Judith Light

Actress


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In her three-hour Archive interview, Judith Light talks about her early years and her training at Carnegie Mellon. She describes being cast as "Karen Wolek" on the daytime drama One Life to Live - a role for which she received two Daytime Emmy Awards. She recounts being cast as "Angela Bower" on the comedy series Who's the Boss? opposite Tony Danza. She details the eight-season run of that show, recalls working with co-stars Alyssa Milano, Danny Pintauro, and Katherine Helmond, and discusses the classic episodes "First Kiss" and "Briefless Encounter." Light recounts her involvement with various AIDS charities, which led to her starring as "Jeanne White" in The Ryan White Story, and speaks of co-starring in several other made-for-television movies. She chronicles her prolific stage career, which includes Tony-winning performances in "Other Desert Cities" and "The Assembled Parties." She recounts co-starring in several series including the revival of Dallas, Ugly Betty, The Stones, and Transparent, in which she co-stars with Jeffrey Tambor. She sums up by discussing balancing her career and married life, and giving advice to aspiring actors. Adrienne Faillace conducted the interview on April 3, 2015 in New York, NY.

"As an actor you are there to serve. If you're doing it for your ego or because you think you can become a star, you're not doing it for the right reason. If you're doing this for anything other than to bring some kind of illumination to the project that you're working on, that will lift your team, lift yourself and lift anybody who comes to see you, then you are not doing this profession a service."

People Talking About ...
Highlights
Judith Light on the Who's the Boss? episode "First Kiss" and "Tony" and "Angela's" relationship
Judith Light on the importance of Transparent
Judith Light on her Ugly Betty character "Claire Meade" and working with America Ferrera as "Betty Suarez"
Judith Light on being cast as "Karen Wolek" on One Life to Live
Judith Light on what she loves about acting 
Judith Light on studying acting at Carnegie Mellon
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On her early life and influences; on studying acting at Carnegie Mellon
On various early stage roles; on figuring out her acting career 
On being cast as "Karen Wolek" on One Life to Live; on her One Life to Live character "Karen Wolek" and her famous courtroom scene; on winning two Daytime Emmys for playing "Karen Wolek" on the show
On moving to Los Angeles; on appearing on various series; on being cast as "Angela Bower" on Who's the Boss?
On the collaborative process of shooting Who's the Boss and working with Tony Danza as "Tony Micelli"

Chapter 2

On Tony Danza's involvement in Who's the Boss? as executive producer; on her Who's the Boss? character "Angela Bower's" wardrobe and the costumes for the cast; on working with Alyssa Milano as "Samantha Micelli" on Who's the Boss?; on working with Danny Pintauro as "Jonathan Bower" on the show
On her friendship with Tony Danza during the run of Who's the Boss? and beyond; on working with Katherine Helmond as "Mona Robinson" on Who's the Boss?; on the Who's the Boss? episode "First Kiss" and "Tony" and "Angela's" relationship
On "Angela" getting naked in the Who's the Boss? episode "Briefless Encounter"; on the series finale of Who's the Boss?; on her then-current relationships with the cast of Who's the Boss?
On dealing with the AIDS crisis and playing "Jeanne White" in The Ryan White Story; on starring in A Step Toward Tomorrow with Christopher Reeve
On starring in the series The Stones; on starring in The Simple Life and deciding to return to the theater; on starring in the play "Wit" and various other plays

Chapter 3

On playing the recurring character "Elizabeth Donnelly" on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit; on appearing in the feature film "Save Me"; on playing "Claire Meade" on Ugly Betty
On her Ugly Betty character "Claire Meade" and working with America Ferrera as "Betty Suarez"; on the production of the show moving from Los Angeles to New York and the end of the series
On appearing in the Broadway production of "Lombardi"; on starring in "Other Desert Cities" on Broadway and winning a Tony; on starring in "The Assembled Parties" on Broadway and winning a Tony

Chapter 4

On playing "Judith Ryland" on the revival of Dallas; on being cast as "Shelly Pfefferman" on Transparent
On the importance of Transparent; on her Transparent character "Shelly Pfefferman"
On what she loves about acting; on her proudest career achievements and biggest regrets
On advice to an aspiring actor; on balancing her career and marriage; on how she'd like to be remembered 
Shows

Dallas

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Judith Light on playing "Judith Ryland" on the revival of Dallas

Emmy Awards, The (Primetime and Daytime)

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Judith Light on winning two Daytime Emmys for playing "Karen Wolek" on One Life to Live

Family Ties

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Judith Light on appearing on Family Ties

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit

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Judith Light on playing the recurring character "Elizabeth Donnelly" on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit

One Life to Live

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Judith Light on being cast as "Karen Wolek" on One Life to Live
Judith Light on her One Life to Live character "Karen Wolek" and her famous courtroom scene
Judith Light on winning two Daytime Emmys for playing "Karen Wolek" on One Life to Live

Simple Life, The

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Judith Light on starring in The Simple Life and deciding to return to the theater

Transparent

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Judith Light on being cast as "Shelly Pfefferman" on Transparent
Judith Light on the importance of Transparent
Judith Light on her Transparent character "Shelly Pfefferman"

Ugly Betty

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Judith Light on playing "Claire Meade" on Ugly Betty
Judith Light on her Ugly Betty character "Claire Meade" and working with America Ferrera as "Betty Suarez"
Judith Light on the production of Ugly Betty moving from Los Angeles to New York and the end of the show

Who's the Boss?

View Show Page
Judith Light on being cast as "Angela Bower" on Who's the Boss?
Judith Light on the collaborative process of shooting Who's the Boss? and working with Tony Danza as "Tony Micelli"
Judith Light on Tony Danza's involvement in Who's the Boss? as executive producer 
Judith Light on her Who's the Boss? character "Angela Bower's" wardrobe and the costumes for the cast
Judith Light on working with Alyssa Milano as "Samantha Micelli" on Who's the Boss?
Judith Light on working with Danny Pintauro as "Jonathan Bower" on Who's the Boss?
Judith Light on her friendship with Tony Danza during the run of Who's the Boss? and beyond
Judith Light on working with Katherine Helmond as "Mona Robinson" on Who's the Boss?
Judith Light on the Who's the Boss? episode "First Kiss" and "Tony" and "Angela's" relationship
Judith Light on "Angela" getting naked in the Who's the Boss? episode "Briefless Encounter"
Judith Light on the series finale of Who's the Boss?
Judith Light on her then-current relationships with the cast of Who's the Boss?
Topics

Advice

View Topic
Judith Light on advice to an aspiring actor

Characters & Catchphrases

View Topic
Judith Light on her Who's the Boss? character "Angela Bower's" wardrobe and the costumes for the cast
Judith Light on her Ugly Betty character "Claire Meade" and working with America Ferrera as "Betty Suarez"

Classic TV series episodes

View Topic
Judith Light on her One Life to Live character "Karen Wolek" and her famous courtroom scene

Diversity in Television

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Judith Light on dealing with the AIDS crisis and playing "Jeanne White" in The Ryan White Story
Judith Light on starring in A Step Toward Tomorrow with Christopher Reeve
Judith Light on her Ugly Betty character "Claire Meade" and working with America Ferrera as "Betty Suarez"
Judith Light on the importance of Transparent

Emmy Awards

View Topic
Judith Light on winning two Daytime Emmys for playing "Karen Wolek" on One Life to Live

Historic Events and Social Change

View Topic
Judith Light on dealing with the AIDS crisis and playing "Jeanne White" in The Ryan White Story
Judith Light on starring in A Step Toward Tomorrow with Christopher Reeve
Judith Light on her Ugly Betty character "Claire Meade" and working with America Ferrera as "Betty Suarez"
Judith Light on the importance of Transparent

LGBTQ

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Judith Light on dealing with the AIDS crisis and playing "Jeanne White" in The Ryan White Story

Memorable Moments on Television

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Judith Light on her One Life to Live character "Karen Wolek" and her famous courtroom scene

People with Disabilities

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Judith Light on starring in A Step Toward Tomorrow with Christopher Reeve

Pop Culture

View Topic
Judith Light on her One Life to Live character "Karen Wolek" and her famous courtroom scene
Judith Light on her Who's the Boss? character "Angela Bower's" wardrobe and the costumes for the cast
Judith Light on her Ugly Betty character "Claire Meade" and working with America Ferrera as "Betty Suarez"

Television Industry

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Judith Light on advice to an aspiring actor

Women

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Judith Light on her Ugly Betty character "Claire Meade" and working with America Ferrera as "Betty Suarez"
Judith Light on the importance of Transparent
Professions

Actress

View Profession
Judith Light on figuring out her acting career
Judith Light on advice to an aspiring actor
Judith Light on balancing her career as an actress and marriage 
Judith Light on what she loves about acting 

Performers

View Profession
Judith Light on figuring out her acting career
Judith Light on advice to an aspiring actor
Judith Light on balancing her career as an actress and marriage
Judith Light on what she loves about acting 
Genres

Comedy Series

View Genre
Judith Light on playing "Angela Bower" on Who's the Boss? (Part 1)
Judith Light on playing "Angela Bower" on Who's the Boss? (Part 2)
Judith Light on starring in the series The Stones
Judith Light on playing "Claire Meade" on Ugly Betty
Judith Light on playing "Shelly Pfefferman" on Transparent

Cop/Detective/Mystery Series

View Genre
Judith Light on playing the recurring character "Elizabeth Donnelly" on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit

Daytime/Primetime Serials

View Genre
Judith Light on playing "Karen Wolek" on One Life to Live
Judith Light on playing "Judith Ryland" on the revival of Dallas

TV Movies/Miniseries/Dramatic Specials

View Genre
Judith Light on starring in A Step Toward Tomorrow with Christopher Reeve
Judith Light on starring in Men Don't Tell
People

Tony Danza

View Interview Page
Judith Light on the collaborative process of shooting Who's the Boss? and working with Tony Danza as "Tony Micelli"
Judith Light on Tony Danza's involvement in Who's the Boss? as executive producer 
Judith Light on her friendship with Tony Danza during the run of Who's the Boss? and beyond
Judith Light on the Who's the Boss? episode "First Kiss" and "Tony" (Tony Danza) and "Angela's" relationship
Judith Light on her then-current relationships with the cast of Who's the Boss? (Tony Danza)

Katherine Helmond

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Judith Light on working with Katherine Helmond as "Mona Robinson" on Who's the Boss?

Alyssa Milano

View Person Page
Judith Light on working with Alyssa Milano as "Samantha Micelli" on Who's the Boss?

Danny Pintauro

View Person Page
Judith Light on working with Danny Pintauro as "Jonathan Bower" on Who's the Boss?

Christopher Reeve

View Person Page
Judith Light on starring in A Step Toward Tomorrow with Christopher Reeve

Jeffrey Tambor

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Judith Light on the importance of Transparent, starring Jeffrey Tambor as "Maura Pfefferman"

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