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THE EDEN RIEGEL INTERVIEW -"LUCKY" & "BITCHES"

Listen to the audio:

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MICHAEL:

Congratulations Eden! You are now the biggest star on “Cyberspace,” with your hit series “Imaginary Bitches” and the new “Cooking To Get Lucky”. Your husband Andrew Miller and you are the hot new Hollywood cyber super couple! So, tell me how did these shows come about?

EDEN:

My husband and I really loved working with each other, and the web really afforded us the opportunity to have people see it. It’s amazing that the business has inverted itself. Now, it’s very easy for a couple of morons with a camera to make things huge. It’s great! I did this movie with Jack Black, and Judd Apatow produced it. Those guys go by the same system. They only work with their friends, and work with people they respect. But the difference is, they usually do gigantic million dollar movies, but we do little Internet shows. However, they also love putting stuff out on the internet and that interested me. I loved their stuff, and was dying of laughter. I saw that they reached a ton of people. Then, my husband Andrew came up with the idea of “Imaginary Bitches” and I was like, “Let’s do it!” We already had this cooking show concept kicking around.

MICHAEL:

So, what was the genesis of the idea behind your new cooking show, “Cooking to Get Lucky”?

EDEN:

We had shot a pilot, and we did not know what was going to happen with it. Andrew was a single guy for a long time, and he created this system to woo unsuspecting women and on me! I came over for our third date and he had fixed me an amazing meal, and I went, “This guy is thoughtful and special! He had put such work and energy and thought, into this meal, and he really likes me. I’ve got to consider seeing this guy more,” and it worked for him. Andrew had started cooking, and the only recipes and shows that were out there were far, far, too compacted or not sexy enough. There are a lot of cooking shows that tell you how to cook something really fast, and it’s not really something that you usually make for a girl who comes over for a first date. So, he put together his own set of recipes, and he works from other recipes and tries to cut out excessive ingredients. We try to figure out simple and beautiful meals that do not require a lot of kitchen gadgets, and he had no expertise and see, “We got together”! I have brought my knowledge of cooking, as well. I have been cooking for a really long time and love it. I love cooking shows so I understand the medium really well. We put together a whole bunch of recipes that are very easy to accomplish, and that taste amazing. They would impress the ‘heck’ out of someone who is coming over. The show is called, “Cooking to Get Lucky,” because that is the ultimate goal! (She laughs)

MICHAEL:

Do they get ‘lucky’ at the end of the show? (He laughs)

EDEN:

Well, we wanted it to be PG!

MICHAEL:

What will we see?

EDEN:

I am cooking and I am teaching Bob Guiney, who is mostly known and famous for “The Bachelor”. He was a bachelor for a long time and he is our everyman. He is like the guy who is such a complete waste of space in the kitchen. So, when we start cooking, if he can accomplish something, then anybody can.

MICHAEL:

So you co-host with Bob? He is married in real-life to one of your ex-“AMC” pals!

EDEN:

We both host the show, and we are not playing characters. He is no longer a bachelor; he is married to Rebecca Budig (Greenlee, AMC)

MICHAEL:

Are you and Rebecca still friends off- screen?

EDEN:

Yeah. It’s the same thing with “Bitches”. They are all friends or family. My husband and my brother are producing the show. My sister-in-law is shooting the show. All of our friends are crewing it. It’s such a blast. We just shot the first five episodes, and it’s like a party!

MICHAEL:

How many episodes of “Bitches” are coming up?

EDEN:

There are 13 in the first season. There are 3 more coming that are in the can ready to go, and we hope to go past that.

MICHAEL:

This show has blown-up!

EDEN:

It’s a little popular! (She laughs) I can’t image not continuing, but nothing is set in stone yet.

MICHAEL:

For those who have not been orbiting the World Wide Web, tell them about your character and the premise of “Imaginary Bitches”.

EDEN:

I play Eden, not to be confused with Eden Riegel, who is single, and the only single girl of a group of friends who are all in serious relationships, and sadly they have moved beyond her. Now, her best friends don’t have time for her. So, Eden in desperation, makes up these imaginary friends, but unfortunately they turn out to be gigantic bitches! She can’t control them. They say all of the stuff we know she is thinking in her subconscious, but she is completely not aware of it. They sort of unleash Eden’s ‘inner bitch’, and then she is able to express all the things she would not normally say. It’s really funny, and I am so proud of it. My husband conceived the idea, and it’s brilliant. I love playing comedy. I like being able to say off color bitchy things, which I would never usually say, because I am always playing the nice girl. But, I get to use curse words, and say catty things! Eden is also having some sort of psychotic breakdown, but it’s really funny.

MICHAEL:

So, what do the real friends think of your “bitches”?

EDEN:

To help me out, all my friends are just trying to accept that the bitches just exist. So, they are trying to help me get past this by saying, “We are going to be cool with this.” There are lots of scenes with my real friends and the imaginary bitches.

MICHAEL:

When does “Imaginary Bitches” web season end, and when does “Cooking to Get Lucky’s” begin?

EDEN:

The next three weeks through Mid-August is how long the “Bitches” will go, and “Cooking To Get Lucky” premieres in early August.  There are five epsiodes of the show.

MICHAEL:

Elizabeth Hendrickson (Ex-Maggie, “AMC” and now Chloe on”Y&R”) has made a few guest appearances on “Bitches”. So, in a sense, were you reunited with her on-screen?

EDEN:

Elizabeth plays one of my great friends on the show.

MICHAEL:

Have you caught Elizabeth on “Y&R”?

EDEN:

She is fantastic on “Y&R”, and I love that she is getting to play a more complex character. She is something of a bitch, I would say. She is a dynamo, for somebody in a little package. I knew that the first day we were on set at “AMC,” she came in and had to work with Susan Lucci (Erica), and that can be intimidating. In the scene, Susan hits Frankie (Elizabeth was playing Frankie then) with her car, and she is lying there and she is fighting with Erica Kane. They were going at it neck and neck and it was amazing to watch. Susan is quite a presence herself, and watching these two ‘little people’… it was so great! And when I watched the scene I said, “I can’t believe this is going to be my love interest. This is awesome!”

MICHAEL:

Were you intimated your first day on the set, knowing you were playing opposite Susan Lucci as her daughter, no less?

EDEN:

Oh, yes, completely. That all started the very first day on the set. I was intimated by the idea by her presence in her room. When I screen-tested for the role of Bianca, Susan had been a presenter on the “Tonys” the night before. She looked magnificent.

Susan is such a superstar, and she was so poised and funny. She has such a huge personality, and she was this megastar. I was like, ”I have to do a scene with her tomorrow and I have to fight with her?” In the scene, I was getting ready for the prom and she was trying to gussy me up and I wasn’t interested in it. The first second I met Susan, she could not have been more sweet and adorable, because Broadway had been her dream. She was so excited to have just been on the “ Tonys” the night before. She has always been there for me. Even though we are not working together right now, we stay in touch. She was at my wedding. I have shared so much with her and I love her.

MICHAEL:

Everyone wants to know, will Bianca be making another stop in Pine Valley?

EDEN:

Yes. I would come back for guest appearances in a second. I am always in talks with the show and trying to work something out.

MICHAEL:

When you do go back to do your guest stints, do you ever feel like you just want to come back full time?

EDEN:

Of course! It’s very difficult. I have a life in LA now, but it’s really hard. I love New York and love the cast and the show, and I still watch it! They are like my family.

MICHAEL:

“AMC” sort of lost its path in recent months, and recently, the show brought in top soap scribe Chuck Pratt Jr. How do you think his impact will be felt by the show?

EDEN:

I am excited about it. I think a lot of people are saying it. I think Chuck will infuse new life into it, and I am looking forward to see what he writes

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MICHAEL:

Eden, for the remarkable and landmark role of Bianca, the first teen and younger woman lesbian storyline on soaps, you received the highest honors. You received both the Daytime Emmy and the GLAAD awards for your depiction in the lesbian storyline. Looking back, did you realize how powerful and crucial that role was for daytime?

EDEN:

I knew at the time how significant it was, and I was sort of surprised by it. When I heard about the story, I had an idea it was a big tell. But, because they had never done it in soaps, I don’t think I could fully appreciate it, because I did not know enough about that world. It really was a risk for “AMC” to try this, especially with the fans. How amazing that it was such a success. And, I get so many letters all the time from people who were incredibly moved by the story. It was a topic that is very important to me. I was very honored to be a part of it, and to help tell the story. It seems like it had an impact on a lot of people, and it’s an honor to be part of that.

MICHAEL:

But the role transcended all boundaries because Bianca was not just the “lesbian” storyline, she became the morale center of “AMC”. You became a role model. You must receive emails from gays and lesbians who struggled to come out to their parents and friends.

EDEN:

That occurs a lot of times. Sometimes, I feel like they are giving me too much credit. I never had to come out. I never had to do anything that courageous in my entire life. I definitely have great empathy for my character, and loved the journey, and to tell the story. And by telling these stories, an actor gets a tiny glimpse of what it might be like. Similarly, when I did the rape storyline, it was a horrific experience to play some of the acting beats, as well as Miranda’s death story.

MICHAEL:

I am emotionally exhausted just recalling these storylines with you! Whew! How did you do this day in and day out?

EDEN:

I don’t know how I did it. I went into this weird state… like a mourning state. I don’t think it ever left me, completely. It’s all very real, and because “AMC” historically has had amazing writing, I was blessed to be a part of one of the golden ages of “AMC”, and my character got to do some gorgeously written things.

MICHAEL:

How did you feel though, about the resolution of the Bianca/Maggie romance?

EDEN:

Unfortunately, we weren’t able to see a lot of story points through, because I left the show and nobody was certain that people were ready for it, and mostly because it’s a soap opera. They gave me a gift in that they never made Maggie and me happy… ever! Everybody knows as soon as a soap character is happy…. it’s the kiss of death. I liked that they treated us like any other couple, and we had lots of trials and tribulations. Maggie was going through her own questions. She did not know if she was gay, bisexual, or straight. She did not know if the feelings she had were romantic or intensely intimate friends. I think it’s very interesting that she had that question. We could have had a commitment ceremony, or Maggie could have adopted Miranda, if we had another year on the show. A lot of things could have happened, but because of circumstance, storylines had to go different ways.

MICHAEL:

If you had to choose a moment from all the storylines on “AMC” off the top of your head, what would it be?

EDEN:

It’s very hard for me to choose a moment, but I will always go back to when I first had the ‘coming out’ storyline. I actually think I was a better actress in later storylines. I wish I could have done it better justice at the time, when Bianca tells her mother she’s gay. It was a real emotional experience for me and Susan Lucci. I remember we were going to leave for Thanksgiving, and we were the last scenes to shoot that day. For us, the scene felt like a minute, even though we were there all day, and most of the evening. That was because we were both so completely absorbed in what we were doing. It could have been a moment, or 100 hours, and we had no idea. It was an incredible bonding experience for us, and I had so much love for Susan already. She had a lot of love for me, too. So we felt sort of like mother and daughter, and it was all out there. It was a really beautiful moment.

MICHAEL:

Where is your Daytime Emmy housed?

EDEN:

My Daytime Emmy is in our office. My Emmy I gave to my grandmother, but then she passed away last year. I got it back, and it’s even better now, because it doesn’t feel like mine anymore, it feels like hers. She loved it so much. She showed it to all her friends and bragged about it. I know how much it meant to her.

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MICHAEL:

What else would you still love to do?

EDEN:

I am not saying I have stopped growing, or have any experience coming up in the future that will trump what I had, but I have some pretty incredible experiences! But what I would really love to continue to do right now, is to continue to do “Imaginary Bithces”. I love it!

MICHAEL:

And the cooking show?

EDEN:

The beauty of the cooking show is, it’s less about cooking then us having fun. People will enjoy watching the show, those who hate cooking or are intimidated by their kitchen. What’s fun about it is Bob’s and my dialog. He might say something off color that has some sexual innuendo. So that part is fun to tape, because he is always making us laugh!

MICHAEL:

Eden, then what is your favorite meal to cook?

EDEN:

What I love about cooking is feeding people what they like. I love cooking Italian, and I think Italians appreciate food that is rare and beautiful. It’s food that is no muss, no fuss. My approach to cooking does not have to be slaving over something for 8 hours. What makes it good is that you love your ingredients and you make them shine.

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MICHAEL:

Can you tease the “Michael Fairman On-Air On-Soaps” audience with what they can look forward to, coming up on “Bitches”?

EDEN:

And the end of the season is a two-episode season finale. It is a cliffhanger and some very interesting things happen. Eden is forced to question basic things about herself, because these “Bitches” are not just going away, and they are telling her about things she never knew… and maybe didn’t want to know. I think the finale is longer than our normal seven minute episodes.

MICHAEL:

How can people find “Imaginary Bitches”?

EDEN:

They can go to www.Youtube.com/imaginary bitches, and subscribe there and we will forward you new episodes when they come out. For extra shows, past episodes, and for our weekly “bitch” sessions, You can go to our website, www.imaginarybitches.com. I do a weekly chat with the fans, after we premiere a new episode. Every Friday night at 8pm PST, a new episode of “Imaginary Bitches” goes up. “Cooking To Get Lucky” will premiere in a few weeks. Log on to www.mdialog.com, for show information! 

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All My Children

Eva LaRue Talks On Her Daytime Emmy Nomination, And Opens Up About The Loss Of John Callahan

For Eva LaRue, the past two months have been some of the most emotionally gut-wrenching and challenging of her life, following the passing of her ex-husband, father of her child, and dearest friend, John Callahan (Ex-Edmund, All My Children). The outpouring of support she has received not only from her former AMC cast mates, but the soap world in general illustrates just how dear Eva is to all of us, and how many people had special memories of their time with John.

While mourning the loss of Callahan along with their daughter, Kaya, there was some heartwarming and re-affirming news that any actress would love to hear. Eva was nominated for a Daytime Emmy in the Outstanding Guest Performer in a Drama Series for her work as Celeste Rosales on CBS’ The Young and the Restless, and she is great company as her former AMC co-star Michael E. Knight (Ex-Tad) is also nominated along with her for his work on General Hospital.

The coronavirus pandemic has hit our country and world hard, but through it All My Children virtual reunions emerged as fans were engaged by the content, transported to happier times that brought them back to familiar faces in Pine Valley in which Eva participated along with her good friends, Kelly Ripa, Mark Consuelos and so many more, thanks to the EW. com weeklong event which concluded on Friday.

Michael Fairman TV talked with Eva in this very candid, at times heartbreaking, and open conversation where she shares details into the final days of her beloved John, her last moments with him, and how she tried to plan a memorial in his honor during the COVID-19 pandemic.

For so many of us, 2020 has certainly seen more lows then highs, but in the end for Eva, to receive a nomination now (an award she was last nominated for back in 1997 as Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for her work as Dr Maria Santos on All My Children) couldn’t have come at a better time. Here now is our conversation with Eva.

Photo: JPI

I’ve been thinking so much about you.  I’m glad we could do this, and in the midst of the tragedy of losing John Callahan, and then receiving a Daytime Emmy nomination.  What was your reaction when you learned you were nominated in a category with none other than your former AMC castmate and good friend, Michael E. Knight (Ex-Tad, AMC, now Martin, GH)?

EVA:  Oh, I know!  He’s the first person I texted!  I was like, “Congratulations, Michael!  Did you ever in a million years think that you and I would be in the same category of anything?”  Then I said, “And when you win this, can I just borrow it for the weekend just to dress it up and take pictures with it… just want to borrow it, just babysit the trophy for a weekend, please?” (Laughs)

Photo: JPI

What did you end up submitting that landed you the nomination for your role as Celeste on Y&R?

EVA: I submitted a scene with Peter Bergman (Jack, Y&R), who I have been friends for 30 years, if not more, and in all that time we had never worked together.  I met him when I was married to John O’Hurley (Ex- Dr. James Grainger) because John was over at The Young and the Restless at the time.  I went to a Christmas party with John to Peter and Mariellen’s house, and do you know who else was there?  Lisa Rinna (Ex-Billie, Days), and it was before she had gotten Days of Our Lives. She was dating Peter Barton (Ex-Scott Grainger, Y&R) at the time. We both ended up on soaps at the same time.  So, I submitted a scene with Peter, who is amazing, warm and open and such a great actor. Then I submitted a scene with my on-screen daughter Sasha Calle (Lola, Y&R) – I love that girl, and another one with Michelle Stafford (Phyllis, Y&R) who has also been my great friend for a couple of decades. The other scene I put on my reel was with me and Jordi Vilasuso (Rey, Y&R) who I also adore.  He is awesome and such a sweetheart.  I only had two months worth of material to draw upon.  So, I just submitted the scenes that I liked the best, and they all were within story, and all made sense.

Photo: Getty Images

Where is Celeste supposed to be now?

EVA:  She went back to Florida, and that was that. I would never say never to anything, but it was always supposed to be a short stint, and it was great.

So not only is it you and Michael E. Knight, but Jeffery Vincent Parise, Chrishell Stause, and Elissa Kapneck. This Guest Performer category is loaded!

EVA:  I know! I know and love, Chrishell (Ex-Amanda) because we worked together on All My Children, too, right before I left, and she is a doll.  She just might be the sweetest, kindest, girl on the planet.  She literally might be the sweetest person who ever lived!  I don’t know the other two nominees personally.  So, I’m excited for them too.  It’s such a diverse category.  It’s just really fun to be nominated with all of them.

Photo: Hallmark Channel

You were nominated before, though, for your work as Maria on All My Chldren during the emotional baby switch storyline; working opposite Susan Lucci (Ex-Erica) for a lot in it.

EVA:  Yes.  I was nominated for Best Supporting Actress for All My Children, and I was nominated for Best Original Song.  I wrote a song when Maria came ‘back from the dead’ to All My Children, with a producer friend of mine from Miami Sound Machine.

Photo: Live with Kelly Ryan

So, you’ve been doing all of these All My Children virtual reunions, which is so interesting that in this pandemic, people are looking for content, and they dip back into these beloved shows.  Was it fun doing the EW.com Santos Family reunion with everybody?

EVA:  Oh yeah, it was really, really fun.  I only saw in the big picture everybody else’s photo who was a part of it, and the people who I actually do hang out with the most, and see the most, and talk to the most, are Kelly Ripa (Ex-Hayley), Mark Consuelos (Ex-Mateo), and Sydney Penny (Ex-Julia).  I don’t see Sydney as much, but I do see her probably once every two years at least, but Sarah Michelle Geller (ExKendall) I see all the time and talk to all the time.  Kelly, Mark, and Sarah are the ones who walked me through that first week when John Callahan passed.  They literally were on the phone with me, the three of them, almost every day, but I got beautiful outreach, from what seemed like everyone.  This is when no matter how many years have passed since you have been in daytime, that the daytime family as a group – there used to be fifteen shows, now there are four – and people have bounced around and they are on other shows- – but the entire soap opera community reached out,   I cannot even tell you how much that meant to me.  It was overwhelming, and it was really, spectacularly beautiful.

Photo: JPI

I hope it was some solace to you knowing how much people loved John, and also that they love and care so deeply for you.

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EVA:  I mean, people who did not even work with John reached out.  Every soap was represented by getting a hold of me, sending a text or a phone call, or if they didn’t have my personal information, they tweeted, or whatever it was… literally from every reach of soapdom.  It was amazing.

And your relationship with John was amazing with all of the ups and downs you went through; that you remained such dear friends.

EVA:  We remained really great friends all the way.

Photo: JPI

I so remember when the two of you first got together and it was this storybook real life soap couple romance.  John was always so sweet to me.  I was so, so sad, and you know, my heart just broke for you.

EVA:  I think it was just such a shock.  I don’t think anybody, and even Kaya were talking about it, because she graduated this week, and her dad is not here.  We’re not having a graduation, because of COVID-19, which sucks on top of it, but we were just kind of talking through the feelings of it.  She said, “You know what’s weird?  I guess I never pictured dad getting old, and I always wondered why, and now I know.”  When I would get on John about his heart or his health, he used to always say, ‘Oh, don’t worry Evala, (he always called me “Evala”).  I’m going to be here.  I’m going to be here a long time.  I’m fine.  I’m going to be here to walk Kaya down the aisle and see her kids and all that.  Stop worrying,” Every time he said it to me, something in my gut said, “I don’t think he is.  I don’t think he is,” but I always just dismissed that.  But never in my wildest dreams did I think John wouldn’t make it to her high school graduation.  He was only 66.

Photo: JPI

I had heard you ended up running to Palm Springs to be near John.  I can’t even imagine what that must have been like.

EVA:  The only good thing about this pandemic is that we had been shut down for only two weeks at that point.  Kaya and I got in the car.  John had some heart procedures the day before, on a Thursday.  I called him in the morning before he went in for the procedure.  I said, “Call me as soon as you get out of there.  Call me as soon as you come-to again, and you’re good,” and he said, “Okay, I will.”  I said, “I’m going to send Kaya out to you on Friday for the weekend, just so you have somebody to hang out and watch you, and I might come out too,” And then, I said, “Maybe, I’ll come down too in case you are feeling weak, just to watch out for you for the weekend.”   So, he called me after the procedure.   I said, “I cannot believe they sent you home! You just had some major heart stuff done.”  He said, “Oh no, they said I’m fine.  It was just run-of-the-mill heart stuff, angiogram…”  I was like, “Are you sure?”  He said, “Yeah, I’m fine.  I’m just tired.  I’m going to go to sleep.”  I said, “Do you want me to send Kaya out tonight?” and he was like, “No, no, no.  Send her tomorrow.”  So, in the morning, I called him at 9:00am.  No answer.  I texted him.  He always texted me like Johnny on the spot, and then texts me immediately back.  So, I call him again at 10.  Nothing.  His best friend calls me about a half-hour later, “Hey, I talked to John at about 8:00 this morning.  He said he was feeling really, really shitty and was going to go back to the hospital, and then, I texted him again at like 8:30 to just tell him something, and he hasn’t texted me back, and he always texts me immediately back.”  I said, “Oh my, God, I’ve been trying to get a hold of him for two hours; he hasn’t texted me back,”   I said, “You know what, I’ll call you back.”  So, I called his friend who lives down the street from John, and I said, “Go to his house, please right this second, knock on the door, jump the fence, knock on his bedroom, he might be asleep, I don’t know.”  So, he gets there, nobody is answering.  I said, “Break into the house please.  So, he did, and John was collapsed in the bathroom.  They called the paramedics, and as soon as they called me back and said, “John is unresponsive in the bathroom,” Kaya and I threw everything in the car, and what usually takes us two and a half hours without traffic, we made it down there from Los Angeles in an hour and forty-five minutes.

Photo: JPI

I don’t know how you made it down there in one piece. Thank, God!

EVA:  I drove so fast, like literally broke all land speed records and thank God because we got there just in time.  He was in emergency.  He hadn’t been put up in ICU yet, where we wouldn’t have been able to see him.  They weren’t going to let us in the hospital.  Thank God the person answering the door was an All My Children fan.  She was the one saying, “Sorry, no one is allowed in the hospital, no one can come in,” and I was like, “No, no, no, my ex-husband just came in.”  She said, “Was it Edmund?” and I said, “Yes, it was Edmund!”  She said, “Okay, follow me.”  Thank God for All My Children.  Thank God.  So, we followed this woman secretly, and we get to spend a half-hour with him in Emergency.  He was already on life-support, totally unresponsive, but we got to play John his favorite music, we got to just sit there and hold his hand and talk to him, and tell him how much we loved him.  Sarah Michelle Gellar called right when we were in the hospital in Emergency, and she said, “Put the phone by his ear,” so I put the phone by his ear, and she talked to John too, and she told him how much she loved him.  She used to always call him “GP”, which was short of grandpa, because she came on the show when she was 15, and she didn’t have a dad, and John acted like a dad to her – but she used to always call him “grandpa”, and he hated “grandpa”, so he was like, “You can call me “GP”, but not grandpa,” so she always called him GP.  I just put the phone by John’s ear, and what was crazy is that when she talked to him, his feet started twitching.  He started moving his feet.  Then, when Kaya was talking to him about Yankee season, he started moving his feet.  We were kind of hopeful that something was changing for the better.  We had about a half-hour with him, and then, they took him up to ICU, and then, we knew we couldn’t see him again.  They called us later that night that he had passed.

Photo: JPI

I am just so thankful that you got to see John one last time.

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EVA:  I thank God every day that we got to say goodbye, because if we hadn’t gotten there in time to say goodbye, I just don’t know.

It’s very rare that a couple after a divorce, who have a child, and went from romance to dear friends, end up maintaining that relationship so many years later in their lives.  I know so many people who were together at one point in their lives, for years, and they don’t even talk to each other now.

EVA:  Well, you know, like any divorce, the first four years afterwards were super contentious but then, by year five, we kind of had this major breakthrough, and from then on, he was one of my closest friends, and one of the things we always kept alive for each other was we loved to  dance together. We fell in love, I think, dancing because originally our characters on AMC met at this country-western bar, and we had to take country line dancing lessons on the show.  They hired a choreographer for us so that during those scenes where we were falling in love, we would actually be able to do a two-step! So, we went out and practiced at Denim and Diamonds, which was a big country-western place in New York City at the time.  We used to go out with a whole group of us.  It was me, and Teresa Blake (Ex-Gloria) and Kelly Ripa, and her boyfriend at the time, Winsor Harmon (Ex-Del), sometimes Walt Willey (Ex-Jack); we just had a whole crew of us who would go out country dancing.  John and I also loved singing together.  He had the most amazing gravely kind of rockstar voice, but his real talent was harmonizing.  He could harmonize to anything.  So, when he would come over, we would sit in the kitchen and sing, and sing, and sing until the late hours because that’s what we loved to do, and that’s what he loved to do.  That’s one of my favorite last memories of us.  He was just over the month before, and Kaya’s bedroom is near the kitchen, so she came out and was like, “Can you two shut up?”  It was like two in the morning and we were still singing in the kitchen. (Laughs)  John was my dear friend and my confidant.

Photo: ABC

Were you able to have some kind of service during this stay-at-home pandemic we are all dealing with, in order to mourn the loss of John?

EVA:  It’s been so crazy.  We couldn’t even have a funeral.  That’s what made it all the more heartbreaking.  There were less than twenty of us, and we just got on a Zoom call and memorialized John.   I thought we were going to do a big Zoom memorial, but it seemed so overwhelming and so impersonal, it just was rubbing us wrong in every way.  Every way we were looking at it, we were like, “Oh my, God, we just can’t.”  We wanted to invite everybody he had ever worked with, and we were like, “No, we want to do that when everything can open back up again, and invite every person, and have a party” because John was always the life of every party.  Maybe we can do that in the fall or next year.  I kept trying to write something for the small memorial we did do for three days.  I kept coming back to this one song, because John was always the consummate bartender, too.  I sang a song that Bette Midler sang on the very last episode of Johnny Carson.  It was “One for My Baby (and One More for the Road)” and it’s about a bartender who has got a big personality and a lot to say.   I changed some of the words around a bit just to reflect who John was, and so, I ended up singing for it instead of speaking.  We always talked about that last episode of Carson; how stunningly emotional it was when Bette sang that song to kind of sing Johnny off for of all of his years on the air.  So, that’s what I did and because we loved to sing together, it just made sense.

Photo: HutchinsPhoto

I do think you touched upon something, earlier, too.  I don’t think any other genre would have that kind of unbridled camaraderie.  It’s such a family, like you said.  I don’t think you would find that quite like this; certainly in show business. 

EVA:  I really don’t think you can. Even though there is always a good amount of competition in the soaps as well; between the soaps it’s like they are any sports team, but there is always a level of respect, love, and familial connection within the community.  I think that is why they have stood the test of time.  I really do think that is what hooks our audience, that is what keeps them there after all of these years, even though unfortunately the genre is antiquated looking, there is something about it that is nostalgic, familial, and comfortable for people.

Photo: JPI

Every time I talk about All My Children, why do you think everybody go ga-ga for it, when it’s been off the air for several years now?

EVA:  It speaks to people’s childhoods.  It speaks to how we grew up.  You can’t undo nostalgia.  You can’t.  It’s in the way we grew up, the things we loved, the things that we scheduled our lives around, the people we fell in love with on the shows that we watched, who we cared about and loved their storylines. I grew up watching All My Children, General Hospital, and Days of Our Lives.

It must have been a spectacular moment for you when you realized you were actually in Pine Valley and a member of the cast of All My Children then?

EVA:  It was amazing.  I was a fan when I got the show.  I was a straight up fan.  I fangirled walking through that dressing room hallway for the first time! I was trying to keep it in check, but you know … (Laughs)

Photo: JPI

So, in closing, you would say, “Thrilled to be nominated”?

EVA:  Yes.  So fun.  It has really been a rollercoaster of a couple of months here.  That nomination was literally the bright, shining spot in all of this.

So, happy to hear Eva is in the running for a Daytime Emmy? Were you moved by Eva’s sentiments she shared on her relationship with the late John Callahan? Do you miss Pine Valley’s Dr. Maria Santos? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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All My Children

All My Children Reunion with Josh Duhamel, Ricky Paull Goldin, Cameron Mathison and More; Later Debbi Morgan Live

It’s a big finale of the weeklong virtual celebration of the iconic All My Children.  On tap today in EW’s series to benefit Feeding America during the COVID-19, some major names from the history of Pine Valley and who had story with each other participating in the chat, premiering at 10 a. m. EST.

Taking part in the walk down memory lane are none other than Josh Duhamel (Ex-Leo), Ricky Paull Goldin (Ex-Jake), Chrishell Stause (Ex-Amanda), Cameron Mathison (Ex-Ryan), Rebecca Budig (Ex-Greenelee) and Melissa Claire Egan (Ex-Annie).

But that’s not all folks! Daytime Emmy winner, Debbi Morgan will participate in a live virtual chat with EW.com today beginning at 3 p.m. EST/12 p. m. PST.  Now will be your chance to hear from the one and only Angie Hubbard from the beloved ABC daytime drama series.

Over the week, EW.com has posted other virtual conversations with notables from Pine Valley, you can check them out here.

So, will you be checking out today’s one-two punch of AMC favorites? Comment below.

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All My Children

All My Children Weeklong Virtual Reunions Kick-Off With Ripa, Consuelos, LaRue and Penny

Beginning this morning, Tuesday, May 26th, a weeklong virtual celebration with the cast of All My Children is on tap for fans of the beloved ABC daytime drama series, featuring a “Who’s Who of Pine Valley”.

The weeklong event is brought to you by EW.com and PEOPLETV.com and starts at 10 am EST/PST.   You can watch it right here.

Featured in the first installments are  the Santos family which includes: real-life marrieds, who met on All My Children, Kelly Ripa (Ex-Hayley) and Mark Consuelos (Ex-Mateo), as well as Eva LaRue (Maria) and Sydney Penny (Julia).

Episode 2 coming up on Wednesday will feature: Michael E. Knight (Tad Martin), Cady McClain (Dixie Cooney Martin), Jennifer Bassey (Marian Colby Chandler), Jill Larson (Opal Cortlandt), and Darnell Williams (Jesse Hubbard).

The weeklong event is in support of Feeding America helping those in need during the COVID-19 pandemic.

For more information and how you can make a donation visit ew.com/allmychildrenreunion

So, let us know what you think of the first installment featuring the Santos clan from Pine Valley as they reunite for a good cause via the comment section below.

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Y&R's Eileen Davidson, Knots' Donna Mills & GH's Laura Wright Talk On Life in the Soaps
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