As an actress Gail Kobe (born Gabriella Kieliszewski) starred on television in PEYTON PLACE (as Doris Schuster) and BRIGHT PROMISE (as Ann Boyd Jones), with guest appearances in numerous shows such as GUNSMOKE, HOGAN'S HEROES, THE UNTOUCHABLE and MISSION IMPOSSIBLE. She was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award playing Dr. Anne Warner in the series DR. KILDARE.
"I'd never done a soap before," Gail said about working on BRIGHT PROMISE in 1970, "but I actually enjoy it. I don't think the scripts are inferior to the scripts I usually get to play on IRONSIDE or NAME OF THE GAME or one of the westerns.
Kobe also appeared the famed Cecil B. DeMille 1956 film The Ten Commandments.
After moving behind the camera, Kobe worked as a producer on RETURN TO PEYTON PLACE (the show that replaced BRIGHT PROMISE), ANOTHER WORLD, DAYS OF OUR LIVES and THE EDGE OF NIGHT. In 1981 she took over as executive producer at NBC daytime soap opera TEXAS.
After TEXAS was canceled, Procter & Gamble moved Kobe to GUIDING LIGHT. She brought a number of people from the TEXAS cast and crew with her including actors Harley Jane Kozak and Michael Woods, and writer Pamela Long (the final head writer at TEXAS). Kobe and her team had a great eye for talent casting new superstars as well as veterans in key roles.
"The producer (Kobe) said she was giving me the part without an audition because she knew me from SOMERSET," actress Tina Sloan said in a 2000 interview. "They needed a strong woman to play a weak one, otherwise it wouldn't be interesting. It was only supposed to last for six months and it has been 17 years now, for which I'm very grateful."
Kobe was nominated for a Daytime Emmy Award in 1985 as executive producer of GUIDING LIGHT.
Some fans had mixed feelings about Kobe's run at GUIDING LIGHT because a number of veteran actors, who were part of key core families, were fired from the show including Tom O'Rourke, Marsha Clarke and Don Stewart. Stewart was famously fired in 1984 via a phone call from Kobe in the middle of a golf game while on vacation.
In April 1986 Kobe was fired from GUIDING LIGHT while also on vacation. But there's no question about the lasting impression the show made during Kobe's tenure. From The Four Musketeers to Reva's "Slut of Springfield" baptizing in the fountain, GUIDING LIGHT was an entertaining, well-produced soap opera.
When William J. Bell launched new daytime soap THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL in 1987, Kobe was one of the first people he wanted to bring on board as a producer. She had worked for him at DAYS OF OUR LIVES in the 1970s.
She is survived by her cousins, Constance Orson, Casting Director Greg Orson, Carl Orson, Linda Abdelaziz, Michael Anderson, Diane Anderson Smith, and Judy and Dale Anderson. A service for Kobe will be held at the MPTF campus at the Louis B. Mayer Theater on August 18th at 3pm. In lieu of flowers, donations should be made to the Motion Picture and Television Fund where she resided the past two years.
- FLASHBACK: Gail Kobe at Home in Soap Operas (1970)
- Nelson Aspen's Where Are They Now Tour: Michael Woods