The Worse The Better For Mary Beth Evans

Los Angeles Times

February 12, 1995|NANCY M. REICHARDT

Mary Beth Evans takes an unabashed delight in her role as bad girl Katherine Bell Ashton on “General Hospital.” During one brief conversation with the actress, it is obvious that she is totally at home in the character’s shoes.

“I love getting into Katherine’s cattiness and standing up to everyone in Port Charles,” Evans says with much enthusiasm. “Katherine thrives on confrontations. She’s funny and gets into all kinds of predicaments. I’m having a great time.”

Yet, Evans admits this was not always the case.

“At first I was nervous playing Katherine,” she says. “I always felt like I was winging it. It took me almost a year to feel comfortable, to accept being bad, and to realize that it was OK.”

“I think I was afraid of it at first,” she confides. “I don’t know why. Maybe I was afraid to have people think that I wasn’t a nice person.”

Considering Evans’ initiation to daytime–her six-year gig as sugary sweet Kayla Brady on “Days of Our Lives”–it is easy to understand her plight.

“Kayla was definitely much more like me,” says Evans. “I’m a pretty nice person, but I have some chutzpah. So that was very easy to play.”

Evans, who joined “General Hospital” in May, 1993, was ready to get back to work when producer Shelley Curtis called her about auditioning for the show. She had been away for a year to have her third child, Matthew, and to bond with her other children, Katie and Danny.

“Ever since my children were born, I was working,” says the actress. “When I had my son Danny I was barely home a couple of weeks before I went back to work. So it was really nice to have that time to spend with my kids.”

She gets to devote ample time to her children now. Her “fabulous” daytime schedule still affords her that luxury.

“It’s almost like having the most incredible part-time job,” she says with a smile. “I mean there are days when I’m at the studio 12 to 14 hours, but most of the time it’s just a few hours. So I kind of have the best of both worlds.”

Evans truly enjoys her “dual life,” as she calls it–a glitzy job and the normalcy provided by three kids, a husband and a house. A peek at her private life reads like a page right out of “Father Knows Best.”

“My husband (Dr. Michael Schwartz) is home by about seven every night,” she says. “I plan a meal every day. Whether I make it or our nanny makes it just depends on whether or not I’m working late. The whole family sits down for dinner together. I think everybody should take the time to do that. To bring everybody back to the table for a meeting at the end of the day. You learn so much about your kids’ day.”

With family being so important to Evans, are there any more kids on her agenda?

“Absolutely no! My plate is so full,” she exclaims. “My husband was on the computer the other night trying to figure out how much money we had to save to send our children to college in the year 2000-something. You have to save $10,000 a year per kid! It’s ridiculous. We couldn’t afford to have anymore,” she laughs.

“General Hospital” airs weekdays at 2 p.m. on ABC.