Ilene Kristen 411
BIRTHDATE: July 30
HAILS FROM: Brooklyn, NY
YEARS ON SHOW: 2001-present
Eager to jump-start her performing career, Brooklyn native Ilene Schatz left home at age 16. While she actively pursued dancing, singing and comedy, she became a soap star along the way. Dancing was her first love, but when that was sidelined by a thyroid condition, she shifted her focus to acting. She took on the role of cheerleader Patty Simcox in the original production of Grease, which opened on Valentine’s Day, 1972, and created the memorable role of Delia Reid on RYAN'S HOPE when it debuted in 1975. But after three years of playing Delia, Kristen decided to take a break from the soap world and explore L.A., where she became a founding member of the McCadden Theatre Company and played Peter Falk's sister-in-law in a stage production of Knives, which was written and directed by John Cassavetes.
Kristen returned to the East Coast and reprised the role of Delia, much to fans' delight, in 1982. After the show ended in 1989, she did a little bit of everything, from soap roles on LOVING and ANOTHER WORLD to singing in rock bands and working for a high-end wedding photographer. She found out she'd won the pivotal role of quirky, troubled mom Roxy in September 2001 — the day before the September 11 attacks — and a few weeks later thought, "'People really need entertainment, and I'll give it to them.'" Kristen delivered the goods, and Roxy was instantly popular, even gaining the actress an Emmy nod (her first ever) for Outstanding Supporting Actress in 2004 and again in 2005. She was dropped to recurring status in 2004, but Kristen has been happy to stay on board. "I can't let Roxy die," she told Digest at the time. "I love working here. The show is good to recurring characters."
Kristen continues to perform at New York City venues such as The Society of Illustrators and The Triad, and starred in the 2008 indie flick Manhattanites, co-directed by Darnell Williams (Jesse, ALL MY CHILDREN) and also featuring OLTL's Forbes March (ex-Nash) and David Fumero (Cristian). Her official Web site is www.ilenekristen.net.