This interview was originally published in the May 7, 1996 issue of Soap Opera Digest
DAYS OF OUR LIVES’s Kate Roberts may have gotten a little waterlogged while she was stuck on that fishing boat, but she never lost her fighting spirit. The minute the presumed-dead publishing exec resurfaced in Salem, she had loopy Vivian booted out of Victor’s mansion (not to mention his bed). Lauren Koslow, who was cast as the new Kate last December doesn’t wilt easily, either. She beat out an impressive list of soap vets — among them Janice Lynde (ex-Mandy) and Lois Chiles (ex-Holly) — to win the coveted role.
Koslow wasn’t even ruffled when she spied the other glamorous Kate contenders. She explains, “Anyone out there auditioning knows that there will be numerous faces you recognize when you show up to red. That’s just the way it is. There were so many actresses [up for Kate], I was thrilled to get the part.”
Apparently, so were DAYS fans. “I got positive mail at DAYS even before I started airing,” Koslow smiles. “I’ve been asked about assuming the role from Deborah Adair [who played Kate from 1993-95], but I think daytime audiences are used to roles being recast.”
Koslow, who grew up in Amherst, Massachusetts, planned to study animal science at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. But when a curriculum requirement landed her in the theater program, she got hooked. Post-college, she moved to L.A. and enrolled in acting classes. A fellow student happened to be Edward Scott, YOUNG AND RESTLESS’s executive producer, who spotted her soap appeal and eventually cast her on Y&R. Scott recalls, “What made Lauren stand out was her unusual beauty and her obvious talent. In fact, when I did a scene in class, Lauren was of my most vocal critics. She got the part on Y&R anyway,” he wryly notes. The part was Lindsey Wells, a blackmailer who took incriminating photos of Jack Abbott and his stepmother, Jill, and then played post office with those steamy Kodak moments. Jack ultimately put an F-stop to his involvement with Lindsey, but off-screen, Koslow’s own love life fared much better. While on Y&R, she met makeup artist Nick Schillace — a relationship that changed her life. Koslow recalls, “I thought Nicky was a little intimidating, so I used to just slip into the nearest makeup seat. One day he said to me, ‘You need to get into my chair.’ Friendship blossomed into love and then into marriage (in 1988), not to mention unlimited makeup pointers. “I may be prejudiced,” she beams, “but Nicky’s truly an artist. I still use him on photo shoots.”
No sooner had Ms. Wells worn out her welcome in Genoa City than Y&R honcho William J. Bell rehired Koslow for his new soap, B&B. In 1989, Koslow’s first pregnancy was written into the script; and later on, her son, Zach, now 7, played her TV child, Mark. Margo was a cutthroat couturier, but B&B’s half-hour format often kept her on the backburner. “Margo had potential to be a great bitch,” contends Koslow, who quit the show 1992. “B&B asked me to go recurring [and stay on], but after eight years and two children, I was ready to leave. I’ll always have affection for Margo.”
When DAYS started trolling for a new Kate, Koslow’s two children were in school and she was ready for steady work. “Daytime is perfect for having a somewhat normal family life,” she says. “I can drop [Zach and daughter, Milikate, 5], at school before going to work.” Off-set, Koslow treasures family time. “Nicky and I met at an age where we knew that our jobs weren’t the most important things,” she sighs. “If you don’t have life outside of show biz, you can be very unhappy. I’ve met too many people who are.”
JUST THE FACTS
Birthday: March 9
First Film: Hard To Hold with Rick Springfield
Be Kind, Rewind: “Louse Sorel [Vivian] offered to lend me old DAYS episodes on tape.”
Other Soaps: Lindsey Wells, YOUNG AND RESTLESS. 1984-86; Margo Lynley Spencer. BOLD AND BEAUTIFUL. 1987-92.
Tori’s Touch-Ups: Koslow’s husband, Nick Schillace, is the makeup artist for Tori Spelling (Donna) on BEVERLY HILLS, 90210.
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