Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Peapack Interviews: Elizabeth Keifer

We Love Soaps traveled to Peapack, New Jersey before GUIDING LIGHT taped their final episode. As fans prepare to say goodbye to the beloved 72-year-old soap on September 18, we are sharing our interviews with the cast including the beautiful and talented Elizabeth Keifer (Blake). Keifer shares her thoughts on her GUIDING LIGHT run, what she has learned from Blake and what the future has in store.

We Love Soaps: Ms. Keifer, it is such an honor to meet you! I have loved your work on GUIDING LIGHT. I even loved your work on DAYS OF OUR LIVES 22 years ago as Amy.
Elizabeth Keifer: Wow, that’s like a bad flash right now, like I’m having one of those trips! It was with that blonde, that tall blonde?

We Love Soaps: Lisa Trusel.
Elizabeth Keifer: Right, and we were looking for somebody.

We Love Soaps: It was some kind of an adventure, you were in trouble...
Elizabeth Keifer: Distressed, I played a lot of distressed.

We Love Soaps: But I think you true talents and skills were displayed during your time on GUIDING LIGHT.
Elizabeth Keifer: Yes. There was no sass in the DAYS OF OUR LIVES character and so I just didn’t know what to do.

We Love Soaps: Blake gave your a chance to put on the sass.
Elizabeth Keifer: Blake filled it up. Oh yeah. I think I learned my lessons on the shows I did prior to it. They were very one note. Except for the nun, I played a crazy nun on GENERAL HOSPITAL. But I wasn’t quite tapping into what I wanted to be doing, and then Guiding Light came around. It’s a great story because I actually auditioned for Eve Guthrie first, who was very noble and everything. And I thought, I won’t do it because I’ve done this before and it didn’t really work. So I played it like Blake, not really knowing. They said, “No, you’re not right. But you’d be very good for this other character coming up. Will you come back and test for that?” So it was history after that.

We Love Soaps: How did you feel about being paired with Jerry verDorn right off the bat?
Elizabeth Keifer: There is nothing bad about that. He made me feel wonderful from the moment I stepped foot on set. It helped that I was a huge long term fan of GUIDING LIGHT since 1979, so I was very well of all of the characters, and all the relationships. I didn’t skip a beat. There were no issues for me, I had no questions.

We Love Soaps: I think that helps explain why viewers connected to you so quickly, which is quite unusual is a recast.
Elizabeth Keifer: Well I’m glad. It was a rough six months in the beginning, confidence wise. But that was only on one level. Deep down I lived it. I was living and breathing it. It was a transition, I got to be a fan who got to be a character.

We Love Soaps: You were front burner for almost ten years on the show. In recent years you were recurring. How has that been for you?
Elizabeth Keifer: It’s been a different kind of ride ever since Jerry left. Ross and Blake were no longer Ross and Blake. There was a few years where not only did Blake not having any idea who her identity was, but the writers didn’t have any idea. No one quite knew what to do with me. So that was a little rough. I went through everything that someone would go through when you’ve lost your partner. I think I shadowed every thing that would happen in real life. And now we’ve rediscovered Blake. She’s very much part of the soul of GUIDING LIGHT. I’m happy that there are a lot of heroic qualities coming out in this character now. It’s so much fun.

We Love Soaps: What would you have liked to have scene happen for Blake after Ross had passed?
Elizabeth Keifer: Honestly, I wish there would have been more development with the kids. I wanted the two teenage boys to come in as grown heartthrobs. I wanted them to be the Cane & Abel - Roger’s grandsons. As Blake is going into the next stage of life to have grown children. I think that would have been fascinating to play that. I would have loved to have seen the kids say, “Mom, could you just button that, would you do that for me?”

We Love Soaps: How are you dealing now with the disappointment of the show ending?
Elizabeth Keifer: I think I’m just in denial. That’s how I deal with it [laughs]. I put my head under the pillow. I have great belief that the show has a very strong sustaining force. It always has, and I believe it always will. So it’s ending it’s particular incarnation at the studio and at CBS but I still believe that there is life for it to move on. And I’d be happy to move with it. I have a very healthy open mind about it. I’m taking the strength that I get from it, and bring it wherever I go. Guiding Light has been a family and it’s given me so much, so you can’t take that away from me.

We Love Soaps: What have you learned from Blake over the years?
Elizabeth Keifer: Oh! [Pause], It’s funny, I think just the honesty of Blake. I think Blake has a sass, but it’s a confidence. It’s speaking one’s mind and not really caring what anybody else thinks. I’ve gotten that from Blake. I wish Blake had had a little bit more sense of my peace and security along the way. I have this wonderful sense of family and peace, I’m not thinking the grass is greener over there. I’ve got it, it’s here. I wish Blake had a little more of that. Blake gave me this strength that I called in said, “I’ll take that.”

We Love Soaps: How have you found that peace in your own life?
Elizabeth Keifer: Through my family. They keep me present with what really matters. It’s all about relationships anyway, isn’t that what GUIDING LIGHT is all about? It’s all about relationships, it’s all about family, that’s what GUIDING LIGHT does for all the fans. My own family does that for me, and GUIDING LIGHT takes it on another level.

We Love Soaps: How has it been to not work with the people you started with such as Jerry verDorn and Maureen Garrett?
Elizabeth Keifer: I miss them so much. The hardest part about ending the show for me in this manner was not having closure with Ross. And having one more seen with Jerry, just one more scene, just one scene where we’re on camera together at the same time together because we never got that. That’s been very difficult, but I had to just allow that to go. And of course, Michael [Zaslow] is not even available to us. But I think of him often. But Maureen Garrett has come back, and I do get the opportunity to play out scenes with her. And it’s delicious. It was like we took right up and never left off.

We Love Soaps: Do you think Blake will get closure with Holly in a way that is satisfying for you?
Elizabeth Keifer: Yes.

We Love Soaps: Is there anything else you can tell us about your scenes with Maureen Garrett?
Elizabeth Keifer: Well, she just helps Blake decide to move on. In a way Blake has stayed back thinking, “I’ve had it, I’ll never get it again.” But I think Blake learns from Holly about different kinds of love and different stages of love. And that it’s okay to have something different. She talks a little sense into her about that. There’s a crazy kind of love, then a comfortable kind of love. We talk about Roger, it’s really wonderful.

We Love Soaps: What has been your favorite story line playing Blake over these past 17 years?
Elizabeth Keifer: Twins by two different fathers. It’s gotta be! Being between Jerry verDorn and Michael O'Leary was the best sandwich ever! Because you have energies that are so opposing and I was smack in the middle and I would just never stop laughing. It was so ridiculous, yet we played like it was really happening. They were all so wonderful. It was so much fun to play because there was a scene every time you turned around. You just had to look at each other and there was a scene that was unwritten. Aside from when I first came on and it was Ross, Holly, Roger, Blake - that grouping was unbelievable.

We Love Soaps: Blake getting pregnant by two different fathers was very unusual at that time. Since then pretty much every other show has featured some sort of story like that.
Elizabeth Keifer: We were the first.

We Love Soaps: But then that twist was reconned later wasn’t it?
Elizabeth Keifer: Here’s the story on that one. It was changed only according to Ben, what Ben said, his word that he tells Annie. Or did Annie tell Ben?

We Love Soaps: I think it was Annie who told Ben that she had switched the paternity tests.
Elizabeth Keifer: Well it was only based on somebody’s word. There was never a DNA test. It’s based on words of people who were...questionable. And their motives were questionable. So I’ve never believed it. As Blake I believe they’re Ross’s. But as a potential story line? I think it’s still out there.

We Love Soaps: And what story do you look back upon and wish it had been done a different way?
Elizabeth Keifer: I think they rushed the Ben story line. They did rush it because something else fell through, I don’t know what that was. They immediately took me from being pregnant and being out to here and then suddenly said, “Now you’re in love with Ben.” They didn’t get any lead-up to it. They didn’t show Blake being dissatisfied being a housewife at home, yearning for something and not getting it. Not giving her the steps toward being distracted by something else. So I had a hard time making the jump of why I would be so drawn to him that I would throw away everything. On that one I think the foundation was a little shaky. Then once it happened it was fascinating as to how it all played out. And also I was pregnant at the time and I was kind of not in the mood. [laughs] Sorry.

We Love Soaps: Looking back at your career of over 25 years in daytime, what advice would you have given yourself starting out?
Elizabeth Keifer: [Pause] Oh, I just should have relaxed and had more fun. I was just too uptight. Honestly, we’re all human, and I should have just brought more me into every thing. But I was learning, I was young, and I probably didn’t need to start that early. I should have gone around and traveled the world. Now I look back and think, “What was I doing, doing that so young?” I was on Young and the Restless as a teenager!

We Love Soaps: Knowing all that now, does that influence your plans for the future?
Elizabeth Keifer: I love theater, I’ll actually be doing theater at the end of October through November, up in the Hudson Valley I’m doing a production of "The Secret Garden." My real life daughter is in it well playing Mary Lennox. I also did a scene in a movie called Morning Glory (pictured) with Jeff Goldblum, playing his wife, which will be out next year. That was fun, a lot of fun. Harrison Ford and Diane Keaton are in it. And, I’m open. But I like the ensemble. I like this, I want to do this still. I want to keep doing this with a group, with a family. I like working with people for a long time.

We Love Soaps: Is there anything you’d like to say to the We Love Soaps readers who are really saddened and grieving over the loss of GUIDING LIGHT and the loss of Blake?
Elizabeth Keifer: Have faith that this is going to move on somewhere else at some point. You have to have faith that thing is strong enough because we can never go away, we will always be here. Always.


  1. I am not a Guiding Light watcher, so personally, I will be SO glad when this show is off the air and don't have to see endless GL posts any more. There ARE other shows to cover.

  2. Thank you for the interview. I have always been a Blake fan and Liz has such a cool attitude.

  3. @Sally: Instead of dancing on GL's grave, you might ask yourself what this means for those "other shows". It ain't good, honey.

    And quite frankly, a soap that has lasted for 72 years, longer than ANY other show of any kind, DESERVES the press it's getting.

    When any of those "other shows" accomplish that, then maybe they will get the press that GL is getting right now.

  4. Great interview.Thank you DJ Shiva!

  5. Sally if that is the way you feel Why are you reading the interview or on this page. That is an awful selfih remark. I guess that must say something about you as a person.

  6. Thanks for the interview. I'm a long time Days fan, and a relatively new Guiding Light viewer, but I can still appreciate all the 'endless' posts about the longest drama in history going dark. I can see how the loss of this show affects a lot of veteran actors that spent a big portion of their careers on Guiding Light. Not to mention the hundreds of crew & behind the scenes people that worked on the show, and what this says about the health of daytime dramas at this point in time.

    A few years ago, when I would read somewhere that NBC might not renew DOOL I could not imagine that happening. Imagine Days of our Lives not on at 1:00 pm every day. Now, with the death of a 72 year old show, plus what's happening to AMC & OLTL - I can. That saddens and scares me.

    So, I say I hope you fellows at We Love Soaps have more interviews to post.

    By the way, that first comment was so ungracious. Why even bother to comment. What if the actress reads the comments? Jeesh.....

  7. This is for Sally who is not a GL fan. This Friday will be a very sad day for all of us loyal GL fans who have watched this show since I was a little girl. You might not be a fan of GL but there are plenty of us that are. I know I will cry at the very last scene.. GOOD BYE GL i will miss you.