Lynn Herring first appeared on GENERAL HOSPITAL as Lucy Coe in 1986. In 1997 the character moved to GH spinoff PORT CHARLES. Once that show went off the air in 2003 Herring did not return to GH as expected. In December 2012, Herring finally returned as Lucy Coe and has been featured prominently ever since. We Love Soaps spoke with Herring recently about her life, career and return to GENERAL HOSPITAL. Read our new interview below:
WE LOVE SOAPS: Good morning. I've heard you are up early every day working on your ranch but are you sure this is a good time (we had set up a 6:30 a.m. interview)?
LYNN HERRING: You have to get up with the critters to get your chores done. I've been up for an hour doing stuff. [Laughs] Kin Shriner is a big early riser too and so sometimes this is our best conversation.
WE LOVE SOAPS: What kind of chores to do you?
LYNN HERRING: We have ducks that we've rescued so we go let them out so they can fly around and land in the pond. We feed the chickens and make sure their bedding is ready for laying eggs. The horses need their grain and carrots and hay. And we check to be sure the water troughs are going and not clogged up so everybody has water. It's a quiet time. You get your chores done then sit and have your coffee on the porch and it's kind of nice.
WE LOVE SOAPS: Did you grow up in a small town?
LYNN HERRING: My parents were both from Louisiana and I went to LSU. They were pretty small town people so I loved that. I loved the South a lot.
WE LOVE SOAPS: Had you watched soaps before you did one?
LYNN HERRING: I watched YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS when Brenda Dickson play Jill. When that character first started my aunt and uncle watched and they would set TV trays up for us kids. I have two sisters and we would watch it. I remember that character being talked about and then I moved from New York to L.A. after college and tested for that character because Brenda wanted to quit. My whole family was jumping up and down and then she decided to come back and I went, "Oh darn!" [Laughs]
WE LOVE SOAPS: That would have been interesting. That character drastically changed when Dickson came back in the 1980s. But to this day, in my mind, I still see her as Jill Foster from the '70s.
LYNN HERRING: I'd love to have done that character. Now, no way because I love Lucy so much, but it's funny when you have those ties. Even Ron [Carlivati, GENERAL HOSPITAL head writer] and Frank [Valentini, GH executive producer) were talking about watching soaps, Ron especially, and his love of soaps from way back. It gives you a certain perspective and admiration for our genre. It's nice we all watched when we were kids.
WE LOVE SOAPS: You are about to celebrate your 32nd wedding anniversary to Wayne Northrop, who I loved on DAYS OF OUR LIVES. You guys have two sons who must be grown by now, right? What do they think about seeing your return to GH as Lucy?
LYNN HERRING: They just get a kick out of the audience when they see me on the street. They're both in college at USC and their lives are all focused on college. During the daytime they are in class but occasionally they'll catch something. They just find it hilarious how nice people are on the street. They grew up with people yelling "Lucy!" when we went to New York or other places. What I like is that it's given them the perspective to talk to anybody. They've never had any fear of talking to people on the street because we do, so they just chat away with people now. [Laughs] Because they grew up with it I think they have a different view and think that's just what Mom does. I don't know if they realize how special it is to me. It's just what Mom and Dad did. They love GAME OF THRONES and they say, "Mom, it's really just a soap opera with daggers, gladiators and monsters." I love that they were intuitive enough to know what I do may not be GAME OF THRONES but it's the same human story.
WE LOVE SOAPS: You've played a number of roles over the years but are mostly identified with Lucy Coe. As a fan of GH and Lucy, I felt cheated out of closure for the character on GH after PORT CHARLES was canceled. But your triumphant return these past four months have been amazing. Did you think this would eventually happen?
LYNN HERRING: Over the years the Nurses Ball was always such an emotional connection to raise money for AIDS awareness. I didn't think we'd ever have the budget or a producer and writer who would even want to do it because it was so hard. If you think about Ron sitting down to write all of this after all these years, I just didn't believe anybody was brave enough to even try. So I didn't think it was on the radar. When they called I had to sit down because it was emotionally overwhelming. It was like a gift. It's like one of those dreams you dream about and then it came true. After PORT CHARLES, with a lot of the mob storylines and the way they were headed, they weren't writing a lot of comedy in those years.
WE LOVE SOAPS: I love the comedic aspects of the show, which feels a lot like classic GH combined with the tone of the last years of ONE LIFE TO LIVE. Frank Valentini is known as the one daytime producer that can get things done under budget so I think that's helped with having so many favorites return.
LYNN HERRING: People keep coming up to me and asking, "How did you guys afford all those dresses?" Sean, our wardrobe master and designer, was brilliant. He would find things in downtown L.A. at the Fashion Mart and then add his own flair--a boat, some feathers or some sequins. So the Nurses Ball was kind of the Frank Valentini version in sense that it looks better but you didn't have to spend the money. It's so creative and really fun without having to break the budget to where they never want to do it again.
WE LOVE SOAPS: I'm an eternal optimist but when I first heard about your return I figured we would see Lucy a couple of days and then she would be gone again.
LYNN HERRING: Ron is so brave. The vampire story was tough because fans were split down the middle with 50% loving it and 50% hating it. But the fact is, because he gave us such real things to do, bringing Rafe in and kind of teasing the audience with Michael Easton as both characters, it was fun to play. To even launch into that before the Nurses Ball was so interesting.
WE LOVE SOAPS: I was skeptical when I first heard about the vampire storyline but it turned out to be one of my favorite things on the show for the first few months of the year. I love that Lucy teamed up with Todd (Roger Howarth) and Heather (Robin Mattson).
LYNN HERRING: The sad thing about soaps in a way is you can't keep dragging things out. Well, sometimes they do. [Laughs] But I loved working with those two. I hope that whoever Roger comes back as we get another chance at it. It was so much fun to play off them. They are brilliant and just the situations we could be put in are pretty hilarious.
WE LOVE SOAPS: I hope they can keep finding reasons for Heather to return.
LYNN HERRING: That's the sticky thing. Ron loves her but it's very hard for believability. Wayne always laughs at DAYS OF OUR LIVES when Stefano keeps coming back and back and back. You have to be careful because eventually there's no believability if they keep coming back. Robin is so good at playing Heather, the crazy and fun and unpredictable. There are lots of ways to redeem people but I don't know at what point a character is irredeemable. I'm so curious how they're bringing Roger back. He had great chemistry with Carly (Laura Wright) too. However they do it, I hope he crosses paths with Lucy.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Click here to read Part 2 of our interview.
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. He appeared in FRANCOPRHENIA and the documentary SOAP LIFE in 2012.