WTF Wednesday: The Curious Case of Kate Winograd
This is one of those Days historical loose ends that has nagged at me forever, but a recent AfterbuzzTV interview with Lauren Koslow (which is a lot of fun and worth watching if you have an hour to spare) ripped open the wound again. If you want to check out the relevant part of the interview, it begins right around the 24:00 mark.
The hosts are grilling Koslow about Kate’s various last names over the years, and when they mention the name Winograd, she’s like, “Um, what?” Of course, they’re referencing the internet and don’t exactly know what they’re talking about, but the Wikipedia entry for Kate Roberts does include the history of Kate Winograd as part of the character’s life. It lists Elaine Princi as having played Kate from 1977-79, with Deborah Adair picking up the role in 1993.
Per that entry:
In 1977, Dr. Kate Winograd (Elaine Princi), an anesthesiologist at Salem University hospital began having an affair with her married co-worker, Dr. Bill Horton. Bill blames his wife, Laura, claiming that she had been neglecting him and working too much. He then turns to alcohol and his medical career begins to suffer. He eventually walks out on Laura and moves in with Kate, but soon after realizes he still loves his wife and leaves Kate, hoping to repair his marriage. When the town is hit by a flood, Kate and Bill work together again to help restore the town, causing Laura to become suspicious when she notices tension between them. Kate was married, at the time, to the abusive Curtis Reed and they had two children together. Soon, Kate learned she was pregnant and when Curtis learned of her affair he beat her brutally and left her on the side of the road. He then faked their [children’s] deaths, leaving Kate devastated. Kate gives birth to a son, Lucas, in the late 1970s off-screen. Bill’s affair, along with other things, leads to Bill having his wife committed.
What’s that, you say? Kate was a doctor? Kate? Not so fast. Whoever wrote the Wikipedia entry did an admirable job of weaving in all the relevant story threads, but none of this has ever been explained or linked up onscreen. Here’s what we know for certain:
- Bill Horton had an affair with an anesthesiologist named Kate Winograd in the late 70s. Their affair led to the undoing of his marriage to Laura, as well as the emergence of Laura’s (inherited) mental problems, causing her to be committed.
- Kate Winograd was never said to be married or have children during her 1977-79 run.
- Kate Roberts appeared in 1993 and was said to have lived in Salem “18 years ago.” It was later revealed that she’d had an affair with Bill Horton that produced a son, Lucas. Kate’s affair with Bill was said to be the straw that broke the camel’s back with regards to Laura’s sanity, and Laura — finally released around the same time — blamed Kate for her years in the sanitarium.
- There has never, ever been any reference to the Kate who’s been onscreen since 1993 having any sort of background in medicine, not even when she went through treatment for lung cancer several years back.
So what’s the deal? As best I can tell, James E. Reilly — headwriter in 1993, when Kate Roberts was introduced — wanted to create some intrigue and a new Horton grandchild. He played upon Bill’s history of infidelity and, either by coincidence or as a vague reference to history, gave Bill’s mistress the name Kate, without any real intention of establishing her as the character who had appeared on the show in the late 70s. That, or Kate Winograd was a successful medical professional married to abusive trashbag Curtis Reed, whom she never mentioned, just as she failed to mention her two beloved children even during the time she lived with Bill, and Curtis’s reaction to her affair and pregnancy somehow ruined her life to the point that she became a DiMera prostitute. Okay, sure. This is Salem, after all.