Calling all Judith Champan (Gloria Bardwell) lovers!

Have you read our first interview with one of the ladies of Daytime? If not, we’ve linked it up at the bottom of this one. You’re in for a treat. We’ve got two more on the go. Find out what she thinks about her bad girl alter ego, Gloria, and what she has to say about Daytime television in general. You know, every time I see you I always have to ask if Gloria is going to be able to get out of the mess that she is in. (Laughter…)

Judith: (Laughter…) To stay true to tradition, is she going to turn this jail thing around?

Judith: Oh Lord, who knows! So, Gloria’s in jail and kind of on the backburner with so many other things going on. I am off all week and I was actually watching the show today (begins to laugh). Esther and her new boyfriend are absolutely delightful and charming! But, back to the question, I think that Gloria always finagles her way out of things. When, where and how? Only the powers that be can tell me that, and I haven’t received a script that says she is getting out anytime soon! You’re waiting, huh?

Judith: Yes, I’m waiting…patiently in the desert….for my parole call! (Laughter…) What does Gloria think that her punishment should be for her crimes?

Judith: She has had her moments where she is truly repentant, but Gloria, she is a character you know. It hasn’t come up yet so I can’t say too much, but she’s feeling so dejected and so alone. Her wheels are going to start spinning again very soon and I think she feels like she is going to get out…. with a little help from an “unexpected” source! Some very interesting things are coming up for Gloria. Even though she is behind bars, she’s feeling top of the heap that she’s going to have a very powerful friend in a very high place very soon. Always something to look forward to!

Judith: That’s what she thinks. She thinks that this will all be behind her very soon. She’s ever the optimist, that Gloria. She had a scene with her boys around Christmas and said “Next year we’ll have a big beautiful tree and we’ll all be celebrating!” Now, I don’t know if I’ll be in jail for that long, but that’s Gloria. She makes gallons of lemonade when the world gives her lemons! What do you love most about playing Gloria?

Judith: Her resilience! The fact that she just keeps bouncing back no matter how ground into the dirt she is, or how rejected and dejected she is by her own sons (especially Michael) and sometimes Kevin, and her husband that put her in this place. Somehow she just keeps finding the bright things. She gets very depressed of course, but the universe keeps throwing her a bone. I love that about her; that she’s willing to pick herself up by the boot straps. Even though her intentions and her judgments are often times misguided. Gloria is not a malicious person, but she will certainly take every opportunity to improve her lot in life! If you could change one thing about Gloria, what would that be?

Judith: Her being in jail! (Laughter……) (Laughter…) That’s a good enough answer!

Judith: Maybe that her husband has dumped on her; the one man that she truly loves and that she sees as her equal or her match. That he would really love her and stop jerking her around! You know the funny thing? That sounds just like Gloria is answering it. She is focused on changing other people and not so much her. (Laughter…)

Judith: (Laughter….) Oh God, there is nothing wrong with her! (Laughter….) She knows she did bad and that she was very wrong, but she’s ready to get on with it! She (Gloria) will go to her grave saying “that woman died of food poisoning!” She’s convinced because they never closed the case. She’s been saying to herself from day one that “I didn’t kill that woman! It was just a horrible accident that it was all Jack’s fault!” Gloria can always find someone else to blame. Jack is the one, he got greedy and distributed that cream before it should’ve been and she was the only one that was supposed to be hurt! You mentioned earlier about how difficult things are right now economically speaking, and daytime soaps are no exception. Shows are making decisions with set changes, behind the scenes changes and actor dismissals. Names like Deidre Hall (Dr. Marlena Evans Black), Drake Hogestyn (John Black) both from Days of Our Lives and your co-star Don Diamont (Brad Carlton) immediately come to mind. What are your thoughts on daytime and what’s going on right now? What’s the future going to look like and is any show safe?

Judith: Well, word on the street (and this was actually in print) a year ago or so was that “Days of Our Lives” was supposed to be off the air in March. They have gotten a reprieve and are going to be on for at least another 18 months. I called my good friend Thaao Penghlis (Tony DiMera, Days of Our Lives) and said well, “If ya’ll are good for another year and a half, then I know we are too.” We are all tightening our belts and doing whatever we can. I don’t think anybody will be making huge sums of money when contract time comes around, but everybody is really trying to pull together to keep the show (not languishing sets quite so much), but coming in prepared so we’re not there until 8 or 9 pm every night. Coming in and running your lines, knowing your lines and getting the job done! Not only to finish the show on time, but you know, give these hard working crew people who are there all the time a break. We come in, do a few scenes and leave (although sometimes we are there all day). I think it’s been a huge wake-up call for the actors in daytime (especially the one’s who have been there for so many years), they don’t realize how tough it is out there. I’ve said to many soap actors over the years, some friends (when I came back to soaps), “You don’t have any idea how lucky you are!” It’s the best job if you want to continue to be a working actor. So, everybody is sort of standing at attention right now, but I think a world without soap operas would be a huge change in all of our lives. From the beginning of television there have been soap operas. They were on the radio. Night time television series come and go, feature films come and go, actors come and go, but there is that consistency with our stories. When I made a documentary film about soaps years ago (when I was on As the World Turns), one of the young actresses I interviewed said. “Not even your best friend visits you five days a week at the same time!” I thought; that’s it! That’s what soap operas are. I receive so much mail (not just me, but most other actors too) from people that say that they know what Gloria is experiencing because they’ve had the same thing happen to them. One said “I’m very ill and can’t get out, and you brought such solace to me.” A world without that? Sure, there’s “Oprah”, and “Ellen” and all those other shows that are wonderful, but there is something about people’s stories. It gives so much comfort and companionship, and to lose that would be tragic. It would be truly tragic! There would be so many fans that would not know what to do with themselves.

Judith: Exactly. Also, soap operas don’t involve themselves heavily in politics etc. although they do touch on it (like today with the election, and Martin Luther King, Jr. Day). Soap operas are really about fantasy time. It’s all about love. It’s all about infidelity. It’s all about babies born out of wedlock and who’s the daddy? It has very little to do with the harsh realities of what’s going on in the real world of war and economics, and to lose that daily escapism would be very sad. Daytime also plays a critical part in educating the public on certain things.

Judith: Yes, it is very much a morality play and people who do wrong do get punished…….eventually! (Laughter….) It seems like the last couple of months everyone’s been in jail in Genoa City! (Laughter….) (Laughter….)

Judith: We do have Karma and we do have to pay the piper. So, a lot of things are learned about young love, the teenage thing and controversial issues. I think of Lily and Daniel and the porn site storyline. It touches on them, but not in such a hardcore way (no pun intended) (Laughter…) that it’s uncomfortable to watch. We learn a lot from our stories! Absolutely, it brings them front and center in an easy way and opens up healthy discussions.

Since we had such a long and amazing chat, we had to split it into three interviews! If you liked this one, we encourage you to click this link to read the first part of our Judith Chapman interview, and check out Interview: Judith Chapman Talks to about Theater, KIVA…
as well as one on our sister site, Soap Opera Fan. where she discusses going ‘green’!

– Shannon Burrell