Fan Oprah Winfrey gives Marcy Walker a break

 Chicago Tribune, 1992

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Marcy Walker, who played the glamorous Eden for six years on the NBC soap opera Santa Barbara, reels off her character's litany of woes: "Let's see, I was in six auto accidents; I was thrown off a cliff; I was raped, paralyzed, caught in a fire. I was a spy. I went back in time. My husband had a computer chip planted in his head. I played my presumed-dead brother... and shot my mother in the head. It was magic," Walker says of these histrionics, truly unrivaled in daytime annals.

These magic moments, combined with Walker's incredible on-screen chemistry with Santa Barbara co-star A Martinez (the newest cast member on L.A. Law), provided the soap with its highest ratings and landed Walker a daytime Emmy. But with a changing of the guard in the writing and producing team and the grab-bag of bizarre behavior pretty much tapped out, Walker left the cushy existence of afternoon stardom a year ago.

She arrived as a virtual unknown in the world of prime-time casting. Still, last year Walker won the lead in Stephen J. Cannell's CBS series : Palace Guard, and this Sunday will star in the made-for-TV-movie Overexposed, which airs at 8 p.m. on ABC-Ch. 7.

"I've been battling being (unknown) since I've been out of daytime," Walker says. "I'm proud of the work I did on Santa Barbara, yet if I could shed that skin, it would be easier. What I have are polar emotions. Producers and casting directors are not always aware that a lot of people who watch me in daytime would follow me over to nighttime and watch me there."

The first of four movies produced for ABC by Oprah Winfrey's Harpo Productions, Overexposed, was filmed in Chicago last spring. Walker won the role just days before shooting was to begin, after Mare Winningham dropped out for personal reasons. Winfrey, an executive known to keep up with the soap scene and a longtime fan of Walker's, encouraged the actress to try out for the part.

"It made my day to have somebody so respected and so powerful say, "I want her"", Walker says from her home in Studio City, California. "The director didn't even know who I was. ABC said, "Why not do Susan Lucci (All My Children) ? We have a deal with her"."

Walker flew to Chicago, auditioned, and four days later began shooting the angst-filled, true-life domestic drama in which she plays a housewife conned into an affair with her husband's buddy, who, after being spurned, distributes videos of their lovemaking on the front lawns of all the neighbors.

"I've never played such a victim," says Walker. "She's emotionally whiplashed. At the end of it all, there's no relief for her."