*As many of you know, I had the fortunate experience to meet and work with Sharon Smyth Lentz on the set of Potent Media’s Sugar Skull Girls this summer. As we were wrapping up the evening shoot, basically right before I went home, one of the producers let me in on the secret that Sharon played Little Sarah Collins on the iconic horror-drama, “Dark Shadows.” I became associates with Ms. Lentz and we shared social networking addresses. I added her on Facebook and saw that, despite “Dark Shadows” having ended way back in 1971, Sharon still had a big fan base to interact with!
Before “Dark Shadows” she appeared in the soap “Search for Tomorrow” for a number of episodes, did some commercials and voice over work afterward, and then quietly retired from Hollywood. You’ll find out why in this Q & A. However, the thirst for performing and production has hit her again and she’s currently back in business…and back in the horror genre, no lentz! (I’m corny, I know.) Sharon Smyth Lentz is working behind-the-scenes and she just finished roles in Stay Hidden, On A Country Road, and Roxsy & Me. So, with all these fantastic opportunities in her career as of lately, I figured it would be a good time for a little fan interaction.
I asked you – Sharon’s fans – to email me questions that you’d want to ask her if you had the chance to meet her in person. I picked all the best ones for the Q & A. I even snuck one in myself. You asked, she answered. Here’s the Q & A with “Dark Shadows” star Sharon Smyth Lentz.
Cherylann, NJ: Hi, Sharon! I’m a huge fan of the show and of yours in particular. I would like to know, what was it like working with Jonathan Frid?
Sharon: Hi, Cherylann! Jonathan Frid was an amazing man. He was very talented and very kind. As you know, I was only 10-years-old but he always treated me well, with respect and understanding. Jonathan was quite the presence and could be very funny. He had a way of making me feel very relaxed and comfortable around him.
Larry, FL: How often were you given a script for “Dark Shadows” and how often were you allowed to adlib?
Sharon: Hi, Larry! I was given the script almost a week before the dry rehearsal. Then there would be a rehearsal (usually with some changes) several days later and again the day of filming. The show was done in what was called live to tape. No stopping, no do overs…much like theatre. For the most part, I followed the script as closely as possible. I never set out to adlib, but there were times that I completely forgot and had to keep talking until I got back on track. (No stress…lol!…right….)
Garet, OH: Were you ever approached to appear in the Dark Shadows movies?
Sharon: Hi, Garet! To the best of my knowledge, I was not. My parents were very much in charge of all decision making, but I don’t remember ever hearing about a Dark Shadows movie at the time.
Garet, OH: Many “Dark Shadows” actors later returned to play different characters. Is there any reason you only played little Sarah Collins?
Sharon: Good question, Garet, and one that has been often asked. I use to guess that it was because my charcter was a ghost and ghosts don’t age and get taller! lol But, the honest answer is that I just don’t know. It could have been a lot of fun to wear current fashion and explore a whole new storyline.
Tammy, TX: Do you still talk to any cast-mates from “Dark Shadows?”
Sharon: Hi, Tammy! I am blessed to have been able to attend many “Dark Shadows” Festivals/Conventions, where I get to reunite with many cast members and meet some I never had the privilege to work with. And, of course, now there is Facebook! It’s great fun to follow each others’ careers and life experiences. I have found that the people who made up the cast and crew of “Dark Shadows” are not only very talented but some of the nicest people you could meet.
Greg, IL: Hey, Sharon! Big fan! If you don’t mind me asking I’d like to know, why did you leave show business after “Dark Shadows?”
Sharon: Hi, Greg! Thanks for the compliment! After “Dark Shadows” I did do a few voiceovers and TV commercials, but retired at the ripe old age of 13. Just hit an age that I didn’t want to do it anymore, and my parents were not pushy. I don’t regret a thing, I was a very lucky little girl to have been a part of something so iconic.
Kate, MA: Is your role in On A County Road going to be a big one?
Sharon: Hi, Kate! On A Country Road is going to be awesome! Directed by Barry Dodd of “Ragged Isle” fame and filmed by Dean Merrill with the very talented Kip Weeks, Christine Louise Marshall, and Shawn Reardon. We are all integral parts of this production! You’re gonna love it!
Michael, NJ: Have you noticed any differences with booking roles in recent years in comparison to the 60s/70s?
Sharon: Hi, Michael! Fun question for me…considering I was so young when I first started experiencing auditioning. I was fearless then, it was all for fun. I did what Mom told me to do, I trusted completely. I wasn’t strongly effected by whether I got a job or not. It was all very laid back. Not so much as an adult. There is definitely more nerves involved now! More caution in who and what the project is about, more concern for being able to deliver what is needed and expected. Being involved in the entertainment industry is not for the weak of heart/spirit. However, when it all comes together, and something wonderful is created there is almost nothing that compares in excitement and satisfaction.
Anonymous: I follow you on Facebook and your home and garden are so lovely. Would you considering writing an At Home book?
Sharon: Dear Anonymous… You’re sweet! And thank you for following me on FB, but I am no Martha Stewart! lol I am very lucky to have a wonderful family and a comfortable home a d garden. I thank God every day. I will continue to share, in photos, on my FB page…including my cat babies.
Ellen, NV: Would you ever come out West for a horror convention?
Sharon: Hi, Ellen! I would love to come out West! Can you get me invited to any? Have them contact me!
*Thanks for taking the time to do this little Q & A, Sharon! If anyone wants to stay up-to-date on her life and career, then feel free to follow here on her official Facebook actor/fan page. It contains all her latest happenings and where you can see her next.