From Rockette to a 'DAYS' Maze
By Jon-Michael Reed
Los Angeles Times
July 5, 1979
Suzanne Rogers injected this year's Daytime Emmy Awards with one of the few moments of unabashed, delirious joy. Accepting her trophy as outstanding supporting actress in a daytime drama series, redhead Suzanne (who plays Maggie on DAYS OF OUR LIVES) bounced out of her seat and onto the stage. After acknowledging her formidable competition, Rogers exclaimed, with a giggle, "but I'm also glad you gave this to me."
Suzanne's victory provides a case-book study of a small-town girl who made good. Born Suzanne Cecelia Crumpler in Midland, Md., the actress began her career at age 5 as a dancer. After high school, she moved to Manhattan and became a Radio City Music Hall Rockette.
She became a chorus-line cutie with choreographer Peter Gennaro's troupe, performing on the ED SULLIVAN shows and in the Broadway musical "Hallelujah Baby." After tapping around automobiles in industrial shows, Suzanne decided to study acting and voice. She was featured in Broadway's "Coco" with Katharine Hepburn and "Follies" with Alexis Smith. She settled on the West Coast after touring with the latter production and was hired by DAYS OF OUR LIVES six years ago.
Maggie was introduced as a crippled farm girl who was smitten by the attentions of a mysterious stranger, Marty Hanson. It turned out Marty was an amnesia victim and was really Mickey, son of the show's core family, the Hortons. After Mickey divorced his wife, Laura, he and Maggie were legally wed and adopted a girl, Janice.
But Janice's mother came into the picture and fought for custody. The trial provoked Maggie to hit the bottle and she became and alcoholic. Maggie's character twist gave Suzanne the opportunity to expand her acting, which resulted in her Emmy, but Suzanne had mixed feelings about it.
"Maggie was so good," says Rogers, "that nobody believed her capable of such a downfall. And it all happpened so rapidly and was resolved so suddenly. The effect was very much like a roller-coaster manipulation. There was no time to play the 'gray area,' that period between the beginning and the result end. But many fans sent in brochures about groups that help alcoholics so I suppose the audience believed the situation, although they weren't being helped to understand it."
Suzanne differs from her character in at least one major respect. "Suzanne says what's on her mind," says Suzanne, "while Maggie takes it on the chin and cries a lot. Also, I refuse to go through life wandering in a maze. I want to see my roads clearly ahead of me."
One of those roads is an end-of-summer marriage to actor Sam Groom. Sam accompanied Suzanne to the Emmys and from New York the couple went to visit her parents in Colonial Heights, Va.
As for DAYS OF OUR LIVES, Suzanne isn't sure where the new head writer will take Maggie, but the actress provides a clue when she says, "Audiences love it when a good character goes awry. Fans clucked their tongues at me and uttered, 'I saw you kiss Doug,' as though they were in on a big fat juicy scandalous secret."