Kathryn Leigh Scott Starred on "Dark Shadows." See Her Now at 78.
Plus, the surprising way she got her start in entertainment.
Kathryn Leigh Scott is an actor best remembered for her role as Maggie Evans on the popular '60s series House of Dark Shadows. But make no mistake, Scott played a total of four roles in the horror soap series—a testament to the frenetic, "anything goes" environment of live broadcast soap operas of that era. The actor shared in a penned essay for the AARP site The Ethel that before stepping on set for the first time, she was so nervous that she promised God that if he'd just get her through the episode, she'd never act again. "He did," she wrote. "But I had a 13-week contract and kept on acting despite dropping a line, spilling coffee and tripping over my feet in the first scene."
Over five decades later, Scott still hasn't stopped acting. See her now at 78, and find out where her career has taken her!
She got her start as a Playboy Bunny.
Before Scott landed her breakthrough role on the pilot of Dark Shadows, she put herself through acting school by working as a Playboy Bunny in a cocktail club. "I was a scholarship student at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York and I needed a bread and butter job to pay for room and board in New York. I was staying at a residence for girls, it was very inexpensive but it's New York! I needed to augment the scholarship," she recalled in an interview with Dark Matter Zine. "So I auditioned for the Playboy Bunny job, and I started working at the New York [Playboy] Club, I guess about three weeks after it opened."
Little did she know that her "bunny training" would put her shoulder to shoulder with a group of A-list celebrities in the making. "I worked with Gloria Steinem—we were in bunny training together—and some wonderful actresses. I'm sure you're familiar with Deborah Harry and Lauren Hutton, and probably my closest friend, Susan Sullivan, who's currently on Castle," she shared. "So it was a wonderful little episode in my life, and it got me through school," Scott added.
She's been acting ever since "Dark Shadows."
It was during this time that Scott first began going out for TV roles, and she says that Dark Shadows was among her very first auditions. "I was still working as a Playboy Bunny, and as a matter of fact when I got the job I called my mother in Minnesota and told her about my new job. She said, 'you know, you never know how these things go, so I wouldn't give up the bunny job just yet,'" she recalled with a laugh. "So for about a month there I was doing both Dark Shadows during the day and then on weekends, I would work as a Playboy Bunny."
However, after working on the soap opera for four years, she had no trouble landing other roles. In the 1970s, she appeared in several TV series and made for movies, including Crime of Passion, Harriet's Back In Town, The Turn of the Screw, Marked Personal, Come Die With Me, Dial M For Murder, Space: 1999, Late Call, Edward The King, and The Exiles. She later appeared in The Great Gatsby, The Greek Tycoon, Big Shamus, Little Shamus, Star Trek, and more. In most recent memory, Scott appeared in the Woody Allen film A Rainy Day in New York, the Johnny Depp and Tim Burton film Dark Shadows, and The 11th Green.
She's also written several books.
Outside of acting, Scott has enjoyed a second career as an author, having written four novels: September Girl, Jinxed, Down and Out in Beverly Heels, and Dark Passages. She has also published several works of nonfiction, including The Bunny Years: The Surprising Inside Story of the Playboy Clubs and the Women Who Worked as Bunnies; Last Dance at the Savoy, and a trilogy of books on caregiving: Now With You, Now Without, The Happy Hours, and A Welcome Respite.
In celebration of the 20th and 25th anniversaries of Dark Shadows, Scott also penned two books in tribute to the series: Dark Shadows Memories and Dark Shadows Companion.
According to Scott's professional website, she is now writing a book "about her great aunt, a traveling saleslady and suffragist."
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She's still close with the "Dark Shadows" cast.
In her article for The Ethel, Scott says that her time on Dark Shadows "was, quite simply, an amazing experience." She refers to the cast as a "family" of actors, and says they bonded for life through the unique experience of acting on the live soap broadcast.
Today, she's still in touch with several of her co-stars from the show. "I met Lara Parker, my close friend who played jealous witch Angelique, for lunch one day. Our waitress did a double take when she recognized us, astonished that Josette and her arch rival, Angelique, would be dining together. David Selby (Quentin), Mitch Ryan (Burke Devlin) and I recently did a play on Zoom together with actress pal Susan Sullivan (Dharma and Greg, Falcon Crest), who once played a ghost on Dark Shadows," she said. "Our lives are forever entwined, condemned to seeing our young actor selves fumbling, stumbling and flubbing our way through shows that were meant to be seen only once!"
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