Judith Chapman talks The Young and the Restless, Days of our Lives, Her Upcoming Project and so much more! Learn more here--->
We spoke to Judith Chapman! Yea! Tainted face cream. Enough said. Judith is soap royalty and has been just as successful outside of daytime as she has been inside of it. Our Ms. Chapman has been a lot of places and seen a lot of things. She is well versed in the arts, well-traveled and so much fun to talk to! Let's start at her beginning.
"I didn't get the acting bug. The acting bug bit me." That is how Judith described her start in the industry. The bug bit Judith's oldest sister, Patty first. Judith's family lived all over the world as her father was in the military. Her sister modeled worked in film and commercials working in places like Madrid and England. In a way, you could say it was her sister that gave Judith the acting bug.
When Judith was fourteen years old, her sister's agent called about a part as an extra in a commercial and wanted Judith (instead of Patty) to do it. Judith's mom gave Judith, a freshman in high school, permission to skip a day of school to be in the commercial. A nervous Judith hid behind her sister's boyfriend the entire time. Still, she stood out (of course she did!) and from there Judith started working in the business. After high school, Judith attended college majoring in theater. At the age of twenty, she graduated from college and moved to the Big Apple. "I was terrified. But I got into the actor's studio. I started working after starving and pounding the pavement. Thank God I've been a working actor my entire life."
Judith first worked in feature films and theater. Judith's first soap was on As the World Turns playing Natalie Hughes. Judith loved working with the talented cast. And it was while working on the soap Judith would meet, work with and be inspired by fellow co-star, Larry Bryggman (John Dixon). "I loved and so admired Larry Bryggman. He was brilliant. I would just sit and watch him work. I was so young and so green. Larry would do the soap opera in the day that was his bread and butter if you will and do theater at night. I said that is what I want to do. I want to create my own projects. I can do soap operas or leave daytime and do primetime or feature films. And that is what happened."
Her newfound desire led Judith to quit As the World Turns, leave New York and head out west to California. Her first audition was for Dallas for the role of Pamela Barnes Ewing. This was Judith's introduction to Hollywood. "I literally got off the plane when I moved to California and went directly to what was then Lorimar, which was then MGM, to the audition for Dallas. But all of my bags that had been shipped to California got lost and ended up in Italy. The only clothes I had were the clothes I came in on. I had on jeans, Frye boots, and my big permed hair. It came down to me and Victoria Principal. I had met Victoria many times before. She came in in black spandex pants, black stiletto heels and a black sequined tee-shirt with the state of Texas and a star for Dallas on it. And here I am with my frizzed out hair, my Annie Hall look, I was Annie Hall before Annie Hall, and my New York look and thought 'uh-oh', I think I'm in Hollywood." Laughter. So sorry Judith didn't get the part but what an introduction to Tinseltown!
Judith returned to "starving" and pounding the pavement before she started working doing Glen Larson and episodic stuff. Five years later, Judith's agent got a call from Gloria Monty. She wanted Judith to audition for General Hospital. Oh but Judith was in L.A. now and soaps were so "New York". LOL. Judith turned them down. When Judith was vacationing in Mexico her agent hunted her down. Judith in her agent's voice, "I have talked to five Mexican operators and I don't speak Spanish. But Gloria Monty wants you to start work in two days. Get your "butt" back to L.A." Laughter. "I auditioned for General Hospital and of course, adored my time there."
If you can believe the pattern. Judith was in Europe visiting her sister and brother-in-law. She had just landed in L.A. when she got the call from her agent that Jess Walton was sick and The Young and the Restless wanted her to fill in. There is some sort of connection between international travel and soaps for Judith. When she was done that stint at Y&R, she returned to primetime and theater. Judith did return to New York to do a couple of short stints on One Life to Live and Ryan's Hope. And then she was cast as Anjelica Deveraux on Days of our Lives in the late '80s. And then, of course, she was cast as the funny, shrewd, over the top, always entertaining Gloria Baldwin on The Young and the Restless in 2005.
Fairly recently, Judith was recast in the role of Diana Colville (originally played by Genie Francis) on Days of Our Lives. We were very interested in how she had made the full circle back to Days. Judith was contacted by Days when they were reprising the role of Anjelica a couple of years ago. But it was a no-go with the people at The Young and The Restless. Judith's loyalties were with Y&R so she declined the part. As we know, Days cast Morgan Fairchild. When Days was ready to cast for that fantastic Halloween centric episode in 2018 they reached out to Judith again to play "ghost" Anjelica. This time it was a go. "We had great fun. It was so great to see some of the same actors from when I was there twenty years ago. I told them at Days, 'Listen. I'm not on contract (at Y&R). They are not using me. I have very little to do. If you want me, I'm ready. Sure enough five weeks to the day, they called and told me they had a different character for me." That different character was Diana Colville. Judith was fantastic as Diana! Her and Greg Rikaart (Leo) playing mother and son, who knew that would work so well! LOL. Judith was so good in that arc! Judith was playing both Gloria Baldwin and Diana. Double the Judith double the fun!
When Judith wrapped up her role as Diana, she was basically told there was no room for her at Y&R. Huh?! So Judith packed her bags and went on a fabulous cruise, went scuba diving in the Yucatan and indulged in her archeologists' desires. When she returned home she started work on a play. Then when Judith was in Scotland for the Edinburgh Film Festival, she met a young man who was working at the hotel where she was staying. He just also happened to be a playwright. "We started talking showbusiness. He invited me to see his show and I did. I told him, 'I really think you have something here. I think you are being much too polite, much too English, much too Scottish. You should take it to the extreme. Instead, Lewis Lauder, gave me the play. He told me, 'I am done with it.' I was thrilled. I told him that I'd love to mount a production in the U.S using my production company, The Troubadours of Daytime."
Judith's The Troubadours of Daytime over the years has produced plays with fabulous soap stars such as; Christian LeBlanc, Michelle Stafford and Kristoff St. John (#RIP). Judith's first attempt to bring Noose Women, the play, to life didn't work out. But if you don't at first succeed try try again. Judith is currently hard at work and Noose Women is scheduled to open in spring 2020 with David Lago (Y&R, The Bay The Series) in the lead. Noose Women is about, "The media circus that we all live in. What people will do to get their fifteen minutes of fame on television and then we, who watch them do it." Judith will direct the play and may have a small cameo. Some others scheduled to appear in cameos are Beth Maitland, Greg Rikaart and David Steen.
We shared our mutual love for the soap genre. Judith is an international soaper. While growing up and living in England, Judith watched English soaps. When her family moved back to the States she became obsessed with One Life to Live. We talked about the trend of the disappearing soap opera and the decline in ratings and our strong hopes that soaps will stick around for the fans, casts, and crews. "I had worked in the industry before working on As The World Turns. But that is really where I got my acting chops and really started to figure things out. It would be a shame for us to lose this useful learning your craft outlet for actors who are just starting out. And to lose all of these extraordinary people and not just the actors, there are the crews. I know people who have worked behind the scenes for over thirty years at The Young and the Restless. That's a lot of families affected. We need to keep soaps on." Yes, please!
Next is what is my favorite part of an interview when we stop talking shop and get to know more about the actual person. This time was no different. If Judith isn't hard at work on her play, you might find her starring in "her own one-woman show" as she calls it, as a yoga instructor. Judith is well versed in the practice. "I started in traditional yoga and I have taught various types of yoga. Now twenty years later, I have developed my own philosophy, techniques, and style. People at times will tell me you are unlike any other instructor I've ever had. And my response is, 'Good.'"
Judith is a connoisseur of and has a passion for food (and a great bottle of wine) that she got from her father and from growing up in Europe. Judith also helped her wonderful late partner, the wind beneath Judith's wings, James Offord run several restaurants. She loves to cook and grow her own vegetables; basil, tomatoes and butternut squash. Judith finds that cooking is its own art form and can be just as therapeutic as yoga. Judith will go the movies if it's a big blockbuster i.e. Wonder Woman. We learned two important things. If you ever find yourself seated next to Judith in a movie chew your popcorn softly (I'd never make it. I chew loudly.) and please give Ms. Chapman some elbow room. LOL. If it's not a blockbuster, Judith is more of at-home with Netflix lady. The history buff is fascinated with Russian historical pieces.
Yoga, food, a great bottle of wine, Netflix and what else do you think Judith loves? Music. Judith and James also shared a love for music as they did for food. Judith admits to being out of the loop in relation to current music. She is a self-professed old music schooler at heart. Judith loves old school classical music (Beethoven), classic rock, rock and roll, and heavy blues. When we spoke she was super excited about the upcoming Rolling Stones concert she will attend. In her car, Judith listens to her music on an iPod. This is not a typo. iPod. "A friend of mine was driving in my car and said, 'You are probably the only person in America that still has one of those.'" Laughter. We couldn't resist asking Judith if she had a flip phone. She doesn't. We got a good laugh at that one. And she was such a good sport about it.
What a great time we had talking to Judith. We are so happy and wish her tremendous success in all her future endeavors. But come on we want Gloria Baldwin back! Michael and Kevin need their momma! And Jack needs Gloria! Y&R bring back Judith and Gloria! When we spoke about how much we wanted Gloria back in Genoa City, Judith said she was happy and humbled to know we still cared. Always. Judith is ready to come back. The fans are ready for her to come back. So......
Thank you so much for taking the time to speak to us, Judith!
Good luck with Noose Women!
We hope to see you in Genoa City, the sooner the better!
I AM KP Smith