Episode 110: “Remington Steele Interview w/ Stephanie Zimbalist – Part One”

Susan and Sharon sit down with a true show business icon and classic 80’s TV Lady -- “Remington Steele’s” one-and-only Laura Holt -- Stephanie Zimbalist. In a career spanning six decades, Stephanie has performed on stage and screen with everyone from Alec Baldwin, Walter Matthau, Jessica Tandy, Anthony Hopkins, John Goodman, Patricia Neal, Alfred Molina, Tommy Tune, Jimmy Stewart AND her own father, the legendary Efrem Zimbalist Jr.
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The Conversation

  • Growing up Zimbalist: what it’s like to be born into a true show business dynasty.
  • How Stephanie started writing, directing and producing – at the age of seven.
  •  How she attended Julliard with friends and classmates Robin Williams and Christopher Reeve -- and then got kicked out!
  • Winning – or not winning – an “Enema” (oh wait -- “Emmy”)
  • A Life in the Theater: performing award-winning roles in classic plays by Shakespeare, Chekhov, Tennessee Williams and more.
  • The gift of making “big choices” on stage – and screen. And the pleasure of refining and reinventing a performance over a long run.
  • Playing Katherine Hepburn in “Tea at Five” – and how she discovered they’re cousins!
  • Turning down the role of Laura Holt three times before finally taking it on.
  • Backwards and in High Heels – on Waterski’s!”:  Stephanie takes us through doing her own stunts on “Remington Steele” -- and working with legendary stuntwoman Debbie Evans. 


Join Susan and Sharon (and Stephanie) as we talk fame, fedoras – and wet-biking in France with Pierce.


PLUS -- MORE listener mail!!

Our Audio-ography

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80s TV Ladies™ Episode 110 – “Remington Steele Interview w/ Stephanie Zimbalist – Part One” Produced by 134 West and Susan Lambert Hatem. Hosted by Susan Lambert Hatem and Sharon Johnson. Guest: Stephanie Zimbalist. Sound Engineer and Editor: Kevin Ducey. Producer: Melissa Roth. Associate Producer: Sergio Perez. Music by Amy Engelhardt. Copyright 2022 134 West, LLC and Susan Lambert. All Rights Reserved.


Susan Lambert Hatem  00:00

I'm Susan, and we want to wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving if you celebrate. I hope you are able to share a meal with people you love and give thanks for the year we've gone through and the gifts we have been given.

Sharon Johnson  00:12

And I'm Sharon, we want to acknowledge that for many Americans, particularly for many indigenous Americans, Thanksgiving is a National Day of Mourning.

Susan Lambert Hatem  00:21

We record our 80s TV Ladies podcast from the traditional ancestral and unceded territory of the Gabrielino-Tongva Peoples. We pay our respects to the ancestors, elders and relatives past, present and emerging.

Sharon Johnson  00:36

If you want to know more about Native Land Acknowledgement. LAist has a nice article about land Acknowledgement, especially from Los Angeles. Go to our website for the link.

Susan Lambert Hatem  00:48

You can also find out whose land you live on by going to Native Land Digital at Native dash Land.ca Native Land Digital strives to create and foster conversations about the history of Colonialism and Indigenous ways of knowing. Their educational resources include the digital map and a guide to Territory Acknowledgement.

80s TV Ladies Theme Song  01:10.  

80s TV Ladies, I’m so sexy and so pretty.  80s TV Ladies, I’m steppin out into the city. 80s TV Ladies, I been treated kind of sh#*ty. Working hard for the money in a man’s world. 80s TV Ladies!

Susan Lambert Hatem  01:13

Hello everyone! I'm Susan Lambert Hatem and this is 80s TV Ladies.

Sharon Johnson  01:32

And I'm Sharon Johnson. 80s TV Ladies is our podcast where we get to talk about female driven television shows from the 1980s. Today we have a very, very special guest from Remington Steele

Susan Lambert Hatem  01:46

Remington Steele starred Stephanie Zimbalist, Pierce Brosnan and Doris Roberts. It ran from 1982 to 1987 on NBC.

Sharon Johnson  01:55

It's a mystery crime show following cases of a female private investigator who starts her own detective agency, ends up having to create a fictitious male boss, so people will hire her agency and then partners with a former thief and con man who assumes the role of said detective, the already famous Remington Steele.

Susan Lambert Hatem  02:16

I couldn't be more excited for today's Episode Sharon! We get to talk with the star of Remington Steele actress Stephanie Zimbalist. She created the role of Laura Holt. She has had a vast career across television and the stage and as a theatre maker myself that makes me very happy. In addition to being the star of a groundbreaking five Season hit TV Show Remington Steele, she starred in the movies The Awakening with Charlton Heston, The Magic of Lassie with James Stewart, and the TV and Miniseries, Centennial, The Gathering, Incident in a Small Town and Stop the World I Want to Get Off.

Sharon Johnson  02:49

On stage, she's performed in an incredible amount of theater productions across the country, from South Coast Rep to the Long Wharf Theatre in Connecticut. She's been in A Little Night Music, The Lion in Winter, Tea at Five, You Can't Take it With You, Hamlet, The Night of the Iguana, The Rainmaker, The Cherry Orchard, The Philadelphia Story and many more.

Susan Lambert Hatem  03:17

Stephanie comes from entertainment royalty. Her father Efrem Zimbalist Jr was an actor who also appears in several episodes of Remington Steele. Please welcome Stephanie Zimbalist to 80s TV Ladies. Hi, Stephanie. Thank you for being on our show.

Stephanie Zimbalist  03:29

Hello, my dear.

Sharon Johnson  03:30


Stephanie Zimbalist  03:31

Hello, Sharon. Hello, Susan.

Susan Lambert Hatem  03:32

We are so excited to have you. I'm completely nerding out because I obviously was a huge fan of Remington Steele, which is why we're covering it on the show, as was Sharon. And so Laura Holt was a huge icon to so many women, and so many young women, because it was one of the first times we saw a character like that on Network Television.

Stephanie Zimbalist  03:55


Susan Lambert Hatem  03:56

I'm just going to start by saying thank you for creating Laura Holt.

Stephanie Zimbalist  03:59

I had something to do with it. Actually, the, I'm sure that my friend Robin would tell you that we tip our hats to Michael Gleason. And before that, we tip it to Robert Butler who came to Gleason with the idea.

Susan Lambert Hatem  04:12

Yes, and we're thrilled about them, and I want to hear about working with them and all that kind of stuff. But let's start off with like, really how you you come from a performing family. You were acting since you were a teen. Was it inevitable that you were going to be an actress?

Stephanie Zimbalist  04:28

Well, I go back several generations actually. My grandfather Efrem wonderful, gifted genius of a violinist was Russian. And he, four generations before the family came from Hungary came from the area of Budapest. So if you go to the Budapest phonebook, Zimbalist is sort of like Smith in the phonebook. And his father in Rosoff Nadanu , was the head of the orchestra. You so grandpa grew up under the Timpani. And he knew all of the great pieces of music by the time he was seven. So I come from that. Many generations of that and then there's lots of my, my father's mother who is my my grandmother was a great great singer named Alma Gluck. She was from Romania. She was actually from Transylvania to be specific. She was the first person in the history of the world to sell a million records.

Sharon Johnson  05:32


Stephanie Zimbalist  05:33

She sang with Caruso. She sang with McCormick. She sang with Nellie Melba, she sang, if you go, if you Google Alma Gluck, it's just you have just an orchestra of links. And it's just, it goes on and on and on. She was a great singer. She was a singer's singer. Her daughter, who is my half aunt. Marcia Davenport was a fabulous writer, really great, great writer, historical fiction, and fiction. And before that, she was the, she was a music editor of the Herald Tribune, and close friends of all kinds of amazing people. She was a wonderful lady. On my mother's side, there's a lot of Diplomats, lots and lots of diplomats. I think my great great grandfather was, he dealt with the Austro Hungarian empire. He had big muttonchops. (laughs) He was Czech. He was I believe he was Czech. He was (Propnik?) was his name. So that's where I come from. I started writing actually, I started writing and directing and producing when I was about seven.

Sharon Johnson  06:39


Stephanie Zimbalist  06:40

And my stage was the hallway of my house, my parents house, not far from where I live now. I don't have to say where it is, but pretty close to where I am. So, I was I never wanted to be in front of the... on stage or in front of the camera. I wanted to, I wanted to be in control. So that's where it started. And then I went, ah, my mother booted me off to summer camp in Lake Champlain, Malletts Bay, Vermont. It's called Brown Ledge Camp. And that's where I got the itch and the bug to be an actor. And so I started on the stage there when I was about 12. And by the time I was halfway through my stint at boarding school, I had already been accepted to Julliard, and then off I went. So that's basically how it happened for me.  Juilliard was not, they didn't do that much for me. They had very little to do with me, except kicking me out, I believe. They told me to take a year off. And I think I might be in my like, 52nd year off or something like that. Somethin' like that...

Sharon Johnson  07:42


Susan Lambert Hatem  07:42

Were you a lot of trouble?

Stephanie Zimbalist  07:43

Not at all. I wasn't, I wasn't trouble enough. I was too sheltered and they didn't like it. But they booted me out. They booted Chris Reeve, who was a year ahead of me out, um. They actually, I think they booted Robin Williams out too.

Sharon Johnson  07:58

Sounds like you're in good company in that regard.

Stephanie Zimbalist  08:00

Well, yeah, there were 32 of us that were accepted. And there were three of the 32 that graduated after four years. There were only three. And of those three, I don't believe any of the three is still working as a, as an, as a performer anymore.

Susan Lambert Hatem  08:14

That's an, that's an interesting perspective. Interesting.

Sharon Johnson  08:19


Susan Lambert Hatem  08:19

Anyway, so I do want to talk about though, when did you meet Robin Bernheim? And you said you started writing really early together with her?

Stephanie Zimbalist  08:26

Well, I started at's, in school, it was Marlborough. I started.. it with a really excellent girls school. I started in seventh grade there. And there was a gal in this, in my class of '82, I think, that decided she wanted to bring her best friend from elementary school, and have her join us in eighth grade. And so when I met Robin, we became fast friends, absolute fast friends. And over the course we went to, we stayed at that school a couple of years. Then we went to another private school that was Co-Ed. Robin wanted to leave, she didn't think it was healthy, to have just, you know, single sex school and I didn't want my best friend leaving me and leaving me there. So I switched. And then I went off to boarding school in Virginia. But the times that we were together in school, we wrote and we, you know, we'd pretend that we had a radio show. And then we wrote, I can't tell you how many. We wrote these outgoing messages for our tape machines. Those funny like phone mates, big old machines that you had to accept your calls. When they first came out. They were these giant things and you had to push buttons. Well, we wrote... I still have all of them. I should transfer them so I have them properly saved, but we must have written about 30. We have about 30 of those that we wrote.

Susan Lambert Hatem  09:34

You have your own Rockford Files opening.

Stephanie Zimbalist  09:54

(Laughs) That's right!

Sharon Johnson  09:55


Stephanie Zimbalist  09:56

And then, you know when I got on Remington, Robin was, she had, she got a... She told you I bet. She got her Master's in Arts Administration. And she got that at UCLA. And she lived with me in my little house while she was there. Um, so we were there together. And so in my first break, on my first hiatus of Remington, I said, Why don't we write a spec? So we wrote a spec. I took my whole hiatus that first time, that first year, and we just buckled down and we wrote a spec, script. Spec script, you know, it, it's um, you don't get the assignment. You don't have money in your pocket. Nobody says it's ever going to be produced. But it's a spec script to put under the nose, if you can get it under the nose, of an interested director, producer, writer. And so we handed it to Michael. And he said, 'This is damn good. We're not going to do this one. But this is damn good. And we're going to give you an assignment next year.' So the following year is when we wrote our own script. Which I'd always been intrigued by. I mean, we we each had our parts that we did, and it was clear, you know, Robin was a very gifted writer, and I was too. But I always loved that movie, It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. So we patterned our our script after that. And the MacGuffin, what we were chasing, was a chocolate chip cookie recipe that had no calories. Which sounds so stupid today, but it was, it was revolutionary then.

Sharon Johnson  11:31

It doesn't sound stupid to me. Who wouldn't want a calorie free chocolate chip cookie? They would be piled up around me, so.

Stephanie Zimbalist  11:38

Exactly. So into Laura's Cabriolet... As the story progresses, there's another character that add, we add on, and add on, and add on, and add on. Of course, by the end my little Cabriolet, my, which was patterned after my own VW diesel Rabbit, of course. They patterned everything about, after me, it was over silly. So, but there must have been like 10 people in the car all chasing down this recipe. I can't remember. I think Jean Smart was in that.

Susan Lambert Hatem  12:05

Yes. Jean Smart. And a young Gina Davis.

Stephanie Zimbalist  12:07

Gina Davis was in that Episode, too. And that fabulous actress. Oh, God. She was a really great actress, stage actress. I'm blanking. You probably have the list right there.

Sharon Johnson  12:07


Susan Lambert Hatem  12:18

And we're looking, we're looking at the list. Melissa's gonna look it up right now.

Stephanie Zimbalist  12:21

Um I, if you say her name... Oh she was fabulous! We had really, really good actors in that one. But it was delightful. It was fun. It was silly. And it was also very much what Glen Gordon. Glen Gordon, He was a producer on our show.

Susan Lambert Hatem  12:40

Glenn Gordon Caron.

Stephanie Zimbalist  12:42

Cameron (Caron). He, he took sort of that silliness and brought it to ah, Cybill and Bruce's show Moonlighting.

Susan Lambert Hatem  12:49


Stephanie Zimbalist  12:50

But he liked that kind of thing. He said, 'That's the kind of show I like!' And I said, I do too! Because because, you know, we couldn't ever throw ourselves totally into comedy. And I used to say that, I didn't say it often because we were working too hard to even be bothered for me. But we never really got Emmy nominations. I think, I think Doris got an Emmy nomination for the show. But Bruce and uh, Pears I didn't. And it's because, were we serious? Were we funny? What was it? You know, was it tongue in cheek? And I think oftentimes, we weren't silly enough to sort of fall into comedy. And we weren't serious enough to... So those episodes, you know, when Laura is crying over the destruction of something. Her apartment, or her house or whatever, or something terrible happens. Or some emotional thing happens between them. You go, Oh, that's too bad. That's that's fine. But it, it never was dealt with as a true drama. So we called ourselves a Dramedy and there wasn't a category. (chuckles) In the, in the Enemas. I call them the Enemas, ya know. There there wasn't a category in the Enemas for Dramedy, so we kind of fell through the cracks.

Sharon Johnson  14:00

Which is you know, such a shame! Because the ability of, of you and the, and and Pierce and Doris and the rest of the cast and, and all the other guest stars, to do both...

Stephanie Zimbalist  14:13


Sharon Johnson  14:13

... comedy and drama, was remarkable. Is remarkable!

Stephanie Zimbalist  14:17

Thank you. Yeah, we had, I don't know if, one of the magic things about Remington which I don't know if Robin covered. But one of the magic things we had was the casting of the guest stars and that was all in the capable gifted hands of Molly Lopata. Molly Lopata gave us the most extraordinary cache of actors. Pierce and I would start to you know, rehearse a scene. And I'd find myself you know, in a chair sitting next to one of these wonders, and I'd say, God you're good. Oh, thank you. Uh you you're from New York? Oh, yeah. Yeah. And how long have you been out here? Three weeks. Every single actor that was good on the show was from New York stage and had been out here for three weeks. And so I said to myself, there's a pattern here. And I had kind of let go of my Theater roots to do Remington. And that's where I went launching out after I finished Remington because, you know, I was never interested in Celebrity. I wasn't interested in being famous. I wasn't interested in making a pile of money. I was interested in being the very best that I could be. And that's why I headed to the Theater after Remington was because of these fabulous actors that we had on the show.

Susan Lambert Hatem  15:41

That is amazing because I wanted to talk about your Theater work. I'm a huge Theater fan. I write plays, I produce Theater.

Stephanie Zimbalist  15:47


Susan Lambert Hatem  15:48

And so you have played so many Stages, you've done so many Classics, and worked with so many incredible people. And you've played Katharine Hepburn! Like so, I'm curious what your favorite, the theater, favorite Theater productions that you've done.

Stephanie Zimbalist  16:07

There, well you, then you know, you know, Susan a little bit about about the leaps that you take. You know, the Theater is about the boldness of choices that you make and Film is is is your ability to react. Because it's a reactive medium. It picks up. I'll just pick a performance. She's always staggering. But the woman that was in Don't Look up.

Sharon Johnson  16:37

Oh, Jennifer Lawrence?

Stephanie Zimbalist  16:39

She is unbelievable. She is extremely gifted, because we want to know what she's thinking and what she's feeling. It's not a theatrical gift. And it's not a theatrical performance, but it is definitely a film performance, you know. So that's basically the difference. And if you're lucky enough, if you can bring both of those gifts to play. That's what I started to do when I started on stage, is that I could bring my reactive sensibilities, my chops from doing a lot of Film at that point to the Theater. And people appreciated it.  Tommy, you know, Tommy Tune when we were on the road for so long with My One and Only, you know, he'd say,(in a southern accent) 'Well, I don't know it, you know, I don't know if you're the best dancer I ever saw. And you can sing a little bit. But my god, you're the best Edith that we ever had!' So that was because of the nature of of my gifts on on the screen. And then once you're, you know, you've got some stage chops. Then when you come to Film, you can be a little bolder about the choices that you make on Film because you know, it's not going to kill you to make a big choice. Go ahead and do it. I once was doing production of, I was doing a production I was playing Varya. It was the second time I'd done Cherry Orchard. The first time was, a, was a notable production at the Long Wharf in between, I forget which. I was, it was between Remington you know, Seasons. And I was playing, at that point I was playing Anya, which is the young girl. I didn't know what I was doing. But we had some wonderful actors in that one. But I always knew I wanted to play Varya. I knew it. And my friend Fran Brill, who was, she was the voice, she was the first. She was Prairie Dawn on the Muppets.

Susan Lambert Hatem  18:30


Stephanie Zimbalist  18:31

Yeah, she was, that was, she was Prairie Dawn. (mimicking)She had that funny little voice. That kind of girly voice. Anyway, she was a wonderful Varya. She was really great. So when I did get to play Varya. On my second production here, where I live in Los Angeles, I found my, the reason I took the production because it was a whopping $7 a performance, I got. The reason I decided I had to do it, and I auditioned and I got the part was because Alfred Molina was playing Lopakhin.

Susan Lambert Hatem  19:00

Oh my.

Stephanie Zimbalist  19:01

So I played in that production for five months. And I'm sitting there with a friend of mine, I asked to come see the show before we opened. Fabulous actor named Daniel Davis. You probably remember, he was a great stage actor, but he was the Butler in The Nanny?

Sharon Johnson  19:18


Stephanie Zimbalist  19:19


Susan Lambert Hatem  19:19


Stephanie Zimbalist  19:19

He's a great actor. I mean, he's a great stage actor. He's just he you know, Danny's one of the, one of the handful of greatest actors ever. So he came to a preview before we opened and he wasn't saying much. And I said, Danny, you know, I have this idea of what I want Varya to do. What I want to do at the end of the play, you know, when Lopakhin walks in and has a... He looks at her. The Cherry Orchard has been sold. It's gona to be gone. The trees are going to be chopped down. There's going to be no more cherry orchard. It's gone! And he looks at me and he walks out!  Well, the way it's written of course, is that Varya falls apart. And that's the last time, you you see her once more. But that's her big moment. Right? So I played it the way it was supposed to, written. You just fall apart after that. And I said to Danny, I said, II, I just feel so inclined, that I have to burst out laughing the minute he leaves! I have to burst out laughing. And at the top of the laugh, I have to just peel in tears, and just turn into a heap. And he said, Stephanie, you're getting $7 a performance. What the hell do you think you're doing this for, if not to be bold, and to do what you want to do? Do what you want to do! And so I did what I wanted to do. And that's all that anybody ever talked about when they saw that perform, that the whole production, was that moment that I had, where I did that.

Susan Lambert Hatem  19:49

It's one of the most powerful things about Theater, I think. I love that story. Because you get to do what you want to do. It may not work. (guffaw)

Stephanie Zimbalist  20:59

That's right.

Susan Lambert Hatem  20:59

But it's one of my favorite things about writing for Theater is, I just write what I want to write.

Stephanie Zimbalist  21:15

Of course.

Susan Lambert Hatem  21:15

And that's uh, very freeing when you have to write on assignment. Even then because you you've already sort of gotten to release a lot of the other stuff that you have to say and so, yeah.

Stephanie Zimbalist  21:28

That's right.

Sharon Johnson  21:29

And is that moment? Is that reflective of one of the things you like about theater? I mean, especially that maybe that helps keep it fresh for you over a long run? The ability to find something or find a moment? And not necessarily experiment, but to possibly take it in a slightly different direction or sort of play with it, a little bit as you're going along.

Stephanie Zimbalist  21:52

Oh that's interesting that you bring that up, because there's two kinds of stage actors. They're the ones that they just repeat their performance. And their days, they show up at the theater, and you know, they're either doing a National or their Broadway run. And they get their money and they do it and they get bored. They get bored pretty fast. And then there's the other kind of which I am. I'm the ladder where I am constantly, I'm fine tuning. I'm changing and I'm not, I have the pleasure by the way of, heh, I was doing a big old scene with Jessica Tandy. We were doing a movie for NBC called The Story Lady. And Jess and I, I've worked with her daughter. I'd worked with Tandy in the Theater. Tandy Cronin, who I love. She's just divine and a wonderful stage actress herself. And so Jess knew move through Tandy and we ended, we had to wait and wait, they were setting up a crane shot. And so I had this lovely time with Jessica. And we were talking about, I don't want to rat on another actor. But we were talking about a big, big, big performance that was playing in New York at the time. And it was a performance that had gone astray. It was, I think the gal won the Tony, by the way, but it was, she started. She started at A, and it became a Vaudeville act. It was a disaster! It was a complete disaster. I don't know where the performance started. But when my friends and I sat there in the third row center, we just thought we were watching a bomb go off. It was so terrible. So So Jessica and I, you know to make conversation, I said, Did you see blah, blah, blah, and in blah, blah, blah? And she said, (imitating Jessica Tandy) Oh, yes, I did! Then I said, what happened? And she said, 'Well, you see, I always feel that when you're in rehearsal, what you have to do is you're laying a groundwork, You're laying your your area that you're going. You're putting up the scaffolding on the character that you're playing. It's very important, and you work with the Director doing that. And it's key. And when you go off on your own and you're playing in the production, you don't leave that scaffolding. You never, never leave it. You must be married to that and our friend... and she mentioned her name... our friend did not pay attention to that. She was wooed by the audience and the audience's response, and therefore, there was no production. There was no performance anymore.' So I always remembered what she said. It's one of those little nuggets that goes down. You never forget it. You know?

Susan Lambert Hatem  24:30

That is amazing. And by the way, you're an amazing voice actress!

Sharon Johnson  24:34

Yes! (Laughing)

Stephanie Zimbalist  24:35

You know at some point, I'll do my Katharine Hepburn. But I'll tell you how that came about. That's, it's pretty funny. I mean, it's hilarious how it came about, but (chuckles)

Susan Lambert Hatem  24:45

Well tell us!

Stephanie Zimbalist  24:45

I do. I have a lot of voices. I do my neighbor, my neighbor. I have a Russian neighbor. I do her really well. (laughing) I don't think she's heard me do it. But basically, I was. Who came to to me? They, I was come to as we used to say. I was approached to do Tea at Five. It's a, it's that Matthew Lombardo wrote this one woman piece that that used to be a Two Act. The first act of Tea at Five, it's 1939, I believe. I'll tell you what it was. It's right before the big, big hurricane where on the sound, on Long Island Sound. Right where her house is. And, of course, I'm blanking on her fabulous house, you know. But that's where, that's where the First Act takes place. It happens during the hurricane. He married the idea that she's getting the rejection. That she will never play Scarlett O'Hara in Gone with the Wind. She'd failed, just as the hurricane hits. And that's the First Act. Then you have, then the actor, actress has 15 minutes to change from playing 39 to 76. And now it's the end of her life. And she's reflecting on her life. Well there's, it's quite a turn for an actor for many reasons. (in character) First of all, in the beginning, you get to play that wonderful, you know that lovely light thing, all that that she did, and all those lovely movies that she did that. La ha ha! You know all that lovely stuff. But then you get to (imitating old character) you get go into the second part of life where she actually has the wobble. And she talks like this. But also along with that I got really good at the makeup. So when I turned from the fireplace, peep, the audience would go... Gasp! Oh! It's quite delicious. It's great. So it was great fun, great fun. Well, this is the part, one of the things I wanted to tell you. So I had a lovely gal who was starting up my website at the time and she was a, she was an IT freak. She could find out anything. So in the story, in the play that Matthew Lombardo had written. There were. I think I'm counting on time, this just off the top of my head. There were like four suicides in Katharine Hepburn's family before Katharine Hepburn's line, before Katharine Hepburn hits the line. And so, I wrote to my friend who was managing you know, my website, and I said, I'm just curious. Were there any suicides in her family since then? So she sends me this huge link, this huge email with all these salacious links. And they're all about oh, this person, you know, was shot murdered, and this person was having an affair. And this person, I mean, it's just on and on these awful things. And this person, you know, fell off some bridge. But it goes on and on. And it's worse and worse. And I'm going Jimmeny crackers. And one of this, one of the links, one of the stories. It's like 1649, we have Edgar Spaulding of Massachusetts. And he had 10 children. Now my family is Spalding on my mother's side without the 'U'. This Spaulding was with the 'U'. And I go hmmm. At that time, my mother's brother, her oldest brother, was Francis Lecompte Spalding, Jr. And he had written the Spalding family tree, which is about 400 pages. So I wrote to my very serious, educated uncle who was alive then, who had No sense of humor, and no sense of the extraordinary. And I said, (Jack?) I'm curious, let me send you this link. I didn't say why. I just said, can you tell me? Do we have any connection between this Edgar Spaulding of Chelmsford, Massachusetts? So he sends me this very Dry thing. And I'm reading it and reading it. And basically, he's putting down all the salacious links that she had sent me about other Spaldings and other people. But this particular one he says, Okay. We're of the line of Joseph Spalding because he had 10 children. So we're of the line of Joseph and Katharine Hepburn is of the line of Benjamin. So I count backwards and count down and I realize at that moment, that I'm her ninth cousin. Now, the interesting thing about that, is that there are a lot of actors that are related to Katharine Hepburn.

Susan Lambert Hatem  29:47

We're, alright. So we're gonna take a little break and come back and a few more questions and. But I'm, I'm so excited. But we are gona take a little break. We'll be right back.

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Susan Lambert Hatem  30:03

And we're back. Back to it. Let's go!

Stephanie Zimbalist  30:07

I had the pleasure, by the way, of ah. I met her. Katharine Hepburn. Um, Linda Pearl and I, there was a play that was written for us called The Baby Dance. And we did take it to New York. It had a wonderful run. And there was only one person in the 11 weeks, that that original cast played it, that any member of the audience came up the stairs or were invited to come up the stairs to the dressing room, and that was Katharine Hepburn. And she said, (imitating Hepburn) Oh, you were all so good. She said, I thought I was the only one. Well, I had my aunt Marcia who I'm, who I mentioned to you was a good friend of Kate's. And I said Miss Hepburn, you know, I'm Marcia's, I'm Marcia's neice. Marcia Davenport. Oh, for heaven's sakes, she said. And I said, Listen, I have one shot left on my Konica auto reflex T, my little camera. Could you? Would you please, please cajole us, and let us have one picture with you? Oh, couldn't you just remember me in your memory? And I said, please. Oh, all right. So I have this picture of the cast and me. She's right in the center. She's got a purse with these gold rings on the on the strap. And it looks as if on quick glance that she's holding her Academy Award. And it's the most glorious picture and because my camera was a little busted, there's a beam of light that comes down from the top of the picture right to her. Right over her head. And so for Christmas that year, after our show had closed, I made beautiful 8x10s for each of my cast members, and I framed them, and I sent them to them for their Christmas present. And they all of course still have that picture. Now, I I come from a family. My dad was not a fan of Katharine Hepburn, mostly probably because of her politics, but that's not all. So I was not a fan of Katharine Hepburn either. I was a fan of Audrey. I knew Audrey. I met Audrey. I was on the set of Wait Until Dark. I remember the moment when she came up to me and took my face in her hands. It was like a deer. It was like a doe. And I couldn't believe this woman, this. She was just poetry in motion. So my connection with with Katharine Hepburn was oh, I'll pull it off. I'll do it. I can do this. I'll be fine. The writer Matthew Lombardo said you have to arrive off book for the first rehearsal. I said, What?! A one woman show off book! Oh, God. So up until that moment when I started to rehearse this play.... It sounds really dumb, but I had never seen a Katharine Hepburn movie. I'd never seen one. So we started to rehearse with with the writer produce, the writer, director. I'm rehearsing in New York, and I'm off book right away. And he's kind of stunned. He's, then we get Joey Tillinger who was going to be directing us, but he decided to go to Europe. He's he came in for one day to see how I was doing because I'd done other things, I did Sylvia with him and stuff. I've done other things. And so Joey says to Matthew, (imitating Tilinger) Well, I think we picked the right person, though. You know, I mean, she's just great. I don't have to be here. So he, he went off and I didn't have a Director. I had no Director. No Director. Just a person to say you want you want to be on this mark on this word because our lighting cues. You got to, you gotta fall into the blocking for the lighting cues. Oh, okay. So when you hit this word in the text, you have to be right there. Oh, okay. So basically, it was the two of them, the stage manager and the writer putting me on my marks.  (guffaw) So I'm doing this thing directing myself. Nobody's directing me. He's just correcting me when I blow a word. That's all. So we get to the, we get to the, um The Ordway. I guess it's called. (Mitten?) St. Paul. It's The Ordway, and we are a huge hit. I mean, we're a ridiculously huge hit. But before we went, before I got on the plane. I said to my niece, Christy, I think I better watch a Hepburn movie. I'm just winging it with this accent. I don't know if, I don't, I better go listen. So I went down to her apartment in Chelsea. And we got somebody got about four films, five films, a little DVDs. And I watched. I spent one afternoon watching. I got it, okay, I got it. I got it. And then I watched and I know all of her work and I know you know which ones I liked the best and why. I got her old voice. I got it. I got it. I got it. So by the time we opened at The Ordway, I had it. I had the voice. It was done. In fact um, I hate, I hate to say, you know, I'm bragging on myself but the the main reviewer in Minneapolis, (guffaw) he said, I have to have a personal interview with you. I gave you a rave in the paper, but I have to have an interview with you. So we went off to lunch at some point. He said, How did you do this? I said, I don't know. I don't know how I did it. I just did it. But it was great fun. And after that, then it was we we we revamped it about five years later. Four. I've done it a lot of places. We've done it all over California. I've done it in the Cape. I've um, I've done it in Ogunquit. I've done it. I've done it in a lot of places this play. But it was great fun. It was great fun. And that's one of the it's really fun to to be, to have an audience in the palm of your hand for two hours just by yourself.

Susan Lambert Hatem  35:55

That is insane. And you said it used to be a Two Act?

Stephanie Zimbalist  35:58

Kate Mulgrew originated the role. I never saw her do it. But she she pulled it off. She did it and had a slammingly awful thing to say about me just because I was going to do it. She never saw me do it. But she said, Oh. She's just television actress. What does she know? So yeah, it was really bad. But at any rate, I never I never got to say, MEOW! (Laughs) I never got to say that. I think she's a smashing actress. I think she's really a good actress. But um, at any rate, recently, I think it was at the beginning of COVID. They hired Faye Dunaway. And they were in Boston, they were in tryouts in Boston. They had, it's a hard knuckle for most actors to take. So they put Faye Dunaway into it and it was a car crash. And it was a disaster. And she said some terrible things. They said some terrible things. And she quit. But she quit in the middle of a production. In the middle of a performance, she quit!

Stephanie Zimbalist  36:55

And so I emailed Matthew, and I said, Matthew, I'm here in Connecticut, if you need me. Let me know. And so they never did. (laughing) So I never got to do it again. But they had made it into this One Act thing, where basically, as I have heard, it's basically Kate just reminiscing about Spencer. It doesn't have all those delicious bumps that you take in the first act. And all that other stuff.

Sharon Johnson  36:55


Susan Lambert Hatem  37:22

I just, I was saying earlier to Robin, that last night, I got to see the um, Holland Taylor do ANN at the Pasadena Playhouse.

Stephanie Zimbalist  37:30


Susan Lambert Hatem  37:31

And that's a one woman show and quite beautifully written.

Stephanie Zimbalist  37:35


Susan Lambert Hatem  37:35

And it was spectacular to see her reprise that role. We got to see her on Broadway do it.

Stephanie Zimbalist  37:41

She's been attached to that for a very long time. It started with my friend, Lou Antonio directing her in it, here. Which I heard ended up being a bit of a car crash. So but ANN, but um, um. Oh my, what's her name?

Susan Lambert Hatem  37:55

Holland Taylor.

Stephanie Zimbalist  37:56

Holland. Holland was a really good friend of my sisters. My sister was gay and Holland's gay. I'm sure everybody knows that by now. But she's been to our house in Connecticut many times. And I know her pretty well. And she's a wonderful actress. So it's a performance that I would have liked to have seen.

Susan Lambert Hatem  38:14

It's quite, it's quite spectacular. But you're just always I'm always startled when people do a one person show and, and are able to carry that through. I mean, just the the weight of that. Carrying the drama all together on yourself, is really quite spectacular.

Stephanie Zimbalist  38:34

Did you see, Susan, did you see that? This actor named Sean Hayes has some one man show that he's doing in New York?

Susan Lambert Hatem  38:40

I did see that. But what's it called? I don't.

Stephanie Zimbalist  38:43

I can't remember. But I hear he, I read the reviews. I get this thing, which if you don't get it, you've got to get it. It's called a Grace Notes. Have you ever heard of Grace Notes?

Susan Lambert Hatem  38:43

Yeah, I've heard of it. I'll get it.

Stephanie Zimbalist  38:48

Grace Notes is free.

Susan Lambert Hatem  38:49


Stephanie Zimbalist  38:49

And it's, maybe it's not free anymore, I think Susan. It has booted it up. So it's like $45 a year. It's an online daily theatrical bulletin, and it covers the United States. And it also covers London, and you don't miss anything. It'll give you like, the three top reviews on something. And you can click and read the whole thing if you want to, but you don't have to. So it kind of keeps me up on everything.

Susan Lambert Hatem  39:19

It's a great highlight.

Stephanie Zimbalist  39:20

Oh, it's great.

Susan Lambert Hatem  39:20

Sounds like a great highlight.

Stephanie Zimbalist  39:21

Grace Note. It's called Grace Notes. Yeah,

Susan Lambert Hatem  39:23

Grace Notes. All right. I love it.

Stephanie Zimbalist  39:25

Her name, her name is Susan Grace. Yeah.

Susan Lambert Hatem  39:27

Alright. Well, we could keep diving, but I think we have to save some Theater stuff for the Theater podcast.

Sharon Johnson  39:31


Stephanie Zimbalist  39:32


Susan Lambert Hatem  39:32

And so we're gonna swing back to Remington Steele and Laura Holt.

Stephanie Zimbalist  39:36


Susan Lambert Hatem  39:36

And I do, like Michael Gleason and Robert Butler give you a lot of credit on the DVD commentary about the about the character of Laura Holt. And the Fedora being you and sort of you really getting that 30s vibe.

Stephanie Zimbalist  39:55

Yeah, I would go shopping. I'd go to the, I'd go to the swap meet here, The Rose Bowl Swap Meet and buy my suits. And I'd go to some pile some like hilltop pile of old suits and I'd buy these suits for $5. And then we'd do, we we'd have them fitted to me for about $400. (guffaw) And I have, I still have 'em. In fact I'm getting back to where I might one day be able to wear them but I was a size two or a four then. I'm getting back to where I was, but it was a pretty disastrous menopause that I had. (laughs)

Susan Lambert Hatem  40:32

Interesting turn that uh.  That Lady.

Sharon Johnson  40:32

I hear ya!

Stephanie Zimbalist  40:36

But I did, I did the suits. I did the hats because I always knew I looked good in hats. I looked great in hats. So I brought the hats in and I was constantly battling of course the DP because he always wanted me to raise the, the lip of the front of the fedor, Fedora. I'd say no, it looks stupid if I'm wearing it that way. And so they turn, and move in and bleh, but yeah. I remember that.

Susan Lambert Hatem  40:58

Well and.

Melissa Roth  40:58

Dennis Matsuda?

Stephanie Zimbalist  41:00

Dennis Matsuda was not, it was. No Dennis Matsuda was the operator.

Melissa Roth  41:04

Oh Okay.

Stephanie Zimbalist  41:05

Kenny, Kenneth. Kenny. Kenny was our DP.

Susan Lambert Hatem  41:10

Alright, I'll look it up in just a second.

Stephanie Zimbalist  41:12


Susan Lambert Hatem  41:12

Kenny Peach

Stephanie Zimbalist  41:13

Dennis, Dennis was terrific. Kenny Peach. Yeah.

Susan Lambert Hatem  41:16

That is fantastic. I mean, it was so funny because Robert Butler also went on to say that for the, the Pilot, the the that they, the re-shot Pilot, he got excited about the Fedoras and put 'em on everybody. And then he had to re-shoot some scenes with the bad guys and pull them off because it was looking ridiculous.

Stephanie Zimbalist  41:32

(laughing) It does give you a sense of 30s, though, you know, it does.

Susan Lambert Hatem  41:37

It does. And there's such a love. It's just a love letter that those first early episodes, to the look of it. And the snap of it was very much in that style of the Thin Man and the 30s and Cary Grant. And you really, that you really captured that. You guys captured that with the, with the show early on. But I also thought it was an interesting. There was another comment that stuck with me about you saying that you understood, and basically something like this. You said this show is three feet off the ground. So the only way to play it, is with your feet firmly on the ground.

Stephanie Zimbalist  42:15

Oh, that's interesting. Yeah, that's true. But you had to have a little bit of tongue in cheek. You had to have that little sense that you were playing it just off the ground. That's correct. Pierce used to say that too. Yeah.

Susan Lambert Hatem  42:27

And you're struck by how confident the character of Laura Holt is. And, and I'm also struck now, like I, I was a teenager, and I was watching you, and it felt like you were way more adult than I was. And I wasn't that far behind you. But your ability to play confidence in 1980 Television was unprecedented.

Stephanie Zimbalist  42:27

Thank you. Haha!

Susan Lambert Hatem  42:30

How'd you do that?

Stephanie Zimbalist  42:40

Well, I come, it was, you know, my, my pop was, I mean, Daddy didn't coach me or anything like that. But I mean, having having, I mean, being on a set with my pop, you go, Oh, my God. And Pierce felt the same way. I mean, this is the Master this fellow. I mean I would, I couldn't believe how much he knew. I mean, I thought I knew a lot, you know, I thought but he just, oh my gosh! You know, he just knew a great deal. He knew, he knew the medium. He knew how to do it. He knew grace. He knew culture. He knew all that stuff. And he knew what was most important, which is how you treat your fellow members of the set. And it was terribly important how you acted. And that's what the Guest people would say to to both Pierce and me. "It's it's just amazing. You treat us so well!" And a lot of people that went on to have their own Series said you really set the example for us, you know. I remember there was a um, Daddy had a first. Paul um, Paul zip, blanking, but Paul. And he used to tell me, he used to say, Stephanie, when your dad would come on the set, I think it was on FBI. It would take Forever because he had to go... It was a Monday and he'd have to ask everybody how their weekend was, and did that. Did your wife have that surgery? And did she get my note? And I hope this is all right. And did you ever get your car fixed? And if you need a little extra cash? I mean, (laughing) that's the kind of guy he was, you know.

Sharon Johnson  42:40


Susan Lambert Hatem  44:35

We were just talking about that on a set. Scott Bakula is apparently like that on set. We were talking about Quantum Leap with Robin. And and so yeah, it makes a huge difference to the tone of a set. And so in terms of building the character of Laura Holt, around this beautiful words that Michael Gleason wrote, and the sort of setting that Robert Butler did. Did you know you were creating a feminist icon? I mean, which you were. We've already said it 10 times. So.

Stephanie Zimbalist  45:06

Well it, you know, I, I, fought hard for the original, again when we're talking about what Jess said. I fought, I fought hard for the structure, because our scaffolding was that there was a woman behind the man. And that's what made it different. The man was the frontman. And the woman was the one that was calling the shots and was the smart one. And they started to change that, you know, they started. There was a place where I really had to put down my foot. And I don't have to go into the weeds on that. I really I'd rather not. It was. It's like, I had a friend over for dinner last night, and he complimented me on my dinner. And then he said, it's much better than the meal that you made... Do you remember the meatloaf? And then you went on about the meatloaf for about 10 minutes. It's like, why are you talking about the meatloaf? Why don't we talk about the meal I just made? That was real good. Let's talk about that. So but um, no. I lost my train of thought.

Susan Lambert Hatem  46:04

Creating the character and keeping...

Stephanie Zimbalist  46:06

Creating the character and so...

Susan Lambert Hatem  46:08

And keeping it real.  Keeping it to the scaffolding...

Stephanie Zimbalist  46:10

Yeah. So, there was a part where it was really looking kind of wobbly. And I, I said, let's go back to what, what I signed on for. And this is what I signed on for. And that, by the way guys, is why I have top billing. Don't forget that my name is first. And there's a reason that it's first. It's not second. Its first. I am not Girl Friday in this. Let's stick to what we made. And so I put my foot down. And when, I came close, I mean, I was prepared to leave the show, and I didn't. But so to answer your question, yes, I was aware of what what had been presented to me. What was unique about what had been presented to me. Why they picked me. By the way, they came to me three times. Jerry Windsor was the Head of Casting. And I kept turning it down. I said, No, I don't. And I turned it down because I thought I had a big career as a Feature Actress, and I'm just going to be serious. I'm a serious actor! And I've done this and that. And I'm going to do this and that. And this little light, fluff. But somebody finally convinced me. But but you're not quite old enough at that time to be a big Feature Actress. And you're actually too old to be that sort of young Ingenue that you used to play. So this will cover the gap. So basically, that's why I took Remington to just cover the gap. (laughs) That's why I did it. Okay. All right. I'll do it. (laughs)

Sharon Johnson  47:35

Well, we're very glad you did it. And very glad you kept their eyes on the prize, if you will, of understanding what it is that made the show unique and interesting for the audience. Because there wasn't anything else like this on, on television.

Stephanie Zimbalist  47:43


Sharon Johnson  47:50

And really hasn't been since. With this, this strong, independent woman who knows who she is and knows what she wants and isn't afraid to say so!

Stephanie Zimbalist  47:59

Thank you. Well, it's, you know, it helps if you have, and you know, Michael and I, he was one of my best friends of course. He was just the best. But you know Michael, because I had, he, we had gone through writing sessions. And we had gone through all that. So he knew that I knew what I was talking about. And, and the reason I never pursued any more writing, at least on Remington was because I didn't have time, I did not have time. And then and then when I started to get rolling, I do really interesting pieces in my hiatuses. So I didn't have time. But what he did allow me, is I would I would read the script. And if I didn't understand anything I'd write, I had a red marker and I'd say, What's this? What, what about this? You have this idea here, 20 pages ago, and nothing ever happens to that. What happened with that? And Laura was this and she followed this and what happens to her there? And I had a couple of pieces that he wrote some and I said, You know what? I don't understand anything of what you're trying to say in this. I don't get it. I'm so sorry. One time he got mad at me and said, 'I don't care! You just do the work. You just go in and you just do the work.' So (chuckles) he loved a complicated script. But the problem was sometimes it was too complicated. And my sweet pop said, I can never follow a Remington script. I never know what's going on. I don't understand it. I said I know, Daddy. I know. I know. He said really, I just don't understand it. I said, I got it. I got it. (laughs)

Sharon Johnson  49:24

(laughs) Well, we know that that eventually you and Robin did write a script together, which I have to tell you is one of my all time favorite Episodes of the show.

Stephanie Zimbalist  49:35

Thank you.

Sharon Johnson  49:35

It made it it was so much fun. It made me laugh so hard. It had everything that the show, that I loved about the show and in one, in one place. And and I honestly, until we started working on this podcast, I didn't know that you had written, co-written an Episode. Probably because I wasn't paying attention to those kinds of things when the show was on. I just knew I loved the show. I watched it and I, all those names came up and I didn't pay a lot of attention to them. Unlike Susan, who would watch it and was paying attention, paying more attention to that sort of thing than I was. (chuckles)

Susan Lambert Hatem  50:08

I was like, wait! There's a woman on the credits! What?! Can someone do that?

Stephanie Zimbalist  50:13


Sharon Johnson  50:13

But it actually made me think about something you were saying earlier about how you and Robin worked together and wrote together and on some things together as you, when you were kids. But obviously at some point, you decided that the acting point or maybe it was always the acting, that was always more important to you. Is it the direction you thought you were going to go?

Stephanie Zimbalist  50:33

Yeah well, there's a, there's the other thing Sharon, and that is that, there's time that is not on your side, when you are a Leading Lady. If you're a character person, it's a whole different thing. But there are very few Jean Smarts out there. There just are very few of them. And, you know, when when Meryl thought that her career was waning at some point, she squawked! She squawked all over the New York Times. And she squawked and said, what's happening? Why are men getting this and I'm not. And she squawked loud enough so that they, they listened. Now she's, you know, she can take whatever she wants. She can do whatever she wants. But all those wonderful years didn't go away, that she had in front of a camera. She got to use all those wonderful years. We got to see her all the way through. That's the that's the bitch about, about being a Film Actress, you know. You can't sort of take your time off. As you've noticed that lovely gal we just mentioned. That's in Don't Look Up. She was supposed to... Sharon. She was, isn't it Sharon? Is that her name? No.

Sharon Johnson  51:42

Jennifer Lawrence

Stephanie Zimbalist  51:43

Jennifer Lawrence, Jennifer Lawrence Not Sharon. There's a big difference. I like Sharon Lawrence.

Sharon Johnson  51:47


Stephanie Zimbalist  51:48

But she was, she was supposed to retire. She said, I'm retiring. And then all of a sudden she's not retiring. (laughs) She's not retiring. She can't retire.  (guffaw)

Sharon Johnson  51:56


Susan Lambert Hatem  51:57

It was like Robin said, you know, women have to do everything men do, but backwards and in high heels.

Stephanie Zimbalist  52:02

Backwards and in high heels. Yeah that's right!

Susan Lambert Hatem  52:04

And speaking of high heels, you do a lot of running in high heels in Remington Steele.

Stephanie Zimbalist  52:09

I'm looking at my bunions to prove it now.

Sharon Johnson  52:11


Susan Lambert Hatem  52:12

I love, I think it's in that Episode that you wrote Steele in the Chips, where Gina Davis is like, how do you do that? And you're like, practice!

Melissa Roth  52:20


Stephanie Zimbalist  52:21


Susan Lambert Hatem  52:21

But I love that you nodded. That there's a nod to what your, that you are the, Laura Holt was running around in high heels! And, and I want to give you a nod also, you're very athletic!

Sharon Johnson  52:33

Right! Amazing!

Stephanie Zimbalist  52:35

I am not only athletic, but they made me an honorary member of the Stunt Woman's Association.

Sharon Johnson  52:41


Stephanie Zimbalist  52:42

I had my white jacket for a long time. Debbie Evans was my stunt gal. And we're still very much in touch. In fact, we've got to have lunch pretty soon. She could. I mean, she could drive a motorcycle up a tree and stop it. I mean, she's unbelievable what she can do. She's still working. She's terrific!

Susan Lambert Hatem  52:59

Alright, you'll have to help us get her on the show. We got to get her on the show.

Stephanie Zimbalist  53:02

Oh, she's great! That's, that would be a piece of cake. She's a very interesting person. She's got a whole lifetime to tell you all about. Debbie Evans is her name. And yeah, I, they, they had me do my own stunts. Um, they didn't worry about, you know about insurance and stuff. We didn't worry about that kind of stuff. Because they knew I could do almost everything. And if there was a certain amount of danger, then they pulled me and then they had, then they had Debbie and whoever... Pierce had a few of them. He had more than one. Miles I think was one of his guys. But I did a lot of stunts. And it's, the thing is, is that the first shot, the first you know, the first shot is usually a Master and it's usually at eight in the morning. So you're usually doing the stunts in the high heels at eight in the morning. (chuckles)

Sharon Johnson  53:49

That's a nice way to start your day, I guess. (chuckles)

Susan Lambert Hatem  53:51

And it's, it is stunning! I don't think that they do that with actors anymore.

Stephanie Zimbalist  53:56


Susan Lambert Hatem  53:56

You guys are throwing yourself out of cars, like and, it's you!

Sharon Johnson  53:59


Susan Lambert Hatem  54:00

Like, it's you! I couldn't believe it. I was like, that's impossible. I'm like backing it up...

Stephanie Zimbalist  54:04

The more I remember, there were two things with terror that I remember. Because we did a lot! I mean I tell that, I haven't mentioned this to Pierce in a long time, but we were literally shooting in France. There were these things called Wet Bikes. And the shot was behind us, it was the Master was, we run into the scene and there's AH! There's two Wet Bikes. So we jump on the backs of our, we each have a Wet Bike. And a Wet Bike is a motorcycle. It's got one ski, and when you give it the gas it rides up like a, like a horse rearing. It rides way up. And then as you give it more gas it planes, and it planes on the ocean. I had you know, God I water skied in Acapulco. I learned how to uh, learned how to ski, finally one ski in Acapulco. But that was, we were shooting Remington we had an amazing guy. Carlos Mendoza who's brother Alfredo Mendoza was the number one water skier in the world at that point. So Carlos taught me how to ski on one ski to do a deep start. He taught me and from that moment, I've been able to do it. So I was familiar with skiing and all that stuff. And I used to ski a lot, and snow ski. Anyway, (giggles) we go and do the shot. You know, VROOM! And I'm, I'm skiing and I look back, and Pierce is still in the water. (laughing) He's still near the shore.  

Sharon Johnson  54:04


Stephanie Zimbalist  55:14

So I circle back and I say, No. We got to do it again. Pierce couldn't figure it out. So they work with Pierce a little bit. (giggles) Showing him how to do it. And again, they set up the shot. VROOM! I go planing off and again, I look back. Nope, there's no Pierce.

Sharon Johnson  55:46


Stephanie Zimbalist  55:48

I think eventually, I had to do it with the stunt double. I don't think that he got, (giggles) I don't think he did that shot.

Sharon Johnson  55:54

But it's astonishing! I mean, I don't know that I, that there were any other shows that at that time that had their actors, their Lead Actors doing as many stunts as you guys did.

Stephanie Zimbalist  56:04


Sharon Johnson  56:04

It just, it just was such an anomaly. I mean, amazing!

Stephanie Zimbalist  56:08

Well, I'm sure it helped Pierce, you know, when he was doing Bond of course.

Susan Lambert Hatem  56:13

It feels like a couple of those episodes are like an audition tape. (guffaw) You're like, hold on now. (laughs)

Stephanie Zimbalist  56:18

You know, speaking to him and of him, he is so grateful for everything that was given him. It is such a delight to hear from him because you can hear Thanksgiving in his voice all the time! And it is, you know, we've done our things where I've said you did this! He said, Oh, I'm sorry. I'm sorry! We've done all that. You know, we've done all that! And we're, we're friends. It's, you know, his career is booming. And it's uh, it's relevant is the word. (guffaw) It's a relevant career. Mine is not relevant. But that's okay. It doesn't mean that I didn't have it. It just means that it's not. I don't have Spielberg... who was darling to me at one point in my life. He's not knocking on my door. I would knock on his because I think that West Side Story is the best Film of the whole Season.

Sharon Johnson  57:16

It was so good. It was so good! Yeah!

Stephanie Zimbalist  57:19

Oh, my God. Fabulous. Fabulous.

Susan Lambert Hatem  57:21

And I have to guiltily admit that I haven't seen it yet. But I did see Tick, Tick, Boom. And I did see In the Heights. And so I'm excited. It's on the list.

Stephanie Zimbalist  57:28

Tic, Tic ,Boom is fantastic! It was very good. And anybody... I'm sorry, I shouldn't gossip about. But anybody that can make a character like that, who is so myopic, and so self obsessed. We care about that person? That actor did a fabulous job!

Susan Lambert Hatem  57:44

He's fabulous. He's really fabulous. And I thought it was really well directed. Like I actually really was like...

Stephanie Zimbalist  57:50


Susan Lambert Hatem  57:50

This is really smartly done. Yeah, I think you're right, because they do. They make a character that isn't likable, likable.

Stephanie Zimbalist  57:57

That's right.

Susan Lambert Hatem  57:58

Oh my god, we have so much to talk about! (laughs)

Sharon Johnson  58:00


Stephanie Zimbalist  58:00

I know. I know.

Susan Lambert Hatem  58:02

Oh my gosh, we're gonna have to stop here. We've run out of time. We're gonna have to save the Part Two for our next Episode, Sharon.

Sharon Johnson  58:09

Well, them's the breaks. I guess.

Susan Lambert Hatem  58:11

We keep doing this to the... We're sorry. And we're also happy.

Sharon Johnson  58:14

But trust us, you definitely want to come back for Part Two.

Susan Lambert Hatem  58:17

Let's find out what Stephanie has to say about working with Pierce Brosnan in Part Two. And all sorts of questions that haven't been asked yet. Stay tuned for our next Episode where we finish our conversation with Stephanie Zimbalist. And now for our Audiography. The website I want to point you to is Stephanie Zimbalist dot net, the official website for Stephanie Zimbalist.

Sharon Johnson  58:39

You also may want to check out the Podcast, Steele Watching. It's hosted by mother daughter duo, Lois and Carrie Carlock. They do an Episode walk through the First Season of Remington Steele and it's pretty adorable. We'd like to take a moment to acknowledge some of the comments we've gotten from some of our listeners. Please keep your comments and questions and all of your thoughts about our podcast coming. We love hearing from you! First off, MJ wrote, 'Remington Steele is indeed a feminist show. Remember, Laura Holt is the real Remington Steele. Pierce is just filling in. Also, this show mocks the traditional man in charge who is surprised that a woman... Oh my while clutching my pearls and gasping... can actually contribute stereotype, by showing this in a reverse situation. It's like Inception, people watched and didn't even realize they were being educated.'

Susan Lambert Hatem  59:38

And on email from Sandra G, we got this comment. 'I just happen to stumble across your podcast this morning and was immediately taken back to my college and med school days in Ann Arbor. Where television was a rare treat amid hours of studying. You hit all the right notes immediately out of the box. The first two shows were weeknight favorites, with Remington Steele, holding a very special place in my heart. I well recall writing several fan letters to Stephanie Zimbalist, who was a wonderful role model. I have been a practicing OBGYN for 32 years now and still look back on Laura Holt as one of my greatest inspirations. Keep up the great work. Really enjoyed your insights.' Thank you, Doctor Sandra!

Sharon Johnson  1:00:21

What a great comment. Thank you so much for reaching out to us. And last but not least, we had a review from 1986Hoosier via Apple podcast. They said, 'Love this! I'm an 80s TV fan and this is a great look behind the scenes. Five stars. Thank you 1986Hoosier! We're so glad you're enjoying listening.

Susan Lambert Hatem  1:00:44

I'm thinking they're a basketball fan. But I don't know.

Sharon Johnson  1:00:46

Wouldn't surprise me in the least. Please keep the comments coming. And we're always interested in finding out from you! What's the 80s Ladies driven TV show that you remember or have heard of and want us to cover? What are your favorite 2020s TV Ladies? You can contact us through the website and through social media.

Susan Lambert Hatem  1:00:47

The website is 80sTVLadies.com. That's eight zero s TV, la d ies .com. And of course, our social medias are @80sTVLadies.

Sharon Johnson  1:01:17

Let us know you're listening. And if you're liking this podcast, please rate and review us. It helps out a lot. We hope 80s TV Ladies brings you joy and laughter and lots of fabulous new and old shows to watch. All of which will lead us forward toward being amazing TV Ladies of the 21st century.

Susan Lambert Hatem  1:01:26

I want to be a TV Lady for every Century.

Sharon Johnson  1:01:40

Every century to come sounds perfect. Let's go!

Theme Music:    

80s TV Ladies.  I’m so sexy and so pretty.

80s TV Ladies. I’m steppin’ out into the city.

80s TV Ladies.  I been treated kind of sh#*ty.  

Working hard for the money in a man’s world.

80s TV Ladies!