Tuesday, February 06, 2007


In 1977, fresh off her role as John Travolta’s little sister in Saturday Night Fever, ten year old Lisa Peluso joined the cast of Search for Tomorrow, replacing Andrea McArdle in the role of Wendy Wilkins. She stayed with the show for eleven years, until it was cancelled in 1986, becoming one of those rare child actors allowed to take their character into adulthood.

In the episodes currently airing on the AOL/PGP Classic Soap Channel, Wendy is proving she’s no little girl, as she schemes with her jailbird lover, Warren (Michael Corbett), to steal his son, Jonah, away from the baby’s mother, Wendy stepsister, Suzi.

The PGP Classic Soap Blog caught up with Lisa to reminisce about her days in Henderson.

PGP: You were a little girl when you started on SFT. What was it like to come into such a fast-paced genre at such a young age?
LP: Coming into soaps at such a young age was a smooth transition for me. I had already been acting for years before that. I began modeling at 4 months old and was SAG (Screen Actors Guild) by the time I was five. I did the national tour of Gypsy with Angela Lansbury and was on Broadway at nine. I had appeared in Somerset, Love of Life and As The World Turns in recurring roles before I began my first contract soap role at ten on SFT. So for me it was just another new job, no less exciting, but I already had experience before joining the show. I will say I probably got an education about all things sensual at an earlier age than most being on soaps at that age!

PGP: Few child actors are allowed to age in real time on soaps. What do you think it was about you that you were able to take Wendy from little girl to grown woman?
LP: I'm not sure really. I will say I am so grateful to have been allowed that opportunity! I simply credit it to God's will. I don't know that I did anything more special that any other younger actress. I think that being part of a pivotal core family always helps. I was also lucky enough to have Executive Producers who believed in me, beginning with Mary-Ellis Bunim. I had writers that wrote for my character. I had awesome actors to work with and, even as a kid, I always worked my hardest to do the best I could and I always worked to get better and grow as an actress. I know most actors do the best work they can and strive to be better than their last performance so who knows why I was lucky enough to get to stay so long? I still go back to the God factor!

PGP: What are you favorite memories of your time on SFT?
LP: My favorite memories are the people that I had great relationships with like (the late) Timothy Patrick Murphy (Spence), Cindy Gibb (Suzi), Nicolette Goulet (Kathy), Maree Cheatham (Stephanie), Mitch Litrofsky (Tom), and Terri Eoff (Suzi) to name a few. When you are on a show long term like that, they become like your family. In some ways, you are closer to them than your own family because you are with them day in and day out. We worked together all day most days, and played together after work. Laughed and cried and went through stuff together all the time. There is a lifetime bond in your heart that never goes away. Especially for me because I literally grew up with them. It was a hard break for me when I left the show professionally as well as emotionally. I get teary just thinking of how much we all loved each other.

PGP: Do you keep in touch with any former co-stars?
LP: Maree Cheatham and I are still good friends and, of course, I miss Tim Murphy a whole lot. Alas, I've lost touch with most of the others, but they have a special place in my heart.

PGP: You went on to Loving (Ava) and Another World (Lila) after SFT. How were those experiences different from life in Henderson?
LP: Well, I was a grown up to begin with, so I was thought of as a grown up. On Search, no matter how old I got, if I stayed, I'm convinced I would still be thought of as a kid. I had leading lady status on Loving and Another World. But there are actually many more similarities than differences for me. Great actors, great relationships, awesome experiences and priceless memories from all three!

PGP: How would you answer the question: Where is Lisa Peluso now?
LP: I am now happier with my life than I ever have been. After 25 years in daytime and putting my whole heart and soul into it, I'm glad at this point in my life to be focused on my children, marriage, faith and the humanitarian overseas work my husband and I are blessed to have the opportunity to do. I will always treasure my time in daytime, but look at it as my past. I am happier now to focus on reaching out to the world around me in more of a hands-on capacity rather than to entertain it. It was a joy to make people laugh or cry through my work. The way I look at the humanitarian work that I've been privileged to do -- that is now my passion, and more my present focus -- is I get to still do that, but in an even more gratifying way. Rather than through the eyes of a camera, it pleases me to have the opportunity to hold their hands and look into their eyes and try to give something of value more lasting than a feeling that lasts until the next episode. That’s where I am now.

PGP: Any message you would like to send to fans who've followed your career from SFT and beyond?
LP: Thank you so much for all your love and support it meant so much to me! I love you and Jesus loves you! God Bless!

To check out how Wendy and Warren fare in their plot against Suzi, tune into Search for Tomorrow on the AOL/PGP Soap Channel today!

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