Ms. Herring was an Air Force child, born in Enid, Oklahoma. But she calls Jennings, Louisiana, her home because all of her close relatives live there now.
She attended 15 different schools -- including four high schools -- in ten states and Puerto Rico. That was the result of her father's numerous transfers in the service. Ms. Herring graduated from Wooden High School in Fairfax, Virginia, and from Louisiana State University with a degree in psychology. She took an acting class during her senior year in college, but with no occupational intent. In her sophomore year, Ms. Herring won the 1977 Miss Virginia beauty contest, and in 1978 was runner-up in the Miss USA pageant.
After college graduation, Ms. Herring moved to New York City and worked as a model, even though she had been accepted by the graduate schools of three Los Angeles universities: USC, UCLA and Loyola-Marymount. Before leaving New York, she appeared in several off-Broadway productions and studied at the Actors Company.
In 1980, Ms. Herring went to Los Angeles with divided ambitions. She pursued her acting career, but studied for a time at Loyola-Marymount, getting what she calls "half a Master's." Acting had a stronger attraction, and Ms. Herring made her dramatic debut in the theatrical film, Roller Boogie.
Ms. Herring's television credits include Riptide, Arthur Hailey's Hotel, The Colbys (appearing twice as Ricardo Montalban's secretary, Lena), T.J. Hooker, and L.A. Law. She has also appeared in a number of national commercials. In 1992, Ms. Herring switched soaps and joined the cast of Days of our Lives as villainess Lisanne Gardner, but she rejoined her General Hospital family six months later.
Ms. Herring has been nominated twice for a Daytime Emmy Award (1989-90 and 1991-92 seasons) as Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series. She has won five Soap Opera Awards: Three for Best Villainess, one for Hottest Female Star, and most recently, one for Outstanding Lead Actress, in 1998.
A natural and avid athlete, Ms. Herring is a frequent participant in charity tennis and skiing events. She also enjoys daily workouts, horseback riding, hiking and racquetball. Ms. Herring put her skills to the test when she trained and performed a high wire act for a special episode, "Circus of the Stars."
On May 9, 1981, Ms. Herring married actor Wayne Northrop, whom she had met a year earlier in acting class. They live in the secluded Topanga Canyon area of Los Angeles with their young sons, Hank and Grady. The family share their home with a virtual zoo that includes horses, two Labradors, Angus the cow dog, three cats and the "Cluck Family," a collection of chickens. They also have a working cattle ranch in Northern California, which Ms. Herring and Mr. Northrop run in accordance with their environmental beliefs.
Both actors are firmly committed to several environmental and wildlife causes. Since 1980, Ms. Herring has been involved with the Defenders of Wildlife organization. She has also devoted her energies to the preservation of wolves, bears and exotic birds. In her own words, Ms. Herring elaborates her enthusiasm for these causes, "I truly believe that if I wasn't in the acting profession, I'd most likely be working to protect our wildlife and their habitats, perhaps as a lobbyist in Sacramento or Washington, D.C."