I’ve mentioned my love of genealogy a few times here, talking about my own experiences in this post.
In another post, I mentioned PBS’ Finding Your Roots, which had featured former ATWT cast member Julianne Moore in one of their segments.
Although the segment didn’t feature any half-sisters/cousins coming back from the dead looking exactly like Julianne but with a strange accent that sounded somewhat like a British accent crossed with Madonna…..well, it was still interesting!
But I was really surprised to see a recent episode of Finding Your Roots. One of the guests in this particular episode was Gaby Hoffmann, who’s had a long and varied career as an actress, but who I know best as Ali Pfefferman from “Transparent.”
I was very surprised, a few years ago, to learn that Hoffmann’s biological father was the late Anthony Herrera, known to soap fans as James Stenbeck from As The World Turns.
I remember learning this via a photo in the New York Times a few years ago – the photo at the top of this post – and Finding Your Roots showed a glimpse of the same photo in their segment on Gaby.
The photo shows Viva, Gaby and Gaby’s older sister…..and a TV set, tuned to ATWT, with Anthony Herrera and Colleen Zenk on the monitor. (Colleen is also in the video clip that was included.)
It’s a connection that, to be honest, I kind of pushed out of my mind. For a few reasons.
One reason, sadly, is that Hoffmann and Herrera apparently did not have a relationship.
And the second, somewhat related reason….is that in some of her earliest Transparent scenes, Hoffmann really resembled Herrera in certain expressions, and I had to sort of block that connection out, so I could just appreciate her work on its own. Which I do.
Hoffmann’s Finding Your Roots segment is very captivating, and very much uniquely Gaby Hoffmann. Her life story could be a movie of its own – her mother, Viva, is a famed part of the Warhol artist and actor community.
It was definitely a compelling story — as well as a sad and surreal one to watch.
NOTE: You can see the episode here. The episode also features Tea Leoni, with an equally captivating story about Tea’s mother.