© 2001 Paramount Pictures

That's Life in Hollywood

When New Yorker Heather Paige Kent graduated in 1990 with a musical theater degree from the College of Visual and Performing Arts (VPA), she headed straight to California. “I always thought I’d end up on Broadway,” Kent says. “I figured I’d try out Hollywood for six months, and then go back home.”
      Today, more than a decade later, Kent is a successful television star, appearing most recently in CBS’s That’s Life as the bubbly Lydia DeLucca, a 32-year-old New Jersey woman who breaks up with her longtime fiancé and returns to school. “We follow Lydia’s journey through her new life and see how her friends and family react to this situation,” Kent says. “We also witness how their lives change, too.”
      For Kent, achieving success in Hollywood took a lot of hard work. “It’s a difficult, confusing business,” she says. “It took a while to figure out what was going on, and in the meantime I used my VPA training to earn a living.” After dabbling in musical theater and performing at Disneyland for a year, Kent formed a 14-piece big band and became the lead singer. “It was really fun being in a big band with swing, jazz, and blues,” she says. “We were opening for Mel Torme and The Manhattan Transfer—it definitely was a great time in my life.”
      During her four years with the band, Kent also began landing acting roles. She appeared in the play Funny Business, which led to work in sitcoms and TV movies. “That’s how I made my transition from singing to acting,” she says.
      Kent snagged a part in the TV show Life with Roger, appearing in 10 of the 13 episodes. She went on to play roles in Jenny, Men Behaving Badly, and Stark Raving Mad before joining the cast of That’s Life.
      In That’s Life, Kent works with such outstanding actors as Ellen Burstyn and Paul Sorvino. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” she says. “And I think we’re doing quality television.”
      Even though Kent is not yet ready to move on from the small screen, she plans to keep her options open. “I’m a firm believer that whatever is meant to be will happen,” says Kent, who hopes to produce her own show in the future. “I love my job. There are very few people who get up every day and are really excited to go to work. I’m grateful for what I have accomplished and to be able to do what I love.”

—Erin Corcoran

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