Kathryn Hays"As The World Turns" Cast Photo DayNew York5/7/10©John Paschal/jpistudios.com310-657-9661
Credit: John Paschal/JPI

“Thank you for sharing your memories of her.”

Like all soap opera stars, Kathryn Hays (Kim, As The World Turns) had three families: those she worked with on the set, the viewers who — having welcomed her into their home for years — felt deeply connected, and of course the real loved ones to whom she went home each night. So it’s not surprising that when news of her passing began to spread last week, all three groups were profoundly impacted.

Now, those worlds are coming together as her real-life daughter, Sherri, sent to fans. The missive was shared by longtime family friend Alan Locher, host of The Locher Room, known to soap lovers for his insightful interviews with some of their favorite stars.

“People often ask me what it was like to grow up with ‘a famous actress for a mother,'” reflected Sherri. “My usual replay was that I didn’t grow up with a famous actress for a mother. I grew up with my mom for a mother.”

Recalling her youth, she continued, “When I was growing up, I spent a lot of time hanging out on soundstages, backstages and in control rooms while she worked. We always had my grandparents nearby in case she had to travel for work. But when she came off the set or walked in the door, she was Mom and acting was the job she left behind.”

ATWT cast photo Jimmy Wood photographer

While audiences around the world may have adored Kathryn, her daughter says, “She loved me unconditionally, she was my biggest fan, but she set boundaries and she got on my case of my grades went down. As good moms do.”

Clearly, there were distinct lines drawn between the actress and her beloved alter ego. “Although she never called me ‘Toots’ or ‘Kiddo’ or ‘Pal,'” says Sherri, referring to pet names Kim often bestowed on Oakdale’s citizens, “she put a lot of herself into the character of Kim. So I understand why you all loved her and why she had a big effect on people over the years. Because I loved her, too, and did my best to be like her. So thank you for sharing your memories of her, because we will miss her, too.”

Join us in flipping through this photo-filled album covering the history of As the World Turns.