Rena Sofer began her acting career as a teenager on Another World playing Joyce Abernathy (who?). She jumped to Loving as Rocky, and then General Hospital as fan fave Lois Cerullo, the role that won her a Daytime Emmy. Many prime-time stints followed, including Seinfeld, Friends, Melrose Place, 24, NCIS and about a million others.
Her personal life has been equally fruitful: Sofer just celebrated her 10th wedding anniversary with Director Sanford Bookstaver. Daughter Avalon is almost 8; daughter Rosabel (with former GH co-star Wally Kurth) is 16.
Full disclosure: Rena and I are long-time friends.
She starts airing on B&B in July. Welcome back!
Carolyn: How did the B&B role come about?
Rena: I’ve been looking to go back to Daytime for awhile, which you knew. You sent me the B&B breakdown and said it would be a great role for me. That was the first inkling for me to call my agents and say, “I hear they are looking for this.” Little did I know that CBS had already called my agents! So I owe my initial interest in B&B to you, but the universe obviously had a bigger plan for me.
Carolyn: What attracts you about coming back to Daytime?
Rena: What I loved about soaps was having some place to go, and knowing what I would be doing every day. Since I left GH, I’ve been in the nighttime television world. I did a pilot every single year until Avalon was born. Some of them didn’t go. Some of them stayed on the air for 13 episodes and then got canceled. There was always this horrible sense of, “Do I have a job? Am I going to see these people again?” Coming from the security of Daytime, that was jarring for me. I probably shouldn’t say this, but there are some prime-time things I’ve done that I would never watch.
Carolyn: You guest starred on so many shows. Wasn’t that fun?
Rena: Yes! But a lot of those jobs were out of town. I flew to Canada three times to do Covert Affairs, which was a great show but I just don’t want to leave my family. Here’s the deal: my husband is a director. He leaves town on a whim. Rosie is in her last year of high school. I’m not willing to uproot my family because Sandy or I got a job in Detroit or Florida or Canada. When the prospect of going back to soaps came up it was an easy decision for me. As much as I love being a mom, I miss acting every day. The best union of those two worlds for me is being on a soap. I can be fulfilled as an actress and still drive my kids to school every day.
Carolyn: What do you say to GH fans who are disappointed that you’re not coming back to Daytime as Lois?
Rena: I say to them that I will always love Lois, but the timing wasn’t right for me to go back to GH. The timing IS right for me to join B&B. I’m really happy about this opportunity and excited about my future there.
Carolyn: What can you say about your B&B character, Quinn Fuller?
Rena: She’s the mother of Wyatt Fuller, played by Darin Brooks who won an Emmy on Days of Our Lives. I can’t tell you too much more about her because I don’t want to lose this job before I start airing [laughs].
Carolyn: How has B&B been so far?
Rena: These people are so nice! John McCook [Eric] called me to welcome me to the show. He lives near me. I said, “Do you have a good way to get to work?” He said “Sorry, no.”
Carolyn: John McCook is the John Ingle of B&B – he’s so supportive. How was your first day?
Rena: Fantastic. I tried to have lunch with Michelle [Stafford from Y&R, which tapes across the hall], but it’s just not possible. Our schedules are too different. So Darin bought me lunch at The Grove. My son bought me lunch! The work was good. [Producer] Ed Scott was very nice. [EP and Head Writer] Brad Bell was great. There were beautiful flowers in my dressing room when I arrived. It was so lovely! I had scenes with Darin and someone else that I probably shouldn’t say.
Carolyn: How do you feel playing the mother of a 25-ish son?
Rena: Fine! Someone said to me, “You’re his mother?” I said, “Yes. Just so you know, I have a 27 year-old daughter.” [Actually, Meghann is Sofer’s stepdaughter from her marriage to Wally Kurth.] I could have given birth to Darin at the same time.
Carolyn: So that doesn’t feel weird?
Rena: Not at all. It’s a soap opera! If anybody watched 24, I was the mother of a 16 year-old boy, and that was five years ago. I’m used to playing the mom to grown men [laughs].
Carolyn: So… so far, so good?
Rena: Yes! B&B is full of people who are nice and warm and welcoming. But trust me – it’s going to be a whirlwind!