When she decided to pursue directing, Dorothy Lyman found guidance in soaps instead of sitcoms

"You learn so much faster there."

Warner Brothers

Sometimes, the best way to learn is to follow someone else's lead and take it as an example. While Dorothy Lyman had a wealth of examples at her disposal when she decided to pursue directing, she knew that not all television series were created equal.

After appearing in shows like All My Children and Mama's Family, Lyman displayed an aptitude for acting that seemed to stretch beyond trivial things like genre. Yet when Lyman began her career in directing, it wasn't Mama's Family that she looked to for guidance; it was her time in the soap opera world.

"I know that soaps take in one day what sitcoms take a week to do,'" she said. "When I wanted to learn and get into the (directing) game, I sought out soaps to do it on."

Her reasoning was simple. "You learn so much faster there," Lyman said to the Associated Press. In fact, the actor credited working in soaps with helping her prepare for her role as Naomi in Mama's Family. "I really made my reputation as an actress in the soaps," she said. "I spent fifteen years doing them, and I won two Emmys."

The amount of work that Lyman kept up with was enough to make anyone's head spin. Luckily, Lyman enjoyed the challenge that being an actor and a director had to offer. "I've always had a lot of energy," she said. "I've always been able to juggle a number of balls."

Much like working on soaps helped prepare her for sitcoms, Lyman found that her personal life prepared her for the professional side of things. "Anybody who has ever been a mother has to know how to do more than one thing at once," she said.

Regardless of the time and effort, Lyman understood that being an actor would only take her so far in her career. If she truly wanted to succeed in the long term, she'd have to begin working behind the camera, as she told The News and Observer.

"Actors are realizing more and more that you have to do more than one thing," Lyman said. "If you're just an actor you don't work a lot of the time. I'm able to work twelve months of the year because I can hire myself as a director or producer. I like having the reins in my hands."

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2 Comments

PernellDH 1 month ago
She did All My Children, The Edge of Night and Generations. That's all I remembered.
cperrynaples PernellDH 1 month ago
Didn't know about EON even though it's one of my faves, but I know she did do Bold & Beautiful! Fun Fact: She got Mama's Family because Carol saw her on AMC, her favorite soap!
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