Catching Up with Kim Fields for the Holidays
Days away from giving birth to her second son following her surprise pregnancy at 44, Kim Fields is putting the finishing touches on her fourth holiday special.
In the latest installment of her "Holiday Love" series, "Holiday Love: The Rebirth," she appears, pregnant, in the scripted musical-comedy special, which features performances by gospel artists Wess Morgan, Micah Stampley and Donnie McClurkin.
The special's plotline centers around the smarmy producer of a fictional reality show, "Lifestyles of the Pregnant and Fabulous," who casts pregnant celebrities in hopes of having one of them deliver on Christmas day.
The idea came to Fields' husband, Christopher Morgan, soon after she revealed to the world over the summer that she was unexpectedly expecting her second child. (The couple have already decided on a name: Quincy Xavier.)
"The Facts of Life" star figured she was premenopausal when she went to the doctor complaining of dehydration. "My cycle was slightly irregular and I thought I was getting premenopausal symptoms," Fields told ABC News from her home in Atlanta, where she was days from her Dec. 2 due date.
Instead the doctor told her she was pregnant. "I was already two months in," said Fields, who is also mother to six-year-old son Sebastian with Morgan.
When the actress-director made the big announcement on the syndicated talk show "The Real" on July 31, she was shocked to see it go viral.
"It had such a big impact that we just started brainstorming," Fields said of her and Morgan, a fellow actor. "We knew that I would still be pregnant by God's grace and would deliver right before Christmas."
But the reality of directing, producing and starring in a one-hour holiday special while in her third trimester was not something Fields was prepared for when they filmed in October.
"There were two times I fell asleep on set," she said with a chuckle.
The first was while getting ready for the closing scene, in which she and her real-life husband were supposed to be in bed. "I had on a bathrobe and I got in that bed while they were doing the lighting and setting up the camera shots," Fields recalled. "Then they were waiting on me to call action. Then the [assistant director] called it. Still nothing. Then my husband said, 'Her breathing has changed.' I was out."
The second time, Fields said, she literally fell asleep on her assistant director's hip while waiting for a shot to be staged.
Now that the special is complete, Fields is still working out the air date and broadcast network. (TV One aired her previous specials.) But she said she's proud to have produced another family-friendly special in the vein of those throwback specials by stars like Diana Ross and Lucille Ball and sketch sitcoms like the "Flip Wilson Show" and "The Carol Burnett Show."
"Growing up in the '70s and '80s, I always loved seeing my favorite celebrities interacting with their celebrity friends in a way that was out of their norm," she said. "It's such a huge compliment when people tell me that my specials took them back to their childhood."
That includes old friend Blair Underwood, who viewed the rough cut of "Rebirth" and later recited some of its lines and lyrics back to her. "He said it took him back to his childhood, when he'd watch those kind of specials," Fields said.
Fields, herself, still has that power to take people back to their childhoods, having grown up on television as Tootie in "Facts of Life" and later as Regine in "Living Single." But these days, you're just as likely to find her behind the camera, directing for television shows like Tyler Perry's "Meet the Browns" and BET's "Let's Stay Together."
"I have done so many other things [since Tootie], whether comedy, dramas, spoken word, appearing in films and directing, and people are still following my career," she said. "That's a blessing. I don't take that for granted, and I'm grateful every day."