BB Special Edition with KATE LINDER ...
BB: Broadway Blogspot really finds it fascinating and fantastic that, whilst you continue to maintain your successful acting career, you also still continue your career as a flight attendant. You are quite the multi-tasker. Tell us more about that.
KL: It’s kind of interesting having been on that show for 29 years and I’ve watched a lot of people come and go. You can’t forget who you are when one day you’re working on the set and the next day I’m maybe speaking to you in an interview, and the next day after that I’m serving coffee at 35,000 feet. You just don’t forget who you are that way. So, bad pun, but it definitely keeps you grounded. They always say, “If you want something done, ask the busiest person you know.”
BB: Do you have words of advice for actors who are also juggling their day job trying to get their big break or are managing a lull in their careers?
KL: I think the most important thing is they call it “Show Business” for a reason -- it’s the business of show and you have to treat it as your business. You can’t give up. We all have bad days and we all have days where we go “This is just not happening, just forget it.” And maybe you allow yourself one day to feel sorry for yourself and then the next day you have to pick yourself up and keep going. So I do plays as much as I can, I like to do independent features and shorts, anything just to keep it up. Also because I’ve played the same role for so long, I think it’s really important to do other things as well. You just have to keep going and you have to keep knocking on those doors and you keep asking that same question, and if one person says “no”, then you ask the next person. Then you go back to the person who said “no” and ask again, and you just keep going till someone says “yes.”
BB: I also commend that you still in your "spare" time continue to take dance, singing, acting classes to keep up your chops!
KL: Yes, it is a business and it is a craft. You have to. I’m still in class, I still go to acting class, I still go to dance class, I still have voice lessons. I think that’s really important and there’s days I have to miss class because I’m working, but that’s what it’s all about. They understand and I call in and say “I’m working today, I won’t be in class,” and the next week I go, because it is such a different thing. It is a craft and it is a business and it is all those things and you just keep going. I try to give back too. I’m celebrity spokesperson for the ALS Association. I do tons and tons of charity; I‘m out almost every night doing something.
BB: Tell us more about that . . .
KL: I just think it’s so important. I mean I feel so fortunate I’m doing something that I’ve always wanted to do. This is what I’ve wanted to be since I was a little girl. All I wanted to be was an actress. I had nobody in my family who was in the business, so my parents were very very supportive and they didn’t have a clue what to do or how to help. They also felt it was such a lousy business and such a hard business that they thought that, “If I wanted it that badly, I would just do it.” It’s the kind of thing I just feel so fortunate that when the alarm goes off and I’m going to go to work that morning, I’m so excited that I get to go to work and get to do what I do. So it’s not only my duty, my right -- it’s my privilege; I have to give back. And so many things have happened. I have gotten this letter -- it was a while ago from this woman. She says her sister was really sick and would I send her a picture for her birthday. The mail takes a really long time to go through there and by the time I got it, I thought, “Oh man she’s never going to get this.” So I called Information and she was listed. I’m never going to forget that she was in Smith City, Kansas. I called her up and, as she’s not gonna know who Kate Linder is, I just said “Hi, this is Esther from The Young and the Restless and I’m just calling to say ‘Happy Birthday’. She said “Oh my gosh!” We talked for quite a long time and she told me she was very sick. I said “I know, your sister told me,” and we talked for a while. Then afterwards, her sister sent me a letter and said her white count was crazy or something happened, and she got better. She did unfortunately pass away, but I kept in contact with the family for years. They would send me pictures and tell me what her kids were doing and they graduated. Having been on the show this long, it’s shocked me when I realize there are people out there, you know, who’ve watched me when they were little and they come up to me and they’re holding a baby themselves. So I thought “If I could make someone feel good, if even for five seconds, how could I not do that?” I have to do that, so that’s what I do to the best of my ability, the best I can.
BB: And speaking of craft . . . What has now become a fabulous 29 years for you on The Young and the Restless, stemmed from you being cast in a one-line role in which you said "Dinner is served" Any words of advice on auditioning and “on-set" etiquette, or things that you wish you would have known earlier in your career that you could pass along to less experienced actors?
KL: It was just supposed to be for one day. I went into the SAG Casting Committee and I went in on a General Interview. The Casting Director’s name was Tom Palmer and I left him a tape and we talked and I went home. I said “This was never gonna happen.” One of those days; I thought, “Oh well.” I got home and his assistant called me and said Tom is finished with your tape and I said “Already?” He said “Yes. It was really strange because he usually doesn’t do this, but after you left he went right in and looked at it.” I said “Ok” and I didn’t live real close to the city and I said “I’ll be down in a couple days.” He said “Ok.” A couple days later he calls me and says “Look I have this roll, it’s really small and if you blink you’re gonna miss it. But I want you to know that I’m also looking at you for something else to help me on the show.” (This usually doesn’t happen, because if you do a small thing on a show, that’s the end -- there won’t be anything else.) Tom said “But I want you to know, in this case, that wouldn’t happen here. So it’s up to you.” I said “I’ll take it.”
I always wonder what would happen if I hadn’t done that. He told me for years (he since passed away too; he was a great guy), he said he would do lots of seminars and speaking and he would use me as an example of what can happen and what if I had said “No.” It was just supposed to be for this one day and here we are 29 years later. Then I was so fortunate and so honored to receive a “Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame” a little while ago; so it’s just like, totally unbelievable. So you have to go for it and maybe that’s why, too, I’ve always gone for it. I’ll always do whatever role it is if I find it interesting or I think it’s good, or I can do plays. I do all kinds of stuff because I always say to myself “What if I don’t do this? What if I had said ‘No’?” You never know.
BB: Do you have any words of inspiration?
KL: I call what I do “working the program.” I just do what I do to the best of my ability and do the best I can. I can’t look for, “Ok, if you do such and such, this is what happens.” I can’t look that way or think that way, because I think when you do that, and you try so hard, you push it away. But if you just keep doing what you do to the best that you can, then the things come to you.
I mean it’s just like as far as the “Star,” I still can’t believe it; I mean I have to go there periodically just to make sure it’s there. It was such an unbelievable experience when I found out I was getting that. I cried for months and months when I would think about it, because that’s the thing, I just never thought.
I used to do this thing like every five years, “Ok, if I get to be this age, I will have done this. I will have done a film, I will have done a play,” because I want to be on Broadway. That’s one of my goals, you know, I would love to do a Broadway show someday. So I used to say “By this amountage, this stage, I would have done that.” I would get to that age and I would be so depressed when it didn’t happen and I finally thought “What are you doing?” So I had to stop doing that and re-thought the whole thing.
Yes, I’m very fortunate. No matter what level you’re at, you always want to move to that next level, whatever that level is. I think whether you’re at the beginning stages, the middle, and the upper end, you still have to apply the same process to it. You have to still work it like you’ve always worked it; treat it as a business, treat it as a craft. Keep going because, you know, we all hit the stumbling blocks and we all get stopped and blocked and can’t move forward.
You can find me through my website www.katelinder.com.
When you’re a young, struggling actress with only a few television credits to your name, even an audition for a one-day role with one line of dialogue on a daytime soap is something to lift your hopes and add a sparkle to your eye.
It was 29 years ago, in April, 1982, Linder got the role and delivered her line, “Dinner is served,” on “The Young and the Restless.” She was asked back the next day and the next. Now she remains a key member of the top-rated daytime drama’s cast. Still the realist, however, she continues to fly the friendly skies of United on weekends while simultaneously appearing on the soap opera. In 2005, Linder was elected to two terms as Governor of Daytime Programming Peer Group for the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (the folks who put on the Emmy Awards). On April 10, 2008, Linder received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Linder’s role as Esther Valentine has been one of emotional highs and lows as the confidante and housekeeper to Mrs. Katherine Chancellor (Jeanne Cooper), the wealthiest woman in town. Mrs. Chancellor and Esther were kidnapped together (twice!) and Mrs. Chancellor delivered Esther’s child, originally named Kate, now an adult calling herself Chloe, with a child of her own. Their relationship was severely tested when Esther’s first husband murdered Mrs. Chancellor’s husband during an attempted robbery and second husband was one of their kidnappers (Esther has the worst taste in men) but the two women learned to rely on one another for moral support and friendship.
Linder enjoys the best of two worlds -- on the air and in the air. “Acting is my life,” says Linder. “It’s what I do for a living and my creative satisfaction. Flying is what I do to stay grounded as long as I can work it into my schedule.”
Linder’s high-flying life began without fanfare on November 2nd in Pasadena and raised in Arcadia. Her father, a C.P.A., and her mother, a homemaker and dedicated tennis player, presented her with a brother, Randy, a few years later.
Entered into dance class at 3 1/2, Linder’s interest in acting didn’t manifest itself until seventh grade when her History teacher had the bright idea of reports delivered in the form of dramatic skits. By the time she finished high school, she’d appeared in major singing and dancing roles in “Promises, Promises,” “Three Penny Opera,” “L’il Abner,” “Jesus Christ Superstar,” and many others.
Committed by this time to an acting career, Linder’s request upon her high school graduation to be sent to the American Academy in New York to study theatre was met by a counter offer from her father: attend two years of liberal arts college, then
he would support her in New York.
As a result, Linder entered San Francisco State University majoring in drama, which kept her so busy in school productions, as well as in stock and repertory theaters in the Bay area, that she never got around to taking up her father’s offer. When she wasn’t on stage, she filled her remaining days, nights and weekends with her first experience as a world traveler as a flight attendant for Transamerica, a charter airline catering to international business travelers.
Gaining her degree in Theater Arts, Linder remained in San Francisco following graduation, dividing her time between the stage and exotic locales around the world. What spare time she had was spent working in the University’s activities office where she met her soon-to-be-husband, Dr. Ronald Linder, then a professor at the school who subsequently joined the faculty in Public Health and Medicine at UCLA.
Married on Valentine’s Day in 1976 (thus the character name, Esther Valentine, on “The Young and the Restless”), the couple soon settled in Los Angeles. Linder soon broke into the TV scene with guest starring roles in sitcoms and dramas. After landing on the daytime drama, Linder starred in “Cotillion ’65,” a short film that won many film festival awards and explored the relationship between a boy and his dance teacher, played by Linder, and the dual life led by her character. She followed this up with more recent films roles and we'll soon be able to announce her role in a very prestigious upcoming feature film.
Linder is the celebrity spokesperson for the ALS Association, the pre-eminent leader in the fight against Lou Gehrig’s Disease, following her brother-in-law’s diagnosis. She is also on the board of AFTRA and Linder can be found most holidays serving food to the hungry and homeless at the Los Angeles Mission. In 2002, Linder spent Thanksgiving visiting troops in Afghanistan and Pakistan for 11 days to boost morale with the USO. She spent Thanksgiving doing the same in Korea in 2003 and visiting Guantanamo Bay with the USO in 2007. She also sent off troops departing from Fort Hood and all of her USO tours were with the late Johnny Grant.
In her “spare” time, Linder also became the first daytime actress to compete in the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach celebrity car race. She didn’t win but she came in ahead of previous race winners and, unlike her fellow racers, her car didn’t have a scratch on it.
With Linder now a much-admired actress on “The Young and the Restless,” she and her husband live a hectic life, rarely able to spend time in their rambling brick house in Los Angeles.