Quoth the “Raven” – “Never say nevermore.”
Decades after ABC television’s popular “Edge of Night” soap opera left the airwaves, one of its featured stars is reuniting with fans on Facebook, and having fun sharing her views on the show.
It was some 31 years ago that viewers of the soap opera saw one of their favorite characters, Raven Alexander Jamison Swift Whitney Deveraux Whitney, played by actress Sharon Gabet, stand in the doorway of the Whitney mansion with her husband Sky Whitney, played by Larkin Malloy, as he held up a mysterious and symbolic rapier from their last adventure.
Fade to black, and to the end of the show’s 28-year run.
Now, Gabet is back, enjoying the adventures of her femme fatale alter ego, watching reruns of the show with fans on social media.
“This revival (online) has caught everyone by surprise,” Gabet said in a telephone interview from her northern California home. “It’s been so much fun for me, 30 years is a long time, and it was very sad when ‘Edge’ went down and we were caught up in it. I loved that show so much.”
Each night that love is shared with a variety of fans throughout the nation as an episode is aired and then commented on in real time.
Sometimes joking about the writing, costumes, sets or other mishaps during the taping, other times, nostalgic, and relating fond memories of the family Gabet worked with for seven of her 13 years in soaps during the 1980s.
While Gabet’s “Raven” was spoiled, self-centered and highly materialistic, the actress’s story is much more interesting.
Sharon Rose Gabet was born Jan. 13, 1952 in Fort Wayne, Indiana into a large family with eight brothers and sisters.
“I came from a pretty strict Catholic background in the mid-west, I was definitely a nice girl,” Gabet said.
She said that she thought her life would consist of becoming a nurse and settling down with a childhood sweetheart to live a fairly normal life.
After high school, Gabet completed her nursing degree from Purdue University in Lafayette, Indiana and became certified as a registered nurse.
While at Purdue, Gabet tried her hand at acting and found it to be a way to free her of her shyness.
“I got involved in acting as well (at Purdue), and that road took me straight to New York (City),” Gabet said. “It taught me to express emotions that, perhaps, I couldn’t express in real life.”
There was a stop, however, in between Indiana and the “Big Apple.”
Gabet was awarded a scholarship for the Masters of Fine Arts Acting Program at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.
“Everyone went from there to New York City,” she said. “I used the nursing in the summers to get some (money), doing private duty nursing.”
It was not long after arriving in the city that Gabet landed the role of Raven Alexander on the “Edge of Night” in 1977.
“I got Raven pretty fast,” she said. “Then it was bye-bye RN.”
On the show, Gabet’s character was the polar opposite of the shy, “somewhat repressed,” nice girl that gave her life.
Raven became one of daytime’s female characters that women viewers loved to hate.
“I found out pretty quickly that playing the bad girls got a lot more attention,” she said. “And they were more fun.”
Raven’s exploits included marrying several men, one twice, cheating on said husbands during, and in between, those marriages, giving birth to a child from an affair that led her first husband into a deadly car crash, marrying the baby’s father, only then to run into the arms of a nightclub owner with a dubious reputation, giving her baby away to a childless heroine (April Scott), only to return and demand the child back because it could mean a share of his inheritance.
Raven would eventually find true love in the arms of the very rich Sky Whitney, only to learn that he was an imposter who planned on killing her.
Thankfully for Raven, the real Sky eventually shows up and turns out she is also madly in love with him. They then go on a series of crime solving adventures akin to the “Thin Man” series of films in the 1940s.
For seven years, Gabet enjoyed the fruit of playing the “bad girl,” netting two nominations for a Best Actress Daytime Emmy Award.
Even though it seemed there were very few lengths that Raven would not go to in order to better her situation, Gabet said she played the character with a certain vulnerability that also endeared her to fans.
Gabet also attended the famed Actor’s Studio in New York under the tutelage of Lee Strassberg, Elia Kazan, Paul Newman, Lee Grant and Arthur Penn.
She said she would attend the sessions across town on her lunch breaks during “Edge,” riding back and forth on a bike.
After “Edge” wrapped in 1984, Gabet went on to two other soaps, “Another World,” and “One Life To Live.”
She said that playing the “good girl” on those soaps, however, was not nearly as much fun as playing Raven.
“It was awful having all of these things done to you (on the show),” Gabet said through a hearty laugh. “You are living these things (while acting). It was not as much fun.”
Now married to her first husband, actor Larry Joshua, and with three small children under the age of five, Gabet looked to settle down in Westchester County.
“After I left ‘One Life To Live,’ and my third child was born with Autism, it was time to settle down and find help for my youngest,” Gabet said.
The couple eventually moved to Hollywood, California, where she spent the next 13 years with her children.
The couple, however, divorced in 1997.
Gabet, then 50, realized that she needed to return to work to help her children, two of which were in college, and the youngest still at home with Autism.
“She will need my help for the rest of her life,” Gabet said. “There wasn’t too much out there (in acting) for someone 50.”
Throughout her acting career, she kept up her nursing licenses and course work and went back to her original vocation, working in a hospital’s maternity ward for about 10 years until retiring two years ago.
“It was very scary (going back), but it was amazing,” Gabet said. “Sometimes a patient would recognize me.”
Gabet worked with a group of four nurses that all had special needs children, forming a unique bond between them.
In addition, she is a certified yoga teacher, trained at the Shambhava School of Yoga in Boulder, Colorado.
“It's an amazing place and one of the best yoga schools in the country,” she said. “I know that I will be teaching within a few years.”
She also took up writing, publishing the autobiographical “Raven and the Dove,” and more recently, “Spiritual Magic,” both available on Amazon.com.
“I love (writing),” she said. “I can sit on the couch with my laptop, in my pajamas, no makeup, no hair, and still create. I’m having a ball with that.”
Gabet said her entire career, or careers, have all had a similar theme, to heal and bring about peace.
“I’m essentially a healer. I’ve always been into that,” she said. “Actors are healers in many respects, singers, certainly nurses, and my writing is all focused on psychological healing and finding your spiritual strength and inner power. I know there are a lot of nasty things going on in the world and also there is an extreme focus of polar opposites fighting and fighting, always fighting. My focus is peace and unity. That is what brings healing.”
She said the Facebook page and revival are about healing through laughter.
“I want to voice a positive and joyous vibration because that is where I am now. I feel that way. I can say life is good even though I have experienced the valleys of life, as well as the high peaks,” Gabet said. “I know what it feels like to be down and out. Yet, I have not found the lows to be the truth of life. The truth of life to me is in the heart and it is love. Love transforms everything. Always has, always will.”