Barnabas’ Column #6: Love to Love Ya, Kathryn
DARK SHADOWS fans adore Kathryn Leigh Scott. The actress and author, best known for her role as Maggie Evans on the spooky soap, has done so much to keep the DARK SHADOWS legacy alive, never hesitating to offer her personal support to her fans. When I and fellow DS fan Michael Culhane won Rondo Awards for our work in the horror film press, for example, Kathryn was the first to congratulate us. Needless to say, I was stunned by Kathryn’s kind words. She didn’t have to do that. But that’s who Kathryn Leigh Scott is. Her work as a writer and actress isn’t just about her, and she’s more than happy to use her influence to help uplift others.
After DARK SHADOWS, Scott played dozens of roles on many hit TV series, including STAR TREK: NEXT GENERATION. She appeared in movies like THE GREAT GATSBY (1974), among others and is the well received author of several books, and has been the owner/operator of Pomegranate Press, her very own publishing firm. Kathryn Leigh Scott’s life has been a rousing success. It says a lot about the kind, caring person she is that she would use her name in order to help others who are just starting out.
Leon Acord, writer/star of the popular web sitcom OLD DOGS NEW TRICKS found out first hand just how supportive Kathryn can be. “She is such a lovely lady, and so professional,” Acord says. “I’m so looking forward to working with her next year.” Kathryn will appear in season three of OLD DOGS NEW TRICKS, playing the mother of Muscles (Jeffrey Patrick Olson), one of the lead characters. The web series is produced on an ultra-low budget, and is a SAG Waiver production, meaning that Screen Actors Guild allows the cast to waive their regular fees. Kathryn continues to work in mainstream entertainment, recently appearing on the ABC sitcom THE GOLDBERGS, yet she enthusiastically agreed to appear on OLD DOGS on gratis, which helps fledgling producer Acord get more recognition for his own work .
She did the same for Ansel Faraj. The writer/director was 21 years old when he shot DOCTOR MABUSE. No one had heard of him. But Kathryn saw something in the talented, determined young man. Even though his film was being shot literally in a garage, she agreed to do it. She even encouraged Lara Parker, her DARK SHADOWS co-star, to accept a role. Faraj’s DARK SHADOWS stars helped put his little movie on the map. Kathryn was happy to lend her support, and has since shot two more films with Faraj.
“What could I possibly say about Kathryn that hasn’t been said before,” said Faraj. “She is one of the nicest, if not the nicest person I’ve ever met. And so incredibly supportive. When I first worked with Kathryn on DOCTOR MABUSE, I learned so much from her in regards to lighting and placing the camera to get the most effective shot. I keep telling her she’s the best film school teacher I ever had. But she’s more than that, really. She’s become a close friend to me, someone I can rely on to tell me the truth. And she hasn’t let me down in terms of acting. I’m so happy to have her as part of my repertory company.”
“I’ve been lucky enough to work with Kathryn on three films the past couple of years,” said MABUSE leading man Nathan Wilson. “She is always such a delight to be around on set and treats everyone with the most respect. I have been fortunate to work with a true professional actress and I will always be grateful for the knowledge she has given me.”
Kathryn’s work as a writer has delighted her many readers. She has written a number of books about her experiences on DARK SHADOWS. The most recent of these, RETURN TO COLLINWOOD, was published in conjunction with the release of the recent Tim Burton/Johnny Depp DS movie. The well researched, detailed book chronicled the entire history of the DS franchise, beginning with the airing of the first episode of the TV series in June 1966, up to the making of the Burton film, in which she had a cameo.
Her first novel, DARK PASSAGES, is a delightful, semi-autobiographical tale of a young actress in New York who gets cast on a vampire soap opera. The actress is herself a vampire! Kathryn describes DARK PASSAGES as being written with “a wink and a nod” to DARK SHADOWS.
Most recently, Kathryn has authored DOWN AND OUT IN BEVERLY HEELS, a MURDER SHE WROTE styled thriller about a down-on-her-luck former TV star who solves a mystery while living in her car. Kathryn said that the book was inspired, in part, by homeless volunteer work she’d done at her church. She notes that Beverly Hills, one of the wealthiest places on earth, has a sizable population of once successful people who are “homeless and hiding it.” They continue to take meetings, audition for roles, and show up at parties, hoping that the next job they find will get them back into housing. Kathryn wanted to draw attention to this issue while also entertaining her readers. She succeeded. A sequel to BEVERLY HEELS is now in the works.
Of all the people who appeared on DARK SHADOWS, few are as beloved off-screen as Kathryn Leigh Scott. She’s been a true friend to her fans, supporting them as they’ve supported her. We are indeed fortunate to know her.
NEWS UPDATE: Classic horror fans might enjoy checking out Monster Serial, a series of film essays on classic horror films just posted at the Collinsport Historical Society. Curator Wallace McBride, a long time DS fan, generally uses the sight to present news updates and historical tidbits regarding DARK SHADOWS. In conjunction with Halloween, McBride did something a little different.
Every day in October a variety of writers (including yours truly) offered an essay on a classic horror film; we often addressed what the film under discussion means to us and how it impacted our love of the genre.
It’s quite a collection of titles, encompassing the Universal monster movies, the British horror movie craze of the 1960s and 70s, European films, and the HALLOWEEN series launched by John Carpenter.
It’s a wonderfully fun look back at classic horror cinema. Check it out here, and look for the Monster Serial link on the left side of the menu at the site’s home page.