Sydney Penny to follow up Santa Barbara

 By Isabelle Caron, TÚlÚ 7 Jours, 1992

 Home   Cette page en Franšais  

Santa Barbara, that is finished. Here is the title you may have read this week in TÚlÚ 7 Jours. When A Martinez announced that he will leave the show in July and that anything, even not a "gold contract", would change his decision, the producers decided, with the network NBC, one of the most significant one in the United States, to leave there the Capwells and the Lockridges. The departure of Marcy Walker, coming after others, had already caused a fall of the ratings as spectacular as the rebounds of Santa Barbara.

One of the persons in charge of the show had even suggested that June 10, the day of the 2000th episode, could be selected for the end. And then the direction of the network NBC suddenly announced that, dating from September, Santa Barbara would continue, from Monday to Friday at 11 a.m., prolonging thus an adventure born on July 30, 1984. A 20 years old girl, well-known of the televiewers, is at the origin of this reversal of situation, Sydney Penny, the little Meggie of The Thorn Birds.

Up to her to relaunch Santa Barbara in the new role of B.J. Walker, the daughter of Jodie Walker, an old friend of Cruz (A Martinez). The writers imagined that she madly fell in love with her journalism teacher, who turns to be Warren Lockridge, currently played in the United States by Jack Wagner, in addition a success singer. To give even more zest to her arrival in the show, Sydney Penny does not appear in all the glare of her beauty and her freshness : "I had been asked to be disguised as a boy to let believe that I was the mysterious Troy. At the end of one month of episodes, my mother in the show, Kim Zimmer, who was Reva Shayne Lewis in Guiding Light, discovers the trickery and, finally, I become a woman again."

Sydney had a lot of fun to thus be disguised as a man : "As everything happened very quickly, I had little time to prepare myself. I walked in big shops to study the step of the boys of my age, their gestures, their voice. I also thought of my childhood. I was a real tomboy. I had changed a lot since. During my boy period in Santa Barbara, I was so frustrated, that I waited impatiently the weekend to finally wear my more beautiful dresses."

Sydney Penny (in her family, it is a female first name that carried her grandmother and her great-grandmother) is not against one more transformation. "When I opened the eyes, I saw actors. My parents, Hank and Shari, belonged to a strolling theatre company (she sang, he played the guitar). It was necessary to stop a part, in front of the public which did not understand, for quickly taking away mom to give birth at the hospital. At one month ago, I was already crossing the United States with them. At 3, I formed part of the troop. At 5, I appeared in my first advertisement, for the Dancerella doll, before shooting fifteen others for the famous Mattel toys."

Hollywood did not delay to notice her. At 10, she was replying to Richard Chamberlain, become father Ralph de Bricassart : "We remained very friendly. We often write to each other. He calls me "his small daughter". Burt Reynolds had also sent me a letter after having seen me in The Thorn Birds. He said that I was "the most beautiful child he ever saw on television". When I read it again, I am very touched."

Since, she had been the unforgettable Bernadette (in two movies) under the direction of Jean Delannoy. But we also saw her in Pale Rider, the movie by Clint Eastwood, and in other roles. Sydney speaks French with a point of American accent. She thus could, without too much difficulty, play Bernadette in two versions, French and American, although she had finally been doubled in the movie come out in France. Her dream : "To play in a French TV show".