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The Heather Tom and Don Diamont Interview – The Bold and the Beautiful

Photo Credit: Kathie Hutchins

Photo Credit: Kathie Hutchins

The Bold and the Beautiful’s Dollar Bill Spencer had certainly taken things way too far in the past, and has made some very questionable and unethical decisions when it comes to family, relationships and business.  But, this most recent power play took the cake!  In an attempt to keep his son Liam married to his former flame, Steffy, he cunningly made sure a fraudulent diagnosis was made about Steffy’s medical condition after her injury in Cabo!  However, Bill’s wife Katie got wind of the deception and was willing to blow Bill’s deceit sky-high, except he took drastic measures to make sure the info wouldn’t come out.  So what’s a hubby to do?  Lock his wife up in a tower!

On-Air On-Soaps caught up with two of your favorite daytime performers, who you first came to know on The Young and the Restless, and then fell in love with all over again in their more recent roles on B&B.  Heather Tom (Katie) and Don Diamont (Bill) sat down with us to talk about the complexities of playing their feisty on-screen romance, and clued us in if Steffy would indeed be the ultimate spoiler in their relationship… or, could it be something else that could eventually tear them apart?

There is no doubt after talking with them, that as far as Heather and Don are concerned, they are having the time of their lives, and both concur that they have the best scene-partner anyone could ask for.  So read below as we go inside the minds of the explosive Spencer clan with the Daytime Emmy Award-winning actress, and one of soaps all-time heartthrobs!

MICHAEL:

B&B fans were in for a shock when Bill decided to lock up his own wife. It was sort of a twisted house arrest when he kept her prisoner in a tower to keep her from revealing his deception!  Female viewers of the show have always loved Katie, because she tells it like it is.   But what happened here?  She seemed to go right back to Bill after being in lock-down? (Laughs)

Photo Credit: Gilles Toucas

HEATHER:

I hope I am empowering women, except you’re right, she always goes right back to him!  I think that is the part of it … that these two have always had this push and pull and the appeal of that.  And even though it is stroking his ego, what is she going to do?  Go date the bus boy?  She is ruined, done!  (Laughs)  Honestly, she understands who she married. And it has never been about Katie “walking out”.  It was not about that.  It was to alter his behavior in some way.  I just feel like it’s going to take a lot for her to walk away from this relationship, but that does not mean she isn’t going to call him on his crap.

DON:

She knew full well who she married when she married him!  It’s like the ying and yang of who this guy is, and all that he is, that is so attractive.  There is the flip side of that where he is a very challenging personality, and she is going to try to manage that, and she loves him!  And, he loves her!

HEATHER:

There is a part of me after this whole tower incident that was concerned, because after it was all done, like five minutes later, we were having sex and everything was cool! (Laughs) So, hopefully viewers will catch the show where it is more about, “What can I do?  I love him!”  I have said this.  And, it’s more of, “What are you doing?  Do you really think Liam is going to be cool with this?”  It’s saving him from himself.  Hopefully, I can maintain that moral strength without looking like a doormat.

DON:

I think she has done that and shown enormous strength.

Photo Credit: Kathie Hutchins

MICHAEL:

What about Steffy?  Doesn’t Bill still carry a torch for her?

DON:

That is a different kind of love.  In Steffy, as I have always said, Bill sees a reflection of himself and there is nothing Bill likes more than himself.  It’s that kind of attraction. Steffy feeds his ego and some his behavior as well.  Katie is the voice of reason and his conscience, and the angel.  She appeals to the goodness in Bill.

MICHAEL:

When you initially saw the scripts that had Bill imprisoning his own wife in the tower, what went through your minds?

DON:

I think initially when I heard about it I was concerned, because throwing her in the tower you walk a fine line with Bill Spencer, and anything that smacks of physical abuse or domestic battery.  He is not redeemable at that point and so we have to stay away from that.  So we called Brad Bell (executive producer and head writer, B&B) who then said, “No Don.  It’s going to be romantic and hot, and it’s going to be great.”  (Laughs)  Then the script came and did say, “Bill grabs Katie by the arm…”  So, we worked all that out to make it all more Harlequin Romance than OJ Simpson! (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Heather, did you have reservations on playing the material?

HEATHER:

We are always very conscience of going right up to the line without crossing it.  I think that’s what Brad wanted.  We still wanted it to be fun, even though it was heightened drama.  We wanted it to be fun to watch and I think it was. There were some light and humorous moments in the midst of the crazy drama, like throwing me over his shoulder and then he has a speech where there is just my butt   …

Courtesy/CBS

DON:

…  I am talking to her ass … (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Viewers did not know till the next episode where Bill exactly took her!  He just threw her over his shoulder and whisked her away… somewhere!

HEATHER:

Right, and we actually got to shoot at Brad Bell’s house, which is beautiful and gorgeous, and that is always fun.

DON:

My back was out to where I could barely stand.  I wanted to moon Heather, which I did, but I started to laugh and it dropped me to the floor!

HEATHER:

With his pants down around his ankles …

DON:

Photo Credit: Gilles Toucas

… Then, idiot that I am, I got myself back up to do it again and I started to laugh again and it dropped me to the ground again!   You can see on the air shows when I come out of the house to chase her, you can see I am walking a little weird.  I could not stand straight and could barely walk!

MICHAEL:

What does Katie think now of Steffy?  Where is she at with that?

HEATHER:

I think Katie realizes that Steffy did not have anything to do with this one particular incident. (Laughs)  Listen, Steffy and Katie are never going to be friends, and she is never going to want Steffy in her life.  She is more than willing to have Steffy out of Liam’s life, and that is her ultimate agenda.  Ultimately it may back fire on her.

MICHAEL:

Sides are clearly drawn between Bill and Katie of where they see Liam and Steffy’s relationship!  How can Bill be OK with his son being with Steffy instead of himself?

DON:

We went through Katie’s heart problems, and it made Bill keenly aware of Katie and how good she is for him.  Certainly Steffy marrying his son makes her off limits to Bill.  So that is helpful.  Bill actually believes Steffy has the attributes to compensate for Liam’s weaknesses … the woman behind the man.

MICHAEL:

And Katie wants Hope with Liam, because Steffy is so appalling?

HEATHER:

Courtesy/CBS

Yes, but I also believe Katie believes that Liam and Hope are meant for each other.

MICHAEL:

Since you have known each other since Y&R, when the two of you knew you were going to be paired romantically on the show, were you nervous?

DON:

I remember the first time watching Heather on camera and going, “Wow. What a gifted kid!”   I also thought she was wonderful.

MICHAEL:

So, there was no trepidation that you would be playing on-screen lovers?

DON:

No.  In fact, they looked at doing it with us as Brad and Victoria.  Then when Heather left, I did that story with Amelia Heinle (the current Victoria, Y&R)!   So when I was coming to B&B, I don’t know if Brad Bell had any idea who he would pair me with, because initially it was going to be Donna, played by Jennifer Gareis.

HEATHER:

I was campaigning for it.  Jeanne Cooper, (Katherine, Y&R) was being honored by AFTRA and Adrienne Frantz told me that night that Don was coming to B&B!  So at the dinner I texted Brad, “Put me with Don!”  And I don’t know if that made any difference really or not…

DON:

Courtesy/CBS

Well as my story moved along, I saw that it looked like they were moving towards Bill and Katie, and I was so happy.  There is nobody I would prefer to work with than Heather.

MICHAEL:

We hope this will be a couple that will last and not break every ten seconds, like many couples on B&B!

HEATHER:

In B&B terms, we have been married for 25 years! (Laughs)

DON:

I think Brad does feel that way, and I know he likes Bill and Katie.

HEATHER:

I think its more interesting to try to struggle to be together.  Who knows whether they succeed or not, but in my opinion it is more interesting to watch the struggle and the fight than having them just cut and run at the first sign of trouble.

DON:

They are great real couple and it works in a visceral way!

HEATHER:

I also like that they have kept us together as long as they have.  I like the fact we don’t implode, then get back together, then implode.  I think if and when we do break up it’s going to have to be something really big, and the stakes are going to have to be really high. That is a more exciting path to be on than this circular pattern of getting married, divorced, and getting married, and divorced.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

MICHAEL:

When you saw Heather do her outstanding work in the more recent heart storyline, what did you think?  It must have been amazing to be a part of those scenes and to watch her work in those?

DON:

I know what is coming with her!  When I watch the air shows I can be a viewer at that point, and it’s different than being in the scene.  She is brilliant, I will say that.

HEATHER:

I have to say likewise for Don.  He has been given some amazing material and he has just taken this material and run with it.  It’s such a testament to who he is as a person and an actor.  He has defined this character that is very unique and is a force!  I can’t imagine working with anyone else!

DON:

And it’s a testament to Brad also that he gave me the outline of who this guy was   He gave me the leeway to flesh him out and make him who he is.   I don’t know if this is exactly what he saw. (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Bill and Katie have really become very integral to the show and now there are even  more Spencers being added to the mix!

HEATHER:

I like that they are building the Spencer family.  Now the niece is coming on the show, and anything that fleshes out the Spencer family is a really good thing.

DON:

Photo Credit: Gilles Toucas

It’s my take and my belief, and I have built this in the subtext of Bill, it is that we have talked about Bill Sr., and the abandonment issues and the contentious relationship between them, and how that has affected him, but what we have not addressed what is at the heart of Bill’s womanizing nature and objectification of women into his forties!  Katie kind of reels him back in, but his tendency is to be dismissive and objectifying. Generally, with that type of guy, it’s a mother issue.  I have that story in my head of what she was like, and what made Bill angry, and a womanizer, and also where that anger that lives in him comes from.   I think that is important to flesh Bill out even further, and that will also, of course, give Katie insight into Bill, at least on camera that we have not addressed.  I think Katie has brought it up, but Bill has just shot it down.

MICHAEL:

If Bill cheated on Katie with Steffy would she actually leave him?

HEATHER:

I think that would be the bottom line, but you never know.  It might be interesting to watch someone battle back from that.  A lot of couples battle back from that, but I think it would be more interesting to watch them do that and fail than wipe out the marriage.

MICHAEL:

Ditto, Don?

DON:

I think somewhere in the back of her mind from the beginning Katie has thought, “This is going to be at times absolutely hellish, but I am not going to walk away.”

HEATHER:

Courtesy/CBS

She does not want to try to corral him, and for him to not be who he is.  She likes that he is a powerful, strong man.  She does not want him to be some whipped pansy.  That is not who she married.

DON:

Early on when I was on the show and Bill had scenes with Donna, a concierge came to the door and gave him something.  As she left the scene, and I put this in, I bend down, because she was kind of a cute girl.  I just watched her go, and that is not who he is anymore.  The Steffy pull is different than that.  Bill is not just “a dog” anymore.  That has changed.   He is not a dog, and he is not looking to get laid, and compromise their relationship over a piece of ass.  I think Katie is secure in that.

HEATHER:

Steffy just pushes every button she has, and every insecurity. That is just the way it is.  I like that dynamic.  I like when they play it and I miss it when they don’t have it on.  I think it’s fun to play and it’s fun to watch.

MICHAEL:

What would you say about working with Jacqueline MacInnes Wood (Steffy) and Scott Clifton (Liam)?

HEATHER:

I love the Spencers!  I love working with Jacqui, and the chemistry works both ways.  It works with chemistry between a man and woman sexually on a soap, and it also works between rivals.  I think we have really good chemistry together.  We go head to head and both of us try to win our points.  One person does not always have to be right and one person does not have to be wrong.  I think that one person does not have to be the winner.  I think as far as Scott Clifton goes, I think he is wonderful and a wonderful part of the Spencer clan.  When all of us are in scenes together, you know the ball is never going to get dropped.  It’s a great group.

Photo Credit: Gilles Toucas

DON:

The growth in Jacqui from two years ago when I started on this show is fantastic!  I would not have known two years ago if Jacqui would have had the chops.  She did the bitchy stuff really well, but the subtleties and the emotional stuff…

HEATHER:

… Lately, she just comes from such a place of pain and you just know it.  She is amazing.

DON:

It’s great!  That is why she can get away with being that bitch now, because you see the vulnerability in her.  It used to be, “I’m just bitchy.”  Now that she is bringing out that emotional depth to it, it’s taken it to a whole new place, because you cannot work opposite of Heather and not bring that to the table.  If you don’t bring that to the table you are chewed out and spit out, and it never works.  Jacqui’s growth has been astronomical over the last few years, and that is what made it work. As far as Scott, he is so great.  He makes great choices, and he has great clarity of who his character is. The dynamics between father and son and the contrast works.  The chemistry we had from day one was all very real. That is what I like so much about the Spencers.

MICHAEL:

They are one soap opera family that is never boring!

HEATHER:

We are not nice!

MICHAEL:

People don’t want to see nice on television!

Photo Creditl: Kathie Hutchins

HEATHER:

We are not nice, but we are not despicable.  I think there is somewhere between nice and despicable.  I think that is where we live, and I like that.

MICHAEL:

Don, if you were to tell me three words to describe working with Heather, what would they be?

DON:

She is funny.  She is together. She is gifted.

MICHAEL:

Heather your turn, three words or so to describe working with Don.

HEATHER:

I was going to say funny, too.  I think the one thing I admire is his loyalty to his family, and how much he is a family man and a father.  So, I would say, loyalty.  I would also say talented.  I feel we got so lucky with his character and what he has done here. I was at a point before he came on the show where I was like, “I don’t know where they are going with Katie.”   I truly believe the reason I am on the canvas is because he is here.

MICHAEL:

Heather won last years’ Outstanding Supporting Actress at the Daytime Emmys.  Scott Clifton won last year’s Outstanding Younger Actor at the Daytime Emmys, and, B&B won for Outstanding Dramatic Series.  Don, were you kind of thrilled that your show and your acting partners won some of the top prizes?

DON:

Courtesy/CBS

Let me tell you something, when I was fired the day after thanksgiving after 21 years on Y&R that was such a huge and traumatic and painful situation.  Then when Brad created this new character and told me right off the bat, “I really have high hopes for this character,” I felt this pressure.  It was like, “Whew! I got a job!  Great!” Then it was; “Now I got to make this character and bring this guy to life that Brad envisioned, or with within 13 or 26 weeks I could be moving on again!”  So having said that, Brad gave me the opportunity, and he won his Emmy.  And what I told him was; the year I started on Y&R your dad, Bill Bell Sr., won the Emmy.  The year I started with you, you are going to win the Emmy.  So you are going to win the Emmy and I will take credit for that one. (Laughs)  Of course, I am being tongue-and-cheek.  So we won and Brad yelled to me, “You are my lucky charm” as we are leaving the stage.   So I don’t know if I ever won an Emmy, if I would feel more elation than I did for him on that night, because the opportunity his father gave me in the mid-80’s was tremendous.  I lost my dad and my brother very early on during my time with the show, and Bill Sr. was very paternal with me.  That was not necessarily difficult, but it struck something in Bill and we had a beautiful relationship all those years.  Then Brad gave me this opportunity.  I fully understood that “Wow, what huge shoes to fill!  To be the son and take over the legacy!”  Brad’s dad has all those Emmys up in his office, and so just to get one it had to mean so much to him.  I really got that.  It was no different seeing Heather win, even though she has been nominated a thousand times before and won.  I said to Heather, “You are going to win.” I completely believed that and I completely believed Scott Clifton was going to win.   I also said, “If she doesn’t win, I want to see what does win”. I was elated and it was incredibly gratifying that that she won having been Mrs. Bill Spencer, and then Scott being my on-screen son.

MICHAEL:

Speaking of the Daytime Emmys, this year new voting rules have been instigated to try to level out the voting process and make it more fair with the actors having to submit only a short two-minute reel as an example of their work to get a pre-nomination.  Was it hard for you to find a two-minute gem, and what do you think of this new process?

HEATHER:

Oh Gosh!  It was horrible for me to have to find a two-minute reel.   I second-guess.  I sleep on it and I wake up the next day and I go, “No!”   So it was awful.  I think the new concept of voting may be an improvement.  I decided to put myself in Lead Actress because I said, “What the hell!”  What I will say is, I watched all the Supporting Actress clips, and Gina Tognoni (Kelly, OLTL) submitted a two minute thing that was unfreakin’ believable!  I would not have not seen that scene if it wasn’t for this voting process.  I would know Gina is a great actress, and I have always known that and she has done great work, but I would not have necessarily seen that and gone, “Wow”!   There is something to it.  But then you think, “Are you really going to be judged on 2 minutes of your work?”   We will have to see how this all works itself out.

Photo Credit: Kathie Hutchins

DON:

I am in lead actor category for consideration, and it was not hard for me to choose my scene.  I don’t know what the right system is, because again, I have never been nominated.   And this takes you back to the way the pre-nominations were previously with the show nominating the actors, because those people know your body of work through the year.  I also see where that can create a popularity contest, because if you are not liked, you won’t get in.  As Heather will tell you, I have never been known for shaking hands and kissing babies.  Would that come into play, maybe?  I think it can’t hurt if you are well known, and if you have relationships with people.  That is why politicians walk around and stop in cities doing what they do.  Having said that, I don’t know what voting system for the Emmys is perfect, and this one does at least says, “Ok. I am not familiar with this persons work, so let me see them.”  I think as in my case, people may know I play the cock-sure Bill Spencer on B&B, but they have not seen the work.  So this gives them an opportunity to check it out and perhaps change their perception on an actor and their performances.  If I got nominated this year, absolutely then, this is the best system ever! (Laughs)

 

 

 

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So_Superflous
Guest
So_Superflous

I’m interested to see how the Spencer’s come into there own as a family unit with Karen and Caroline coming in. I Love Bill and Katie but still want more of Steffy/Bill/Katie to kinda going their love.

BETTYEJ
Guest
BETTYEJ

After reading the first thing that HT said was enough for me. I see why the males run over these weak women on this show. Because they let them.

Leah
Guest
Leah

I’m a Bill and Steffy can myself, but I really enjoy this interview. Two phenomenal actors!

Leah
Guest
Leah

Ugh! I meant “fan” not “can” haha

sandy
Guest
sandy

I think Bill and Steffy have better dynamics, i love HT but they make the women in this show so weak, unfortuneatly, they have written Katie that way too…

Mandy
Guest
Mandy

Thanks! Love Bill and Katie! Don and Heather seem so down to earth have fantastic chemistry. “Batie” are definitely my favorite B&B pairing and I love reading that Brad Bell loves Batie as much as I do <3

Sheila E. Hollingsworth
Guest
Sheila E. Hollingsworth

I love Katie & Bill together, they are sooo goodlooking!!!!! He needs to stay true to Katie cause she can give him all he needs, what else could he ask for! I get sooooo mad at Liam & Steffy & Hope, why do they need to TELL everyone their business, just do it then they can know AFTER the fact!!!!!!! Love B&B hope it doesn’t go off the TV like others did.

Mitchell
Guest
Mitchell

Bill and Katie are by far my favorite daytime couple! What a delightful interview! Don and Heather have done a great job making me believe two such opposite characters can make a perfect couple. The fact that Bill and Katie are so different makes the couple more appealing.

Giulia
Guest
Giulia

They’re are horrible together and KILL is the worst couple of daytime

Toni D
Guest
Toni D

I agree! Not only has their chemistry DIED and NEVER been resuscitated, they represent the WORST kind of relationship! I’ve loved Heather Tom since Victoria Newman on Y&R, but COME ON! She comes across like a PATHETIC, WHINY DOORMAT! She complains that her husband does ALL this stuff then she turns around and FORGIVES HIM?! REALLY?! THIS is what a STRONG woman does… when a man puts his EX before at EVERY GIVEN OPPORTUNITY, but it’s not surprising that he shows her no loyalty since she shows him NONE!! She is who she accused Steffy of being when she was… Read more »

Joanna
Guest
Joanna

I love Bill and Katie. They are such a powerful couple. They have the best chemistry and romance! I want to see more of them. They need more airtime and a new story! Great interview! Thank you Michael Fairman.

allison
Guest
allison

I love bill and steffy they are the best couple on the shower

General Hospital

GH’s Laura Wright Talks on Mob Boss Carly and Her 30-Year Evolution in Daytime

She’s a fierce, force to be reckoned with, one who delivers raw and emotional performances time and time again, while never forgetting from where she came, and always willing to pass on to her newer co-stars’ the wisdom she gained from the grind of performing in front of the camera in the toughest acting genre there is … daytime drama.

General Hospital’s Laura Wright’s (Carly) real-life soap journey actually has a very humble beginning when in 1991 – fresh off a job at a gas station – she landed in Corinth and the role of Ally Rescott on ABC’s Loving.  Up next, a jaunt to its re-imagined version, The City, until the series ultimate demise in 1997. But that was just an appetizer for soap fans of Wright’s burgeoning talent, when next she ventured to Springfield and CBS’ Guiding Light to take on the role of a stripper with a heart-of-gold who ultimately would be crowned a princess, Cassie Layne. Then, after a popular 8-year-run, she would head to General Hospital, and one of the most coveted roles in soaps, that of Port Charles’ Carly Corinthos following in the footsteps of powerhouse actresses, Sarah Brown and Tamara Braun. In her 20th year in daytime, Laura took home the gold for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series back in 2011, and that brings us to now.  Next week on June 7th, marks Laura’s 30th year in daytime filled with memorable on and off-screen moments that she has cherished.

Meanwhile, currently on GH, Laura is getting to play Carly in a whole new set of circumstances as she enters her three-decade soap anniversary. In story, we find Carly stepping up to run the mob, now that she and everyone else believes her husband, Sonny Corinthos (Maurice Benard) is dead, and while her best friend and mob enforcer, Jason (Steve Burton) had to go on the run. And from the looks of it, Carly is adjusting to the mob boss role quite well … but is she really?

 

Michael Fairman TV spoke with Laura to get the lowdown on Carly’s life without Sonny, which has pushed her front and center into managing crimes and misdemeanors, mafia-style, all to protect the ones she loves, and to reflect on her amazing ride in daytime; which has made her one of the all-time leading ladies of the soaps.  Here’s what Laura shared about it all.

Photo: ABC

When you first found out what the structure of this storyline was going to be, where Sonny was going to “die” along with Julian (William deVry), and then he turns up alive and has amnesia, what was your initial thought?  Did you know how far they were going to take this for Carly, as far as her now running  the mob in Sonny’s place?

LAURA:  I had no idea about the mob part of it until about two months ago. As far as Sonny having amnesia and having another life now, I love those kinds of stories.  It also gives you as an actor something to play, and what else are you going to do with Sonny and Carly?  You can’t really break them up.  You’re talking to the person who is game for almost anything, so I loved it.  What does Carly’s life look like now as everybody believes that Sonny has died? How does she even take care of herself?  For me, it gave me great material to play because of how it all started to crumble.  Ava (Maura West) takes Avery, Cyrus (Jeff Kober) starts taking over the territory and the town, and Carly starts losing all of this security in her life as she knew it in trying to protect her family, and it was scary for her.

Photo: ABC

Of course, viewers could see where this storyline was heading once Carly lit in to Nina (Cynthia Watros), when Nina was in Nixon Falls and saw that Sonny was very much alive! You could see that Nina was going to seek revenge on Carly and not tell her about Sonny, aka “Mike”, all the while getting closer to him.  What do you think Carly would do if she found out that Nina was with Sonny and kept it from her?

LAURA:  You know, Carly before taking over the mob would have been awful, but now… and I was thinking about this the other day …  I’m like, “Carly would go after her with a gun!”

For years, I’ve always loved this idea of, “What if Carly became a mob boss?”

LAURA:  If they did have Carly go after Nina, then Jason and Sonny would be like, “You cannot do this.”  I think there is this blind rage, at least for a moment.  It can’t just be standing there and yelling at her, do you know what I mean?  Carly would probably take action and then Nina would disappear, or it’s like ‘get me away from her because I am going to kill her’ for what this woman did.  So, you have to have at least an episode of that before you come to your senses and realize that you have children and responsibilities, and you’re going to have to do this the right way, but you have to have the moment of losing it.  It’s stealing their life.  It’s great stuff.  My other thoughts are, “Poor Cynthia,” (laughs) because she’s got to be the nicest human being on the planet, and she is so fun to work with, and so great and committed, so we are going to have some interesting times getting through whatever they write.  I have no idea what they’re writing by the way, and I have no idea when it’s going to happen, but I am sure it will be great.

Photo: ABC

With the way GH shoots their taping schedule, I am assuming now you barely see Maurice, because you are basically in two different parts of this interconnecting story?

LAURA:  We shoot by set.  So, if Maurice is working in the morning, and I am scheduled at let’s say at noon, by the time I get there, he’ll be gone.  So, it’s fascinating. It’s kind of running parallel of what is happening on and off screen because I don’t see him at work, either.

Photo: ABC

Carly seems that she is becoming pretty comfortable in this mob role.  There was a scene that recently aired between Diane (Carolyn Hennesy) and Carly, where Carly was discussing her options of what to do with Gladys (Bonnie Burroughs).  Does Carly like the power this brings her?

LAURA:  I think so, but it’s not like she’s sitting around going, “Oh, this is amazing.”  It’s seriously what she has to do.  What she is seeing is that there are so many moving parts that she didn’t realize how difficult it was.  Sonny made it look easy.  There’s not a time to even take a breath.  You’ve got to always be on your toes.  You know, she is doing it in ‘Carly fashion,’ so it’s always entertaining, and trying as a woman to put out all the fires, but there’s 20 fires behind it, because there is just someone constantly trying to take your seat, trying to hurt your family.  There’s just always something to look out for whether it be from the other families or law enforcement.  I think that Carly is surprised that she is good at it and surprised at how making these decisions is becoming easier and easier for her, but I don’t know if she sits back and enjoys it.  At this point, from air to what we are taping, the decisions don’t stop, and the danger doesn’t stop, and more decisions have to be made, and there is no one else to do it.  This is a world that is life or death.  This isn’t like, “Well, if they don’t like me, I’ll just find someone else to do the job.”  There’s nobody else to do that job.  It’s not that world.  You don’t get to walk away, and she is learning that more and more, as she plays in the big world.

Photo: ABC

So, Jason went on the run with Britt (Kelly Thiebaud).  How does Carly feel about that?

LAURA:  Britt saved his life.  She said that on camera.  “She saved your life; she can take you wherever.  I trust her.”  Carly saw how Britt stepped up and helped him.  I don’t think there is anything else that Carly is thinking right now.  Carly doesn’t have the luxury of being old Carly and being snippy, catty, wanting to vet every person in Jason’s life.  It’s just not her reality right now.  That would be a luxury if she could go back and be that person, but that’s not it.  Right now, it’s assessing the situation.  “Is he safe?  Is she taking care of him?  Great.  I don’t care about anything else right now.”  This is the difference between old Carly and mob-boss Carly.  Those days are gone.  She would give anything to go back to those days because she didn’t have to have the world on her shoulders because Jason was safe, and Sonny was alive.  It’s not where she is now.  It’s a different dynamic that she was forced into.

Photo: ABC

When you and Steve Burton are in scenes together, whether it’s just in your eyes, or expressions or emotions, there is so much going on, or at least that’s how it plays to the audience.  Is the relationship between Carly and Jason one of your favorites to play, because it’s so unique and deep rooted into their history? 

LAURA:  Oh, I love the Carly/Jason relationship. It’s the loyalty and that their dedication to each other is unbendable, unbreakable.  It’s so unwavering.  It’s great to play because it’s like being in a really good relationship, even though he’s not her ‘person’, but he kind of is.  It’s being in a great relationship that means that you get to be 100% you and everything that means, and that person loves and accepts you. There’s such incredible love and freedom, and that’s what it’s like to work with Steve because Steve approaches our scenes – and almost every scene when I watch him with other people – that there is no undercutting judgment, only help.  If I’m struggling with a line or I don’t want to do something, he’s either like, “Yeah, I agree. That’s unnecessary; cut it,” or he gives me a really great way of looking at it, where I’m like, “Oh, that is a really interesting thing, thanks!”  So, then you have full freedom to feel and play and do anything, and that’s kind of what you see.  There’s just a confidence, and I think it is also the relationship.  I think it has to be there when I work with Steve because the relationship between Carly and Jason is that way.

Photo: JPI

Carly and Jason accept each other for who they are, all their flaws, and the dangers that come with their lives.  Wouldn’t you say?

LAURA:  She accepts him 100% for who he is.  She wants to manipulate the world around him, so he is safe, and perfect, and always there, but she still accepts him when nobody else does and vice versa.  He knows that Carly is going to destroy things, and mess up, and spiral.  Like, she had that scene where she said, “Even when Jason knows I’m wrong, he supports me.” It’s really that right there that is everything between the two of them, and it’s the hardest thing to find in any relationship, real life, TV, etc.  We always want to change people to make them be who we want them to be so that we feel okay. It’s a great soap opera relationship because it causes conflict in every other relationship that they have, which is great for storytelling in a show because then there is always a challenge, always a hurdle, always a problem built-in if you need drama. It’s because there is so much acceptance and unconditional love and support that they are free to be who they need to be, and I feel that as an actor working Steve as well.  I think that’s what you see when you say there’s ‘a lot going on’.

Carly’s plan for Gladys took quite a turn!

LAURA:  Well, Carly thought the second that Cyrus finds out that Brando (Johnny Wactor) is the father of Sasha’s (Sofia Matteson) baby that Cyrus is going to want to take him out, so she basically said to Gladys, “Look, I’ll set you up.  I’ll give you all the money you want.  Hell, I’ll even buy you a house.  Leave town, but you have to tell everybody that you lied about Jason,” and she doesn’t bite the bait.  So, you then have Carly saying, “Well, we can do this the easy way where I just pay for your life and you go, or we can do it the hard way,” and the hard way is me letting her know that, “You have a grandchild on the way, and your son is going to be murdered if you don’t do this for me,” because it puts Cyrus back in prison because he is on probation, and he has now obstructed justice.  It’s all on Gladys’s testimony.  That was Carly’s plan.  Right now, her biggest threat is Cyrus and obviously as viewers have seen things did not go as planned!

Photo: ABC

June 7th you will be celebrating 30 years on daytime! Do you remember your first day on Loving? What happened?

LAURA:  I do.  Oh, God!  I remember what dress I had on.  I remember how my hair was.

Were you like in “Oz”?

LAURA:  I looked like Oz. (Laughs) I looked like Dorothy… the dress they had me in, the hair, are you kidding?  I didn’t know what a boom was!  I was really loud.  I had one line: “Grandma!” and that was it, and then they had to note that because I kept saying, “Grandmaw,” and they were like, “It’s not ‘Grandmaw.’  It’s ‘Grandma.’”  Then, I did whatever they said at first, but then the longer I was on the show, I was like, “I say ‘Grandmaw.’ I’m not saying ‘Grandmuh.’ I don’t care. (Laughs) Everyone gets their own personalization of how they say what they say.”  That was my big argument, and now I’ve had a thousand arguments over 30 years, but that was my first big pushback because I would be doing, what in my mind was great work.  I got all of the lines out, my God, and that was before we could do pickups, and when we shot the show in order. Those cameras had wheels. So if you were on set, and they shot the scene before us, you had to be ready to go, and they would fly down the studio on those cameras to set up to start shooting the next scene.  If I got through a scene and they had to do it over again because I said, “Grandmaw,” I would be so angry. (Laughs)

Photo: ABC

Who helped you the most on Loving?

LAURA:  Nada Rowand, who played my grandmother, Lisa Peluso, who played my aunt on the show, and Eric Woodall was my best friend and he played Matt Ford.  He and I would get together every Sunday night, and here’s a little bit of trivia for you … Eric lived with Billy Porter! They graduated from Carnegie Mellon together.  So, I would go over to his apartment, and on Sunday night, we would go over all of the scripts together for the whole week because Eric graduated from Carnegie Mellon; I worked at a gas station. (Laughs) We had very different talents that we were bringing to the table for this soap opera job.  Eric helped me a great deal, my gosh, and so did Bernie Barrow (Ex-Louis).

Bernie was an amazing actor and the only Daytime Emmy winner, ever from Loving!

LAURA:  I had scenes with Bernie because he played my grandfather on the show. I had no idea about half the notes that they were giving me. Bernie would pull me aside and explain what they meant and teach it to me in a way where I knew how to incorporate it into my scenes and adjust and take the notes.  He was extremely helpful.  Then, there is the famous Noelle Beck (Ex-Trisha) story, where two weeks after starting the show, Eric and I were invited to go to the Daytime Emmy Awards.  I was dying because I grew up watching daytime television, and I grew up watching the Daytime Emmys.  So, when I was allowed to go, I told my mom to ship me my prom dress from my senior year of high school, which was this poufy, emerald green thing, and it looked like something from Dynasty with jewels all over it.  I got it, and I was so excited, and everyone on the show was like, “Oh, my God, someone has got to tell her … she cannot wear that dress.”  I didn’t know you could go to wardrobe and ask to borrow a dress, because I’d only been on the show for two weeks maybe.  The same day, they came to me and said, “So, if Susan Lucci (Ex-Erica, AMC) doesn’t win, you’re going to be interviewed on Good Morning America the next morning about how the gas station girl got a job.”  So, it was a big deal. I’m getting ready for the Emmys, and to put this emerald-green dress on, and there is this knock on my door, and it’s Noelle Beck.  She has this beautiful, black, strapless dress. She’s like, “Your dress is beautiful, but I don’t know, I think this is really simple, and I think you might really look beautiful in it if you want to try it on.”

Photo: JPI

Her dress?

LAURA: Her dress! It was a dress that was in Noelle’s closet on the show because she went to wardrobe and was like, “Laura cannot wear that emerald green prom dress.  She will be laughed at.”  I would have been mortified because I did not know what people wore.  I had never been to a red carpet! Noelle went to wardrobe, and they all came up with this dress, and so she came to me and said, “Your dress is so pretty, but I think this might go better with Eric’s suit,” or however she sold it! I tried it on, and I just felt so sophisticated, and I was like, “It’s okay if I wear this!?” and she’s just like, “Oh, my God, yeah!”  When I think back to that story, I’m like, ‘thank God for Noelle Beck’.  It was one of the funniest stories ever, and her dressing room was right across the hall from me, and she was from Maryland; I was from Maryland.  She was like a sister.  Noelle was always looking out for me, personally.

Photo: ABC

Over the years, you have become one of the great leading ladies of daytime.  Was there a moment, when you were like, “I’ve got this down now … I really know what I’m doing.”

LAURA:   There have been different moments.  I remember the first time where I felt like ‘an actor.’  It was when they shot and killed Casey (Paul Anthony Stewart) on Loving, and he had to die in my arms.  I embodied something and felt it in a way that was different.  I didn’t know what it was at the time because I was playing my emotions of Paul leaving the show. I was really confused because I was like, “Do I really like this guy?” like in real life, because I didn’t know.  I didn’t have any tools of acting to know how to separate.  I was so in love with the characters’ love story, which was also my feelings at the time because I didn’t know the difference.  I didn’t know where Ally stopped, and Laura started.  I was just kind of playing myself.  I remember they called Paul to the set for a goodbye, and they were giving him a big cake and everything, and I could barely hold it together.  I couldn’t believe he was leaving.  I was like, “You’re going to say, ‘I changed my mind,’ right?” and I really believed that.  I really was like, “There’s just no way he’s going.”  Then, we had to shoot his scene, and I was very emotional and upset.  But, it was the next day where I had to go and play the scenes where he is dead and talk about it to the family, and that was when I just lost it.  I just changed as an actor in those scenes.  I remember having an opinion.  When the writers were telling me the story that they were going to tell, I remember saying, “Well, I think the interesting moment is she is not going to believe it,” and they were like, “What do you mean?”  I say, “When she comes home from the hospital, I think she needs to be like, ‘We have to go back.  Casey is at the hospital, and he needs us,’ and they were like, “That’s such a great thing to play.”  That’s what shifted for me.  I just remember there was a moment where Ally couldn’t lie anymore. She couldn’t convince herself, and then she had to tell her son that Casey wasn’t coming back.  I really understood what it was to get lost to a scene; what it was to not be Laura going, “I’m going to act now and play this scene.”  I learned how to become the character and transform in the moment.

It’s was on-the-job training.

LAURA:  Oh, for sure on-the-job training, because I went to one acting class thinking that in New York City I need to know what I’m doing, and I was so terrified to get up and speak in a scene that I literally could not talk.  I couldn’t even function outside of the safety of what I knew on a soap opera set.  I had that happen with my meditation teacher training a few years ago.  I almost left the training because it was terrifying for me to get up and not know what I’m going to do and have the script, no cameras in front of me!  It was very bizarre.

Photo: CBS

And later, Guiding Light came your way!

LAURA: When The City got canceled, I shot a pilot that did not get picked up, and my agents were like, “What do you want to do?” and I was like, “I’m really good at daytime… can we just stick with that?  I don’t really want to do this auditioning thing.” So, then all of the sudden within a week of me saying, “I think I’ll do daytime again,” I had a screen-test for All My Children and Guiding Light at the exact same time.  I was like, “What are the parts?” and I wasn’t going to pit them against each other because my agent was like, “It’s bad taste. We don’t represent that kind of negotiation.” You have to pick because before you go into any screen-test, you already have a pre-negotiated contract, and the deal has been placed.  So, you know going in what your situation will be.  So, it was All My Children, playing a doctor, or a stripper with a heart-of-gold on Guiding Light.  It was the role and that Guiding Light just had a better money offer that pushed me towards that screen-test. Then, I had to go in and meet Paul Rauch (Former EP, GL) before I screen-tested, and then Jim Brown and Barbara Esensten who were now the head writers at GL. They wrote for me on The City.  They were the ones who said, “Let’s get Laura Wright in here and see if she wants to do this.”  It’s interesting, because when they were shooting Annie’s (Cynthia Watros) big trial on Guiding Light, and Kim Zimmer (Reva) had these incredible, long days and tons of dialogue in the courtroom scenes. Then, they throw this screen-test at her with me in the middle of the afternoon! I remember when we were doing the scene. Kim had jumped to another part in it, and of course, I knew the script backwards and forwards because I’ve had it for a week and a half.  Kim had probably looked at it that day because she’s got a thousand other lines that she’s learning for that week of shows.  We were in the middle of the scene, and they’re rolling cameras, it’s very emotional, we’re going at each other, and Kim had jumped to the next page of a line, but I knew exactly where she went, so I went right there. We got back on track and ended the scene, and Kim goes, “She just saved my ass in that screen-test!” and we just started laughing.  It was a great moment.

Photo: LWInstagram

The cast of Guiding Light was so amazing!

LAURA:  So amazing, and that’s where I met my man.

Wes Ramsey (Ex-Sam, GL, now Peter, GH) at the time had a crush on you if I recall the story.

LAURA:  Yes, he had a crush.  I don’t know if he wanted to go out with me because when I first came on, I was pregnant, so that would have been weird! (Laughs) We have a funny story that he told me four years ago when we got together. Wes was going through old photos that he had logged into his computer and was trying to put things in different files, and he’s like, “Oh, my God.”  He had come back a few times on Guiding Light after he’d left, and one of the times was after I’d had my son, and this was when Richard had died, and Cassie had chopped all of her hair off.  So, he was going through these photos and he showed me that he had snuck a picture of me.  (Laughs) Then, he’s like, “See, I told you I had a crush!”  I’m like, “Oh my God, that’s so funny!”

Do you and Wes run lines together at home, even though you are in different storylines on GH?

LAURA:  If he needed me too, I would, but Wes has a totally different way of learning his lines than I do.  His prep work is very different than mine.  His is very professional and probably how you should do it. He is a Juilliard graduate.  So, he was taught well, and I’ve just figured it out.  Mine is just pure survival …’the gas station girl’.

Photo: ABC

What was the impact Guiding Light had on the trajectory of your career?

LAURA:  Guiding Light was 100% an actors show. They told a different kind of story, and the actors across the board were serious and wanted you to take it just as seriously. You were either going to sink or swim on that show, and I had to figure out how to swim. I think I spent the first six months in my dressing room crying when I wasn’t on set, trying to figure it out.  I was really taken care of on Loving.  I was 20-years-old when I got that part, 27 when I left. When I went to Guiding Light, it wasn’t like I wasn’t taken care of and protected, but it was a new energy. No one knew me.  No one knew what I was capable of.  I didn’t even know what I was capable of at the time, and you weren’t going to phone it in there.  I started working with Kim Zimmer and Jordan Clarke (Ex-Billy Lewis).  My God, you’re thrown in with people who make you feel things and play things that are uncomfortable, because that’s what we do as actors.  We make it uncomfortable, and we stretch the boundaries, and we play these emotions that are so raw and real.  One day I was freaking out over a scene with the characters of Edmund and Dinah, and I just said I would never do this.  I was just adamant. The director, said, “We have to do this.  So, you have to give me one reason where you could stay in this room.”  I said, “I guess my daughter could walk in the door, and I don’t want to leave her,” and he goes, “Great!  That’s great,” and I go, “Or…” and it just opened this door of there’s a thousand ways I could play a scene.

Photo: CBS

When you came onto General Hospital and embodied Carly, did you feel like this was it now… and that you were in command of your craft?

LAURA:  No, because it took me a long time to get comfortable.  I’m the fourth Carly, so you want to honor what they’re writing, you want to honor the fans and what they love about the character, and there were three women who played her before me and somebody loved something about all of them. So, you want to bring that, as well as make your own mark.  You’re taking over a leading female role of the show with that much passion and dialogue that comes with the character, so it was a lot of pressure at first, but I was excited for it.  I showed up every day ready to kick ass, but as far as feeling like, “Ha ha, it’s mine; I’ve made it!”, I’ve never felt that.

Photo: ABC

I have spoken to many of your co-stars through the years, and they often share how you helped them within a scene, or with something they were struggling with.  That is where experience can be a great asset for a performer in this medium.

LAURA:  As a female lead on the show, I do think it’s important to lift other women up to become their own female leads, and I do mean that.  If I’m working with someone, and I see them get a note that they don’t understand, or it’s a technical note, but gosh, it’s an important scene for them emotionally, anything I can do to help them in that moment, whether it has anything to do with me or not, I am there for.  There was a bathroom scene that I think aired a week or so ago with Carly and Sasha.  In the scene, Sasha (Sofia Mattsson) has all of her makeup in front of her, and the shot they need to get is through the mirror.  Sasha has a full conversation with Carly, who is standing upstage. It’s very difficult to do that when you don’t have rehearsal time to figure it out. They gave her the note that they needed her to say her line into the mirror, or they can’t get her face, right? I’m like, “Hey, do you have any idea how you’re going to do that?” because it’s so hard! I wanted to help. Having 30 years’ experience in something feels great, and it’s shocking because where did those 30 years go? What incredible memories I have, but what it’s gifted me the most is being able to help people through my experience, and through what I have learned along the way.  The whole show shines when we all shine, not just when one person does.

Photo: LWrightInstagram

What do you think your late parents would say about your 30 years in daytime?

LAURA:  Oh, they would be so proud… so happy.  It’s just so crazy that it’s been 30 years, and 2020 being the longest year with what we all experienced with Covid-19.  Looking back on my daytime career, I don’t know why, the shows didn’t let me go. I think it really was work ethic.  I can really say my work ethic is a huge part of me sticking around because I never got lazy.  I was never not going to figure it out.  I was never one to show up not knowing her lines, or being a problem, or not caring. I think that’s what kept me going, and then listening, watching, feeling, and I’m just so grateful.  I’m like, “Wow, what a ride!”

Photo: ABC

… And what can you say about what your time as Carly has meant to you within your now illustrious daytime career?

LAURA:  I love every second of it.  It’s my choice how I show up on that soundstage.  After 30 years, I am not bored.  I have had my moments of trying to find the fun in it and caring about Carly’s storyline at the time. That’s my own choice though, right?  It’s a choice – how I choose to show up every day there – and what I choose to find interesting and challenging, and I do.  No matter what storyline they’ve given me, I can choose for it to be, “Okay, I’m here.  I’ve been doing this for so long, I could do it in my sleep,” or I could choose to show up and go, “Where am I going to kickass today?  Where is the moment?”  Now, I don’t love the amount of time it takes for my hair to get blown out; I’ll be honest (Laughs). I’m an antsy person.  But when I get on set, it’s my choice to find the love and the fun of it, whatever that is for me.  I choose to open up every script I get, the second I get it, and am always excited to see what I’m doing.

Photo: ABC

Finally, what would you say, as a tease of what we should look forward to in the coming weeks involving Carly?

LAURA:  All I can say is there is amazing stuff coming, amazing performances, amazing excitement, amazing heartbreak, amazing surprises.  It’s all coming.

So, are you into Carly running the mob? What do you think will happen when and if Carly finds out Nina has been with Sonny aka Mike for months?  What has been your favorite moment of Laura’s on the soaps throughout her 3 decades in daytime? Share your thoughts and congrats to Laura in the comment section below.

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Interviews

Y&R’s Telma Hopkins and Bryton James Talk on their ‘Family Matters’ Connection, Amanda Sinclair’s Past, and the songs of Tony Orlando and Dawn

This week, kicks-off a very special guest appearance by Telma Hopkins on CBS’ The Young and the Restless.  Hopkins plays Denise Tolliver, a private eye with some very important intel for Amanda Sinclair (Mishael Morgan), about her past, her father, and her biological family drama.

Photo:CBD

Telma’s guest stint on Y&R reunites her with her dear friend and former on-screen son, Bryton James (Devon Hamilton) after they appeared together on the late 80’s and 90’s sitcom Family Matters.  Fans of the comedy series remember a very young Bryton as Richie Crawford and Telma as his mother, Rachel.  Year laters, they now have the opportunity to work together in Genoa City.

Photo: CBS

In a new interview out today on the Michael Fairman Channel, Telma and Bryton chat virtually with Michael, and we learn that Telma is a longtime fan of Y&R, a huge fan of Mishael Morgan’s, and just how Denise Tolliver’s arrival in Genoa City will set the stage for fireworks to come.

And while Telma and Bryton reminisce about first their first impressions of each other on the Family Matters set, we also delve into another key part of Hopkins career as part of the iconic singing trio Tony Orlando and Dawn, whose hit singles included: “Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole’ Oak Tree”, “Candida”, “She Don’t Love You” and more.

Photo: CBS

So, excited to see Telma and Bryton together again? What were your first impressions of Telma as Denise Tolliver on today’s Y&R? What is your favorite Tony Orlando and Dawn tune? Did you watch “Family Matters” with Telma and Bryton years ago? Share your thoughts in the comment section.  But first check out their full interview below.

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Days Of Our Lives

WATCH: Daytime Emmy Nominations Special 2021 Replay

Last night, during the Daytime Emmy Nominations Special Livestream on the Michael Fairman Channel, 15 nominated performers who will be going for gold on the upcoming 48th annual Daytime Emmy Awards, shared their reactions and their excitement at learning they were in the running in the major Daytime Drama performer categories as chosen by their peers.

Throughout the livestream, the actors also shared what scenes they chose for their reels in the competition that landed them in the top spots in their respective categories.

Photos: ABC, CBS, JPI, NBC

During the broadcast, Michael welcomed: The Bold and the Beautiful’s Darin Brooks and Courtney Hope, General Hospital’s, Maurice Benard, Finola Hughes, Max Gail, Briana Lane and Dominic Zamprogna, The Young and the Restless’ Bryton James, Melissa Claire Egan and Alyvia Alyn Lind, and Days of our Lives nominees: Victoria Konefal, Cady McClain, Wally Kurth, George DelHoyo, and Tamara Braun.

In addition, NATAS President and CEO Adam Sharp shared insight into this year’s nomination process, the year in daytime, and teased what to look for on the upcoming Daytime Emmy Telecast on June 25th on CBS, where the award show recently got a two-year pick-up.

In case you missed it, enjoy this kick-off to Emmy season and watch the Daytime Emmy Nominations Replay below.  Then let us know what moments you enjoyed the most during our show, and who you are rooting for to take home Emmy gold in the comment section.

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GH’s Kelly Thiebaud (Britt) chats with Michael Fairman about Britt being on the run with Jason, their burgeoning romance, working with Steve Burton and her other co-star and Britt’s diagnosis of Huntington’s Disease. .Leave A Comment

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