As the kindly Gwen Frame, actress Dorothy Lyman spent much of 1980 on the late lamented soap opera Another World mentoring Ray Liotta’s down to earth Joey Perrini, helping him navigate a rocky romance with Bradley Bliss’ well to do Kit Halloway.
But when this seasoned performer, perhaps best known for her comic portrayals on Mama’s Family and All My Children, returned for the show’s 25th anniversary in 1989, the writers played a little loose with her history to create some friction filled drama. Fueled with rage over the death of a relative, previously a nonissue on the show, Gwen crackled with anger. Determined to bring down the show’s longstanding heroine Rachel (Victoria Wyndham), who she blamed for the demise, she interrupted a heartfelt monologue by the surprised woman. Later, during a confrontation, she pushed her newfound enemy and knocked her out, leaving her to die in a gas filled room. Of course, Rachel survived and, ultimately, forgave Gwen – probably due to the fact that was Lyman was only contracted for a handful of episodes and a long trial was simply not in the cards for the character.
Decades later, re-watching these episodes, what is most apparent is the caustic joy that Lyman took in Gwen’s turnaround – she bites into her lines with a vicious glee and gladly rides the highs and lows of the character’s emotions like an exuberant child on a roller coaster. It’s a delightful performance – a viper with a bleeding heart –and just one of the many seemingly effortless performances in this skilled veteran’s long career.
Horror Hall of Fame:
A frequent figure on television screens, Lyman made appearances in In The Cards, a first season Tales of the Darkside episode, and The People Across the Lake, a spooky movie of the week with Valerie Harper.
Until the next time, SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!