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Lynn Herring joins ATWT

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Exclusive: Lynn Herring Joins As the World Turns

by Michael Logan June 09, 2009 03:24 PM EST

What a coup! As the World Turns has hired former General Hospital sensation Lynn Herring to play Audrey, the gold-digging mother of cut-up Henry Coleman (Trent Dawson). She hits the air July 24. One of daytime’s best bad girls, Herring played GH’s Lucy Coe from 1989 to ’97, then took the juicy character to the spin-off Port Charles. When that soap collapsed in 2003, GH bizarrely never asked her back. Married to Days of Our Lives vet Wayne Northrop, Herring now lives on a cattle ranch near Raymond, California, far from the madness of show biz. She called us from the quaint Raymond Museum—which she owns and operates!—to give us the lowdown on her new World turn.

Do you have any idea how badly people have wanted you back on the soap scene? It’s been too long.

I have missed it so much, but GH has never called. Eventually I figured, “Well, OK, I guess I’m outta that role.” That’s why it was such a compliment to get the phone call from [ATWT exec producer] Chris Goutman. I guess I really needed to get back to work. I’d find myself creating soap-opera scenarios in my mind while I was out on the hill feeding the cows. “Hmm…that flirty red one sure looks like she likes the bull today…” When you start doing that you know it’s time to start acting again.

The idea of you on a New York soap is hard to get your brain around. You’re such a country girl.

I know! One day I’m on the ranch giving shots to my horses with cow poop on my boots and the next I’m on the set at ATWT all dressed up with makeup and heels. I haven’t worn heels in five years! I couldn’t sleep the whole first week I was in New York because I’m so used to the silence of the ranch. But you know what’s funny? I’m staying in a sublet on Central Park South right across from where they park the horse carriages—so the smell of manure is still in the air!

How the hell did this happen?

Recently when The Young and the Restless thought they might have to re-cast the role of Jill, I let it be known that I was interested in the part. As it turned out, Jess Walton stayed and that’s the way it should be. But I think CBS got wind that I would love to be back on the boards. I haven’t had an agent in 10 years. Port Charles went off the air six years ago. And I went back to GH for one day for Lila Quartermaine’s funeral. That’s been it.

How is it that you’re playing Trent Dawson’s mom? Did you give birth to him when you were, what, 12?

And my character has seven other kids! And one of them is a serial killer. The way I figure, Audrey was a teenage mom. The backstory is that she ditched all the kids and Henry had to take care of them, so he has a lot of anger issues with her. They agree to not discuss dear old dad… I think he was abusive.

So you didn’t even have one “harumph” moment? Like, “How dare you think I’m old enough to play this guy’s mother?”

I think I was so grateful to be asked back to daytime, I would have agreed to a 50-year-old kid. And the role’s so great! Audrey is kind of a grifter, a con-woman who has been through a lot. She’s like Lucy Coe in a way, but older and wiser. So far I’ve only shot a few episodes, but Trent and I are already chewing scenery together.

How long is your run?

Chris Goutman said the main story is six-to-eight weeks long and then we’ll see what happens after that. If it ends there, I will love it and be appreciative. If it goes on, I can’t lose.

So start flirting with all the male characters, baby! That’s one way to get some longevity. Steal somebody’s man!

They’re bringing in Michael Woods [Passions] as someone attached to Audrey, a guy named Jay who wants money from her. I think maybe she got dough from killing off some husbands. She’s a survivor. And it’s really not clear what she wants from Henry. She just suddenly shows up in Oakdale.

Let’s get back to GH. How did you feel about not being asked back there when PC bit the dust? Were you stunned? Sad? Pissed?

The show had gone in a whole new direction with Sonny and the Mafia and they’ve done very well by that. I knew Lucy wouldn’t fit into that. Her high jinks and her comedic vixeny thing didn’t seem to match with that serious tone, so it didn’t bother me not to be asked back. I understood. But then when they brought back Finola Hughes [Anna] and Emma Samms [Holly], I did start to feel bad. I thought, there’s gotta be a little space for me! But with Kin Shriner [scotty] gone, there weren’t many characters Lucy had related to a lot. I guess I was disappointed quite a bit, really. I understood why I wouldn’t be offered a full-blown, long-term thing. I just wanted something.

Let’s discuss this marvelous private life of yours. You’re running the town museum

Wayne thought I was insane, but we went and bought this old house from the 1880’s and turned it into the Raymond Museum. It belonged to Charles Miller, the first homesteader in the area, and I was afraid someone would come and tear it down. There is so much history there. In the walls and the floorboards we’ve found jewelry, saloon doubloons, old railroad spikes, old graniteware and bottles, great historical stuff! It’s been like a treasure hunt. And people are bringing us their own treasures, too. It’s a very important area. Teddy Roosevelt came to Raymond on his way to Yosemite with John Muir, and that’s what started Yosemite National Park. There are ancient olive trees on the property. I learned to pickle them and gave them as gifts from the museum. You have to be careful you don’t poison someone because of the lye. I made Wayne taste the first batch.

So how’s business?

Amazingly, people show up! Our town has 500 people but they’re also coming from everywhere. We’ll get school kids or a busload from the senior-living center, and what’s neat is that they are so appreciative. They thank me and I thank them because it’s all such a gift.

Do you think you were drawn to the house on a spiritual level?

I do. This museum has been a force of its own. I feel like I was supposed to make it some sort of monument to the frontier spirit—and, let me tell you, once I made that decision things just rolled! The county fell right in line with everything we needed. We got a historic rating from the state. It all snowballed so easily, as if it were meant to be. My sons, Hank and Grady, sometimes mind the store when I’m out doing something. Their tours are hilarious. Wayne gives the funniest tours. He just makes stuff up.

Are you often recognized?

I’ll be covered in mud digging for bottles and someone will say, “Hey, aren’t you Lucy Coe? What are you doing here?” It’s very rural where we are. ATWT sends me the scripts via FedEx but the FedEx guy doesn’t like to come all the way out to the ranch so he leaves them at the feed store in town.

Well, if there are plot leaks, we’ll know how it happened!

Oh, it’s funnier than that. The feed store is connected to the beauty store where you can get your hair done.

And you know how gossip flies at a hair salon!

Everyone’s getting such a big kick out of my flying to New York every few days to be on TV. It sounds hokey but people are so nice here. We’ve been ranching up in this area for 20 years. The kids knew it from living here in the summers, but it was still a huge culture shock to leave L.A. after Port Charles ended and make a permanent move to such a remote area. To get to school, the kids have a 35-minute car ride over a dirt road dodging wild turkeys and pigs. In LA, they didn’t know who fixed the pot holes or who worked on the phones. Here they do. They’re part of a community where they know everyone, and what everyone contributes. Here there’s respect for the elders, for the old cowboy down the road. We have 200 Angus, plus horses, sheep, ducks, geese, dogs and cats. We provide a habitat for animals with acres and acres of open space. We haven’t eaten a store-bought egg in 15 years. This is where we’ll be for the rest of our lives. It’s paradise.

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I guess her character is who will keep Craig occupied while Maura West is on maternity leave.

Anyway, good for her! Although at this rate, ATWT is fastly becoming the show filled with GH/PC castoffs, I mean really all that's missing is Kin Shriner and Mary Beth Evans at this point.

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I am thrilled for Lynn. It doesn't sound long term. Regardless, nothing can make me watch ATWT again. I'm done with that show.

Nothing on ATWT is long-term, remember. It is DOA in September 2010. So this is a cool short-term gig, even if it is for a "3-year contract".

Jill....wow...that will be hard to cast if JW ever leaves. She started out working class (manicurist)...no college education...fueled by bitterness and anger...now with a certain sophistication that comes from marrying well and living with money for two decades...naturally smart.

I couldn't imagine some of the other names mentioned (e.g., Wyndham, Stuart) working AT ALL. They carry too regal a bearing to bely their working class roots. Also, I'd feel Herring is too young.

But I guess once Herring's name bubbled up for Jill, CBS decided to find a place for her. Barbara Bloom is slowly bringing ALL of Port Charles to ATWT :lol::lol:

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Mary Beth Evans and Kin Shriner were already on ATWT. Mary was Sierra (she did a good job -- better than the show deserved they never gave her anything to do) and Kin was Keith, Sarah Brown/Julia's brother and briefly involved with Lily before they made him evil, selling organs for money.

I know this won't be a lengthy part but I'm glad Lynn is working again. She'd said before she would be happy to just stay on the ranch with her husband and kids. She's a wonderful actress, comic yes, but also underrated at drama, and she was a very special part of GH for a long time. I miss seeing her on soaps.

I hope she has some scenes with Craig. I know JL isn't a great Craig but I still want to see them at least interact, Kevin/Lucy were one of my favorite soap couples ever.

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Wow this is awesome! I adore Henry/Trent and can't wait to see them together.

I wonder if she'll interact with JL?

I know JL isn't a great Craig but I still want to see them at least interact, Kevin/Lucy were one of my favorite soap couples ever.

He's one of the best Craig's second only to Scott Bryce

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Interesting story on her museum. I like how they don't even realize who the Northrops are.

Charles Miller knew what he was doing when he homesteaded 160 acres in 1886 in what is now Raymond.

He knew what he was doing when he chose the site for his house.

He knew what he was doing when he built that house.

Lynn Northrop didn't know what she was doing when she bought his house two years ago, but she's on a spiraling learning curve.

Until Northrop -- she and her husband Wayne are Coarsegold cattle ranchers -- decided she wanted a little challenge two years ago, the house was just an old place that had changed hands numerous times and had, until the 1980s, been used as a rental. In all that time, no one had altered its basic structure.

Northrop said she thought she'd fix it up a little, maybe open a gallery for local artists, but she kept hearing that it was Raymond's oldest home.

"I would have hated to see it go to some inappropriate use," she said.

So, with contractor Dan Powell, she started poking and prodding.

Kicking the dirt around the house yielded old dishes, silverware, square-head nails and bottles. When they yanked off the drywall and drop ceilings, they knew they had hit a history jackpot. The original board-and-batten was pretty much intact. Pieces of old wallpaper clung to the cedar. It was perfect for a town museum, they thought.

That was enough to give Northrop a dream and the drive to see it through.

She was honored Tuesday by the Madera County Board of Supervisors for all her work on the property. The house has been named a California Point of Historic Interest.

Charles Miller

Northrop's research has come up with amazing detail on Miller.

He was born in Hornitos, but his railroading father soon took the family to San Francisco, where he was a Southern Pacific agent. Miller's maternal grandfather was Henry Stegman, a Wells Fargo agent in Yosemite and a man with fingers in several pies in the Mariposa and Yosemite areas.

There is some speculation that young Charles, only 23 in 1886, might have been tipped off by his insider relatives that the railroad was coming to Raymond with plans to make it the jumping-off place for tours of Yosemite. The valley already was a tourist destination, with people arriving on foot, horseback and wagon.

The railroad, ever quick to capitalize on a good thing, decided to take a line to Raymond. From there people would catch stages and go to Wawona by way of what is now Ahwahnee, a 10-hour trip.

He homesteaded the land, laid out the streets and named them. Then he built his house on a rise alongside what would be the railroad tracks. The house is ideally situated to get the best breezes to cool the interior. The tall roof is balanced by a wide, covered porch, perfect for sitting out and surveying one's kingdom.

And until his death from pneumonia in 1893, Miller had quite a kingdom. He was the Southern Pacific Railroad and Yosemite Stage and Turnpike Company agent, he ran the Wells Fargo office and was the telegraph operator. For a for a few months, he was the postmaster. He managed the stage company's hotel and was chairman of the committee to build a road from Raymond to Mariposa.

Raymond in those heady days was a booming place. The Vanderbilts came through and parked their private railroad car under a sort of carport made for the purpose. Teddy Roosevelt and John Muir walked its streets. Stories in the national press praised its delights.

All that is there in the house, just waiting to come out.

Back to the present

"It's a happy house," Northrop said. "It has a positive energy."

Once you climb the stairs and cross the porch, the first thing you notice when you enter the living room is the huge RAYMOND sign. "940 feet," it reads. "To San Francisco 198 6/10 M." Beside it is a photo of the depot with the sign in place.

Then you see the post-office window. There's a wood stove, copies of documents, sales books, hats, buttons, shoes, farm and quarry implements -- a trove of local treasures. And they came from someone's barn, attic or garage.

The the donations continue to come in daily, Northrop said.

"There are all these little memories in the house," she said.

At a recent Raymond High School reunion, many of the graduates toured the house and shared their stories. One fellow had lived in the house when he was 10 years old. A picture of the woman doctor who had worked in the town was recognized and fussed over.

Along with documents, photos, historic objects and furniture you might expect to see in a house museum, there is a charming display in the kitchen. Northrop framed bits of wallpaper she found when stripping the home's walls. One, which might be from the 1930s, has cartoon children dressed as cowboys. And if you are a special visitor, you might get to see the paper with a pattern of Delft tile that's hidden behind the kitchen door.

What's next

Northrop said one of her reasons for doing "all this" is to pass on to the younger generations an appreciation for Raymond's past.

"I want them to find the continuum of place," she said. "You wind up connected to people whether you know it or not. I want them to respect that."

One of her goals is to get volunteers to catalog and cross-reference all her bits and pieces. Another is to get a barn built, and an outhouse.

She also sees the house, with it's welcoming shade trees and porch, as a gathering spot for people coming to Raymond.

"Come, eat lunch at the general store, walk down to the museum, she said.

"I want this to be a place people use, not just a place for people to look at," Northrop said.

The Raymond Museum is open Sundays noon to 4 p.m. and by appointment. The address is 31956 Road 608. Take the main Raymond street to the feed store and look across the old railroad right-of-way. There it sits. Call (559) 689-1886.


That phone number is the same year the house was built. It's just one of the great little stories about the house. Northrop said she asked for the number, but was told by Sierra Telephone that the 1800 series was used for internal voice mail. But Sheri Colgate said she'd do what she could. Sierra Tel's Harry H. Baker (whose company began in Raymond) made it happen, and the museum got its number.

Here are some other interesting factoids:

The original, hand-dug well -- all 35 feet of it -- is still producing water. Because it has dirt walls, the water is used for irrigation now. Local legend says it has never gone dry.

When Northrop and Powell started working on the house, the kitchen -- like many old houses sort of a lean-to affair -- was separating from the house. Powell pondered the problem and used a fence come-along to get the two structures back together.

Northrop and her children have found numerous buttons and rivets out in the yard. She discovered that Levi-Strauss has an antiquities department that can date such artifacts.

When Northrop went before the state board that designates historic cites, the Rose Bowl in Pasadena was there at the same time, seeking the same honor.

A friend of a friend heard that the house was becoming a museum and donated two short clips of film that docents show on a TV. The old railroad bed, after the tracks were removed, was used for horse racing in the 1940s -- local cowboys vs. trained jockeys. The home-movie clip shows a race or two and people attending. The other piece of tape is of a late-1940s Coarsegold rodeo.

"It's like a puzzle," Northrop said, "every time someone brings something in or recognizes a person in a photograph, another piece is filled in."

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She would have been a DREADFUL Jill.

Oh, and she shouldn't have mentioned she's staying on Central Park South. She'll have all the crazies staking her out.

She would have been a helluvalot better than some of the other names being bandied about. Those Names = :rolleyes: The only one remotely in the gossip mill that I wanted was Anna Stuart.

And way to go Lynn for getting a job at ATWT! Even if it is short term. I have so desperately missed Lynn in daytime television.

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She would have been a helluvalot better than some of the other names being bandied about. Those Names = :rolleyes: The only one remotely in the gossip mill that I wanted was Anna Stuart.

And way to go Lynn for getting a job at ATWT! Even if it is short term. I have so desperately missed Lynn in daytime television.

My opinion -- not disrespecting yours -- is that Anna Stuart would have been horrible. Too patrician.

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