June 19, 2001

Looks That Kill
Valerie Wildman inherited her mom's good looks, but escaped her tragic fate

DOOL Beauty's tragic fate

Valerie Wildman has revealed a secret family heartache - her mom, a beautiful fashion model from the '40s, drank herself to death when her looks faded.

But that tragedy taught the Days of Our Lives star what real beauty is - and changed her life.

Wildman, who plays Fay on the NBC soap, tells Star that her mother Leslie Ames, who died from alcoholism in the late 1970s at age 49, "was phenomenally beautiful, but she didn't realize how beautiful she was on the inside.

"She felt loved because of her beauty. As her looks began to fade, so did her sense of self."

But in their final converstaion, Ames encouraged her daughter to follow her dreams of stardom and "realize your own magnificence."

Wildman did.

"My mom's death made me relize I've got to try acting," she says. "I didn't want to be lying on my deathbed saying: 'What if?'"

She's grateful to her mom for that advice and for teaching her that "Beauty is a gift, but you shouldn't get too attached to it."