, and her second husband Brian Neary.

 

Photo: JPI

Brown’s on-screen ATWT daughter, Martha Byrne  (Ex-Lily) simply tweeted, “My heart is broken.”

On Friday, Lisa’s son, Buddy Nielsen, posted a touching tribute to his mother, where he revealed that she passed away due to cancer.

Buddy shared: “My Mom passed away the day before Thanksgiving after a very quick battle with cancer. This all happened really fast and wasn’t expecting it. I’ve been MIA as I’ve been back and forth between LA and NJ as she has been in and out of the hospital the last couple weeks. This dream we live, we are all subject to the suffering, aging and death. It’s not to be morose but to understand that we have finite time and must take care with what we do and how we do it. To be able to be with someone at their last breath is truly beautiful. We must not fear death as without it we would never be born and experience the 10,000 joys and 10,000 sorrows. Our existence is both small and vast all at the same time. We are tiny but immense. I know she is here but no longer in her physical form, what we do in love we leave in death. My beautiful daughter and unborn son are her legacy.”

Share your condolences to Lisa’s family, and let us know of your remembrances of this wonderful actress who gave us so many memorable moments throughout her career via the comment section below. But first, watch Lisa in some of her classic scenes from ATWT and GL.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Buddy Nielsen (@budthechud)

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As The World Turns

ATWT Favorite, Jon Hensley, Releases New Single ‘I See Heaven’

Former As the World Turns, and The Bold and the Beautiful star, Jon Hensley (Ex-Holden Snyder and Ex-Dr. Meade), has announced not only the launch of his new website, but his new single called “I See Heaven”.

According to Hensley, the new track is a 9/11 20th anniversary song.  Through the holiday season, Jon is noting that you can make donations in lieu of the song and he will take a portion of the proceeds and donate them to various 9/11 charities.

In his welcome note on his site, Jon shares: “Welcome to my site, I am very excited about my new project. Most of you might remember me as Holden, it’s been a long time since the good old days in Oakdale. Who knows maybe they bring them back some day. As the World Re-turns?  After the show did end in 2010, I slowly started getting back into music. I spent some time playing in Las Vegas and decided a year or so ago it was time to release my debut album. Over the last few years, I wrote many songs with my great friend and producer Alan Schwartz. And my 1st single, I See Heaven (911 20th anniversary song) is now available as a download. Sing Out Revolution, my title track which was inspired by the Tennessee Williams quote on my home page, is a revolution on love. I’m planning to release SOR by Xmas 2021. And the full record by early 2022. Join my mailer for updates and thanks for listening!”

So, excited to listen to more of Jon’s music? Share your thoughts via the comment section below.

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As The World Turns

ATWT Legend Eileen Fulton Virtual Interview Slated

The one and only Eileen Fulton (Lisa, As the World Turns) is set for a very special edition of The Locher Room when she appears next week on the Friday November 5th episode.

Fulton’s livestream with host, Alan Locher is set to begin at 3 p.m. EST/12 p.m. PST.

Eileen played the role of Lisa Miller Hughes Eldridge Shea Colman McColl Mitchell Grimaldi on the CBS daytime dramas for nearly 50 years.

The character of Lisa joined the cast of ATWT in May 1960 and remained with the show on and off, until the show went off the air on September 17, 2010.

In addition, Eileen starred in her  own prime time soap spin-off of ATWT, Our Private World, and is also known for her work on the stage and for her cabaret and nightclub act which she performed around the country.

So, looking forward to this conversation with Eileen, who was the ultimate first soap ‘vixen’ of soaps and ATWT? Comment below.

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