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Gloria Loring Interview: Dishing "Daytime Dramas and Divine Intervention"

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Image attributed to Gloria Loring

Gloria Loring

Singer and actress Gloria Loring is perhaps best known as Liz Chandler on the NBC daytime drama Days of our Lives (1980-1986). Her character was a singer, and one of the most memorable songs performed by “Liz” was “Friends and Lovers,” which was recorded as a duet by Loring with Carl Anderson and became a hit single in real life on the US pop chart.

In 1979, Loring and then husband Alan Thicke composed the theme songs to Different Strokes and The Facts of Life. Her son Brennan was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes that year, and when Loring was appearing on Days of our Lives, she got the idea to publish a celebrity cookbook to raise money for diabetes research after someone left a card titled “Expect a Miracle” in her dressing room.

Released October 2012, Loring’s new book, Coincidence is God’s Way of Remaining Anonymous: Reflections on Daytime Dramas and Divine Intervention, shares the intimate journey of her life that has readers interpreting “coincidences” in a whole new way. Recently revealing agonizing details of abuse from her father on Dr. Drew, her innate wisdom and strength will inspire readers and help transform lives.

Loring’s marriage to Thicke produced two sons, Brennan, a former voiceover actor and R&B singer/songwriter and actor Robin Thicke. In 1994, she married Rene Lagler.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Gloria, Coincidence is God’s Way of Remaining Anonymous, is a very interesting read.

Gloria Loring: Oh, thank you.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): I found it to simply be a story of your emotional healing process. Was that the reason for writing the book?

Gloria Loring: Well, the excitement for me was looking at the way that emotional, psychological and spiritual healing can take place with the guidance of coincidence. We have within us access to the supreme intelligence that created the world … all of life. That supreme intelligence is always working in the world. We’re a part of that creativity, and I do believe that life wants to have balance and harmony.

I believe when we’re out of harmony with our true selves that these opportunities present themselves for us to see what we can let go of now, what no longer serves us and the idea of ourselves that isn’t who we really are. I mean, it might be something we learned as a child like, “I’m stupid,” or “I’m not good enough.” I saw my own healing with my now twenty-three years of meditation and spiritual study, practice and experience, and also I’ve been sharing this information with friends who come to me.

One friend was in a psych ward because she was suicidal. They had her on massive amounts of medication, let her out, and she called me for help. Because of my own healing process, I was able as a friend to guide her toward restoring herself to her true sanity, to her true self. She did all the hard work, but I was there to guide her based on all I’d been through. She’s now in a wonderful business. She’s a dog sitter. She lives independently. She’s just beautifully balanced.

It’s interesting how we attract people who have similar issues. My friend had also been sexually abused as a child, and even though I didn’t know that about her and she didn’t know that about me, we recognized each other. Cognition means awareness, and to recognize is to “know again,” so we recognized each other.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): But different events are meaningful to each of us in different ways.

Gloria Loring: My excitement is about sharing this information about my own healing process and how I was led by coincidence. In other words, the influx of meaningful events that was meaningful to me. That therapist I went to when I discovered and remembered the sexual abuse may not have been good for you if you had the similar issue. There would have been someone who was available and ready to take care of you if you really wanted it. The point is that everything we truly need is just waiting for us to find it. That’s what I truly know.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): God is mentioned several times, but I didn’t get the sense that you wrote the book from a Christian viewpoint.

Gloria Loring: It’s not a non-Christian view. It’s an ecumenical view. In fact, one of my dear friends who is the praise director for her church said she loved the book because she got so much out of it. I said, “Well, it’s not necessarily a Christian book, but it’s ecumenically inclusive.” She said, “That’s good because I believe God is ecumenically inclusive.”

If you’re already deeply invested and committed to a church and have a particular understanding of what the supreme divinity is in your life and how it operates, you may be fine. You may say, “That’s a neat book about Gloria’s story.” But I had not found a way to understand that magnificence that created and operated within our lives. I realize that because of a scientist, Albert Einstein, here was a way to begin to tangibly record evidence of the beneficial goodness that is in this world.

Actually my friend, Dannion Brinkley, wrote Saved by the Light, which was a huge bestseller for years. He said what he loved about my book was that even if you’re on a faith path, it offers a way to gather further evidence to shift your faith into an actual, tangible belief system because it’s based on evidence. I talk about what I’ve coined as “EBL,” evidence based living.

Faith is a wonderful thing and is the belief of things unseen. But what about when we start to see them coming into our lives? That’s when faith becomes more grounded in a present day reality, and I love that. I call that looking for the good, and that’s what I do now. Coincidence brought me the things I needed to let go of the unfortunate messages and memories that I had gathered along the way. They weren’t serving me any longer, and coincidence kept appearing to help me let go of them.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): You speak of hearing that God was a punishing being. In what denomination were you raised?

Gloria Loring: Actually we went to a couple of different kinds of churches. I was raised Lutheran, and you were considered a heretic if you went to anybody else’s church, and I just hated that. If people want to believe that and want to separate themselves from the rest of God’s children, that’s their choice. It’s just not my choice. To me, that’s just an unfortunate way to live our lives to look down on everyone else.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): It’s a shame.

Gloria Loring: It is shaming, and it is a shame. What I love now is I can go anywhere, and I know my dear one (what I call God) is there. When I pray, I say, “dear one.” It is the oneness. It is the conscious, the aliveness that animates my very body. Do you know that the same root in Aramaic, the language that Jesus spoke, for the word, “spirit,” like the holy spirit, is also the same root for the word “breath?” So the holy spirit is the holy breath and every breath we take. In some ancient traditions, it whispers God’s name with the inhalation and the exhalation.

These are exciting concepts that open our hearts and our being. All the great Christian saints and Christian thinkers who have deeply meditated and prayed for years, say that the Lord is right here, that out dear one is right here.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): When you speak about mirror coincidences and hear a voice coming from within, can that be interpreted as the holy spirit?

Gloria Loring: Absolutely. Now, is it holy? Is it leading to wholeness or is it fracturing you or separating you? That’s why I have the chapter about the inner critic, which some people like to transform into the devil. That’s fine. If that helps them make it tangible, and they know what to avoid, good for them (laughs). But there’s an inner critic. There’s an inner nastiness.

These are ideas we’ve gathered along the way about ourselves, and then there’s that wholeness, that holiness … whole and holy, same root. Love is wholeness, so can we love all the parts of ourselves? I have a friend who has an unfortunate idea about herself that she’s just a complete screw-up in this life. I asked her to say, instead of screw-up, that she’s allowed to make mistakes and to love herself enough to make mistakes.

If you were a child standing in front of yourself, and your child made a mistake, wouldn’t you, as an adult, say, “Don’t worry. It’s okay. We’ll fix it.” You would be compassionate toward a little child. She had absorbed this idea that she’s a screw-up, end of story. It causes her great grief. Coincidences will keep presenting new evidence for us if we’re willing to open our eyes and see.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Do you even have a tiny clue as to who left the card in your dressing room that said, “Expect a Miracle?”

Gloria Loring: No. Isn’t that amazing? I took that card all over Days of our Lives, and I asked the actors. Nobody but an actor or maybe the wardrobe people would come into my dressing room when I wasn’t there and leave something like that. To this day, I have no idea. That little card is framed on my office wall with a coffee stain on it because it was on the bottom of my carry bag for a year. It’s all dented and scratched just like our lives (laughs).

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): You’ve had some interesting encounters with fans, especially from a woman named Shirley.

Gloria Loring: We are still friends to this day. A voice said to Shirley that she must tell Gloria she is loved and that she must not worry. Shirley said to the voice in her head, “I don’t know anybody named Gloria except that actress on Days of our Lives.” These inner thoughts are called intuition. Intuition is the inner form of coincidence.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Why was Don Diamont so special to you during your relationship with him?

Gloria Loring: He was so special because he came into my life at a point where I was feeling quite emotionally fragile even though I was supposedly a star on television. I put up a good face, believe me, being Gloria Loring, but off stage I had so many doubts about my life and myself. I had all that stuff from my childhood from growing up in an alcoholic family.

Donald came in and was so loving and so strict with my sons about how they spoke to me and how they treated me. They had not been raised to treat me really with respect. That was an issue. Donald read them the riot act when he was in my home. He’d say, “Excuse me, do you know who you’re talking to?” They didn’t like it, of course, because they’d think, “Who are you?” But it did change things. It changed the way I saw myself.

Donald was in my life for 3 ½ years. That time was really precious to me because the biggest thing he did for me, in addition to treating me with such respect, was that he listened to me. I was so used to not being heard in my marriage … my feelings, my everything. All I had to do was actually have an intake of breath, and Donald would ask, “What do you need?”

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Very sweet.

Gloria Loring: I know. He was so attentive, and he gave me an example of how I could start to be attentive to my own needs. So it was another way to be in the world that I had not yet experienced, another way to be in a relationship and another way to be treated. Donald was a great gift to me. He’s a wonderful person.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): I’m guessing Deidre Hall threw the trashcan at you (laughs).

Gloria Loring: No, it wasn’t Deidre, and I’m not going to tell you who it was. There are some funny Deidre stories, but I can’t tell them here. I never saw her temper. She can be very abrupt or let’s just say forthcoming (laughs). Deidre has no filter on what comes out of her mouth (laughs).

Think of The Golden Girls and Estelle, the mother, who had no filter on what she said. That’s Deidre! And she’s very funny. It’s hysterical. It’s a little surprising at times, but she’s very funny. But you always know what’s going on with Deidre. You’ve got to give her credit for that. She’s amazing, the career she has built for herself.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Do you watch Days of our Lives?

Gloria Loring: No. I don’t have time to stop and watch TV during the day. A couple of times when I’ve tuned in, I saw some people I knew. I’ve heard from some of the actors about this new way that they are doing it, that it’s very difficult because it’s literally point and shoot.

You show up, they say, “Stand here,” and you do the scene. You have no time to integrate everything you’re supposed to do physically with what your lines are. There’s just no time. We used to do a one-hour show every day, which in itself is a big undertaking. Now they do two shows a day. It’s just so hard on the actors.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): You basically have to get it right on one take.

Gloria Loring: Yes. Yes. Do you remember Quinn Redeker who played Alex Marshall? Quinn and I were doing a scene, and I lost my line. I said, “Oh. I forgot my line.” The cameras were on, and we were on stage. Quinn said, “Don’t say anything. If you don’t tell them, they won’t know.” We all burst out laughing (laughs). He was funny.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Is it confirmed that Liz Chandler will be returning to the show?

Gloria Loring: No. It’s fine. It’s all good. Everything that’s happening is what’s supposed to be happening. I know they’re struggling to stay on the air. The storyline I gave them was that Liz comes back and brings Noelle with her. Noelle’s now a young woman of 28 or 29, perhaps she has her own child, and she’s going through a divorce.

Noelle could have a four year old which would add that thing of a young woman coming back to Salem who has some roots there for the audience, but isn’t by bloodline related to anybody. So here’s a new girl in town who has the complicating factor of going through a divorce and has a child. Liz could pop in and pop out now and then to just add that familiarity factor. We’ll see. I trust they are making the decisions that are right for them.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): In the book, you don’t really explain what went wrong in your marriage with Alan, but you did mention that your kids were not raised to respect you.

Gloria Loring: I think Alan was so pressured in his own life to be perfect that he put that pressure on everybody around him, and of course, how perfect to marry him because I was so certain nothing I did was good enough. I married the corroboration that nothing I did was good enough (laughs). I chose him. I married him. By the way, I learned so much from him. He was such a go-getter and initiator.

I say in my book that I was sort of the pass receiver in my own life. I waited to see what was thrown in my direction. It was Brennan’s diabetes being diagnosed when I kind of stepped into thinking I could take an action to step out into the world and not just wait for things to come to me, but actually try to create something. Alan was an incredible example of that.

We were together because I chose him, and I chose to stay as long as I did, but there was a point at which the marriage had fulfilled its mission. That was for me to learn all I could learn by being in that marriage both from the standpoint of what was great about it for me and what I needed to let go of because it wasn’t beneficial to me. It was when all of that had played out that I finally said, “I’m done.” And, that happens.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): You seemed very close to your late sister Peggy. Did you discuss the sexual abuse with her?

Gloria Loring: Yes. She knew about that. She was actually the person early on when I told her I was writing the story that asked, “Do you really think you need to tell everybody about our family shame?” I said, “I don’t think it’s a family shame. I think it’s a family reality.” By telling the truth, I empowered myself and other people.

I’ve forgiven my father, so by telling others that, they can move to forgiveness and maybe follow in those footsteps. They can maybe find a way to realize that when someone acts like that, when someone does those things, they are not in their true selves. They’re not in their true minds. In a spiritual sense, they are insane. They are not in their sanity. They are not in their humanity. They’re not acting out of who they truly are.

Peggy understood it, and we talked about it. She was fine with it later on. She wanted to read my book and was waiting for me to finish it, but she didn’t make it that far. Peggy passed away about a year ago.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): So sorry for your loss.

Gloria Loring: Oh, thank you.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): What do you want the readers to learn from this book?

Gloria Loring: I’m hoping that my stories inspire them to start looking for the good in their own lives, to become aware of what they are attracting and maybe what they are running from. I’ll quote Andrew Weil – “There is a benevolent conspiracy in the universe on their behalf.”

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): How is Brennan’s health today?

Gloria Loring: Brennan is good. He’s had diabetes for 34 years now. He has a 4 ½ year old who I call “Nana’s rascal boy,” and he is (laughs). Brennan is married to a very talented lady who actually has a masters in psychology, but started a company called Dolly Couture and makes 50s and 60s style wedding dresses. She patterns them after her mother’s own wedding dress from 1961.

Robin is doing great which the world can see, and his wife Paula is amazing. She has just finished another movie and has another one starting. They have little Julian who’s 2 ½ and just as cute as a button. He has just discovered his language to communicate things and will let you know what he wants. That’s a great age. He’s just darling.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): That’s just a sweet story about how Brennan and Kathleen met on the Days of our Lives set when they were children.

Gloria Loring: I know. Isn’t that amazing? They met when they were little adolescent eleven and twelve year olds and then 20 years later, they meet again.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Are you planning on writing another book, Gloria?

Gloria Loring: I do have notes for another book called Lessons From a Soap Opera: How to Drop the Drama. That’s the keynote address I give. I have my notes and kind of know how that will go. Right now we’re so enmeshed in promoting this book.

We have started doing a little bit of new music with a producer named Ted Perlman, so that’s great. I’m just watching for the opportunities to share what my dear one has given me, the gift I’ve been given to share my talents.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): There are song lyrics at the beginning of each chapter. Are they on an album?

Gloria Loring: This is indeed a book with its own soundtrack, and all these songs are available. I wrote “Barely Breathing” for this book. All those songs are on a CD called Turn the Page. That song was written at that time when I started writing the book and that was 1999. It was as I was writing the stories that I was also writing the songs, and suddenly I realized that those songs all go with the stories because that was what was on my mind and in my heart at the time.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): A coincidence?

Gloria Loring: I guess it was (laughs).

© 2013 Smashing Interviews Magazine. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the express written consent of the publisher.

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