Thursday, January 21, 2010

50 Greatest Soap Actresses: #18 Maureen Garrett

NAME: Maureen Garrett
RANK: 18
SOAP ROLES: Holly Norris, GUIDING LIGHT (1976-1981, 1988-2006, 2009); Elizabeth Jane "E.J." Ryan, RYAN'S HOPE (1981-1982)

1994 Daytime Emmy nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
1994 Soap Opera Digest Award nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress
1994 Soap Opera Digest Award nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress
1992 Daytime Emmy nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
1991 Daytime Emmy nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
1994 Soap Opera Digest Award nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress: Daytime

Nelson Aspen: GL's Holly was one of the most complex and interesting characters of the 70s and 80s. Even when the writers began to tinker with her history and credibility, Maureen always managed to make her believable and heroic. Her simple style of acting, wholesome beauty and simmering sexuality kept the GL audience interested in her, even when she had nothing important to play. I'd love to see her work again, perhaps as the quixotic matriarch of a new soap clan.

Lynn Liccardo: Where to begin? GL viewers who only saw Maureen Garrett's appearance in the final days got only a tiny taste of what was in her all-too-brief scenes with Peter Simon and Liz Keifer. And of course, they have no idea what they missed back in the day. What GL fan was shocked at the "Woody Allen-Mia Farrow-Soon-Yi Previn" saga when we had already seen Holly confront Ross and Blake?

And, of course, there's the iconic "Roger raped Holly" story: so powerfully written and acted that even an autistic child was said to have responded. Wouldn't have happened without the powerhouse combination of Garrett and Michael Zaslow.

Roger Newcomb: I watched GUIDING LIGHT from an early age and by the late 1970s Roger Thorpe was scaring me big time. I was young but I was drawn to her and felt such a loyalty to Holly, played by Maureen Garrett, and hated to see her suffer. It wasn't until her return to the show a decade later that I was really old enough to start appreciating what an incredible actress I had been watching. Maureen Garrett is the type of actress that can say so much without saying a word. I am in awe of her and miss seeing her talent on my television screen.

Damon L. Jacobs: There was always a pronounced dignity present in every one of Maureen Garrett's performances.  Whether she was portraying a survivor of spousal abuse, a scorned lover, or even the Pied Piper of Springfield, there was a reality based dimension that lent honor to every scene.  Here's hoping that a wise internet producer decides to capitalize on Ms. Garrett's talent, skills, and beauty very soon. 

Robert Newman: (worked with Garrett on GL) Maureen is sneaky. Her work sneaks up on you. She has that calming sort of presence and you think she’s doing very little, and in fact that’s exactly true. She understood more than anyone that less can in fact be so much more. Her work would draw you in. You couldn’t not watch her, with that incredible beauty and silky voice. She didn’t bounce off the walls or chew up the scenery. She simply told the truth, with every line and every movement. I loved watching her work.


  1. With a soul and integrity rarely seen among actresses in all of the entertainment mediums, Maureen talents are sorely missed. Her strength as an actress has brought her legions of fans. As Guiding Light was concluding, I remember how many fans posted how they'd love to see Holly back.
    Well, I think we'd all love to see Maureen back on the screen. Another soap, or primetime. Anything, really.
    In my book, she's right up there with Beverlee McKinsey for exhibiting a distinctive strength, and the ability to take charge of a scene, riveting the viewer with her sheer talent. Maureen and Michael offered some of the best moments daytime TV ever could offer. Just powerful together.

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  4. When people tell me that Otalia are groundbreaking, I always point them to this sensationally sapphic scene between Garrett and Beverlee McKinsey. They were so ahead of their time.

    Holly was a unique character in the television landscape from the get-go. She was very 'indie' in the soap landscape. I'll never forget her being Michelle's salvation after the death of Maureen Bauer. How did she get through to the shellshocked Michelle? By presenting herself as similarly vulnerable, but with a sense of humour about herself. She was just so fucking cool, without being self conscious! This is probably what made her Roger's obsession, and it's a tribute to Michael Zaslow that Roger responded to Holly so vividly, as befitting her mystique.

    Here you can find Holly's final scene, clumped between Ellen Wheeler's horrendously banal vision of Springfield.

    Of course, there is no Reva Shayne fountain-esque fanfare to herald Holly's presence. It's just beautifully simple. Taking place in a doorway for goodness sake, but this makes sense for Holly's liminal character - a woman who was always between worlds - obviously human, but strangely ethereal.
    She is Springfield's perpetual outsider - bohemian and androgynous, an enigma... but effortlessly captivating to all who cross her path.
    In fact, I've always seen Holly as cut from the same cloth as those great modernist writers Virginia Woolf and Katherine Mansfield, although never coming to realise her innate power until later in life (post-Roger Thorpe).

    This youtube user put it the best:
    "Holly Norris Bauer Thorpe Lindsey Reade - in my opinion, the greatest character ever created in Guiding Light's 72 years. Nobody else had her same irrerevent sense of absurdist dark humour, even in in the face of abject misery. She was totally unique, a one-off, a maverick of a soap opera character."

    Magnificent work, Maureen. I am sure more viewers will discover Holly through youtube, and find an old friend. :-)

  5. ROGER: How could I have destroyed what I loved best? And made even the loveliness of it so ugly to you?

    HOLLY (half whispering/half smiling): Not all of it. Not all of it.

  6. A couple of recent YouTube uploads made me really appreciate Maureen Garrett and the soaps of the early 90's. Watch this: and this:
    This may be a 26th reason for the decline of soaps. When have you seen scenes like these recently? Today's soaps don't do what the medium does best - fully explore characters and emotions.

    I miss Holly, Blake, Maureen Garrett and Liz Keifer. Bring them back, PLEASE!

    1. 7 years later, I think Young and Restlessnis doing this. The more seasoned actors are bringing layers upon layers to their characters. Especially Gina Tognani and Peter Bregman.