on August 8, 2011
I bought this book at around 6pm, after reading and liking the preview. It's now 10pm, and I've finished it. Four hours, with only a few stops in between. That is how engrossing this memoir is.
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.
on August 3, 2011
If you are a fan of Kim Zimmer and tv soaps, you are going to like this book because Kim offers inside looks at the life of a soap opera diva and the "business" of the soaps. She has a great sense of humor and says it like it is, no sugar coating. She includes a collection of photographs, both personal and professional that were fun to see. I read it all in one night, a quick and easy read.
on August 4, 2011
As a soap lover and an almost life-long Guiding Light viewer I can only say Thank You to Kim for writing this book, it truly is a gift to the fans.
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!!
on August 4, 2011
I've been a fan of Kim Zimmer for a long time. Reva Shayne, her TV alter ego, is certainly larger than life. But Zimmer is, too - no holds barred and always real, edgy and honest. So I was definitely looking forward to this book. It did not disappoint!
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!
Kim Zimmer Weary has written her autobiography and what a story it is about her life. She is happily married for 20 years to A.C. Weary and the mother of three adult children, Rachel, Max, and Jake. But she's also had a full-fledged acting career that some aspiring or veteran actresses could only dream about and some obstacles along the way.
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.
I watched Guiding Light with my mother back in the 1970's and 80's. I actually stopped watching just a little while before Reva Shayne burst onto the scene. Then, over the years until the show's sad demise in 2009, I would periodically tune back in and reacquaint myself with the Springfielders. I saw Reva in the fountain, Reva driving her car off the bridge, Reva marrying Josh several times, Reva refusing to tell Josh about her cancer, Reva with Jeffrey, Reva reduced to talking to people outdoors and in tiny rooms in the last couple years.
Reva was an undeniably great light (pun intended) of the soaps for over a quarter of a century and her portrayer, Kim Zimmer, came across, over the years in interviews, as just about as gutsy and outspoken as the irrepressible Reva. So, I couldn't resist ordering Zimmer's I'M JUST SAYIN'! and gorging on the chatty memoir in just a couple of sittings. Zimmer doesn't disappoint: she doesn't shy away from admitting to a real life problem with the law; she speaks out about her deep dissatisfaction with the show as its budget dried up and more and more "austerity" measures were taken; she shares memories of many of her castmates (for example, she relates that Chris Bernau, the first Alan Spaulding, was a somewhat intimidating person to work with -- I had no idea); she intertwines tidbits about her own life as wife of A.C. Weary and mother of three and her professional life outside of and around Guiding Light.
Zimmer clearly isn't spilling every last thing she knows, but then again, some things are probably better left unsaid. She gets credit though for having been willing to tell the powers-that-be when she thought they were doing a disservice to the soap, and she gets credit for again writing about those battles here. Zimmer doesn't pretend that she herself was always blameless or egoless-- for example, she cites an appearance she and other soap divas (yes, I know, she doesn't like that appellation, but in this case it might just be appropriate?) made on Oprah's show in which Oprah's enthusiasm for All My Children led to Zimmer leaving the set prematurely and returning only when Oprah apologized. And she does again take up the controversy over whether she was right not to take a pay cut when asked to by the "suits." She understandably says a contract is a contract and claims that other actors who were cut from the show were not fired due to her refusal to take that pay cut.
As Zimmer says, perhaps Guiding Light should not have continued those last two years on the shoestring budget. The myriad changes made to the production values just made everything look shabby. And that, Zimmer bravely admits, took a toll on her too. But aside from the last few years, Reva had a great run on Guiding Light and so did Kim Zimmer. Two years after the last episode, it is really nice to read I'M JUST SAYIN'! and "hear" Zimmer's voice (almost) as the words go through one's brain. Reva, through Zimmer, brought many hours of fiery, tear-jerking, knee-slapping funny, and you-name-it entertainment to the fans. Thanks, Kim Zimmer for that and for this forthright and entertaining memoir.
Kim Zimmer has written one of the most honest and brave memoirs ever as she bluntly writes about her life as a daytime soap opera actress. Very few women have ever been this forthright in their memoirs and Kim leaves no stone unturned as she discusses her 30 plus year career on television soap operas, the upside to being one of the most famous actors on serials, and the downside to being a star on daytime TV when producers of nightime television have you typecast as a soap performer and refuse to hire you.
Kim got her start in 1978 on NBC's "The Doctors", a low-rated serial at the time struggling in the Nielsen ratings. She replaced future movie star Kathleen Turner in the role of Nola Dancy, a social climber. Zimmer writes about the day she was brought in to replace Turner and how she witnessed a huge argument between Turner and the show's producers after they told her she was being replaced. "The Doctors" was also the place where Kim would meet her future husband.
Eventually, ABC's "One Life to Live" offered Kim a role and a three year contract only to terminate her after a few months. However, Zimmer's life and career would be forever changed when Pamela Long and Gail Kobe (the headwriter and producer of CBS' "Guiding Light") gave her the role of a lifetime: that of Reva, a southern vixen with a heart of gold. That role garnered Kim an amazing four Emmy Awards as Best Actress and a place in soap history as being one of the greatest actresses in the genre.
By 1991 Kim was burned out from playing Reva. She left the show and her character was "killed off", then she moved to Los Angeles for a short stint on "Santa Barbara", but "Guiding Light" came calling again and she resumed the role of Reva until the serial was cancelled in 2009. Many believe, including Kim, the reason the serial became unbearable to watch was because of executive producer Ellen Wheeler, a former soap actress. Kim does not hesitate to mention how she felt about the way Wheeler ran the show and how she put the serial into the graveyard.
Kim also discusses her battle with alcohol and her huge fight with Oprah Winfrey when Kim walked off "The Oprah Winfrey" set in anger during a commercial break because of Winfrey's comments.
This is one of the best books I have read and I applaud Kim Zimmer for her writing. An A+ read!
Kim Zimmer, famous star of Guiding Light, the well-known soap opera of afternoon television for decades, tells her engaging story as an actress. Whether you are a die-hard fan of this eminent TV show or just interested in what makes actresses tick, this is a very readable and interesting look at the personal and professional life of an actress. Sometimes actresses and their world get a bum rap, and this book is probably more about the norms of such a life than the seedy, outrageous reports that the media often choose to focus on! It's much more enjoyable herein!
Kim Zimmer describes how she was bitten by the "acting" bug at a very early age. Her family always supported her, albeit somewhat worried about the erratic nature of the acting profession. Her years in Chicago are carefully described, a choice of location that she deems truly shaped her skills as an actress in a more positive way than would have been possible in New York or Los Angeles. During that time, she describes the famous actors and actresses she got to work with who helped shape and mentor her acting skills.
Finally, she landed a job with the TV show, The Doctors, which was short-lived but taught her that she could indeed do this type of work Then we learn of her marriage to A. C. Weary, fellow actor, which led eventually to the birth of her three children. A. C. is a stay-at-home Dad for quite a while in order to support Kim in her evolving career. Their deep love and respect for each other is obvious.
Finally, Kim tracks the history, development and eventual demise of The Guiding Light, the show on which she spent so many years acting as the character Reva Shayne in multiple plots and counter-plots. This is the most fascinating part of this memoir as Zimmer describes the role that actors, actresses, producers, directors, make-up artists, agents and more play in making a show run smoothly, addressing the needs of all. It's also the world where the viewer or reader begins to see the role of advertisers and sponsors in not only financially supporting a show but in calling the shots in areas such as wardrobes, number of actors and actresses, and much more.
Even aside from the above synopsis, there is so much more in this funny, intimate, passionate, and dynamic memoir. Kim Zimmer has penned a book that will do much for the profession of acting and opened a world to readers of all types, one that is guaranteed to rivet and perhaps even motivate readers galore! Very, very nicely done, Kim Zimmer!
I used to watch The Guiding Light on a regular basis until real life got in the way. From that point on I was only an intermitent viewer as the quality of production values started to slip. Every change to the program was spinned as an improvement to up the reality factor. The handwriting was on the wall; The Guiding Light was a sinking ship despite the talents of actors such as Zimmer who tried their best to fight against the tide of strange plotlines (cloning) that entered the sci fi zone.
This book is a grabber. Zimmer's memoir blends her own personal reality (happily married to a talented and supportive man with three now adult kids) and her professional reality (soap opera diva/stage and screen actress).
Zimmer reflects on her 25+ year career on soaps and the path she took to get there, the balancing act of maintaining a career and having a family life(her husband A.C. Weary helped out above and beyond the norm), the changes that have occurred within daytime tv, the challenges of keeping things fresh when the plots get increasingly outlandish, and finally nails just why soap operas are going bye bye. Zimmer tells it straight and I found her story darn interesting. She is amusing, honest, and covers a lot of ground from telling behind the scenes tales to revealing some pretty interesting things about herself as her tenure on the program ended and she experienced something akin to post-traumatic stress (my perception, not hers). Needless to say, through her writing Zimmer seems really accessible. She became a friend because she was very frank and didn't seem as though she took herself all that seriously. She was able to laugh at herself as well as all the adventures of her alter ego Reva Lewis.
Co-written with Laura Morton, this is a well-organized memoir that manages to stay on point without being tedious or overworked. While clearly this book is not all about fun and glamour, it balances out to be an enjoyable read and presents a realistic view of the not necessarily glamorous life of a daytime diva.
Zimmer is not only resourceful and a survivor, but also a natural storyteller. This is one of the best books I've read in the last year.
on August 25, 2011
My earliest memories of Guiding Light date back to 1979 and I followed it faithfully till it's heartbreaking cancellation in 2009. I would say Kim Zimmer's Reva is one of my all time favorite characters. When I found out her book was coming out I counted the days till its release!!!!!!!!! It didn't let me down. I feel like I lived all of the shows moments with her. She shares her memories of many great GL stars who are no longer with us. I couldn't put the book down. There are some mistakes in the book such as Kim saying Tina Sloan's breast cancer storyline aired in 1980. Tina Sloan didn't join the show till 83 and the breast cancer storyline wasn't until early 92. Also Kim shares memories of Ron Raine's Alan and shares some of her favorite storylines with him, but they weren't actually all with him most she mentions happened with Chris Bernau the original Alan. There is no mention of Kristi Ferrels Roxie Shayne and there's just a brief mention of the character Sonni but no mention of the actress who played her and no real mention of Gail Kobe, Guiding Light's executive producer during Kim's first few years on the show and how many actors were let go so the show could focus on Reva. Besides my few issues this is a must have for any true Guiding Light fan!!!!! It also gives out some backstage secrets such as an actress who dated most of her co stars and wasn't a very happy person off the set and how when she left the show it really did hurt it....... No names were mentioned but I'll give you a hint, her character was named after a motorcycle!!!!!!!!!!!