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Debbi Morgan Interview: Her Bittersweet Daytime Emmy Nomination as AMC's Angie & Moving On as Y&R's Harmony!

Courtesy/ABC

Courtesy/ABC

There are so many storylines going into the presentation of the 39th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards on June 23rd that could give an emotional wallop to the proceedings.  One is that of the final nomination for a performance so rich and with so much history, that you almost want to hand this woman an Emmy for her body of work.  We are talking about previous Daytime Emmy winner, Debbi Morgan.

In the final year of the canceled All My Children, Morgan was handed another storyline worthy of her talents in her role as Dr Angie Hubbard, and because of that, her name was called last week when this year’s Daytime Emmy nominees for Lead Actress were announced.  In a heartfelt interview with On-Air On-Soaps, Debbi discusses her Emmy nominated work, the disappointment of AMC leaving network television and not finding a new home, her last conversation with Agnes Nixon, and what it has been like for her taking on her latest role as Harmony on The Young and the Restless.  A true daytime gem, here’s Debbi!

What a nice button on an amazing run as Dr. Angie Hubbard on All My Children.  On the heels of the cancellation of the iconic show, you scored a Lead Actress nomination.  How do you feel about getting the nod?  And, what scenes did you submit that got you into the final round?

DEBBIE:  It is so bittersweet getting the nomination.  What I submitted was the episode of when Angie finds out that her baby died and Jesse takes her to the grave site where he has buried her.

Was the decision to go with that episode a “no-brainer” for you?

Courtesy/ABC

DEBBIE:  You know what?  All I remember was those scenes were so gut-wrenching and difficult, because those are the scenes where you just have to hope that they get it on the first take.  Because to repeat all of that again is difficult, and you just want it to be fresh and be in the moment.  Whenever you are outside and dealing with the elements and not in that controlled environment, like you are when you are in the studio, things happen.  And we had to do that scene two or three times.  It was tortuous!  So I said, “Well, damn.  I deserve an Emmy for this!” (Laughs)  I may not get one, but I damn well deserve one! (Laughs)

When you have those big emotional knockout moments on the soaps, I call it “Doing a Debbi Morgan!”  We watch your whole body get into those huge pay-off revelations in your storylines.  It is so gut-wrenching to see you do that, but amazing!   You know, you have done that many times over throughout your career.

DEBBIE: (Laughs) Yeah, but the thing about it was that Lorraine Broderick was back and she was writing All My Children at that time with Agnes Nixon.  And those scenes were just so beautifully written.  It just makes me so sad, because I think we would be in a different place here if she had been on board much, much earlier.  There were so many variables involved, but towards the end of AMC’s run, the writing was just really wonderful.

Courtesy/ABC

And then we had the final episodes of All My Children, which unfortunately left things hanging, when in the end Pine Valley would not find a new home on the web.

DEBBIE:  Yes. Even our send-off could have been so much better.  At the very end, there were so many stories that could have been tied up in a great and special way, but I guess with all the talk looking like All My Children was going to move online, it really tied their hands.  It was just heartbreaking!

It was really disconcerting, Debbi, attending the final press junkets of All My Children and One Life to Live and speaking with the cast members, who were thinking, or were led to believe, their shows would be continuing online within months!  If only everyone knew the real story, we could have had some even more meaningful moments between the press and the actors to deliver to the fans.  Something with closure and a special bow on it, instead of it being left open only for it all to evaporate!

DEBBIE:  That was really awful.   I remember the day we finished the show on August 30th of last year.  A month later, I gave Agnes Nixon a call to just say “Hello” and to see how she was doing.  Agnes said, “I am glad you did not call me a week or so ago.  I am barely getting myself out of bed.”   I thought to myself, “Oh, my God.”   But she then went on to say, “I am finally getting it together.  I am writing a book about my whole experience at All My Children.”   She said that she finally had something to get up for.

Have you talked to Darnell Williams and congratulated him on his nomination for Lead Actor for his work on AMC?

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

DEBBIE:  As a matter of fact, we just finished having a scene together.  He just left work here at Y&R as he finished early for the day.  We gave each other big hugs.  I had not seen Darnell in a while.  It was good to see him and I am thrilled that he was nominated.

Jesse and Angie were the perfect storm!  Everyone in the viewing audience loved Jesse and Angie.  Why do you think they became such an iconic couple?

DEBBIE:  It started off on day one.  You had this guy from the wrong side of the tracks and the good girl, and she just saw qualities in him that nobody else did.   She saw his heart, instead of all of the exteriors.  So because he had felt so unloved and had gone through so much, it was like his outward demeanor was his protection.  Angie saw through that.  She penetrated through to his heart.  Even though when they were teenagers, her parents did not want to her to have anything to do with him.  It was like the fans saw this true love and were supporting and fighting along with them to be together.  Then, they finally get together and they have this beautiful love story, and then Jesse is killed!  I think for Darnell and I, it’s so hard to believe that this existed for so long.  On the one hand, I feel very proud that Darnell and I became this hugely successful couple with the fans, and as an African-American couple.  You didn’t have a lot of us.  That was another reason why we stood out.  You had some others on other show, but I don’t think they really struck a chord the same way as Jesse and Angie did.   I have had people tell me that when the show went off the air, and when Jesse got killed, and then Jesse came back, they just wept.  I have a girlfriend of my mine, the talented actress, Lynn Moody.  And one day, I came home.  This is after Jesse had come back and we had that whole epic train sequence.  That could have been like a film, it was done so well!  So, when I get home, I get this message.  All I hear on the message is somebody sobbing and sobbing and sobbing.  I could not even make out who it was, and finally I heard her saying, “It’s Lynn. Debbie, I am an actress.  I know this is make believe.  But I could not believe I am friggin’ acting like this, but oh, my God!”   And so I called her right back when I heard that, and I said, “Lynn, that was the biggest applause I could have ever gotten.” (Laughs)  But you know, people really, really were touched on such a deep level with this couple.

So now that you and Darnell are both at Y&R, it is my hope that they won’t try to capture lighting in a bottle twice!  Many times on soaps, when actors who have worked together for years as a romantic pairing go to a different soap and are playing totally different characters, the powers-that-be try to pair them together for ratings and familiarity to the audience.  And 99.9% time it doesn’t work!

DEBBIE:  The only thing I can say is; I really hope they do not try to resurrect that on Y&R.  The only thing with us, as actors, is you can go up and express how you feel about certain stories, but in the final hours we are paid to do a job.   It is a very dangerous slope trying to create that kind of magic again.  If these characters become platonic friends it would be good, anything but them becoming lovers.  I would be really disappointed if something like that happened.

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

When we last spoke at the AMC final press junket you were on your way to being at The Young and the Restless and to take on your new role as Harmony.  You were really looking forward to it.  Now having been at Y&R for several months, are you digging Harmony?  Was it all that you thought it would be coming over to the number soap?

DEBBIE:  I miss Angie in a sentimental kind of way.  I miss my All My Children family. Angie is so endearing to me and will always have a special place in my heart.  But with that being said, I played her for so many years that it is so wonderful to step into a new pair of shoes.  I would not have wanted to do a character that was close to Angie, either.   Harmony is so different.  From an actress’s standpoint, I am loving it and having a great time.

Look at Harmony now!  She is sleeping with all sorts of gents.  She is a player!  (Laughs)

DEBBIE:  I know!  That would have never happened with Saint Angie, no! (Laughs) I love Stephen Nichols (Tucker). He is such a doll, and so is Kristoff St. John (Neil)!  I feel like I am having my cake and eating it too.  They are fantastic and fabulous.  I am like, “OK, I don’t care who I jump into bed with! (Laughs)  It’s fine with me.”

I know that the character of Neil is a recovering alcoholic, and Harmony has her addictions.  Do you foresee Y&R handing you the ball and letting you play an addiction storyline, or a descent back into it?

DEBBIE:   They do have that connection from the bad side.   She is not so much alcoholic, but I think it’s the same with her as they said about Whitney Houston.  What happens is when you have any kind of those certain addictions, any time you started drinking or smoking weed or something like that, those things are triggers.  It’s not necessarily that you had a problem with that, but you do something that sort of gradually leads you back into the thing that you did have a problem with.  For Harmony, hers was the crack pipe!  I wish they would let me play that history as an actress.  I don’t know if Maria Arena Bell (executive producer and head writer, Y&R) would want to go down that road, but as an actress, “Oh, I would love that.”   The thing about it is, even if Harmony makes it all the way up to the top, it doesn’t matter, because once an addict, always an addict.  I have known people in my life who have been off drugs for fifteen to twenty years, and then something happens in their life, and bam!  They are right back there.

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

What do you think of the group of ladies you were nominated with for the Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series category?  All deserving, I think.

DEBBIE:  I can say, if Erika Slezak and Laura Wright are in my category, I can go, “Wow! I am in a great group of women.”   I don’t know.  I don’t’ think this is mine.  I think I had a wonderful story, but I have seen some of those actresses when I was looking at the reels.  I saw Crystal Chappell’s work, and the scene she submitted where she is in the hospital bed detoxing, and I went “Oh, my God.”   It’s amazing!

So now you have to pick out a dress for Emmy night.  Is that something you get on right away?   Or, are you a last minute shopper?

DEBBIE:  So many thing start happening beforehand, and when I pick out a dress it’s always towards the last minute.  But I guess, I will go shopping soon, though. (Laughs)  I have a very dear friend of my mine who designed my wedding dress. I might have her throw something together for me. (Laughs)  Whatever the case, I will enjoy the evening and am thrilled to be a part of it.

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Sheryl
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Sheryl

Thank you again Michael for another great interview, andI wish Debbie the very best. She is a great actress in which ever part she plays. If she can’t be on AMC ,I am happy to see her on Y&R.

Iakovos
Guest
Iakovos

Michael, you have a job we envy. And you have a rapport and relationship with those in the industry we celebrate. Thank you for this interview and all those you share with us.

gloria
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gloria

Yes, great interview. But boy, if they pick Carly from Days doing her detox thing over Erika Slezak then I give up.

barbara t
Guest
barbara t

Cried like a baby while Jessie delivered a dead baby and when Angie was finally told that her baby died. It was one story that was well written for all my children, It was so sad And debbi morgan was brilliant she is a good actress that deserves a emmy, But Erika slezak has my vote because she is the best day time actress in all of daytime, not now or ever will they have another actress like her she is a one of a kind, She is so beautiful and I have enjoyed her work for 40 years and… Read more »

gloria
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gloria

Oh, from your lips to God’s ears Barbara T! To have her nominated & not win this year would just be unthinkable & send me to my bed crying-although I am sure I’ll be crying if she wins. I love & miss her & our show so much.

ethel
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ethel

aweswome interview michael!

Robert
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Robert

Wrap the Emmy up and hand it to Debbie. Her performance last year was the stuff most actors dream of. It was heartbreaking, emotional and spot on realistic. I love Erika and Laura, Crystal is the dark horse to win, but Debbie has my vote. Any of these fine women would deserve it, but Angie Hubbard had one hell of a year and Debbie Morgan made us feel and believe every moment of her tragic yet inspiring year!

RICKIE
Guest
RICKIE

I adore Debbi Morgan. From Roots II to AMC to her knock-out role as Mozelle in Eve’s Bayou, she’s consistently amazing!

Susan M.
Guest
Susan M.

Liked AMC years ago when Jessie & Angie first met & got married… And when angie thought Jessie was dead & he wasn’t…When they meet at the train station And she realized he wasn’t dead.. What a emotional reunion!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I got teary eyed………….Thats when AMC was at it’s best…………………………………With stories like that one… Oh Susan Lucci is going to be on The View Today (Thurs.) If anyone is interested in watching…………..

barbara t
Guest
barbara t

I always loved angie and jessie they were one of my favorite couples on all my children. I thought it was a good thing they brought jessie back from the dead, The train station was another good tear jerker, Their love always felt so real, Because their acting was always genuine, They belonged together starting so many years ago when they were kids, They are one of all my children’s greatest treasures.

christy
Guest
christy

I think Debbi Morgan is one of the most amazing actresses around. She truly deserves this Emmy this year.. She has went so over and beyond the course of this one year alone. I know it had to drain her as a actress….. I hope the great Darnell Williams is recognized as well. What at team these two made. Must said very disappointed about her totally being against the pairing of her and DW connecting on YR. They would obviously connect on a different level since they are different characters… What a shame she wants to deny this amazing chemistry… Read more »

Patrick
Guest
Patrick

Debbie Morgan…. Thank you MF… for the excellent interview. Formidable, tough as Nails… stood up for herself. No holds barred… acted your heart out. From the start… you hit home runs… your last year… it was gut-wrenching stuff to watch. I sobbed, when Jessie told you your baby died. You brought Dr. David Hayward, a humanity, we, as fans, ached for…. you and David, were top notch…at your game… Superlative, best describes your abilities. You deserve to win best actress, this year. i hope yo do. Thank you Erika Slezak… nominated, should be enough… as you’ve won many. This is,… Read more »

All My Children

‘ABC Daytime: Back on Broadway’ One-Night Only Streaming Concert With Favorites from AMC, GH and OLTL

Beloved stars from All My Children, One Life to Live and General Hospital will reunite for ABC Daytime: Back on Broadway, a one-night-only streaming concert benefiting Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.   The free streamed event can be viewed on the Broadway Cares website beginning at 8 pm Eastern on Thursday, February 11.

Additionally, the event can be seen on Broadway Cares’ YouTube Channel, ABC-owned television stations’ 32 connected TV apps on Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Apple TV, Roku and each of the eight stations’ websites around the country, including abc7ny.com and Good Morning America’s Facebook page..

PhotoL ABC

The star-studded lineup will include performances by All My Children’s Bobbie Eakes, Melissa Claire Egan, Vincent Irizarry, Eva La Rue, Susan Lucci, Cameron Mathison, Eden Riegel, Chrishell Stause and Walt Willey, One Life to Live’s Kristen Alderson, BethAnn Fuenmayor, Kathy Brier, Kassie DePaiva, David Gregory, Renée Elise Goldsberry, Catherine Hickland, Mark Lawson, Hillary B. Smith, Jason Tam and Brittany Underwood; and General Hospital’s Bradford Anderson, Brandon Barash and Anthony Geary..

For the February 11 streaming special, viewers can expect to hear a bevy of Broadway classics and jazzy standards.  The streaming event will be directed by John Dietrich, who also directed each of the live stage performances.

Dedicated fans also will have the opportunity for one-on-one virtual meet-and-greets with their favorite soap stars on Saturday, February 13.  Further information on tickets and the lineup of special guests  will be announced later this month.

From 2005-2011, the stars of ABC Daytime took the stage at New York City’s Town Hall one night each year for ABC Daytime Salutes Broadway Cares. The evening featured dynamic production numbers, heartfelt ballads and hilarious skitsNow, 10 years after that final performance, the iconic ABC Daytime actors revisit their performances as they help raise money for those impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

When the event began in 2005. it was for a one-night benefit concert to celebrate All My Children’s 35th Anniversary. With overwhelming support from fans, the event continued for six more years and included cast members from One Life to Live, General Hospital and co-hosts of The View. Over its seven-year run, ABC Daytime Salutes Broadway Cares raised an incredible $1.85 million.

“This event is truly one of a kind,” Broadway Cares Executive Director Tom Viola said. “We are so thankful to the stars from ABC Daytime for joining us again as we relive moments from this delightful tradition, while helping to provide lifesaving medication, healthy meals and emergency support to those struggling during this ongoing pandemic.”

“It was such an incredible privilege and joy to join my fellow co-stars to perform in the seven ABC Daytime Salutes concerts to benefit Broadway Cares/ Equity Fights AIDS,” said former All My Children star Susan Lucci. “There are no fans like ABC Daytime fans. Their love and support continue to astonish us.  We can’t wait to share these special performances with them and help raise money for so many in need during this difficult time.”

Lucci also shared her excitement on her Instagram account expressing: “We’re getting the fans and cast back together!!! Join us on Thursday, February 11 at 8pm for “ABC Daytime: Back on Broadway”—a fabulous online event revisiting seven years of singing, dancing and plot twists, featuring your favorite ABC Daytime stars. And it’s all to help Broadway Cares support our friends and neighbors who are struggling during this pandemic. Watch the stream at
broadway-cares.org, to join the fun! I hope to see you there!”

So excited to hear about the ABC Daytime Back to Broadway event? Let us know in the comment section, and check out the announcement from The View’s Whoopi Goldberg below.

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All My Children

Eva LaRue Reveals COVID-19 Diagnosis

During former All My Children, B&B and GH star, Jacob Young’s podcast, Real Conversations with Jacob Young, he welcomed his good friend and former Pine Valley cast mate, Eva LaRue (Ex-Maria, AMC, and Celeste, Y&R).

At the very top of the episode, LaRue revealed she and her daughter Kaya tested positive for Covid-19.  She shared, “We thought we had dodged a bullet, but sure enough, on New Year’s Eve, we both tested positive.”

“Oddly enough,” she goes on to say, “I really feel like we’ve been so sick of being scared to death of the invisible monster underneath the bed all last year, always looking over our shoulders.”  Eva added, “Nobody knows which one they are. Are they someone who’s going to survive it or succumb to it? Or have residual effects? All we can do is pray for the best.”

 

However, LaRue has been trying alternative methods of helping her with Covid-19 via IV treatments.  “I’ve got this amazing integrative doctor who I’ve been working with for a long time, and I know a lot of people are like, ‘No, we only do Western medicine,’ and that’s fine, I love Western medicine… but integrated medicine and Western medicine have to go hand in hand, in my opinion. Because, I just feel like, we need to open our minds to what is new and what is out there.”   So because of that, Eva has chosen to receive these treatments to hopefully starve off any long term effects of Covid.

In addition, Eva told Young she has hopes for the new primetime All My Children reboot that is in the works:  “I have my fingers crossed that they’ll be doing something with this new Pine Valley show.”   Remember, the Santos family and the Kanes are said to be the epicenter of the revival, so perhaps LaRue will be a guest-star on it, since she is also close friends with two of the EP’s, Kelly Ripa (Ex-Hayley, AMC) and Mark Consuelos (Ex-Mateo, AMC)!

Send your well-wishes to Eva and her daughter, Kaya and let us know would you love to see LaRue on the ‘Pine Valley’ primetime reboot?  Comment below.

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All My Children

All My Children Primetime Reboot “Pine Valley” in the Works at ABC from Kelly Ripa & Mark Consuelos and Andrew Stearn

Huge news that could bring back a new updated version of daytime’s All My Children to primetime!

ABC is eyeing a revival of Agnes Nixon’s long-running beloved series that ran for 41 years on the network and then saw an online reboot from Prospect Park that lasted only one season.

According to Deadline, former AMC stars Kelly Ripa (Ex-Hayley) and Mark Consuelos (Ex-Mateo) will executive produce along with Andrew Stearn and Agnes Nixon’s son, Robert Nixon.

 

The series is currently in the early stages of development, but what has been revealed is: the reboot will be written/executive produced by Leo Richardson (Katy Keene, Star), and it will center on a young journalist with a secret agenda who comes to expose the dark and murderous history of a town named Pine Valley only to become entangled in a feud between the Kane and Santos families. The series explores all the secrets that come with the Kane and Santos family names.

In the new incarnation, Pine Valley, will feature a new generation of characters and some old favorites.  As of this moment, no original cast members have deals, but the plan would be to have them make appearances, plus Ripa and Consuelos could also make a cameo.  Of course, many are already pondering if Susan Lucci (Erica Kane) might actually be a mainstay on the new primetime series; since the Kanes are one of the core families in the reboot.

Photo:ABC

Pine Valley plans to continue the original series’ tradition of tackling difficult social issues of our time and being inclusive, which the show was known for under the iconic Agnes Nixon’s storytelling.

Of note is that Stearn is also a lifelong fan of AMC and has been the driving force behind the reboot.  In fact when he was deciding between ABC Signature and one other studio for an overall deal, he chose ABC Signature because it was going to allow him to pursue his dream of rebooting All My Children.  It was then he started tracking down the rights to the soap.  As soap fans know, the rights to AMC reverted back to ABC after Prospect Park’s online version fell apart.

Later, after meeting with a number of writers to helm Pine Valley, Stearn went with Richardson, who had worked on the British soap EastEnders in his native Britain. Stearn also got on board the estate of Agnes Nixon, with son Robert Nixon joining the project as an executive producer.

So what do you think of “Pine Valley”, the All My Children primetime reboot being in development?  Share your thoughts via the comment section below.

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