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The Doug Davidson Interview – The Young and the Restless

Courtesy/CBS

Who doesn’t love to see one of the veterans of daytime getting handed the ball and a great emotional story, and then give it such a heartfelt delivery that it leaves us reaching for the hankies?  Well, in recent weeks on The Young and the Restless, long-time stalwart Doug Davidson (Paul Williams) has been chewing the scenery with some powerful performances that really took off when Paul shot his son Ricky, which sent the evil one crashing through a window to his death!  What has followed has not been good for poor Paul!  Eden, who was about to be sliced to death by Ricky before Paul shot his son, can’t remember what happened.  And, the knife, which is a key piece of evidence, is missing!  Now Paul has been arrested for the murder of his psychotic son, and his ex-wife has come back into the picture to defend him!  And that is only half of the story!

On-Air On-Soaps chatted with Doug Davidson to get his thoughts on taking front and center stage again, and how it has been working with his most recent on-screen offsprings, Peter Porte (Ex-Ricky) and Jennifer Landon (Nu-Heather).  Doug also reveals if he would like to see a rekindling of the Paul and Christine (Lauralee Bell) romance, what he feels about all the actresses who have embodied Heather, and how he managed to rationalize playing the distraught father to an irredeemable character, and the challenges it presented him.

In addition, find out what Doug would like to see happen in the next the arc of the story if he had the opportunity to write it.  We actually loved his suggestion and hope you will too!  One thing is for certain, Doug is that dependable performer who can make us smile or break us down in tears.  It’s always a joy to catch up with him and hear what he has to say about it all.  So with that, here’s Doug!

MICHAEL:

Doug, your performances have been amazing and so moving.  Fans and critics have given you well-deserved kudos and recognition.  When you saw the script that said Paul shoots his son, Ricky in the shoulder who then crashes through a window to his death, what was your initial reaction?

DOUG:

Courtesy/CBS

The first thing I thought was, “OK. I have work to do!” (Laughs)  Because it has been kind of spotty story wise for Paul, for awhile.  Secondly, I thought fear and worry.  If it wasn’t handled properly it could backfire.  So I was kind of nervous.  We had an instance where Chris and Paul had a rather violent lovemaking session, and because it wasn’t explained, did kind of backfire.  I was pretty nervous about it, but once I saw how well crafted it was, then it was just performance anxiety! (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Peter Porte (Ricky) had pushback from the audience at the beginning of his time on Y&R, but by the end of his run, people loved him and his performance!  How was your experience working with Peter?

DOUG:

My experience with him was outstanding.  I read with him when he got the job, and to his credit, once they gave him something to run with, he certainly was loaded and ready to go.  It is kind of a difficult situation when you are not exactly sure what they want from you, and by the time they figured out the direction, then Peter knew where they were going with it, and he could give it to them.  And he did, in spades.

MICHAEL:

On last Friday’s episode, when you as Paul were talking to Christine and Nina at Ricky’s gravesite talking about the father’s day card, it was so sad.  It was my favorite part of your speech, even more than when Paul was alone in front of Ricky’s grave.  In your portrayal, did you reconcile why Paul was a MIA dad to Ricky?

Courtesy/CBS

DOUG:

They did not write it in, and they did not explain it.  I made the assumption that Paul would make periodic trips to see him, and so I had to have that in my own head to play.   I think Paul, as a responsible father, would have done things like that.  By the same token, once I realized that was not what their past was, you validate it by you saying you own your business, and that it is never a good time to getaway.  Out of sight and out of mind.  You might send an email here and there.  And of course, they aged him to a point to where, in reality, Ricky would be 12.  Faced with that, then I try to validate the fact that I was not as attentive as I might have been.  Even doing it 24/7 with my own kids, you second guess your actions.  Even with my own parents and their aging, I don’t always make the best, or admirable choice, in retrospect.  I would probably push my kids too hard, or not hard enough.  I was angry or not angry enough, and you can second guess it.  So how I validate it in real life is come hell or high water, I did the best of my capabilities.  But there were plenty of areas to play the guilt of Paul with regard to Ricky, because he is not the only kid to be raised by his grandparents.  You know the history of this is not good anyway!  Michael set up Isabella.  She got herself pregnant.  Then we got married.  I think it went something like that! (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

So did Paul truly reconcile he had a psycho son?

DOUG:

Right, but then there was a period of time where Paul knew before anyone else!  So then that discovery is painful too.  You feel it in your heart, and it’s supported by the things you discover with logic.  It’s hard to ignore when people are disappearing or dropping dead.  And, he is acting strangely, and tormenting me, and all these things you pointed out were true as well.

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

MICHAEL:

Then what is interesting is how Y&R is crafting things with Christine back in Paul’s orbit.  Now, she is defending him in his murder rap.  However, then there is that little ditty of Phyllis mowing down Christine years ago in a hit and run.  That has come to light, which then forced Christine to admit to Paul that she kissed Danny on the night of their wedding years ago.  Paul took it quite well, I thought.  What did you think about the way Paul reacted to that bit of news?

DOUG:

It happened so far down the road, and she even admitted it.  Why would she lie? Christine admitted it was a goodbye kiss to Danny, as I recall.  If she really had any hesitation she wouldn’t have gone through with the wedding.  So her actions to Paul at the time suggested that what she was saying was definitely true.  It was a goodbye kiss to her that was misinterpreted by psycho Phyllis.  Whether or not I think it would have made a difference to me if I was the one who was seeing it, and had the visual and been a witness to the kiss, at that period of time, it might have upset Paul more.  But that too would not have derailed it.  Christine had a full-blown relationship and first-love.  It would be hard to imagine that there weren’t’ still residual feelings for Danny as she enters a new relationship.  Certainly, now we are both adults, or I like to think so! (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Do you remember the details of the hit and run?

DOUG:

Christine and Paul were crossing the street and the car came out of nowhere.  Paul was leaving and Christine was crossing the street, and Paul saw the car coming.  He raced back to Christine and was not able to push her out of the way in time, if I remember this correctly.

MICHAEL:

Paul is in heap of trouble!  He has been arrested because they cannot find the knife Ricky used to attack Eden.  So it looks like Christine will help Paul and save him.  Eventually, would you like to see the two former lovebirds get back together?

Photo Credit: Getty Images

DOUG:

It would certainly be welcome.  I don’t know if Lauralee is going to be around.  She is the middle of her child and family rearing, and I don’t know if it is something that will fit into her schedule.  But I do know she is coming back from her summer vacation, and we have more scenes to come.  I am always open to working with her. We spent over a decade working together side by side.  So when they were calling us during the weeks we were shooting those episodes, they would call our name to the set, “Doug and Lauralee!” and it was just like the old days.  It felt really good, and so of course.  I would be open to it, and then there would be something to play with Tricia Cast (Nina) too.

MICHAEL:

Tricia Cast is such a fantastic actress to work with.  Wasn’t there a romantic relationship going on with Nina and Paul?  It seems it’s not being played that way anymore!  What gives?

DOUG:

They have not been really playing the romantic thing between them at all, recently.  So when people say it would be nice for Nina to have a romantic relationship with Paul, I too forget that I am in one! (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

At the gravesite during Ricky’s funeral, Nina was not holding Paul’s hand, or standing next to him.  It was if their relationship was being played so non-committal!

DOUG:

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Usually the scenes we have we are talking about our offspring.  And way early on, we were going to the movies and stuff like that.  It has not been focused on in our relationship at all as of late, and any of those things that you might find in one.

MICHAEL:

Let’s talk about the “Heathers” in your life.   You had Vail Bloom, then Eden Riegel and now Jennifer Landon play your on-screen daughter Heather Stevens.  I think Jennifer possesses the sexiness of Vail and the acting chops of Eden!  What do you think about my assessment?

DOUG:

I agree.  I did not have any issues with Vail at all.  I thought she was fabulous, and her dismissal shocked and surprised me, to tell you the truth.  So I can’t really comment on that because I am not on the production side.  I did not have to deal with the fact that she wasn’t on set.  I know she had some serious medical issues that she was dealing with at the time.  Eden, by her own admission, never really attached herself to the role.  I think they liked her so much they wanted to give her a role and that was the one.  But I think they were casting a couple of things at that time, and they gave that role to one and this to the other.  I don’t think it ever jelled there.  I don’t think it’s a talent thing; it’s the wrong part for a talented actress.  And, I have to agree with you, that for me I feel that Jennifer is terrific.  She is funny, she is smart, and she is great to work with.  She is organic and free, and that is the part I connect to.   She also has one degree of separation from me, because she is really good friends with my best friend and his family.  We get along really well. 

MICHAEL:

What is Heather and Paul’s relationship now?  Are they close?

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

DOUG:

The most recent thing with Ricky showed Heather that Paul is committed to being a father.  He is trying to make up for the mistakes he made in the past.  And the first time Paul had a huge run-in with Ricky was in the coffee house, when he found out Ricky was the one who took the pictures of Heather and took advantage of his sister’s position to raise his own.  It was thoughtless and heartless.  I think Heather saw how Paul supported her through it.  She is beginning to understand who Paul is, besides who she thought he was.  The relationship issue there with Heather was that April had decided she would rather raise her with Heather’s step-father and make her believe she was begat out of that relationship.  So that was not Paul’s decision.  Then when the time arose, we had a tearful scene in the coffee house when we were indeed related, and Paul was not just a family friend.  So I think Heather is on board now.  I am sure Heather has residual feelings and hurt, but also beginning to get it now and feel that Paul is a real father to her.

MICHAEL:

You have had some very emotional scenes during your years on Y&R.  Several times you have been Emmy nominated.  You are one of the best male criers on daytime and the tears just flow, and so effortlessly it seems.  Are those big emotional payoff scenes tough for you to do, such as the recent big moments in the aftermath of Paul shooting his son?

DOUG:

The performance anxiety that arose out of that was the changing face of daytime, and that they are going to give me a shot at it.  It was suggested by one of our producers and the network, and then our executive producer and head writer, Maria Arena Bell, jumped at the idea.  Then they told me about it.  So there is always a bit of doubt, when it’s three o’clock in the morning and I am alone where I will say to myself, “I hope this all works out.”  There was no net.  I had new performers and I must say, once it kicked in and I saw the scripts and got into it, it is about the work.  Any performer, when they look at it with their left brain, will be nervous about it until they get into the material.  Doug is different than Paul, and Paul did fine with it. (Laughs)

Courtesy/CBS

MICHAEL:

From the beginning of your time on Y&R till now, you have told me in past interviews you have become a better actor.  When you look at your body of work now, do you ever think, “I am a very fine actor in this medium?”

DOUG:

It is really hard for me to do that.  It’s funny, because when I am doing it, it’s not part of me.  I am trying to connect with what they have written, and who Paul is.  It really is a kind of brainwashing.  You are fooling your own mechanism that this is true, and this is happening, and you are this person.  My technique is so refined; it is not something I think about.  When you look at a concert violinist or a pianist, they are not thinking where their fingers go.  They just go because they have been doing it for so long.  Acting is one of the things that I know how to do.  I think it is part of my personality.  So when I look back, there are so many forces involved.  I just don’t have that ego.  I do remember when Y&R went to number one.  I had the number one TVQ rating and Entertainment Tonight came out to my house!  To take credit for it is not really fair.  That is why when people win awards for their work, there are these long lists of people to thank.  That’s because you really don’t do it on your own, unless you are an author of a book.  I do give credit to all the people in my past from Brett Hadley and Carolyn Conwell, who played my on-screen parents, and the things I learned a long the way.  I hope I do the same thing for young people in this business, and let them know they are not doing this alone.  I am sure not. 

MICHAEL:

What can fans expect coming up in the perils of Paul?

DOUG:

Paul will be out on bail, and Eden is going through hypnosis to help her memory to trigger where the missing knife is.  And being under Bill Bell (Creator, Y&R) all these years, I don’t even question where they take us.  My job is to sell it! 

Courtesy/CBS

MICHAEL:

What would you love to see happen to Paul?

DOUG:

I think it would be incredibly hard to come to terms with what happened, even if it is true.  There are so many ‘what ifs.’  It would be a dark place for the rest of Paul’s life when he thinks of Ricky.  It’s like a war veteran.  It’s like a part of your life that you have to deal with and go on.  So there are some interesting stories there.  I thought it would be nice to have Ricky come to Paul and Paul find a kid who is orphaned or homeless who has the same name, and is 10 or 12 years old. and does not have a dad.  Paul then becomes a big brother to the kid, and tries to make up for the errors of the past with someone who still does need attention and help.  I think it would be fun to bring Peter Porte back and redeem his character as a ghost or a spirit, and maybe Paul does not see him.  But Ricky sees so much of his spirit working, and through the young kid who comes to Paul.  Paul asks the kid his name, and he says, “Ricky”!   Then it’s about how his relationship with his son and what happened changed him permanently.

MICHAEL:

Do you still like being the P.I.?

DOUG:

Photo Credit: Denice Duff

Yeah, but they don’t always write it.  In the old days, Paul had cases he worked on without any need for the police department.  For instance, the Cassandra storyline had the duality of having a case and a mysterious woman that happened to be part of the case, unbeknownst to Paul at the beginning.  Things like that.  But that is when we had isolated stories per character, and it was a completely different format than what we have today!

MICHAEL:

I was glad to see Paul had a scene with Phyllis where he lets her have it for running over Christine eons ago!

DOUG:

Yes, but it’s very short.  But yes, we have one scene in the hallway at the police department where he does confront her.

MICHAEL:

I really wanted Paul to have a few choice words for her!  (Laughs)

DOUG:

(Laughs) There is a bit of confrontation, and working with Michelle Stafford (Phyllis) is wonderful.  I have nothing but superlatives for her.  She brings it.  She is great and fabulous.

MICHAEL:

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

In closing Doug, I just want to tell you it has been wonderful to see you being given some very heavy material and you have done an amazing job with it.  Have you seen or felt the feedback from the fans and the longtime viewers of Y&R?

DOUG:

I am so flattered.  I loved doing this story and it was a pleasure.  I have to tell you the response has been so positive and overwhelming … and even on the message boards, which is unheard of.  I cannot express the thanks and the gratitude I have for the fans and the people who have watched, and who have been supportive all along, and the new folks.  And, the ratings went up!

 

 

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Debra
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Debra

Just wanted to say that the Paul/Ricky showdown has easily been the best part of Y&R this year. Doug & Peter deserve some major props from making yet another psycho story actually matter to the audience.

Kristen
Guest
Kristen

Doug soooo brought it in this story line! I wept. I have missed you. You are still very hot btw : )

MBmomof3
Guest
MBmomof3

Doug Davidson was simpy amazing in this story. Emmy worthy material. I think all the players brought their A game.

Thanks for another great interview Mr. Fairman.

kay/kay
Guest
kay/kay

My man Doug Davidson is and always has been one of the reasons I watched Y&R. He is a sweetheart like I said before give us a good story and we will come back MAB. Mr Fairman thank you for this interview this guy is so overlooked. I would have liked to have seen more scenes of Doug with his son before we went down this road but I will take anything I can get of DD, now lets keep him out of mothballs and on the front burner where he has always belonged. As Jeanne Cooper said when he… Read more »

kay/kay
Guest
kay/kay

I also forgot to add his comments about the actresses who played Heather were spot on. What a true gentleman the only comment about JL I have is tone the harir down otherwise I am warming up to her portrayal it was definitely not the role for Eden Riegel.

Sally D
Guest
Sally D

I’ve enjoyed Doug Davidson as Paul from the very beginning when he started, hanging out with Nikki. I can’t always catch Y & R, but whenever I see that Paul is on, I know that I will enjoy DD’s performance–he is always very natural and believable, no matter what kind of storyline is going on! And I like how he can do both heavy and more fun material with equal skill. Glad Y & R is using Davidson more now, and I hope that continues! I also like him having some storyline with Tricia Cast, who always is a gem… Read more »

LisaZee
Guest
LisaZee

Doug is a wonderful actor. Those scenes proved he has what it takes and I wish TPTB hadn’t waited so long to showcase his talent again. He is doing an awesome job! He also has always, in real life, seemed like a great guy, which is nice to know too!

Mel
Guest
Mel

Doug has been amazing in this storyline and definitely deserves an Emmy next year! I started watching Y&R 25 years ago and Paul has always been one of my favorite characters so it’s wonderful to finally see Doug Davidson on the frontburner again where he belongs. He makes everything feel so real and believable. I just love him!

Bart
Guest
Bart

While I have always liked Doug Davidson as Paul, his character’s “Juicy story” rings as very hollow and phony, which is pretty much everything as crafted by Maria Arena Bell. Paul has knowingly admitted not knowing his SORAS’ed son Ricky and never ever being there for him yet, so his graveside scenes didn’t produce any emotions for this long-time viewer. The SORAS’ing of his son (and of MANY MANY “Y & R” offspring have ruined many past timelines as created by the late great William J. Bell and his staff. By SORAS’ing Ricky to a 20-something young man negates everything… Read more »

Chaz
Guest
Chaz

Doug Davidson has deserved story for so long that I am thrilled he has finally gotten one that proves what an asset he is to Y&R. My partner, who is not a Y&R viewer, came in while I was watching the show on DVR and commented what a powerhouse performance Doug Davidson was giving.

Beef up Doug & Nina’s story….it is nice to see older couples having a relationship. Plus, Tricia Cast is a gem.

mjlynn
Guest
mjlynn

Chaz, any relation to Cher? Seriously, I totally agree. It’s about time Y&R writers are writing OUR DOUGIE back into the scripts. He’s been the MAIN reason I’ve been a dedicated viewer for 34 years! I loved his old story-lines, back when he dated April and impregnated her with Heather, and then when he went undercover into the mafia to trip up and take down the bad guys. His parents were always a huge part of the plot and I miss them both. Also, the original Patty, the blond teenager gal, cannot recall her name, anyone know, she was an… Read more »

DDfan4life
Guest
DDfan4life

Doug’s portrayal of Paul Williams was the reason I started watching over 30 yrs. ago. I never stopped and think he is an incredible actor. I would love to see him front and center more often. When an actor can make me cry when they cry, laugh when they laugh, and smile just by their presence on a tv screen… they’ve got something special, that’s for sure! Now, Doug… have Paul go out there and investigate this hit and run from so long ago!

Mandy
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Mandy

I love that you now have a good story line and wish more for you and Nena, as I like to see the older players return with a few new ones. I have watched this story since the first of Y&R when the Brooks family was on. That has been many moons ago. Love it and if they take off the two stories left, I will stop watching CBS daytime . We do not need another game show or talk show. You are a great actor, and I love the show.

nan williams
Guest
nan williams

Doug u r a fantastic actor…ur fans all behind u n support u in whatever story line ur given ….best of luck to u in whatever u do.God Bless u n urs. The writers should get this knife found

mjlynn
Guest
mjlynn

Agreed! Where could have a huge knife like the one missing have gone? Some homeless guy walks by and picks it up to shave off his matted hair>? LOL. Certainly, it will be the KEY to SOLVE the issue and set Paul free! Then again, I think Paul should get his PI office back and have his story-line multiplied to what it once was! Also, Jennifer Landon is a great actress, she’s the daughter of Michael Landon, correct???

Linda Lou Boehl
Guest
Linda Lou Boehl

Paul has always been a great actor, glad to see him doing more of it, always been a favorite of mine, keep up the great work my friend… love ya Y&R is the very Best!!!
All are such great actors on there….. from Linda Lou

Gayle Trent
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Gayle Trent

Great interview!

Donna
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Donna

Doug Davidson was simpy amazing in this story. Emmy worthy material. I think all the writer team is doing best wrting in a long time and hope they keep it up. I hope to see more of Chris and him month head too they are best time and Nina too all three of them .keep of the good work doug as paul williams

DEANNA JO KNIGHT
Guest
DEANNA JO KNIGHT

IT DOES MY HEART GOOD, TO KNOW THAT I AM NOT THE ONLY ONE THAT LOVES DD & PAUL. HE HAS BEEN MY FAVORITE ACTOR FROM THE BEGINNING AND ALWAYS WANTED MORE STORY LINES FOR HIM. THIS STORY LINE IS GREAT, BUT IT SEEMS TO BE GOING TO FAST. SLOW DOWN SO DD/PAUL CAN REMAIN ON THE FRONT BURNER LONGER. I TOO LIKE HAVING CHRIS & NINA BACK. INFACT, I HOPE THEY BRING MORE OF THE OLD CAST BACK. MAKES FOR GOOD STORY LINES. THIS WAS SUCH AN ENJOYABLE INTERVIEW HOPE TO SEE MANY MORE OF THESE. WE NEED TO… Read more »

Jane
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Jane

Doug,There are not enough words in Websters dictionary to tell you what a fantastic actor you are. I have followed you for years. I totally missed you when my husband and I were stationed in Germany,that I didn’t see you. It was like loosing my best friend. I did get newspaper cli[ppings of The Young And Restless. It was during the winter of 1989 up to Nov.of 1991. I used to brag to my sister’s whenever I would get a new postcard or letter from you. I always had your picture hanging on my hutch in the kitchen. Now I… Read more »

Delores
Guest
Delores

Every now and then on Y & R, we are blessed with a story that just knocks it out of the park and that’s what happened with Doug when Paul shot his son. I rarely cry at stories (even when I’m supposed to feel sad) but Doug’s performance was so real that I found myself sobbing. He rarely gets “meaty” stories so I’m grateful for this one; it reminded me what an amazing actor he is.

Laura
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Laura

Awesome interview! I love that Paul finally has a storyline 🙂

Jeanne Curnow
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Jeanne Curnow

Love the interview! Always enjoy seeing Doug perform on Y&R [awesome story line these days].Sure wish you the best always !

CONI
Guest
CONI

doug is a fantastic actor and i’ve watched him on y & r since day one. had the chance to meet him personally a couple of times and he’s so wonderful to talk to. his warm kindness and that smile just melts anyones heart. he has a great personality that out shines his talent. the best storyline he’s ever done and deserves an emmy for was the ricky & paul storyline. that storyline really touched my heart and yes brought tears to my eyes also. all the years he’s acted on y & r can’t ever be replaced by anyone… Read more »

Joanne
Guest
Joanne

I have watched Doug play Paul Williams from the very beginning. So many great story lines over the years but I honestly think this is one of his best. I was kinda losing faith a bit in Y&R lately because I was seeing less and less of Paul and some of the other veteran actors. So happy to see he has another great story line his character can really sink his teeth into! Hope this leads to another Emmy nomination. Way to go Doug! Keep up the exceptional work and we will keep watching!!

mjlynn
Guest
mjlynn

I want to laugh because I’ve loved this guy since his entrance onto Y&R in ’78, when my pal Rick Springfield told me Doug was going to star on show! These new fans who’ve started liking him because of the RS cruises, behave as if they’re his biggest fans… and then there’s those, like me, who have loved this guy since his face was youthful and rounded, and his long blond hair was thick and…made fans long to run their fingers through it… Now I’m like, “I’m an original fan” and some of these young girls didn’t even know who… Read more »

Cheryl Pederson
Guest
Cheryl Pederson

Well, of course the ratings went up! How long have people waited for a story for Paul? I do like the idea, in moving forward, of this being a “war wound” for Paul — and that is takes some time for the understanding and a measure of peace in the soul. Doug has learned so much over the years, but he has always been great — and I really do miss a great PI story because I love the adventure! So here’s hoping,
Love to Paul and Doug!
Cheryl P

lori
Guest
lori

hi
an excellent interview. love lori

Phyllis
Guest
Phyllis

FINALLY the recognition he deserves! Long time in the waiting .. Doug has always been the greatest actor.. Never changes in looks, still as handsome as ever. These last few months you have done an awesome job. Thank you wrighters for giving Doug more and more in the story. He does deserve another emmy. Wow fantastic father an son acting. Keep it up Doug! Armenian hugs an kisses:)

Diane
Guest
Diane

Why does Phyllis get out a jail free card and forgiven by everybody except Paul and Cricket? Phyllis is just like Daisy and Ricky(demented). She needs to pay for all of her dirt. Didn’t she kill the nurse named Sasha back in the day because the nurse knew about her dirty deeds involving the baby and Danny situation? Also, Michael and Ronan should be taken off the case. They are warning the killer and sticking up for her.

David-Edwsard
Guest
David-Edwsard

Doug,

I would like to see your performance with Ricky. I would love to see you in action now to find out that Ricky isn’t actually dead. Your are an amazing character. You need to stop hidding behind your shield and let Christine (Lauralee Bell) know that she needs to focus on your case and attempt to prosecute Phyllis later. The writers need to allow you and Ricky’s mother unite and then allow her to go off the deep end after seeing you with Christine. The storyline is great and you do well at it.

lisa
Guest
lisa

I have always loved Paul, his amazing way of turning on and off those tears are incredible.. When he cries I cry because of the realness of it. He truely makes the show. I would love to see him and Cricket back together.. but poor Nina would be distraught.. Hopefully they will find her a good man in the future she sure needs it. I never liked Ricky..Not happy about the ex- returning- definitely hoping he dos not rekindle with her.

Laura
Guest
Laura

I am so glad that Doug has such a great role to play. He is an awesome actor and it’s great that he has a meaty storyline to portray. Very excited for him & the show.

Cilla
Guest
Cilla

Great interview! Thank you Micheal! Doug is the unsung hero of this show. Those of us who have watched him over the years know he can completely knock it out of the park whenever the writers give him a chance. His acting in the Ricky story line was mesmerizing. I just wish he would be featured in front burner stories more often. Doug is the one who puts the heart and soul back into Y & R with his amazing ability to convey deep and totally genuine emotion. That’s the essence of soap operas for me. I really hope Paul’s… Read more »

Ginger
Guest
Ginger

Doug Davidson is a tremendous talent and a sweet person. He is hilarious in person. This interview was terrific and I hope to see more. I am glad the ratings went up for Y&R. Paul DESERVES it! Paul is effortlessly emotional and it does come naturally, like riding a bike. To Doug, never question yourself, you are right about just letting Paulie steer! ***I just want to see more Paul on Y & R!!! You deserve a very Special EMMY award! 🙂 Great Q & A. Thanks!!!!

Joy Mathys
Guest
Joy Mathys

Thanks for this great interview. Doug Davidson is the heart and the soul of the show. I love his suggestion about a young kid coming to Paul. How about this boy being Maggie Sullivan’s son and asking Paul to find his mother who just vanished (like Carl Williams years ago)? Paul would bond with the boy who could even be his son.

Tammy Ross
Guest
Tammy Ross

I really would like to see paul (Doug Davidson) and christina (Lauralee Bell) rekindle there romance I think they make a good c on the show. its time to see more on the show Y& R

Karen
Guest
Karen

Thank you y and r for giving Paul a great storyline. He is a great actor that doesn’t get much screen time! Outstanding performance!

Bobbie
Guest
Bobbie

I think Paul is a great guy, great acting, made me have tears. I think he should be best male actor. He is a great looking guy, great personality.

Cynthia
Guest
Cynthia

I love Paul and Chris together, their love and emotion seem so real.

Carolyn
Guest
Carolyn

Doug you do a great job just wish you were on there more often. You play a good role and I can’t miss a day without seeing this. I like you and Christine on here togather. Thanks for all the Pictures you have sent me and I am waiting for another photo of you. Your are a very handsome man. Keep the good work up. Can’t wait to the show to come on in the daytime. take care.

MP
Guest
MP

Doug has done a marvelous job with the Ricky storyline. Hope he is featured more in the future.

CAROL
Guest
CAROL

Doug Davidson has played the role of Paul Williams for an amazingly long time and he has had 2 children Heather and Ricky to come back into his life as adults and then he ends up having his daughter leave town and his son dies. He is a strong person, who endures so many unhappy periods in his life; but he is still able to go on with his life and I know that his TV father and mother would be very proud of all he has accomplished (the chief of police no less). What a GUY!!!! Paul Williams needs… Read more »

Interviews

Y&R’s Brytni Sarpy Talks On Her Emotional Week of Scenes & The Fallout From Elena and Devon’s Break-Up

Talk about self-sabotage! Over the last few weeks, fans of CBS’ The Young and the Restless have seen how one decision, or moment in time, can have an effect on several residents of Genoa City, such as the case with Elena Dawson (Brytni Sarpy), after she had sex with her colleague Dr. Nate Hastings (Sean Dominic) … at the clinic they work at!

It all starts unraveling for Elena when her fears get the best of her thinking that the current-love-of-her-life, Devon (Bryton James) will fall for the sister of his late wife, Hilary, in the form of Amanda Sinclair (Mishael Morgan).  And thus sets the stage for a potential quadrangle, and perhaps … some baby drama?

Since coming to Y&R from General Hospital, actress Brytni Sarpy has been developing the character of Elena and playing her for all she is worth and then some in recent heavy-duty heart-tugging scenes where viewers saw Elena confess to Devon that she cheated on him with his cousin, Nate! Then later, she gets kicked to the curb by the man she loves, leaving her wondering, “What did I just do … and why?”

 

Well, Michael Fairman TV has some of the answers as we chatted with Brytni to get the lowdown and the insight on these pivotal moments in Elevon’s love story, and if there is even a future for them, or is it on ice for good? Plus, Brytni opens up about falling for her co-star and recent Daytime Emmy winner, Bryton James, and taping what would normally look like a red-hot passionate sex scene on the soaps with Sean Dominic, but having to do it under strict CDC Covid-19 protocols. Here’s what Ms. Sarpy had to say about it all!

Courtesy/CBS

You’ve got this big storyline unfolding now on Y&R.  Did you know when they brought on Sean Dominic that they were going to bust up  Elena and Devon?

BRYTNI:  Yes and no.  When Sean was first brought in, there had been another actor playing his role, so technically his character has already been on-screen.  So, I didn’t necessarily think it was going to cause any type of conflict, or a love triangle, or anything like that.  However, I think that there were little hints about it along the way in the writing, and our characters similarities in both being doctors.  The writers are pretty tight-lipped, so I only know things two or three weeks in advance.

Were you playing that Elena had this attraction to Nate for a while now?

BRYTNI:  There was a point where I decided to play it, and that is when I felt that it was in the material. It was when things got a little crazier with Amanda coming around and Elena being at the height of her insecurity about that, and her really choosing to only confide in Nate.  I think that kind of relationship and comfortability that she was finding and that dynamic of being at the clinic with Nate, and establishing that with him, she was not having with Devon.

Courtesy/CBS

Right, and so do you think once Elena knew Amanda was interested in Nate, she subconsciously stepped up her own interest in him?

BRYTNI:  No, I think around this time she was hoping for Amanda to date Nate, and she was asking a lot of questions and things to egg on that whole relationship.  I think in her subconscious she really felt like, “Oh good, if I can put these two together, then my fears about this woman who looks exactly like my boyfriend’s dead wife… that resolves that.”  I think for Elena it was just kind of putting them together.  It wasn’t about Nate.  It was about someone to occupy Amanda so that Elena’s insecurities didn’t have to come out and she didn’t have to worry about Devon, or anything with those two being together.

But didn’t Elena have a nightmare/dream about Amanda and Devon having sex?  Wasn’t she freaked out about Amanda being Hilary’s sister?

BRYTNI:  This was when she had already jumped down the rabbit hole of being insecure about what was going on about Amanda and Devon and how much time they were spending together and hoping that he didn’t fall back into those feelings he had for Hilary that he had just gotten through.  For Elena, I think it was a lot of PTSD; for her.  She felt the first half of their relationship was trying to get over Hilary.  Once it finally turned to a point where Amanda was spending a lot of time with Devon. and she had started only confiding in Nate and not Devon about how she felt, that’s when I think those insecure feelings came up, and her talking about it so much manifested into her dreams, and she set herself up for her own trauma.

Courtesy/CBS

So, you have to do this sex scene amidst Covid-19 protocols with Sean Dominic.  How was filming that scene with Sean because Nate looks at Elena, she looks at him, signaling they want to have sex right now, right there at the clinic, and then it cuts out.  Was it awkward filming it?

BRYTNI:  Yes, it was certainly awkward because his double was Bryton, so it’s hard to play that you’re cheating on a character with the actor who plays the character that you’re cheating on. (Laughs)

We are going to give you the Emmy right there for that!  (Laughs)

BRYTNI:  Right! (Laughs) Then in some of the scenes we are looking into each other’s eyes, and we appear to be close, but of course we are not that way.  So, I am staring up at a mannequin that it is at Sean’s eye-level, and he is staring down at a mannequin that is at mine.  It is not easy to try to sell that energy that is between two people in such an electric, heated moment, so it was definitely challenging.

Do you buy Elena’s rationale that they were on a euphoric high from saving Jared’s life at the clinic, as the impetus that leads her and Nate to have sex?

BRYTNI:  I don’t think she really understands what happened.  I think she is trying to put it together.  Right after it happens, she goes into that whole monologue about how, “I’m not blaming you, but this happened, and we were just coming down from a high.”  I think it’s just her trying to figure out why her emotions brought her to this place because I think this is one of the few times in someone like Elena’s life when she has acted without thinking or without forethought to the consequences.  I think she has just been exhausted with trying to battle her emotions, trying to be a doctor with a residency in a hospital, and then also trying to do as much work as she is doing at a clinic.  Then, coming off of an emotionally-charged partnership with Devon after seeing what he was going through with the ghost of Hilary for so long, and going back into this after finally having a calm and peaceful few months, it rocked the whole boat again.

Courtesy/CBS

Viewers have seen what played out over the last week and half, a lot of scenes were you as Elena are called upon to do a lot of breaking down, and crying.  So, how are those scenes to perform? Do you like those types of scenes, or are you like, “Oh, God! These are so soapy!”

BRYTNI:  For me, personally playing that, I think with all the tears and all of that, it’s been exhausting, because there are certainly levels of reality to this where I have to go for it to not be me just trying to emote on-screen, but actually feel the depths of what my character would be going through.  It’s a lot.  I’ve had a few migraines after work sometimes, but I do enjoy it.  I enjoy getting those emotions out.  I think that because of what I’ve established with her character for a little over a year, I’ve been building up Elena, and more importantly, building up her relationship with Devon.  I think to understand her actions, it had to come from a really solid place.  I don’t think she is ill-intended in any of her emotions.  I think she really cares about and wants to protect her partner, Devon throughout all of this, and then she finds herself unprotected and vulnerable in making decisions that inevitably do the complete opposite.  So, I think at the end of it, she really is disappointed in herself and also, she has just created this entire disruption of her life in the matter of a moment, and I think there is a lot of mourning, and there is a lot of guilt.  I just don’t think that it is intentional of her character to do something like what she did.  I think that for me to make it what it was… something that my character would do or did … it had to come from a real place that didn’t sit well with her, and it just happened, and she feels guilt-ridden.  It’s as serious as a character attempting to murder someone, or any other kind of character who would go to the extremes of who they are in their characteristics.

Courtesy/CBS

For you, since you are romantically-involved with Bryton James in real life, does that make it harder or easier to play?

BRYTNI:  I’d say both.  It makes it harder because it’s more real, but it also makes it easier because it’s more real.  These are situations that could at some point come up or have come up, and to put yourself in those positions, and to have him look at me the way that he does and to jeopardize something that real, to go to that place, is a dark place to have to portray.

… And then Devon throws her out! 

BRYTNI:  He does.

Devon tells her to leave the penthouse and he tells her to pack her stuff and go.

BRYTNI:  Rightfully so.

Courtesy/CBS

Doesn’t Elena deserve that reaction for her actions?

BRYTNI:  I think so.  She made a mistake, and she has to learn from it.  I think if there is any potential for these two to ever reconcile, there has to be space given, and there has to be understanding.  You can’t just pretend like everything is normal even though she is sorry.  Sorry isn’t a reason why and sorry isn’t proactive.  She has to fix the issue.

They brought Jared (Michael Maclane) back to be the catalyst that was ended up being the spark that ignited Nate and Elena’s passionate moment together at the clinic. What did you think of that plot point?

BRYTNI:  The point was actually, that it was a patient who they had invested in and cared about, and she was able to do something for this kid and save his life with someone who she has been leaning on, someone who she has had a shared connection with, someone who shares her perspective, and helped her through situations with Devon, and who has seen her ugly side and her insecure side, and it was a bonding moment, I guess, that they were able to save a kid’s life who they both knew added another layer to their relationship that caused things to go grey.

Coming up, it appears that Amanda is going to be instigating a lot of stuff, and Nate is going to still have feelings for Elena.

BRYTNI:  Yeah, I mean, it’s not over.  Now that the cat has been let out of the bag, they still have residual feelings.  I think Nate is starting to make it very clear why he went the direction he went.  I think he has more of an understanding of where his feelings lie and that they are with Elena.  I think with Amanda, maybe a part of her ego just got bruised, and maybe she wants to unearth the truth of all of this because she was kind of caught in the middle of it.

When you and Bryton are together in real life, are you rehearsing all of these scenes and playing all of the other characters in them?

BRYTNI:  Typically, we run lines together.  I have voices for everyone.  I have a Nate voice.  (Laughs)  I have an Amanda voice; I have a Lily (Christel Khalil) voice.

Photo: Sonja Fleming/CBS

You are in one of those interesting situations where you are with the person in real-life and in story.  I have talked to Bryton about this, but what was the moment when you knew it clicked with him? 

BRYTNI:  We certainly liked each other since day one just as people.  He was a great scene partner to do a screen-test with, very giving, just really professional, but just a down-to-earth nice guy. Then, just moving forward from that and working with him as my scene partner on Y&R, I think it was during our first group scene, it was the opening of Society, and we did a tribute to Neil Winters (Kristoff St. John), and that was the first time I had spent long hours on a Y&R set.  You’re with the whole group all day because you’re doing group scenes.  We just discovered and learned that we are both really goofy, and we were just laughing and talking about stories.  I think we found that we had a lot more in common than we would have realized… very similar pop-cultural references, and upbringings, and all of that.  From there, we’ve just gotten along really well, and it progressed.

Photo: Sonja Fleming/CBS

Back in late June,  there was this viral video of you jumping up and down when Bryon’s name was called as the winner of the Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series during the 47th annual Daytime Emmys telecast.  What do you remember of that night with him?  You seemed more excited than he was!

BRYTNI:  Yeah!  I was really excited for him.  The year before – well, I didn’t know that it was our first date –  but,  I guess it was our first date at the 46th Daytime Emmys, because I honestly thought that Matt Kane (publicist, Y&R) had asked me if I wanted to go along, and apparently, Bryton had asked if he could invite me.  So, we spent that time together, and he was nominated that year as well and lost.  Cut to this year where Bryton is a person who I have actually worked with and have seen how he works, and after Kristoff’s passing, and just seeing the amount of work that Y&R put into it, and the time that they spent on those episodes, and how beautiful they came out, everyone deserved an Emmy for that.  It was really beautiful work, and it was really touching, and it was really true and honest.  I really thought Bryton deserved it.  I think he was just as happy.  He’s just more reserved than I am.

What do you want to see happen for Elena moving-forward?  Do you want to see more of her extended family pop up so she is a character who has more ties to Genoa City?

BRYTNI:  I do, I do.  A lot of the characters never know who their father is.  I’d love to know who that is. (Laughs)  Like when I played Valerie on General Hospital, she didn’t know who her father was either.  Things like that are interesting to play.  I’d love to start closing those little holes about her because that helps me.  It helps me to create more dimensions in her character and to make firmer choices, and give her somewhere to go, and it gives more richness in her story.  I would love to also cement her to the Y&R canvas if she has any relation to anyone else there.

Courtesy/CBS

There have been rumors that Elena will become pregnant.  What would you say to that?

BRYTNI:  What do I think of that?  I don’t know.  It could happen.  Crazier things have happened on soaps.  Will it be the classic, “Whodunit?”

You mean, who could be the baby daddy?

BRYTNI:  (Laughs) Yes, that would be interesting, and yes, I’ve seen those rumors, too.

Do you think Elena will fight and claw her way back to Devon, or do you think she is going to let it be? 

BRYTNI:  I think even from the scenes that aired this past week, you can see the extent of how sorry she is.  She is laying it all out there, in a puddle of tears, exactly how she feels even though she is not able to really understand why she did what she did, her sorrow is there.  I don’t think there is really much more for her to do as far as pleading to get him back until he is ready, if he ever is ready.  I think her respecting his wishes in the situation is probably the best thing that she can do at this point.

Photo: IG

Meanwhile, if you have any more romantic scenes with Sean Dominic, Bryton will step in, so you will still be in scenes with him, even if Elena and Devon aren’t together. 

BRYTNI:  (Laughs) Yes, that’s true!

So, are you rooting for Devon and Elena to get back together quickly?  Do you think she may end up in a relationship with Nate? What have you thought of Brytni’s performances in this storyline? Comment below, but first watch Devon tell Elena to move out!

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Interviews

Y&R’s Peter Bergman Talks On Dina’s Death & How It Will Impact Jack, His Final Scenes With Marla Adams & Taping During COVID-19

The Abbott family is reeling from the death of their mother, Dina Mergeron, who passed away from complications from Alzheimer’s disease at the end of last Friday’s episode; signaling the end of an era for Dina’s portrayer, Marla Adams.  In a pivotal and heart-breaking scene, Dina shares one last goodbye with her children: Traci (Beth Maitland), Ashley (Eileen Davidson) and of course, Jack (Peter Bergman).

Today, the drama continues as the Abbott’s grieve Dina’s death and its aftermath while they remember the life of their flawed mother. This puts Jack at the epicenter of the family, and like it, or not, the new head of the clan.  What does the future hold for him now?

Michael Fairman TV chatted with three-time Daytime Emmy winner, Peter Bergman, who has embodied Jack for over 30 years on the top-rated CBS Daytime drama, to get his thoughts on: how Y&R needed to handle Dina’s death within the confines of the coronavirus pandemic and its safety protocols, what he felt about playing those final scenes with Marla Adams and the significance of the ‘teardrop of love’, and a preview of what fans can expect in the coming days as the impact of Dina’s death will be felt by the Abbott children and extended family.

 

An actor’s actor, you can always expect a conversation with Peter to be forthright, candid and enlightening, and this one was no different.  Here’s what one of the genre’s absolute best had to share about the significance of this story and more.

How has it been returning to Y&R during the pandemic?  I bet you never thought in all of your years in daytime, that you would be doing your scenes socially-distanced, sitting or standing, so far apart from your castmates.

Courtesy/CBD

PETER:  Just getting back to work felt great, loved that.  I wasn’t involved really in romantic scenes at this point, so that I didn’t have to do.  So, all in all, I was very happy to be back, and socially-distancing didn’t really bother me at all, and then Dina died.  Doing that from six feet away was just awful.  You saw the limits at a time where not any of us could be within six feet of each other; where you would usually hold a hand, stroke a brow, and talk softly.  So, I think the writers did what they needed to do to make it work for Dina’s exit.  We are in the middle of COVID, in case anybody forgot, and so you have to ask, ‘Does America really want to watch an elderly woman die in the middle of the Abbott living room or anywhere else?’  So, we had to have Dina’s exit without looking at a dead body, out of respect for the times we are living in.  We had to do a strong, powerful, pivotal scene with our hands tied behind our backs.

Courtesy/CBS

It’s so interesting that you say that because that’s how I felt watching it, knowing what it would have been like, if Jack, Ashley and Traci would have been with Dina at her bedside, up till the end, for instance.  But all of that said, Peter, I got so choked up in your last moments with Marla.  Jack is just sitting there and Dina is telling him how much she loved him and you’re doing the thing that only Peter Bergman can do as the tears well-up in your eyes.  As we have talked about previously, my mom died from complications from Alzheimer’s, so these are always tough types of scenes for me to watch.  I am sure it was also for those in the audience, who have lost a loved one to this disease, many of whom reached out to me on social media following its airing.

PETER:  It’s got to be tough for you to watch.  I get that.

Photo: Ed McGowan/Plain Joe Studios

Yes, so I felt for Jack and Dina in the moment as a son and his mother.  But what did you think about how the scene was written, and what Dina was saying to Jack and his sisters as her final goodbyes to her children and their reactions to it?

PETER:  As written, something in this necklace triggers something in Dina that brings her out of a stupor, brings her out of the murk, the fog for a brief instant to tell the people who she cares the most about that she loves them in slightly different ways.  I have, with everything in me, a struggle to always add in there, “I have a complicated relationship with my mother.”  I’ve added that line in there so many times over the years, you have no idea.  It was a complicated relationship because by the time she dies, there is no kind of straightening that out, there is no kind of Jack looking for answers. The depth of what Ashley is feeling, what Traci is feeling, what Jack is feeling, were kind of lost because of the way we had to do it. The writers had to do it, so I’m not blaming anyone, but because of the way we had to do it, there was no, “Wow, why isn’t Ashley crying?  Why is she just so stoic that this isn’t touching her at all?” because she can’t go there. Traci feeling like she found her place in the family simply by Dina saying, “You’re the beating heart of this family,” and Jack, who is doing the right thing, “She should leave peacefully, she should leave feeling loved, we should all be here, we should give her nothing but love,” damn, this is complicated.  You couldn’t have any of those things.  .  Hopefully, some of that slid in there and we wedged some of those complexities into it, but it was hard to write a complex scene with the situation as it was.  We needed to get it done it one day.  We did not need to drag this out.  Again, were it not COVID time, sure, let’s drag it out.  Let’s spend some time on this.  People die.  Let’s watch the family process a death.

Photo: CBS

I just think of what it all means for Jack moving forward.  Dina basically tells him, “You’re in charge of the family. Look after the family.” That’s kind of where it’s been going for Jack this whole time.  I don’t know if that’s what Jack wanted, but that’s where he is ending up.

PETER:  Right!  That’s where he ends up, and you know, this has been a long time coming.  Dad dies, and it is pretty clear that he’s got to step up, and his mom comes into town, and she’s not just his mother.  She’s Ashley’s mother; she’s Traci’s mother, we’ve got to look out for her and give her the dignity and things like that.  Now, there is just no getting around it.  Jack is the head of the family.  That’s the way it fell.  Twenty-five years ago, was Jack ready to be head of anything?  Absolutely not, but I think enough has happened to Jack now: enough heartache, enough growth, enough introspection, enough losing people, that Jack might just be ready for this job.

Courtesy/CBS

When Marla Adams came back to Y&R 2017, and they started telling the Alzheimer’s storyline, it brought up such abandonment issues for Jack and rightfully so, about how a mother could just leave her family and children,  Throughout all that,  you did such poignant work.

PETER:  I wanted that to be in there at the very end.  One of the powerful parts in this whole thing is that Jack wanted to scream at Dina every bit as much as he wanted to hug her.  That was there for quite a while, and Jack had to kind of come to terms with, “Hey, you’ve been leaning on this excuse for quite a time.  She’s here.  She can’t do you any harm.  She feels bad about what happened.  What do you want, Jack?”

Photo: CBS

One of the highlights of this storyline was when Y&R explored the history and relationship between the siblings, Jack, Ashley and Traci.  We saw their younger versions as the show flash-backed to when Dina left John and the Abbott family.

PETER:  Between the writers and Peter Bergman, we built this story that the night that Dina left, Dad was upstairs with the girls, they were weeping inconsolably, there was no fixing it, there was no telling them that everything was going to be all right.  He didn’t want to lie to them and say she will be right back, he told them, “She’s not coming back,” and he comes downstairs, and Jack is fourteen-years-old, and a little confused, but decided to say to his dad, “Hey, can I help?”  He looks across the room, and his dad is weeping, first time he had ever seen that.  His father is weeping, and he said, “Jack, you’re going to have to help me with the girls.  I can’t do all of this,” and it changed Jack’s life forever.  Jack was a parent to Ashley for a good part of their relationship.  So, all of this stuff with Jack’s identity, all of the fighting with Ashley, all of the Jabot madness is Ashley finally getting to say, “I don’t need a father!  You’re not my father.  Stop talking to me like you’re going to fix things for me!  I’m sick of it.”  All done by Dina … all truly caused by Dina.

Courtesy/CBD

In my interview with Marla, she told me that at the end of her last scene, you and many others came back to the set to pay tribute to her.

PETER:  We did.  The show had arranged it, and Tony Morina, the executive producer, stepped out on the soundstage with a microphone, and Marla sat on the sofa in the Abbott living room. Tony began telling a lovely, lovely story about how far back his relationship with her goes because Marla and Tony wife’s, Sally Sussman (Ex- head writer, Y&R), also had a long-standing relationship.  Tony was just so grand and gracious in saying that there are some people who, if they weren’t an actor, they’d be this or that or the other thing, but that Marla was born to be an actress.  That’s what she is, and it was so generous.  I think she got three and a half years that she didn’t expect to get out of this.  It was supposed to be a six-month storyline, and four years later, she was still there, and it was a good thing for her, and a unique story turn for the rest of us.  It really was.  It was a powerful thing, and now the Abbott family has a new shape.  There are three adults there: Ashley has established her independence, she is not around as much, she is back and forth between Paris, and Genoa City, Traci is trying to be as supportive and kind as she can be, but essentially, Jack is in the big house by himself.

Yep!  Well, now we’ve got to find Jack a good woman.

PETER:  Yes, or a bad woman.

… Or a bad woman!  I’ll take him in a relationship with someone to stir things up.  I also hear coming up, there will be the reading of Dina’s will.  Is there anything you can tease about that?

PETER:  There is a will read, yes.  No one knows what to expect, and Dina … in the end… comes through for almost everybody…

Courtesy/CBS

Well … that ought to be good.

PETER:  Yep… really comes through for almost everybody, and you know, the Abbott children are wealthier, and all three of them are alone, and in no small thanks to Dina for that.  These are three adults who have been very unlucky in love.  Of course, this is the next challenge.  I don’t mean to assume that I have any idea of what you went through in losing your mom, but there is a point at which you also have to let go and say, “Okay, now it is just me, and what do I want to do with this life?  I’ve used this as a reason not to move forward for a good while.  What am I going to do now?”  I think the next turn in the Jack Abbott story comes pretty organically.  Dina’s death frees Jack to be just as alone as he has ever been.

No matter what Jack does, including the bad things, you always see the inner-pain that is very palpable within him, as you have portrayed him.

PETER:  Yes, but he really has grown in the last 30 years.  Jack is hungry for more right now, and he couldn’t really be that way with Mom in the house.  He didn’t have time for that.  Now he has all of the time in the world.  So, we’ll see what he does with that.

Courtesy/CBD

I understand there is a funeral for Dina, but it will be off-camera?  I guess, because of COVID, it is better that way.

PETER:  That’s true and it’s off camera, that’s correct.  What’s important at most of these things isn’t what happens at the gravesite, it is what happens at the reception afterwards, and that is also a fun turn.  So, they all agree as a family they are going to do it at Society, and they kind of close the joint and make it their own little party, and someone shows up who isn’t expected, and it throws a really, really different vibe into the whole thing, and everybody has to adapt.  It’s actually fun, what it turns into.  It turns into a memory fest with crazy stories of Dina.

Courtesy/CBS

Do you have a favorite moment, or memory, of a scene you played with Marla?

PETER:  I think I had a day where Jack tried to get through to her and tell her, “Do you realize the damage you did?  Do you realize?” and she wasn’t able to take it in, and he went to Traci, and he said, “I want to shake her.  I want to yell at her… and I want to protect her.”  I thought there was something just so rich about that.  That was my favorite moment, my favorite part of it, when Jack finally said, “She’s going, man.  We’ve got to get this conversation done now.  We’ve got to talk this through,” and he was too late.   She was too far along with Alzheimer’s.  She wasn’t up to it.  She couldn’t do it.

Photo: JPI

And now here is Jack; and his parents are both gone.  There is no Jerry Douglas or Marla Adams on the show as both John and Dina have passed on within the history of The Young and the Restless.

PETER:  Again, you were generous enough to share your own personal experience, but isn’t it amazing?  Wow, you’re the grownup now.  Isn’t it amazing?  That’s what the Abbott’s are going through: just what you went through.  There is no older generation to turn to for anything.  We are the older generation.  It’s powerful stuff, and I’m really, really grateful for anytime that Ashley, Jack, and Traci are together talking about those things, talking about, “Wow, okay, that just happened… where do we go from here?”  It’s going to be really interesting.  If you asked me, “Over the last 30 years that you’ve played Jack Abbott, have there been many times where you’ve thought, ‘I’ve got no idea where this is going!’”  I would say, “Yeah, right now.”  I’ve got no idea where we are going with this.

Courtesy/CBS

There has been much speculation that the “teardrop of love” necklace will lead Jack to a new romance, or some new adventure in his life.  They spent a lot of time mentioning it in short order, that it would seem it’s not just to bring Dina some closure.  What are your thoughts on it?

PETER:  I think it has legs.  I think you’re going to hear about it again. There is something in there, and I don’t know if it’s the teardrop’s magic charm or that its history is not what it was, or it gets stolen.  I don’t know, but I think we have spent enough time saying ‘teardrop of love’, that there could be a story there.

In Dina’s final moments where Jack brings her the ‘teardrop of love’, wasn’t it symbolic to her because it was her acknowledgement of having her family back together and with her at all times? There is a back-story to that piece of jewelry as well.

PETER:  The point of the necklace is, “This was when I was truly happy, when I had this necklace, when it is all back together,” and maybe we are to know something more about the teardrop…?  I don’t know.  So, this was a gift to her before Jack was born.  She wore it home from the hospital when she brought him home, but we don’t know exactly what year she got it, and we don’t know exactly what year she lost it.  It was stolen, and it was on the black market for a while, and Victor (Eric Braeden) was looking into it.  It was clear that it was very important to Dina.  So, Jack, against his own wishes, said, “No, I’ve got to do the right thing.  I’ve got to try to trace this thing down.  It clearly means something to her.  Maybe she is trying to tell us something.  God only knows.”  So, he did the right thing, not because, “I want to make Mommy happy,” but because he forced himself to do the right thing, to find the damn necklace, and to see what this is about.  Then, we saw the affect it had when he gave it to her.

Photo: CBS

It’s always good to chat and check-in with you during these key and historical moments in the life of the character of Jack Abbott.  There have been many throughout your time on Y&R, and it will be interesting to see where this goes from here.

PETER:  It will be, and I’m telling you, this is a real moment.  Normally, we just go from one story into the next, into the next, and this one has been hanging for so long that, “Okay, now that it is over, wow, what is going to happen to Jack?”  I’m just as curious as everybody else.

So, what do you think will happen next for Jack?  Did you reach for the hankies in Peter’s final scenes with Marla Adams?  Share your thoughts via the comment section below.

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Interviews

Marla Adams Talks Her Final Scenes As Dina Mergeron, The Alzheimer’s Storyline, and Her Touching Farewell

Today on The Young and the Restless marks the end of the enduring run of Marla Adams in the role of Dina Mergeron. In story, Dina passes away from complications from Alzheimer’s disease. It’s a storyline that started four years ago when the CBS Daytime drama brought back the character and Adams; and one that has deeply affected many in the viewing audience who have also had their own personal experience of losing a loved one to this dreadful disease.

If you have not seen today’s episode yet, you may not want to read any further, but needless to say, make sure you have the hankies ready for Dina’s final moments with her children and how she leaves this earth, which will be remembered for quite some time to come.

Marla originated the role of the rich and spoiled Abbott matriarch back in 1983 and portrayed the role on and off for what amounts to five decades. Her classic scenes with Jerry Douglas (Ex-John), Eileen Davidson (Ashley) and so many more from the iconic soap, always made for great and complex stories.

 

With this her final airdate on Y&R, it also puts an exclamation point for Marla on an incredible daytime career having also appeared on: The Bold and the Beautiful. Capitol, Days of our Lives, Generations and The Secret Storm

Michael Fairman TV chatted with Adams in this very special conversation where she shared with us how it was to play these heartbreaking last scenes, the importance of the ‘teardrop of love’ necklace to the story, how Y&R gave her the most overwhelming and beautiful send-off, and her ‘thank you’s’ to all of you, who have been her extended family and are sad to see her go. She is one-of-a-kind …and now, here’s Marla.

Photo: Getty

Marla, I am so glad we have the opportunity to chat in this full-circle moment as you have brought the character of Dina to a close.

MARLA:  It’s such a joy to talk to you.  It seems like yesterday and an eternity as well.   I thought of you so much, and I remember talking to you specifically with all of the different interviews over the years, when I was at the studio.  But I will always remember the interview you did with me and Beth Maitland (Traci), my darling soul sister, and you talked to me about your mother who has since passed on from Alzheimer’s.  I’ll never forget what you had to say all those months ago

Photo: HallmarkChannel

Yes, and when as audience members we watch these stories unfold with characters we have loved, or watched on our screens for years, and there is a death, we feel connected to them as well.  And in this case, as a child who has lost a parent to Alzheimer’s, like many in the audience, you ask yourself first, “Can I watch this?” It hits very close to home, but I’m sure when people watch today’s episode of Y&R and see Dina pass away, they will be extraordinarily moved.

MARLA:  Oh, my gosh.  Wait until you people see Friday’s show.  I know they will be moved.  They should be!  I’ve got friends who I’ve already said to, “Get your Kleenex box out.”  It’s so beautiful what happens at the end of the episode.

Courtesy/CBD

How did you feel about playing Dina’s final scenes?

MARLA:  It was wonderful because it showed her lifetime of sorrow and regret, and what was so wonderful was the fact that the hero of the whole thing is the kindness and respect that she really did have for her whole family.  They had the most beautiful sendoff for me.  They sent me a limo!  I went to the studio, and dear Patti Denney (Make-up artist, Y&R) was there, of course with all kinds of makeup and everything else, and she looked like she was entering the ER room for Covid-19, because of all the safety protocols we must have.  It was unbelievable, the kindness that was served to me.  After we finished taping my final scenes, I came back to the soundstage and they totally surprised me.  Dear Tony Morina (executive producer, Y&R) and Sally Sussman (Ex-head writer, Y&R) were there, and Tony spoke about me, and so did my Y&R extended family and on-screen children: Peter Bergman (Jack), and Beth Maitland, and Eileen Davidson, and much of it was put on tape (see excerpts in video below).  Afterwards, Tony gave me beautiful flowers.  I was driven back home after this, and I felt really special, and it was just amazing to me. I had written Josh Griffith (Current head-writer and co-executive producer, Y&R) a ‘thank you’ for writing the show with his wonderful people, but I never heard back, but when I walked in my apartment, the phone was ringing.  Guess who?  It’s Josh!  He said, “I waited until I knew you would be home to thank you,” and I felt so lovey-doved up, I couldn’t believe it.  I want to read something to you that I received in the wonderful flowers that came the next day from CBS Daytime executive Margot Wain and others.  The flowers were so big that they didn’t fit on the bar!  The card read: “Thank you for bringing the amazing force that is Abbott matriarch, Dina Mergeron to countless fans of The Young and the Restless.  Your vast contribution to Y&R and CBS for more than five decades is unparalleled.  We are forever grateful for all you’ve brought to Y&R as both a consummate professional and a cherished co-worker.  All our best wishes.”  I was just so touched by the sentiments.

Photo: CBS

I also want to share something with you.  When it was revealed in the promo that came out last week that this would be your last show, I received so many notifications on social media, saying, “Oh, my God!  We love Marla!  You have to interview her!”  You are loved by the Y&R fans.  I hope you know that!  They’re sad to see you go, because you’re a legacy character to them, and soap fans have deep connections to characters that have been on their favorite soaps for decades.

MARLA:  Five decades!  My God!  I’m eighty-freaking-two.  I can’t believe it.

Courtesy/CBS

In story, Jack was on a mission to get the ‘teardrop of love’ necklace back to Dina before she died, hoping that she would have one last moment of lucidity and would recall it and it would hopefully make her happy.   He moves heaven on earth to get it, and does, and brings it to her and viewers saw her reaction. 

MARLA:  The necklace had never been anywhere before in story except recently, but I said to myself that I would play it ‘quietly and graciously’, because it made for such a beautiful moment for Dina with her children.

Courtesy/CBS

For Dina, the necklace was a symbol of remaining connected to her family and her children, even when she was not with them all of those years.  In your final scenes, Dina had these moments to say goodbye to each of your children.  Do you remember looking at Eileen, Traci, and Peter taping those highly emotional beats?

MARLA:  Yes, they were so there for me.  They are an extended family that is so precious to me, and playing this iconic character has been, too.  I remember when Sally Sussman told me a few years ago, “ I’m going to bring you back on The Young and the Restless, but you’ve got Alzheimer’s,” and I said, ‘What!?  You’re bringing me back so you can kill me off?’ and she said, “Oh no, it’ll be about a year.”  That dissolved into four years, and now five decades had passed and I was still on Y&R.  I am beyond grateful.

Courtesy/CBD

As an actress, was it hard to play Dina’s final moments when she goes to the light to join her beloved, John?

MARLA:  It was heart-wrenching for me.  In the story, Dina died when she went outside and to the front door of the Abbott home.  They did not tell me before-hand, and that’s why it was so wonderful.  I hope they came in for a closeup of that because I had no makeup on, it was beautiful, and then, Dina said, “Oh, John.”  I’ve done everything from movies, to daytime, to nighttime, to Broadway, but that was the iconic moment for me, to do this gig with wonderful, wonderful actors and friends, and to do this particular storyline.

Photo: CBS

It was 1983 when you first appeared on Y&R.  And through the years, Dina did not do such great things! She had an affair with Brent Davis who was the biological father of Ashley that caused such a rift between mother and daughter for years.  She abandoned the Abbott children and walked out on them and her marriage to John, and that’s just for starters! Dina was a complicated character. Did you love the fact that she could be very selfish at times?

MARLA:  You think?  That’s why I loved her.  Of course!  I can be very selfish, too.  You have to be selfish if you’re an actor, good God. (Laughs).

Courtesy/CBS

It was great that The Young and the Restless brought you back four years ago so that through the telling of the Alzheimer’s storyline that Dina was able to somewhat repair her relationships with her children.  Obviously, over the last many months the audience could not witness the more day to day progression and toll the disease took on Dina and her family in its final stages, but unfortunately with the way COVID-19 has affected shooting daytime soap operas, and all of our lives, including safety protocols, I am sure plans had to be altered,

MARLA:  Of course.  As an actress, this was the most important role of my life, and to have her final moments spread out in one day really is because of all of the fans who have been writing in and wanting to see Dina again,

Photo: CBS

People were rooting for you to win the Daytime Emmy back in 2018 when you were nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series. That must be a nice moment to carry with you from playing Dina’s final storyline.

MARLA:  Yes, and I should have won!  Eric Braeden (Victor, Y&R) was furious. (Laughs)  He said, “What do you mean, darling, you should have won!  Goddammit!” He’s a wonderful man and a good friend.  He came to pick me up several times to go to the studio for my last few shows, and that’s the kind of mensch he is. So, I feel just so blessed and I feel great love and loss.  I would like Dina to come back as a ghost, but I have no idea, if that will happen or not. But if the fans would be interested in seeing Dina as a ghost … make sure to write in to the show and tell them!

Courtesy/CBS

Speaking of the fans that have followed you for decades on Y&R, what would you want to say to them now that Dina has passed on?

MARLA:  Thank you, from the bottom of my heart for all of the love, the support, and the chance to play Dina out… and I’m thankful that you cared, and loved her, up till the end.

So what did you think about Dina’s final moments on today’s Y&R? Will you miss Marla Adams?  Share your thoughts via the comment section below.  But first check out the special behind the scenes tribute for Marla, followed by The Michael Fairman Channel’s interview with Marla and Beth Maitland from Y&R’s 45th anniversary celebration referred to during the above conversation.

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B&B’s Jacqueline MacInnes Wood deliver the Power Performance of the Week as Steffy’s drug addiction leads to a confrontation and intervention by her loved ones with dire consequences.  Here is the last seven minutes that featured Emmy-winner Wood at her best. Leave A Comment

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