«My disappearance was a sign of the destiny !»

 By Joan Mac Trevor, Ciné Télé Revue, 1990

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She was one of the more attaching faces of Santa Barbara. "The moral conscience of the show", she says of Mary DuVall, this sweet and generous character, fallen madly in love with Mason (Lane Davies), and accidentally killed by unilateral decision of the writers and the producers. The public remained shocked about it, as well in the United States as in Europe, where a real protest campaign was organized to ask for the "resurrection" of Mary and the return of Harley Kozak. With for consequence a flood of letters which submerged the studio. Unfortunately, no one did well believe to comply with the desire of the American televiewers. And the European public has of as much less chance to bend the project superintendents of Santa Barbara than, in the United States, the death of Mary goes already back to 1986. For the producers, as for Harley Kozak, this adventure thus belongs to the remote past. But what thus, meanwhile, became this charming heroin, who had known to conquer the public, as well by her personality as by her character ?

A Martinez said that the disappearance of Harley Kozak was the most serious error ever made by the direction of the show. The public spontaneously followed him by expressing its sympathy to the unfortunate Mary. Harley Kozak showed herself so much more touched by these testimonys of friendship than she did not expect a such enthusiasm. "It is not me who took the initiative to leave the show", she recognizes. "But, retrospectively, I think that it was a good thing. When I had been asked to return, one year later, I refused. My career was then involved in another way. No, I did not regret this decision, which however did not depend on me. It was a sign of the destiny inviting me to return to my dream of always : cinema."

Harley Kozak stayed one season in Santa Barbara. From 1985 to 1986. The time to be made appreciated by her colleagues and regretted by the public. Daytime soaps were however not the first ambition of this warm person, who only dreamed of cinema. But, when you launch yourself out in cinema, you do not always have choice. And there were Texas, then Guiding Light, two soaps which gave her reasons to hope to be able one day to freely choose her roles. "I had never planned to play in a soap. Also, I was very surprised when I was hired for Texas, in 1981. In totallity, I made five years of soap, and I will probably return to there one day. It is an excellent school, a rigorous training for a young actor. If I feel able, today, to face all the roles and not to panic in front of experienced actors, it is thanks to these five years."

Harley Kozak is right to be satisfied of the road she had travelled because, contrary to many actors of television who slide into anonymity once disappeared the role which made them famous, she was not made forgotten since 1986. After a period of wavering, where she lent her grace to many kinds of advertisements for marks of pudding, coffee and orange juice, she patiently dug her niche in the bosom of the 7th art with movies like Clean and Sober (with Michael Keaton), Parenthood by Ron Howard, and When Harry Met Sally, film in which she plays the ex-wife of Billy Crystal. After that, she is preparing to play in a production Walt Disney/Steven Spielberg, Arachnophobia, with Jeff Daniels and Julian Sands.

Harley Kozak is undoubtedly a beating. Her happy but difficult youth will have probably taught her extremely early that life does not make gifts. "We were ten at the house. My father died when I was twelve months old. Mom trailed us from Pennsylvania to Dakota and, finally to Nebraska, where she taught during twenty years music at the university of Lincoln. A mother and eight children, it was not funny every day. But we were happy. My more beautiful memory is Christmases than we spent together, all the nine, around the table. The perfume of the cakes that bake had since never ceased accompanying me." At five, Harley made her beginnings in a production of the opera of Purcell, Didon and Enée. She played an angel. Today, in addition to her job of actress, she is also interested in poetry and writing of plays. One of it, Garage, had already been the subject of an adaptation.

But the most astonishing with Harley, it is her few attachment to material things. "Aside my car, my piano, and a table I received as a Christmas present, everything can be stolen at my home, I would not be sad. My home is everywhere where there are at least a coffee, a restaurant and friends." And men in this encumbered program ? "For the moment, my job is my only concern. I know that one day, I will get remarried (Harley Kozak had already been briefly married in the beginning of the Eighties) and I will want to have children. But, for the moment, nothing imports me as much as my work."