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Barbara Montgomery Thankful She's Landed on 'Married People'

December 08, 1990|LAUREN LIPTON

Barbara Montgomery, late of the sitcom "Amen," currently of "Married People," has one thing to say about her job switch: A- men .

"The 'Amen' atmosphere didn't sit well with me," she says of her decision to leave the NBC show. "It was almost like I never really belonged. I asked to be released from my contract before the end of last season--in other words, I quit. Nothing was impulsive or compulsive. It was just time."

Montgomery, who is reluctant to discuss specific grievances about "Amen," says she had trouble with "some producers and writers who are no longer there--not actors, and not the network.

"It was in the writing of the character," she says (she played church trustee Casietta Hetebrink). "Of all the characters, mine was the most directly neglected. I wasn't particularly liked, and I didn't play the game. I'm not a politician, I'm an actor."

Montgomery is far happier in her current role as Olivia Williams on ABC's "Married People," where she plays the down-to-earth wife of a Harlem landlord.

"There is an atmosphere of work, of course, but there is also a mode of mutual respect--we're here together to do something," she says of life on the set. "There's more care and concern for who the character is."

Montgomery, whose career has spanned 25 years, got her feet wet in Off-Off-Broadway groups such as the La Mama Experimental Theater Company and the Negro Ensemble Company ("that's the really exciting part of my life"). In the early 1970s, she received an Obie award for her role in "My Sister, My Sister," which was written, coincidentally, by her "Married" co-star, Ray Aranha.

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