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NPR Arts & Life

Judith Light: The Content And The Context Of A Varied Career

Judith Light attends the 2017 Fragrance Foundation Awards Presented By Hearst Magazines at Alice Tully Hall on June 14, 2017 in New York City.
Judith Light attends the 2017 Fragrance Foundation Awards Presented By Hearst Magazines at Alice Tully Hall on June 14, 2017 in New York City.

Long before Transparent, for which she's now Emmy-nominated for her work as Shelly Pfefferman, Judith Light was a soap star when soaps were a much bigger deal than they are now. Playing Karen Wolek on One Life To Live, she won two Daytime Emmys and became known for a devastating performance in a courtroom scene in which Karen was forced to acknowledge publicly that although she was married to a doctor, she was secretly also a sex worker. She later moved on to Who's The Boss, where she had a totally different role as Angela Bower, a working single mom who hired Tony Micelli (Tony Danza) as her housekeeper and nanny.

She also had significant roles on Ugly Bettyand Law & Order: SVU, and she managed to win two Tony Awards along the way, for her performances in Other Desert Citiesin 2012 and The Assembled Partiesin 2013.

We sat down to talk about how Shelly's doing at the end of Transparent's third season, how Light herself is doing following some changes in her own life, and why she swore she'd never do soaps or sitcoms and ended up learning a tremendous amount from both.

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