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Exclusive: Judith Chapman On Her Days Of Our Lives Return

judith chapman, greg rikaart

Robert Voets; XJJohnson/

Judith Chapman, who in 2019 had a short-term run as Diana Colville, is returning to Days of Our Lives for a one-day reprisal of the character originally played by Genie Francis (Laura, General Hospital) from 1987-89. “I was surprised to get that call,” admits Chapman. “And then I was thrilled especially because I found out that my scenes would be with Greg [Rikaart], so Leo and Mommy are reunited! And when I read I read the script I went, ‘This is great stuff.’ ”

When Chapman arrived for duty at the DAYS studio, she encountered the show’s casting director, Marnie Saitta, who previously held the same post at Young And Restless, where Chapman recurs as the colorful Gloria. Reports the actress, “Marnie said, ‘Just go on stage and do everything you do,’ and I was like, ‘Okay, I can do that.’ ”

Chapman’s next stop was hair and makeup, where she asked for a less-is-more look appropriate to Diana’s circumstances (she’s languishing in prison for trying to murder Marlena). She notes, “I told them that I don’t want my hair all done up, I don’t want false eyelashes, and I don’t want lots of makeup. I may look like the devil and I may cringe when I see myself but she’s in jail not a spa, so this isn’t some glam thing.” She did, however, request a modification to her wardrobe for the day. Chapman says, “They had a jumpsuit and I went, ‘No, no, no, that’s pushing it too much. That’s too ugly.’ So I wore, just a pair of jeans and a denim shirt.”

As for how Diana is faring behind bars, Chapman speculates, “Oh, she probably owns the place,” she hypothesizes. “Diana is not invisible. She will not take any garbage from anybody, much less somebody who is not as attractive as she is, in her own mind. So now I think Diana is bored to tears, but she’s just biding her time. ‘I’ll get out of here one of these days.’ ”

Chapman was overjoyed to see Rikaart, who also plays her son, Kevin on Y&R. “Obviously, there were big hugs,” she enthuses. “It was so wonderful to work with him again. I haven’t seen him in a while, since the last time I was at Y&R”, which was for Lauren and Michael’s vow renewal last December.

For this sequence, Leo visits his incarcerated mother, who he hasn’t seen since she got thrown into the clink, on advice from his shrink, Marlena. “Diana was not happy about him going to Marlena for help and Leo is like, ‘Yeah, Mom, I’m figuring this out because you messed me up so much in my life,’ ” Chapman previews. “She stays in control so she’s not breaking down but her facade definitely cracks. By the time we finished the scenes, everybody who was in earshot started applauding. I thought it was just a token, ‘Oh, welcome back, Judith,’ but it was because Greg and I apparently knocked it out of the park. The director came out, threw her hands up and was like, ‘You did it, you did it!’ Greg and I hugged and just clung to each other for 15, 20 seconds. I was just very happy and my thought was, ‘If that’s the last thing I ever do on film, I’m pretty proud of it.’ ”

Chapman left her one-day stint behind knowing there would be a six-month waiting period until Diana and Leo’s face-off would air. However, the praise for a job well done kept coming. “Flash forward a few months, I was in Africa and I get this email from the music coordinator at DAYS,” she recounts. “He said, ‘Judith, I’m just doing the music scoring for your scenes in the prison with Greg, and my God, they were phenomenal!’ I was so pleased because I usually don’t get that kind of feedback.”

And yet, the compliments kept coming. Marvels Chapman, “Flash forward again and I’m in Ireland and my agent texted me, ‘Judith, I just got access to your scenes with Greg in the prison. Amazing!’ ” She muses, “If these scenes are half as good as everybody seems to claim they are, maybe I will finally put myself up for a [Daytime] Emmy next year [for Outstanding Guest Performer]. I had a great time and Diana is fun to play. She’s a damaged person and damaged people are always redeemed on soaps.”

Does that mean Chapman would be open to more one-day encores or even a longer stay if Diana — shudders — is released? “Of course!” she exclaims. “My phone works, not that I’m hustling and looking for jobs but if DAYS were to call, I’d go back with pleasure. I love the work.”



Dirty Diana: Chapman as Diana opposite Greg Rikaart as Leo during her 2019 DAYS stint, which concluded with Diana’s arrest for Marlena’s attempted murder.