Gibboney fills a Generations gap

 By Nancy M. Reichardt, Orlando Sentinel, 1990

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Linda Gibboney had her bags packed to leave Los Angeles and move back to her old New York City apartment when "an old friend" (Paul Dekker, the casting director of the daytime soap Generations, which is televised on WESH-Channel 2 at 12:30) called her with an intriguing job offer.

"Paul was my agent years ago back in New York City," explains Gibboney. "And he's just kept moving on. He brought me in for Santa Barbara back in 1984." At the time, Dekker was the casting director for Santa Barbara and he hired Gibboney as the original Gina Timmons.

"Anyway, Paul told me that Generations was looking for a new Jessica Donnelly," continues Gibboney. "So Paul contacted me to see if I'd be interested in testing for the show." (Barbara Rhoades originated the role of Jessica until a decision was made by the powers-that-be to replace her).

"I miss New York so much. I also miss my friends, my family and the street life," she sighs. "But Generations made me such an attractive offer. I just couldn't turn it down." Within two days, Gibboney's life had taken a new turn - she was back on daytime.

Gibboney began her soap opera career on All My Children in 1979 as Nurse Sybil Thorne. After Nurse Sybil was killed off in 1981, Gibboney took a three-year break from daytime television. Then, in 1984, she resurfaced on Santa Barbara as Gina DeMott.

"Santa Barbara was a real killer show for me," Gibboney admits. "It was exhausting. We would work from 7:00 a.m. to midnight. I lost so much weight and had the shakes every day. Once, I literally fell down on the set. I had an upper respiratory infection and had to be rushed to St. Joseph's Hospital. I finally asked them to write me off, kill me off or recast my part. I remember running to my car on my last day of work."

Now, ironically, Gibboney is working on the very same lot and building where Santa Barbara is taped. Generations and Santa Barbara are housed in Studio 11 at the NBC complex in Burbank, California. "It's actually nice being back here again," says Gibboney. "The circumstances are totally different. In a way, I feel like I've taken a bad experience and turned it around into a good one."

The only difficult part of Gibboney's new job has been replacing another actress (Rhoades). "I'd never done that before," admits Gibboney. "When I first started on the show I felt as if I'd taken away somebody else's friend. Everyone had to get used to me."

And Gibboney, in turn, had to get used to the new character she is portraying. "Jessica is a lot older than I am," she notes. "I'm used to playing 30, and Jessica is 42. I don't know how it's coming off, but I'm trying my best to act more mature than I really am."