It was 25 years ago that Patsy Pease was hired by DAYS OF OUR LIVES to portray Kimberly Brady, the spunky sibling of Roman, Bo and Kayla. Who knew after her first scene of being discovered naked in Tony DiMera's bed that she was beginning an eight year legacy as a strong, stubborn, and inspiring leading lady. Please join me in this series of interviews to learn how Patsy nailed the role of Kimberly, how she has coped with internal and external struggles, and has inspired millions (including me) to overcome adversity.
We Love Soaps: It is such an honor to be able to speak with you.
Patsy Pease: I looked at you guys, you look like you work out a lot, you guys are in great shape. I’ve got to say that right off the bat.
We Love Soaps: Thank you! During the summer of 1984, I saved up the entire summer for a VCR so I could tape DAYS every day once school started. That was right at the beginning of your first successful run as Kimberly Brady. Before that, you had been on SEARCH FOR TOMORROW with John Aniston (Victor)
Patsy Pease: Yes, and Matt Ashford (Jack). We had gone to school together. In fact, I was his jazz teacher. So when I went to New York and did SEARCH and then left. Then he went to New York and did SEARCH and then left. Then I went to DAYS, and he went to DAYS. I said, “If this is Teacher Appreciation month I can understand that, but you’ve really got to stop following me around. “ And John too!
We Love Soaps: Yes, John Aniston followed you to DAYS after SEARCH.
Patsy Pease: The funny thing is, on SEARCH he played a character that was trying to get me kicked out of town too. He’s so good at being bad, he has fun doing it.
We Love Soaps: How did DAYS come about for you?
Patsy Pease: To this day, I have no idea how Doris Sabbagh [former DAYS casting director] got my number. I had come here with my boyfriend. The boyfriend left, my car was stolen, and my agency dumped me, all within one week. I don’t know what’s worse, being with no agency or no transportation in L.A. You’re kind of doomed if you don’t have either one of those. So I got myself a pair of tennis shoes, and I walked until I found a job. I had no cell phone, I had no answering service. I got a message on my answering machine from Doris Sabbagh, I thought it was a joke, it was to come in and audition for a part named “Kimberly Brady.” And I thought, “Who in the Hell is this, what is a Kimberly Brady, and how am I going to get there?” So I thumbed a ride...
EDITOR'S NOTE: Sabbagh is also credited with discovering Crystal Chappell and many others.
We Love Soaps: ...you thumbed a ride, in Hollywood?
Patsy Pease: Oh yeah! Well I’m from North Carolina, we do stuff like that! I said, “Hell I ain’t got two dimes to rub together, somebody is going to pick my poor white trash ass up.” And some poor soul did, in a convertible no less. My hair looked like it caught on fire, I was sweating because there was no air conditioning. The stage manager took one look at me when I came in and went “WAH [makes surprised screaming noise]”. She grabbed a hair dryer and dried me off, and said, “Never never never let them see you sweat.” I thought, “Oh my God, do I really want to work here?”
Patsy Pease: People always talk about their first impressions, and they say, “I walked in and it was so wonderful.” I thought they were neurotic messes! They’re running around like they discovered the cure for cancer. It’s a soap people! We are entertaining, hello? She grabbed me by my arm, threw me in the bathroom, and told me to straighten myself out. But then I got locked in the bathroom and I heard this shrieking voice on the intercom yell, “[in a high-pitched voice] Patsy Pease, Patsy Pease, where are you?” And I thought, “Holy cow, do I really want to be here? I can’t get out of the bathroom, my hair is a mess, I’m apparently not okay for these people because I’m a human being and I sweat. [yelling] So sue me! I’m a freakin’ human being! People in daytime don’t sweat! I didn’t know that, but they don’t! And their hair is always perfect! You could have a hurricane come through and so of those dames’ hair don’t move! And some of the men too!”
We Love Soaps: Do you remember the scene you auditioned with?
Patsy Pease: It was with Roman, with Wayne (Northrop). I had gone to theater school, which didn’t prepare you for diddly squat. I just did what I had learned in school, to work on a scene the way a theater actor would. Apparently something jived with these people and they asked me to come back the next day. And I thought, “Oh God, how do I do this?” So I waited until everybody left because I didn’t want them to see me catch the bus. I had to go back to four or five times. It seems like you get things like that when you have very little to lose. I didn’t have money, I didn’t have things, I didn’t have a car, I didn’t have an agent, I had very little to lose.
Patsy Pease: No one was expecting big things from me so I had no one to disappoint. So I was very relaxed. And that taught me something about working with actors. There’s a life lesson there about going after things with desperation and anxiety because you have so much at stake. I have to ask myself, “How important is it?” If it comes down to me losing my sanity and my serenity then it’s not worth it to me. Because when I put something in front of my santiy and my serenity then it becomes my God. And I have seen that happen with a lot of people. And then they lose that job—that God that they’ve invented, that DAYS OF OUR LIVES that makes and breaks their living breath, so they can’t exist without it. And then they get very self-destructive when that job ends.
We Love Soaps: Yes, if someone is using an externalized source or fame for validation and meaning, it is a setup.
Patsy Pease: And it happens all the time. I think it depends on what your motives are. It comes down to “What is my agenda?”
We Love Soaps: What was your agenda when you started?
Patsy Pease: I just wanted to work. I just had fun playing with other people who wanted to play. And it hasn’t changed all that much. Hell, let’s face it, DAYS OF OUR LIVES fired me three times while I was there! It didn’t make one diddley squat bit of difference to me. Because they don’t own me. And they are certainly never ever worthy of becoming my higher power.
We Love Soaps: That’s good to hear that, and unusual for someone who reached the heights of popularity that you did as Kimberly.
Patsy Pease: And that came out of nowhere. If I hadn’t had some reference for...whatever people want to call it, spiritual priorities. I’m not talking about religion, I’m not into organized crime. I’m into ethics and principles, people who have some sense of who they are and what they’re worth. And they are worth more than a fictitious character on a screen.
Continue reading Part Two in which Patsy talks about her approach to acting, helping others and how Kimberly Brady helped Damon deal with teenage taunting.