I'm Just Sayin'!: Three Deaths, Seven Husbands, and a Clone! My Life on Guiding Light and Beyond Paperback – Aug 7 2012
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“This book is brassy and bodacious, just like the author. A riotous read." — Susan Flannery
"The first job I ever had was on a soap opera, and the first great actress I ever worked with was one of the stars of that show, Kim Zimmer. Kim showed me, early on, that acting required talent, but also hard work—and most of all that it had to be fun. And no one, over these many years, has proven to be more talented and more fun than Kim. She is a woman to love" — Alec Baldwin
About the Author
Four-time Emmy Award-winner Kim Zimmer is a star of television and the stage. In 1983 she joined the cast of Guiding Light and stayed with the series for more than two decades, in which she earned a total of eleven Emmy nominations and twelve Soap Opera Digest nominations (with two wins).
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I have always been a fan of memoir/biographies and especially of soap operas. It's been ages since I actually sat down and watched one, but when I was younger, I kept up with all of them. There was always a soft spot in my heart for Guiding Light and its queen, Reva. Little did I know that behind that larger-than-life character was an even greater actress.
Kim Zimmer pulls no punches in this book, but at the same time, it is definitely not a mud-slinger. She talks of co-stars both positively and negatively, but she does not name names when discussing some of the more interesting actors she's worked with. She does place a lot of blame for GL's cancellation on executive producer Ellen Wheeler's shoulders, but tempers it with a healthy dose of reason - Ellen was merely hired to do a job, just as she was.
The stories of her personal life are interwoven with backstage observations and reflections of Echo, Reva, Nola and Jodie (all the daytime ladies she has played). The book is never too anything. It's never too heavy or too light. The pace is quick and the prose is definitely readable. I'd recommend this book to any fan of Guiding Light or soaps in general.
She's a straight shooter and doesn't hold back. This is a no holds barred glimpse into the life of a daytime legend. The character of Reva Shayne has been a touchstone for many many fans. That character went through just about everything life could throw at you and she always came out the winner. She would not have had the same affect on any of us if she were played by anyone other than Kim Zimmer.
BY THIS BOOK, I read it in two sittings. I only hope she keeps on acting and writing books!!
Zimmer has done many things in her career, but aside from some of the roles she played as she started out, including her stint on the soap "The Doctors" where she played opposite Alec Baldwin, the biggest chunk of the book is dedicated to her time at "Guiding Light." You don't necessarily have to be a GL fan to enjoy the book.
For me, the two best parts of the book were definitely related to her GL recollections. One was her remembrance of several GL performers, including Larry Gates and Beverlee McKinsey, the finest actress to ever grace daytime TV.
The other is Zimmer's raw, blunt assessment of the final years of GL. Fans watched the show implode but Zimmer's account is really the first that delves so deeply into the whys and hows. She does point fingers at Ellen Wheeler, then executive producer, but also (rightfully) tries to put it all into perspective - that Procter and Gamble and CBS had left the show to die years before.
If I have any complaint, it's that there's way more than could have been added. Zimmer mentioned very little about her relationships with costars Michelle Forbes and Cynthia Watros, with whom she reportedly feuded. The reader is also left wanting for more specifics about some of the changes to her character as the years went by. But all in all, an awesome read!
When I started first watching Guiding Light, I didn't become hooked until after Reva was gone in July 1991. I was happy to finally read about Beverlee McKinsey and Michael Zaslow through Kim's recollections. How Bev dumped the show before they dumped her or how Zas was fired for his ALS disease. Kim Zimmer's story is not only about Guiding Light but it is also about being a New York City based actress who commutes from Montclair, New Jersey where she has lived on and off for almost 30 years. She's truly a Jersey girl.
Anyway, I was glad to finally have some understanding as to what was the demise of Guiding Light in it's recent years. Kim writes about her fights with Ellen Wheeler, the executive producer of the show since 2004 until it's demise in 2009. The network and the company, Procter & Gamble, had hired Ellen Wheeler with the intent of bringing the show down. I don't believe Wheeler knew then what she probably knows now. Regardless of all the cost cutting techniques to the show, the quality and the show morale went down as well.
I do believe Wheeler did everything possible to keep the show from meeting it's demise that everything was cut down to the bone. Now, look at the state of the soap operas in this country in general. All My Children and One Life to Live were spared from ending permanently by going online but even Passions only lasted a season online or elsewhere. The networks find the soaps to be burden because it takes up a time slot. In the end, fans had to face reality. Many people have stopped watching for one reason or another. P&G never thought about broadcasting the shows on soapnet like ABC or NBC does for it's shows because they truly wanted to end it.
Sadly, Soapnet and other soaps will also meet their demise at this rate. I was glad that Zimmer pointed out that New York City was the training ground for lots of actors and actresses who would go on to other endeavours. It's nice to know that Alec Baldwin still goes to her home on New Year's Eve. She still keeps in touch with a lot of her co-stars especially Robert Newman who has gone on to musical regional theatre.
When GL ended, Zimmer's acting career in her fifties could have come to a screeching halt but it didn't and she wouldn't stop acting. She still does regional musical theatre and is back on the small screen reviving her OLTL role as Echo but not as a regular. She's recurring on the last New York City soap. I guess Zimmer was wondering too where did all the NYC soaps go. I think she'll do theatre even commute by bus to Broadway as she does for her One Life to Live gig.
I'm sure there's more of Zimmer to come in the future. I'll be waiting and watching to see what she does next. I still miss Guiding Light which they replaced with "Let's a Make A Deal!," game show from Las Vegas. In 2009, it was GL. In 2010, it was ATWT. In 2011, AMC and OLTL are leaving the network for online. In 2012, GH will also be online as will most soaps but will they survive the online world.
I also would like to see Kim Zimmer do the impossible by being the first soap opera actress inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame. She has great career and is truly a Jersey girl after all these years. I would love to see her make it into the nomination process for the upcoming year and be inducted forever.