Monday, November 12, 2012

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Cindy Pickett's Synthesized Life

Cindy Pickett
Actress Cindy Pickett has been beloved by fans of her work for decades, from her role in Roger Vadim's Night Games or as Ferris Bueller's mom to primetime characters such as ST. ELSEHWERE's Dr. Carol Novino and CALL TO GLORY's Vanessa Sarnac. But no matter how many great successes followed, Daytime fans still remember her fondly for her work as Jackie Marler in GUIDING LIGHT from 1976 to 1980.

And she gets recognized as that character to this day! Pickett is now embarking on a new journey in the Indie world, a role opposite Nicolas Coster in the upcoming web series MY SYNTHESIZED LIFE, which features a cast full of familiar faces.

We Love Soaps caught up with Pickett this week to revisit her soap days and look ahead to her latest role, as MY SYNTHESIZED LIFE's Louise Bales. Read Part 1 of our interview below:

WE LOVE SOAPS: When [MY SYNTHESIZED LIFE] creator Nate Golon tweeted a photo of the two of you a few weeks ago, I got so excited. I remember loving your portrayal of Jackie Marler on GUIDING LIGHT, and you haven't stopped working ever since. Do you ever still get recognized on the street from your soap days?
CINDY PICKETT: I always have people come up and say, "Do I know you?" And I'll go, "Ferris Bueller?" And they'll say, "Yes, but something else." And I'll say, "Jackie Marler?" and they go, "YES!" And when I go to an autograph show I have several pictures of me and the two brothers that were the main characters.

WE LOVE SOAPS: Mart Hulswit and Don Stewart [who played Ed and Mike Bauer]!
CINDY PICKETT: Don Stewart! Somewhere in there we had a thing.

WE LOVE SOAPS: Jackie and Mike dated at one point.
CINDY PICKETT: I had just arrived in New York and had gotten a Broadway show but it fell through. So I auditioned and got this soap opera. It was between me and the girl who had been the lead in "Hair" on Broadway. She was a beautiful blonde actress and I thought, "Oh man, she's going to get it." I remember being in the bathroom with the casting person who was Betty Rea, who became a really dear friend.

Jarrod Ross and Cindy Pickett in GUIDING LIGHT
WE LOVE SOAPS: She cast everyone for years.
CINDY PICKETT: In the bathroom we talked clothes ("Oh, I love your skirt." "Oh, I love your skirt."). And I got the role. Jackie originally was very one-dimensional. She was just this rich bitch. But I don't have a mean bone in my body so all of a sudden she became like a heroine. It was just the most multifaceted character because she did both. There was a part of her who needed to pretend like she was a rich bitch. There was the part that was vulnerable because she had given up her child [Phillip]. And it was all just a ruse to be able to be with Chris Bernau [who played Alan] to be near her child.

WE LOVE SOAPS: I'm so glad to hear you know how appreciated you are for that work.
CINDY PICKETT: When I was on, Kevin Bacon was on, Jo Beth Williams was on, and John Pasquin was a really good director. We all moved to Hollywood and started doing movies. We had really good writers. I don't know if that was the heydey of the soap operas or not...

WE LOVE SOAPS: That was one of the best periods of GUIDING LIGHT and daytime soaps when the Dobsons were writing. There were comedic elements along with the drama. It was really well done.
CINDY PICKETT: It was. I had a great time. It was one of the best jobs. You had to get used to memorizing 30 pages of dialog a night. That was kind of humbling, but you did it [laughs]. You didn't have to be line perfect like we were on ST. ELSEWHERE, where the lines were fabulous. On the soap, you just couldn't learn that much line perfect every night and when it was your story it was every single day.

WE LOVE SOAPS: When I tweeted that I was going to be talking with you, Denise Pence [who played Katie in GUIDING LIGHT) responded, "My dressing roomie!"
CINDY PICKETT: [Laughs] Yes!

WE LOVE SOAPS: Mart Hulswit is still around in New York, too, I think.
CINDY PICKETT: Aww. I miss him terribly.

WE LOVE SOAPS: There were many Ed Bauers over the years, but he really made a lasting impression on fans.
CINDY PICKETT: And they brought on another actress as Jackie Marler and she had dark hair and was completely different from me. I think she died in a plane crash and then came back?

WE LOVE SOAPS: They brought her on (Carrie Mowery) and then a year later Jackie died in a plane crash. Although on soaps dying in a plane crash usually means you're not dead [laughs]. It just wasn't the same after you left the role.
CINDY PICKETT: It was a really good part. I wish I could get a part like that now.

Nate Golon and Cindy Pickett
WE LOVE SOAPS: So how did you connect with Nate Golon and become involved with MY SYNTHESIZED LIFE?
CINDY PICKETT: Actually he just made me an offer and I said, "Yes!" We met at the Rose Cafe in Venice and he was just great. I really like the script and I love to work. There's not a lot of work anymore for those of us over 50.

WE LOVE SOAPS: Based on the picture Nate tweeted, you don't look it!
CINDY PICKETT: Well, you know, I kind of believe you can be ageless if we take care of yourself. I've done yoga all my life, and I was a dancer. I stay fit and eat well. I'm not raw food crazy or anything but I just take care of myself. And I'm blessed.

- MY SYNTHESIZED LIFE Starting Production; Cast Includes Brent Bailey, Jonathan Schwartz, Cindy Pickett, Katie Leclerc, Nicolas Coster, Barrett Foa, Stacey Oristano, Marissa Jaret Winokur, Sean Hemeon

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Roger Newcomb is a producer and writer in New York City. Aside from co-hosting WE LOVE SOAPS TV, he has written and produced a full-length indie film, Manhattanites, and two radio soap operas, SCRIPTS & SCRUPLES and ROCKLAND COUNTY. He has also made acting appearances in indie web series IMAGINARY BITCHES and EMPIRE. He has consulted on numerous indie soaps, worked as a producer on the first two seasons of Emmy-nominated THE BAY, and is executive producer on the indie short May Mercy Lie, which is currently making the rounds at film festivals.


  1. Great to hear from Cindy. She graduated from my junior college alma mater; the drama department there was well-respected and other alums included Sandy Duncan, Tommy Tune, as well as recent Emmy winner Margo Martindale. Roger, if you talk to Cindy again, tell her the college ran into trouble this year and had to file bankruptcy; supposedly there will be an auction soon if the court allows. If so, a sad end to a 158-year legacy.

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  3. Loved her on St. Elsewhere. Great hearing about her!