Kidsday
circa 1991

"Talking With" Rebeca Arthur

By Robin Borsare, Jon Mendicina and Frank Ricotta
Kidsday Staff Reporters

We interviewed actress Rebeca Arthur at the Westbury Hotel in Manhattan recently.  Rebeca stars as Mary Anne, Balki's (Bronson Pinchot) girlfriend on the ABC-TV show, "Perfect Strangers."  She has been on the show for six years.  Before her career as an actress, she worked as a private investigator in New York.  Rebeca is single and lives in Hollywood with her poodle, Emmy.

Q: Do you like your part?
A: I love it.  A lot of people say, 'Aren't you afraid that you are being typecast?'  I just say no, I am afraid of being unemployed.  Somebody has to play her and I'll do it.

Q: How did you get the part?
A: I went to audition for the part of Jennifer.  I didn't really want to.  It was a wonderful character, but it wasn't what I wanted to do.  I saw on the back page of the script that I was reading for a character named Rachel, who was the original name for my character.  That role looked like a lot more fun.  So I asked the casting director if I could read for her part.  The director said they were casting for both girls from the readings.  I got this role without really reading for it.

Q: Is Mary Anne at all like you?
A: We look a lot alike.  A lot of the characteristics about Mary Anne don't make it onto the show, it gets cut.  A lot of people don't realize that she is very bright, she just has a different view on things.  She seems silly, but she is smart.  I like to think that I'm not an idiot.

Q: How do you get along with the cast?
A: Melanie and I are really good friends.  We run around a lot together when we are not at work.  Right now her husband is renovating my house because he is a contractor so she is over almost every night.

Q: How does Bronson Pinchot act off camera?
A: He is sort of like a big kid, and he gets in trouble when he is so naughty.  We just can't shut him up.

Q: Who did you admire when you were growing up?
A: Lucille Ball.

Q: Have you had formal training?
A: I went to the NYU Strasberg program for a year.  I found that you learn all this stuff and part of it you use and you don't even think you are using it.  Acting is fun, but you are always scared that you are not doing it right.

Q: How long does it take to tape a show?
A: We start at 7 p.m. and do it in front of a live audience.  It depends whether we have special effects or not, we can usually be finished by 9:30 or 10 p.m.  If we have special effects we pre-shoot them on Thursdays.

Q: Do you want to direct or produce?
A: Producing, perhaps.  A lot of actors say they really want to direct.  I don't really have that urge.

Q: Does your family like the idea of you being an actress?
A: My mother is in heaven.

Q: Do you have any brothers or sisters?
A: I have an older brother and he is a minister in Maryland.

Q: How do you spend your spare time?
A: I spend hours and hours in miniature stores.  Melanie and I drive all over California looking at miniatures.

Q: Do you prefer comedy or drama?
A: The truth is comedy is more difficult than drama, and it is more fun.  I would like to do more sit-coms.