Star: VICTORIA WYNDHAM
Role: Rachel Hutchins, ANOTHER WORLD
AW Debut: July 15, 1972
Birthday: May 22
Children: Darian and Christian
A WOMAN OF INDEPENDENT MEANS
Victoria Wyndham Celebrates Her Silver Anniversary as Bay City's Beloved,
DIGEST ONLINE: When you joined ANOTHER WORLD back in 1972, you and Constance
Ford (Ada) reportedly got off to a bad start?
VICTORIA WYNDHAM: I remember that first day rehearsing with her. I had made it
very clear to the people who'd hired me that I didn't want to hear, "Oh, well,
Robbie [Robin Strasser] would have done it differently." The problem with
taking over from somebody is that you're going to bring in your own bag of
tricks. That's what they were hiring, that's what they wanted. [The producer]
assured me [there would be no comparisons to Robin Strasser's interpretation
of the role]. "Oh, no, no, that's not going to happen," they said, "because
we're hiring you. We've tried other people and it hasn't worked. We've wanted
you for the whole year, even though we weren't able to get you because you
were retired with your babies. [FYI: Wyndham had put her acting career on hold
while her sons were infants.] And now we've got you. We hired you because we
want to change this character [and make her sympathetic]. It's what you do
that we want." So that first day I come in, and I'm doing a scene with Connie,
and we finish the scene, and she looks at the director du jour and she says,
"Well, Robbie never would have played it like that, is that the way you're
gonna play it?" I put my script down and I waited for the director to run
interference, and it was clear to me that he was a little intimidated by her,
so I put my script down and I said, "When you've all sorted this out, I'll be
in my dressing room!" I walked off the set, and that was the end of that --
that was the moment that Connie decided that I was a great replacement for
DIGEST ONLINE: So you didn't let Constance Ford intimidate you?
WYNDHAM: I'd worked with people like this before. I'd been on Broadway, I'd
been off-Broadway. I'd been working with Lily Tomlin and Madeline Kahn and
everybody else, so Connie ford was certainly not going to intimidate me on my
first day. Well, that was all she wanted to do; she was testing my mettle and
she found out [I wouldn't wilt] and from that point on we got along famously
DIGEST ONLINE: It's interesting. You've become so strongly identified with
Rachel, a character that Robin Strasser first portrayed; and Robin has become
so identified with Dorian Lord (on ONE LIFE TO LIVE), a role that SHE didn't
create. Have you two ever discussed that parallel?
WYNDHAM: No I don't see Robin; I don't see anybody really in the business. I
live out in the country and when I am working in New York, we're all the way
out in Brooklyn [at the NBC studio] and she's in Manhattan [at ABC]. By the
time I finish taping, I get back [home] very late at night. I go to bed, learn
my words and go to work the next day, and then at the end of the week I go
home to the country. You know, I spend so many hours here [at the studio] with
this company, more hours than I ever get to spend with my family or my
friends, so I don't do a whole lot of business [things]. [Robin and I] see
each other at functions, and we enjoy seeing each other, but we hardly talk
shop; we usually talk about our sons, do mother stuff. It's strange. We admire
each other's work, but I think Robin is so totally identified with my
character. The first thing you all say to me is, "Well, of course you took
over for Robin Strasser." I took over for Robin Strasser? I've been doing this
part for 25 years, she did it for 5. If that's not parity, what am I nuts? I
don't consider it as taking over a part; I consider it that I created a new
DIGEST ONLINE: When you became Rachel, making her more sympathetic was
immediately part of your vision for the character, wasn't it?
WYNDHAM: That's why they hired me. I just exposed her vulnerabilities, and
Robin didn't see the part that way. She saw it differently and it was totally
valid. From what I understand that she did, I think it was a very valid way to
go. You know, we're different, that's all. I find heavies are interesting
because of what you can bring to them from the other side of the deck. Some
people play heavies and think they're interesting, because they don't ever
want to show any other side of the deck. It's just two different ways of
working, and they're both valid. But what [producer] Paul Rauch and [head
writer] Pete Lemay wanted was to see a little bit more of what made her tick.
That's why they wanted me, that was what the deal was. I was to come on and
give them what I do, not what somebody else did.
DIGEST ONLINE: After all these years, do fans ever get the two of you
WYNDHAM: Do you know my favorite story about Robin? She made quite an
impression on everyone. I was coming down from Boston after seeing my son,
when he was at college at BU, and I'm on the Boston Turnpike. I'm going
through the tollgate and I'm futzing with my handbag, and the girl at the toll
booth starts getting all apoplectic and nervous and smiling and getting all
short of breath. She's very excited because she recognized me. So I hand her
the money and she goes, "Wait, wait, oh you're on my favorite soap." Well, I
don't supply my name, I'm waiting for her to get it, and as I'm driving away,
she goes, "I just love you Robin Strasser -- for years!" I drive away and I
think -- at that point I'd been on the show for 20 years -- and it still isn't
my part yet! It was a very funny thing. I laughed I think all the way down to
Connecticut. Because Robin and I don't even look alike. This woman obviously
was a current viewer; she knew who I was. She wasn't mistaking me for Robin,
she just couldn't get the right name. More power to Robin-- what an indelible
impression she made.
DIGEST ONLINE: During your 25 years on the show, which storylines stand out as
WYNDHAM: You know the Mac/Rachel storyline which went on for 7 years was just
great -- those first 7 years were just wonderful -- and all the permutations
that the relationship went through. I would have to say the Carl/Rachel
relationship has been my second favorite, although that's been truncated and
been through a bit of fits and starts due to the turnover of production teams.
But it's not the storylines I remember so much as the working relationships.
I'm an actor -- so what I remember is who did I like working with. I enjoyed
working with everybody, but I've had the body of work with my acting parents
and they've been Douglass Watson and Charles Keating and Connie Ford.
DIGEST ONLINE: Obviously, in 25 years, some storylines were better than
others. Wasn't there one Carl/Rachel caper involving some kind of mysterious
Egyptian statue that was killing people?
WYNDHAM: The nutty dust storyline. There was some pot that everybody kept
keeling over from. It was so silly, and we were supposed to take it so
seriously. It was weeks and weeks of just hysterics while we would rehearse
these scenes. We'd try desperately while we were actually taping them to not
just crack up. That was my least favorite storyline, because that was a real
workout. It was just absolutely idiotic -- I think that's gotta be an all-time
low; and I think I got very disappointed at the gargoyle Justine, at having to
take her to that extreme. That was disappointing, because I thought she
started out to be a very interesting character, and I thought she had more
mileage than that. We went through 3 administrations during that short bit of
time, so Justine just got lost in the shuffle.
DIGEST ONLINE: How did you feel about the pregnancy storyline with the twins?
WYNDHAM: That was a situation, not a storyline. It's very interesting. Michael
Malone came in [as head writer]and had to take a situation that was already
set up -- Rachel was pregnant -- and he deepened it. That's being a good
writer. He took what isn't a storyline and made it seem like a storyline
because he deepened it and gave it some peril and some ups and downs, but it's
still not a storyline.
DIGEST ONLINE: What do you think the future holds for Rachel, now that she's
had the babies?
WYNDHAM: I'm still waiting to see what Mr. Malone comes up with next for
Rachel and Carl. He apparently has some great ideas, but I don't know what
they are, so I can't even talk about them yet. I'm waiting with baited breath
to hear what they are, though. [Pre-Malone] we had lots of plot that was born
out of plot, not character, and he is a writer who writes character, and plot
spins from character. That's going to be a hard thing to fix, and it won't
happen overnight. It will be easier for him to effect that with new characters
he's introduced. But with those of us who've been on [for years], with plots
fastened to us or situations fastened on us, it's harder for him to see where
the characters are [underneath all that baggage]. We really haven't been
written as characters, we've been written as symbols, you all have noted it.
Rachel's the matriarch, she isn't a character, that's a label, a walking label
who holds up scenery. You know I've threatened a number of times that I'm just
going to come on carrying scenery on my back! Because that's about all I'm
doing half the time these days. So it's going to be a little harder for him to
get through that, but is he capable of it? Very much so. We saw that with him
coming in and saying, "Well she's pregnant, that's not a story, that's just a
situation, so I'm going to deepen it and give her this problem and that
problem and then I'll see what her character is." That's very writerly. I'm
very cautiously optimistic about this. Michael is certainly capable of
wonderful writing. I hope he is capable of taking some of the existing
characters and doing as interesting writing as I know he'll do with the
characters he originates. It's such a task, such a chore, what's he's trying
to do. But he's a strong man, and hopefully his strength will not desert him
DIGEST ONLINE: Do you ever wake up on snowy winter mornings, and think, "I
wish I didn't have to go to work today! Maybe I should just quit"?
WYNDHAM: Tons of times -- and also on those many, many days when you're stuck
at work for 12 hours and you only have 3 scenes, but one's in the morning the
one's in the afternoon and one's at the end of the evening, and you think, "If
I have to look at the wall across the street one more minute, I'm gonna die!"
It takes a great deal of stick-to- ive- ness and discipline to try and stay
here. But you know I had one very important mantra: I have to bring home the
bacon. I've got to get 2 children through private schools and college and
graduate school, and now I'm helping one son who is pursuing his theater
career and is over in England at the Globe theater making carfare. Christian
could not afford to do that gig if he had to support himself totally. I'm
working so he doesn't have to do a soap, so that he can have a real career as
a classic actor. There's no money in that, but eventually, hopefully, he 'll
be able to do other stuff that can pay his bills, but right at the moment he's
just starting out, and he needs all the support he can get. So does my
filmmaker son Darian, who's an independent filmmaker, again a really hard row
to hoe. So that's my discipline; that's what keeps me here, and then I do all
that other stuff -- my outside projects -- to try and keep myself interested
DIGEST ONLINE: What about future plans?
WYNDHAM: Well, when I want to do something I do it. Doing "Couplets" was very
gratifying. I'm just a regular working stiff like everyone else. I need my day
job in order to afford to be able to experiment as an artist [doing theater,
sculpture, writing a ballet libretto, etc.]. Will there come a moment when I
say, "You know what? I've done this long enough?" Will that moment come sooner
than later? Probably. It all depends. My children are grown now; there's a
stop time for everything. I feel very much now that if I stay here it's going
to have to be because it's interesting to me personally, so we'll wait and
see. As long as they see there's a meaningful place for Rachel on the canvas,
I think it'll all be terrific, but if I feel that they're just going to use me
to hold up the scenery, then no.
50 FABULOUS FACTS
ABOUT VICTORIA WYNDHAM...
And Bay City's Beloved
In 1972, Richard Nixon was president and Archie Bunker was king when ANOTHER
WORLD hired young actress Victoria Wyndham to reform Rachel. Up to that point,
Rachel was a pretty-of-the-mill troublemaker. She pulled bubble-gum heroine
Alice's pigtails every chance she got, and slept with Alice's
imitation-Marlon-Brando b.f. Steve Frame. (Heck, she even had his love child!)
Wyndham says she never would have joined AW if they'd just wanted her to cheat
between the sheets, but Head Writer Harding Lemay saw misunderstood Rachel as
ripe for redemption. He wrote scripts that played up the sympathy card; and
Wyndham turned in performances that put audiences in her corner. Backstage,
things were dicier. It took a little longer for some castmates to adjust to
Wyndham's softer, more subtle approach to things. But gradually her sheer
talent, professionalism and good character (on screen and off) won them over.
Today, a quarter of a century later, ALL IN THE FAMILY seems awfully dated,
but Rachel and her family are more vibrant than ever. These 50 fabulous facts
salute the Age of Victoria, a truly remarkable period in soap history.
1) Victoria Wyndham is the daughter of actors Ralph and Florence Camargo; both
her parents were on the radio version of GUIDING LIGHT.
2) A generation later, Victoria made her soap debut as Charlotte Waring on the
TV version of GUIDING LIGHT.
3) And in the same talk-about-things-coming-full circle vein, Paul Rauch --
the former ANOTHER WORLD producer who hired her as Rachel -- is now GUIDING
LIGHT's brand-new chief exec.
4) The actress has been nominated for an Emmy three times.
5) In 1978, Soap Opera Digest named Victoria Wyndam "Favorite Actress of the
Year." She received her Soapy award on the NBC magazine show AMERICA ALIVE.
6) The actress once told Soap Opera Digest, "I think every woman is a sex
symbol -- to someone."
7) In that same interview, she also confided, "The truth is, if I had to
choose, I'd rather be loved than be rich or famous."
8) During her first day on the AW set, Wyndham and Constance Ford, who played
Rachel's TV mom Ada, did not get along. Later, Ford's resistance mellowed into
enormous professional respect.
9) Victoria Wyndham got her Broadway start in the musical, "Fiddler on the
10) Her first airdate as rebel-without-a-pause Rachel Davis Matthews Clark was
(in all probability) July 15,1972. "Apparently, that is when I started on the
show," says Vicky. "I don't remember any of those things. It's all in the
great detritus of my memory at this point. It's mush."
11) The actress, a longtime divorcee, has two grown sons: Darian (a filmmaker)
and Christian (an actor).
12) Christian acts under the professional name of Christian Camargo (his
mother's family name), and co-starred on Broadway in last season's Tony
nominated play, "Skylight."
13) Ms. Wyndham's arrival on AW was extremely "sticky" business. "This could
be wrong," she says, "but I believe my first scene was in a lounge chair
putting on sun tan lotion, and it was just a visual [there was no dialogue].
My first real scene was with Connie Ford [Ada]."
14) As a family Easter project, Vicky and her sons once created a 7 foot high
rabbit sculpture in their living room. They named him "Harvey" (after the
Jimmy Stewart movie rabbit) and dressed him to the nines. His tony wardrobe
included a tuxedo and red velvet smoking jacket.
15) Vicky has two favorite acting partners: Charles Keating (Carl) and the
late Douglass Watson (Mac).
16) In 1996, she told Soap Opera Digest that the day Watson died "was the
worst of my life. If it weren't for the people here understanding, I would
have walked out and kept walking."
17) Aside from Watson, who does she miss the most professionally? Answer: Hugh
Marlowe (Jim Matthews), Paul Stevens (Brian Bancroft) and Constance Ford (Ada
McGowan). She says reflectively, "This place is full of ghosts for me. It
makes it very difficult to stay sometimes. So, you find what you do as the
years go by is pull away more, because it's too painful when people leave."
18) On Matt Crane's exit as Rachel's son, Matt: "When Matt left a few months
ago, I thought, 'Oh, my God, I don't think I can take this.' He was like one
of my sons; he was even born on the same day as my first-born."
19) Vicky's dressing room is more functional than frilly. The only special
request she made to TPTB was to "put in bookshelves, because you know I'm a
reader. So I've got bookshelves and a desk, but it's just a dressing room,
nothing very grand. I don't see it as a home away from home; I see it as a
workplace, so it's like a dressing room office."
20) Her dressing room wall is filled with pictures of her children and horses,
her beloved co-stars Doug Watson and Charles Keating, posters from her
theatrical production "Couplets" and pictures of her boyfriend and his
21) Wyndham says she loved working with Lewis Arlt; unfortunately, the
Ken/Rachel storyline didn't go anywhere. When she heard that Arlt's character
was being written off, she told the press: "I'm very disappointed and
22) Her final take on Justine: "I got very disappointed at the gargoyle
Justine, at having to take her to that extreme. That was disappointing,
because I thought that Justine started out to be a very interesting character,
and I thought she had more mileage than that."
23) She doesn't view the chaos of the Justine storyline as a single head
writer's or producer's fault: "We went through three administrations during
that short bit of time, so [the character of Justine] just got lost in the
24) But there was one terrific fringe benefit of playing Justine: "I loved
working with Mark Pinter [Grant]."
25) Deja-vu all over again: In the 1960s, Wyndham did "Fiddler on the Roof" at
Broadway's Majestic Theater, which shares the same stage sentence with the
Royale Theater, where her son Christian made his Broadway debut in "Skylight."
26) Wyndham and co-star Charles Keating are close friends off-camera. In fact,
Keating helped Wyndham's son Christian prepare for his acting audition at
27) After 25 years as Rachel, the actress stiffens a bit when an interviewer
still refers to her as "Robin Strasser's replacement."
28) In reality, Wyndham never really "took over" the role, because Rauch and
then head writer Harding Lemay hired her specifically to remold Rachel from a
back-street barracuda into a woman of independent means.
29) Wyndham joined the soap at the height of the Steve/Alice/Rachel storyline.
30) Her first AW leading man was George Reinholt. Later, future AMC
Emmy-winner David Canary played Frame during the character's short-lived
return from the dead.
31) Rachel was the daughter of struggling, single mom Ada Davis. Rachel's
no-good dad, Gerald Davis, had abandoned the family years ago. Rachel grew up
lusting after three things: money, status and power.
32) Rachel's encounter with middle-aged tycoon Mackenzie Cory changed her life
forever. Their sturm und drang love story -- including three wedding
ceremonies -- became one of the great supercouple pairings in daytime.
33) Rachel has five children: Jamie, Matthew, Amanda, and the twins Cory and
Elizabeth. She also has a stepdaughter Paulina to whom she is very close.
34) Rachel has been married to five different men: Russ Matthews, Ted Clark,
Steven Frame, Mac Cory and Carl Hutchins.
35) She has two half-sisters: Nancy (the daughter of Ada and Gil McGowan) and
the long-forgotten Pammy (daughter of Gerald Davis).
36) The veteran star has an interesting take on reading fan mail when you're
in the middle of a storyline that isn't working. "If you read your mail, you
do it at great peril," she told Soap Opera Digest in 10/96. "Because your mail
is telling you how stupid your character looks. And you feel like a jerk."
37) Reporters have occasionally commented on Wyndham's resemblance to Loretta
38) The actress treasures her privacy, and guards it zealously. During her
entire 25 year stint on ANOTHER WORLD, she has lived primarily outside
Manhattan in Connecticut or New York's northern suburbs.
39) She was born in Chicago and raised in Westport, Connecticut.
40) She has nothing but admiration for ANOTHER WORLD's new head writer,
Michael Malone, who's a writer after her own heart: He believes that character
drives story, not vice versa.
41) An accomplished equestrian, Victoria Wyndham has raised and shown horses
since childhood. Last fall, she rode in the National Horse Show at New York's
Madison Square Garden.
42) The multi-talented star has also written a libretto for a full-length
ballet, "Winter Dreams," and directed music videos for a rock band.
43) In addition, she gained recognition as a sculptor. Her sculpture is on
view in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian Institute.
44) Rachel's on screen pursuit of a career in sculpting mirrored Wyndham's own
development as an artist in that medium.
45) During her early days in show business, Vicky did improvisational work
with Lily Tomlin at the Upstairs at the Downstairs.
46) Sandra Ferguson (who played Amanda during the late 1980s) calls Vicky
Wyndham "my favorite TV mom. We would have days when we would just get really
silly and nearly get into trouble [on the set] because we could hardly get
through the scene. It was like when you're a kid in school. We would have to
take a five-minute break to regroup. I really loved working with Vicky."
47) Wyndham and Keating's theatrical tour of their dramatic concert show
"Couplets" was so successful, the duo are now brainstorming a sequel.
48) On rare occasions, when she runs into Robin Strasser at social functions,
they don't discuss their roles. "We talk about our sons," Vicky confides.
49) Vicky admits that in general she doesn't pursue work friendships outside
the studio: "As time goes on, you find that you pull away," she acknowledges.
"You make less and less of an investment in the company beyond being pleasant
to work with and enjoying their friendship when you're here. You make sure
that your real relationships are outside of work, because this business is a
difficult business for continuity. It's difficult to lose people constantly
who die, or who don't deserve to be let go."
50) After all these years -- and all those scripts -- she remains meticulously
professional in her work habits. During a recent phone interview with Digest
Online, she interrupted the conversation several times to make sure she wasn't
being paged on the set. The First Lady of Bay City wouldn't dream of showing
up late for rehearsal!