Ann Mahoney as Olivia in "The Walking Dead." Photo by Gene Page/AMC
NEW YORK, May 26 (UPI) -- Ann Mahoney, who plays beloved Alexandrian Olivia on The Walking Dead, confesses she was relieved she survived the show's much buzzed-about Season 6 finale.
The tension-laced, season ender found characters Rick [Andrew Lincoln,] Carl [Chandler Riggs,] Daryl [Norman Reedus,] Michonne [Danai Gurira,] Abraham [Michael Cudlitz,] Eugene [Josh McDermitt,] Maggie [Lauren Cohan,] Glenn [Steven Yeun,] Sasha [Sonequa Martin-Green,] Aaron [Ross Marquand] and Rosita [Christian Serratos] captured, on their knees and at the mercy of the villain Negan, played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan. Negan taunts our heroes before smashing one of them in the head with a barb wire-covered baseball bat. Whom he killed will not be revealed until the Season 7 premiere.
Olivia was thankfully back at the base camp when the brutal slaying went down.
Asked by UPI in a recent phone interview if she and her real-life family celebrated Olivia's safety, she replied: "Yeah, yeah! I just like that I wasn't even in the lineup."
"At first, I was kind of like, 'Awww, I wish I was in this episode.' Then I was like, 'No, I don't. Nope. Don't want to be in this episode. Nope. Glad I'm not in it,'" she laughed.
So, how does Mahoney make the most of her screen time when there is always so much going on and the cast is so enormous?
"I have so much gratitude for the work I am getting to do," she emphasized. "So, really, it's just, to me, it's kind of trying to honor the writing and honor the setting and be sure that I'm in my right place because it's important to not just sit on camera and try to out-shine people. It's important to find your place in the story, so that the story is told properly. I feel so much gratitude for the work that I have that it doesn't take anything to psyche me up. I'm actually freaked out when I'm not working, when I'm not on set. Luckily, I'm a mom and I have two kids, so they take up a lot of my energy, but it's hard for me to not be working."
Mahoney also explained that having a family and other professional projects to pursue help offset any worries she might experience about the very possible danger of her character being killed off of the show at some point.
"For as long as I can be on the most popular show on television, I would love that, and I love the people I work with so much," she said. "But I'm also writing. I have five different [projects] that are in various stages of being pitched or written. So, I keep pouring energy into the things that I want to have happen."
The accomplished actress, writer and teacher has played roles in the films Midnight Special and 99 Homes, acted in stage productions of Angels in America and Hamlet, and will soon be seen in the upcoming movie Bad Moms and TV series Million Dollar Quartet, but she acknowledged she is most frequently recognized as Olivia by members of the public.
"I have a really lovely group of people that I communicate with on Twitter and that really want to see some great things happen for her. They like having a woman of size on The Walking Dead, so we'll see what happens this year," she noted, adding she also embraces the fact she will always be included in TWD canon, no matter what becomes of Olivia.
"It's really special to be a part of it," she said.
Mahoney will be at New Jersey's Sussex County Fairgrounds this weekend to meet TWD fans at the Zombie Apocalypse Asylum event, which will include an undead-themed obstacle course, musical and theatrical entertainment, a marketplace and games.