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HOME > Biographical > 100 New Yorkers of the 1970s > WESTSIDER LENORE KASDORF
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Star of The Guiding Light


For the pat few months at least, the hottest soap opera on television has been CBS' The Guiding Light, which reaches approximately 10 million viewers nationwide. The show has 22 regular characters, and right now the one who is getting the most attention is Rita Stapleton, a beautiful but deceitful nurse who recently brought up the ratings for the week when she was raped by her ex-lover on the night before her engagement to another man. It was all in a day's work for Westsider Lenore Kasdorf, who portrays the popular villainess.

"This is definitely a job, and you get the feeling of a schedule, of punching in and punching out, of rolling it off the presses. But you put in your creative element too," says Miss Kasdorf, taking a break between scenes at the studio. With her soft hazel eyes, pearly teeth, finely chiseled features, and billowing brown hair, she is nothing short of stunning — an impression that is heightened by her throaty voice and by the red sweater that covers her ample figure.

Being the star of an hour-long "soap" means that Lenore often has to work from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. inside the mazelike studio, so that in winter, an entire week may go by when she doesn't see sunlight. Although she receives a tremendous number of fan letters, Lenore does not have time to answer most of them.

"I'm not a letter writer anyway," she explains. "There are times when someone is so sincere that you feel you really want to respond. I have had people send me a dollar check for postage. My heart goes out sometimes; I get guilty when I read my mail. This audience is very responsive. They love to comment about the show. I get a lot of identifying mail. Some people say, 'You're like the sister I wish I had.' Sometimes there's strange mail. Sometimes there's lewd mail, which is removed before I can read it." She laughs vigorously. "That's fine with me, because then I can enjoy all my mail."

Asked about which part of the Upper West Side she lives in, Lenore declines to say. "I have some fans who would follow my footprints in the snow. You have to be careful. My husband and I tend to stay in the neighborhood a lot, and I'd hate to ruin our indiscreet little way of getting around. … In New York people are used to seeing Al Pacino walking down the street, or Jackie O. shopping at the corner. But out of town — at first they're not sure if it's you. A lot of people come up to me and say, 'Do you ever watch The Guiding Light? You look so much like that............
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