|Sydney Penny to follow up Santa Barbara|
By Isabelle Caron, TÚlÚ 7 Jours, 1992
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
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.
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."
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."
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".