Mary Beth Evans has now worked in the world of daytime television for over twenty consecutive years. Not bad for a mother who maintains an apple pie company on the side. Mary Beth is now back on Days of Our Lives, where she began her daytime career. The interesting part is that she returned to the role of Kayla after a sixteen year absence from the show. That just goes to show how universally beloved Mary Beth and Kayla are to the fans of Days of Our Lives. Mary Beth kindly stopped by earlier this week to talk to us about the beginning of her career, her return to Days of Our Lives, and apple pie.
Below you will find the written transcript as well as the full mp3 audio of the interview.
How did you get into daytime television originally and where did you see yourself going as an actress?
It was kind of happenstance. I had started in a theater and came out to L.A. I was living an hour south of L.A. and doing theater, and was doing guest star episodic, which was very big back in the early 80s. They don’t do so much anymore, I think. But started doing that, and doing a movie of the week, and then a movie here and there. And this Days of our Lives job, it was just an audition that I was going for, and at the time daytime hadn’t even really crossed my mind. It was just something my agent sent me up for. Then when I got it I, thought, “Oh gosh, I don’t know. Three years, that’s a big commitment.”
I ended up staying there for like six or seven, and now twenty years that I’ve worked consecutively on daytime. So, it’s been a nice life, I have three kids who are now teenagers and beyond. It’s been a great long job, and I’m kind of an average Joe who likes to be sort of a worker bee. (laughter)
When you left Days of our Lives back in ’92, did you ever see yourself coming back?
I always wanted to. I started out there, I had my kids when I was there, it really felt like home. When I was gone, a lot of the time I had hoped to go back. I’m so glad now that I had the experiences that I did. I did As the World Turns for six years in New York, and I love New York, so it was fun that I had the opportunity to do that.
But to go back was great, so many people were still there, and just like me they aged 15 years. It’s weird, you know, but it’s fun to be back there. Stephen, who plays Patch, the two of us are such great friends. I’ve never worked with anyone like him that was in the same kind of mindset and groove as myself. We both like to really work hard and really work on it. We trust each other and we are not afraid to say to each other, “Hey, I think you got that wrong.” Or, “This is what I think it should be.” So we really collaborate well together.
When you were gone, did you keep tabs on Days of our Lives at all?
I’d check, I’d tune in if I was making cookies in my kitchen or something. I’d watch and see what’s going on. I do that now with General Hospital or As the World Turns, and see what my friends are up to, then we run into each other at awards shows. That’s probably about it, most of the people in daytime are there because they like the steadiness of it, and are usually family people. We all have our families, trying to live our lives just like everybody else, scrambling, car pools, running everybody around, you know.
In between your two stints on Days of our Lives, what would you say your favorite thing, your most satisfying thing in your career was?
Gosh, I don’t know. I would say that at this point, it’s just that I’m still working. That 20 years later, I’ve still got the stories, I think that’s a pretty good accomplishment. And especially for women, you go over 40 and are you still working, are you still a love interest. So daytime allows that, which is fun. What’s nice too is, a lot of the same fans who watched it back in the 80s are watching now. They’ve followed it, and they know the history, and they write us and tell us. A lot of people are involved, which is fun.
Can you tell us a little bit about your return to Days of our Lives? How did that all get started, and were you at all hesitant to come back?
Part of it was, I live in California. My family’s in California, and I was going to New York a lot. My manager had a conversation with someone at Days about us coming back, and they were very interested. As much as I love As the World Turns, and I love those people, I wanted to be back in my neighborhood because the traveling was really pretty tough.
I was conflicted, because I really love New York and I love that show, and I love those people. But I really thought it’d be great to be back here, 15 minutes from my house. So Stephen and I, in the past when things have come up about maybe going back, one of us was busy and couldn’t. And this particular time, we were both available, and if we came back together they wanted us to come back.
So just the timing was right, it was, we were both excited. Everyone was really so great and with open arms, and people like Diedre and Drake and Peter and Christian, people who had been there the whole time that we were gone. It was like we had never left, it was very interesting. It was very surreal the first time I said “Oh, hi, it’s Kayla,” I thought that was so weird.
What was the fan reaction to you personally, to you coming back?
Even on all the shows that I’ve done, people still always recognize me from Days of our Lives. That would always be, fans from Days of our Lives are pretty strong, and Kayla’s kind of the most-loved character for them that I played.
Well, outside of Days of our Lives, do you have any favorite TV shows?
Well, I loved The Sopranos, but that’s gone now. I loved Everwood, we watched it with my kids, but that’s gone now. We watch Entourage, which is great. We kinda gather to watch that, or we TiVo it and watch it. My daughter loves Grey’s Anatomy, so I watch that with her periodically. I don’t really have much time for watching TV. (laughter) I have a pie business on the side. I have an apple pie company on the side, I like apple pies and kids and work, so it’s a bit crazy.
Check Mary Beth’s Apple Pie company at MaryBethsApplePie.com
(Interview Conducted by Oscar Dahl)