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The Hillary B. Smith Interview – One Life to Live

Courtesy/ABC

If you have been witness to the shenanigans and skullduggery being perpetrated in Llanview over the last several weeks, you know that everyone’s favorite couple, Bo and Nora, have been victims of a well-calculated series of events, thanks to Clint Buchanan with an able assist from the now deceased Eddie Ford and Inez Salinger!  Everything was orchestrated to drive a wedge and destroy the marriage of Llanview’s’ most loveable duo, after the couple had a lover’s spat about their past.  From kidnapping Nora, to bogus text messages, to blackmailing Inez to sleep with Bo, Clint pulled all the strings, but then some things went amiss, namely Eddie was found murdered!

On-Air On-Soaps caught up with one of our all-time favorite actresses, Daytime Emmy winner Hillary B. Smith (Nora Hanen Buchanan) to shed some light on the machinations that has given her some frontburner material including scenes where Eddie almost raped her, and later, when Rex finds her tied-up, bound and gagged to a chair in a motel room. So where will the story go from here?  Will Bo and Nora have a Happy New Year?  Is what broke them up ten years ago (Nora slept with Sam Rappaport) going be the same thing that breaks them up now, even though it’s not true, and this time it’s Bo who believes he cheated on Nora?  Hillary fills us in.  But, we can tell you that right after Christmas look for some major developments in Bo and Nora’s relationship, when certain truths may come out sooner than later.

Hillary also chats about her scene-stealing role as Guya on Crystal Chappell’s hit web series Venice, and the opportunity to work with her on-screen love interest there, Days of our Lives star Shawn Christian (Daniel).  Plus, we get some more information and insight into Hillary’s beloved project to help pet owners and their dogs, The Willee-Coppee Fund.  Finally, we get Hillary’s thoughts on Nora’s Best Moments of 2010 and her hopes for her alter ego in the New Year.  Without further ado, here’s Hillary! 

MICHAEL:

Over the past week, you have gotten some great story to play. The scene where Rex comes to find Nora in the motel room, where Eddie Ford held her captive, was one of those great Hillary B. Smith moments.  Nora’s reactions to the situation were so right on, in lieu of the fact that Eddie almost raped her.  Did you see your performance?

© JPI Studios

HILLARY:

I saw it on the air and it was very real.  Here we are.  Nora is tied to a chair and jibber-jabbering. Then, when Rex goes to reach for the knot on her coat to help untie her, I thought, “Wouldn’t I bat his hands away?”  So Jill Mitwill, who is our director said, “Just do it and let’s see what happens.”  So we did it and it became this big moment.  It really grounded Rex, and it became a really beautiful moment between two people who have always cared about each other.  It was just was one of those moments you can’t quite put into words that would never happen between them ever again, and would not have happened between them, except under these circumstances.

MICHAEL:

What do you think of the change to the dark side of Clint, played brilliantly by Jerry verDorn?  I mean, it is Clint that is truly Bo and Nora’s worst enemy and they don’t even know it yet!

HILLARY:

Well, thank God, because it’s really given all of us something to do! (Laughs) Jerry verDorn is so interesting because he says all these horrible things, and does all these horrible things pretty much in the same way as he says, “Good Morning” and “Would you like some coffee?”  I think its right, and at some point it had to happen because Clint was humiliated and he will never forget that.  And then Jerry jokes around the set saying, “Bring Kim back and everything will be fine.”  I think he is doing some great, great work.  It does give you a chill down your spine, doesn’t it, when you watch him?

MICHAEL:

When you found out that Bo and Nora were going to be manipulated by circumstances via Clint so soon after they had just gotten back together after all these years, what went through your mind?  “I can’t believe they are trying to break us up after all we went through to reunite.” Or, did you think, “Good.  Frontburner story.”

© JPI Studios

HILLARY:

Well they didn’t say, “This is what we are going to do.”  We sort of took it one step at a time and when they brought Inez in, I thought, we just got married and they are bringing someone else back in?  And, I think that is what the audience thought, too. Then my thought was, “Are we going back to the Georgie days where Inez would have this irrational crush on Bo?”  So, I think bringing Clint in, and that Nora is the one that pushed Inez and Clint together, I think is really interesting.  And then to have Clint turn around and use Inez against Nora is an interesting twist of the knife for Clint.  He would be thinking, “Oh, now Nora is trying to set me up with this girl?  Well, great!  I will use her.”  I think it makes more sense for Inez to come in and not arbitrarily worm her way into this relationship, and that Clint is actually using her kids against her.  I don’t know how they are going to redeem Clint, or deal with this, or if they ever will!  But we were not privy to any of this. We just opened our scripts and read it as we went along. Remember we shoot scenes very much out of order. We really jump ahead and jump behind.  You kind of have to go with faith.

MICHAEL:

You know what I thought when she went missing last week? (Laughs)  I thought what if Colin or Troy McGiver, and Lindsay Rappaport took her again!  Maybe it was a clever bit by head writer, Ron Carlivati, doing homage to that OLTL classic.  Nora is always disappearing at least once every decade!  (Laughs)

HILLARY:

(Laughs)  You will see why, and it’s very interesting the way they set that up. Nora does not remember where she was. All she knows is that she went off to get help and when she came to she had collapsed in the woods, and made her way back to the accident site. I think it’s important that the audience knows that there is this missing chunk of time.  Then, when I got back to the accident site, Bo is there and he knows something is not right, because he found my ring. Then, I am trying to piece together where I was and what I was doing, and to tell Bo about Eddie Ford.  And meanwhile, he knows that Eddie Ford is dead.

MICHAEL:

And he has yet to tell her his guilt over what he believes he did, which was sleep with Inez! Oh, poor Bo! Poor you!

HILLARY:

© JPI Studios

You know, we are a very honest couple. Do you think he will tell me?

MICHAEL:

Yes I do, eventually!

HILLARY:

He should eventually tell me, but he doesn’t after the first opportunity to do so! So that makes everything worse.

MICHAEL:

And Nora will be rocked to the core, and then God knows, what she will do.

HILLARY:

First of all, she has just told Bo that Eddie tried to have her, and she says, “He didn’t rape me, but he tried to.”  Bo is just beside himself, and then when he says, “I have something to tell you,” I don’t think she has a clue where he is going with it.

MICHAEL:

So Nora still believes that after all those horrible text messages sent by Eddie, that Bo did not act on anything.  But, they were awful messages for any person in love with someone to receive!

HILLARY:

Why would you think if you sent somebody a text message that said, “Oh, by the way, I want you to sleep with that woman,” that they would?  That is where Nora is at.  She is in a fog and she has decided that all of this is a terrible nightmare, and that she really just wants to get away from it.

MICHAEL:

Do you think (A) Nora could be a prime suspect in Eddie’s killing? Or, (B) become involved in the court case as an attorney?

HILLARY:

© JPI Studios

I think it is really interesting there is a period of time that is unaccountable, and I think they have very carefully put that there.

MICHAEL:

Eddie Alderson (Matthew) now has a subtle turn to the dark side, too, thanks to the influence of Clint.  How do you think Eddie is doing playing this new version of Matthew?  I think he’s doing a terrific job!

HILLARY:

I think it’s great and makes sense, because Clint has been such a constant in Matthew’s life.  Clint was the great uncle before Nora and he got together.  Matthew loved Clint. Then when Nora and he got married, Matthew was there with thumbs up.  And, Matthew felt very much betrayed at first, when Nora and Bo got back together, because they were in love behind Clint’s back.  So Matthew has had this allegiance to Clint.  It’s very interesting to see as he is learning about his Uncle, and where he comes down on the issue.

MICHAEL:

So this is another little red herring dangling out there for Bo and Nora fans.  How will Matthew play into this?  He saw Bo and Inez making out, which led him to believe they were truly sleeping together.  And he could tell Nora at any moment before Bo does!

HILLARY:

That is an interesting dynamic too, and Bo does not know that Matthew saw Bo and Inez together. Bo knows what he thinks he knows, and Nora knows nothing, and they are all living under the same roof!

MICHAEL:

How was it playing opposite John Wesley Shipp (Eddie)?

HILLARY:

© JPI Studios

You know, we worked together on As the World Turns when I was Margo, and he was playing Doug Cummings.  It was so funny.  We ended up shooting out of order at One Life to Live because John got sick.  And all of the stuff he had with me in the motel room, we shot in one day, where he attempts to molest me, and has me in the closet, and all of that material.  It was his last day, too.  And, he was so out there and interesting.  He is the nicest and loveliest man in the whole world, and he is such a good actor.  He really was very thorough in his character development to the point where I am sure he was ready to shake this guy off… as that guy was pretty damn creepy.  At one point, he turned around to Larry Carpenter, our director, and said, “I have loved this woman most of my life and you are making her hate me on my last day?” (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

When you were Margo to his Doug Cummings on ATWT, he turned out to be a nut job then, too!

HILLARY:

Well, we did not know that.  He was acting then with now film star, Julianne Moore (Ex-Frannie/Sabrina ATWT). Then in that storyline, Doug became a whacko, and being the cop that Margo was, I had to go get him, and things did not end up well for him.  I think his character got murdered, too!  He is so much fun, because back then he had that beautiful little boy face.  Now he has aged into this really interesting character with those fabulous features and that prizefighter nose.  It truly is just fabulous.  The whole experience with him at OLTL was great because he committed to it.  He made the character and he filled every inch of that, and it made it easy to work with him, because he was who he was.  There was only one way to react to him!

MICHAEL:

How is working with Jessica Leccia (Inez) as your pseudo-nemesis?

HILLARY:

© JPI Studios

I adore her.  We have a good time and we both are on Venice. And even though I don’t get to work with her there, I was excited when she came on to One Life to Live, to get to work with her.  Jessica is a very subtle actress. Our scenes together have been different dynamics then let’s say my scenes with Lindsay.  It’s such a completely different thing because Inez is truly a victim, not like Lindsay, who just played victim.  It’s been fun.

MICHAEL:

Is that what prompted Nora’s psyche regarding Inez, a flashback to times with Lindsay?  She was already feeling the vibe that Inez was on to her man before anything happened.  Is Nora just a very jealous person?

HILLARY:

I don’t think she was jealous as much….well…. I think because of Nora’s past experiences with Georgie and Lindsay, the history is there.  But with Georgie especially, you learn from your history, so that the same mistakes don’t happen again.  I think there was just something about Inez.  I also remember Nora had people in her ear all the time saying “Oh, my God. They are getting very close. Oh, my God, I would not leave her alone with him.”  And then all the time Inez is bringing Bo cookies, and always running to him. You know, I am talking my real life now. I love my husband to death, I really do.  I have seen women try to throw themselves at him and he does not get it.  I think married men don’t get it. They think, “She’s so nice.”  You have to go up and say to him, “Honey, you’re not seeing it,” and my husband will go, “Well, what do you want me to do?”  And I go, “Just be aware so you don’t get caught in a situation where something can be misconstrued by her.”  And then you go to the girl, (which I would never have done), but Nora did, and go, “He is this way to everybody.  Don’t read anything special into his reaction.”  And I think Nora thought that was going to be the end of it, and then Clint started in, and then it was her saying to herself, “I knew it!”  So I am trying to say to Inez, “Stay away from my husband,” and to Bo, “Don’t let her in the door so often.” (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Robert S. Woods (Bo) is one of the finest and most understated actors in the soap game.  How has it been working with him again after all the years being apart on the show?

HILLARY:

© JPI Studios

It hasn’t changed.  Here is the thing: chemistry is trust and respect.  And, we both respect each other’s talents, and we both trust where the other one is going to take us.  So that high-wire act where you trust that the other person is there to catch you, it is still there.  I think the more we work together again it becomes very solid, because remember, we did not work with each other for ten years. And, I don’t know why it took them so long to put us back together again, but both of us are thrilled that we are.  It’s easy… it was like putting on your favorite pair of flannel pajamas and going, “Ah”.  By the time our characters got together, we realized that they were in love with each other, and a lot of it was we had to listen to each other and act off of that.  Also, the scenes were written well. Bob and I were lucky, and it was really easy.  We had forgotten how easy it is supposed to be.

MICHAEL:

So as we head into New Years Eve in Llanview, do you think there is hope for Bo and Nora?  Can they figure out that they have been duped?

HILLARY:

I think there is hope. You are going to see what works between Bo and Nora in the process, and see them overcome and work together.  I think this is the beauty of the story, and that is, when the forces go against them and everything seems like it’s falling apart, their trust and their love and respect will not let it go, and they fight for each other.

MICHAEL:

If you could take the writing reigns for the day, what would be your New Year’s wish for Nora in 2011?

HILLARY:

© JPI Studios

I want her to go back to being a defense attorney.  I think it’s a lot more fun.  I like the legalese and all of that, but being a prosecutor is very cut and dry.  I like being able to have to think fast on your feet, and when you are a prosecutor you don’t.  Everything is mapped out and you have to follow the course.  So, I don’t think it’s as good a fit for me as a defense attorney.

MICHAEL:

Well, here is what I would like to see…I would like to see Tea defend Nora for the murder of Eddie Ford!

HILLARY:

There is an interesting thought.  I like that.  Put it out there to our head writer, Ron Carlivati!  That is a good one.

MICHAEL:

What do you think were the Best Nora Moments of 2010?

HILLARY:

I think the kidnapping and the turn of events with Eddie Ford and Rex coming to find her. The wedding of Bo and Nora was fun. That was high comedy and I enjoyed that from the standpoint that I got to do my comedy.  And then for drama, I really liked being able to play the subtlety of what happened in the motel room with Eddie.

MICHAEL:

You know I am very pro-doggie.  So tell us what is happening with your Willee-Coppee Fund that you created to assist pet owners to help man’s best friend with medical costs when they become ill?  What do you want to tell the fans that you need help with?

HILLARY:

Courtesy/WCFund

Here is the thing: we have raised over $20,000 since last fall.  We are very happy about it since it is not a tax-deductible charity; it’s just a discretionary fund that my friend Lindsay Harrison and I started.  From that $20,000 we are now low again, because we have been helping out so many animals, a lot of strays and rescues that people have adopted that have been brought in. We have had to bring the dogs back from death’s door.  We have been doing all of that and it’s really wonderful because we have saved the lives of animals that otherwise would have died, or were going to be put down, because their owners could not afford the medical treatment.  My goal in 2011, and I am putting it out there for any fan that has a law degree or knows how to do this.  We are looking for someone who will help us do all the paperwork in California to help us turn this into a non-taxable charity.  But it costs so much money to do so that we would rather put that money into the fund. Other than that, I want to thank everyone for their contributions.  It’s been wonderful.  It’s changed owner lives and dog’s lives, and brought us joy to help out.  So anything that anyone can contribute is wonderful. What we are looking for is to take the fund to that charitable level, where we can start getting donations and things.

MICHAEL:

So we need a Tea Delgado at The Willee-Coppee Fund!

HILLARY:

She is a defense attorney, and you know I should be giving Bob Krimmer (Ex-Rev. Andrew Carpenter, OLTL) a call, because he is a lawyer in California and he sets up grants and all of that!

MICHAEL:

Venice is about to come to a close with its final two webisodes of season two!  It’s been great to watch what is happening to Guya.  How was your time with Venice this time around?  And especially, working with Shawn Christian as Guya’s boy toy, Brandon?

HILLARY:

© JPI Studios

It is a joy to stretch a different muscle because Guya is very different than Nora.  I love the experience of Venice. It’s a very close-knit group, and it was a lot of hard work in a very short amount of time. We all bonded very quickly and deeply, and if I could have brought Shawn Christian home with me, I would have (Laughs).  However, I don’t think my husband would have understood.  And I don’t think Bo would have understood either! (Laughs) Had I known that Shawn had been on One Life to Live at one point, I would have flown out to Hawaii myself!

MICHAEL:

You did not know that Shawn had been on OLTL as the original Ross Rayburn?

HILLARY:

He shot in Hawaii and I never met him.  So when Shawn said to me, “I was on your show for awhile. I played Ross.” I went, “Oh, my God!”

MICHAEL:

What did you think of Shawn?

HILLARY:

He is wonderful and adorable, and very easy on the eyes. I think when we first started working together he did not know what to do with me.  I think he was a little scared, because I was a lot more direct than he might have anticipated.  I look directly into people’s eyes.  So then I think he got used to me, and he said, “Wow, you are so there!” But I think I did scare him a little bit.

MICHAEL:

Guya is a psychic.  Did you get all of her metaphysical terminology?

HILLARY:

© JPI Studios

She is a spiritual guider.  I understand most of what she is saying and whatever is on the page, I just say it.  That it the beauty of being an actor.

MICHAEL:

In closing, what would you like to say to the fans of OLTL as we close out 2010?

HILLARY:

I would like to say to the fans thank you so much for watching us on One Life to Live. We work really really hard to give you the best that we can, and with these economic times that are tough, we all have had to be tightening our belts.  But, we are here putting it out there, and we hope you are enjoying it, and hang with us.  I think that we are learning that love triumphs all, and that you can have all the craziness of the world, but as long as you got love, you are good.  I think they are bringing more love and relationships into OLTL, and that sort of offsets this dark stuff that we were going through.  The show has a nice balance now.

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martha mcdadeAshleeJanDoeBrian Recent comment authors
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sara
sara

GREAT INTERVIEW …I LOVE HBS…AND I HOPE THAT OLTL WILL KEEP THE BALANCE AND LET THE VET BE ON MORE……

semaj
semaj

love nora on oltl and love bo and nora bo and nora endgame

Ceridwyn2
Ceridwyn2

LOVE the interview. Hillary is such a doll. I love both Nora & Guya/Jane. Very different, but Hillary knocks it out of the park everytime.

Thanks, Michael!

Brian
Brian

Yay Hillary–We Love You Madly! 🙂

Doe
Doe

This story with Clint buying off Eddie so Eddie can kidnap Nora, was so evil and more so because Eddie was a menacing character, done extremely well by John. He was really scary! I love Nora and Bo together so I hope that they will find their way back to one another. I’m kinda hoping that Inez killed Eddie, and that her conscience will get the better of her and maybe she will be the one to expose Clint. Or maybe Matthew will figure it out. It’s a genuine mystery at this point, but in truth, it’s quite a stretch to make Clint so vindictive. Jerry verDorn is outstanding! Looking forward to the next episodes. Happy you did this interview with Hillary, Michael.

Jan
Jan

Great interview Michael. Thanks for doing it. Hillary has been my fav actress for many years and I always enjoy hearing what she has to say. She’s very interesting and really thinks about the question. But you asked great questions!

Ashlee
Ashlee

The character of Clint Buchanan has NEVER been written, portrayed, or represented as evil. He had little use or concern for the Buchanan family ties, or legacy, or whatever. He had an unknown son, Cord, whom he immediately embraced. Now suddenly, due to a drastic rewrite, characters are CONSTANTLY talking about how Clint has ALWAYS been the one to preserve the “family” at all costs. The REAL Clint would NEVER deny Rex as his own flesh and blood. Between the Eli’s and the Eddie’s, OLTL has enough middle-aged male psychopaths running amok without changing Clint from a hero to a scumbag. Ron Carlivati usually honours show history, but he is making a dreadful mistake here with this character assassination of Clint. It is disturbing and disgusting, NOT entertaining.

martha mcdade
martha mcdade

love and Bo and Nora together

Days Of Our Lives

DAYS Susan Seaforth Hayes Talks On Her Daytime Emmy Nomination For Julie and Doug’s Emotional Storyline

When you think Days of our Lives, what would it be without the legendary Susan Seaforth Hayes (Julie) and her real-life and on-screen husband, Bill Hayes (Doug Williams)?

This past Emmy season, the beloved duo got a chance to shine, when they were put through a ‘heartbreaking’ predicament – Julie’s heart gives out, she is in need of a transplant, and things take a turn for the worse.

What would life be like for Doug without his Julie? How would she say goodbye to him? Fans clearly felt the sentiments overflowing from this real-life duo capturing the essence of their characters in such a raw and realistic way. So much so, that Susan landed a Daytime Emmy nomination in the Outstanding Supporting Actress category for her work.

Already a Lifetime Achievement Award recipient along with her husband, Bill back in 2018, will Susan finally get an award for her acting for her decades of beautiful work on the long-running NBC soap opera? Fans will need to tune-in to CBS on Friday, June 26th to find out with the virtual presentation of the 47th annual Daytime Emmy Awards.  But for now, here is our conversation with Susan.

Photo: NATAS

Congratulations on your Supporting Actress nomination.  You have been racking up a lot of these recently, having been nominated in the same category two years ago, and also receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award along with your husband, Bill Hayes at the 45th annual Daytime Emmys in 2018.

SUSAN:  It’s really nice to be nominated, because I’ve had a few gap years.  I’ve had, what? 25 gap years between the recent nominations.

What scenes did you ultimately chose that landed you the nomination?

SUSAN:  I submitted when Julie dies.  I submitted the farewell montage scenes with Bill Hayes, and they were very moving to us… and we’ll see.  I did not submit anything snappy, or bitchy, or hysterical.  I’ve lost against hysterical every time.  Comedy has never worked.  So, I am going to try the heart and soul of soup opera: not bitchiness, but loss.

Photo: JPI

Can I ask how you got through those scenes with Bill, because it was so touching?  I don’t know how you did it.

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SUSAN:  It was very difficult.  I mean, these are the things that make us so connected to the characters and the show.  This is a place where we can show the public what love means to us, which is everything.

They were beautiful scenes.  Do you remember when you did them, if you felt good about them at the time?

SUSAN:  No… no.  I didn’t know.  Everyone on the set seemed happy.  We are blessed to have feedback from out producers now, and they didn’t say, “I think you can do it better,” and, “Another take,” not that we would have anyway, because there is never time to do another take.

Photo: JPI

How did you find out that you were nominated? 

SUSAN:  One of the producers, Randy Dugan called me, or I wouldn’t have found out for a couple of days,

What are your thoughts on this being a virtual Daytime Emmys ceremony because of COVID-19?  We don’t know anything about will play out yet or what that will look like, but it is back on network TV.

SUSAN:  It’s going to be a wonderful surprise.

So, if they have the shot of the nominees, do you think you’d be dressed in comfortable clothes or more formal?

SUSAN:  Well, I’d certainly wear my best earrings if I were at home, yeah.  If my grandson can arrange us to get on the internet (we have a grandson living on our property, and he’s our live-in techy), we will get dressed up, and sit there, if that’s the way to do it.

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DAYS did very well receiving 22 overall nominations and a lot of your co-stars got nomination as well.

SUSAN:  Yes, an excellent year for nominations for our show.

How many times have you been nominated now? 

SUSAN:  This makes six.

Photo: IMDB

Would it mean a lot to you to get the award?

SUSAN:  The Lifetime Achievement meant a lot.  It wouldn’t be bad to win this year.  I’ll say that.  It would be sweet for the show, since I am now the oldest living cast member of the original family – the original, original.  I’m not the original Julie, but close enough.  So, I think that would be some validation for the longevity of this original storytelling.  People look at the show and say, “Are you part of the DiMera family or the Brady family?”  I say, “I’m part of the Horton family!”

What did your husband Bill say when he found out you were nominated?

SUSAN:  (Yells) Billy, what did you say when you found out I was nominated?

BILL:  Yay!!!

SUSAN:  That’s about right. (Laughs)

Photo: JPI

What a guy!

SUSAN:  I know!  What a guy, what a guy, what a guy!

I was really happy to see your name among the other well-deserving nominees.

SUSAN:  I know you are because I know you care.  Who knows what will happen? It isn’t going to ruin our lives you know, one way or another.  But it was very nice to receive this acknowledgment from my peers.

So, are you glad Susan received a nomination for her work in her emotional storyline? Do you think she should finally receive the Emmy for her performances? Comment below.

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Days Of Our Lives

DAYS Chandler Massey Chats On His Bittersweet Daytime Emmy Nomination

He’s won three Daytime Emmys in the Outstanding Younger Actor in a Drama Series three years in row in 2012, 2013 and 2014, and now Chandler Massey is going for gold for the second time in his career in the Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series which in a field where he is competing with two co-stars from Days of our Lives among others.

Massey has long been a stand out performer, giving nuanced and emotional portrayals in the angst-ridden life of Will Horton and the love of his life, Sonny Kiriakis (Freddie Smith).

Back in February of this year, DAYS fans learned that Chandler and Freddie had taped their last episodes, and since the NBC soap tapes more than 6 months ahead of air, that the two will still be on the air into the fall.  That has made this moment of recognition for Massey all the more poignant.

Michael Fairman TV talked with Chandler to get his reaction to the news that he is once again a Daytime Emmy nominee, and here’s what he had to say about it all.

Photo: JPI

 

I thought it was great that you received another Emmy nomination.  What do you think?

CHANDLER:  Yeah.  I thought it was pretty great too, actually.   I was surprised.  I wasn’t keeping up on when they were announcing the nominations.   I was thrilled that Wally (Kurth) and Paul (Telfer) also got nominated too in the same category.  So, hopefully, DAYS, has a decent shot to take it home.

What did you end up submitting that ultimately landed you the nomination?

CHANDLER:  I went with some scenes that aired on December 16th of last year (I just looked that up), where Will basically breaks up with Sonny when Sonny comes to visit him in prison.  I liked those because they were sort of subtle.  I just found myself drawn in when I watched it, and it wasn’t big or dramatic, but it felt like two real people sharing their pain.  So, that’s why I chose it.

Photo: JPI

I remember those.  Those were heartbreaking because he had to get Sonny to let him go.

CHANDLER:  Yes.  He said he has a new prison boyfriend, and that he’s doing really well in prison, so he doesn’t want to be tied down. (Laughs)

You’ve had Freddie Smith as your scene partner for so much of your run on DAYS.  What did he give you in those scenes that helped you, or even further enabled the performance that you gave?

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DAYS Susan Seaforth Hayes Talks On Her Daytime Emmy Nomination For Julie and Doug's Emotional Storyline

CHANDLER:  Freddie always gives everything.  He is a consummate professional, so he really commits every time.  I think it is more that we are just so comfortable with each other that we are not afraid, and that there is no hesitation between the two of us, so we just are able to do the work.  We usually know we are there to listen to, and support each other. in the scenes.

Photo: NATAS

Was your entire submission from the prison scenes or did you include something else?

CHANDLER:  It was just that.  I know I could have included something else, but I like to keep it sort of short because I feel like as a judge, I know within a few minutes.  It’s not that I get bored, but it really only takes a scene or two, and then, you’re like, “this is something special.”  You can recognize it pretty quickly.

So, you have won three Daytime Emmys. This is your first nomination in a few years, right?

CHANDLER:  Yeah, I didn’t get nominated the year before.  I had a gap year… to my family’s great shame. (Laughs)  They were not pleased with me.

Photo: JPI

This is your second nomination in the Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Daytime Drama Series category.

CHANDLER:  Yes. I was nominated in ‘Supporting’ for the first time when I came back to DAYS, and then submitted for “Lead” the next year, didn’t get nominated, and then went back to ‘Supporting’.  I learned my place.  I went back to ‘Supporting’ for this year.  (Laughs)

It’s such a game though, right?  .

CHANDLER:  Yeah, you’ve got to be smart.  I just thought, “What the heck?”  Freddie and I were like, “Maybe there’s a shot that if we pick different categories, we can both get nominated,” but then, after that didn’t work, I said, “Screw that… going back to ‘Supporting”

Now, you’ve been through Emmy night before, and this is obviously going to be a virtual Emmy’s.  Now, if they did a six-shot of all of the nominees, what would you wear?  Would you be dressed up?  Would you be casual?  What would you see yourself doing?

CHANDLER:  That’s a good question. I think maybe… I’ll do a little of both.  I’ll go the middle ground.  I’ll be in my finest bathrobe, a silk bathrobe so it’s casual but also still sort of fancy.

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There you go.  (Laughs)  Is this nomination all the more special for you in that you are no longer working at DAYS? 

CHANDLER:  Oh, totally.  Every year is special, but you know, I’m not on the show anymore, so it’s a nice reminder that the work that I did had an effect on people, and it won’t be forgotten for at least a few more hours.

Photo: JPI

I saw the fan outcry and show of support for you and Freddie, when viewers got wind that you were exiting the series.  It was sad and heartwarming at the same time.  The WilSon fans are so behind you guys.

CHANDLER:  Yeah, if only they knew what horrible people that we were in real life, then they wouldn’t be this way, but thankfully… (Laughs)  Yeah, it’s really nice, but it is sad.  I started in 2009, and that was over 10 years ago, and nothing lasts forever.  I had a really, really great run, and so did Freddie.  I am very satisfied and don’t feel jipped, or like, I was entitled to anything more than I got.

Courtesy/NBC

Obviously, your co-nominees, Wally and Paul you worked with many times.  What can you say about them?

CHANDLER:  I think that both men deserve definitely to get second and third place.  (Laughs)  I have known Wally for a while now.  I love him.  I think his work is phenomenal.  I think he is really, really underrated.  Paul, I don’t know as well, but I think obviously his work speaks for himself.  If only he were physically attractive, I think that would really, really help his career.

Photo: JPI

I know, it’s a shame.

CHANDLER:  Unfortunately, he is kind of schleppy, you know?  (Laughs)

Photo: JPI

Did Freddie reach out to you after you received the nomination?  

CHANDLER:  Oh yes, he sent a text congratulating me, and we talked about it.  It was nice.  I feel like our stories are so intertwined, the scenes we submit are mostly with each other.  So, it’s really kind of a shared accolade.

So, will you be rooting for Chandler to cap off his career on DAYS with an Emmy win on June 26th during the virtual ceremony on CBS? What did you think of the nominated scenes he submitted? Share your thoughts via the comment section below.

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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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