reflects upon the luck of the draw, the love of her life, and keeping in touch with her
inner bad girl
There are moments in everyone's life that
define who they are. But Marcy Walker can't whittle down her existence to mere moments.
Rather, she meticulously divides her years into three eras and doesn't apologize for what
an analysis of them inevitably would mean - that in spite of marriage, divorce,
motherhood, an enviable career spanning nearly 20 years, and even a Best Actress Daytime
Emmy victory, she is still very much a work in progress.
"When I first came to All My Children, I was extremely naive," recalls the
Kentucky native, who made her debut as Marian Colby's vicious teenage daughter, Liza, in
1982. "It was my first time being away from my family. I was learning about life and
who I was and about being an actor, all at the same time."
"And I can't say that is was without its stumbles," she adds, "because I
definitely had those. But I was really, really lucky to have this show be my first
experience in terms of daytime."
EXIT TO EDEN
For two years, the raw recruit honed her skills at AMC alongside some of the most
prestigious performers in serials - Ruth Warrick (Phoebe), Susan Lucci (Erica) and Dorothy
Lyman (ex-Opal), among them - while her comtemptuous pixie-haired alter ego did her best
to bust up supercouple Jenny Gardner and Greg Nelson and to settle down her conniving
equal, Tad "The Cad" Martin. "I was probably, out of the whole circle of
the young performers, the most clueless," Walker admits, "about what was
expected of me and what my responsibilities were. I was lucky that I paid attention and
that I respected these people who did it so well and so effortlessly."
But those good old days were just the
beginning. Little did Walker realize when she left New York and joined a quirky new NBC
soap called Santa Barbara that her star would go from rising slowly and steadily to
shooting skyward at mach speed. Nor could she have predicted that her protrayal of SB's
beleaguered heiress Eden Capwell would win her an Emmy in 1989...or that in short order,
her personal life would go through many changes, including a divorce and the birth of her
son, Taylor, now 10. "I felt like I got on track around the time I had him. I had
spent that second part of my life, from 20 to 30, finishing the first."
Be Careful What You Wish For
In 1991, Walker decided to branch out and opted to leave daytime for the lead in Palace
Guard, a new series from Stephen J. Cannell, the creator of the A-Team. Much to her
chagrin, she discovered that the grass wasn't greener on the other side. "I didn't
know that I didn't want that [primetime] until I was in the middle of it," she
reflects. "It wasn't that it turned me off, but it just didn't turn me on."
Fortunately for the actress, the audience felt the same way about the series as she was
feeling about her post-soap career. The show was canceled after only four weeks.
Two years later following a string of TV movies, including Terror of the Shadows, with
Genie Francis (Laura, General Hospital), Walker received an offer she couldn't refuse.
Former SB executive producter Jill Farren Phelps invited her to return to Manhattan and
join the cast of Guiding Light, the serial that Phelps was helming at the time. But though
Walker's arrival as the mysterious Tangie Hill was hyped to high heaven, the experience
was less then stellar. "The character wasn't working," she explains. "I
wasn't working. I felt that I was lost - that I was missing the great dance."
So when the drama where she originally had
earned her stripes asked her to return, she leapt at the opportunity.
Grace Under Pressure
In 1995, a more fully evolved Liza and her portrayer resurfaced in Pine Valley. "This
third part of my life has been about learning who I am and my personal worth", shared
Walker. "You have to be a gracious and encouraging person in life - I think that's
almost a necessity these days - but at the same time, it's completely all right to expect
others to treat you well and to appreciate and to be loving to you. Some people learn it
very early on what their personal worth is; with others, it just takes longer."
Although emotionally, she may be a late bloomer these days, Walker is having no identity
crisis. "I am Taylor's mom," she states emphatically, "and I'm a pretty
darn good mother. I have a good relationship with my son. Careerwise, I feel I'm good at
what I do. I know I try really hard at it. I still will not go a day without giving it
everything I've got."
Walker's co-stars agree. In March, after
this year's Daytime Emmy nominations were announced, many of her castmates lamented the
fact that her name was conspicuously absent from the ballot. "Marcy is so good that
nobody know she's good," suggests Jennifer Bassey, who plays her mom, Marian.
"They don't know how wonderful she is. But when you work with her, that's when you
really are impacted. I think she's the best actress on daytime television."
Adds Kelly Ripa (Hayley): "Marcy is brilliant. She just walks in; she doesn't have to
say anything, and she should win an Emmy."
However, Walker herself was not offended by what many critics considered a snub. Instead
she is diplomatic and refreshingly forthright about the voting process. "Across the
breadth of this whole industry, we have a lot of really great people," she says,
"and a lot of people who really deserve to be recognized aren't. I was not
discouraged that I wasn't nominated. It's always an incredible honor [to make the cut],
but it wasn't meant to be."
This Year's Model
Instead of dwelling on what wasn't or what could have been, Walker is reveling in what is.
And that is Liza. Like her portrayer, the former adolescent Jezebel has experienced an
evolution. From troublemaker to executive to mommy. "Every day it's a new
challenge," says the actress. "Right now, I'm playing the new person that she's
become through really accepting that she's loved and having the love of her child and
having all the things that she thought she'd never have that she always wished for."
"This way," she adds," the audience, the writers and everybody else are
allowed to bring her back to her original horribleness if they ever wanted to do
So, it is safe to assume that naughty Liza has not disappeared for good? "Bad girl's
just sleeping," Walker replies with a laugh. "She can come back anytime, and I
hope they do bring her back. I really do. I just loved the way they wrote for her [as a
vixen]. It was so great. I'd walk away flushed from the day because it was really an
achievement to get to that place, and it was really fun."
Walker may very well get her wish. Who
knows how Liza will react when the truth is revealed that Adam is really Colby's
biological father. "I think she's going to be pretty mad when she finds out the
truth," offers her portrayer. "But who knows? It's all hypothesis for me. I said
to David [Canary, Adam/Stuart], 'What would be the great thing to do is for her to reject
her daughter'...for her to become so emotionally distraught over what he did that she
completely rejects her child. Then eventually she could come back to falling in love with
him and Colby. It could be kind of interesting."
A Simple Life
While her character's home life could fall apart at any minute, reality for Walker is much
more stable. Currently single, the actress and her son recently moved from Manhattan back
to Connecticut, where they had been residing previously. "I really missed having a
home," she shares. "And he wasn't getting nearly enough exercise. I was
selfishly hoping that I would be able to make my commute better and have more time for my
son by living in the city, but that didn't seem the case. So, I just said, 'Forget it. I'm
not going to be proud. I'm just going to pack up my junk and go."
Now the two are enjoying life in the country, where they attend church, Taylor
participates in Little League, and Walker putters around the yard and makes Dunkin'Donut
coffee runs. Would she ever consider saying "See ya" to showbiz in exchange for
a more "normal" existence? "I could," she reveals, "But I'd like
to work like a dog for the next 10 years or more - as long as they'll have me. And if I
couldn't do what I do now, I'd still want to be a part of [soaps], but in a different
function. I would hope that they would sew me back together and shove me somewhere.
Anything but Xeroxing - I'm never good at that." SID 8/10/99