Legendary Actress Joan Benedict Steiger: Her Oscar Favs And “Zoolander” Connection

General Hospital‘s Joan Benedict Steiger attended the Oscars years ago with her husband, Academy Award winner Rod Steiger. Last time we chatted, we learned about her gig as Elizabeth Taylor’s stand in. This time, she reveals the Oscar contenders she rooted for in between guest starring on FOX’s Dollhouse and working on her memoirs, of course.


What is new since we last spoke for our Yahoo! article?

I expect to be doing a movie, but I can’t talk about it yet. I also may be doing a TV series. Unfortunately,  I am sworn to secrecy at this point!

Have you seen any of this year’s Oscar nominated features? Which ones were your picks to win?

I liked American Hustle, and 12 Years a Slave was a fabulous movie.

I loved Cate Blanchett’s performance. I was disappointed about Jennifer Lawrence though because I thought she was terrific.

Do you also have any recommendations for funny movies from the past months?

No recommendations.

A lot of people don’t know that the agent in Zoolander was based on your real William Morris agent, Bernie Brillstein. Have you ever seen the movie…and the parody?

I’ve never seen the movie. Bernie Brillstein was my first agent in New York when he was with William Morris. We often talked about it, and he used to say “Joan, that was my first job….on Steve Allen.”

You tap dance three times a week. What advice do you have about staying in shape from dance?

There’s a lot the goes in to that. I don’t eat fattening foods, I take all kinds of supplements. I do everything I can nutrition wise, along with the dancing. But of course, I don’t dance for that reason. Dancing is a passion of mine.

I remember last time you talked about how actresses back then needed to be triple threats. Should someone always take dance so he or she is prepared nowadays? There’s always casting for the latest musical on film.

I don’t look at it that way. The more that you can do in life, the better the person you can be artistically and mentally. You just have to be prepared. If you can do everything, you can enrich your life, and you’ll be a better artist.

How does one kill stage fright?

I probably had it when I was little, but the best way is to be prepared. Usually, when you’re frightened, you feel you’re not secure in what you’re going to do. The more secure you are and prepared, that will lessen your fear.

How do you keep finding inspiration in your work after so long?

I don’t have to find it or look for it. I get up every morning, and I’m just inspired.

What inspires you when you wake up?

Well, I am a widow. It would probably be my Shih Tzu, sitting right here with me, waiting for our walk. (laughs)


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