Tuesday, February 24, 2009

WHERE ARE THEY NOW: ASHLEY PELDON (EX-MARAH; GUIDING LIGHT)

Ashley Peldon made her GL debut in 1989 as Reva and Josh's daughter, Marah Shayne Lewis. Previously, the then-four-year old had appeared opposite Bette Midler in Stella and Diane Keaton in The Lemon Sisters. She stayed on the show for two years, leaving in 1991 when Josh, devastated by Reva's death and unfulfilled by his new relationship with Harley, took off for Europe with Marah and Shayne in tow. The actress went on to appear in feature films, television movies of the week and primetime series. The PGP Classic Soaps Blog caught up with her to answer the question: Where is Ashley Peldon now?



PGP: How old were you when you got into show business? What was your first job? Do ever remember a time when you weren't acting?

AP: To answer your last question first, I cannot recall a time when I wasn't an actress. I started in the entertainment industry when I was just three years old so any memories from before then are just fuzzy remnants of baby bottles and cribs! :) My first job ever was with Bill Cosby in a Jell-O commercial. It was exciting for that to be my first experience, though I have to admit, my recollection is from the perspective of a three year old who got to eat delicious chocolate pudding in the commercial!

PGP: You were the youngest actor ever signed to a daytime contract. What do you think it was that made you such a hit as Marah? What are some of your earliest memories of being on GL?

AP: The thing that made the character of Marah popular is the same thing that makes all characters popular -- great fans! The soap opera fans were so supportive, vocal, and loyal that it made me as a tiny four year old feel very welcomed and loved by an audience that had been enjoying this show for so many years already. Some of my early memories on Guiding Light consist of Robert Newman and Kim Zimmer, who played my parents on the show. I also remember a specific scene where I had to impersonate Elvis's voice in a school scene. Now, at my age I had no idea who Elvis was so I just remember my mother doing it for me and thinking how silly it was that someone actually spoke that way. It sounded like a cartoon character to my young ears.

PGP: Marah went through some very dramatic things. She was kidnapped, she lost her mother, Reva. How did you prepare for your big scenes?

AP: Well, I remember our director, Bruce, came to me and kneeled down while describing what was going to happen in the intense "Reva's death" scene so I wouldn't be afraid. Then Robert held my hand as we walked on the long pier and he spoke to me very gently. Funny enough, I fondly recall one of the kidnapping scenes because I got to eat butterscotch ice cream during the scene, so you can see, I was very traumatized. ;)

PGP: What was it like to be nominated for a Daytime Emmy? (Ed. Note: Ashley was nominated in 1991 for Outstanding Younger Actress in a Daytime Drama along with DOOL's Charlotte Ross as Eve, GH's Kimberly McCullough as Robin and Y&R's Tricia Cast as Nina. Another World's Anne Heche took home the trophy for her roles as Vicky and Marley.)

AP: It was an honor to be so young and appreciated by the Emmy academy. I realize more and more the older I get what an incredible experience it truly was. I still have the tiny dress I wore in pink tulle with gold and pink lace and satin.

PGP: After leaving GL, you appeared in "Child of Rage," a TV movie, as a very, very disturbed little girl. As a young child, how did you get into playing such a complex character?

AP: So much of this depends on the kind of parents you have as a child actor and I was unbelievably fortunate to have great ones. My parents took turns breaking down the script with me and going over it scene by scene so I could understand what was happening. It impacted me deeply how this little child had gone through so many horrible things. I understood it was based on the true story of a little girl, so I tried to feel her impulses, compulsions, needs, and anger while separating them from me. To get into character, I used to act out the scenes with my Barbie dolls. This way, I could not only learn my lines, but also work out and transfer the feelings I needed to build during a particularly difficult scene. Also, it allowed me to work on the scenes without internalizing any negative feelings so once the cameras stopped rolling, I was able to put the character away in my mind and go back to feeling like myself. The on set actors were also very careful to always call me by my real name when the cameras stopped rolling.

PGP: You were a regular on "The Mommies." How is doing a primetime series different from doing a daytime one?

AP: The first thing that strikes me as the most different is the presence of the live studio audience in primetime television. My sister had done tons of theater and Broadway work in New York and had a lot of experience with live audiences. At the time I did not, so it was really my first foray into that arena. Also, in primetime, you get a whole week of rehearsals before taping whereas in daytime, you get your script often the night before you shoot.

PGP: On "That 70s show," you were "Young Kitty." What was your process for playing a younger version of an existing character?

AP: What a fun experience that was! First off, Debra Jo Rupp, who I portrayed, was such a cool lady and she worked with me to get her famous laugh just right! Once I heard I was getting the role, I started watching all of the re-runs I could find! Plus, what made it even funnier was that while it was That 70s Show, my character, being a flashback, took place 20+ years earlier than that, so I got awesome 50's garb!

PGP: What are you working on currently?

AP: Like every dedicated actress, I couldn't wait to direct! Recently I had the really enjoyable opportunity to direct two different theater productions here in Los Angeles. The first was a comedy called "Publicityville," written by R.J. Colleary, a television writer of many primetime series and the second was to help raise money for the Writer's Fund during their strike last year. It was fun directing Bonnie Somerville and Melissa Sagemiller in the project. Both were incredible learning experiences for me and also they were invaluable as an actor to really understand for the first time all of the hard work, pressures, and commitment it takes to pull a whole production together. I also am starring on two separate web series, one for MTV and the other for one of the former writers of Everybody Loves Raymond. Additionally, I have a film in the festival circuit right now called "Float" and I'm always hard at work at my all natural and organic perfume company that I own and operate called Starring…! Fragrances.

PGP: Have you tuned into GL in the years since you left to see what Marah has been up to?

AP: Yes, I do still continue to tune in now and then. I also get great fan letters that fill me in on what the Marah character has developed into over the years. I'm honored to have been a part of Marah's origins.



PGP: Do you have a message you would like to send to your fans?

AP: Absolutely! I want them all to know how much I appreciate their continued support over the years. It's a wonderful, very rewarding industry, it's true, but of course, it's not without tough times too. so I am very grateful to know that they are out there rooting for me. Keep the mail coming, I still read them and they often make my day! Fans can always reach me at my perfume site, which is: www.starringfragrances.com or through www.peldon.com .

2 comments:

supersage21 said...

Again, thanks for the interviews. Ashley is still as cute as ever!

Cat said...

I'm a big Ashley Peldon fan! She has the most gorgeous blue eyes...I recently found the same pair of red plastic eye glasses she wore at the Oscars. Check it out: http://www.eyebuydirect.com/celebrities_wof.php