Although perhaps best known for her role as uptight suburbanite Angela Bower on the popular ’80s sitcom “Who’s the Boss?,” actress Judith Light is an extremely accomplished Emmy and Tony Award-winning performer whose career has spanned more than 35 years. With fall beginning and the risk of contracting influenza on the rise, Light has joined forces with the Flu Plus You initiative to help educate seniors about the importance of protecting themselves against the potentially deadly virus. Examiner spoke exclusively with Light on Sept. 23 to get the skinny on the campaign, what she thinks happened to Angela and Tony after “Who’s the Boss?” ended, and whether or not she’d ever appear on “Dancing with the Stars.”
Sherry Wight: Judith, tell me about the Flu Plus You campaign and what prompted you to get involved with the initiative.
Judith Light: The Flu Plus You campaign and Sanofi Pasteur and the National Council on Aging are very important to me because we are talking about a flu vaccine that is a higher dose for people who are 65 and up like myself. I don’t think a lot of people know… that the higher dose is available.
SW: Where can we go for more information about the initiative?
JL: You can go to the National Council on Aging website for information. You can talk to your healthcare provider. You can go to your pharmacist. If you are on Medicare, [the flu shot] is free with no co-pay. So there are all kinds of places you can go to get information. I know people don’t think about this; they’re thinking about their lives and everything else they have to do, but people cannot afford to get the flu…. and [I’m working] to draw national attention to [the initiative].
SW: Judith, I know that in addition to this particular effort, you’re very heavily involved with a number of different causes, particularly AIDS-related and human rights causes. When did you first feel called to activism?
JL: I really felt called to activism in terms of HIV and AIDS in the early ’80s and into the mid-’80s. At the end of the ’80s, I did a film called the “Ryan White Story.” But what was happening was a lot of my friends were dying or were getting sick, and it was a real call to action for me because I saw the way that people were being treated and how the country was responding to HIV and AIDS, and I felt that it was important to stand up and say ‘attention must be paid.’
SW: Good for you. Thank you for stepping up and doing something.
JL: Thank you and thank you for saying something about it.
SW: Now I want to go back a little in time. I’m a child of the ’80s and ’90s so I loved “Who’s the Boss?” I’ve always wondered this, and I’m really excited that I get to ask you: in your mind, what happened to Tony [Micelli, played by Tony Danza] and Angela after the cameras stopped rolling?
JL: [Laughs] It’s so funny. People do talk about that now; there’s a lot of buzz in the air about would we ever do a reboot. I always would’ve liked to have thought that they had gotten married and that they had the kind of relationship that could show people how good communication and humor in a marriage could be.
SW: I love it! I loved them. I was so disappointed by the series finale.
JL: I know! I know a lot of people were. They still talk about it and it was 30 years ago! You know it was 30 years ago, right?
SW: Oh, I know it. And now I feel old. You’ve assumed a wide array of roles throughout your career on Broadway, on the screen. What kind of character do you most enjoy playing?
JL: A character that really moves from one place to another; in other words, a character that is experiencing a kind of transformation. I think it’s very important for me to work on myself while I’m working on a character, and also it’s important how I’m giving to and educating an audience. So I tend to go with people [who] are complex and substantive.
SW: If you could resurrect any role you’ve played, which would you want to do again?
JL: Oh my, which would I want to do again? The first thing that comes to mind is a play that I did several years ago called “Wit.” It was about a woman dying of fourth stage ovarian cancer and it was a very, very powerful piece.
SW: So aside from the flu initiative, what else have you been up to and what’s on your calendar in the coming months?
JL: I’m working on a show for Amazon Prime right now called “Transparent” which I am very, very honored and proud to be a part of. It’s about getting to educate people about the transgender community, which is very inspiring to me; [they’re] very courageous, authentic people living very bravely in the world. I’m also in rehearsals right now for a Broadway show called “Therese Raquin” starring Keira Knightley. We open on Broadway at the end of October. I cannot afford to get the flu!
SW: Sounds busy! I like to close out with a random question. “Dancing with the Stars” just started. Would you ever do it?
JL: You know what? I would like to think that I would, but I don’t think I could. Let’s say that [laughs].