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One Life to Live’s Ellen Holly Talks Her Groundbreaking Role And Struggles As Carla Gray

Courtesy/TVAcademyFoudation

In a sit-down video interview with the Television Academy Foundation, Ellen Holly best-known for her iconic and groundbreaking role on One Life to Live as “Carla Gray” talks about being the first African-American actress with a continuing major role on a soap opera and the turmoil behind it.

Throughout the over four and half hour’s of interview conducted with Holly, the actress chronicles her struggles with One Life’s creator Agnes Nixon, and various producers to be paid fairly, while also asking for good and dramatic storylines.

Photo: ABC

Holly recalls leaving One Life to Live in 1980, and returning in 1983, only to be fired by then-producer Paul Rauch at the end of her contract.  She discusses what she feels was poor treatment by the network and several producers of One Life to Live, and what she learned from that experience.

There are lots of stories, and behind the scenes moments through the viewpoint of Ellen, as well as how important it was at the time to be cast is such a key role in 1968.

From advice for actors, the civil rights movement, diversity in television, events and behind the scenes stories with her co-stars and producer at One Life, pivotal career moments and more, all of it was covered with the TV Academy Foundation

Now below check out a six segments relating to Holly’s experience and time on OLTL.  Let us know what you thought about what she had to say via the comment section.

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RICKIE BOGUILLE
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RICKIE BOGUILLE

Always loved Ellen Holly and Carla! (From the narrative and having read her book, I presume her dressing room was given away to Jacquie Courtney and her co-star of less sexual wattage than Peter De Anda and Robert Milli was Herb Davis.) However, she misrepresents the span of time Lillian Hayman was on “One Life.” Lillian left about 1970 (replaced by Hilda Haynes and Esther Rolle) and didn’t return to the show full-time until 1977 (the show was 45 minutes at this point; original cast member Doris Belack had been fired and replaced a few weeks prior). Sadie did, however,… Read more »

Jamesj75
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Jamesj75

Rickie, thanks so much for providing such detail and filling in the blanks. I, too, watched OLTL during that time, but my memory of that show is not as vivid.

What I do remember, however, is the mesmerizing allure of Ellen Holly as Carla Gray. A great actress in a groundbreaking storyline — for any medium!

I must thank Michael Fairman for this illuminating feature, including snippets of this riveting interview. For me, it’s so enjoyable when the early days of soaps are honored — and deservedly so!

Steve
Guest
Steve

There doesn’t seem to be any love lost between Holly and Erika Slezak, who she refers to as “the third Viki”

M J
Guest
M J

Lol @ the third Viki. Yikes! That hurt MY feelings… I started watching OLTL as kid in the late 70s, so I missed the initial groundbreaking Carla Benari/Grey storyline, but I fondly remember Miss Holly during the Ed Hall era. It really is heartbreaking how she and Miss Hayman were relegated to bit players when they were clearly and integral factor in the shows success. And speaking of the third Viki, I would imagine that the overwhelming majority of the remaining OLTL fans could never fathom anyone in the role of Victoria Lord Riley Burke Riley Buchanan Buchanan Carpenter Davidson… Read more »

RICKIE BOGUILLE
Guest
RICKIE BOGUILLE

LOL. I was thinking the same thing. In her book, she raves about Gillian Spencer (the original Victoria Lord) and mentions that Joanne Dorian (her replacement) was a good actress who was physically a Xerox copy of Ms. Spencer (the actresses only vaguely looked similar, as I recall). Re: Erika Slezak — I was impressed she had so much chemistry with Lee Patterson (Joe Riley) when he returned to the show (Slezak was cast with Bernard Grant as her love interest; she hadn’t worked with Patterson during his first run). However, Slezak wasn’t a major draw for me personally. Ellen… Read more »

M J
Guest
M J

In going back over the history of the the show, ES didn’t seem to be much of a stand out until they brought back Niki Smith. Prior to that, I believe both Judith Light and Robin Strasser had won Emmys before Slezak won her first. Viki could be quite dull and one note. They really milked the DID storyline to the point of ridicule. As a kid, I remembered it being poignant and heartbreaking to see Viki succumb to Niki Smith. After a while, it just looked like the writers drug out Niki whenever they didn’t know what to do… Read more »

nancy dillingham
Guest
nancy dillingham

Yes–soaps historical OVERDO a once-good thing. 🙁

Thad Bosley
Guest
Thad Bosley

When I watch Ellen Holly, I feel as though I am witnessing a remake of Captain Queeg’s Court Martial in The Caine Mutiny. Whew… creepy.

Isisdawonder
Guest
Isisdawonder

I watched all of this interview. I have her book as well. She dropped quite a bit of info from her years on the show and beyond. Well worth viewing. She is quite knowledgeable of the business and how the game is played. It IS a shame how she and others were treated by those in power at ABC. She deserved better.

fginaspy
Guest
fginaspy

I have always loved Ellen Holly. She is a beautiful and talented actress. She still is. I am sorry TPTB treated her so badly. Thank you Michael Fairman for sharing these videos.

Adrienne
Guest
Adrienne

Ellen Holly’s the reason I began watching OLTL beginning at age five with my big brother and two aunts. I never understood why she suddenly disappeared until reading her book years later. you Ms. Holly

nancy dillingham
Guest
nancy dillingham

So sorry–evil lurks everywhere.

TomJ
Guest
TomJ

I was only 5 years old when OLTL debuted and I watched with my mom and my great aunt. I loved Ellen Holly. Funny that even at my you g age, I never saw Ellen as a supporting or secondary role. She was always a a main star of OLTL in my eyes. Her words in this interview are a much needed cautionary tale for everyone who is new act acting.

Violet Lemm
Guest
Violet Lemm

I was just a young mother, years ago when watching the most romantic relationship between Carla and Ed. I also loved watching Ms. Holly many years ago in The Heat of The Night with Carroll O’Connor. What a two for one treat that was.

Yolanda
Guest
Yolanda

When was she on In The Heat Of The Night with Caroll O’Connor? If you are thinking of the actress he married on there, that was Denise Nicholas of Room 222 fame, Blacula, and other shows and movies.

Violet Lemm
Guest
Violet Lemm

She played Ruth Peterson from 1989 to 1990. You can Google it, if you like.

Yolanda
Guest
Yolanda

Gotcha. But Denise Nicholas has been misidentified often as other actresses. I didnt know Ellen Holly was ever on there..but I only watched it about half the time

Breaking News

Amy Robach and T.J. Holmes OUT at ABC and ‘GMA3’

It’s not ending well for Amy Robach and T.J. Holmes. The former GMA3 co-hosts, who had their affair come to light publicly, have been let go by ABC after a lengthy mediation session on Thursday.

Now, the network has severed all ties with Robach and Holmes and they will receive payouts of their contracts.

According to TMZ: the long mediation session was “extremely contentious,” with ABC reps accusing both Amy and T.J. of various forms of misconduct, which one source characterized as “a witch hunt.”

They go on detail that Amy and T.J were told that they did not handle their romance appropriately by waiting too long to disclose it to ABC executives.

ABC expressed that their “behavior on set” was “uncomfortable” for some ABC staff.

Page Six is also reporting that their source shared from the talks, that unless ABC reaches a satisfactory departure agreement with both Amy and T.J., they would both be looking at filing lawsuits against the network.

In additional accusations, ABC said alcohol had been found in Robach’s dressing room.  However, that was disputed as ABC executives had gifted liquor bottles to Robach and other on-air ABC talent. Robach was also accused of showing up “drunk” to work after attending the College Football National Championship last year.  Amy claims she was just tired.

So, what do you think of Robach and Holmes being given the hook by ABC and being show the front door? Comment below.

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Shemar Moore Becomes a Dad for the First Time with Girlfriend Jesiree Dizon as They Welcome Their Baby Girl

Shemar Moore is now a dad! The great news came from the S.W.A.T and former Y&R star Instagram on Wednesday morning.

The 52-year-old actor enthused: “Ya boy is officially a Dad!!! Dreams come true!! The rest of my life is here! ❤️🙏🏽🙌🏽”

In a statement given to PEOPLE on the major arrival, a rep for the actor shared: “Shemar Moore and his partner, Jesiree Dizon, are happy to announce the birth of their baby girl. The family is very happy and healthy.”

Dizon, a fashion model, has two other children, daughter Charli and son Kaiden from previous relationships.

Photo: MooreIG

Back in January, Moore revealed that he is going to be a dad for the first time when he posted footage on an Instagram post from the gender reveal party in the baby’s honor

No word yet on what ‘Baby Girl Moore’s’ first name is yet.  However, Moore had mentioned that ‘Frankie’ was a potential name for the little one during the gender reveal party.

In addition, this Friday on The Jennifer Hudson Show, Moore is a guest, in which a teaser was circulating a few weeks ago featuring Shemar also revealing the big baby news there.  The entire interview will air at the end of the week on the talk show.

Share your congratulations and well-wishes for Shemar and Jesiree and their new bundle of joy via the comment section below.

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Breaking News

Alec Baldwin to Face Involuntary Manslaughter Charges in ‘Rust’ Shooting of Halyna Hutchins

Charges were announced today by Santa Fe District Attorney, Mary Carmack-Altwies in the shooting on the set of the film, Rust fatally killing director Halyna Hutchins.

Alec Baldwin (ex-The Doctor and Knots Landing) has been charged with involuntary manslaughter along with the film’s armorer,  Hannah Gutierrez Reed.

The D.A. outlined why the deadly on-set shooting could result in criminal charges regardless of whether it was an accident.  In a statement, she shared: “After a thorough review of the evidence and the laws of the state of New Mexico, I have determined that there is sufficient evidence to file criminal charges against Alec Baldwin and other members of the Rust film crew. On my watch, no one is above the law, and everyone deserves justice.

In charges set to be filed by the end of January, Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed will each be charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter in Hutchins’ death.

Baldwin’s attorney, Luke Nikas, said this about the charges: “This decision distorts Halyna Hutchins’ tragic death and represents a terrible miscarriage of justice. Mr. Baldwin had no reason to believe there was a live bullet in the gun – or anywhere on the movie set. He relied on the professionals with whom he worked, who assured him the gun did not have live rounds. We will fight these charges, and we will win.”

Andrea Reeb, the special prosecutor for the case said: “If any one of these three people: Alec Baldwin, Hannah Gutierrez Reed, or David Halls (assistant director, Rust) had done their job, Halyna Hutchins would be alive today. It’s that simple.  The evidence clearly shows a pattern of criminal disregard for safety on the ‘Rust’ film set. In New Mexico, there is no room for film sets that don’t take our state’s commitment to gun safety and public safety seriously.”

What do you think about the charges levied on Alec Baldwin? Comment below.

 

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