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Judith Light On Her Career Highlights: "One Life to Live In The Late ’70s. That Changed My Life.”

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She has done it all including: a daytime soap opera, a massive hit primetime sitcom, made-for-TV dramatic movies, motion pictures, and the theatre.  After winning two Tony Awards and two Daytime Emmy Awards, and being nominated for her extraordinary work in Amazon Prime’s Transparent, Judith Light has had an acting career filled with some of the most riveting and choice roles out there.

But soap opera fans will never, ever forget her stunning portrayal of Karen Wolek on One Life to Live back in the late 70’s.  And as we have reported numerous times over the years, no will ever forget Karen’s courtroom confession, which eventually won Judith her first of two Daytime Emmys, and stands among the greatest television moments in history.

This weekend in the New York Post’s Page Six, Light had spoken about some of the highlights of her critically-acclaimed career, where she noted:  “When I came back to the theater in 1999, I did a play called ‘Wit,’ and that really turned a lot of things around for me.  As well as appearing on the soap opera ‘One Life to Live’ in the late ’70s. That changed my life.”

Earlier this year in February, On-Air On-Soaps spoke with Judith during her run in the play, “God Looked Away” where she spoke of OLTL creator Agnes Nixon, as well as her role of Karen being one of the standout roles of her career.

After the jump, watch a segment of Judith’s interview with The Archive of American Television from 2015, where she discusses Karen’s courtroom confession, and the impact it has not only on her life, but that of others in the viewing audience, and more.

So, what do you think of Judith paying tribute to her soap roots and OLTL?  Comment below!

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She done a good courtroom scene and i know i will be in the minority here but i was never truly a fan…did like Who’s The Boss…however, the courtoom scene has been talked to death like daytime done no better…dayrtmes greatest actress was the late great Beverly Mckensie who was great in every scene she played..she may never got an emmy but every thing she did on AW and GL was award winning to me!!!

Karen’s testimony is always mentioned as one of the greatest moments in daytime because it was the perfect culmination of storytelling and character development. What really made it so memorable were the months of character driven writing with scenes of Karen falling into a life of prostitution because she felt unloved and unworthy that led up to it. Those scenes never get the play that Karen’s testimony does because they were quieter and more subtle but many of them were even more heartbreaking, watching her sleep with a parade of an anonymous men in pursuit of feeling loved for a hour or two and then feeling even more empty and alone afterward.

My mother is convinced that Judith Light’s court testimony was the highlight in all of One Life to Live’s long history.

She was great on DALLAS!

I LOVED her on Dallas. AMAZING!

Charday/dmr…Unfortunately I missed Judith’s earlier career on soaps, but like both of you loved her in Dallas. Remember the scene when she met the drug dealer and went through the pat down? Gutsy! Think I’ll see if I can find it on youtube.

Thank you so much. Just love her

She was outstanding! And glad to see her pay tribute to OLTL! A lot of former soap stars don’t.

Judith Light is a superb actress and always a joy to behold. I remember the courtroom confession as if it were yesterday. Karen Wolek was a very complex character and Ms. Light’s performance was always so very powerful.

I was born in 1980, but always knew of the courtroom scene, and watched the episode on a “Daytime to Remember.” I’ve also watched it on YouTube, and she was outstanding. That was when storylines were full of heart and soul, and performances were of raw emotion.

She was so intense on Dallas I loved her

“We are in the service business”–I love that

I loved her on OLTL and did not miss one day of her storyline. She was just awesome. It was an unforgetable performance for me…

Scenes as powerful as that just don’t exist anymore. Some daytime stars do their best to make it come close but nothing can possibly compare to that courtroom episode. The pages of dialogue those actors had to learn had to have been very overwhelming. Very nice trip down memory lane.

And one of the reasons for that is the writing, and one of the reasons for THAT is a point JL made in the first clip, which is that the courtroom scenes were the climax of a year and half of story involving multiple characters–carefully plotted and executed story, and the viewers had been allowed to see every moment, every beat play out before their eyes. Soaps got away from that kind of storytelling at some point, on the assumption that viewers–younger ones, especially–don’t have the patience for that anymore (an assumption I’m not sure really would hold up, if tested), but they did so at the price of the kind of scenes that Viki’s trial provided. You can’t have the payoff without the buildup, and the soaps just don’t invest the time to do the buildup anymore. My own argument would be that that–and not the “short attention span” of viewers–is why the ratings have continued to deteriorate.

Damn JL was good in that scene! I forget just how good, and then I watch it again, and damn, there it is.

WWOW!That’s ACTING!Thank you,Judith.That was Oscar worthy!!!

Thank you so much for your input!!! I have been on a rage about how our stories used to be compared to now. You made my day with your response!!!

Gavel : just because

“…the courtroom scenes were the climax of a year and half of story involving multiple characters–carefully plotted and executed story, and the viewers had been allowed to see every moment, every beat play out before their eyes. ”


I agree that soaps were very detailed and played out longer then…but I also think there are a couple of reasons why they don’t anymore.

First, back then soaps were pretty guaranteed to be ongoing. When soaps were abruptly canceled, many were devastated that there was no closure. They had been written at a leisurely pace not anticipating that they wouldn’t have “tomorrow.” Because of the current climate of soap uncertainty, I think they feel it’s best to wrap up stories quickly and move on to the next…

As for attention span…look at the responses we get here. So many of the posters here complain that the story is dragging out. I really don’t think the soap audience of today has the attention span, patience…whatever you want to term it, as the audience did back then when they were riveted….

@rebecca1: I think when people complain that a story is dragging it is because today’s writers don’t understand the way to write long term story with several “reveals” and plot twists before the actual climax of the story. Today’s viewers could and would easily invest in a story that took a year or more to play out if it were carefully constructed and character-based. It’s all about the audience’s investment in a character: if the characters are beloved, the viewers will follow them through anything. The failure of most shows — daytime and nighttime — comes from underestimating the viewers’ intelligence.

Hi Alan…agree…in theory. Still, I’m not sure about today’s daytime soap audience. I UNDERSTAND what you mean, and I agree about beloved characters, etc…still…I just don’t see, gauging from many reactions here, that many have the desire to see a story played out like they did “back in the day.”

LOL. I must beg to differ regarding failure of primetime! I think TV…cable AND network shows have really outdone themselves. Gone is the time when a film actor would be caught dead on a television show. Many of these shows are as good if not better than film! The problem lies with the audience in many cases. I can’t count how many quality shows were canceled because the ratings weren’t there; yet garbage like The Kardashians and other mindless crap is thriving.

Viewer “intelligence” varies….

Karen Wolek!!!

absolutely chilling performance! brilliant…and, oh…Larry Wolek, Marco Dane, Herb Callison…oh, the days when they actually filled scenes with the actors and not a sprinkling of extras….

Michael Storm (Dr. Larry Wolek) should come to Port Charles for a romance with Monica!

Judith’s performance was brilliant but what made it even more powerful were the reactions of all the people Karen loved and lied to — her sister, her husband, her best friend, her former pimp (who was posing as his own brother) — and the reveal that not only was Talbot Huddleston was one of Karen’s tricks (and Mario Corelli’s killer and the one who beat Katrina Carr to a pulp) but that he was also the driver who ran down Brian Kendall. Karen’s testimony was edge of your seat material but waiting for her individual scenes with Larry, Jenny, Marco/Mario, Ed Hall, etc as she had to face the music for what she had done added even more levels of drama and suspense.

Gordon Russell and Sam Hall spent nearly two years setting up numerous stories to have them intersect and culminate at Viki’s trial, resulting in even more story. Genius writing.

Kudos to you and your memory! Seriously…sounds like it was yesterday. I would never in a million years have remembered those stories; still don’t, LOL. But, I agree with your “review.” Sad that Gerald Anthony passed so young…love my idea about a Larry Wolek siting on GH…the actor is still living as far as I know. Would be great to see him again….

Like the concept of a a Larry/Monica pairing, however Michael Storm is not a “friend of Frank”. He stopped appearing on OLTL entirely shortly after FV took over. Despite his longevity on the show, he was not asked back for even a cameo in the show’s final months.

Larry always seemed to get the short end of the stick. Meredith died. Karen moved on to more things. exciting things. Brenda fell for his son Danny. You would have thought when Ivan Kipling controlled Larry’s brain, he would have given him an excitement jolt!

She’s magnificent!

Karen Wolek in the courtroom, on the stand, was actually the first time I watched OLTL! Was a fan till the end…

What people don’t mention is that scene was the end of 6 months plus of story telling about Karen being forced into prostitution and trying to defend the beloved Viki Lord. I was just a teenager but remember that storyline like it was yesterday! Life long fan!

she is an extraordinary actress!!

The courtroom scene can never be outdated or old. It’s one of the most powerful moments in the history of Daytime. I saw it live as a child; definitely influenced my love of soaps. Judith is amazing.

Like you and Robert, I saw it live as a child. Still the best courtroom scene I remember seeing on daytime or nighttime television. Definitely the most memorable scene in the 45 year history of OLTL.


I cut school for 43 days (in the afternoon) in 8th grade to watch the trial. When the trial was over – I went back and my teacher asked me why I came back and I told the truth – “the trial was over” – I actually watched this unfold everyday! Yes, i graduated, lol.

LOL! Ummmm…I guess either your mom was an ardent viewer or you had some secret place to watch it???

Judith Light has ALWAYS BEEN an A+ CLASS ACT!!!!! ALWAYS!!!!!

Breaking News

‘The Talk’ Renewed For 15th and Final Season to End in December; Does Its Cancellation Make Room for ‘The Gates’?

Things just got very interesting over at CBS daytime with the announcement today that The Talk is going to end its run on the network after its 15th season, and that season looks to be shortened as the series will come to its conclusion in December of 2024.

In a joint statement, Amy Reisenbach, President, CBS Entertainment and David Stapf, President, CBS Studio, shared, “The Talk broke new ground when it launched 14 years ago by returning daytime talk to CBS with a refreshing and award-winning format. Throughout the years, it has been a key program on CBS’ top rated daytime line-up as it brought timely, important and entertaining topics and discussions into living rooms around the globe.”

Reisenback and Stapf added, “It goes without saying that hosting and producing a year-round talk show is no easy task, and we express our sincere gratitude to our amazing hosts Akbar Gbajabiamila, Amanda Kloots, Natalie Morales, Jerry O’Connell and Sheryl Underwood, our Executive Producer/Showrunner Rob Crabbe and the hardworking producing team and crew.

Photo: CBS

Giving props to those who co-hosted or worked on the show through the years including: Sara Gilbert, Julie Chen Moonves, Carrie Ann Inaba Leah Ramimi, Marissa Janet Winokur, Holly Robinson Peete, Eve, Aisha Tyler, and Sharon Osbourne, the joint statement added, “We also want to acknowledge our former show hosts and colleagues who contributed throughout the seasons. We truly appreciate the skill, creativity, and dedication everyone involved brought to the show every day.  And of course, we thank the numerous guests who appeared, and the millions of viewers who tuned in daily. For the final season, we plan to celebrate the show and give it the proper sendoff it deserves when it concludes in December 2024.”

While no firm decision or announcement has been given at this time, it seems most likely that The Talk’s time slot could be given to the new soap opera in development The Gates from CBS Studio Ventures and from longtime soap opera writer. Michele Val Jean.  As previously reported, The Gates features the lives of a wealthy Black family who reside in a posh, gated community.

Photo: JPI

The Talk was originally the brainchild of Sara Gilbert, who had developed the show when it launched back 2010 and it replaced the beloved As the World Turns which went off the air after 54 years when CBS canceled it.

So, what do you think of The Talk being canceled? Will this make room for The Gates to begin to air in its spot beginning in 2025? Share your reactions to the news via the comment section.

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General Hospital

George Russo to Appear on General Hospital as Carmine Cerullo

Coming up, it looks like Brook Lynn’s (Amanda Setton) grandfather, Carmine Cerullo is headed to Port Charles.

According to casting news from the ABC soap opera, George Russo will take on the role. Russo will tape his episode next week on April 15th and will appear on the May 15th episode of the long-running daytime drama series.

If George looks familiar he has been in numerous primetime television shows and motion pictures including: The Offer. Winning Time, Grand Crew and Shameless.

Photo: ABC

Clearly, it seems that Carmine will be a part of Chase (Josh Swickard) and Brook Lynn’s wedding.  Will it go off without a hitch? Are you looking forward to it? Stay tuned.

Who else would you like to see attend the nuptials? Gloria Cerullo (Ellen Travolta), any other blasts from the pasts who should be present? Let us know in the comment section.

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Y&R’s Hayley Erin Previews Her Role in Horror-Thriller ‘New Life’

While she has been tearing it up as Claire aka Eve on The Young and the Restless, Daytime Emmy winner, Hayley Erin is also starring in a riveting horror-thriller called New Life.

In New Life, Erin takes on the role of a mysterious woman named Jessica who is seemingly the run. The premise offers, that Jessica is being pursuit by a resourceful fixer named Elsa, is hired to locate. Two different and unique stories are linked and converge, as the stakes of the pursuit explode to apocalyptic proportions.

Taking to her Instagram to promote her role in the film, which drops on May 4th, Hayley expressed, “New Life brought new meaning to blood, sweat, and tears. I’m so proud of this film and everyone involved, cannot wait to share it with you all… in select theatres and streaming MAY 3rd!!!”

Photo: MovieTrailers

Several of Erin’s co-stars from her time on General Hospital as Kiki Jerome, including bff Chloe Lanier (ex-Nelle) and Maura West (Ava) shared their enthusiasm after checking out the trailer.  Lanier shared, “Best actress in the world, love you.”  West said, “I cannot wait. Congratulations!”

New Life, hits select theaters and streaming platforms on Friday, May 3rd.

Now below check out the official trailer, and then let us know if you will be watching Hayley in this complete departure from her role as Claire/Eve on Y&R in the comment section below.

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Peter Reckell returns for a second visit with Michael Fairman following the wrap-up of his recent run as Bo Brady on Days of our Lives.Leave A Comment

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