kim zimmer guilding light
Credit: Image: CBS

“I’ve been very protective of my emotions…” recently had the pleasure of connecting with soap opera icon, Kim Zimmer (Echo, One Life To Live, ex-Reva Shayne, Guiding Light) for a chat. Keep reading to see what Kim had to say about the future of Daytime, her new book, “I’m Just Sayin’!,” and to find out who she thinks could play her in a movie about her life!. In the book, without giving anything away, you describe going through a lot of stress toward the end of Guiding Light. Are you in a better place now?

Kim: Oh my God, yes. [laughs] Even writing the book and getting through that, and facing all the problems I had; getting it down on paper and talking about it with my co-writer and everything really put so many things in perspective. Even though I truly believed my feelings about the end of the show were right and true to me, in perspective, there are so many things that are more important than how I felt I was being, you know, personally hurt by the end of Guiding Light. Has your viewpoint changed at all on the causes of the cancellation of the show?

Kim: No, I still feel the same. I feel like Proctor & Gamble was looking to get out of the soap business; they’d lost interest in the show. They had a perfect person in Ellen Wheeler to try to make adjustments and produce the show more cheaply, which resulted in the shoddiness of Guiding Light towards the end, and the lack of interest in story. There were a couple of stories that were good there towards the end, but mostly it was just a lot of hoop. Considering how things turned out with Guiding Light, is there some part of you that regrets not stepping away sooner and maybe doing more Primetime or films?

Kim: My entire life was in daytime. I love doing daytime television; I love the challenge of having to learn all that dialogue every day. Outside of theatre, soap opera was really what I loved more than anything. I did a lot of primetime television and it was boring. After you’ve been doing a soap for so many years, to go and sit on a Primetime set all day long and do six pages of dialogue, if you’re lucky, it’s just…I wasn’t built like that. Unless you’re the star of that series and you are working more…I just found it extremely boring – I needed more. I’m not a hobby person, so I couldn’t sit around in my little trailer and try to occupy fourteen hours waiting to do a page of dialogue. It’s just not my thing. In reading your book, one really gets a sense of how much of yourself you invested in the role of Reva. Are there any other roles you’ve played, or would like to play, that speak to you in the same way Reva did?

Kim: I just finished playing Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard at a theatre in Michigan, and her life is all about trying to keep herself going at the end of her career as a silent movie star when ‘talkies’ came in. So it was kind of ironic because daytime is kind of fading, and my life in daytime is kind of fading, so I didn’t have to dig very deep to find motivation for this poor, pathetic woman’s reason for existence [laughs]. I mean, I certainly have things to keep me occupied; I have three beautiful children and a great husband and life goes on, but there were certain similarities between the two of us that I could grab onto, and kind of float away with. You went back to One Life To Live to play Echo…

Kim: Yes, but I haven’t been working there much, which is good because I haven’t left my heart there like I did at Guiding Light. I’ve been very protective of my emotions in my connection to the show just as a knee-jerk reaction to how much I had invested in Guiding Light emotionally. So, they haven’t worked me enough to really be emotionally attached to that show. I feel for the people, the fans especially, who are confused about this move to the internet if it does happen. Do you think it’s a viable solution?

Kim: I do, I think it is the future. I think people will, and can now, if they know how to do it – hook their computers up and watch it on their big flat-screen televisions. I don’t know how they’re going to support it, as far as the people who are planning on bringing these to the Internet. If it’s done right, I think it is the future. I keep saying it’s reminiscent of when soaps went off the radio and went to television. People had to adjust…everything changes. Hopefully this will all be very successful for Prospect Park, and these two shows [All My Children and One Life To Live], and that we can, maybe, create some new ones. What do you think about the future of soaps on network television?

Kim: The two CBS shows…I know The Bold and the Beautiful has huge international support to make a lot of money. I don’t know for sure, but from what I understand, they’ve got a lot of money coming in to hang in there. I’m hoping that The Young and the Restless and The Bold and the Beautiful can stay. The show that’s a big question mark is General Hospital, and I feel like Brian Frons is in the same position that Proctor & Gamble was; that he doesn’t really care enough about the soaps any more to really give it the attention it needs to survive on network television. So, it will be interesting to see what happens there as well. I would imagine that if these shows, “The Chew” and the other one with Tim Gunn, if those are successful shows, then that will be the way of the future of Daytime on network television. They’re a lot cheaper to produce. What’s coming up for you?

Kim: I just finished Sunset Boulevard and that was four weeks of intense rehearsal and performances. I’m really enjoying doing theatre, so that’s where my mind is set right now. I’m thinking about producing a CD. I’ve got a lot of fans that have been begging me to put out a music tape, so that may be my next little journey. And, of course, you’re promoting your book, I thought it was such an easy read – like I’d sat down to talk to you. What are you hoping people take away from it?

Kim: I think that’s the biggest compliment I’ve gotten from a lot of people, saying, “Reading it felt like you were sitting right there whispering in my ear, and telling me these stories.” That’s really what I was hoping to be successful in with the book, and it helped that my co-writer, Laura Morton, really got who I was. Even though I did most of the writing myself, she really got to know me well enough – we shared a sense of humor – that she was able to compile the book in a way that was my voice. As far as what they can take away from it, I also have people who really like the fact that it was a little history lesson for new fans of daytime to read about how things happened in the glory days of daytime television when there was so much money thrown into the soaps. Michael Logan [TV Guide] said he thought it was a great teaching tool for young actors as well, kind of a survival guide. If “I’m Just Sayin’!” was made into a movie, who would play the role of Kim Zimmer?

Kim: Oh, it would have to be Kathleen Turner! [laughs] Young Kim Zimmer would be…I’d love to see Cameron Diaz play me [laughs] or Kate Hudson. Either one of them would be great fun. Too bad Katherine Hepburn isn’t still around to play me in my old age! But Gena Rowlands could play me, you know, older – over seventy.

A version of this article was written by Candace Young and refreshed by Christine Fix April 30, 2020.