Throughout soap opera history there have been powerful women who stop at nothing to get what they want. India von Halkein, played deliciously by Mary Kay Adams, was one such woman as fans of Guiding Light fondly remember.
Who was India Von Halkein on Guiding Light?
Beautiful and sophisticated, India arrived in Springfield with expensive luggage and a simple plan – acquire money and seek revenge against her stepmother Alexandra Spaulding for walking out on her father, Baron Leo von Halkein of Andorra. India met Alex’s nephew, Phillip Spaulding, on her first night in town. She fell in love, but his heart belonged to Beth Raines.
Alex caught onto India after discovering she was sleeping with her fiancé Warren Andrews. India blackmailed Phillip into a loveless marriage after getting on tape that he paid Andy Ferris to stop his cousin Lujack’s club from opening. Andy went too far and blew it up, blinding Beth in the process.
Pompous Blue-Blood Vs. Low-Born Gutter-Slut
India won Phillip over after telling him Alex manipulated his father Alan out of his life. Phillip stayed with his wife, realizing Beth was now with Lujack. When their sex life waned, India poisoned Phillip with an Andorran aphrodisiac. She sparred with Phillip’s pal, Reva, who advised India to drop the war tactics if she wanted to keep him. “Try love. If you have the slightest idea how.” India fumed because she knew Reva was right.
Devastated over the death of Lujack, India boarded a train and fell for a purser named Simon, who claimed to be Brandon Spaulding’s son, enraging Alex. Actually, Simon’s dad was Eric Luvonaczek, Lujack’s dad. Once again, India and Alex were pitted against each other. India battled innocent Jessie Matthews for Simon’s affections, eventually losing him to her.
Phillip divorced India after she stole from the Spaulding Foundation to help her dad. She landed in Stony Lake Reformatory and found an orphan named Dorie, eventually adopting her.
She opened an art gallery, Cache, but got involved in stolen art. On the romantic front, India and Alex fought over the attentions of Dr. Mark Jarrett, but neither woman ended up with him. Needing to tend to her father, India left town — and Guiding Light.
Fancy Meeting You
As fate would have it, India encountered Phillip on a rainy night in a foreign country (just as she had in Springfield years earlier). He was on the lam following a trumped-up murder charge. Despite being livid (like, really livid) that Beth, once believed dead, was alive, India offered to aid Phillip, returning to Springfield as his “heir.”
Once back in town, India conspired with Roger, manipulated Gary (who framed Phillip), bantered with Alexandra, and helped her ex win his freedom. She departed Springfield on Christmas Eve to reunite with Dorie, reminding all – particularly Phillip – “we only part to meet again.”
Years later, India Von Halkein returned to Springfield and embarked on a romance with Ross, eventually letting him go back to true love Blake, whom India often “mistakenly” called “Blair” or “Blane” to get under her skin. India fell back into the orbit of the Spauldings, conspiring with Alan and traded quips with Alex. Alan helped India with money woes. Later, she left town with little explanation.
The Ex-Wives Club
India returned to Springfield as Spaulding board members voted for Alan or Alexandra to be company president. India – along with Phillip’s other former wives – Mindy, Blake, Beth, and Harley – all voted against Alan. She stayed in town long enough to meet Ben – the grown son of her late pal, Maeve Stoddard Reade. India was mesmerized by Ben’s resemblance to his late mother.
Final Return to Guiding Light
India made one last trip to Springfield when Alan was in the hospital. She was livid at her old friend for his role in Phillip’s “death” so India threw her support to Harley, Spaulding’s new president! She let Lizzie Spaulding know she could reach out to her if she ever wanted to know more about her father.