Lee Meriwether (ex-Ruth, AMC)By Joe Diliberto Posted: Sep 8, 2003
"I love doing the show and I love all the people, and it's great to get back in the saddle again,"says Meriwether who first essayed the Martin matriarch from 1996-'98, then started recurring again last year. "I'm so happy to be back. It's a treat that I never expected. Everyone was so gracious in welcoming me back. It's good to be home."Meriwether says the call to return came out the blue, and she readily agreed, even though there would be no guaranteed number of appearances."I'm no longer under contract, so it's just as the need arises,"she notes. "I never know until about three or four days ahead of time, [when] they send a script. I read the script and then I find out what they have me doing. Each time it's something different."She notes that in her most recent appearance, Aug. 14, she was helping Jackson with his Habitat for Humanity project."It's a wonderful way to have a role on a series -- you're not tied down totally and completely to a schedule,"she points out.And that flexibility suits her just fine, since she has other irons in the fire in the world of theater.She is preparing to set out on a 21-week national tour with Nunsense that begins Dec. 9 in Houston. "But it's in my contract that I can get out and do a day here and there for ALL MY CHILDREN."Meriwether plays Sister Robert Anne. "I'm the streetwise New Yorker nun who's always wanted to be on-stage. I'm taking tap classes here in Los Angeles. There is a big tap number."Which gives Meriwether an idea for a story for Ruth: "Seeing how I'm putting in all this money into learning to tap, if they'd put on a show of some kind, that would be fun, [for Ruth] to sing and dance. That would be kind of camp. Maybe I should call Megan (McTavish, AMC's head writer) now!"Meanwhile, Meriwether is also developing a one-woman show, The Women of Spoon River, with a Hollywood acting workshop called Theatre West.But Meriwether also knows viewers love to see her on AMC, and she has great affection for the fan-favorite character Ruth."She's Mother Earth,"Meriwether says. The Martins are "the family that is the most stable, I think. We bring a kind of a touchstone to Pine Valley. We have a great relationship. I love working with Ray
(MacDonnell, Joe), he is the easiest actor in the world. He reminds me a lot of, God bless him, Buddy Ebsen (Meriwether was a series regular on Ebsen's BARNABY JONES). Ray is a joy to be with and very witty."And is Michael E. Knight (Tad) as much fun to work with as he seems to be?"Oh, yes, yes!"Meriwether agrees. "Michael is a very gifted performer. He knows how to deliver the lines that they give him. A less-talented actor would kind of hit it on the head, you know, nail it, thinking that's the way you should do it. He just glides over. It's so subtle and so funny. It's wonderful."Another key creative person earning Meriwether's praise is McTavish. "She's a wonderful writer and I think she always seems to be able to bring intrigue and conflict, and that's what's needed on a show like ALL MY CHILDREN."As much as she enjoys revisiting the past in Pine Valley, there is one signature role Meriwether is happy to leave to the next generation: Catwoman. Having played the feline felon in the 1966 Batman movie and TV series' second season, Meriwether has only praise for the rumored new Catwoman, Halle Berry. "I think she'd be perfect,"Meriwether purrs. "I don't think that I could fit into the costume anymore."