For more than 35 years, Rebecca Staab has been one of Hollywood’s busiest actresses. From her early soap roles on Loving and Guiding Light, to films, and an absolute who’s who in primetime (Matlock, Columbo, Cheers, Seinfeld, Home Improvement, Nip/Tuck, CSI, Dexter — see, everything!), Rebecca keeps busy in Hollywood hair and makeup. But, her true love (other than her longtime relationship with actor William deVry) is her work with adoption and the fostering of pets.
How have you dealt with the stay at home period?
Rebecca: We have been SO busy!!! No free time to binge-watch TV or read volumes of books, though we would LOVE to do that! We are blessed to have a house with a yard — so between our five dogs who mostly live upstairs and in the front yard, four cats (two of whom are kittens) who live in the backyard and downstairs, a mouse that we rescued and must be hand-fed several times a day (due to his injuries), squirrels that we feed (raw peanuts, nothing processed), birds that we feed, my lush collection of roses, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, strawberries, blackberries, yard work, walking dogs, aging out-of-town mothers that we keep close contact with, housework, cooking, bookkeeping, organizing, remote auditions, and 40 million different Zoom classes, I am very very very busy, and would love a few more extra hours in every day!
Before coronavirus, what was your routine like – checking with your agent for auditions and check with adoption groups to reach out?
Rebecca: Life before and during coronavirus was similar, but different. Before, for the past four years I was in Vancouver frequently, so Wil was home in LA juggling all the housework, yard work, and animal duties there, along with a grueling General Hospital schedule. I had auditions to deal with, work, shooting schedules, traveling back and forth, and rescue networking. During the lockdown, our days were just as busy, but thankfully we were both home full time.
You have to be excited to hear how many shelters had run out of pets, due to so many people coming forward to foster animals, if not adopt?
Rebecca: Yes, it was just wonderful that so many people decided to use their ‘at home’ time to give a home to an animal in need.
Are you afraid of a downside to that?
Rebecca: Well, on the flip side, another sad reason that the shelters ran OUT of animals is because they weren’t accepting new animals being dropped off as strays or owner-surrenders. Tragically, since those dogs had nowhere to go, people were just dumping the animals. Just heart-shattering. Those poor innocent pups and cats. I am hoping that since the ‘stay at home’ period has gone on longer than most people expected, that most people who only originally intended to foster a dog, have fallen in love with their houseguests and decided that these precious and loving animals are family members now and are home for good.
How many is the most pets you’ve had at one time?
Rebecca: It certainly varies — once we had nine dogs — our five, and then a mama and her three teeny pups that we fostered for a couple of weeks. One Christmas we have seven dogs with us. But in those days we didn’t have cats, or feed the birds or squirrels– so all in all, it balances itself out.
Which became part of your life first, William or your pet advocacy?
Rebecca: Wil and I were together several years before the rescuing started. We each had our own dogs, so we became a mixed family immediately, but then we only had three dogs
between us, and then eventually just two. Then two new puppies joined us and we became a family with four dogs. The rescue began in 2012 when Wil brought home a dog that he found abandoned on the side of the highway in the middle of Oregon in the middle of nowhere.
What do you remember when you look back at your role on Port Charles, the spin off of General Hospital?
Rebecca: I loved my character, Elizabeth Barrington. I loved her wardrobe too! I loved that it was a half-hour show and the storylines progressed at a realistic pace, and weren’t repetitive and redundant just to kill time. I loved being a vampire! I only wish that Elizabeth could have stayed a vampire longer.
Your first acting credits on soaps are when you were in New York?
Rebecca: Actually my first acting job was on Loving. I played the original Cecelia Thompson,the little festive and snarky punk-rocker for six months. Such a fun character – sassy and brave she was the best! I wasn’t under contract, so I tested for the role of Jesse Matthews on Guiding Light, and then started that show. My first dayon Guiding Light was at Mindy and Kurt’s magical fairytale wedding. So there I was, on a gorgeous location set for this brilliantly extravagant day — it was wonderful because the entire cast was there and it was so exciting and fun for everyone. It was a brilliant atmosphere in which to make my character’s debut.
What should your fans and pet lovers know about the organizations you support?
Rebecca: The rescue group that I most actively support and fundraise for is called Dream Fetchers Project Rescue. Most people say ‘oh I don’t have the time or resources to rescue dogs myself,’ which is understandable. That why in addition to fostering or adopting, we emphatically encourage donating — the rescue teams do the hard work, all you have to do is donate — that way you can help, and they continue to do the legwork. 100% of the donations go to the DOGS. So much of what Wil and I do isn’t extraordinary — everyone can do something. Adopt, Foster, Transport, Donate, or Network. It all saves lives! We can all save a life!