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Judith Light On The Return of One Life to Live, Karen's Courtroom Testimony, DALLAS & Her New Play!

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Two-time Daytime Emmy winner and Tony winner, Judith Light spoke with On-Air On-Soaps Michael Fairman for a very special interview for! 

The in-depth conversation spotlighted Light’s career in the theatre, primetime television and film, and of course, her now iconic as Karen Wolek on One Life to Live, and her latest role as the twisted Judith Brown Ryland on TNT”s Dallas!  In addition, Light, who is one of the leading advocates and friends to the LGBT community, weighed in on the issues of equality for all, and how she became an activist.

Judith is currently in previews for the new dramatic Broadway play, The Assembled Parties which is set to have its opening night on April 17th, which also stars ATWT favorite, Jake Silberman!  Here are few very interesting excerpts from the interview for all One Life to Live and Dallas fans!

The show that gave you your start One Life to Live was canceled in 2011, and went off the air in January of 2012; only it has a second life to live! One Life is coming back online with all new episodes on April 29. What are your thoughts that his iconic soap is literally coming back from the dead?

JUDITH: I think it is so fantastic, and I am so happy for everyone. I am not just happy for the people on the show, because it was something that they had devoted themselves to for such a long time, but also the fact that the fans are the ones who really demanded it! They were the ones that put themselves on the line and put themselves out there, and they got what they wanted and what they deserved. It makes me so happy. You want for people to want what they have longed for, and what they have been devoted to. This is a demonstration of the power of the people.


A few weeks ago, the internet was abuzz again with posting the clips and scenes of the 34th anniversary of the ultimate soap opera performance of you as Karen Wolek in the Daytime Emmy winning courtroom scene on One Life to Live from 1979! What do you think about that performance, when you look back at it today?

JUDITH: I think dynamically for the culture, as we were talking about before, what it demonstrates is the need to have the courage to come out. When people see that they are moved by it, because against all odds, against every secret, against ever knowing that she will be rejected by her community, her husband, her friends, everyone in her life just about, she knows that she has to tell the truth about what she had done. And in doing so, it sets her free.  I think at a deep profound level which we all know and can feel, there is that oneness and connectedness. Karen’s omission on the witness stand is an ionic moment, because everyone understands that at a very deep profound level. It’s not only that performance; it’s what the moment in time symbolizes … something that everyone can recognize as a kind of bravery to support a friend that simply has to be done. It doesn’t just free the friend; it frees the person who was doing it, as well. You also have to understand, that was a year and a half of putting every piece of that story in place. When I came on OLTL they said to me, “We want to do the story from the movie Belle de Jour with Catherine Deneuve.” It was the story of this woman who was a prostitute during the day and was married to this man, and that was her life. They said, “What do you think of this story?”  I said, “I think it’s brilliant.”   So they carefully laid in the pieces of that, and you have to look at the level of writing! People say, “Ech, Soap Operas!” Look at what they created! I believe it is one of TV Guide’s Top 100 Moments in Television. It is for the depth of the story, the writing of the story, the year-and-a-half of placing it in real time, and then having the courtroom scene being the culmination of it. I think that is why people still relate to it.

Let’s now talk about your fantastic new role on TNT’s Dallas reboot! Why did you choose to play Judith Brown Ryland on Dallas? She is so creepy! [Laughs]


JUDITH: If you saw the character description, you don’t say “No.” We read the character description, and went, “Oh, my God!” The first writing sample was so exciting and thrilling to work on. The reason that I choose the way that I choose, is not only to satisfy my own creative interests. Certainly that is there, there is no question about it. But to me, theater, television and film, and art in general, are a way in for people to view their own psychology. Subsequently, I think it’s a way to talk about the culture, and who we are as human beings. Now I know those are lofty things to talk about, but I try to talk about them in a way people can relate to them. I can go do Judith Brown Ryland in my bathroom and it won’t make any difference. [Laughs] In people seeing a character like Judith Brown Ryland, who is so controlling and so angry, and needs to make the world the way she wants it, and the sorrow and the reaction that comes from that, maybe someone will say, “I see myself in that, or I see a relative of mine in that, and I want to make it be different.”

That Texas drawl of an accent you have as Judith Brown Ryland is subtle but so delicious! I am sure you are aware that everywhere on the internet, Dallas and Judith Light fans are screaming, “She is too young to play Harris’ mother! Judith and Mitch Pileggi (Harris) are not that far apart in age!”

JUDITH: All I want to say to people is: look at the film Manchurian Candidate. Angela Lansbury was only three years older than Lawrence Harvey when she played that part. I think people are forgetting and not understanding how young Judith Brown Ryland was when she had Harris. I know everyone is saying she is too young, and everyone is talking about this. I want to say to people don’t just look at it at the surface …  go a little deeper as to why Harris and Judith are not that discrepant in age. It will educate the public to what this is really all about. And, why they in fact, chose me to play his mother, and why the dynamic between the two of us is so infinitely off balance. I appreciate that people think I look good, that’s so nice! [Laughs]

Photo Credit: Joe Marzullo

You were just honored a few weeks ago by the MCC (Manhattan Class Company) for your career in stage, film and television at their annual Miscast Gala in New York City! It was quite a turnout, and looked like a fun night! Were you shocked at all the stars and accolades bestowed upon you?

JUDITH: First off, they did a rap of my entire career! You have to hear this rap! It’s completely stunning. It starts with my career on One Life to Live. It’s brilliant and off the charts. My mouth was hanging open, and someone said to me finally, “You better close your mouth. They are taking pictures.” [Laughs] It was truly one of the highlights of my entire life. I truly don’t know how to describe it, and it was beyond words.

Now below check out the promotional video for Judith’s new role as Faye in The Assembled Parties.  For ticket information click here!

Then, Let us know what you thought of Judith’s comments on the fan support bringing back One Life to Live?  Her one-of-a-kind performance when Karen confessed all on the witness stand on One Life?  Her new role on DALLAS as Judith Brown Ryland?  And, what did you think of the rap (check the link in the final question) which payed homage to her sterling career starting with One Life to Live?  Let us know!

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I adore this woman. Judith Light is a delight to watch. I remember so very well that OLTL testimony. Amazing stuff. It is good to know she regards this aspect of her career well and recalls it fondly for and with her fans. Thank you!

I too remember – it was iconic! Loved her on “Who’s the Boss” and her new role on Dallas. Hope she’ll grace the tv screen more often. She’s been great!

I loved her as District Attorney/Judge Elizabeth Donnelly on Law and Order SVU

I love her as udith and can’t wait to find out what is really going on with her and Harris!

Bravo Judith Light. Magnificent as always.

judith light = awesomness – loved her ever since was karen wolek on oltl!

In regards to Dallas, am I understanding her correctly??? Is she saying that she was just a child when she had Harris??? Was she raped by her father maybe and that is why she is the way she is???? Sounds delicious….

I love Judith Light. I have watched her in OLTL on the witness stand several times. Each time I cry again. It was heart wrenching. Haven’t seen Dallas so I can’t say. I loved her in Who’s the boss. She can play any part & make you believe it. It is good to hear that the stars recognize all we the fans did to get our soaps back. And we did that because the stars are so talented that they feel like family to us. Thank you Michael for the article. I really enjoy your writing.

Judith is so amazing. I’m intrigued to know the story about her and Harris’ relationship on Dallas. Judith Light is truly a delight to watch on everything she does. She makes the viewers feel what she feels. Wish I could go see her play.

I just love Judith and have followed her since her days on OLTL. When I saw she had been cast on Dallas I practically jumped up and down with glee. 🙂

The lyrics to the rap tune dedicated to Judith Light is absolutely fabulous and totally accurate: She IS so good she can’t be miscast! Truer words were never spoken about any performer in my lifetime.


Lifetime’s ‘Ladies of the ’80s: A Divas Christmas’ Brings Epic Food Fight and “Slapfest Coup de Grâce”

Get ready for the feuding soap opera divas, when five actresses known for their signature primetime and daytime roles are brought together in Lifetime’s new holiday film, Ladies of the ’80s: A Divas Christmas.

Saturday night, December 2nd on Lifetime (8pm ET/7PM CT) marks the highly-anticipated holiday movie premiere featuring: Donna Mills (ex-Knots Landing), Nicolette Sheridan (ex-Knots Landing), Morgan Fairchild (ex-Falcon Crest et al), Linda Gray (ex-Dallas) and Loni Anderson (ex-WKRP in Cincinnati).

Here’s what we do know! In story, five alums from the long-running soap, The Great Lakes reunite for a live Christmas finale. Uh-oh!  Now take a look at the backstory of the colorful cast of characters (pay special attention to the clever twists on the actresses names!)

Photo: Lifetime

LAUREN EWING (Linda Gray) “Everyone thinks I’m so damn good all the time,” confesses the junk food-loving Lauren of her second act as a lifestyle guru. “I don’t know how Gwenyth Paltrow does it!”

DANA CUNNINGHAM (Donna Mills) Now a sitcom mom, she’s yet to make amends to ex-bestie Juliette after abruptly leaving the soap back in the day. Not that she hasn’t tried: “When I thought the world was going to end in Y2K,” Dana says, “I reached out to her, and she never called me back.”

LILY MARLOWE (Loni Anderson) After replacing Dana on ‘Great Lakes’, Lily never again found a role to win her acclaim. “What do I have to show for (my career)? An arc on  For the People – Shonda Rhimes’ only flop!”

JULIETTE MATHESON (Nicollette Sheridan) “She left me for L.A.,” the party girl turned fashion mogul recalls of Dana’s betrayal. Will their feud derail the entire event?

MARGEAUX ROBERTS (Morgan Fairchild) “Fasten your face-lifts, ladies, it’s gonna be a bumpy weekend!” The sassy grande dame of ‘Great Lakes’ sees the Juliette-Dana beef as the perfect escape from her own domestic drama.

Photo: Lifetime

Now, making this all the more hysterical is the director of The Great Lakes reunion special, which makes the five women live under the same roof, is its former child star Alex, who has gotten his ex-girlfriend, Nell to direct the finale. Meanwhile, in the subplot. the ‘Ladies of the ’80s’ come up with a plan to get Alex and Nell back together.

As with any good soap opera, there is a major food fight. Linda Gray shared with USA Today ,”The food fight was one take. And it was fabulous.” And of course, their is a bitch-fest slap-fest. Morgan Fairchild revealed, “Oh honey, we all got ours in. Mine was a simple, ‘How dare you?’ with a slap. But I was hoping for a punch.”

Photo: Lauren Dukoff/Lifetime

The movie’s EP, Larry Thompson, who is a Hollywood manager and has Donna Mills as a client, said that the entire scene peaks with the”slapfest coup de grâce.” What is that exactly? That is when Donna Mills pushes Nicollette Sheridan into a pool in a nod to Dynasty’s Lily bond battle between Dynasty’s Alexis (Joan Collins) and Krystle (Linda Evans).

In case you missed it previously, check out the trailer for Ladies of the ’80s: A Divas Christmas below, also starring Patrika Darbo, Alec Mapa, Mills real-life daughter, Chloe Mills, and Christopher Atkins with theme song by Tiffany.

Now let us know, will you be tuning in to the movie for a premise that should delight many a longtime soap fan? Share your thoughts in the comment section.

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Morgan Fairchild, Nicollette Sheridan & Donna Mills Visit ‘Tamron Hall’ to Talk ‘Ladies of the ’80s: A Divas Christmas’

UPDATED: Monday November 27th, soap opera favorites, Morgan Fairchild (GH, ex-DAYS, DFT, The City, Dallas, Falcon Crest et al), Nicollette Sheridan (ex-Knots Landing) and Donna Mills (ex-Knots Landing) visit with Tamron Hall on her syndicated talk show. (find times in your area here).

The trio is set to give some inside intel to Tamron on their highly-anticipating holiday film, Ladies of the ’80s: A Divas Christmas, set to premiere on Lifetime on Saturday, December 2nd (8pm ET/7Pm CT) and streams next day.

As previously reported, Ladies of the 80’s: A Divas Christmas also stars Linda Gray (Dallas) and Loni Anderson (WKRP in Cincinnati) and in story, five glamorous ‘80s soap opera stars reunite to share the spotlight to shoot the final Christmas episode of their long-running soap opera.

The producer, Alex (Travis Burns) and director Nell (Taylor Ann Thompson), old college friends, do their best to keep things on the rails but as the ladies come together, old rivalries resurface that threaten to tear the whole production apart. With the show nearly canceled before it even begins due to the ladies’ famous diva behavior, they reluctantly agree to set aside their differences and past secrets to “act” as if they all still love each other.  When old sparks reignite between Alex and Nell, the ladies become eager to play cupid and conspire to bring the couple together. Along the way, the divas also discover that the love between them all is still very strong too.

Photo: Lifetime

Ladies of the ‘80s: A Divas Christmas also stars Christopher Atkins, Patrika Darbo (ex-DAYS, B&B, The Bay), Alec Mapa, and Mills’s daughter, Chloe Mills. In addition, the holiday film features a theme song performed by none other than ’80s pop star Tiffany.

Check out the official trailer for ‘Ladies of the ’80s’ starring Donna, Nicollette, Linda, Morgan and Loni below, followed by the Tamron Hall Show segment.

Now let us know, are you looking forward to watching Ladies of the ’80s: A Divas Christmas? Share your thoughts in the comment section.

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Donna Mills, Linda Gray, Nicollette Sheridan, Morgan Fairchild, Loni Anderson to Appear in Lifetime’s 80s and Soap-Themed Holiday Movie

Wowza! Now here’s a line-up of soap opera and primetime favorites all in one movie! Coming up for the holidays, Lifetime has revealed they have an 80s and soap-themed film starring: Donna Mills (ex-Knots Landing, General Hospital), Linda Gray (ex-Dallas), Nicollette Sheridan (ex-Knots Landing and Dynasty), Morgan Fairchild (ex-Falcon Crest, SFT, DAYS et al) and Loni Anderson (ex-WKRP in Cincinnati).

Filmed earlier in 2023, Ladies of the 80’s is said to follow five soap opera divas (how fun and perfect!), as they reunite to shoot the final Christmas episode of their long-running soap opera!

In story, the producer, Alex (Travis Burns) and director Nell (Taylor Ann Thompson), who happen to be old college friends, do their best to keep things on the rails but as the ladies come together, old rivalries resurface that threaten to tear the production apart. With the show nearly canceled before it even begins due to the ladies’ famous diva behavior, they reluctantly agree to set aside their differences and past secrets to “act” as if they all still love each other.  When old sparks reignite between Alex and Nell, the ladies become eager to play cupid and conspire to bring the couple together.  

But wait, there’s more! In addition to the five leading ladies, the cast also includes: Days of our Lives favorite Patrika Darbo (ex-Nancy), Alec Mapa, and Donna Mills’ real-life daughter, Chloe Mills, plus 80s heartthrob, Christopher Atkins.

Photo: TiffanyX

There is even a Ladies of the 80’s theme song, performed by none other than 80’s pop star, Tiffany!

In a statement on the project, the movie’s EP Larry A. Thompson shared: “The opportunity to bring together Donna, Morgan, Loni, Linda and Nicollette, five powerhouse women into one holiday movie, has been like finding the perfect gift under the Christmas tree.”

The official airdate of the holiday movie will be revealed shortly in the networks’s A Wonderful Lifetime Holiday movie schedule. Deadline first shared the news.

What do you think of this upcoming soap opera-themed movie featuring Donna, Linda, Nicollette, Morgan and Loni? Comment 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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