She's been a beloved member of the daytime family for decades, and now, veteran soap opera actress Kathryn Hays (ex-Kim Hughes, As the World Turns) is getting the recognition she deserves in her hometown. The Walk of Fame in Princeton, Illinois, has honored the actress with a sidewalk star.
The star for Hays, who played ATWT's Kim from 1972 to 2010, is the second to go onto Princeton's Walk of Fame outside the Apollo Theater. The sidewalk's first star honors Richard Widmark, an actor known for films like Kiss of Death and The Alamo. Hays remembers crossing paths with the actor, who grew up in Princeton, at some point while they were both in Hollywood.
"I remember him because I told him I was from Princeton, Illinois," she tells BCR News, adding: "[The Walk of Fame is] very kind to include me. I'm very touched by this."
Hays discovered her love for acting at an early age. In high school, she became a teacher's student assistant at a local children's theater and later attended a summer arts program at Northwestern University. She was offered a full scholarship at a junior college but ended up dropping out when she landed a job as a fashion model and began appearing in TV commercials for WGN.
With her eyes set on even bigger opportunities, Hays moved to New York City and studied with famed theater director and acting coach Wynn Handman, famous for coaching big names like Michael Douglas, Denzel Washington, Mira Sorvino, and James Caan.
Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, Hays appeared in a slew of television series like The Naked City, Route 66, Dr. Kildare, Bonanza, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., The Road West, and The High Chaparral.
Hays landed the role of ATWT's Kim in 1972. The character was quite special, having been reportedly dreamed up by the soap's creator, Irna Phillips, in her own likeness. Over the years, audiences of the show were treated to exceptional talent from Hays, who nailed the strong and fiery yet sensitive mother figure who transformed from an adulterous home-wrecker to the show's matriarchal figure.
Though she is most known for her role on ATWT, Hays is also recognized for her role as Gem in an episode of Star Trek, titled "The Empath." Her character was a mute alien who could heal wounds of the injured through her touch -- and Hays's compelling performance in the episode earned her an Emmy nomination.
The star ceremony for Hays was held on Wednesday, September 4, in Princeton.
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