American actress Kathryn Hays was born on July 26, 1933 in Princeton, Illinois. She began her career in the 1960s, playing small roles in numerous television comedies and dramas. Notably, she played a role in the original Star Trek series in 1968, where she took on the role of Gem, a mute alien who is able to assume the pain and injuries of others, therefore healing them. This inspired series creator Gene Roddenberry to write a role for her in all his projects, if she ever wishes to return. She also had a short-lived stint as Leslie Bauer in the daytime soap Guiding Light. She was also a prominent actress on Broadway, having performed in several productions, most notably the off-Broadway play Dames at Sea in the late 1960s.
Hays is perhaps most famous for her role in the daytime drama As the World Turns. She took on the role of Kim Hughes in 1972, and continues to play the role to this day. She was introduced as the sister of Jennifer Sullivan, who had an adulterous relationship with her wife Bob Hughes (Don Hastings). Her character would later develop as a loving member of the Oakwood community, settled with Bob and earning their pairing supercouple status. Hays’ character was also known for sporting her short, brown hair, although her later portrayals saw her settle with a natural gray that comes with age. The role gave her two Soap Opera Digest Award nominations, and eventually a win in 1998.
Hays also appeared in films, starting with the 1963 drama Ladybug Ladybug, and eventually starring in several more films made for theaters and television screens. She also continued playing guest roles on prime time during her stint in As the World Turns; her more recent television appearances include guest roles in Law & Order and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.