Traci Takes On

Soap Opera Digest: Welcome back! How are you?
Beth Maitland: I’m doing well. I’m having a great time.Digest: Were you happy to do another guest appearance?
Maitland: Absolutely. I’m always thrilled to do them, and it’s always great to see everyone.

Digest: Are the “Abbotts” close in real life?
Maitland: Yes, we are. Jerry [Douglas, John] really is like our father. He always gave us advice and approved our significant others. It was hilarious!
Digest: And now you have a new on-screen daughter [Adrianne Leon, Colleen].
Maitland: She’s very sweet. What’s funny is that I’ve been training to be a director and have been working on sitcoms — and I always end up running into people who I’ve worked with over the course of a long career. Lyndsy Fonseca [ex-Colleen] turned up on one of the episodes I did; she was a guest star. It was great seeing her again. It was a nice reunion.Digest: So you’re working behind the scenes now?
Maitland: Yes. This season I’m working on THE WAR AT HOME for Fox and ALL OF US for UPN. It’s been loads of fun and has really helped with my behind-the-scenes education. I’m learning to edit, as well, and have an editing suite at home. I’m editing for video, which is fun.Digest: Wow, it sounds as if you have a lot going on. What else have you been doing?
Maitland: I also teach acting privately, I’ve been doing voice-over work. Not a lot of on-camera stuff in terms of acting, but I feel like I’m ready to go back to acting on camera a little more than I used to. I’ve been living on a ranch with goats and chickens and horses and my daughter [Emelia, born in 1995] and challenging husband [sound engineer Christopher Banninger, laughs]. I took the time off to raise my daughter and I thought behind-the-scenes work would be a bit better in terms of scheduling. Now she’s getting independent and growing up, so it’s almost time to go back to work.Digest: It sounds like your life on the farm could be a sitcom.
Maitland: I know! Juggling chores at 5:30 in the morning … feeding the livestock when it’s not light. My husband is also a pilot. He has a small business flying radioactive isotopes for cancer imaging across the Southwest, so when he’s en route back from New Mexico and I have to go to work, it’s hilarious. I’m literally in headlights, throwing hay over the fence. Ah, the glamour!Digest: How did he get involved in such a unique business?
Maitland: Like in most of life, things fall into our laps. He’s been a pilot since he was 17 and his endeavor was to make aviation pay for itself, sort of like I started doing plays at 13 and needed to make acting my living. He needed a way to justify his hobby — airplanes — rather than having it be just for fun. So he fell in with some people who needed deliveries made and had the appropriate licensing as a pilot, and the appropriate airplanes, and eventually he branched out and hired people to work for him. He basically manages the business and from time to time makes deliveries. He also works on sitcoms and documentaries, so it’s great when we’re on hiatus for him to have other things to do.Digest: That’s great. Is your daughter also showing an interest in showbiz?
Maitland: I was just talking about that with Jess Walton [Jill] and Peter Bergman [Jack]. We were laughing about how all of our children have shown an interest, like if our family owned a butcher shop, she’d be interested in that. It’s like you wish for them to do what they desire the most, but don’t want them to experience the ups and downs you’ve experienced [as an actor]. We’ve all said we’d only want our children to be actors if they had to be. I’m hoping she’ll be a marine biologist and spare herself some grief, talking to the dolphins.Digest: Well, she already lives with livestock.
Maitland: That’s right, that’s a start!

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