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July 30,
2009 - 36 years of Santa Barbara

Jane A. Rogers : «I always hold my Santa Barbara days close to my heart.»

 By Nicolas, exclusively for Santa Barbara : le site Francais, July 2020

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On July 09 2020, Jane A. Rogers agreed to take on her time to answer exclusively the questions of Santa Barbara : le site Francais. The actress talks about her debuts, the Santa Barbara years as Dr. Heather Donnelly, and her life since her departure from the show.

The beginnings before Santa Barbara

At first, I'd like you to tell us a little about you : Where do you live ? Do you live in couple or have children ?

I still live in Los Angeles with my husband of 33 years, Daniel Rojo. We started dating a few months before Heather appeared on Santa Barbara. We have one son (Michael Rojo) who is 20 years old. Our son created, wrote, and produced an award-winning teen comedy web series entitled NC-16. Available on Seeka.tv on Monday July 20th, 2020.

To know you better, what did you bring from yourself in the character of Heather Donnelly in Santa Barbara ?

I feel that as a therapist, Heather needed to be warm, understanding, honest and approachable... a real person. I'm from the Midwest and value these qualities and have always tried to live my life this way.

How did you start your career as an actress ?

I started at a young age participating in school productions and attended a local college for theatre. ABC was on a nationwide talent search for the then soap opera, Ryan's Hope. I was the only actress selected from Minnesota to fly to New York for a screen test. I did not get that role but received a lot of positive feedback which led me to relocate from Minnesota to Los Angeles.


The time of Santa Barbara

How did you start in Santa Barbara ?

I had auditioned for the casting director of Santa Barbara many times. When she called me in for the role of Heather Donnelly, I had a small recurring role on General Hospital as a nurse. I was worried that I would not be considered seeing as I was on a "rival" soap. That wasn't the case.

How did Heather was introduced to you at first ?

This was a very long time ago, but I do remember when I received the audition scene, I thought this was a role that I could tackle. She was a strong, dedicated woman - qualities I appreciate in a person.

Heather's main storyline was her love-story with Scott Clark. They formed a lovely couple, until Scott left her for Celeste whereas she was pregnant... For most of the public, it was awful. How did you deal with that part of the storyline ?

Conflict is necessary to keep storylines interesting. While the situation of this storyline was difficult for Heather to go through, I enjoyed the challenges of making her decisions honest and real and relatable. It is nice to hear that the public was with Heather during her life-challenges.

What were your favorite male and female acting partners as Heather ?

I loved working with both Vincent Irizarry and Signy Coleman. I also must say that the entire cast and crew were wonderful. Everyone really cared about the show and gave everything to make it real and interesting.

Did you keep a special memory of an anecdote from Santa Barbara shooting ?

I have many, many memories of shooting Santa Barbara. There was one scene that ended up on a blooper reel. (I would LOVE to find that.) If I remember correctly, this was after Scott and Celeste had started their affair. There was a scene with Jon Cypher (who played my father) and Heather in an elevator. He was giving fatherly advice and talking about opening and closing doors in a relationship (referring to Scott / Heather). There was a problem with the elevator mechanism and the door opened and closed about fifteen times during this one small scene. It was the end of a very, very long fourteen hour day and Jon and myself got the giggles... which turned to hysterical laughter and we couldn't stop. To the point that we had to give the cast / crew a fifteen minute break so we could calm down. Laughter truly is the best medicine.

You left the show after quite one year and a half. What were the reasons of your departure ? What did you think of the end that was reserved for Heather ?

I never really knew why they decided to end that storyline - I think that they kind of wrote the character into a corner where she had no choice but to move on from Santa Barbara and start a life with her new baby away from the heartache of Scott and Celeste.

What are your best remembrances from the show, on a relational and on a professional level ?

I most remember the creativity of the producers/writers and directors. They wanted Santa Barbara to be different than other soaps. Jill Farren Phelps (Executive Producer) really worked with the actors on their storylines and the best way to portray the characters. It was that support that was most appreciated and really helped me grow as an actress.

Did you keep in touch with members of the cast or the crew after your departure ? Did you continue to watch the show ?

I kept in touch with Marcy Walker (Eden) for a few years after the show. I also kept in close contact with Jon Cypher (who played my father) for many years... as time goes on, life changes and people move on to other things... but, I always hold my Santa Barbara days close to my heart.

If you hadn't play Heather, which character would you have liked to play ?

That's a tough question. I feel like Heather was a good fit for me. Although, I must admit that I like to play "villains". It is always a challenge to make someone who chooses to cause ill-will to others believable and still have some likeable qualities. No one is one-dimensional...


These last years after Santa Barbara and now

After Santa Barbara, I remember you as Julie Delorean in The Bold and the Beautiful and many other parts on television. Can you come back on the following years of your career after your departure from Santa Barbara ?

Yes, I played Julie Delorean on The Bold and the Beautiful for a couple of years after Santa Barbara. I then had a storyline on General Hospital and on Seventh Heaven. My son was two years old when I did Seventh Heaven. I didn't like being away from my son for such long days, so it was at that point I decided to put my acting career on hold and enjoy motherhood.

My husband and I were highly active at my son's elementary school and we produced the annual musical there for six years. Our cast was approximately 170 students, ranging in age from five to ten years old. It was the hardest, most challenging work I have done, but by far the most rewarding. I still have young adults come up to me and remember the musical days. I started acting in elementary school and to be able to give other children the same experience that I had was fantastic.

Do you have upcoming projects for the months to come ?

My most recent project was producing NC-16 with my son. It's a (slightly inappropriate) teen comedy, which will be released on Seeka.tv on July 20th. This was an amazing experience. My son also has a short film in the works. This one with a part for me ! I love producing but acting is still where my heart lies.

What would you like to say to all the Santa Barbara fans all over the world who didn't forget you as Heather ?

Thank you soooo much for your continued support. I still have fans who approach me with their memories of Santa Barbara, and it warms my heart. I was honoured to be a part of such a great show. I hope that these fans will continue to support my efforts by watching NC-16 and offering this same support to my son, Michael Rojo.


Once again all my thanks to Jane A. Rogers for her kindness and her sincerity.