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2011 - 27 years of Santa Barbara

Susan Marie Snyder : «I justified every thing Laken did in the name of love.»

 By Nicolas, exclusively for Santa Barbara : le site Francais, July 2011

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On last July 11, Suzenne Marie Seradwyn, a.k.a. Susan Marie Snyder, agreed to take on her time to answer exclusively the questions of Santa Barbara : le site Francais. The actress talks about her beginnings, the Santa Barbara years as the second interpreter of Laken Lockridge, her part in As the World Turns, and her new activities today.

The beginnings before Santa Barbara

Photo by Deborah Maldonado - Heart and Soul PhotographyAt first, can you tell us a little about you : How old are you today ? Where do you live ? Do you live in couple or have children ?

I prefer to be ageless, merci. Closer to 50 than 40. I live in New Mexico and am married for 12 years now. We have one daughter who is now all grown up.

You're now being named Suzenne Seradwyn. Can you tell us the reasons for this new name ?

I was fed up with the acting business and decided to quit and move to Vermont. I was taking French at Santa Monica College at the time and LOVED the way the professor said my name, Susan, but it sounded like, "Suzenne." Seradwyn is a twist on the name of a Welsh goddess, Caerdwen or Ceridwen. Mother of Merlin, so the legend goes. I was reading, The Mists of Avalon and really resonated with this wise and powerful goddess. I chose the spelling of it to make it easier for people to pronounce.

To know you better, what did you brought from yourself in the character of Laken Lockridge in Santa Barbara ?

I brought youthful enthusiasm, optimism, playfulness and fearlessness.

How did you start your acting career ?

I acted in the school plays. The pivotal event came when the director at our high school took four drama students to a regional audition in Portland, Oregon for The American Academy of Dramatic Arts. I was accepted into the school and off I went to New York City for the summer that changed my life forever. I met a talent manager who told me to return after I graduated high school and they would sign me on. I did and they did ! I started booking work right away in commercials, print and small parts on soap operas. It took about three and half years for me to land the contract role of Laken Lockridge.

 

The time of Santa Barbara

How did you start in Santa Barbara ?

I read for the part of Laken in New York City when they were first casting Santa Barbara but, as you know, they cast Julie Ronnie. Two or so years later when I'd moved out to Los Angeles, I was called to audition for the role, again. This time they were looking for a much different type of Laken which I had a real handle on by then.

Before you performed her, Laken had already been played between 1984 and 1985 by Julie Ronnie, but "your" Laken was quite different than "hers". How did Laken was presented to you at first ?

I wasn't influenced by Julie Ronnie's portrayal of the character as I had never watched the show. I just played what the writers wrote.

It seems Laken came back in that year 1987 to create a tension in Ted & Hayley's couple. How did you succeed not to make of Laken a perfect "bitch" as she could have been, but more a friendly and nice character ?

Again, that was how the character was written. I justified every thing she did in the name of love.

When you performed her, Laken had to deal with a married Ted and her will to recover him, with Caroline her father's new girlfriend, the arrival of her ex-boyfriend T.J., the adventure of The Lair... What was your favourite storyline as Laken ?

I enjoyed all of it ! I liked the storyline when Ted had the winery and T.J., the ski bum, came to town.

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

It was very fun working with Todd McKee (Ted), Stacy Edwards (Hayley) and Nicolas Coster (Lionel).

You left the show after eight months. What were the reasons of your departure ? What did you think of the end that was reserved for Laken at that time ?

I didn't want to leave the show. They wrote me out and never told me why. I can't even remember what they did with Laken...?? I think they sent her back to New York City.

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

It was a great learning experience for me as an actor. I honed my skills on the set and became a true professional.

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

I was close with Stacy Edwards for some time though we've lost touch. Jane Sibbett and I played step-sisters. We are still great friends to this day.

If you hadn't play Laken, what character would you have liked to play?

Hmmmmmm, maybe Kelly Capwell.

 

These 23 last years after Santa Barbara and now

After Santa Barbara, you played for many years in As the World Turns. How would you compare these two soap-operas ?

Santa Barbara was a half hour show and As the World Turns  was a full hour and a lot more work. "Julie" was a much more complex and complicated character and my storylines were featured more prominently. Playing this character was one of the richest experiences of my life on so many levels; as if that role was wrapped up into the very fabric of my personal destiny.
My two best friends in real life, one in New York City, Jennifer Ashe, and one in Los Angeles, Babette Renee Props, were hired for the roles of Snyder sisters, "Meg" and "Ellie." When I came on, I married "Caleb" and became their sister-in-law.
My birthname is Susan Marie Snyder. My real father's name is Joe Wendall Snyder. My character was "Julie Wendall Snyder."
I started dating actor Peter Boynton, "Tonio Reyes," before I'd even auditioned for the soap. Then, I was asked to audition, got the part and six months later I was marrying Peter in real life and "Tonio and Julie". When "Julie" got pregnant, Susan got pregnant.
The writer, the late Douglas Marland, called his mother, Bea Snyder. My mother's name is Bebe Snyder.
Douglas's birthday was May 5th. My mother's birthday is May 5th.
Anyway, there was more but you get the idea...
My co-star, Michael David Morrison, died from a drug overdose. They replaced him the next day. That was pretty traumatic. The part of me who made "Julie" real, was deeply in love with the part of Michael who played "Caleb." It was very difficult to separate that out.

You left the acting job for some years now. Can you tell us more about your new activities ? You seem not to have completely left the artistic world...

I decided that I wanted my daughter to have a normal life outside of Los Angeles, New York City and show business. Her dad, Peter, and I had split up and he was living in Vermont full-time. We agreed that Vermont was a spectacular place to raise a child so we did.

I quit show business, legally changed my name (to Suzenne Marie Seradwyn) and re-invented myself. I became the Communications Coordinator for an International Development Consulting Firm in Burlington. I stayed for seven years before moving out to Albuquerque, New Mexico two years ago. I have been holding The Universal DanceChurch and Laughter Yoga Club since last January 2010.

Can you tell us more about these Universal DanceChurch and Laughter Yoga Club ?

Universal DanceChurch... C'est mon passion. Danse. En anglais maintenant (In English now)...
I mix the music and present the theme each week. No religion. No dogma. Just a place for people to move their bodies and express themselves without judgement in the safety of sacred community. I've been doing this type of dance for ten plus years. I started in Los Angeles with Michael Molin-Skelton. He taught the Five Rhythms method by Gabrielle Roth.

Laughter Yoga Club is international movement started by a medical Dr. in Mumbai, India, Dr. Madan Kataria, to bring more joy and laughter back into the lives of us stressed-out, humyn beings. I recognized the need for more laughter in my own life and became a certified leader. I started the first club here in Albuquerque. We meet every Saturday to laugh for no reason other than to feel good.

Is there something you'd like to say to all the Santa Barbara fans all over the world who didn't forget you as Laken ?

My true passion is to be an active participant in the evolution of human consciousness. This I practice every day.

 

Once again all my thanks to Suzenne Marie Seradwyn for her big kindness, her availability and her nice efforts in French !
The first photo of this page was taken by Deborah Maldonado - Heart and Soul Photography.