SANTA MONICA—Beautiful actress Cathy Arden left New York City months ago and has immediately found her quintessential California bungalow in Santa Monica. Now filled with renewed ambition for her acting, she stars with award winning actress Tanna Frederick in “Sylvia.” The play is such a hit at Sierra Madre Playhouse that it’s now making its way to the famed Edgemar Theatre in Santa Monica.

Arden is always enlightening and engrossing whenever conversing. The beautiful blonde star credits Henry Jaglom with giving her great direction in her career and her friendship with Frederick, and yes, Peter Bogdanovich with giving her the acclaimed role as a doctor in his 1985 hit “Mask,” which starred Cher in the lead role. This week I caught up with Arden and had the opportunity to ask her about the reclusive and brilliant director (Bogdanovich), whom I costarred with in Jaglom’s “Queen of the Lot.”

Q-Cathy, you starred in my costar Peter Bogdanovich’s film “Mask.” That was a very celebrated film, how did you get the part?

A-“Peter was writing a book about the life and tragic death of Dorothy Stratten titled, ”˜The Killing of the Unicorn.’ I was writing a book, ‘My Sister’s Picture,’ for Simon and Schuster. It was about my sister, Doren, and our relationship. Doren had died of breast cancer in 1981, at the age of 33. I knew Peter’s editor at William Morrow and, because I was an actress as well as a writer, I asked him if he’d give Peter my headshot and resume. And on a very cold December day in New York City, my phone rang and it was Peter Bogdanovich! I was stunned! We talked for hours about the books we were writing, about grief, about life and about love. Our friendship, which has spanned decades, began that day on the phone. We met in L.A. a few months after our initial conversation, and Peter cast me in his next movie, ”˜Mask.’”

Q-Was Peter difficult to work with?

A-“Peter was a dream director to work with. He is very much like a theater director. He had us rehearse before shooting a scene, and was open to suggestions and ideas. I was in a scene with Eric Stoltz, who was clearly already an amazing talent ”“ so natural and authentic, with extraordinary instincts. Unbeknownst to me, Peter had told Eric to surprise me when the cameras began to roll, and to catch me off guard and begin improvising. And he did just that. I went with it, and it was this take that was used in the film. Peter puts everyone at ease on a set and inspires imagination and creativity.”

Q-You mentioned writing your memoir. Will you be updating it, with details on your recent move from NYC after years of being there to L.A.?

A-“My first memoir, ”˜My Sister’s Picture,’ was published by Simon and Schuster in 1986. I’ve recently completed a novel, ”˜The Red Dirt Road’ (not yet published) and I’ve begun to write another memoir, ”˜A Million Invisible Hearts.’ It will cover the last decade of my life ”“ moving to Paris on my own with my two children when they were young, my life in Paris, which was full of surprises and changed my life and my children’s lives, dealing with love and loss, and finding my way back to acting after raising two children. So, yes, I’ll be writing about my move from NYC to L.A., and about all of my wild and crazy ”“ and wonderful ”“ adventures.”

Q-How are you handling the frenzy and positive buzz around your character Kate in “Sylvia?”

A-“I’m very happy that the play is being so well received. I’m loving the experience of performing the role of Kate every week, and I’m finding new layers to the character in each performance. It’s been a joy and such great fun to work with such talented actors in such a great play. I’m thrilled to have been cast in this part. At this stage of my life, I can really appreciate the experience and all that comes along with it. I love the work most of all. I’m so happy to have found my way back to my true love, acting. “Sylvia” is being moved to the wonderful theater at the Edgemar Center for the Arts in Santa Monica, to be directed by Gary Imhoff, and will open on May 20. This is thrilling and exciting! Looks like I’m in L.A. to stay!”

Photographs are Courtesy: Lesley Bohm Photography.