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Y&R 45 INTERVIEW: Janice Lynde and Jaime Lyn Bauer Reflect On Portraying The Brooks Sisters, Their Storylines, On-Screen Loves, & The Ups and Downs Of Being Soap-Famous!

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

When The Young and the Restless make its unforgettable debut on CBS back on March 26, 1973, daytime audiences would soon be deeply entrenched in the perils, the loves, and the betrayals of two sisters from the wealthy Brooks clan – Leslie and Lorie Brooks.  Played to perfection by Janice Lynde (Leslie) and Jaime Lyn Bauer (Lorie), “sibling rivalry” was given a whole new name.

Leslie was the talented concert pianist, who found it difficult to open up, while her sister Lorie was more out-going and ruthless, determined to never play second fiddle.  These two were seemingly always in love with the same men, and Lorie even drove her sister to a mental breakdown, making Y&R must-see drama.

As part of Y&R’s 45 year anniversary celebration, Lynde and Bauer were asked back to the series to reprise their signature soap roles.  Janice had left the soap in 1977, while Jaime had stayed with the show through 1982, with a few reprisals along the way in 1984 and 2002.  In this candid, touching, and often humorous chat, the two powerhouse actress talk about what it was like being front and center on a new soap opera that took off like a rocket, shared some fond memories and backstage tidbits, reflected of their triumphs and struggles, gave us the real deal on their former leading men, including John McCook (Ex-Lance, Y&R, now Eric, B&B), plus how the late Jeanne Cooper (Katherine) impacted their lives and more.

What a treat it was to walk down memory lane with these two, who were a main part of the reason, we all fell in love with Y&R in the first place.  #YR45 begins for us here with this chat with Janice and Jaime.  

At the beginning of Y&R, you got cast as Leslie and Lorie Brooks.  How did you land the parts in the first place? What happened that led you to Genoa City?

Photo: CBS

JANICE:   I was cast in New York.  John Conboy (original executive producer, Y&R) flew me out on a Saturday, and Sunday morning at 2am, we made a deal.  Bob Fosse kept saying, “No, no.  You can’t do this.  Ask for more money!”  They had already started taping with someone else in the role, but I started on a Monday and taped five shows.  So it was all a whirlwind.

Were you like, “What did I get myself into?” (Laughs)

JANICE:  It’s terrible to admit it, but I had never had seen a soap.  I came up through classical music the opera, and theatre.  I had never watched television that much.  It was my first experience even seeing one, and it was thrilling.

JAIME:   For me, it was kind of wild.  I was coming out of a casting director’s office and it’s my third week in the business! I am walking down the hall and this other casting director says, “Would you come in here and read this? It’s not really anything.”  It was for The Young and the Restless, but he would not admit it was for the show.  So I read for him and I leave, and don’t think anything of it.  Now, I had already been cast to play this android sidekick for Gene Rodenberry’s show.  At that point, Universal had offered me one of the last player contracts, and then Y&R came about and I interviewed with John Conboy.  I had been a model, previously, He wanted me to do a screen test, and then I had a choice between three years on a soap, or seven years at Universal.  So I said to myself, “I will do the three years, because nobody watches the soaps so they would pay me to act and I would learn.”  The first six months of the show I was a wreck.  It was live to tape; you could not make it a mistake.

Courtesy/CBS

JANICE:  I was so awaiting her casting, because John kept teasing me with “You are going to have a sister, and then Leslie will have a breakdown…”

JAIME:   Instead, I was the one having the breakdown … (Laughs)

JANICE:  When Jaime came on the show, she was so gifted and lovely, but she hadn’t done a lot.  I use to take her home!  She would follow me up Laurel Canyon and I would make pasta, and I would say, “I’m going to make pasta, and we are going to rehearse.” That is how we worked out our scenes the first couple of months.

Everyone hated Lorie.  However, she was one of the first soap opera characters to go from ‘throw-something-at-the-TV-hated’ to a beloved heroine!  And along the way, poor Leslie suffered that mental breakdown, thanks to Lorie!

JANICE:  They did the story of her breakdown so well.  I’m very proud of it, because I went into a locked ward in LA and I did research, and I made notes.  The cast of women were extraordinary.

Photo: CBS

Both your characters seemed to have a penchant for falling in love with the same man.  Let’s start with Brad Eliot, played by Tom Hallick.  How was Tom to work with?

JANICE:  He was heaven to work with, easy to work with, and really solid.

JAIME:  He always had his lines down.

Lorie wanted Brad all to herself!

JANICE:  Lorie told Leslie that Brad wanted her, which destroyed me! (Laughs)

JAIME:  Well, of course, everyone wanted me! (Laughs)  Don’t be ridiculous. (Laughs)  Leslie was so insecure that she couldn’t believe the guy wanted her.  She was a child prodigy, but socially inept!  She did not know how beautiful and talented she was, and that she was the true rose.  But you got to give it to Lorie, because she was the second child, and the second child always has the rough times.

Photo: CBS

After Tom Hallick, the two of you worked in romantic storylines with the Prentiss brothers, Lance (John McCook) and Lucas (Tom Ligon).  How were those two to work with?

JANICE:  I worked with John first, and fell in love with John.

JAIME:  He was hard not to love!

JANICE:  At one point, I was in discussions about doing TV specials, and what the format would be like, and then John came on the show.  I did several scenes with him where Lance was running around the world following Leslie at every concert.  John is a great musician and so funny, so we were thinking about doing these specials together.

Courtesy/CBS

JAIME:   I loved both Tom and John and they were so different as people.  I remember a funny scene with Tom.  I am pregnant, and they are taping pencils on the floor because my belly is so big, and I can’t see my mark. Tom is supposed to pull me in his arms and kiss me passionately.  I said to him, “You need to feel my stomach,” and he pulls me to him with this big embrace, and bounces off me, and screams! (Laughs) We had to do the scene over again, obviously. (Laughs)

When you think back to your time on Y&R, what were some of your favorite scenes?

JAIME:  One of the dramatic ones for me was a scene that I did with the actor who played our father, Robert Colbert (Stuart Brooks).  He had started putting Lorie down, and Lorie started responding back.  It got really ugly between us.  I sat down afterwards and people came up to me and went, “Oh, my Gosh. That was brilliant.”  I was sitting on a bench, and I was shaking uncontrollably, and I am like, “Where did that come from? “ One of the funnier scenes, because we were doing live tape, was with John McCook (Ex-Lance, B&B, now Eric B&B).  We were jumping on this bed together, but we had no idea that it was actually two beds, and they separated, and the two of us went down right in the middle of it, and we just had to go with it. The two of us just started laughing and joking.

Photo: CBS

JANICE:  I would say … I did love the story of Leslie being in the mental institution.  I thought it would bring awareness, help some people, and not be such a stigma anymore.  There were so many interesting things within that.

JAIME:  Even though it’s nice doing comedic stuff, and John McCook was very funny, truly for actresses that are more serious, the best parts are playing the complex characters. You have to do the research, you have to think, and you have to study people all of the time. John McCook took me into the control room one day and he ran a tape of something I just had done, and he said, “See that! That was really sexy!”  I said, “What?” He said, “What were you thinking when you did that?”  Of course, I didn’t know.

Wait … but, Lorie was the sexy one!

JAIME:  But you know what I used to do?  I used to go to Hugh Hefner’s on Friday night’s because he had free meals there.  I was watching people on the stairs, and that is how I learned how to play Lorie.  I also knew watched this woman I knew just turn it on a dime with this sexual energy toward either a young man, or a very old man. So between her, and Hefner’s, that is how I developed Lorie.

Can you recall some of the fans reactions you received, or were on the other end of, if people would see you at personal appearances, or, out and about, or, via fan mail? Back then, there was no such thing as social media for everyone to let out their opinions and feelings.

Photo: CBS

JAIME:  I remember driving down Sunset Blvd one night and we were in a convertible, and another convertible is next to us, and they start shouting at me, “Oh, my God!  It’s Lorie! It’s Lorie. We hate you!”  Then they go, “No, no, no. We love hating you!”   There was another time where I was shooting a movie of the week with Leslie Nielsen, and he saved me.  I was sitting in the lobby in a building in Century City waiting to be called to set.  This woman comes up to me in the lobby and she literally puts her hand around my throat.  She must have just watched me on TV in her room upstairs.  Leslie helped me get her off of me.  People hated me, but it was a compliment.  What was so amazing for me as a human being is that I never knew what sexy was?

JANICE:  I don’t buy that for one second! (Laughs)  For me, I had amazing reactions.  I was at a dinner one night and Dean Martin came up to me and said, “You are my favorite actress and singer.”  He then asked me to open for him in his nightclub act, and we became very close friends. Then, in either second or third year of Y&R, because we were all seen internationally there was this incident.  I was in the Sistine Chapel and trying to get away from it all, and needed a vacation.  All of a sudden I this place where you take a vow of silence before you enter it, someone yells, “Leslie!” Then everyone was crowding around me, and then the Vatican guard grabbed me and helped me out of the chapel. But then I was told the Pope wanted to meet me, and we did!   The scariest one was at the Farmer’s Market near CBS and these three women came up to me and said, “What are you doing out?  What can we do for you?  You need care!”  I swear, if they knew where to take me they would have taken me to some mental institution!”

In the mid 70’s, the most compelling story on the soaps was centered around Leslie and Lorie, and the other two Brooks sisters, Chris (Trish Stewart) and Peggy (Pam Peters).  But Jaime, what I want to know is … what did you think of K.T. Stevens (Vanessa) when Vanessa was always wearing that veil over half of her face? (Laughs)  I always wanted to just yank it off of her!  I know Vanessa’s  face was supposedly disfigured from a fire, but I didn’t understand why she was always wearing it! (Laughs)

Photo: CBS

JAIME:  Vanessa was really evil, but K.T. Stevens on her own was so sweet, loving, and supporting. Vanessa killed herself and blamed it on Lorie! Sometimes, I wanted to rip her veil off so bad, too! (Laughs)

Y&R always had the most beautiful cast, along with the exceptional writing, the singing, and the production values that set the bar high after it debuted in 1973.

JAIME:  We were one of the first soaps to also do important topics for the times.  We did storylines on: breast cancer, rape, and mental illness.

Janice, at one point did you decide to leave Y&R?

JANICE:  There was never time to have a vacation, and I was working so hard without a break.  If not for that, I would have stayed a long, long time.  Bill Bell (Y&R co-creator, and head writer) and John Conboy were great to work with, and were great about letting us out to do other projects, but the show was garnering a lot of ratings so the hours just became insane for me.

JAIME:   And remember in those days, daytime shows paid for primetime.  So we were so important to the network that we were not given a break.  I walked illegally, because I thought I just have to escape.  I got on a plane to Hawaii and I stayed at a girlfriend’s house there for two weeks.  I came back to Y&R and had a meeting. I said in my negotiations that I do want all the women to have their own dressing rooms, and this is before AFTRA had any strength at all as a union.

Jaime, what happened when you decided to exit Y&R?

Photo: CBS

JAIME:  I couldn’t take it anymore.  I am nine years in, and the only reason anyone replaced me was when I was on maternity leave and having babies. When I came back I was working five or six days a week, and had kids at home.  At one point, I could not even think of my own name, and I got scared.  I went to them and said, “I need you to put a ceiling on the number of episodes I work a week, unless it’s a big storyline.”   We were just so successful at the time that they couldn’t do it, and so I left.  Then, Bill Bell, God bless him, because I had said to him and John (in tears), “please don’t make me feel guilty’:, did something so unbelievably touching.   What Bill didn’t tell me was that he fired everyone to do with the Brooks’, and in our entire storyline, because I was his favorite character.  I think that was because I was named after his daughter, Lauralee, and he couldn’t envision the show without the character, so he had to change it and make it a whole new show. I will thank him forever for that, because if I had known I would have stayed.   I loved Bill and John, and I would have done anything that I could for them.

There was another tremendous actress when you started at Y&R, the incomparable and iconic, Jeanne Cooper (Katherine).  What was your relationship like with Jeanne?

JAIME:  Jeanne was a second mom to me.  The first play I did was Plaza Suite, and we were in the same play together, and it was a touring company.  I went to the director before we opened on opening night and I said, “I think you made a mistake.  I don’t think I can do this. I don’t think I’m funny.”  He goes, “Nope.  I haven’t made a mistake. You will be just fine.”  Well, I cried for two hours the day of opening night, because I was terrified.  But it was Jeanne Cooper who stood there, and had her arms around me saying, “You’re going to be fine.  You will see.”  My cue came and she is standing there, and she literally shoved me onto the stage.  Jeanne was an amazing, sweet, incredible woman and at a time I was dating her son, so I was over at ber house a lot of the time, so we were tight.

Courtesy/CBS

JANICE:   Jeanne was the cast mom.  It was such a joy, because we were all very collaborative. There were times I was given a script late on one day and had to do a big song and dance the next; like this one in Lance’s apartment, where he dares Leslie to come out of her shell so she can perform at this party. (Laughs)  I said to Jeanne, “How am I going to do this?  There is not even the staircase, or full set to work with up yet.” She said, “I have an event, but I will meet you at midnight.” We got Bob Fosse on speaker phone, because the number was “If You Could See Me Now” from Sweet Charity, and between Jeanne and Bob, and me, running up the stairs and landing on top of the piano, we got it figured out.  But Jeanne would do things like that. She would do anything for the work.  She was a great friend, and a brilliant talent, and had some demons, but she conquered them.

How did it come about that you are returning to Y&R on-air this week as part of their 45th anniversary episodes?

Photo: CBS

JAIME:  I was laying on the beach in Cancun, and I get a call.  I go, “What?  Who? The Young and the Restless? You want me to return for their anniversary? Sure … just let me know. “

JANICE:  I got a call while I was in a ballet class in New York.  I was at the ballet bar, and I get a call from my agent.  So, I thought I should go out in the hall and take this.   I ran out and I said, “Really?”  My agent said, “How do you feel about that?”  I said, “Absolutely, would love to do it.   It’s a reunion!”  But honestly, I didn’t believe it was going to happen, because I had gotten a lot of calls over the past years and decades and we could not work it out, for one reason or the other.  This time we did, and I was so excited to be back.

Did you think Y&R would have lasted this long, from when it began?

JAIME:   I am not surprised at that at all.  It has been number-one overall for a reason. The writing has been quite good.  They still have that great look and that great lightning.

What would you want to say to Y&R as it celebrates its 45th anniversary?

Courtesy/CBS

JANICE:  “You are the tops!  And 45 more …”

JAIME:  “45 more that would be brilliant … than we can actually show up at 90!” (Laughs)

So, what were your favorite memories and storylines of The Brooks sisters? Are you glad Y&R asked Janice and Jaime back for the anniversary episodes?  What did you think about Janice and Jaime recalling the beginning years of Y&R? Share your thoughts via the comment section below!

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Michael (not Fairman)MarieShayModiane Recent comment authors
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su0000
su0000

That was 1973 — the Brook Sisters..
I wasn’t yet born.
But– I’m looking forward to seeing them it will be interesting and even fun to go that far back..

Celia
Celia

Same here, SuzieQ…But, I am very familiar with all these characters….my Gran is a great storyteller—I feel as if I had been there 45 years ago watching with her…..looking forward “seeing” them again. LOL.
Aside: through all this, I must give praise to Marla, again….WOW!!!!…. gets better and better.
Dina’s disdain with Ashley is soooo pungent but a revelation at the same time. She resents her daughter because she’s a constant reminder, subconsciously, of what she did to John…..
It would be the greatest twist and sweet irony if Jack were the Pro’s son. HaHa….

Celia
Celia

PS…or, Jack is the issue of another affair. OOOOUUU-LALA!!!! Are any of Dina’s children John’s, su??

su0000
su0000

I am the one and only (both sides of family) that ever watched a soap..
ahaa I’m virgin soap family ..

Shay
Shay

Looks like Traci is going to be the only genuine article Abbott to spring from John’s loins and Dina’s womb, CeeCeeGirl! How ironic is that? From the beginning, this girl was always the awkward, odd child out, constantly paling in comparison to her handsome older brother Jack and glamorous big sis Ashley, and now both are apparently not even real Abbotts…what an identity crisis, eh???

Scott (ATWT Fan)
Scott (ATWT Fan)

What a wonderful interview, Michael. So happy to see original veterans, such as Janice Lynde and Jaime Lyn Bauer back in Genoa City. What a beautiful way to celebrate The Young and the Restless‘ 45th anniversary! I’m hoping this might lead to more appearances, though, I don’t know if these two are the ones who might be making further appearances past the anniversary. Hearing them speak about their time on the soap, and even Bauer’s words about her asking to leave, were powerful. They helped change the face of daytime during a time when daytime was most powerful.

Patrick
Patrick

OMG: I feel for Jaime Lyn Bauer… she had two predicaments… CLOSE TO HER HEART. maintain her STAR reign… or go home to her children.

this is why I feel for women… who make the sacrifice.

for the heck of it…. I wonder how long she coulda woulda shoulda stayed … past her original 9 years. she committed to 6 more years past her 3 year contract.

“… We were just so successful at the time that they couldn’t do it, and so I left. ”

that’s a lot of tears … heart mind and soul ripped torn and tattered. The love of a mother…. hats off and salute.

I LOVE THIS WOMAN… only know … her work @DAYS of OUR LIVES. ALL the proof you need… she came back… conquered.. persevered.. and is loved that much more.

TAKEN from Wiki : “The one time Miss Phoenix beauty contest winner is best known for her two long-running soap roles: Lorie Brooks on The Young and the Restless, which she played from 1973 to 1982 with reprises in 1984 and 2002, and Dr. Laura Spencer Horton on Days of Our Lives.[1] The character of Laura, previously played by Susan Flannery and Rosemary Forsyth (among others), had not been seen in 13 years. She played Laura from 1993 to 1999 with reprises in 2003, 2010 and 2013.”

@DAYS NEEDS to bring Laura back… seeing as how her granddaughter ABS is using grandma Laura as one of 3 identities. HELP my Abs. Jaime Lyn as Laura always brought a warm familial vibe to all her foundlings…. when she had to… rear itself… she rose and culled from whatever it took…. and knowing her “fragile” state even then… made us , the audience cheer her on that much more… we cared about Laura.

it’s nice to salute you Ms. Bauer.

Shay
Shay

Jaime Lyn was one of daytime’s most quintessential soap goddesses! So sleek, slim, statuesque and drop-dead gorgeous in all of her designer finery! Her character was of a time and place when women each had their own highly-distinct looks, not the cookie-cutter botoxed features that we see today….how I miss those golden days when the soaps were an endless parade of exquisitely original beauties decked out in the latest and greatest fashions! What a feast for the eyes they were! Welcome back, Lorie Brooks!

Kevin C
Kevin C

I have yet to read the interview but I am so excited to have them back and wish they were back permanently for I loved Y&R from the beginning till 2006…I started watching again when Sally and Kay returned as headwriter and story consultant…I started to stop watching once Sally and Kay left but decided to stick with it through the 45th anniversary and I haven’t been impressed Mals writing until this past week and not I am interested in where it goes from here…

Kevin C
Kevin C

I failed to mention that I have the conversation on a cassette tape of when Leslie was asking Lorie to help her unlock the key to her past for Leslie didn’t know what happened to her for losing her memory….such a wonderful and very well acted storyline and oh how I miss those days…

Kevin C
Kevin C

I just finished reading the interview, LOVED IT and again how I miss these two beautiful ladies on this show…I loved all the storylines with Lorie and Leslie, they were all great…but the two that really come to mind is of course the sister rivalry and the Lorie and Vanessa storyline with Vanessa staging her own death and setting the stage to make it look like Lorie pushing Vanessa over the balcony, CRAZY WONDERFUL storyline…I remember Vanessa yelling, STOP LORIE, STOP and Vanessa KEPT on saying this LOUDLY and Lorie was wondering what on earth was going on with Vanessa and trying to calm her down and then Vanessa jumps off the balcony and Lorie is so distraught, it was SHOCKING and LOVED the DRAMA and then the trial and then Lucas blaming Lorie at Vanessa’s funeral…Lucas looking and screaming at Lorie, saying to Lorie, look Lorie, LOOK WHAT YOU DID TO MY MOTHER…with the dramatic and beautiful background music going, SO GUT WRENCHING and so miss these days of GREAT SOAP WRITING where you didn’t want to miss a DAY…

diane
diane

I was 11 when the show started and I would watch it at my sisters house when I was out of school, which was a lot!! I will always remember the Brooks family and Jill’s family. They are Y&R to me.

Michael
Michael

The show was such a gem in the 70’s and so forward-thinking. I note the ladies mention the lighting – it was so flattering compared to other shows of the time. And the cast was already an attractive group! And Leslie-Lorie-Lance-Lucas – the Alliterative Quadrangle! Easy to poke fun at – but a riveting story, thanks to the actors. Looking forward to seeing this week’s reunion!

Mo
Mo

Didn’t watch then. I have seen Jamie on Days so I’m familiar with her, but not on Y&R.

Looking forward to seeing them and what brings them to town.

Marilyn
Marilyn

I was 9 when Y&R started and I remember it vividly still. I was so bummed when the Brooks family was gone that I stopped watching. I started again for a bit when Lily and Daniel were together and Cassie died. Still a great show though not one I regularly watch. What a blast from the past though. Great interview1

vinman
vinman

GREATNESS @Y/R….LESLIE,LORIE,CHRIS&AMY BROOKS…ALSO MR.&MRS.BROOKS;along with the FOSTER’S and PRENTICE BROTHERS LANCE&LUCAS…mother Vanessa.Brad,Sally and Robert.And the DUCHESS MRS.C…JEANNE COOPER.#@Y&RHAPPY45.

Max
Max

I was about 15 when they went on the air and was so impressed by the production values. It was the first Hollywood daytime drama I watched. I loved the Brooks family and now I know why they were written out. Thanks for the interview, Michael. I was thrilled when Janice Lynde showed up on my favorite soap One Life To Live. One other thing that I enjoyed on early Y&R was the use of music and songs. If I recall, Leslie’s song was “If A Picture Paints A Thousand Words”, loved when they used the song “Bless The Beasts And The Children” I think it was played for the character of Chris. So many good memories of the first 20 years of this show.

Kevin C
Kevin C

Hey Max, you are right on with the music and the song that Leslie sing, a Bread song, IF…and I loved when the played Bless the Beast and the Children…and like you said such good/great memories of the first 20 years of Y&R…

Farhan
Farhan

It’s so great to have the Brooks sisters back again! I remember their rivalry over men and when Dennis Cole played Lance. Vanessa hated Laurie and I remember when she jumped off the balcony to her death and made it look like Laurie pushed her. A definite jaw dropping moment for that show. I also loved the episodes featuring Leslie’s concerts. Incredible moments. It would be nice to have Y and R revisit some of the history with these old characters again including the Fosters. Its great to have them back and I hope to see more of them in the near future! Happy 45th Y and R!

Ron
Ron

THANK YOU FOR THE INTERVIEW! It was great to read what a couple of the original cast members thought of the show, their characters, and the trend they set for daytime programming.

My favorite Brookes family storyline was Jennifer Brookes’ breat cancer– the reaction of Stuart, how each daughter struggled with it, and the beautiful and agonizing depiction given by the actress who played their mother… as Kevin and Max noted in earlier posts, THE MUSIC brought the great acting and the great dialogue together.

Also, loved the courtroom scenes regarding Lorie being accused of Vanessa’s death– great drama, especially when she was found innocent– her lawyer was great and she played the role to perfection… again, the MUSIC made it all pop!

Hope the new writing regime respects the efforts of those original cast members and pays homage to them throughout the year! Would love to see others return for a brief stay.

beacon
beacon

They should bring Lorie back permanently and give us a new generation of Brooks characters. Surely Lorie has kids?

Mo
Mo

I didn’t think much of Janice’s acting yesterday. A little blah. Maybe she has been out of practice.

I didn’t know all the history with the Brooks and Jill so it was nice to get to find out. I thought, Jill sure likes wealthy older men and then Billy said it! Yes!

Karen R
Karen R

I was watching back then, loved the Brooks family and the Fosters. Jill, her mom and brothers. Been watching it throuout the years And it is still my favorite.

Judith
Judith

I miss the Brooks family.

dmr
dmr

I am not familiar with the past storyline; and although I found the scene to be funny, I also found it to be awkward. I’m not a “Jill” fan, so I wasn’t too keen on this, but it was funny and “catish.”

Mo
Mo

I thought it was a bit awkward too. The two sisters sitting at the bar and then Jill. It looked weird.

diane
diane

I was hoping they would share more of the 45 year old history through flashbacks this week!! I was also hoping to see the Brooks sisters for more then 2 whole minutes!!! The other storylines can wait till next week!

Marie
Marie

I don’t remember this Leslie. I remember the one with the dark hair and the porcelain complexion. That said, this was a great interview.

Jess Walton still drives me up the wall. I’ve always thought she was a terrible Jill – she’s always so miserable. Being a villain should be fun! At least the other Jill thought it was.

Michael (not Fairman)
Michael (not Fairman)

That was Victoria Mallory, Marie. She took over the role when Janice Lynde left and played it for four or five years. I liked her a lot; probably one of Y&R’s best recasts.

Days Of Our Lives

DAYS Alum Kevin Spirtas Chats On His Heart-Tugging Series ‘After Forever’ & Love and Life In Your 50s

Filling the void in the digital drama series arena, the eight episodes first season of After Forever (available on Amazon), tackles the journey of a two middle-aged gay men in their 50’s in a deep romantic relationship, and looks at it through its various stages of love, loss, and moving on with one’s life when suddenly your world is turned upside down, when one of them has died.

While the LGBT community has seen other love-centric and dramatic web series, none have really taken a deep dive into the difficulties of starting anew in your 50’s or even older.  Leave it to former Days of our Lives alum and Broadway producer, Kevin Spirtas (Ex-Craig Wesley), along with another DAYS alum, writer, Michael Slade, and the two put their shared experiences, and dramatic ideas into this emotional series, that is not limited to anyone who is gay, but touches on the universal themes that anyone may have, or will experience, at one time in their lives.

Spirtas, brought along with him none some notables for his passion project.  First, none other than former Prospect Park One Life to Live EP, Jennifer Pepperman, to bring his vision to life, and some amazing co-stars: Mitchell Anderson (Ex-Party Of Five), MIchael Urie (Ugly Betty), Cady Huffman (Ex-OLTL), Anita Gillette, Colleen Zenk (Ex-Barbara, ATWT) to  name just a few.

While the series bowed a little over a month ago, if you haven’t taken a look, check out our interview with Spirtas for some juicy insight into the making of and the construct of, After Forever.  Following that, check out the teaser for the series, and the video for the theme song, “My Forever” by Lio Nicol which becomes available tomorrow June 4th on Amazon and iTunes.

What was the genesis of the idea for the series?

Photo Credit/JPI Studios

KEVIN:  Patrika Darbo, came to New York close to 7 years ago. She had called me ahead of time, and said, “I was asked to present at the ISA Awards, and you’re coming with me.”  She was getting very involved in the world of the web series. I looked at this amazing presentation of content that was being shown at the ISA’s.  I was blown away. It was better than half the stuff on TV, theater, or film. At that point, I made a mad rush for a gentleman by the name of Sebastian La Cause.  Sebastian had won several awards that night and his material was so well presented, and beautifully shot, and his acting was very unique.

Sebastian La Cause was the star of the web series Hustling, right?

KEVIN:  Yes, it was Hustling, the first season.  I went up to him and I said, “I’m Kevin Spirtas. I’m an actor, I did a soap …”  He goes, “Kevin, I know who you are.” I was starstruck, and impressed, and inspired, because he is exactly the kind of person I want to work with.  He is talented, and creative and I want to work with those kind of people. I said to him, “If you do a second season, I’d love to be considered for anything you might be doing.”  Wouldn’t you know? He wrote me in. I fell in love with the story. I was very clear to me, that you have to start creating for yourself, because creating your own content in this industry now is king.  The third season of Hustling then crossed me over to appearing in Winterthorne.  That was also the first year that NATAS opened up the judging to the digital world.  I got nominated for an Emmy. It inspired me to start thinking about, ‘What do I know?  What do I have in my life that I feel is worth sharing and putting out there to help heal, or inspire?’  I had been producing in New York City for 3 years at this point.

Photo Credit/JPI Studios

It becomes every performer’s concern, as they get older, that they can still be considered for the roles they would like to play.  Sometimes, actors can grow into the types of roles, and sometimes they’ve expired past those types of roles. Was creating After Forever also a way to re-enter being part of the conversation?

KEVIN:  Well, I was hoping to write something for myself … because I just didn’t see the roles coming toward me anymore.  My name wasn’t on them as I imagined them or had seen them in the past. I was worried about that. I thought, “If I have a chance to keep working, I’ve got to keep current.”

And somehow, you and Michael Slade ran into each other, and thus, a collaboration began that would eventually turn into After Forever?

Courtesy/AfterForever

KEVIN:  Then, I ran into Michael Slade at a gym… I had never met him before, he was a writer on Days as I was leaving the show.  And I remember saying to myself, “wouldn’t it be great to work with somebody, and see what kind of story we could come up with?”  Unbeknownst to me, Michael, at that particular time in his life, was working on the very same type of story and idea about what it’s like to be who he is, at his age, where he’s at, and what he knows.  I pitched him this idea: “I think there’s some really funny ideas I could express to the world about my experience as a single gay man at this point.” He said, “Call me.” In short, he was living life as a single gay man, and I was living life as a single gay man, and that’s how After Forever was born.  Michael had the experience of losing his long-time partner of 25 years.  There’s a part in the story where Brian and Jason are going along and they have everything in their life that they could possibly want, and then they don’t, because Jason is diagnosed with cancer and it takes him away.

Do we see Jason die in this?

KEVIN:  You just might! … It’s how we incorporated him in the story…

Courtesy/AfterForever

After Forever bounces back and forth in time, obviously, that was part of the unique structure of the storytelling?

KEVIN:  It does do that.  It tells the story through a lot of present, and a lot of flashbacks.  There is also the present with Brian, and his memory of Jason. As Brian is going through the next chapter of his life as a single man, he has to look at his life and learn how to continue to love even though the person’s not there.  When someone dies, the love doesn’t die, the relationship doesn’t die, it keeps growing on a certain level. So, if he turns around, and he sees him, is it real? Is it him working it out in his own mind? It’s a tool to tell more story …

Tell me about casting Mitchell Anderson?  He had retired and moved to Atlanta, and he ends up playing the love of Brian’s life.

Courtesy/AfterForever

KEVIN:  When Michael and I were writing, we threw out, “Who do you think would play this part?”  One day, I just dropped the name “Mitchell Anderson” I said, “I just see him as Jason.” Michael said to me, “Kevin, he’s retired.”  I just knew Mitchell and I had great history in the business. We started off as actors together in class. He went one direction, I went another, then he left the business, but I just felt there was something about his persona – not to mention his talent – his unique humor, his sensibility, and style, so I said, “I think we should ask him.”  We did. Mitchell said, “Okay, Kevin. Let me read the script.” He called back immediately after receiving it, and said, “I would love to do this!” I have not stopped thanking him every day. He’s so good in it.

The main character of Brian goes on this journey: he meets other guys, some appear younger than others! (Laughs)

KEVIN:  It’s a year after Jason is gone, Brian is trying to settle into his new life, but he’s guilty that his partner has died.  He has sadness, grief, and so much love for Jason that he’s having trouble moving forward, and everyone is trying to push him forward.  Brian is not necessarily ready, but sometimes his body is ready, while emotionally, he’s not. It’s how we deal with all that navigation of seeing good-looking guys.  He meets a guy in the middle of the series, and it starts to open up the doors. That’s the beauty of what happens when he starts to let himself open up to the possibilities.  There are some great rollercoaster moments that you’ll see.

Would you do another season of After Forever?

KEVIN:  Oh, my God!  Michael and I have already started to script out seasons 2 and 3.

Courtesy/AfterForever

Middle-aged gay men do have it rough in the relationship department, if they’re not already partnered up by this point in their life.  Younger guys think they’re over the hill, older guys aren’t necessarily interested either, and unfortunately, the LGBTQ community is unforgiving to community if you’re not young and pretty, and not in your 20s or 30s. There aren’t a lot of LGBT-oriented shows out there like this.  On that level, I think the concept of the show is an important story to tell.

KEVIN:  We were absolutely committed to writing not just another gay story.  We’ve seen those. I think the beauty of After Forever is that it’s not just a gay story- even though it’s told through two gay men… but, it’s a story about love … it’s a story about loss.  Everyone is going to have to deal with this in their life.

Courtesy/AfterForever

Dealing with loss is part of the circle of life, whether it’s a parent, a child, a lover, a friend, or your longtime partner. Many in the LGBT community succumbed to AIDS in the ‘80s and ‘90s, which was a pivotal moment in the gay movement.

KEVIN:  We lost half of our community.  We lost half of our brothers. To jump back to that history with Mitchell, he and I had so many mutual friends who aren’t here anymore.  We would look at the scene that was at hand, take a breath, look at each other, and they’d say “action” and we’d step into these people. Yes, it’s gay themed, because it’s told by two leading male characters who are gay.  But, I have heard more people in the last two months since this has come out, who have not only stopped and said, “Thank you for writing such a wonderful story about love and loss, and new beginnings, but also, what it’s like to have to confront that loss.” They also went on to say, “For so many years, gay people have had to watch the heterosexual world. People are trying to fit themselves into our world now, into our story, and how they would feel navigating it.”

Michael Urie is in it too? And you have some pretty accomplished people in your cast.  

Courtesy/AfterForever

KEVIN:  Yes, there’s Michael Urie, Cady Huffman who sings in one of the episodes.  Tere is a scene in episode 3 that it still floors me, I can’t watch it without losing it.  Then, there’s Anita Gillette, Lenny Wolpe, David Dean Bottrell. Everyone is perfect, and everyone was able to show up, and everyone delivered a million percent.

What’s the response you’ve been getting from people who have watched After Forever?  You mentioned it’s been very positive.  

KEVIN:  Everyone has been touched.  The majority who have seen this, are just moved to tears and full of excitement.

I saw that Jennifer Pepperman, ex-executive producer of One Life to Live, directed your series.  What was it like working with Jen?

Courtesy/AfterForever

KEVIN:  We had a lot of people who we could have pulled from.  Jennifer came up in conversation, because she had sent Michael an invitation to go see her new short film that she had done with Austin Peck (Ex-Austin, Days) and his wife, Teri Conn (Ex-Katie, ATWT).  I said, “Maybe if I go see the show and I like it, I can introduced myself to Jennifer.”  I called him right after and I said, “If we don’t get her, we’re crazy!” She’s so good. What she did is perfection.  We shot the whole thing like a movie. It was shot in 12 days. She knew everything she wanted to do and it shows in the edit.  And, this extraordinarily, talented girl named Colleen Kwok, who was the director of photography. She’s the real thing. She got it.  She got the style we were going for immediately.

So, we want to tell people to binge watch the series on Amazon.

KEVIN:  Binge it, or make it last for 15 days…

How many hankies will I need for this? 10? 5?

Courtesy/AfterForever

KEVIN:  I say Kleenex is not included … Anybody who has ever loved, anybody who has ever lost, must see this show, because it unifies all of us, it shows us that we are the same.  It shows us that we still have love in our lives, regardless of if that person is gone, the relationship never ends, it never dies. That’s what people are getting from this.  That’s what people are taking away from it. You and I were raised with the symbols of a straight world and how we had to fit into that certain way of life. That’s changed now.  We have Will & Grace … we have RuPaul … all these great things that are illustrating our diversity.  Now, people are going, “it’s just a story being told.”

What was Mitchell’s reaction when he saw the final product?

KEVIN:  We saw it together…We just sat there and cried.  It’s hard. Especially, the first two episodes and the last two episodes.  We served it up, Michael, we served it up!

Courtesy/AfterForever

I think you spoke to a greater issue, as you move through this career, you have to remain relevant as things change.  So, you’ve dipped yourself into this pool and now you can do more.

KEVIN:  I hope so.  You and I talked about this along time ago, when I first started on Days Of Our Lives, it was still a different world.

It was so different back then.  Actors couldn’t be out. There was still that stigma that if the audience at home knew they were gay, they wouldn’t buy into what they were portraying.

KEVIN:  That’s where I kind of worked it out, because I didn’t pretend not to be me, I just wasn’t very open about everything in my life.  Not that I still am. There’s certain things that I don’t talk about, because it’s not relevant, or it’s no one’s business.

So, do you get the obligatory question, “What’s a guy like you doing being single”? (Laughs)

KEVIN:  Michael said to me one day, “How come a guy like you is single?”  I made a joke out of it and said, “Have you seen me eat? Come on!”

So, intrigued to check out After Forever? What do you think about its central theme looking at what happens when one loses their partner at middle-age and more?  Share your thoughts via the comment section below.

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General Hospital

GH’s Laura Wright and Wes Ramsey Talk Their Love Connection & The Demands Of Daytime

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

After presenting for the first time together, at the 45th Annual Daytime Emmys since they’ve been a couple, Laura Wright (Carly) and Wes Ramsey (Peter aka Henrik) of General Hospital have certainly been in the throes of a romantic, fun, and cherished relationship. The two former stars of Guiding Light reconnected last year at Emmy time. Now, sharing their over one year anniversary, Michael Fairman TV caught up with Laura and Wes to get some insight into what makes their relationship work amidst the hustle and bustle, and pace of both being on a network television daytime drama series, and with the pressures of Hollywood where often relationships between two actors seem to start hot and heavy but then fizzle out.

If you caught this week’s GH, you witnessed that the town of Port Charles has found out that Peter is the notorious Cesar Faison’s son, and the ramifications that will be felt for weeks and months and potentially years to come. Meanwhile, Carly is in all sorts of trouble, thanks to naughty Nelle (Chloe Lanier). Nelle is making Carly look awfully unstable and what happens next could change Carly’s life forever.

So, what do these two lovebirds have to say about their relationship and their passion for working on the soaps? Check out what they had to share below. 

Wes, you had met Laura originally years ago on Guiding Light.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Wes: Yes, 15 years ago in New York.

And what did you think of her then?

Wes: Well, I was smitten, but I had to keep it to myself.

You had to keep it under wraps, huh?

Wes: Yep!

Laura: I was married then.

Wes: She was pregnant with her second child.

Laura: And he’s a good Kentucky boy.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Wes: Uh-huh! But we would run lines in the green room and I would try very hard to make sure she didn’t catch me staring at her… too often. But we laughed, and had great conversation.

Laura: I would always say, “Wes, will you run lines with me?,” because I would want to run my lines.

Wes: We never had story together, but she always knew I was game to hang out with her for a moment.

It’s good when you’re in a relationship with someone and you can laugh with them. You seem to be able to do that a lot!

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Laura: Oh, gosh. I think that’s all we do.

Wes: Yes, yes, yes, yes…

Laura: Like, we belly laugh. It gets to the point where people would think we were ridiculous. We’ll say things and just think it’s the funniest thing ever and people would be like, “You guys have a problem …” and we’re like, “Yeah.” (Laughs)

Laura, and then he comes back into your life years later…

Wes: That’s right, it was Emmy weekend 2017.

Laura: I totally was not expecting it at all. Even when I gave him my number I walked away going “huh…”

You mean you thought he wouldn’t call?

Laura: No, I didn’t feel that… because he hit on me hard. He’ll tell you that.

Wes: I still am hitting on her.

Laura: I remember I walked away quick after he got my number. I was like, “Oh, my God … I gotta go.”

Courtesy/Instagram

Wes: There was an assertiveness on my part that was for sure 15 years in the making. I did not expect to run into her. I also did not expect for her to tell me that she was recently single. In that split second, it was one of those, “stop the presses!” moments. Like, you need to give me your number, I’m taking you to dinner.

Laura: I go, “Oh, be quiet! Are you like, 32, because I can’t do that.” (Laughs)

Wes: And I said, “Far from it.”

Laura: He’s like, “I’m getting ready to be 40.” And I’m like, “I can do that!”

Then, on top of all of this, Wes, you land a primo role on General Hospital. That of Henrik aka Peter, Cesar Faison’s son.

Photo Credit: Courtesy/ABC

Wes: Yes, a dream come true.

Laura: I’m going to jump in and say it’s a role that he worked all on his own for. He had to screen test against 8 plus guys, 3 different auditions, 2 different days.

Wes: That’s true.

Laura: I can’t say strong enough that the best actor got the role. Meaning, Wesley is so talented and has the ability to give this character the depth, and emotion, and layers that it needs to tell the story that needs to be told. I just think he’s incredible.

So, did you know from the get-go who you were going to be playing?

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Wes: I did not.

Laura: I did! (Laughs)

Wes: I’m thrilled that the writers have been giving me such incredible material to dive into.   Each month that goes by, it becomes more and more complex, and more and more layered and intense. I love the depth… I love the conflicts… I love the humanity… I love the desperation… I love the psychology behind it. It’s a very interesting story and a great journey to tell.

Laura: I was getting ready to say, where you mentally have to go to be the son of Faison and Anna Devane (Finola Hughes)! To blend that together is amazing. It’s incredible to watch.

You used to run lines together on Guiding Light. Do you run lines together now on GH? It’s like a full circle moment.

Laura: We do, and we carpool.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Wes: Something we were trying to manifest together. We thought it would be a lot of fun to work together one day.

Laura: The last week we worked, we didn’t. He worked all afternoon. I worked all morning. I was like, “Are they doing this on purpose?” I was so mad! I was like, “Why are you in the afternoon everyday?” (Laughs)

Wes: She lost her chauffeur. (Laughs)

Laura: I did! He always drives us to work. I also love when we both have afternoon calls, because we love having mornings together. So, I didn’t get my morning, nor did I have my chauffeur!

So, two actors can have a good relationship? You see so many Hollywood relationships with actors and they go bust. But that’s not always the case …

Wes: Oh, my God, yes.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Laura: I’m going to say this; I think I can see it being more difficult for daytime actors, because the work we do is so intense. I know the weeks he’s getting ready to go into, and I’m getting ready to go into. Where we go emotionally and psychologically to tell these stories, on the level that we tell them, as quick as we tell them, you kind of have to become really in a headspace. The fact that we can …

Wes: … the long hours …

Laura: Yes, and exhaustion! You really have to go, “Wow! It’s not about me right now. It’s about us individually as actors.” Thank God, we know the workload. I know what he’s getting ready to go through.

Wes: I have always had so much respect for Laura’s work. On Guiding Light, I’ve always been in awe of what she’s capable of doing. So, the level of respect is obviously there. But also, the understanding whatever it is that you need from a personal assistant in one moment… or a life partner in another moment … or a best friend in moment … or whatever it is in order to get through the day-to-day and the week-to-week, so we can do what we love to do. We know we’re very lucky to have the opportunity to do what we love.

Courtesy/welcometolaurasworld Instagram

Laura was such a great co-host on my Soap Nation Live! Daytime Emmy Nomination Specials, in particular when she talks about acting. It’s so rewarding to hear the other actors who are guests on the show listening to what Laura has to say about her craft and respecting the hell out of her.

Wes: Without a doubt. You can’t watch her work and not be in awe. It speaks for itself.

Laura: I just love the journey of going to the places that we go; to bleed for it.

Wes: Leave it all out on the floor.

Laura: I know that process. So, when I see another actor that’s bleeding, I just bow to them, because I know what it takes to go there. I know the work that Wesley does. When I see that he’s spent at the end of the day, I’m like, “Babe, I so get it.” So, I can see where it could be really difficult for people that haven’t been there, because it’s a lot of work and you’re spent. It’s hard! For us, that works.

What do you think of Laura and Wes’ love connection? What do you think of the latest developments for GH’s Carly and Henrik? Comment below.

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Interviews

EXCLUSIVE: 45th Annual Daytime Emmys Winners & Backstage Video Interviews!

Photo : MF Soaps Inc

The 45th Annual Daytime Emmys are in the record books.  And as previously reported, it was a big night for NBC’s Days of our Lives taking Outstanding Drama Series, Writing and Directing in a Drama Series Awards, plus top acting nods to James Reynolds (Abe) and Greg Vaughan (Eric).

Behind the scenes while the ceremony continued on-stage, and as the night’s big winners and several presenters were whisked away backstage following their victory, they took to the Winner’s Walk and chatted with Michael Fairman who got their reactions to winning the gold, or presenting important moments of the night during the live-stream broadcast.

From DAYS Deidre Hall (Marlena), Dr. Oz, The Ladies of The Talk, and GH’Chris Van Etten to DAYS head scribe Ron Carlivati, to Y&R’s actress winners: Eileen Davidson (Ashley) and Camryn Grimes (Mariah), and GH’s Chloe Lanier (Nelle, Vernee Watson (Stella) and more now you can watch the complete backstage series of conversations on The Michael Fairman Channel on You Tube.  Make sure to “subscribe” for these and more celebrity interviews.

After the jump, check out some of the winners and backstage interviews with Michael.  You can also go directly to the video you are looking to view, by clicking on the blue hyperlink on the interviewees name. (more…)

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Video du Jour

This week, Nick lost temporary custody of Christian leading to a defiant and emotional turn by Joshua Morrow (Nick) as he has to say farewell to the little boy he has come to love as his own son, and give him to his father, Victor, who wanted and was granted custody of the child. Watch the hankie-inducing moment! Leave A Comment

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Joshua Morrow as Nick

The Young and the Restless

Airdate: 6-14-2018

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