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Julia Montgomery Talks on Her Daytime Comeback on Y&R, and Shares Memories as OLTL’s Samantha Vernon

Photo: Joanna DeGeneres

It’s hard to believe that its been over four decades since Julia Montgomery first hit the daytime scene as Samantha Vernon on One Life to Live. Now on the Wednesday, March 23rd episode of The Young and the Restless, Julia returns to soaps in the role of Tanya and shares scenes with some key people in a red-hot new storyline.

Montgomery, who later after her One Life to Live years starred in the movie Revenge of the Nerds (1984) and other TV and film roles, is looking at her stint on Y&R as jump-start, perhaps back to daytime. But what wonderful stories and insight she has of being part of the iconic cast of One Life!

Julia shares some inside stories on working with: Phil Carey, Judith Light, Gerry Anthony, Brynn Thayer, Steve Fletcher, and the original Vernon family with Jameson Parker and Farley Granger.  Throughout her time on the ABC soap opera, Julia left OLTL on a few occasions and shares here with Michael Fairman TV what ultimately led to her decision to depart for good.

So, who says you can’t come home again to a genre that kick-started your career at 16?  Montgomery is starting here, and starting now with this guest visit on Y&R.  Check out what she had to share about her time in Genoa City and Llanview below.

You stepped into acting on a soap again for a short stint on Y&R.  What was it like being on the top-rated daytime drama?

JULIA:  Honestly, it was really fun to be back on a soap opera set.  It’s so interesting with the multiple cameras, etc.  It’s its own animal.  At one point, I was sitting down between my scenes, and I just had this kind of a rush.  I purposely have not been on a soap set for decades, and then this came about, and I was like, “Why not?”.  I’m just in a completely different place in real-life as an empty nester, plus it’s kind of hysterical that I’m also a realtor, and I’m playing an LA realtor!

Typecasting!

JULIA:  I know! The writing is very good.  I changed a few things here and there to make it more authentic.  The Young and the Restless is, I think, my favorite show of the soaps, and I think the lighting is so good.  I loved everyone: the hair and makeup, the actors, loved my director … I had a total blast!

Photo Credit: Sheldon Botler

You worked with Y&R newcomer Kelsey Wang (Allie) in your scenes. How was she to work with?

JULIA:  She was wonderful, and a really good actress.  She had a lot to do that day, but she is extremely present, bright, and alive.  I loved working with her, and then the mystery person.  I’m not allowed to say who it is; but tune-in and you will see! My character is in the story to help Allie settle Keemo’s estate.

Would you want to return to Y&R and do something if they said, “Come on back and let’s explore Tanya more!?”

JULIA:  Well, perhaps yes!

Photo: ABC

Well, let’s talk your signature soap role of One Life to Live’s Samantha Vernon.  You landed the role and debuted in 1976 and then left and came back a few times through 1981. When you came on the show who was in the Vernon Family?

JULIA: Jameson Parker, played my brother and my first dad was Farley Granger.  I just remember that Jameson was there for my audition, and they invited my parents back to the control room. Jameson was talking very highly of me to my parents, saying, “Oh, she’s really good.”  At one point, I stumbled on a line and found my way back, and I guess they were just ecstatic that a 16-year-old who had never been on a real television set was getting such feedback. Farley Granger, couldn’t have been more wonderful to me.  He was just a doll and a big film actor at the time.

Well, he was a big get for the show!

JULIA:  Totally, and he was still completely gorgeous, but it was still “Doctor Vernon,” and that means you’ve got all of that doctor dialogue to learn.  Coming from a film set to a soap opera set, and having tons of dialogue to begin with, he was just exhausted.  I think at the end of six months, he was just like, “This just isn’t for me.”

Brad was the bad boy, and Samantha was the good sister. Is that how you viewed it?

JULIA:  Let me settle this.  When I came on the show, I was 16-years-old, and the character was 16-years old.  Six months later, they turned me 18, so that I could be involved with men, not only men, but generally older men, not as old as Asa, but it became as old as Asa later.  My character had a flirtation with Tony Lord, who was played by Phil MacHale at that point.  So, of course, Samantha was good, but what does every good girl want … to be bad!  (Laughs) That’s how it works!  Later, they had some great scenes with me and Marco, played by the amazing Gerry Anthony.

Courtesy/ABC

I was going to bring up Gerry.

JULIA:  He was so wonderful. The thing about being on One Life to Live, was that when I came on the show, the actors who I ended up working with like Judith Light (Ex-Karen) and Gerry Anthony were all into making the scenes great.  We had so much fun working on these scenes, and, not everyone on the set did that.  Some people had been on there for years.  They did their thing, and they didn’t necessarily have the same joie de vivre as some of the rest of us who were like, “Let’s make this great.”  So, I think we really just had a tremendous time, most of us. When we had a scene, we worked on it.  In those days, of course, we worked on it all day.  We started in the morning, and we didn’t tape it until after lunch.  Everyone was there until like 5 or 6pm at the earliest.  Whatever it took to get it done.  We had the likes of Robin Strasser (Ex-Dorian), Michael Storm, (Ex-Larry) and Brynn Thayer (Ex-Jenny), who came on about a year or so into my first year, and since that time Brynn and I became BFF’s.

What was it like working with Phil Carey (Asa)?

JULIA:  Phil was a nice guy, but he had sciatica, so as the day wore on, he would have to take medicine for that, and he’d go to lunch, and then he’d come back, and it was he wasn’t really that present.  He was sort of just getting through it.  Interestingly enough, somewhere during those soap opera years, I ended up being interviewed several times by Dustin Hoffman and his writer for the movie Tootsie, and they literally based that older doctor character off of me telling them about Phil Carey.

Photo: ABC

Did Phil’s situation cause you to leave One Life?

JULIA:  He would have a drink, come back to set, and I think he may have forgotten he had already taken his Percocet, and it’d be like, “Is anybody home?” So, I mean, it wasn’t very fulfilling, at least for me, and so that’s ultimately why I left.  The storyline was really fun, though.  It was young Sam, being kind of independent, and it had that fun banter with Asa.

I remember you left, and there was a new Samantha!

JULIA:  I left and they kept trying to replace me, then they kept asking me back. Finally, I said I’d go back, then I did go back, and of course it was a continuation of the storyline with Sam, and then by the end of that contract, I finally was like, “I can’t take it anymore.”  That’s when they brought in Dorian Lopinto, and she took over the role of Samantha.  It was a good time for me to leave. I ended up staying in New York for a few years and doing some movies of the week and films, but in those days, it was like, “You’ve got to go out to LA!” and I’m like, “Alright.  I guess I’ll go try it,” and I did, and it was pretty fruitful.  I did lots of television and films and it was a lot of fun, but I purposely, at that point, completely stayed away from soaps, but now it’s a completely different time.  My kids are just about out of college, and I’m footloose and fancy free! I am ready for action!

Photo: ABC

It’s so much fun for everyone who loved One Life to see you again because it was so great.  Did you think back then that Judith Light would become as prolific an actress as she has become? I did.

JULIA:  I knew she was a powerhouse, but I didn’t know she would take the world by the horns.  Later, I worked with her on Who’s the Boss.  She’s just brilliant.  We all know.  We knew she was brilliant then.  There was no question.  There was an actress who played the role of Karen before Judith too, Kathryn Breech.  She was so gorgeous, and I loved her, but I think there were a behind the scenes reason she had to leave, and that all seemed to happen very quickly. All of the sudden she was gone, and Judith was there.  I hope Kathryn is good out there somewhere.  Every time I looked at her, I was like, “Oh, my God, I’ve never seen someone so gorgeous in my life.”

When Judith stepped in, she just owned that role!

JULIA:  She did.  She owned that thing, and it was tremendous because again, talk about wanting to make something great.  With Judith, it was like, “Wow.  This is fantastic!”

Photo: ABC

Steve Fletcher came in to replace Jameson Parker.  How was working with Steve? He was wonderful as Brad!

JULIA:  Oh, yes.  Jameson left before me.  He was planning to leave because he had a movie… The Bell Jar with Sylvia Plath … so he was flying to Budapest.  He asked me if I wanted to sublet his apartment.  I was like, “Yes, I do!”  It was walking distance from the set. It was amazing, and as for Steve, I thought he was wonderful.  He truly was like my big brother.  We had that same relationship where we would really work on the scene and try to make the best of everything that we could.

Well, that’s amazing.  What a great experience!  Well, I hope this works out now that you’ve dipped your toe back into daytime. 

JULIA:  Right, exactly!  It was really fun to revisit the whole experience and have it feel so sparkly and new.

Photo: CBS

Are you watching Y&R now, or were you watching it before?

JULIA:  I had watched it just a little bit.  Now, I’m watching it!  However, I know Peter Bergman (Jack, Y&R) from my New York days.

From his time on All My Children?

JULIA:  Well, actually, what’s funny is he was the bartender on Third Avenue in New York when I had run away from home when I was 18 (so, it wasn’t technically running away), but … I had run away from home because my parents did not want me to live in the city even though I had been working on One Life to Live for two years. I was like, “Sorry, I’ve got to go. ” I ran away to a Catholic residence hall on the east side.  This is all to say, one of my roommates from this Catholic residence hall had met Peter Bergman because she went to this bar because there was this gorgeous bartender there.  Later, I come to find out that it was Peter Bergman right before he got All My Children.  Then, we kind of knew each other from the soaps, and when I moved out to Los Angeles, we ended up in the same spinning class together. It was bizarre. I’m like, “Peter!”  He’s like, “Julia!”

Photo: IMDB

Hearing all of these stories of yours, I think you need to write a book!

JULIA: I would need help with it … but that’s an interesting thought!

So, what do you think of Julia returning to daytime and The Young and the Restless? Were you a fan of Samantha Vernon, and One Life to Live back in one of its heydays of the late 70’s and early 80’s? Comment below.

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Reading this piece reminds me of the large number of recasts OLTL went through in the late 70s/early 80s. Granted I was rather young, but if someone mentions Sam Vernon, I picture Dorian Lopinto.

Montgomery certainly does throw some shade at Phil Carey. Hilarious that George Gaines (OG Frank Smith) character in Tootsie was loosely based on Carey. I said good day Dr Brewster (I said good day!)

Yes it’s amazing when people are dead and can’t defend themselves you crawl in like vultures never watched that era but if she thinks Y&R is a great soap she needs to sit in a mental chair! The show is horrible and this story about Keemo/Bergman hated it!! The man was never mentioned for thirty years! Please when you all get over yourselves then will talk ! Bergman was never Jack that role was snd always will be Terry Lester! Bergman has been a mad Cliff Warner and not good at it

Agreed Kat! Peter Bergman’s Jack has been a wallowing mess for the past several years. Griffith has stripped Jack of his edge and made him the town philosopher. Jack is irredeemable in this Keemo story since it’s seen he was long forgotten. Regardless of the horribly boring way Jack’s been written Bergman looks out of place and uncomfortable in most scenes, especially with his hand mannerisms, nail picking etc. Nevermind Bergman , poor Michelle Stafford looks horribly uninterested in this latest Jack propping support story. Then again she hasn’t had anything of interest to do since her much ‘ hyped’ return to Phyllis.
With y n r in Griffith and Morina s hands the show will be on the verge of cancellation soon…

Oh, the memories this brings back. I loved One Life to Live and she explained one of the reasons why. The actors who took the effort to make the scenes great. Bravo to Julia Montgomery, Judith Light, Gerald Anthony, Brynn Thayer, Steve Fletcher, and, of course, the incomparable Erika Slezak and Robin Strasser. I could go on and on listing outstanding actors who gave there all for a scene. Not a day goes by that I don’t miss our beloved One Life to Live.

Congratulations Julia and best of luck on your return to daytime TV.

Thank you for this terrific interview of Montgomery! This news of a 70s soap actress returning to a soap, however briefly, is stunning! I was watching OLTL throughout virtually all of its run. I always enjoyed the character of Sam, but I honestly found it cringeworthy, at the time, that Asa could be with her. They did the same thing with Asa’s son Bo: as he got older, his love interests became younger. Who was writing back then? Woody Allen?!?!

I fondly remember how exciting it was when the Vernon family came on. In addition to Montgomery and Granger, the character of Brad was quite appealing, but the actress who played his mother was also very good: her character had mental problems. As I recall, she unintentionally took her own life, thinking that her son Brad would save her in time (as he had previously done). And, of course, the character of Sam was always interesting, thanks to Montgomery. Welcome back! And I hope it becomes a more permanent gig.

Hi Jamesj75! Two other things I enjoyed here: her description of the excitement of being on a soap opera set is just as vivid and real as I’ve always imagined… and the reference to the movie THE BELL JAR. I didn’t much care for the movie but the novel and Sylvia Plath’s poetry are mainstays in my life. This was a refreshing interview.

Hi Soaphound! Glad to read that you also found much to enjoy with this interview! Montgomery certainly related “the excitement of being on a soap opera.”

Love Her! Can hardly wait to see her again!

Wonder if Peter can make a Dirty Martini, shaken, not stirred? Imagine that handsome, YOUNG face serving your drink? Yum! Peter, not the Martini.

I have great memories of Julia’s Samantha and was so sad to see her leave. I was only around 11 or 12 and she quickly helped cement my lifelong love for OLTL. Great interview and greater still to hear of her memories on the soap and that she’s doing well.

I didn”t care for her version of Sam Vernon. I much preferred Dorian Lopinto’s take. As someone posted, it’s not cool to speak ill of the dead. Soap magazines were around during her OLTL tenure and she could have aired her dirty laundry then.

I think she has rather loose lips in regards to Peter Bergman being a bartender in his early years. Maybe he doesn’t want that shared and painting Phil Carey as a drinking pill taking Zombe is not very attractive either. Maybe she should write a book or sellig some of the other stuff she’s been privy to, would make a good expose.

Days Of Our Lives

Ron Carlivati Talks on Decision to Make Days of our Lives 15000th Episode About Doug’s Funeral, and Previews Chances for WGA Award

This week, Days of our Lives celebrated the taping of their 15,000th episode. In of it itself, that is an incredible accomplishment for the long-running soap opera currently streaming on Peacock.

However, this on set gathering was a bit different. Though the show is celebrating their achievement, they are also in the middle of taping scenes surrounding the death and the funeral of Doug Williams, played by the late Bill Hayes, who passed away on January 12th of this year at the age of 98.

As previously revealed many longtime favorites are back to honor Bill and the character of Doug including: Gloria Loring (Liz), Melissa Reeves (Jennifer), Matthew Ashford (Jack), Maree Cheatham (Marie), Victoria Konefal (Ciara) and Stephen Schnetzer (Steve) to name but a few.

Photo: JPI

Michael Fairman TV was in attendance and spoke with Days of our Lives head writer, Ron Carlivati to gain some insight into how the 15,000 episode was crafted and the decision to honor the character of Doug Williams and Bill Hayes as its epicenter. In addition, Ron weighed-in on this Sunday’s April 14th WGA (Writers Guild of America) Awards, where he and his writing team are facing off with General Hospital for the daytime drama prize. Here’s what Ron shared below.

Was this your idea to make the 15,000th episode centered around Doug’s funeral and passing?

RON: It was. When you’re looking at it, and laying out the calendar for the whole year and you see 15,000 is coming up, we’re like, “What are we going to do?” And then, we got the news that Bill had passed away and something kind of clicked. I was like, “We should honor Doug on that show.” So then, we started to kind of build around that … when does he pass away? How does he pass away? Who could come back? You know, it’s a lot.  I’m very pleased with the returns that we got as there’s so much that you could do. We wanted everybody we could get. So, we put together a wish list and Janet Drucker (co-executive producer, Days of our Lives) made it happen.

Photo: JPI

You have Melissa Reeves back as Jennifer, when the role was last played by Cady McClain. What has it meant to have Missy back for these shows?

RON: It was so nice to see Missy Reeves. I think Cady has done such a good job, but on the 15,000th episode to see Missy as Jennifer, it’s a big deal. So having her was great, and overall, the milestone was a big undertaking, because you want to live up to it. You want the 15,000th episode to be good. Now, it has a lot of real emotion that you’re playing. because for the cast and the crew they’re honoring Bill Hayes just as much as we’re honoring Doug Williams.

Photo: JPI

Was it hard for you and the team to write this episode?

RON: Yes. I’ll tell you why it was hard to write.  When I wrote, for example, Asa’s (Phillip Carey) death on One Life to Live or Victor’s (John Aniston) on DAYS, Asa is a different type of character. Like, you could have characters going, “Oh! I’m glad he is dead.” You could have different points of view, but with Doug, you’re not having that. Every person loves this man. No one had a bad relationship with him. So, you’re challenge as a writer is how do you make it that not everybody’s saying the same thing and doing the same thing. And so, we tried to find ways to make the episode about all the familial relationships and yet, how do you make it about Doug and yet broaden the scope.

Photo: JPI

I had spoken to Susan Seaforth Hayes (Julie), a week after Bill’s memorial, for an interview. She said that she felt very fortunate that you did include her on discussions of how you would tackle Doug’s passing. How did that conversation go?

RON: First, I attended Bill’s funeral, which was incredible. I said to so many people it was an emotional service, but it was hard to be sad at this. The guy had an incredible life and it was an incredible celebration. And so, you’re sitting there watching this knowing that you now have to write something similar. And how do you write something that lives up to what you just witnessed? I wanted to talk to Susan to get her thoughts about, you know, how much do you want this to be about keeping Bill separate from Doug. How comfortable are you sharing your grief. She was incredible to talk to. It was a great chat.

You’re in the middle of taping these major scenes for the 15,000 episode to air in December. How do you think it’s going? Have you seen any of the scenes?

RON:  I haven’t seeing anything. I mean, we were still making changes to the script up till this morning!

Photo: JPI

The Writers Guild Awards are this Sunday, April 14th and once again this year there are two daytime drama nominees, General Hospital and Days of our Lives. How are you feeling about your chances this year?

RON: It is often just GH and us in the category. I’ve won three years in a row, so I’m kind of feeling like it’s their turn.

Photo: JPI

What episodes did you submit for contention? If I recall, they had to do with Victor’s memorial.

RON: The episodes we submitted were centered around Victor’s funeral. I think one has story with Vivian. We had some fun stuff, we had some emotional stuff at Victor’s death, and I am pretty sure that our submission was three episodes right around that time.

Did you make the decision to go with those episodes because there was a mix of humor and drama?

RON: I like to have some humor, but it was also the funeral, then there’s Sarah (Linsey Godfrey) giving birth, and then Vivian’s (Louise Sorel) crashing the reading of the will. So, we had a lot of fun and it’s hard sometimes to pick three that tell a story, as opposed to submitting for the Daytime Emmys, where the writing team only submits two shows.  So, we shall see how it goes on Sunday.

Courtesy/Peacock

So, are you looking forward to the emotional 15,000th episode of Days of our Lives? Do you think DAYS will take home the WGA writing award for daytime dramas for the 4th year in a row? Comment below.

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Days Of Our Lives

(INTERVIEW) Eric Martsolf Previews DAYS Stars on ‘Weakest Link’, How He Fared in the Game, Plus Welcoming New Tate, Leo Howard

Tuesday night on NBC’s Weakest Link (9 p.m. ET/PT), the stars of Days our of Lives test their knowledge, and try to win big money for the charity of their choice on the newest season of the popular game show hosted by Jane Lynch. In case you miss it, you can also catch the episode on Wednesday streaming on Peacock.

The question on everyone’s mind is … who will be revealed as Salem’s weakest link? Who will be left standing at the end of the game? DAYS favorites: Eric Martsolf (Brady) Brynn Dattilo (Lucas), Galen Gering (Rafe), Martha Madison (Belle), Victoria Konefal (ex-Ciara), Zach Tinker (Sonny), Tina Huang (Melinda) and Lindsay Arnold (ex-Allie) play while literally having the task of throwing their co-stars under the bus. The contestant who receives the highest number of votes leaves the game throughout, as Lynch declares their exit with the now iconic phrase, “You are the Weakest Link. Goodbye.” 

Michael Fairman TV caught up with Eric Martsolf, who daytime fans know is great as a host in his own right and oh-so-fun at playing any trivia game you throw at him. Martsolf gave us the inside scoop of what it was like to be on the set and backstage in a rather nerve-wracking environment, and trying to come off as smart while Jane Lynch roasts you at the same time!

Photo: NBC

In addition, Eric shared his thoughts on the new Tate, as Leo Howard takes over the role of his on-screen son from Jamie Martin Mann on the April 5th episode of Days of our Lives, plus working with Emily O’Brien as Theresa, and the loss of the legendary Bill Hayes. Check out what Eric had to say below.

Did you know about the game before? Had you watched the original version of the Weakest Link, or this latest incarnation?

ERIC: I was very, very familiar with the game because I found, as someone who enjoys hosting, that has to be one of the best hosting gigs out there because they just have extreme liberties in belittling the contestants, and it’s all done in jest of course, but it’s great. Jane Lynch is a master.

Did you get to meet Jane Lynch before she hit the stage for the taping?

ERIC: I don’t think any of us met her prior to being on the set. So, we’re standing there behind our podiums and these cyber lights just point all in one direction. At one point when we’re out there, it was kind of a hurry up and wait thing. We’re just like, “When is this going to start?” Then, here Jane comes and in all her glory in a beautiful navy-blue suit. She just prances onto stage and just glares over at us, and starts making fun of a silly soap opera actors like you wouldn’t believe. It was just great. I’ll let the public see what how she crucified us. But it was all done in fun.

Photo: NBC

Did she crucify you?

ERIC: I don’t think anybody got out unscathed to be honest with you.

For those that don’t know the game, you try to eliminate those that are the weakest in answering questions.

ERIC: Correct, and therein lies the problem. Historically, I think the Weakest Link is comprised of contestants that don’t really know each other, and in this case, you have not only coworkers, but almost family members because we all know each other very, very well. It’s a tight circle and even more so when you’re on the same show. So, we all went in into it pretty nervous because the premise of the game is to expose the inadequacy of people’s knowledge of general facts and information. So, essentially, you’re voting each other off because you don’t think they’re as smart as you are and that they’re the least smart in the group. So, I mean, that in itself is pretty, pretty tough to swallow. It was really hard, because you have to look at your friends in the eye and go, “yeah, I don’t think you’re going to get the next couple questions. You’re not the smartest, you’re not the crispiest chip in the bag. I’m going to let you go. ”

Did you feel bad about some of the eliminations?

ERIC: At one point, without giving away any spoilers, I voted off someone that without a doubt, has more smarts and education than I do. I just felt silly. But, you know, the way the game was going, I just felt it was the right. There is a bit of strategy involved. I’m worried about the airing of this particular episode because I did fumble some questions that people are going to turn their heads and go, “Really? You didn’t get that one?” It’s so much easier to answer these questions at home in your pajamas than it is, you know, looking at Jane Lynch in the eye with 6,000 lights at your face in front of cameras. Your brain tends to wander. So yes, we all had had some answers that we couldn’t believe we didn’t get at the time!

Photo: NBC

Did it get very competitive?

ERIC: There was little competition there. If I recall, it’s Galen and Bryan that went at it a little bit and had some laughs. But again, I can’t stress this enough, it was all done with fun. At the end of the day, every one of us wanted to win. I think the smartest person did actually come out victorious.

Now in the game, for those that have never seen it, you’re on your podium, and then Jane gives a question, right?

ERIC:  It’s a firing squad of questions. You only have a certain amount of time to answer. If you get the correct answer or the wrong answer, you immediately, go to the next contestant and you have a certain amount of time. And then, at the end of that line of questioning, everyone gets to vote as to who they believed was the biggest dummy in the group. (Laughs) Some questions are simple. You know, “What color is Santa Claus’ suit?” And then, the next question is “What is 648,000 times 14?” or what’s the population of some obscure country? So, that was the biggest challenge. Someone else might get, “What is the main ingredient of a banana split?” And my question could be like, “How much is 9,430 times x 59 million?” There’s an intimidation factor that Jane Lynch brings to it when she’s staring you down.

Photo: NBC

When the cast finished the entire game, what happened backstage?

ERIC:  The best part was there were these post interviews that the Weakest Link conducts where you have to go into a dark black room. I think my first question was, “How did you feel about that wrong answer?” They don’t let up. They just keep jabbing at you. “Did you feel ridiculous getting the wrong answer to that fourth-grade level question?” (Laughs) There was also a lot of trash talk with that happened after the show. It got so competitive. If I recall, we were all supposed to go out together and get a meal with everybody, and that never happened. They’re like, “I’m not eating lasagna with you right now. You just voted me off!” Now, even the first person that gets voted off, you’re going to be shocked, because I thought this person would probably win it. In the game, you want the best people to remain on the panel because that’s what drives up the money.

Photo: JPI

Later this week on DAYS, we will see the debut of your new on-screen son, Leo Howard, taking over from Jamie Martin Mann as Tate.

ERIC: How about that?  I just did a post on Instagram, because I saw that Jamie Martin Mann had liked and hearted a post about Leo Howard coming on the show. I just thought that was so classy of him. That’s the way it’s supposed to be, “This is the new guy. Embrace him. He’s good. I’ve met him. He is a good guy.” It’s about handing off the character baton sometimes, sort to speak. I was really proud of those guys. I reached out to Jamie. He just wants to go to college and be a student. I understand that. That’s important.

Photo: JPI

Is that challenging for you as an actor since you’ve built this relationship with the one guy as your son, and now you’ve got to pivot and create a different kind of energy with someone else taking on the part?

ERIC: Leo Howard has been in the industry for a while, with some very good credits to his name. He brings a certain charisma to this role that I think people are really going to love. And yes, he’s older, but he plays younger, and he has that ability and he’s pulling it off brilliantly. I can’t wait for people to see him, but of course I miss Jamie. Emily O’Brien (Theresa) and I really grew to love him very quickly because the storyline got so deep, so quickly, with the drug intervention and then him getting beat up in in prison. I mean, as a father, that’s the kind of stuff that you have nightmares about, you know, your kids being in pain.

Photo: JPI

I still love the fact that Emily O’Brien is still noticeably wearing a blonde wig as Theresa. What are your thoughts on how the transition has been for you, and for her pivoting to a completely different role?

ERIC: I hadn’t worked with Emily much before, because Gwen and Brady never really crossed paths. We all saw the transition that she had to make. When I became Brady, the character hadn’t been on the map for three years.  When she became Theresa, she walks out one gate and comes through the other as Theresa. We all had a good giggle about it. That’s hard to ask an audience to go,  OK, I’m Gwen, now I’m Theresa.” I was scrolling through X (formerly Twitter) and I saw a couple posts from fans that said how they were really weary, at first, about accepting Emily O’Brien as Theresa. But after today’s episode, they shared, “I’m loving her as Tate’s mom, and the chemistry she has with the family.” I texted Emily and I said, “I just want to let you know that you’re just bringing it home really brilliantly, and people are starting to come around.” I think they’ll do that with Leo Howard too.

Photo: JPI

What had it been like without the iconic Bill Hayes (Doug Williams) coming to work and being part of the Days of our Lives cast since his passing?

ERIC: You really do miss that presence in the hallways. He was a song and dance guy and I am a song and dance guy. as well. I kind of find myself the lone singer in the makeup room sometimes, but I could always count on Bill. He’d be humming some old tune from the sixties. I’d start humming along and he’d just kind of lean over and take a look at me, and give a little smile. Everyone else was probably irritated at us, but we just kept singing along. and it’s like 6:30 in the morning. I think Bill was a lot like the late John Aniston (ex-Victor), in the sense that I don’t really feel like he felt he was working. He was just always having fun right up until the end. That little number he did with his wife, Susan Seaforth Hayes (Julie), and Dick Van Dyke (guest starring as Timothy Robicheaux), where he was singing along, he was just living it. It was so cute and so adorable to watch.

Photo: JPI

Your final tease for the Weakest Link tonight is, “Fans should watch because …”

ERIC: Fans should watch it because if they thought we were smart before, wait till they see the show.

You can check out the cold open for tonight’s Weakest Link “Days of our Lives special” below.

Now let us know, will you be watching Eric and his co-stars, past and present, attempting to showcase their knowledge on the ‘Weakest Link? Intrigued to see Leo Howard and Eric in scenes as new Tate and his father, Brady? Share your thoughts in the comment section.

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Interviews

The Young and the Restless’ Michael Damian On Christine/Danny/Phyllis: “It’s a Fun Triangle Story That They’re Having Us Do, Because It’s Very Retro”

This week on The Young and the Restless, while Danny (Michael Damian) and Christine (Lauralee Bell) hit the sheets, and Phyllis (Michele Stafford) sets off an alarm as payback (literally!), the top-rated CBS soap opera continues to weave the tale of these three characters decades later, finding themselves in very familiar territory with each other.

We know that Christine and Phyllis are basically, mortal enemies, while Danny, who has been the man in the middle, has had a past with both women. However, it is Christine who has been, for all intent and purposes the love of his life.  But, will Phyllis’ machinations make it near to impossible for Danny and Christine to be together? Stay tuned.

Last week, Michael and his real-life wife, Janeen Damian visited the Michael Fairman Channel promoting their #1 streaming film on Netflix, Irish Wish starring Lindsay Lohan. The film was produced by the Damians, while Janeen directed it and co-wrote the romantic story. Michael is featured on the Irish Wish soundtrack performing his track, Wild Irish Heart.

Photo: Netflix

During the conversation, Michael shared what it has been like revisiting the Christine/Danny/Phyllis triangle years later. Damian addressed the fans on the livestream, who inquired. “It’s a fun triangle story that they’re having us do, because it’s very retro. And I think it’s fun to bring that nostalgia, retro thing back.”

Photo: JPI

Recalling a tender moment between Danny on the piano alone with Christine (during the standalone episode which honored Lauralee Bell’s 40th anniversary with Y&R), Michael expressed, “I think what they’re doing is so smart, and they’re reconnecting a lot of the fans to a lot of the story. I mean, we’re talking years and years of story.”

Photo: JPI

The longtime Y&R fan favorite, added, “I’m really glad they did the thing on the piano because people have been asking, ‘Why are you not doing any music? Why are you not singing? Where’s your band?’ You know what I mean? Janeen is asking the same thing, ‘Why aren’t you singing something on the show?’ The last time I sang on the show was when we thought Phyllis was dead. So, you know, that didn’t count. (Laughs)

One of the funniest moment in the revisiting of the triangle occurred when Phyllis and Christine were arguing over Danny, and he was right there in the room with them. The two women got so engrossed in their fight, they forgot he was there, and thus he walked out of the room.

Photo: JPI

Michael revealed, he liked that scene too! “They’re fighting. They’re arguing and Danny’s like, ‘Listen, I’m over here. Please stop it.” And then they don’t stop,” Damian recalled. “And so Danny just grabs his coat, picks up his sheet music, because he was working on a song. He goes to the door. In the scene, I even look back to see if they are even noticing me leave, and then I just left. That one was pretty funny. I’ll be honest. I was laughing out in the hallway when I left. I was thinking, ‘Should I slam the door? But then if I slam the door, they still have dialogue.’ They’re still talking and they would’ve turned, and then it would’ve ruined it. So, I just gently closed the door and left.

Photo: JPI

During the livestream, Damian teased he has some upcoming scenes with longtime Y&R co-star Beth Maitland (Traci), “I just worked with Beth Maitland actually the other day, and that was really fun. I can’t wait for people to see that show.”

Check out the the Michael Fairman Channel chat with Michael and Janeen Damian below.

Now, let us know, are you rooting for Danny and Christine? Do you think Phyllis will continue to be a disruptor in this relationship and somehow worm her way back into Dannys good graces? Share your thoughts in the comment section. But first check out this sneak peek for this week’s Y&R featuring the trio.

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Peter Reckell returns for a second visit with Michael Fairman following the wrap-up of his recent run as Bo Brady on Days of our Lives.Leave A Comment

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