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'Dangerous' Role a 'Wonderful' Change for Light Star of 'Who's The Boss?' Plays in Made-For-Tv Movie [ - ]
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Story Notes:
Author: Bob Niedt
Source: Post-Standard, The
Date | Issue: 11/01/1987 | NA p.3
Topic: Judith Light
Submitted by: mich_l81

'Dangerous' Role a 'Wonderful' Change for Light Star of 'Who's The Boss?' Plays in Made-For-Tv Movie

By Bob Niedt

It's 7 a.m. West Coast time, which, by vicious rumor, anyway, is the time most actors are ready to call it an evening.

But Judith Light, who stars as Angela Bower on ABC-TV's "Who's the Boss?" series, is up after a good night's sleep, chipper and rarin' to talk TV and reminisce about the home town -- Trenton, N.J. -- she shares with her caller.

"I often think about going back and finding the house where I grew up," she said in a recent interview from her Los Angeles home. "I'd like to knock on the door, and maybe go in and have a look around. I guess whoever is living there might find that kind of odd, if they watch the series."

At least they'd have a lot to talk about. After all, "Who's the Boss?," which critics said wouldn't last its first season, is back for its third, and in recent weeks, has consistently been one of the nation's most-watched television shows.

And Light, the product of daytime soap opera's "One Life to Live" and a slew of stage productions, has another important iron in the fire: She's starring in "Dangerous Affection," an NBC made-for-television movie airing at 9 tonight on WSTM-TV (Channel 3).

"We're calling it a drama-comedy-murder-mystery-thriller," she said of the hybrid made-for, which was filmed in Seattle. "It's a terrific film. It doesn't stop for a minute. It just keeps moving along, and I think what's interesting about it is it really could happen to someone. I also think that's what's scary about it."

Light portrays Cathy Post, an illustrator of children's books whose life is turned topsy-turvy while she's 8 1/2 -months pregnant with her second child. Her 4-year-old son is the only witness -- as in "Witness" -- to the murder of his father.

Meanwhile, the police suspect her of killing her estranged husband, while the detective -- portrayed by Jimmy Smits of "L.A. Law" -- working on the case falls in love with her, and the real killer is tracking her and her son.

"It was an incredible experience," said Light, 38, who has "played pregnant" at least twice before: As Stella in a Toronto stage production of "A Streetcar Named Desire" and on a guest shot in television's "St. Elsewhere," in which she toted a pistol while gunning for a doctor she believed botched her husband's vasectomy and made her heavy with child for the 11th time.

"It was a wild cycle of filming. I love 'Who's the Boss,' but at the same time, it was wonderful to be able to move away from that, and do something as fulfilling as 'Dangerous Affection."'

Light prepared for the pregnancy aspect of her "Dangerous Affection" role by attending child-birthing classes with a friend and exercising to Jane Fonda's pregnancy workout.

"There was much screaming and yelling in the birthing scene, which was very authentic," she said.

But in addition to researching her role, Light likes to employ her actor's training to "go deep" for emotion.

"Whenever I play somebody, I have to come to love them," she said. "When I play an evil character, in their emotional sculpture I have to find something to like about them -- even in a script that provides no redeeming qualities.

"If you like the character, you find colors in it. Nobody is one way, because there are always softnesses in people. You can't hate you're character when you play it. My God, then you'd be playing at the character, rather than playing the character."

Light, the only child of an accountant and his wife, was born in Trenton and went to a private school in Burlington, N.J. She graduated from Carnegie-Mellon University with a drama degree, and did repertory theater work throughout the country.

Her big television break came in "One Life to Live," where she portrayed prostitute Karen Wolek, a role that won her daytime Emmy Awards for outstanding actress in 1980 and 1981.

She left the series -- where she met her husband, actor Robert Desiderio -- in 1983, and joined another soap opera star, Anthony Geary, for the made-for-television film, "Intimate Agony." She also landed prime-time guest starring roles in "St. Elsewhere," "Remington Steele" and "Family Ties."

Light's prime-time break came with the Norman Lear comedy, "Who's the Boss?," which bowed in the 1984 season. Her Angela Bower is a wealthy divorced woman who employs macho housekeeper Tony Micelli (Tony Danza), adding a pinch of sexual undertone.

But this is the first season that not even the producers and writers are sure what direction the relationship of Tony and Angela is going.

"I can tell you their relationship is going to be deeper," said Light. "There's going to be a deeper sense of love and affection. There's always been the chemistry, but there's going to be a much deeper bond.

"But in terms of them getting together, we just don't know. I think we're not sure the audience wants them to."

Light likened the relationship to Sam and Diane's on "Cheers," where the writers would get them together, then pull them apart.

"But in real life, you can't have two adults looking longingly at each other for a long time," said Light. "The audience would be saying, 'Gee, aren't they going to do something?'

"In the best of all worlds, I'd love it. America is ready for romance and sexuality with a real deep love. I think that could hold an audience, because it hasn't ever been done successfully on television: Have a viable, sexual, romantic marriage that's as delicious as it is in courting."