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The Cady McClain Interview – The Young and the Restless

Photo Credit: Courtney Lindberg

Photo Credit: Courtney Lindberg

Over the last few months, Daytime Emmy winner Cady McClain has taken over the role of Kelly Andrews on The Young and the Restless from Daytime Emmy winner Cynthia Watros, and released her very personal memoir Murdering My Youth.  This should come as no surprise to anyone who knows the talents of this hard working actress, who is also an author and a filmmaker that always immerses herself in creative projects and different ways of self-expression.

McClain, who has been a prominent name in daytime soaps for decades, first with All My Children as Dixie, and then on As the World Turns as Rosanna, joined the cast of the CBS soap opera in 2014 and was immediately paired romantically on-screen with her former Pine Valley friend, Peter Bergman (Jack Abbott).  As the two characters draw closer … what will happen when Phyllis (the incoming Gina Tognoni) comes back to Genoa City and finds these two are intertwined?  And just what is Kelly’s relationship with Ben, err, Stitch (Sean Carrigan)?  In this interview with On-Air On-Soaps, Cady in her own inimitable style – with grace, humor, and intelligence – weighs-in on what might happen next to her latest on-screen incarnation … Kelly!

But before we get to what’s going down in Genoa City, we took the opportunity after being riveted and heartbroken reading Cady’s memoir, to talk to her about the tumultuous events that shaped her early life including; the sexual abuse suffered at the hands of her father, growing up in an alcoholic environment, her mother’s emotional and damaging outbursts, and how as a young child actress and even later into her early years on All My Children, she was footing the bill for the family and being used, for all intent and purposes, as their meal ticket!  The story is haunting, but true.  And at the conclusion of our chat, we came away with how Cady triumphed over her own tragedy.  Here’s what she shared …

MICHAEL:

When did you actually come to the decision to write the book, Murdering My Youth?   Was there any hesitation to bare your soul to the world in this way?

CADY:

Courtesy/Cady McClain

It was about five years ago that I started to write the story, and I originally started writing it as a fictional tale.  I wrote the entire book in the perspective of a third person, and then in the last year people kept pushing me to make it my story.  That was really terrifying.  I kept feeling like I had to warn everybody in the first few pages.  I would be saying, “Don’t worry if this upsets you!”  I put all these codicils in the front of the book to sort of make it OK for everyone, and that was a real process.  Probably the last year of writing the book was the hardest.  I wrote it because I had to, because I lived with this story inside me for so long, and for some reason writing it was not just cathartic in the way it released it, because I have been dealing with it and releasing it for my entire life.  For me it was about putting the personal into an artistic form, especially when putting it into words.  It becomes a story that no longer belongs to me; it belongs to the world.

MICHAEL:

You talk about the horrors and difficulties you suffered at the hands of your parents.  As a child actress, and throughout your early career, your mother would live off the money you made.  Did you feel at some point you were carrying mother around as a baggage, since you were in essence financially supporting her?  Were you still able to still find inside your heart love for your mother?

CADY:

Well, I absolutely loved her, and I felt she was my responsibility.  She was like a crazy child, and sweet and adorable in a lot of ways.  I remember doing a drawing when I was a little girl of a giant elephant on the back of a young girl, and that’s how it felt.  The elephant was just terrified.  I felt incredibly grateful that I could be strong and take care of her, but at the same time the things she did that were wounding were very hard to understand.  Also, the reason I wrote the book was to come to some compassion for her since she was wounded very deeply as a little girl.  I wanted to think of her as a person, and not as a mother who had to be fully responsible to a child … that was me.  By doing that, I felt more powerful, and more at peace.  I had to do the same thing with my dad. They were adults … but they were children.

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/ABC

The sexual abuse early on in your life from your father you carried with you into your professional soap career, because you would have to play, as any leading actress would, love scenes!   How did you conquer the fear that would come with that given the traumatic event in your life?

CADY:

My very first love scene on TV was with Michael Knight (Tad, AMC).  I was stiff as a board and I was terrified, and this is one of the reasons I will be so grateful to Michael ‘till the day I die.  He was always incredibly intuitive and sensitive to me as a young girl.   He was incredibly kind.  He understood, and that helped me a great deal.  What was harder was when the production couldn’t make any adjustments for me!  Even when my mom died, I was working five days a week, and kicking holes in the wall from the stress and the difficulties of everything.  They wrote scenes where men would grab me and drag me across the room, and they had a stunt coordinator, and thank God for him!  He got me, and he saw me freaking out!  The funny thing is being here at Y&R and starting to have some love scenes again … I have to admit I was nervous.  I hadn’t done love scenes in a while.  I had just gotten married, and so thank God for Peter Bergman (Jack)!  Peter is a total gentleman, and we had these conversations.  And this is the thing … I sought out the help of good men.  Good men will help you get through this crap.  So thank God for the good men here, and at home, who allowed me to have my fear and work through my fear.  The whole point is… you’ve got to get to the other side!  I don’t want to stay stuck in hell.  I like sex!  I don’t want to live as a victim of one experience.

MICHAEL:

… And in the book you detail that while at AMC was when you were having the hardest time emotionally.

CADY:

Photo Credit: HutchinsPhoto.com

Yes.  It was prior to my mother’s death, and leading up to that.  I was cutting my hair all the time!  I don’t know if anyone remembers the “Many Looks of Dixie”. (Laughs)  I almost had my hair shaved off!   It’s a funny thing.  A woman’s hair is her mane … her sense of power.  You can always tell how a woman is doing by her hair! (Laughs) Like, “Oh! She’s a bit Cruella de Vil today!”  (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

It’s interesting that in your book, and when you read other performers stories, they always seem to get the acting, or performing bug, early on when they are children; when they receive an instant form of gratification when they perhaps sing, dance, or impersonate someone in front of the family, and see that they can entertain.

CADY:

There is a sentence in the book: “This is how performers are made. It’s when you can affect the happiness of another person by your entertaining.”  It’s how I became an actor.  I would tap dance and people would be happy.  It was like, “Hey, I will dance and sing.  I am making money.  Are you happy now?  Here, take the money!”  I always think, though, that I have been a creative person my whole life in terms of the outlets of writing, filmmaking, and songwriting…

MICHAEL:

 … And Suzie F*cking Homemaker!

CADY:

Courtesy/TOLN

(Laughs) And Suzie!  And even my short film Flip Fantasia was inspired by me walking through Central Park going, “I have so much baggage!”  I was thinking that I am literally dragging a dead body, my mother, around!  And that is where the idea for the film came from.  I thought I will turn this into a comedy, because it’s so bad that if I don’t laugh, what am I going to do?   I am going to jump off the Brooklyn bridge.  And that’s not cool; we don’t want to do that!  (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

What has been the reaction you have received from people that have read Murdering My Youth?  Have others shared their personal stories with you?

CADY:

People with mothers who beat them, or people that were raped as children, all kinds of people have written me very, very personal stories; and how they have lived with this sense of fear as adults, and feeling alone, and unconnected to other people.  I think for me, one of the greatest gifts of this book was my way to not have anybody feel as alone as I did.  What makes us happy is to feel connected to one another and understood, and that sense of connection and understanding that makes life worth living.  You can move forward from things.  For me, to have that response from others was great.

MICHAEL:

Your sister is mentioned throughout this book, and in your story.  It seemed at times you were the one to take the brunt of the abuse from your parents.

CADY:

Courtesy/CBS

My sister gave me permission to write this book, but she was by no means unscathed from the horrors.  I just did not tell her story; this is my story to tell.  My sister deserves her privacy.  She is not a public person, and she is not on television, but we did go through this very much together.

MICHAEL:

You mention well-known former Hollywood children’s agent, the late Iris Burton. What a potty mouth on her!

CADY:

She was a children’s agent and my first agent for close to six years.  I remember she would say crazy things like, “Let me see your feet, honey!” or “Never wear that T-shirt again.”  She kind of was the beginnings of Suzy Homemaker! (Laughs)  Iris was kind of a monster.

MICHAEL:

Has your husband Jon Lindstrom (Kevin, GH) read Murdering My Youth?  Was he aware of much of your personal stories before you revealed them publicly?

CADY:

He knew some of it.  Most of the times he would want to hold me for a long time.  He is a great guy and a great hugger, too.  The love of a good person can really make things alright, and maybe that’s why in soap operas we tell stories about love.  We are all looking for that!

MICHAEL:

Everyone knows from your past work that you often have very high stakes and emotional scenes!  Do you think your work on the soaps has been, in a way, cathartic for you?

CADY:

Courtesy/CBS

It is not therapeutic; it’s an art form.  I love when a scene is well-structured and  well written, and I have a good scene partner and a good director.  It’s like a dance.  It’s dancing and everyone knows their steps.  It’s like Dancing with the Stars!  There are steps you must follow, and if you screw it up, you can screw up the whole dance.  There are times it can drain you.  I remember there was a time on As the World Turns where I was crying every day for five weeks straight about this baby.  I was ready to throw the baby out the window!  (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

In a recent interview with On-Air On-Soaps, Y&R head writers Jean Passanante and Shelly Altman discussed your work as Rosanna on As the World Turns as one of the reasons they knew you could play the part of Kelly Andrews.   Rosanna had an edge.  Does knowing that Jean, who was at one time the head writer of As the World Turns is writing for your character, give you hope that Kelly will be written to your strengths?

CADY:

Kelly is very different than Rosanna, or Dixie.  She is a fully adult woman with a really screwed up childhood … surprise! (Laughs)  Kelly has a lot of secrets.  I don’t see her as necessarily manipulative, but she is genuine.  She give her “male friend” Stitch a really hard time.  I was able to see in Kelly a strength inside all of that brokenness.  Depending on what they write, and Jean knows that I can do, which is awesome, this character can be terrific!  It’s nice to have people writing the show who know what I can do.

MICHAEL:

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Were you surprised you got cast in the part of Kelly?

CADY:

Shocked!  Cynthia Watros (Ex-Kelly) is a powerhouse.  She was a real presence in this role, and she has a real strength about her.  So when they called me and said, “You’re in the running for the part,” I was like “Oooh!”  Then I thought: “How can I convince them that I would be right for this role?”  So, I put together this reel.  I had to prove what I can do, and I had to have people go to bat for me.  Then I had to prove myself once I got the job.  To get the opportunity is fantastic, but to keep the opportunity is very nerve-wracking! (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Coming to Y&R can be nerve-wracking because there are some heavy hitters in the cast!  Did you want to make sure it did not become the “Cady McClain Show”? Sometimes it’s important in soaps, when people take over from another actress or are added into the canvas, that they are not shoved down the audiences’ throat too quickly.

CADY:

I think one of the most important things to me was to make sure that everyone here knew I respected them, and was happy to be a part of the show, and that I am not here to step on anyone’s toes, but to be an ensemble player.  This is not about me… it’s about being a member of the ensemble.  That’s how I am happiest, and that’s how I work best.  It also shows consideration for all the people who are working here for so many years.  I think everyone knows by now that I feel grateful to be here, and that I care about the show.  I want to do the work, and get out on time, and go home, and be with my husband and my dogs, and have a life.

MICHAEL:

Photo Credit: HutchinsPhoto.com

What is going on between Stich and Kelly?  Do you know what their “true” relationship is to one another?

CADY:

Kelly knows who Stitch is to her.  Their relationship is incredibly complex!   When their relationship is revealed, and you find out more of their history, it’s a devastating revelation for all involved.  I love working with Sean Carrigan (Stitch).  He is hilarious and really fun, and works really hard on all of his scenes.  We even text each other about how to develop our relationship more as actors working on characters.  He’s super cool.

MICHAEL:

So here you come to Y&R, and lo and behold, you are paired with your former AMC cast mate, Peter Bergman (Jack)!  What did you think about that, initially?

CADY:

The most beautiful thing is just looking at him in the glory days of All My Children, and the soaps, and being in New York when AMC was the top-rated show, and the world was young and we were all innocent.  The Internet did not exist, and we did not have cell phones!  We might as well be braiding our hair and singing love songs like hippies!  (Laughs) It was sort of post-70’s magic.  It was a magical time. When we moved down the street to the new studios, suddenly we became a corporate entity, and the show lost some of its sparkle.

MICHAEL:

How is Peter Bergman to act with?  Is he any good?  (Laughs)

CADY:

Courtesy/CBS

(Laughs) The most amazing thing about Peter is he has been here for 25 years, and you would think he just got the job yesterday.  He treats every scene with a passion and conviction, and he loves what he does.  Peter was so excited to work with me, which was so heartwarming.  We have had the same tales working with former AMC director Henry Kaplan, who was in my book.  Henry would say, “Do you love her?  Well show me!”  We would say those silly sayings to each other before a love scene to break the ice with one another.

MICHAEL:

So Kelly is truly, truly into Jack?

CADY:

She really likes him.  He is a nice guy, and sexy, and a turn-on for her.  I don’t think she knows why.  She is just drawn to him.  He is smart, and sophisticated.  Kelly is well-read and fought her way out of a tough upbringing to make herself into somebody, and to her Jack has become all of those wonderful things – confident in himself – and he has a rich history!  Apparently, Jack has been a bit of a playboy! (Laughs) Girls tend to find that very appealing … men who have experience.  It just means they know what they are doing when they get under the sheets, and that is good to know.  I prefer a little expertise, if you know what I mean! (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

And Kelly had now slept with Jack!  How was that? (Laughs)

CADY:

Peter and I sat around the dressing room and I said to him, and I love doing stuff like this. I said, “What do you think Kelly and Jack’s sex life is like?”  And we go, “Multiple Orgasms!” (Laughs)  Peter Bergman said that!  Why do you think Jack has had so many women!  (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/ABC

Phyllis is coming back in the form of two-time Daytime Emmy Winner Gina Tognoni!  What do you think of Gina being cast in the pivotal role?

CADY:

I am thrilled that Gina has been cast.  I am a fan of her work, and am in awe of her talent. I can’t wait!

MICHAEL:

You know when Phyllis wakes up out of her coma she is going to come back for Jack!  And who should have her claws into her man?  Kelly!  I see fireworks!

CADY:

That seems like it’s ripe for that!  I do love a good catfight!  I remember I did one with Maura West on As the World Turns, where it was so much fun.  So we shall see what happens when Phyllis returns.

MICHAEL:

Where is Kelly at with her relationship with Billy Abbott?

CADY:

Billy has moved on, and they have made it very clear to each other that it was one time, and he made a mistake.  There is still a connection.  When you sleep with somebody you kind of know them a little bit better, and you have been intimate.  I think it’s odd now that she is with his brother, but everybody seems to have done that on Y&R! (Laughs)  These things do happen in real life, and we are trying to be adult about it.  But these stories are great because they turn into really tangled vines.

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/IMDB

When you joined Y&R, David Tom was playing the role of Billy Abbott, and soon Burgess Jenkins will be taking it over.  What are your thoughts on the acting switch?  Have you met Burgess yet? 

CADY:

I met Burgess yesterday and he was lovely.  As a recast myself, I know how overwhelming the whole new world of Y&R can be!   I am looking forward to working with him and exploring more of the dynamic between these characters!  I hope I get to have a lot more with “Billy” soon!

MICHAEL:

Who in the cast made you feel the most comfortable from the minute you landed at Y&R?

CADY:

I am so grateful that Melody Thomas Scott (Nikki) is who she is.  She does set the tone. She is just the loveliest star of the show.  We did a scene where she said, “I was just so mean to you, I have to hug you now!”  When I first got here she screamed to me: “Welcome to the loony bin” while wearing her slippers with her script in hand!  I just adore her.

MICHAEL:

Some fans online at first seemed to want to reject the notion of you as Kelly, and then they seemed to come around.  You are very active on social media, so what is your take on the fan’s reaction?

CADY:

Photo Credit: Sue Coflin/Max Photos

The fans online have been so supportive.  I love when people have watched All My Children, or As the World Turns, and say, “Well now I am going to watch Y&R because we love those characters, etc!”  And I am very interactive and accessible on Twitter, and Facebook, and stuff.  So I definitely read everything.  Even people at the beginning were like: “I don’t know if Cady is going to work as Kelly!”  However, they seem to be coming around, and I am so grateful for that.   I am doing a different take on the character and I am happy that they are supporting me, and their verbalization, if you will, of that support.  But I will say; message boards are not for the weak of heart.  It’s tough though, sometimes comments do hurt.  I want to say, “Please don’t hashtag me if you want to say something mean!” (Laughs)  Enjoy your meanness, but please don’t hashtag me … or my boss!

MICHAEL:

Recently, one of my favorite things you wrote on your website blog at CadyMcClain.com was the piece on your nose!  What prompted you to do that?

CADY:

So one day I was looking up most popular searches for my website blog.  So I put in “Most Popular Searches”.  It said, “Cady McClain” and then “Cady McClain’s nose”!  I thought that was so bizarre. (Laughs)  I guess it’s not a secret anymore that I have a prominent nose.  So, I thought I would address it, laugh at it, and so I wrote a blog about it.  The nose is out of the bag! (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

So here you are the number one rated soap, The Young and the Restless.  Who else would you love to get the chance to work with that you haven’t had the opportunity to have scenes with yet?

Photo Credit: Courtney Lindberg

CADY:

I have not had the chance to work with Christian LeBlanc (Michael) and Greg Rikaart (Kevin). I think those guys are amazing, and Steve Burton (Dylan) is amazing!  I have not worked with him either.  There are so many good actors and actresses on this show.  It’s great to work with people who have been in the business as long as I have.  You can sort of talk to each other in short-hand, if you know I mean.  It’s like being a professional tennis player. You want to play against the best, and hit the ball back to you, and let me tell you, some of the best are right here in Genoa City.

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Harry
Harry

I had no idea Cady had such a hellacious childhood. The book sounds compelling and I will read it. And yes, I do remember she (Dixie) went through a period of changing her hair almost every month it seemed. Love, love, love reading about her experience with two of my favorite actors from daytime–Michael Knight and Peter Bergman–it always came through that both actors are very gracious and lovely.
I hope the writers can write decent stories for Kelly–she deserves it.
Thank you for the very interesting interview, Mr. Fairman.

A Baptiste
A Baptiste

Love and respect for this true star who keeps daytime alive with other greats. She had much responsibility while so young on AMC and delivered and still delivers. She is a strong, positive team player. And her book, it is brave and it has helped me, as a survivor of very similar abuse…and I am a man, these things do happen to men, too. I am so glad she is happy and I do think Cady may be part of daytime’s resurgance “in new ways” after all, bless her.

Ginger Willett
Ginger Willett

I love you and Jack together and I am thrilled you are on Y&R…hope we find out the Stitch connection soon!!!

Kim Huck
Kim Huck

This was a mistake to recast. i liked the other kelly. I really hope Phyllis never comes back

Harry
Harry

We have got to give our actors time to settle into their characters (for example–David Tom really deserved a fair chance). Cady is finding her stride and I really enjoy her scenes with Peter Bergman.

Megan
Megan

Well sorry Phyllis is coming back. So you better get ready.

Carole
Carole

I love her!

mollie
mollie

Love Cady, too! I was thrilled she was cast as Kelly. She works well with Peter/Jack, too.

My hope is that the audience gives her a minute to settle into the Kelly character and make it her own. Please, dear God, give Cady good script !

PS Susie F*cking Homemaker is a riot. Hope Cady does more 🙂

Conny
Conny

Thank you Mr. Fairman for this interview with Cady McClain. It is always nice to be ever so enlightened as to what make actors tick they way they do. You covered some sensitive material with Cady. But , also delivered it in a way that allowed to be professionally presented. Some of the the tools of Cady ‘ s personal life that was afore mentioned., I did not know. Through your interview, I’ve learned how much of an overcome Cady is and where she draws her strength from. I used to watch her as Dixie on AMC. Kelly seems like a much different character than Dixie.
I look forward to seeing how Cady will pull off the layers of Kelly and expose her us viewer in full character. I think her placement in Genoa City is a great asset to the show. So thanks again for bringing this interview to devoted fans like me.

Scott (ATWT Fan)
Scott (ATWT Fan)

Cady is a class act, always has and always will be. I knew she would be perfect for the role of Kelly Andrews when they announced their decision to recast, and I was right! I paired her and Peter in my own webseries in 2012, and it’s almost as if I saw this coming from a mile away!

She is a strong woman to share her back story, and I applaud her through everything for doing it. It takes a strong and confident person to admit the things she’s admitted, while still holding strong in her own life. I applaud her for that!

Suzy F*cking Homemaker is hysterical; I love the comedic side that Cady has, and hope that Y&R will be able to play off of that in the future. Cady’s connection with the Y&R is strong and sustainable, and I cannot wait to see her inter-mingle with the rest of the heavy-hitters. She was the absolute perfect choice for Kelly Andrews, and I hope we have decades worth of material from her! Cady and Maura’s catfights on As the World Turns were always strong and fierce, and it makes me wish Maura was still Diane. But she’s doing fabulous work over at General Hospital as Ava Jerome.

I look forward to seeing Kelly interact with more of Genoa City’s elite cast; I hope she does get those scenes with Christian, Greg and Steve like she would like. Would love a friendship between Nikki and Kelly, too. I feel like Nikki could use a real girlfriend now that Katherine is gone.

Carole
Carole

Stranger things have happened like Nikki and Ashley being cordial, and Lauren and Christine having lunch together!

Izabel
Izabel

Loved reading this. Never really read too much on actors but its good to know a little about where they came from and how they translate that into roles.. Having said tthat, its hard not to judge character since all we see is their tv role. I liked cynthia watros’ version of kelly but now I tthink cady has a good chance to make the character more her own. Cozy for her and jack! Always liked her friendship with Lilly! And can’t wait to see the connection with stitch, hope its intense.

Mary SF
Mary SF

Admire her as a person and respect her as an actress, but sorry I don’t like her interpretation of Kelly. CW’s Kelly was dark, and you could tell the character was beaten down by life, but Cady’s Kelly is too light and almost bubbly that the transition is hard to adjust to.

I get the character is moving on, and has a new outlook, but I just feel something of the character’s personality was lost in the recast and I think it would have been more interesting to see CW take on Kelly learning to be vulnerable as Jack worked to bring down her walls.

Don’t get me wrong, I think Cady is doing what she can coming in at such important time in the character’s development— and perhaps it is was the writing that changed Kelly more than Cady did– yet IMHO I believe Kelly was more interesting complex character when CW played her– now I could take her or leave her.

Sherie
Sherie

Sorry, I don’t like her very much. I never liked the character of Kelly so it is hard to appreciate any one in that role. But I did prefer the original lady.

Megan
Megan

Cady is truly an inspiration to me and many others. Her book is a fantastic read that I encourage everyone to read. She’s one of a kind.

Timmm
Timmm

Cady is a huge upgrade from Cynthia. I can now believe that this Kelly and Jack would actually be together and I see Cady and Gina blowing their scenes out of the water! Cady, great job on Y&R and a greater job of overcoming your horrific childhood.

jaybird369
jaybird369

AWESOME INTERVIEW!!!!! And, as an actress, Cady McClain TRULY ROCKS!!!!!

Nikki
Nikki

Wow… Heartbreaking. Thank you for the very interesting questions.
I am not a fan of the recastt. The character has taken a very sharp turn which I don’t think is bad. The old Kelly was always angry. I think there is such a drastic change in character that you forget how Kelly first came to be. My problem is that I feel Cady is wY over the top n every scene. Not a fan f the acting.

Rapids
Rapids

How do we know if her story of abuse is true? It is easy to say bad things about the deceased.

Nita
Nita

Not so easy to think someone would make up such a horrific lie stemming from the unfortunate acts of the adults that were responsible for the care and well-being of a child. Not to speak ill of the dead, but what were the parents thinking? Just goes to show how God takes care of children and how strong it made her. I was a victim in some of the same ways, so it is not so hard to believe. What happened in your life that made you so cynical?

Rapids
Rapids

What happened in your life that you automatically believe every accusation made is true? I don’t know these people and either do you.

Lindy
Lindy

One does not normally question something like this without a good reason. What makes you think her story of abuse is not true?

Patrick
Patrick

this is my most favorite response of Ms McLain :

The most beautiful thing is just looking at him in the glory days of All My Children, and the soaps, and being in New York when AMC was the top-rated show, and the world was young and we were all innocent. The Internet did not exist, and we did not have cell phones! We might as well be braiding our hair and singing love songs like hippies! (Laughs) It was sort of post-70’s magic. It was a magical time. When we moved down the street to the new studios, suddenly we became a corporate entity, and the show lost some of its sparkle.

I love knowing and sharing with people… that I grew up in the 60s, 70s, & 80s…. before internet… before cable… before cell phones…

every thing went to heck and handbasket there after.

I cherish the memories that folks like… can recall and dream… we had the best of times.. and magical instilled

imagination, festive, endorphin, electrolytes, testosterone… whatever makes us trigger

is ours

Ms. Cady McClain : congrats on your new position @Y&R
Ms. Cady McClain : congrats on your nuptials with Jon Lindstrom
Ms. Cady McClain : you are not alone in your childhood trauma

Ms. Cady McClain : Thank you

Ms. Cady McClain : you are an invaluable presence in our genre

my best to you always

sincerely

Tracey
Tracey

Ms. McClain has always been a class act. <3 her.

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Just when you think Brooke will finally score a moral victory in her vendetta with Thomas Forrester, (who’s manipulations almost destroyed her marriage to his father, Ridge), then she finds herself once again in hot water, and with a secret that in the wrong hands could cause a seismic shift to several relationships – that would he hers and her sister Katie’s – thanks to that ill-timed smooch with Bill!

But what else is new for Brooke? For 33 years, the character has captivated audiences with bold moves, questionable choices, enduring romances and plenty of gusto, all in the more than capable hands of her portrayer, the one and only Katherine Kelly Lang.

This week marks Katherine’s 33rd-year in the role of Brooke Logan Forrester, who along with John McCook (Eric Forrester), are the two original cast members since the very inception of the CBS daytime drama; which debuted back on March 23, 1987.  Now over three decades later, Lang is an international favorite. First, due to the success and broad appeal of B&B in foreign countries, but second, from her own entrepreneurship and hustle.  Always with multiple projects going on at once, Lang and her beau, Dom Zoida recently opened the American version of the Italian clothing and leather store in Beverly Hills, California, Benheart USA.

Michael Fairman TV chatted with Katherine to get the lowdown on: Brooke’s line-up of nemesis’ which seems to be growing! (Yes, you can put Thomas, Quinn and Shauna on that list, for sure.) Plus, what she feels this B&B anniversary is truly about, how she and others in the cast are coping with the ‘stay at home’ orders in California during the coronavirus pandemic, the recent loss of B&B co-creator, Lee Phillip Bell, and those all-time classic Stephanie and Brooke scenes opposite Susan Flannery and more.  Here’s what this BOLD original had to share with all of you.

Photo: JPI

What did you think about Brooke’s whole relationship with Thomas (Matthew Atkinson) and the tit-for-tat between them?  Brooke really stood up to him and his manipulations, and held her ground. Meanwhile, he was going to do everything he could do ruin her and cause so much trouble for Brooke’s marriage to Ridge (Thorsten Kaye).

KATHERINE: This is my feeling: she was so adamant and so trying to convince people about Thomas and that he was so out for himself;  and out for Brooke’s daughter, Hope (Annika Noelle), and very manipulative, and nobody would listen really.  Only a few people like Liam (Scott Clifton) did and her daughter finally agreed with her.  Then at the wedding of Thomas and Zoe (Kiara Barnes), it proved that Brooke was right all along.  I still don’t feel like Brooke got her due as far as what everybody was saying.

No, she didn’t!  No one really said to her in a grand way, “Oh, my God, Brooke!  You were right about Thomas all along.”

KATHERINE:  I know!  Ridge did say, “You were right,” and that’s great.  However, more people should have apologized and acknowledged her, and said, “Oh, we understand now where you were coming from,” and, “Hey!  Good intuition!”

Photo: JPI

That was must have been so frustrating to Brooke!  She knew the truth, and everybody was treating her so badly and painting her to be the bitch.

KATHERINE:  Yup!  They dubbed herthat crazy one” and the bitch.

Was all of this enjoyable to play?

KATHERINE:  It was enjoyable that it finally came out that Thomas is the manipulative person that he is, even though he is so good at it that he almost makes you feel sorry for him.  But he’s like a good sociopathThat’s why they’re so good at what they do.  They’re good at bringing real emotion into every situation and yet being very manipulative.  Kudos go to Matthew Atkinson for playing Thomas, really well.  He’s been great, and he brings something really different on to our show.

Photo: JPI

Brooke and Ridge’s relationship has been severely tested; almost tearing them apart over Ridge previously standing up for his son.  Now Brooke’s recent kiss with Bill (Don Diamont) threatens it, as that kiss was caught on tape, and landed in the wrong hands.  Is Brooke in freak-out mode yet?

KATHERINE:  I definitely think she is, and she wanted to take that kiss back from the second that it happened.  She allowed it to happen.  It’s a little bit of old Brooke resurfacing there.  Right away she was like, “What are we doing?   This is ridiculous.  You’re with Katie, and I’m with Ridge, and we’re both happy.”  Brooke has had underlying feelings for Bill, and she probably always will (and he for Brooke), but we know that’s not where we want things to be.  So, in Brooke’s mind, it’s “let’s forget about that and carry on, and don’t tell anybody.”  Of course, it comes out to some people, and it’s so embarrassing for Brooke.  Like, how does she explain herself?  I mean, at that point she can’t explain what happened … or why she did that.  She has to kind of succumb to it.

Right! And of course, Shauna (Denise Richards) and Quinn (Rena Sofer) want to take her down with this ammo.

KATHERINE:  Of course!  That’s what they live for. (Laughs)

Photo” JPI

Recently, Quinn spiked Brooke’s drink with some booze after they had quite the argument. Fans were on the edge of their seats that Brooke might start drinking again.  What did you think of the plot point?

KATHERINE:  I think it could have been interesting.  I have no idea if they will bring it up again.  That happens sometimes.  They’ll put in a little teaser and not run with it.  However, you never know if it’s going to resurface down the line, especially when Brooke is really down in the dumps for some reason.

I could see her being down in the dumps if she finally had no man in her life! (Laughs)

KATHERINE: (Laughs) That’s probably what she needs … not having a man in her life!

How is working with Rena Sofer and Denise Richards; especially when they are antagonists in scenes with Brooke?  Do you ever have a good laugh while trying to tape those scenes, as well?

KATHERINE: I think there’s a good chemistry between the three of us, and we have that rivalry going on.  So, I think it’s been working, and it’s been entertaining and interesting.  They’re fun to bounce off of.  Usually we are pretty serious when we do those scenes, especially if they’re more verbally combative.  So, we’ll just be really serious and stay in it.  Of course, sometimes things happen, and you laugh, but we sometimes don’t have the luxury to take the time to laugh and enjoy the moment, because we have to try to get the scene done in one take and move on.

Photo: JPI

There were a few months there that Brooke was slapping everybody! There were plenty of bitch-slaps that needed to go around. What did you think of those scenes?

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KATHERINE: I loved it, but then I felt like it was also maybe getting out of hand because it’s not really PC.  Nobody is supposed to hit people or slap people in anyway.  So, it worked more years and years ago in our genre, as times have changed in our world and culture.

Viewers saw this week that Donna (Jennifer Gareis) knows Brooke kissed Bill and that they have to make sure Katie (Heather Tom) does not find out, while others are out to expose Brooke!

KATHERINE:  I would imagine that everybody would want to see how Brooke unravels.  So, just keep watching!

Photo: JPI

Would you welcome another go round at a Brooke and Bill romance?

KATHERINE: Not when Bill’s with Katie and with everything that Katie’s gone through.  I couldn’t see that.  I don’t think it would be right.  That would mean that Brooke is completely selfish, you know?  There are so many other men.  Why does she have to go for her sister’s man?

Photo: JPI

In recent months, we have witnessed scenes where Brooke has been more confrontational and fighting back and not putting up with the shenanigans of others!  We have seen this in particular with Thomas, Shauna, and Quinn.  Did it seem like they ramped that up for Brooke?

KATHERINE:  Yes, because at some point it’s frustrating because nobody was listening to her.  It all started with the whole Thomas thing, and once she started fighting back, she wanted to fight back on everything.  She’s been lied to about a lot of things.  It’s not been fair.

Does Brooke still think Hope is too vulnerable to make wise decisions for herself; even after she stood up for herself at the wedding of Thomas and Zoe?

KATHERINE: Now. I think she feels much better, because there are moments where Hope is very vulnerable, but then she kicks herself in the butt, and stands up for herself and everybody else.  So, Brooke knows that Hope’s strong, but she also knows that she can be vulnerable.  At this moment, she is proving that she can handle things.

Photo: JPI

B&B turned 33-years-old this week as the show continues to remain so popular in the United States, and of course, is the most watched soap in the world. What can you say about still being with the series since its inception, and all that has happened to you in your life and career, because of playing Brooke, plus a nod to the fans?

KATHERINE: It’s been an amazing opportunity for me.  It’s been my life basically! 33 years on The Bold and the Beautiful, and the show has always kicked butt.  I mean, the show has been going strong ever since it started, and it still is going strong.  It’s just been an honor to be on the show, and remain on the show for so long as one of the original characters.  My heart really goes out to the fans, because honestly, so many of them tell me they’ve watched from day one.  We have a history with them raising their families.  Younger people come up and say, “I’ve been watching the show ever since I was little with my mom.”  So, there’s a wide range of different people who watch the show, and I appreciate them so much.  We all appreciate them so much because really, without them, there would be no show.  I just want to say ‘thank you’ to all of the fans.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Photo: JPI

Brooke is one of the most notable characters of all-time in soap operas and you are the actress playing her. That has to be a very good-feeling for you.

KATHERINE: I think there have been a lot of notable characters on soap operas, who have even been on the air a lot longer than me.  Look at Eric Braeden (Victor, Y&R) who just celebrated his 40th, and Melody Thomas Scott (Nikki, Y&R) who also reached a milestone recently.  What I have learned from all of this is; what matters is when you come on a show that your heart is in it 100%, and you come to your job and you try your hardest.  That to me is what matters and makes you an honorable person.  I’m very flattered that I’ve been on The Bold and the Beautiful for as long as I have.

Photo” JPI

When you look back at 33 years of your time on The Bold and the Beautiful, are your scenes with Susan Flannery and those epic moments between Stephanie and Brooke, the ones that still standout to you the most?

KATHERINE: Those scenes with Susan informed and formed the show and the characters for years.  I had a lot of memorable scenes with Susan.  I’m so lucky to have worked so closely with her.  She’s an amazing actress.  I learned so much from her, and just watching her.  I would hang on her every word – how she would talk about the business, how she would talk about acting, directing (because she loved to direct), and producing.  Susan was very knowledgeable, and she was very tough, but very fair, I thought.  I just loved her work ethic.

You and Thorsten Kaye have created your version of Brooke and Ridge. What do you think about working with Thorsten?  Is it fun? Challenging? How would you define it?

KATHERINE:  He’s very fun to work with.  Thorsten is very serious, very prepared all of the time, and he’s watching everything.  He’s got eagle eyes.  He’s just so on top of it and working with people like that makes you raise your bar.  It makes you want to try 110% to be there and put in the work.  Thorsten’s also so funny, and easy to work with, and so charming, and such a dear friend.   I love working with him.  I do think Brooke and Ridge have an interesting relationship even though some people say, “Oh, they should be over,” or whatever they want to say.  I do think they have created a good banter between them, and almost an understanding without having to say anything.  Thorsten’s a delight!

Photo: JPI

What is your takeaway when you travel overseas and internationally to places such as Italy, Dubai, Monaco or Australia where B&B is so widely popular and the reaction you receive from the fans?

KATHERINE:  Just seeing the overseas reactions in different countries and how popular or how loved The Bold and the Beautiful is truly special.  The fans really do love from their hearts.  They feel a part of it, and they are, but just their enthusiasm and their passion and their love, and they give their whole heart to you and to the show.  I just found that really interesting, and like I said earlier, we owe the success of B&B to the fans who love the show so much.

Photo: JPI

You recently were in Greece appearing for a multi-episode arc on the soap 8 Lexeis.  How was that experience?  I know Greek soap star, Andreas Georgiou, also came over to the States and appeared on B&B afterwards, too.

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KATHERINE:  It was an incredible opportunity.  I love working in other countries, and seeing how other people work, and how they make different projects and things.  8 Lexeis is their top TV show on their top network in Greece, so it was really exciting to go there and work on that.  I did 15 episodes in 5 days; something crazy like that.  We worked all morning through late at night every day, but it was fun.  It was amazing to see how creative they are and how they just run with it.  Everything was really chill on the set, but they still moved really fast and got everything done, and they were all so talented and so nice.  Then later, Andreas came over and did some shows here.  He was supposed to come to visit, but then the Coronavirus happened, so he had to postpone his trip, but we’ll see him soon.

Photo: JPI

B&B is on a production break due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Have you stayed in touch with your co-stars during this time?

KATHERINE: A lot of us talk on Instagram all of the time, and then a lot of people have been going live on their as well.  So, we jump into each other’s live videos!  Have you seen Katrina Bowden (Flo) and Kelly Kruger (Mackenzie, Y&R) do their little workouts together? You should check those out! Ashley Jones (Bridget) is always on, and Annika Noelle, and then our Supervising Producer, Casey Kasprzyk, started doing Zoom.  He did a Zoom with some of the B&B people.  So, we’ve all been texting and keeping in touch and making sure that everybody is okay.  I know it’s very hard times and it can be scary for all.   Hopefully, if everybody does what they should be doing, it will flatten the curve and the Coronavirus will be a lot easier to deal with.

Photo: JPI

You are one of the busiest people I know! Recently, you went to Australia, you opened your new store Benheart USA in Beverly Hills, and you appear on B&B in a lead role.  Is there ever a moment when you’re like, “I can’t do one more thing?” or do you like the go-go-go of it all of the time?

KATHERINE: I like the go-go-go, but I felt that I was going too fast and too hard, and I’ve recently been thinking of what I can take out of our lives and our schedule, and then in thinking of that, I couldn’t really think of what I can take out.  Then, this all happened with life coming to a screeching halt, which I find very interesting because life is set up to go so fast.  Nobody can really enjoy anything.  We have to get up early, we have to go to work, we have to make money to pay for this, we’ve got to take care of the family, do this, do that, maybe just try to be motivated to be successful, whatever your dreams are, you’re going after them, etc.  It’s such a driven world all around that I think with having to self-quarantine that this is a chance to take a good look at what is going on in your life.  Now, we have a lot of down time.  We have time to think, go inside ourselves.  It gives you time to be kind, slow down, think of others.  What can you do for others?  What can you do for the world?  It’s been frightening for a lot of people; especially the ones who have gotten sick, or the ones who are scared of getting sick because they are immunocompromised.  But, at the same time, we need to try to not let that anxiety get to us and try to appreciate what we have.  Like, “Why is this happening?  What is this moment trying to tell us?”  I’m always trying to find the silver lining; or what is this trying to tell us in life?

Photo” JPI

B&B and Y&R co-creator Lee Phillip Bell passed away at the end of February, and it was so heartbreaking.  I know you were close with Lee.  What can you share on her passing?

KATHERINE:  It was heartbreaking.  I always think, “Gosh, I wish I saw her one more time before she passed,” but she was around her family, who are so loving, and supportive, and always there for her.  Lee created an amazing life for herself and for her family, and she was a huge part of The Bold and the Beautiful, and of course, I thank her so much because she hired me.  Lee gave me my life, and this time on the show.  She was amazing.  She cared so much about the show and the people on it.  Lee was such a great mom and such a great friend.  It’s been special knowing her and spending all of that time with her that I was able to through the years.  My heart goes out to the Bell family as well.  I know this must be hard for them.

Photo: JPI

Then, it was so sad that Orson Bean died tragically before that.  Have you talked to Alley Mills (Pam)?

KATHERINE: Yes, a bunch of us went over and spent time with Alley and brought her food.  We brought her goodies, and we just hung out.  We just gave her lots of love, spent time, and that was before I had to run off to Australia as well, but she’s really strong.  That was just very tragic.  Two weeks before Orson died, we had seen them both in the play Bad Habits.  It was so, so funny, and they both had all of us who attended laughing so hard, and it was such a pleasure.

Photo: JPI

In closing, what are your hopes for Brooke moving forward into the future?

KATHERINE: I’ve been saying that I hope she’ll spend time by herself and be alone for a while and focus on her family.  I’ve said that for so long, but I don’t know what’s going to work for her! (Laughs)  However, I’m just so curious to see what will happen next for her.

So, what do you think of Brooke’s latest predicament after her kiss with Bill? Do you hope that Ridge and Brooke stay together? What have you thought of the more recent version of a feisty Brooke who fought back when no one believed her about Thomas? And finally, share your congrats to Katherine for 33 years as Brooke and let us know some of your favorite all-time scenes via the comment section below.

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Interviews

Y&R’s Eric Braeden Talks On 40 Years Of Life In Soaps As Victor Newman

Back in February, Eric Braeden added another milestone to his illustrious career – that of portraying the one and only Victor Newman for 40 years on the top-rated daytime drama, The Young and the Restless.  And boy was he celebrated!  First, there was a one-of-a-kind on set celebration at CBS Television City which was quite the star-studded affair.  That was followed by special episodes of Y&R, where Newman Enterprises turned 50 with a gala that also proved emotional with speeches and retrospective clips.

When you talk daytime dramas to anyone, you would be hard-pressed for the general public to not know the name “Victor Newman”- and that is because of the powerhouse performances and nuances that Braeden brings to his soap opera alter-ego.  For it was Y&R co-creator Bill Bell and Braeden who really shaped what viewers have come to know, expect, and love, forty years later.

Those who know Eric understand he can be at times outspoken, has a heart of gold, stands up for what he believes, can bring the drama, the suspense, the tension, the romance and the tears in any given scene when it is called upon, and that throughout the years he has earned the respect from his peers for an impressive job well-done.

Michael Fairman TV caught up with Eric to take a look back at all that had gone down recently in his honor, and to get his thoughts on some major moments in time through over 40 years in Genoa City, and where things are at now.  Check out our special conversation below.

Photo: JPI

When I attended and saw you at your 40th anniversary on set celebration at Y&R last month, I cannot tell you what a special event that was.  I have never seen that for anybody else!  The amount of people who attended, and the love they showed for you, was so special. When you were sitting in that chair on the soundstage and watching and hearing what was being said about you, what was going on in your mind at that point?

ERIC:  Well, first of all, it was the nicest thing that’s ever happened to me in 40 years on that show, and secondly, in moments like that, you try to stay focused on who is giving the speeches, because if I then look around and see all of the people who I have known for so many years, it’s emotional.  There’s a saying in German, “he’s close to the water,” meaning it’s very moving.  I saw my son and my granddaughter there and obviously everyone else, and my old coach and players, and so many others that have been a part of my life.

Photo: JPI

There were some very special guests and speeches.  I loved that Justin Hartley (Ex-Adam, Y&R and now Kevin, This Is Us) came.  I thought that was sweet and cool, and also that ESPN sports personality, Stephen A. Smith was there calling you one of his good friends.  There were so many moments.  You knew who was going to speak, right?

ERIC:  Yes, I did.  We kept it to just family, and in other words, Y&R family, etc.  I want to thank Matt Kane (Publicist, Y&R), who had a lot to do with putting the event together.  I also wanted to thank Tony Morina (executive producer, Y&R). The Y&R art department and David Hoffman (Production Designer) also did a fantastic job with those pictures they had created that was part of a set.  Thinking back on it, again, I would without a doubt say, that the celebration was the most moving moment in 40 years in the business and on that show.

Photo: JPI

A few weeks ago, Y&R and B&B co-creator Lee Phillip Bell passed away.  Obviously the late Bill Bell (co-creator, Y&R) and she were instrumental for you being at Y&R in the first place, and the creation of Victor Newman.  What can you say about Lee? 

ERIC:  We invited Lee to the event, and she apologized and said she was not in a position to attend, and then, shortly thereafter she passed.  In a sense, I’m glad Lee wasn’t there because when I would see her on some occasions, I just am moved to tears.  I would have not been able to really hold it together for long.  Obviously, she was co-responsible for a lot of stuff that happened on Y&R. co-responsible for that show still being number #1, and my heart goes out to her.  I know what I owe them, and she had a lot of influence on the storylines.  Lee was an incredibly smart and bright lady.  Her son, Brad Bell (EP and head writer, B&B) did speak at the 40th event and I appreciated it enormously.

There were a lot of retro clips shown of you show in celebration of your 4oth anniversary from when you started on the show back in 1980 till now.  Did you remember all of those moments?

ERIC:  First of all, they put that together so beautifully.  That was done so extremely well.  When I see it, it comes right back, or in other words it evokes precise memories, but if I weren’t seeing it, it’s all a blur.

Photo: JPI

Y&R brought Meg Bennett (Ex-Julia) and Robert Parucha (Ex-Matt), for the on-screen episodes celebrating Newman Enterprises 50th anniversary.  Was it nice having them back and seeing them, or is it kind of weird, because it can be such a long time in-between since you have all been together?

ERIC:  It is both.  It is very nice to see old colleagues obviously, and very touching, but look, we are in a weird business.  When I saw Meg, you suddenly realize how the show has evolved in many ways.  So, I’m always very grateful to see those who I started out with on the show and of course, doubly grateful to those who are still there.  I think of Melody and Doug Davidson (Paul) for example.  Doug has been there for longer than I have, and what a great job he did emceeing the 40th anniversary event, and as for Melody, that her and my relationship still endues after all of these years is amazing.

Photo: JPI

Let’s talk about those Newman Children.  I thought Joshua Morrow (Nick) gave a hilarious speech and even Mark Grossman (Adam) spoke so sincerely from the heart to you.  You get a sense that the Newmans are a fun group to work with.

ERIC:  I obviously love working with Joshua.  Same for Amelia Heinle (Victoria), I adore her, and Melissa Ordway (Abby).  They all have a great sense of humor, and Mark Grossman, I think is doing a damned good job.  And there is Peter Bergman (Jack).  Peter has been a great nemesis for all of these years.  Of course, Peter was very funny in his speech, and Joshua was very funny, and Ed Scott’s (Producer, B&B) was very good.  Tony Morina also shared a very funny little antidote!

Photo: JPI

What came across loud and clear is what we already knew.  Everyone knows the name “Victor Newman”.  You know when they go, “Victor Newman … Y&R!”  It’s so synonymous, right?  I don’t know what it must be like for you knowing the public has that reaction to you … and you’re that guy.

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ERIC:  I’ll tell you very honestly, I have an ambivalent relationship to that fact.  I deny it on one hand, don’t want to know about it, don’t really want to know about it, and on the other hand, when I hear about it, I say, “Yeah, very happy to hear about it, but is it true?”  I am sort of strange that way.  I have not had a picture of myself or anyone else in my dressing room for these 40 years.  It’s barren, as you know.  I don’t have any pictures hanging up of me; there’s nothing.  Now, I was talking about taking the one picture that David Hoffman had designed beautifully, and I have it on one wall.  I thought, “I’ll be damned,” because the picture includes Melody and some scenes that went on.  I’ve always been funny that way with praise.  Do I like it?  Of course, but …

There’s an uncomfortableness about it, right?

ERIC:  Yes, but I’ve seen too much in this business.  I’ve seen too many extraordinary stars, where you wonder, “Where are they now”?  I take this business with a grain of salt.  I really do.  It’s so easy to succumb to it.   I’ve known many people, including on our show, who used to say, “Well, without me, this thing would go down the drain,” and I said, “Yeah?  No s**t,” and they’re not there anymore.  You have no idea what happens to some actors when they see themselves on the cover of soap magazine.  They go crazy.  I’ve seen it, and the worst thing you can do is to believe in that, and I’ve always been skeptical of that, very skeptical.  Get back to what counts in this business:  do a good job … do the best you can … and where is the money?  I mean really, let’s call a spade a spade, and that’s it.

Photo: JPI

I was just going to say, the one person I so wished was at your 40th celebration was Jeanne Cooper (Ex-Katherine, Y&R).   I wish she could have been there with us, because she would have loved it.  I know she loved you.

ERIC:  She would have spoken, trust me!  She would have said, “Alright, you son of a bitch.  Alright, macho man let’s see what you’ve got!” and then she would grab me by the balls.  The first scene I ever had with her, Jeanne did that.  Absolutely hilarious!  Jeanne and I could not do a scene without laughing.  I’m serious.  We had to pull ourselves together.  She had such a great sense of humor, and we both looked at this, obviously, with an enormous grain of salt, because we’ve been there.  We’d seen it all.

set

Photo: JPI

Through the years, you obviously have been vocal on social media where you will call out things as you see them and as you truly feel, especially through various regime changes, or if there is a noticeable shift away, or focus, from core characters. What are your thoughts on what ultimately makes Y&R, the iconic soap that it is?

ERIC:  Let me put it very simply: the show is based on the comradery and enmity between the Newmans and the Abbotts, and I’ve included on that a go-between, if you will, a Chancellor … Jeanne Cooper.   That was sort of the plan, but the major triangle was sort of the Montagues and the Capulets in Romeo and Juliet.  That is what legendary stories are based on.  It’s family rivalries, and within those rivalries, we tell all kinds of fantastic stories.  It’s father-son, father-daughter, husband-wife, love affairs, disloyalties, ruthless business competition, and it goes on and on.  The scenes with Peter Bergman and me over the years have been legendary, wonderful, and they’re great scenes.  Now, to suddenly bring in whole new characters that no one knows about, which previously happened on our show, you have to ask, “What are you not getting?  You want to reinvent the wheel?”  Go with what is working.  It doesn’t often happen that you have the right cast and the right story.  That is what makes a show successful.  Imagine taking Cosmo Kramer (Michael Richards) out of Seinfeld.  You couldn’t.   It wouldn’t work.  In other words, when you have the right actors and the right storyline, you have a hit.  We’d been number #1 for over 30 years because of it

Photo: JPI

When you get a script, have there been those moments in the 40 years where you will say. “My character would never do this.  I’m not playing it!?”

ERIC:  Of course.  Not that I’m not playing it, but I will make certain adjustments here and there.  I always have, by the way, from the very beginning.  Bill Bell agreed with most of it.  I know my character, and I have and instinctive feel for what is emotionally touching and what is not.  Look, I have always said that I admire writers.  I don’t envy their job.  I really don’t.  I think it is the hardest job in the business, and writing for soaps is even harder.  So, I have great respect.  So therefore, I don’t even want to know who wrote what.  I don’t ever want to be in the position of insulting a writer because I know how difficult it is.  As in everything in this business, it is a cooperative business.  There are very few writer/directors who have earned the right (I’m talking about Martin Scorsese, I’m talking about Ingmar Bergman, I’m taking about a handful) to write and direct their own stuff.  Even they rely on the cooperation of their lead actors.  That’s what is so wonderful about this business in that it’s this precisely cooperative thing.  However, when there are some people who simply don’t listen to those of us who have been around for a while and we know, we really know, then, they’re being foolish.

Photo: JPI

Y&R taped the Newman Enterprises 50th anniversary gala, which was in essence, your on-screen 40th anniversary episodes.  That was another amazing part of this.  I love that they would go to a clip, and one of the characters would say something in speech, and then, they’d go back to a shot of you reacting.  Were you, you, or Victor at that point, because it seemed so genuine and emotional?

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ERIC:  You know, look, one thing sort of blends into the other.  I loved that show by the way.  It was brilliantly done, and they could have easily screwed that up, but they didn’t.  I thought Josh Griffith (head writer, and Co-EP, Y&R) did a hell of a job, and Tony Morina did a wonderful job, they really did.  So, I really can’t say enough about that.

Photo: CBS

When you look back on the enormity of scenes you have performed as Victor Newman; the ones that and you and I always come back to are the scenes between you and Dorothy McGuire as Victor’s mother; and the scenes with you and George Kennedy as Victor’s father.  Do you still consider those your all-time favorites?

ERIC:  I always think about them.  They are my top favorites, plus one other.   No question about it; because the scene with Dorothy McGuire laid the groundwork of what Victor Newman is all about.  That summarized all of his subsequent moments of anger, and upset, and mistrust, and etc.  It was the seminal scene for Victor Newman … period.  One other scene that one of my favorites was the one with Melody, on Christmas Eve where Nikki keeps on bugging Victor to tell her about his past, and he finally does.  It was about that orphanage experience, etc.  Actually, those two scenes early on were responsible for my really wanting to stay and realizing that now I had a chance to play some real emotions, some real feelings, some real conflict.   I remember after Victor told Nikki that story, a moment when I went to my dressing room, I called home, and I said, “Now, I’m going to stay.”  No two ways about that.  I called my wife, and I said, “I’m staying,” because I wasn’t sure if I was going to.  It happened because I had talked to Bill Bell and I said, “Bill, I’m so tired of playing bad guys.  I’ve done it for too many years.  I’m empty.  I’m burnt out.  It’s too dehumanizing.  Let’s imbue this character with a background,” and he did, brilliantly, and that’s the reason I stayed, and that’s the reason I’m here 40 years later, truly.

So, when you were feeding rats to Nick Benedict as Michael Scott, were you ready to leave? (Laughs)

ERIC:  Well, that was a little different story, but I looked at that, and I said, “Are you kidding me?” (Laughs)  Back then, I knew little about what works on soaps … and people still talk about it!  They loved it.

Photo: JPI

The scenes opposite George Kennedy were so emotional … and heavy-duty, too.  It was so sad watching Victor’s father reject him.

ERIC:  It was sad.  It was really, really sad, and George played it wonderfully.  I cannot say enough about that because here is an actor who comes from the outside of our genre.  George lived in Boise. Idaho and he traveled all the way by car to LA with his grandson to do the scenes He wouldn’t take a plane.  George was so damn prepared that we did those scenes in one take!  It’s stunning!  I can’t talk enough about him.  I just so admired and respected him.  George passed away about a year ago, but that’s why I had him in my film, The Man Who Came Back.

Photo: JPI

As a leading man, Victor has had many women in and out of his romantic life for years and of course, his constant, Nikki Newman (Melody Thomas Scott).   You’ve been fortunate to work with so many wonderful actresses such as Eileen Davidson as Ashley.  Which standout to you? 

ERIC:  I have to say obviously Melody, but I have to also say the scenes with Eileen – they meant a lot to me.  I regret that she and I did not have more storylines together.

Photo: CBS

So, the coronavirus is shutting down the world, life in America, and has shut down production on the soaps.  How is everybody dealing with it at the show, and how do you feel it’s being handled?

ERIC:  Well, originally I wanted to continue working, but I said only if everyone was fully supplied with the proper wipes and antiseptics all of the time.  In other words, from the makeup department, from the props department, to someone wiping down all of the handles and all of that, but I completely understand now from a company point of view, they had to shut down because what if you work and someone gets sick because of it… and it goes on and on.  It’s a terrible thing, but I was willing to continue working.  Yes, perhaps stupidly so.  It’s going to be tough when we come back because a lot of work has to be made up, but I understand why we stopped.

What would you say to the fans who have stayed so invested in Victor Newman, and you, even 40 years after your Y&R debut? 

ERIC:  I’ve said it before, and I will happily say it again:  I am deeply grateful to the fans everywhere.  Without them, you and I would not be talking.  That’s really the long and the short of it.  The fans have really everything to do with it.  I’m glad that I am on social media because I am engaged with quite a few people very gladly, and I hear some interesting stories, and some very touching stories.  Y&R has taught me to really not look at that as a sort of nebulous audience.  I put faces behind it because I’ve seen them.  I’ve seen them in the last 30-odd years in public appearances.  I don’t forget them.  I don’t forget what it means to me.  It’s deeply touching.  I’m not at all anesthetized to it, no.  It touches me deeply, and whenever I do a PA, and receive the people’s reactions, I say, “Whoa,” and now I know why I’m in the business.

Courtesy/CBS

In closing, fans have been watching what looks to be another showdown brewing between Victor vs. Adam for control of Newman Enterprises.  Do you think still after all these years; Victor has it in him to out maneuver his black sheep son, as he has done in the past?

ERIC:  Hell, yes.  What do you think?  Bring him on, man.  Bring him on.  Victor’s still full of piss and vinegar.  Okay?  What people don’t know is that I’m a feisty son of a bitch.  I don’t give up.  I fight to the last.  I mean it.

So, what has been your favorite all-time Y&R scenes featuring Eric Braeden? What do you hope happens next for Victor and the Newman clan? What do you think about the sentiments shared throughout our conversation on Eric’s 40th anniversary celebration? Comment below.

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General Hospital

General Hospital’s Johnny Wactor Talks ‘Being Brando Corbin’

This week on General Hospital, viewers saw that Sonny Corinthos (Maurice Benard) has set Port Charles newcomer Brando Corbin (Johnny Wactor) up with a mechanics garage for a place of business, that has left Brando concerned, but also thankful.

Brando came onto the scene when he saved Carly (Laura Wright) from gunfire. The once believed-to-be-dead son of Gladys Corbin (Bonnie Burroughs), has a checkered past, but has been trying to remain on the straight and narrow.  Sonny had previously put into motion protection for teenaged Dev (Ashton Arbab), that he will continue to be passed off as the biological son of Brando to keep him safe.  That, along with a back-story that includes: the Iraqi War, prison time, drug use, PTSD, familial issues, mob wars, and more, has loaded the deck for actor Johnny Wactor to show his acting chops and more within the daytime drama arena.

Since making his debut in the recurring role of Brando back in January of this year, in a short amount of time, Wactor has already displayed that he has solid leading man, and soap anti-hero potential, something that always serves one well amidst the romance, intrigue, and suspense of the genre’s storytelling.

Michael Fairman TV chatted with Johnny to get his thoughts on becoming part of the iconic GH and where he hopes Brando’s journey goes from here.  Check out what he had to say below.

Photo: ABC

What do you think about your character’s name being “Brando”? Did GH tell you where the idea for the name came from?

JOHNNY:  Oh, I love it.   No, they didn’t tell me why, but I assume it was in some relation to Marlon Brando; when back in the day he was in a leather jacket … because I come onto the scene wearing a leather jacket as a badass!

What’s your experience been like coming onto a show like GH?  Previously, I know you’ve done a lot of primetime roles and series.  Were you shocked at the pace of shooting a daytime drama?

JOHNNY:  Oh, yeah.  I was made aware of the pace beforehand by my manager, as well as my buddy, Mark Grossman (Adam Newman) who works on The Young and the Restless.  He’s kicking ass over there.  In this genre, you get one rehearsal and one take pretty much, and then, they move on.  It’s definitely been a learning curve, and I’m still getting used to that at times where I’m just like, “Ah, I want one more take!”  I can get a bit obsessive and I’m a perfectionist.  It definitely has been challenging, but I enjoy it.  It’s fun to work at a fast pace.  It’s a lot like working in the theatre.

In story, Johnny is pretending to be Dev’s father.  Did you know that would be part of Brando’s story when you took on this gig?

JOHNNY:  I did not.   I didn’t know that until I read the first script that they sent me.  I’m like, “I also have a son?”   It was a lot to take in, but that’s where the imagination comes in.

What’s great for you, I would think, is that you’re getting to play in scenes with Maurice Benard and Laura Wright and major players who are a part of that core group.  What’s it been like working with them?

JOHNNY:  It’s been a Godsend, really.  Being my first time on a daytime show, for one, anytime you come onto a new project and one that’s been going on for some time, and you’re a newcomer, there’s always that concern like, “What will this set be like?  Is it like a familial atmosphere?  Am I going to be welcomed?”  They’ve made it super easy.  I’m just so lucky that I have people who have so much experience on this show and just daytime shows in general, where they’ve kind of taken me under their wings and are super helpful.  Anytime I have questions, they’re patient.  I’m sure I annoy them sometimes, but they don’t let on to it.   I’m grateful that they’ve sort of “teamed” me up with them to kind of ease me onto the show.

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The fans are seeing a spark between Brando and Carly.  Is Brando into Carly?

JOHNNY:  I’d like to say that he rescued her because she was a beautiful blonde, but that’s not what that was and why he did it … even though I’m not denying that she’s a beautiful blonde.  I think there’s something there, but how far Brando pursues that, I don’t know!  Sonny sets Brando up with the garage and a pretty sweet deal at that.  So, does Brando want to screw this up?  However, not everyone makes logical, levelheaded decisions.  We’ll see.  I’m not ruling it out as something that could possibly happen.

How are you playing Brando right now? Is he a good guy … or, are there secret ulterior motives going down that the audience may not know about, yet?

JOHNNY:  In my opinion, he is a guy who has got a good heart.  I don’t think he is infallible.  I think he is someone who is determined to be on the mend and make up for his decisions and his past, because he is someone who has made poor decisions.  I don’t think you can rule him as a good person who will never make a mistake, or won’t get into trouble, or won’t make some bad decisions.  “Does he have ulterior motives?”  Maybe, but I think that if he does, they might be a little unconscious.  I think he is a genuine good guy.

Photo: ABC

Are the fans swooning over you on social media now that you’ve made your GH debut?  When you get the, “Oh, he’s hot,” do you take those compliments well, or, is it uncomfortable for you, and you deflect that?

JOHNNY:  It’s always flattering to get those compliments.  I think when I was younger, like 22, first getting into this business; I was definitely pining for those compliments and put more weight into it.  I will say; it’s always good to have someone say something positive about you.  I will take, “Hey, he’s good-looking.”  I love the comments.  It’s great.

So, what would you love to see happen with Brando?  Is there anything that you’re seeing with your character that you wish you could do …or get to have the opportunity to be able to drive the direction in which he goes in?

JOHNNY:  That’s a great question.  I love when the writers put Brando on the scene and planted some seeds early on when he was revealing a little of his background to Carly.  He reveals he has PTSD and spent time in prison.  Brando also has got issues with drug addiction.  I would love for those to kind of resurface somehow.  Maybe Brando has a relapse and gets back on the sauce, or drugs, or maybe has some kind of other issues with PTSD, because those are the real things in the world that people deal.

Photo: ABC

What’s great about it is that they kind of loaded you up with a back-story that they can fill in, so that as a viewer, you ultimately root for the guy

JOHNNY:  Absolutely.  Yeah, nobody wants to root for the guy who has everything and just has the perfect life.  We’ve all made mistakes.  So, alright, he’s trying to get back on the horse and make a good life for himself.

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Did you get any pointers from GH vet Steve Burton (Jason), who you have also shared several scenes with since coming to GH?

JOHNNY:  The most pointers I’ve gotten from Steve are about preparation for the scenes.  Every time we have scenes together, he’s just always willing to work with you, and make sure that you’re prepared, and he’s prepared, and the scene is going to be the best that it can be.  Also, he’s been really invaluable with giving me more of a crash course on the background of these characters.  This show has been on for decades and it’s tough to get caught up in the short amount of time between when you find out you have the job, and you start filming, to really know who everybody is.  So, he explained to me who Jason is on the show and who the Corinthos family is and what they represent … these are dangerous guys!

Photo: ABC

Take me through what happened when you learned you got the part of Brando, and were joining the cast of General Hospital?

JOHNNY:  I was at my apartment.  I think it was probably two days after I went in for the producer’s session.  They brought in 4 or 5 guys to read in front of the producers, (at least that I saw) and I felt strong about my reading.  Then, I just kind of tried to forget about it after I left so I wouldn’t get all into my head about whether I got the part, or not.  Then the next day, I didn’t get a phone call.  So, I’m like, “Man, really?  I thought that might have been it.”   But the next day, I was with my girlfriend at the time and my agency was calling.  My manager was on the phone as well, and they shared with me that I got the part, and it was exciting.  It was a relief and an affirmation.  It’s always exciting when you book a job and then to book a major recurring role on a show with a character whose name is “Brando Corbin”, needless to say, was really cool.

Photo: ABC

I think it’s very apparent that you have the “It” factor.  You already have a shown a strong presence on the show and have a very bright future ahead of you.   I have seen a lot of actors come and go, and who launch their careers on daytime over the years, and I think you are going to be one to watch for quite some time to come.

JOHNNY:  First of all, thank you so much for saying that.  That’s really kind of you.  It’s really high praise.  Coming from someone who knows that show and who is a fan of it that means I passed the test!  Thank you, Michael!  I really appreciate that affirmation.  It’s good to get validation from someone whose opinion really matters.

Photo; ABC

Could you see a love interest for Brando coming up in the future?

JOHNNY:  I could definitely see a love interest for him coming up.  Maybe multiple love interests!  Who knows?

I think there are a lot of single ladies in Port Charles.

JOHNNY:  Yeah!  But, why do they have to be single?

Right! Or, they could be married!

JOHNNY:  It’s Port Charles!

Photo: ABC

So, have you been enjoying Johnny’s performances as Brando Corbin thus far?  Who do you hope he becomes involved with romantically on GH? Do you want to know more about his back-story and see what happens next now that Sonny has set him up with a garage? Comment below.

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DAYS Eric Martsolf and Stacy Haiduk chat with Michael Fairman at Day of Days 2019; during their conversation the on-screen dup talk about the latest developments of Brady and Kristen within the series time-jump and more. Leave A Comment

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General Hospital

Airdate:3-23-2020

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