Kelli was interviewed for the book "Mickey Rooney as Archie Bunker, and Other Casting Almosts" by Eila Mell.
In looking for a roommate Maroney ran into someone who told her,You know my friend is an agent and they've been looking
for a long time for this sex kitten on a soap opera. Do you have a picture of yourself?I did, from Minnesota, said Maroney.
I was helping the photographer do his book. I looked much older in the picture because I was all made up and everything. They
must have been shocked when they saw me coming through the door. So I went in and then they put me on tape. I was scared to
death. I"m this little hick from Minnesota, but yet I still felt that this is how it's supposed to happen. I mean I knew
what I saw in the movies. I was so scared. I was so out of my element. I saw this guy - John Gabriel - and I could see that
he was tired. He probably was because he was auditioning all these girls all day long. And so I gave him a pat on the face
on camera. And they saw that. And they went,There's more to this kid than just your average teenager.That's what they told
me. It was because I patted him on the face like,That's okay.&I was scared to pieces and it read all over the place, but
I took time to pat him on the face. And I got the part. I called my mother. I was there maybe two weeks. I said, Mom, I'm
on TV.I didn't have an agent, didn't have any credentials, didn't have a place to live, didn't have anything! To this day
I know that anything can happen. Apparently they had been looking all over the place for a Midwestern girl. I guess the whole
point was they didn't want a professional with a whole lot of pizzazz. They wanted someone who didn't know what the hell they
were doing. And I fit the bill!It was so Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz that I focused on one thing Don't screw this up! The
first thing they did was cut all of my hair off because they didn't want to tip their hat. They wanted me to be a kid and
then as my hair grew out I was going to become more and more evil. So here I was with like an inch of hair on my head and
they're shooting, and [costar] Louise Shaffer was so nice to me. She said,See that red light?She went and looked out at me
on the monitor. She said,The camera loves you. You look beautiful. Your only friend in the world some days is going to be
that red light going on. That's the only thing you have to worry about. Don't be afraid of it. Let that be your friend.She
was fantastic.I'm still friends with her to this day.They were stunned that I couldn't do things like cry on cue. I had to
learn how to do that. If I couldn't do it, they would just get somebody else. I was expected to have all the chops that anybody
else would have going in there. I had to learn fast.