Cady has been starring as "Rosanna Cabot" on CBS's soap opera "As The World Turns" since April 2002. Having previously left Oakdale after exposing her half-sister Carly Tenney's adulterous plot to collect the $50 million trust fund Rosanna had set up for Carly's son, Rosanna has returned to town and set her sights on Carly's longtime admirer, Craig Montgomery. In 2003 and 2004, she was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress. Also familiar to daytime audiences as Dixie Martin on All My Children (1988-2002), McClain began her career at the age of nine in the well-known commercial, "I Am Stuck on Band-Aids." Appearances on such television series as Cheers, St. Elsewhere and Lou Grant followed. Her early film credits include My Favorite Year and Pennies From Heaven. McClain arrived in New York City at the age of 17, where she was cast as the lead in the television movie, A Father's Homecoming. On stage, McClain's credits include roles in Much Ado About Nothing at Lincoln Center, and The Comedy of Errors at the Hudson Theatre Guild. McClain, wrote, produced and co-directed the surrealist one-woman piece, Mona 7. She also spent a semester at New York's New School for Social Research and then was accepted to The School of Visual Arts as an illustration major.
Cady was born on October 13, 1969, in Burbank, California. Cady, born Katie McClain, Cady (pronounced "Katie") McClain was born and raised, along with her sister, Molly, in Southern California. Money was tight after her parents divorced, and with her mother's blessing, McClain began her acting career at age 9 — singing "I am stuck on Band-Aids" in a commercial. Numerous other ads and guest-starring roles followed, and after her junior year, McClain left school and got her high school equivalency. At age 17, she and her mom moved to New York,
when a workshop production of Judith Viorst's Happy Birthday and Other Humiliations moved east for pre-Broadway tryouts. Despite its limited run, Cady received good reviews and doors began to open for her in the city. A role in an episode of Spenser: For Hire was followed by a leading role in the television movie, A Father's Homecoming. In addition, she appeared in the independent film, Simple Justice, and Sondheim's A Little Night Music for the New York Opera Ensemble.
Craving a little stability in her life, she began to look for something that would allow her to live in one place for a while. Originally offered a screen test for the role of Dixie Cooney on All My Children while working on a pilot, she had regretfully turned it down. A few months later, All My Children came knocking at her door once again, and this time she was free to audition. Several nerve-racking weeks later, the part of Dixie Cooney was hers.
In 1990, Cady won the Daytime Emmy Award as Outstanding Juvenile Female for her portrayal of Dixie. In 1991, she won Soap Opera Digest's award for Best Heroine and received another Daytime Emmy nomination in 1992. She and her co-star, Michael E. Knight, also won Soap Opera Update's MVP Award for Best Couple. Additionally, during her time on the show she was nominated for four other Soap Opera Digest Awards, including Hottest Female Star; and Soap Opera Update's Most Valuable Player award.
While working on All My Children, Cady continued to train with teacher Michael Howard and to work in the theater, appearing as Adriana in The Comedy of Errors at the Hudson Theatre Guild; Hero in Much Ado About Nothing at Lincoln Center; Cory in Barefoot in the Park; with All My Children co-star Walt Willey at the Westbury and Valley Forge Music Fair; as Tamara/Bridget in Quiet on the Set at the Westbeth; and in Self Offence at the Cucuracha.
Despite her heavy schedule, she found time to develop a talent for playing the guitar and writing music and poetry; and began performing in and around the New York area. She toured briefly with Walt Willey and company in Mackinaw Island, Michigan and Laughlin, Nevada; and performed cabaret-style in Atlantic City's Trump Plaza. Special experiences included singing for director Jonathan Demme and others at the Directors Guild Awards, and recording a song written especially for her to sing over a montage of her character's life, on All My Children.
When her contract ended in 1996, she departed All My Children. After taking a few months off, she appeared as Lady in David Ives' The Red Address at the Second Stage, opposite Kevin Anderson, which garnered excellent reviews in the New York Times, the New Yorker and The Voice. She also wrote, produced, and co-directed a surrealist one-woman piece, Mona7, and performed in Inventions of Farewell, another one-woman piece, compiled from Wallace Stevens' poetry. She spent a semester at New York's New School for Social Research, then was accepted to The School of Visual Arts as an illustration major.
At the end of her first school year, All My Children came calling again and she decided to return, feeling it important to return to where her career had begun, to see old friends, and to bring joy to her fans.
Cady has appeared on VH-1 as a guest VJ, and in comedy shorts for Comedy Central. She has been a guest on Live: With Regis & Kathie Lee, and has appeared on Northwest Afternoon, Vicki and Geraldo. She appeared on the premiere of the Lifetime Cable Network show, Biggers and Summer, where she performed one of her original songs, Harmony. She has been featured in The New York Daily News, TV Guide and McCall's. The actress lives in New York City.
More fun stuff about Cady McClain
She made the Guinness Book of World Records at age 7 for a tap-dancing session with 500 other people
She plays guitar and writes poetry, which she sometimes performs in front of audiences in New York City's East Village
She studied at the New York New School for Social Research
Her Memorable Quotes:
"Problems come up when that other voice, what I call your guardian a--hole, sits on the other shoulder. And that voice tells me, 'No, you're not good enough, you can't do that. Who do you think you are that you could possibly do that?' And that's the voice that you have to fight. We're all here to help each other out and create joy and that sort of thing. I try and live my life that way, but it's not easy."—SOAP OPERA WEEKLY, 7/27/93
"Growing up, we had no money; [we lived] hand to mouth in California. I remember waiting in line for welfare when I was 15. I got out of that line and told my mom, 'I don't want to take. I want to earn my money. I can do it.' That was a very strong moment in my life."—SOAP OPERA DIGEST, 9/26/95
"I took care of my mom for years. It was like having a child and my child died. That is so depressing, but it's true. It doesn't make me want to have one." —WEEKLY, 3/27/01
"I have in the back of my head my second lives, other things I'd like to do. I'd like to join the Peace Corps for a year and build houses in Mexico. I would like to go back to school for a year. But also, as a professional actress, sometimes your opportunities are now. I've been acting since I was 9, and I know what it's like to not have a job. And a lot of those years, I was growing up, and I didn't know what I wanted to be. I've just recently come to accept that I'm an actor." —DIGEST, 6/11/02
As the World Turns' Cady McClain: The Emmy nomination Interview!
Cady McClain was still a teen when she won her first Emmy as the Outstanding Younger Actress of 1990, for playing Dixie on All My Children. Cady continued in the role on and off until 2002 when, in a surprise to many in the soap industry, she elected to join ATWT as a recast Rosanna Cabot. In her first year on the show, Cady as Rosanna sued for custody of Parker, fell in love with Craig, championed Lucy, pissed off Molly, endured a hysterectomy, battled Carly, married Craig, lost Craig, regained Craig, decided she may not want Craig anymore... and earned not whiplash, but her second Outstanding Supporting Actress Emmy nomination as a result. She also found time to sit down with SoapCity to chat about what this latest nomination meant to her, plus what favor she might ask co-star Hunt Block (Craig) to do for her on Emmy night....
SoapCityAlina: You've only been playing Rosanna for about a year. What did it mean to you to get an Emmy nomination for this new character, after being known as Dixie for so long?
Cady McClain: It's a very big deal for me. A really, really big deal. It's one of those validating experiences. I've been nominated at other times as Dixie, which is great, because those times it felt like, "OK, you're still in the game. You're still doing the best work that you can do and people are recognizing that." That's very affirming. The win isn't even that important. And this time again, the win isn't that important. It's a whole new character, a whole new show, and it means people saw that I'm an actor with more characters in my repertory than just Dixie.
SCA: Which episodes did you submit to the Blue-Ribbon panel? How did you pick them?
CM: I knew I wanted to use the stuff from the end of the year, the hysterectomy stuff. I had done earlier stuff that I thought was very good, but certain stories have a heightened sense of need, and the hysterectomy storyline was one of them. I thought the writing was really beautiful and all the actors that were involved were really good. So I focused on that.
SCA: Speaking of writing, ATWT is also nominated for Outstanding Writing. How do you think the writing for Rosanna contributed to your nomination?
CM: I definitely think that it contributed, because the show is so well-written. All the elements make an impact. The quality of the show, the production values of the show, the writing, the other actors on the show, it all comes together and it all has an effect. It's easier to see someone's good work when there are other elements around supporting that work, making that work possible.
SCA: How do you feel about all the pre-Emmy hoopla? Do you enjoy it?
CM: Sure, I do. Yeah, I do. It is nice. It's nice to talk about the work and have those opportunities to talk about the work and to reflect on my relationship with the show and my past. It's a really special thing. That's the way I see it. I don't feel pressured by it.
SCA: What will you wear to the big night and whom will you bring?
CM: I found a dress at this store called Language. It's a great store. It's a lovely, little brown silk dress and it's what I'm wearing -- as of right now! And I'm bringing my best friend, Rhonda.
SCA: Are you preparing a speech, and whom will you thank?
CM: I haven't prepared a speech. It's that whole good luck/not good luck thing. I've certainly had a couple of moments where I've gone over it in my head. It's always fun. It's always one of those moments people get in front of a mirror. But I don't really know what I'm going to do about that whole speech situation. I'm planning on winging it. I thought about getting Hunt Block to write me a speech, I talked to him about that -- so we'll see what happens.
Where will Rosanna and Craig be in their on-again/off-again relationship as Cady walks down the red carpet at the Daytime Emmys?
Cady McClain's Hair story
Some actors are so identified as a particular soap opera character that they find it hard to be accepted in another role.
Cady McClain played Dixie Martin for 14 years (albeit not consecutively) on All My Children and to a great effect. When she recently quit the show, she did not foresee a quick return to daytime.
She was looking to do other things. She is so identifiable as the AMC heroine she played, that few expected to see her create another daytime character. Yet McClain had barely left the show when As The World Turns came to her with the proverbial offer she could not refuse.
And she developed a new look when she took on the role of Rosanna Cabot on As The World Turns . She has created a character so unlike Dixie Martin that it is hard to recognize the actress.
"It's all about the hair," McClain says. "When I was trying to reinvent Dixie, I would change my hair to help me find the acting challenge.
"Fans thought of Dixie as one character, but I saw her as many different ones. I finally had nothing new to create." She laughs. "There were just no more haircuts."
She describes the hair as part of the external devices that go into making up a character. McClain, an artist herself, likens the process to using an artist's palette. The hair is just one of many colors, but it is one that is most visible.
When she left AMC , McClain says she "left to open doors for greater opportunity. And then I got a phone call out of the blue."
The actress notes that daytime is a demanding job, and she really had left hoping to have more time to pursue the theater, independent films, acting classes, her painting and a myriad of other things. She says she performed in at least 10 plays while on AMC , and although her character on ATWT was once a good girl, she has been scarred by life and McClain welcomes the opportunity to play at being bad.
"She's definitely not a good girl anymore." she says. "And there are just so many avenues I can take."
McClain feels her character's newly hardened demeanor is due to her having been hurt when her fiancé, Mike Kasnoff, (played by Shawn Christian, then) and her sister Carly Tenney (Maura West) had a tryst that resulted in a pregnancy.
McClain teases that even though Christian will not be returning to the role, the character is due to resurface soon. Prepare for fireworks.
Cady McClain: A World Of Her Own
Cady McClain leaves the "kids" behind to make Oakdale's Rosanna Cabot her own role.
After 13 years as beleaguered heroine Dixie Martin on ALL MY CHILDREN, Cady McClain was itching to explore different avenues of artistic expression. "I felt like I needed a stretch," she explains. And within a month of leaving the soap to seek out new opportunities, the Emmy-winning actress found one on AS THE WORLD TURNS, taking over the role of Rosanna Cabot, last played by Yvonne Perry.
A Perfect Fit
Although aware that she would be breathing new life into a fan-favorite character, McClain wasn't worried about being in Perry's shadow, and not just because she received her predecessor's blessing. "In a way, when somebody comes on playing a particular character, the show tries to fit you, and you try to fit the show," she says. "It's a mutual effort back and forth.
"There's no standing in somebody else's shoes," she continues. "You have to make it work for you. For whatever reason, they thought I would be a good person to move this character into this new direction."
She's Got The Look
And the willful, worldly Rosanna is a welcome change for McClain, after playing St. Dixie for so long. "Rosanna is far more aware of what people are capable of," she says. "Dixie always looked at the bright side and was always a little broken-hearted that people were capable of being bad."
Plus, Rosanna's wealth allows the daytime veteran to model outfits Dixie only could dream of. "I'm very well-dressed," McClain laughs. "In a way, it's every daytime actress' dream. They dressed me great on ALL MY KIDS, too, but these are the diamonds and the fabulous sexy outfits that wealthy girls get to traipse around in. It's fun!"
A Fan First
When choosing to accept this role, McClain was adamant about not being tied down by another long-term contract, but admits that while Rosanna technically is a recurring character, she'll be recurring quite a bit. "I'm going to be around for a while," she reveals. "But it does provide me the opportunity to be available to do other things, and that was important to me."
Adding to the appeal of the role on ATWT was the fact that the actress herself has been a fan of the soap for years. "The first couple of days, I've been so starstruck, it's embarrassing!" she laughs, obviously enjoying the opportunity to finally share the stage with some of her favorites. "I want to work with everybody, they're all so great!"
Cady McClain: Going with the Role
A lot has happened since Cady McClain -- known for playing All My Children heroine Dixie Martin -- joined As the World Turns over a year ago. Her uptown character Rosanna is happily married to Craig and she has buried the hatchet with her sister Carly. So now what? McClain opens up on life at ATWT, her new co-star Roger Howarth and the ABC invasion, and who she thinks Tad should hook up with on AMC.
SOAP OPERA WEEKLY: Rosanna has had some scenes with Paul and they don't get along. What's going on there?
CADY MCCLAIN: Craig rents him my apartment and I come to get it back and he's all pissy about it.
WEEKLY: What's it like working with Roger Howarth (Paul; ex-Todd Manning, One Life to Live)? Did you know him from before?
MCCLAIN: I didn't, but we both have longtime ABC experience so coming here is interesting for both of us. It's a totally different world, no pun intended. He's been great. He's really sweet and a lot of fun to work with. Ultimate professional. I've really enjoyed what we've had to do together. It's funny -- sometimes you speak a common language with somebody. Everything goes really quickly and easily with him.
WEEKLY: Did you show him the ropes at ATWT?
McCLAIN: Not really. I just told him to relax and enjoy it, that it's a good group of people, he's going to be happy and have a lot of fun, and work harder than he's ever worked in his life! But it'll be very rewarding. You walk away feeling good. When you come into a new experience you don't know what it's going to be like and it's good to hear from other people that this is a friendly and safe place.
WEEKLY: It will be fun for ABC viewers that have come over to ATWT to see Dixie and Todd in a scene.
McCLAIN: I was watching the show and thought, "Wow, there are a lot of ABC people coming over here." It does change the tone of the show a little bit, but no one would want to affect what the show is or its history. I feel like I'm finding a way to fit in and I enjoy being a part of it.
WEEKLY: You and Hunt Block (Craig) have a fun working rapport.
McCLAIN: I adore Hunt. He's the best. He brings his own energy and his own ideas to everything. I think that brings so much to his character and this show. We are all very lucky that he's here.
WEEKLY: You ran into your former AMC co-star Michael Knight (Tad) recently at an event in New York.
MCCLAIN: It was great. Michael's like family in a way. He's always been such a dear friend to me, and I haven't gotten to see him in a few months. We went out to lunch not so long ago to catch up. I miss him. He's one of those people who's just painfully funny and such a goofball. We had so many good years and so many good times. Sometimes I feel bad, like, "Oh, I abandoned him."
WEEKLY: With whom would you like to see him paired on AMC?
McCLAIN: Marcy Walker (Liza) and he are a terrific match. Marcy is incredibly bright and an incredible actress. Tad and Liza had affairs...there is so much there to play off of. I think there is something great about his "Tad the Cad" thing. Even though he's a little bit older, he's still witty, handsome and charming.
WEEKLY: Rosanna and Carly are getting along for a change. Do you like that?
McCLAIN: Oh, yeah. It's great. It's a little strange because for a year I've been telling her how much I hate her guts (laughs). But it's nice because the character's drive is to be accepted and when she finally is, how everything changes. I like when characters go through big changes. That doesn't mean that Rosanna still can't turn around and rip somebody's head off, it's just that she has a goal of becoming the person that she wants to be. Now she's one step closer to that.
I think that turbulent sister relationships are interesting to watch. I have my own sister relationship and know how complex it is. We love each so much and we drive each other so crazy. You want to kill them and they want to kill you (laughs). I don't think it's the end of conflict because the two characters are so different and come from such different worlds and upbringings. They have so much to teach each other. There are definitely plenty of other conflicts down the road, but it's nice to have Carly as an ally for a while. She's a powerful ally.
WEEKLY: It's definitely not the end of that story.
McCLAIN: I don't think so. It'll be interesting to see where they go with it. It was nice because you can't keep doing the same thing over and over again. Things have to change and evolve.
Cady McClain: Past and Future
Digest: Why did you leave AMC to go to ATWT?
McClain: It was so different from what I was doing, and I really like working on daytime. You know, I've been playing a good character for so long, people think that's all you can do. They think that's the sum of your ability, which is not small with the range of stuff they ask you to play, but it's still within a limited parameter of what this character would do. Dixie would never be mean to anyone. It's not in her capacity to hurt because she was hurt. It is within this character's capacity to do that. I know that audiences in this medium tend to believe in a character so much that they believe the actor is the character, and it's hard, in this medium,
to go from one kind of character to another. You're asking all the viewers to make that leap with you. but I feel that's been a challenge. That's been the pressure, to make that work. I feel like it's working, though. I feel like people are coming.... And Jeanne [Dadario Burke, Executive Producer] was unbelievably supportive to me during the years that she and I were working together. I never wanted her to feel that the decision for me to go to AS THE WORLD TURNS had anything to do with her, and she knows this. Or my
not liking working there or anything like that. I just needed a change.
Digest: What is the difference between working for P&G and working for AMC?
McClain: I know it is different, but I couldn't really tell you how. I suppose the biggest difference that I feel is that working at ABC we worked very close to the ABC network heads, ABC news, ABC radio, there was a world of ABC that we were, REGIS AND KATHIE LEE up the street, and Disney, that we were a part of. And working out of Brooklyn, you don't feel connected with [local CBS] Channel 2 or P&G. You feel like we're these little renegades out in this little studio in Brooklyn, thinking of crazy things to make people laugh or cry. And I like that feeling. There's nothing necessarily wrong to being close to all of that [at ABC] - it really feels like a lot of power - but I'm a creative person, I'm not so much of a businessperson. So being way out there and not feeling connected to the industry aspect of it has been really positive for me.
Digest: What will you miss most about AMC?
McClain: I miss Michael Knight [Tad]. I miss the history - walking into a room and knowing everything about everybody in a scene and I suppose I'll have that in time [at ATWT]. It takes time. That sense of time and character. That connection. Mike is one of my best friends and he always has been and we never dated, but we've always been just great pals. I was really lucky to have that. My mother was sick all that time, and she died when I was twenty-five, so for me to have that family type of world to work in, and the issues were all about family was really helpful and the people there were amazing to me.
Digest: Do you ever get sick of doing interviews, especially about this?
McClain: I'm always discovering new things about me, and I think giving interviews is a necessary part of the process of being a performer. I always try and stay in contact, to some degree, with the audience to let them know that I'm certainly accessible and I care about what they think about the work and the story. I've always had a nice flow of information back and forth between me and the audience. A strange sort of connection. A part of this interview process is that connection, so I don't begrudge it at all.
Digest: You actually wrote a letter to the fans that was posted online after you made your decision. Why?
McClain: It was a response to I think, gossip getting out of control. I was finding that this decision that I was making was making a lot of people question my motives, in the industry and online, from the fans. I don't go into the chat rooms, but I have a friend who's connected with that world and she sort of lets me know what's going on. But I felt like it just dawned on me, once everything had been decided for me, that they deserved to know. They're a huge part of this industry. there would not be daytime without the fans. We rely on their viewership. And I don't see fans as a mass of people. I see them as a group of individuals with a lot of different ideas. I think they're an intelligent lot, and the people who care really care. I've met judges and people in sports and people in politics, all different kinds of industries, that read Soap Opera Digest, are addicted to one show or two or an entire channel and they really care, and I completely understand that. I don't think it's right to play down to their feelings or their intellect, because I wouldn't want anybody doing that to me.
Digest: Do you think they've followed you?
McClain: I've been pretty immersed in the work so I don't know, but from what I've heard from the people I've talked to at different magazines, the response has been good and people are following. They're continuing to watch ALL MY CHILDREN and have come over to AS THE WORLD TURNS. And if they come to see what I'm doing and they end up staying because they love Maura West [Carly] or Hunt Block [Craig] - there are so many fantastically talented actors and so many good storylines on the show, I know they won't be disappointed. They won't be waiting around for my scenes. I think they'll be as captured and entertained as I was when I watched the show.
Digest: What did you like most about it?
McClain: I loved Craig and Carly and Jack and Hal. Benjamin Hendrickson [Hal] is an amazing actor and a lovely person. Ellen Dolan, Margo. Those are the people that stood out the most as being really remarkable players, although everybody's great. Oh, and Martha [Byrne, Lily/Rose]. Oh my God! How could I leave Martha off the list?
Digest: Did you know each other before?
McClain: We knew each other sort of, from around. For whatever reason, the times that I watched, Martha wasn't on that much. She's a phenomenal actress.
Digest: You both have somewhat similar career trajectories, from being child actors to playing the heroine forever. Although now she's also Rose.
McClain: Yeah. If I had stayed on ALL MY CHILDREN, they might have done that. We've talked a little bit about it. She understands needing to break out. A character can only go through so much. Dixie was getting to that point where, she's died again, she's got one kidney, another miscarriage... what else can you put this kid through?
Digest: Over the years, they tried to darken Dixie a few times.
McClain: We did the whole Dixie-David thing. And I imagine it's because the industry is so aware, or very tied to, fan response. And if fans are torn two ways then the people who have to make the decisions are torn about what to do. They decided to go the safe way and keep Tad and Dixie together. And keep Dixie are moral character.... It's Agnes Nixon who's the head of that show, and I believe that she knows what she's doing. So to protect the character's ultimate integrity is, I'm sure, foremost in her mind. And that's what she's trying to do. As an actor it was frustrating, because I wanted to grow and change and do something different.
Digest: Do you see more of yourself in Rosanna or Dixie?
McClain: I'm both. I'm absolutely both. there was a lot of me in Dixie in terms of, it's so weird to say, I guess, the softness of the character. Her vulnerabilities were my vulnerabilities. Her needs were family and all that. Her grief and loss was a lot of my grief and loss. So I had a lot of ways in to that character. Different situations, but similar ways of identifying.
Digest: Is Rosanna after true love?
McClain: It's more like she tried for it, got her heart broken, went away, licked her wounds... she's trying for it again, but way more wearily and much more carefully and with a much shorter fuse. But it doesn't hurt as much. It's sort of bewildering. She can't seem to figure out how, with all the money, all the education, all the experiences she's had and all of her ability to make her way in the world that she can't find somebody to love her. There are a lot of women in the workforce now who are actualizing themselves, finding out who they want to be and focusing on the things in their character that they want to improve, or their physicality or whatever, becoming wonderful people. But they're still struggling with, 'Why can't I find a guy to love me? I'm great! What's the problem?' It's a thing I've seen with friends of mine and stuff where it can be a little embittering. And it can make you a little tough. You think 'I'll just adopt a child.' I'll do it on my own. there are all sorts of questions that it brings up about, 'What is a woman's role in a relationship? What is feminity these days? How much do we become men in order to survive, and lie about what we really want from a relationship? To ourselves as well as whoever we're hanging out with. Rosanna is guilty of all of that.
Digest: Do you feel the need to have kids?
McClain: I don't feel a driving need for myself. And I know there's a lot of kids out there who desperately need homes. It would be nice if I could get it together to have a man be a part of that so the kid has a mom and dad, but I know plenty of single women with children, and they find father figures in other places, and I have a lot of great male friends. Right now, that's a viable option.