Tuesday, September 19, 2006

BEFORE THEY WERE SOAP STARS: Kim Hunter (Nola; Edge of Night)

Specials like Before They Were Stars love to open the vaults for clips of folks like Meg Ryan, Marisa Tomei and Julianne Moore on As the World Turns, Melina Kanakaredes, Taye Diggs and JoBeth Williams on Guiding Light, Larry Hagman on Edge of Night, Olympia Dukakis on Search for Tomorrow and Anne Heche on Another World and announce that we're seeing them "before they were stars."

Uhm... first of all, the folks listed above already were stars. They were soap stars. Moore and Heche won Emmys (each for a dual role, btw). Ryan was part of a mega-supercouple (Steve & Betsy -- they were so big, their love song warranted an on-air performance by Jermaine Jackson and Whitney Houston!).

Presumably, we're supposed to infer that we're seeing these actors before they became real stars, i.e. on TV or in films.

But how to explain the fact that, for some actors, daytime wasn't a stepping stone to real stardom, but rather where they came after making a splash in other, allegedly more impressive media.

Kim Hunter played Stella (yes, "Steeeeeeellllllah," that one) in the 1951 screen version of A Streetcar Named Desire. She was in the groundbreaking Requiem for a Heavyweight on the small screen in 1957, under heavy make-up as Zira, the female lead in the Planet of the Apes series of movies, and guest-starred on practically every prestigious TV drama put out during the so called "golden age of television."

And yet, in 1979, she took a role on The Edge of Night. Not before she was a star, but because she was a star.

See this great lady of stage, screen and television on the AOL PGP Classic Soap Channel, now!