Nearly 10 years after saying goodbye to GUIDING LIGHT‘s Reva Shayne, Kim Zimmer now considers herself to be “semi-retired.” But in actuality, she’s got a whole lot going on! Having just returned from a whirlwind vacation to Italy, where she says that “she still gets recognized all the time because GL was huge there," she’s eager to share some exciting news with Soaps In Depth’s readers. Just prior to the trip, she’d joined a host of fellow Springfield alumni as cast members in the upcoming sixth season of VENICE THE SERIES!
“I’m playing Tori, a woman who runs a bed-and-breakfast and is also the caretaker of an old [haunted] farmhouse in New Jersey," Zimmer revealed. “Gina, the character played by Crystal Chappell (Olivia, GL) is hired to redecorate the farmhouse, and she wants to get into a room that has been locked for years.”
As if a ghost story wasn’t exciting enough, Zimmer also has some news that will make true GL fans flip: Tori and Richard (played by GL’s Josh, Robert Newman) will share a romance! So, Zimmer enthused, “The fans will get to experience some flying sparks with Robert and Kim again.”
Having previously reunited with Newman for several stage plays, doing it on camera for the digital soap was a breeze. “There’s trust between the two of us because we have worked together so long," Zimmer explained. “I’ve always said that [teaming up with him is] like putting on one of those old, stinky, comfortable shoes.”
The actress also shared scenes with GL’s Doris, Orlagh Cassidy (who plays Tori’s daughter) as well as Jessica Leccia (Natalia) and Tina Sloan (Lillian). “I tell this long story [about the history of] the farmhouse," Zimmer revealed. “They had to sit there and listen to me yack, which they should be used to after GL!” Zimmer also teased that the performances by GL’s Rick, Michael O’Leary, and Ross, Jerry verDorn, are going to be “hysterical.”
In real life, the four-time Emmy winner is well known for enjoying laughter and embracing the roles that bring it. In early August, Zimmer did just that in a production of Steel Magnolias at the Barn Theatre in Augusta, MI. “I’ve been wanting to do it for a while," she revealed. “And now I get to play the role — [curmudgeon] Ousier Boudreaux, the Shirley MacLaine part from the movie — that I’ve always wanted to because I’m old enough and charactery enough to do it.”
Set in Louisiana, the play is about a community of women who share gossip and get real about the hurdles in their lives while visiting a local beauty salon. “I’ve always loved Steel Magnolias because of the relationship between these women — they’ve been friends forever," Zimmer said. “Each character is so well-defined by the play’s writer, Robert Harling.”
The role that the actress treasures most these days is that of first-time grandmother and frequent babysitter to Vincent Allen, the son born to her daughter, Rachel Wychules, just one year ago. “He is a little dreamboat!” Zimmer gushed. “He’s a love. He’s funny, and he’s just starting to walk.”
Since all three of their grown children have residences nearby, Zimmer and her husband, A.C. Weary, have decided to stay put in their New Jersey home. Where might Reva and Josh — who were starting a new life with baby Colin when the soap concluded — be in the future? “Robert and I used to laugh all the time that we’d be sitting in rocking chairs on our front porch at Cross Creek," she confided, “with our 20 grandchildren at our feet and telling stories about H.B. Lewis.”
For more on your favorite GL stars — past and present — keep reading the CBS edition of Soaps In Depth magazine.
This story originally appeared in our print magazine