Kathryn Hays is best known for her work as an actress on television -- ironically, her most notable credits in that medium reside in two vastly different genres and professional engagements: as a longtime member of the cast of the daytime drama As The World Turns, portraying Kim Sullivan Hughes for more than 30 years; and for her performance in a single 1968 episode of the science fiction series Star Trek, entitled "The Empath." Hays was born in Princeton, IL, and raised in Joliet. She did theatrical work from the outset of her career, but from the early '60s also distinguished herself on television -- starting with a 1962 episode of the police drama Naked City up through a regular role on The Guiding Light, and on to her multi-decade work on As the World Turns.
The Star Trek episode "The Empath" cast Hays in a mute role as "Gem," an alien who is trapped beneath the surface of a dying planet with the captain (William Shatner), first officer (Leonard Nimoy), and senior medical officer (DeForest Kelley) of the starship Enterprise. Her wonderfully expressive features (especially her eyes) and her portrayal -- which was almost balletic at times -- allowed Hays to totally dominate the screen and the episode without uttering a word of dialogue; many fans of the series regard her work as the finest guest-starring portrayal in the entire run of the show, and she helped to turn "The Empath" into the best single episode of the series' third season. Around this same time, Hays also starred in one theatrical film, Ralph Nelson's music-and-war drama Counterpoint (1967), playing opposite Charlton Heston. During this period, from 1966 through 1969, she was also married to Glenn Ford, who was then part of the shrinking ranks of genuine big-screen legends in the movie business.
As a New York-based actress, Hays' career has mostly been centered on the small screen, as well as the stage. She is virtually an acting institution among daytime drama aficionados, and her work on As the World Turns hasn't stopped her from doing occasional guest-star turns in such New York-filmed dramas as Law & Order and Law & Order: SVU in more recent years. ~ Bruce Eder, Rovi