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The Hunter Tylo Interview – The Bold and the Beautiful

Photo Credit: Gilles Toucas

It’s Taylor’s time!  That is the mantra around The Bold and the Beautiful set these days, and in particular for long time series stalwart Hunter Tylo (Taylor Hayes Forrester)!  As fans know, a mega-shift happened for the first time in the 25 year history of the canvas, when two of the core four … Susan Flannery (Stephanie) and Ronn Moss (Ridge)… decided not to re-sign with the show and have since been written out.  Ridge is somewhere out of the country tootling around Europe. Stephanie died on-screen of lung cancer.  Those departures have paved the way for some complicated and excited stories ahead for Tylo, and what looks to be a potential new love interest in John McCook (Eric Forrester).  Will Taylor become Stephanie 2.0?

On-Air On-Soaps sat down with Hunter Tylo in her dressing room to find out what is behind and what is driving Taylor these days, as she tries to pick up the pieces after Stephanie’s death which has also re-ignited her long running feud with Brooke (Katherine Kelly Lang).  As Hunter fills us in, a subtle metamorphosis has begun which could ultimately lead her to become of all things … the matriarch of the Forrester clan! But will it really happen? There are lots of single eligible women on B&B who would like to get their claws into Eric Forrester!

How does such a beloved star, such as Hunter, deal with balancing languishing on the back burner to a front-burner story?  How has she coped with the loss of her long-time cast mates?  These questions, and Taylor’s questionable psychiatric practices, involving Katie (Heather Tom), are just a few things we touch upon in this fascinating interview with one of daytime’s all-time most fascinating stars, Hunter Tylo!

MICHAEL:

Before Susan Flannery left the show, you had a heartbreaking moment at the goodbye party, when Taylor hugged Stephanie.  How was it for you being part of that episode, and saying goodbye to Susan? 

HUNTER:

Courtesy/CBS

That last day, when we were taping Stephanie’s going away party, I was dreading it.  It was just one of those things where you feel like you have to get dressed for a funeral, or something.  The only thing I could do is keep reassuring myself that Susan is O.K.  She is healthy and she is going to go on to do other things.  I even asked her several times, “Are you sure now?  Maybe you will work this out?”  And she said, “No.  I really want to go do other things.”   So I had to make sure she was O.K.  Once I knew it was something she really wanted and needed, I could understand that.  It is a lot of work being on a soap, and she has done this for so long.  She deserved it.  So then I was able to bolster myself through it.  I understood what this meant for her as a woman moving on with her life and enjoying her life now, because she has worked her rear off.   But when we got to the last scene – where Stephanie is saying goodbye – I believe she added the line, “Please forgive me.”  That was hard, that was really hard.  It was a hard day, and it was so much so that even when we were done filming I had a hard time saying goodbye to Susan.  She actually did have more scenes to shoot the following week, but I was not in that week.  So I did not want to make it any more difficult on Susan, because she was not finished yet.  We later shot those vignettes for the video they gave to Stephanie, where each character said something to her.  They let me sort of adlib in some of my own thoughts.  I said, “You are my hero,” which is true.  I got to express it that way to Susan.  I did not know that Brad Bell (B&B head writer and executive producer) decided to write it … that Taylor would not be with Stephanie on her death bed moment!

MICHAEL:

Was it shocking to you that it was Brooke who was with Stephanie at the end instead of Taylor, given all that Brooke had gone through with Stephanie during Stephanie’s last-go round with cancer?

HUNTER:

I knew whatever the reason would be, with the long history there, there was going to be some pay-off.   I did not know what it would be, but now looking at what he has done with the story … it’s genius!  It’s absolutely awesome, because it motivates so many things for Taylor.  It brings out so many things in her that have been dormant.  I think it also infuses Taylor with this drive to now do every single thing that Stephanie ever told her to do, that she would always battle with herself morally about.  Whether it be right to take her place?  That is a great question.  As well as, should Taylor forget about what other people think or feel?  So now it’s really cool!

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

MICHAEL:

Did you have a meeting with Brad Bell (B&B executive producer and head writer), where he informed you that after Susan departed the show that he had major plans for you as Taylor to stir the pot… sort of as a next generation Stephanie?

HUNTER:

No.  I never like to know and never really worry about it.  If an actor truly puts their hand into that creative mix, I think that now the actor has an agenda.  So to me, I treat it as if it’s like God unfolding our own lives.  Whatever happens to me I need to react to it on-screen genuinely.  There is a tendency for actors to go to the powers-that-be and go, “Look, I don’t want to do this, because my character is going to look bad.”  I feel if you don’t trust where the writing is going to go; you are going to set yourself up for disappointment … a lot!   Our characters have to lose too, in order to come back and win. In soaps, the power has to go back and forth, and that can be hard to take when you are working and you want to have that drive to come in and perform the material.  Sometimes it is hard to come in here when your character’s is on the downside. You don’t really get too excited where you might go, “Oh!  I have got to do this stupid scene?” (Laughs)  I like that Taylor had a down period where she was losing, losing, losing, because it really does give her some place to go now.  It does breathe some life into this show, because we lost two major characters.  We needed to have a dynamic change.  I don’t know if that is just how life plays out, because we did not know that Susan and Ronn Moss were going to leave.  Or, if it’s just Brad’s genius to reserve certain characters and bring them back when it’s time.  All I can say, it’s working out really well. I think it will be a nice way of having the show come around full-circle.

MICHAEL:

So, since you did not talk to Brad directly, what was your first clue when you saw the scripts that Taylor is becoming somewhat manipulative?

HUNTER:

She is not manipulative; that is the thing.  She is very much a psychiatrist-type of person.   Taylor will rationalize herself into anything, and then she will believe it.  There are some things coming up that will be shocking that will definitely make Taylor fans happy! These are some things the fans have been complaining about for a long time.  I had no idea things were going to go to this other place until I saw the script the day before we taped it!  There is an incident where Stephanie left Taylor and Eric without saying goodbye, and so they bond over being denied closure.  That was the first moment where I went, “Hmmm. What is happening there?”  It’s been very true to life, and true to the personalities, true to the history of the show, and true to all of the things that were set up.  This also sets up nice dynamics for Katherine Kelly Lang’s character of Brooke.  When Brooke and Taylor go at it, it really gets a lot of people wound up.  I said this brings the show around full circle with everything Stephanie was fighting for, and now the battle has been set for these two to really go at it.

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/CBS

If Taylor and Eric were to become a bonafide couple on the show, how would you feel about it?

HUNTER:

I love working with John McCook (Eric).  He is just the happiest person ever on set.  He is the funniest person on set even with his old jokes! (Laughs)  We love that! (Laughs)  I can see Eric and Taylor as a couple. Whatever has held them back in the past romantically is that they have always had a respect and affinity for each other, or their love for Stephanie.  Once, a long time ago, they toyed with this pairing and everybody felt like, “Taylor would not do that.  She loves and respects Stephanie too much.”  They put the kibosh on that storyline.  I am happy where the story is right now.

MICHAEL:

I have to say, Taylor did some very bad psychiatry on poor Katie!  She literally was telling her how badly she was suffering from post-partum depression and such, over and over again! (Laughs)

HUNTER:

Yeah, well you don’t usually tell the patients their worst fears! (Laughs)  Then again, there are many people who have gotten into psychology careers who have taken on that choice of a job, because they have real issues of their own that really never did get resolved! (Laughs)  You can actually get psychology licenses from online courses, and so there are some bad psychologists walking around out there.  I think Taylor is one of those people who glazed by some of the analytical things she needed to do towards the end of her PhD. (laughs) I think maybe she put on a good act, and then of course, as all of her personal traumas happened to her with losing Ridge and the death of her daughter, all of Taylor’s baggage came out!  Things weren’t really resolved for her.  Taylor has her issues.  I think that is what makes her an interesting character, though.  It’s kind of a cool to see a character that doesn’t have her act together!  If Taylor really had it together, who would care?  You have this character who is telling everybody how to do things, and then you watch them screw up their own stuff.  Taylor can give the medicine, but she can’t take her own!

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/CBS

So what did Taylor want?  Does she want Brooke with Bill?  So therefore, somewhere down the line she can go after Ridge all by her lonesome with no competition from her rival?

HUNTER:

No. What Taylor was doing was warning Katie that Brooke is up to her old tricks, and she is going to start coming on to her husband.  Taylor already had that figured out, that Brooke would start feeling needy because she lost Ridge, and all of a sudden, there would be a little kiss between Brooke and Bill.  And … Taylor was right!   I think Taylor planted one too many fears into Katie, though!

MICHAEL:

So Taylor wants Bill and Katie to stay together?

HUNTER:

She wants Bill and Katie to stay together.  Taylor is just trying to tell Brooke to mind her own business.  But then, again Taylor isn’t minding her own business! (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

What did you think when Ronn Moss made the choice to leave B&B after 25 years? After all, he was your on-screen love interest for many, many years!

HUNTER:

Courtesy/CBS

I was shocked!  When I heard about Ronn and Susan, I thought they must be at an impasse contract wise, or Ronn is really bored and he will just take a couple weeks, or a couple months off, and he will be right back.  I think over the holidays is when it really sunk in for me more.

MICHAEL:

It’s great to see both you, and John McCook, being given some front-burner material to play!

HUNTER:

Viewers are going to see a whole new strength with Eric Forrester. And for John McCook that is great, because for a long time he was in the background of the show, too.

MICHAEL:

Taylor’s son Thomas (Adam Gregory) did not get the CEO position in the end at Forrester Creations!  What do you think about that plot point, and how it ultimately affects Taylor?

HUNTER:

I have got to say, when we were watching the deathbed video that Stephanie left us, I literally got mad!  I screamed, “What?  Oh, my gosh!”  Taylor’s son had been set up to lie by Stephanie to set up Brooke, which got them all in trouble, which then caused Taylor to have the disastrous wedding, and then Stephanie pulled the rug out from under Thomas.  I was so mad!  But I have got to say, that is how genius it was of Brad to have Stephanie do so many annoying things.  It leaves us so much to play, and somewhere to go.  Now of course, Stephanie’s picture is hanging right over the fireplace and now we have to look at her all the time! (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/CBS

Oh, but wait!  Taylor will have her picture up above the mantle soon at the Forrester mansion!  She will be the one to go, “Let’s just take this old picture of Stephanie down!”  You’ll see! (Laughs)

HUNTER:

Do you see the dynamic though?  For years, Stephanie was trying to tell Taylor to do something that she did not have it in her to do, and then Stephanie took Brooke under her wing.  It totally makes these characters true.  Now Taylor is exactly in Stephanie’s shoes when the show first started.  She had lost her husband.  She had lost everything and Brooke was taking everything, and that is what made her fight.  Now of course, Taylor would want to step up and Taylor actually takes on the persona of Stephanie!  That is what I have chosen to infuse Taylor with.  We will see Taylor change in many ways.  I actually have Taylor taking on Stephanie’s mannerisms, and the way that Susan would say certain line, and it’s been kind of fun.  All I need now is one of Stephanie’s pant suits! (Laughs)   I told wardrobe this!  I told them, “Just give me a pant suit and broach!”  And so wardrobe said, “No.  Let’s just put her in the jacket of the pant suit and heels.”   I said, “That is an awesome! That will be just back in Brooke’s face!  Perfect!” (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Is Taylor going to be a much more aggressive mama bear when it comes to her kids, Thomas and Steffy?

HUNTER:

I think Taylor is feeling this is her moment to be the mama bear and the matriarch, and to step up to the plate and start fighting for her kids.

MICHAEL:

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

Does Taylor want her pregnant daughter Steffy (Jacqueline MacInnes Wood) with Liam (Scott Clifton) … even though Liam is the most indecisive male character ever seen on B&B?

HUNTER:

She does want Steffy with Liam, even though she wants to slap Liam. (Laughs)  I can hear Susan Flannery’s voice in my head when we would be running lines with Ronn Moss going, “Well, Ridge is really pretty, but he’s not smart!” (Laughs) I get the same feeling when I see Liam in these scenes where he can’t decide between Hope and Steffy! I am like, “C’mon already!”  That is the beauty and the frustration of the characters on our show, and what they have to overcome.

MICHAEL:

Did you watch the final scenes between Susan Flannery and Katherine Kelly Lang, when Brooke sang Stephanie through to her passing?

HUNTER:

I did not see it, but I heard it was breathtaking and touching.  I don’t even know if I would have made it through it.  I don’t know how Katherine did it.  I know I am glad I did not have to say goodbye to Ronn or Susan on-screen.  For me, I think it would take me a few days to recover from after playing those moments out, because you do have to go to a place of loss, and it’s hard to recover from that psychologically, a little bit.

MICHAEL:

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

Have you and Katherine discussed what is happening between Taylor and Brooke now?

HUNTER:

No.  Once we realized the rivalry was back on, we had to quit talking and chit-chatting in the make-up room.  We have to, and that is what is sad about this for our job and to service the storyline.  We can actually get to know each other well, but when you are two characters in a rivalry you have to really watch it, because then any comfortability will show through on camera.  We have to put distance between us and not bond too much. We cannot look comfortable with each other.  We need to look like we are in a place of competition.   Katherine and I try to work with each other as actors.  We will run lines and we respect each other.  For example, trying to talk about what is going on with politics on television, we can’t do because we can’t bond on anything.  It sucks, I have to say.  I really like Katherine.  As people, and as women, we have a lot of common.  We both love horses, we love cooking, and we love to do stuff with our kids.  So it t becomes a kind of a shame when the storyline gets like this.

MICHAEL:

Can we expect a roll in the mud, or chocolate cake fight in the near future between Brooke and Taylor?  Fans love that!

HUNTER:

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Oh, I don’t know!  We do love that, and I am clapping right now. (Laughs) We have had the mud fight, and we have had the coy-pond fish fight.  We will come up with something really good, messy, and super sexy!

MICHAEL:

What are fans saying to you on your Twitter account about Taylor’s latest behavior change, and where her story is going?

HUNTER:

I have not been on it in for a little awhile.  Since the end of October 2012 … my life has been insane.  Everybody in my family has a birthday.  Then it’s Thanksgiving, Christmas, and then there are more birthdays!  We just had my daughter Katya’s, and my oldest son’s birthday in January.  Usually in the spring I will get back on Twitter, and then it will be a good time for me to interact with the fans more.  I do know though, that whenever Katherine and I would banter with each other on Twitter, we did it in character! We found out that was a huge mistake, because it started pitting the fans against each other.  We had to regroup. For a while we had to un-friend and un-follow each other, and now we are friends on there again. We had to let the fans know, “Look. Wait a second. We can’t have you bad-mouthing.  Now it’s going into personal lives.  When it does that … that is not cool!”   Twitter is a weird real world.  People want to joke, but when people tend to make it too close to home with anything that is a touchy subject, people mistake what someone intended, and then that becomes bad. 

MICHAEL:

But let it be noted, the Brooke and Taylor fans are intense!

HUNTER:

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

The Brooke/Taylor fans are intense!  I think we are going to see this happen again, but what I want the fans to know more than anything is this: Katherine and I really do respect each other.  We love each other as people.  They should not get our characters confused. The thing is that we love doing the scenes we do. We do know how to goad each other and push each other’s button.  We do know a little about each other in real life that we know how to get to each other emotionally.  So the fans may see on-screen intense emotions when we are talking, but there is nothing that they need to get so wound-up about that they say something ugly.  I would not want anyone to say anything ugly about Katherine.  She is a sweet and adorable person, and she works her butt off!  We all go through different things in our lives, and no one needs that Twitter stress.  I am excited about where the characters and the show are going.  I hope we can all keep encouraging each other to watch the show and get excited about what is going to happen next, and those types of things.  I think the fans are going to be really excited, and that which drove them to watch B&B in the first place, I think they are going to feel excited about that all over again.

MICHAEL:

How is your daughter Katya doing after her battle with Retinoblastoma so many years ago?

HUNTER:

She is doing great.  Fifteen years later, that is how old she is.  She is a survivor and a fighter.  I had a lot of faith in her, but I wondered how it would all turn out, and so I am just really celebrating her life.  Isabella just turned 16 and that was really scary, and we won’t even go there! (Laughs)

Courtesy/Amazon.com

MICHAEL:

Will you ever consider writing a follow-up to your first memoir, Making a Miracle? So much has happened in your life personally and professionally since the last book.

HUNTER:

I was working on a follow-up, but there have been so many changes that all of a sudden my life got really busy again.  I will go back to it.  I would like to write some more encouraging things to people based on my life experiences, and now there is even more to talk about.  So we will let things keep unfolding.  There will come that right time to put it all together.  I have notes that I have been keeping about everything.

MICHAEL:

Did you make a New Years Resolution for 2013?

HUNTER:

You are going to think this is weird and boring, but mine is to get back to do doing all my ballet and gymnastic stretches.  It was something that I thought just because I am becoming a certain age that I was not going to stop; doing my hair fun, or dressing fun, or working out or riding bikes.  I have always liked to ride a mountain bike, but I always thought there must be some period where you go hang that up.  But now, I have been doing it more than ever, like riding through mud puddles and all sorts of crazy stuff.  So far I am happy to report, that I have kept my resolution and I have been doing my stretches every single day. 

Courtesy/CBS

MICHAEL:

In closing, what should Taylor fans watch for in the months ahead?

HUNTER:

I would say to watch to see how many things Taylor does that Stephanie always told her to do.  I think Taylor always thinks she has all the answers and she has an agenda, but I do think she will have her heart in the right place.  However, now I don’t see Taylor compromising or giving up on things she really wants these days.  I think she has already done that enough in the past, and has seen where it has gotten her! (Laughs)

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gilda
Guest
gilda

Great article, I have always followed her work.

Jean Lockyer
Guest
Jean Lockyer

What work?!!!

gilda
Guest
gilda

Movie, book, All My Children, etc. She’s a lovely person.

Claudine Squares
Guest
Claudine Squares

I think Taylor is a poor excuse for a psychiatrist. She can’t keep herself together. She could not raise her baby ! She gave it to Brooke to raise.

P
Guest
P

Love Hunter and her portrayal of Taylor!

B&B Fan
Guest
B&B Fan

Taylor can’t carry this show. Bell is making a big mistake giving her more air time. Many will tune out because we don’t want to see her on our screens. And putting her with Eric is another huge mistake.

Margot
Guest
Margot

I certainly agree with you B&B Fan.

dannielle
Guest
dannielle

i agree terrible mistake

TayFan4Life
Guest
TayFan4Life

Haters Get over it!…It’s Hunter’s time to shine…she’s been in the background long enough!…if you don’t like it too bad…change the channel…you must be insane to think brooke can carry this show on her own…she is nothing without Stephanie or Taylor to fight with…If Hunter leaves it’s a wrap for this show I truly believe…this show cannot stand to lose anymore main players like Taylor.

Jean Lockyer
Guest
Jean Lockyer

To be honest, I’m over the B&B. It has become so boring, Liam and Steffy are really not doing the series and favours. They bore the crap out of me. Perhaps I’ve outgrown B&B or it’s outgrown me. Either way, I don’t bother to watch it anymore. Hunter Tylo is the worst actress I’ve ever had the misfortune to witness

Tay Fan 101
Guest
Tay Fan 101

LMAO!!! Haven’t the ratings gone up lately? Enuff said. Bell knows what he is doing! Gooooo Taylor!!!

B&B Fan
Guest
B&B Fan

NO the new ratings out are down with Taylor on our screens we lost 125,000 viewers from the week before. So NO Bell doesn’tknow what he is doing but will soon once he sees Taylor is not bringing up the viewership but making it go down. And Brook can carry this show way better then Head bobblng and Arms waving Taylor anyday.

Tay Fan 101
Guest
Tay Fan 101

New ratings are 2.6. Sorry, but yes that means the rating did go UP from 2.4. Sorry, but I doubt Bell cares that some people don’t like it. He knows who is important to the show and who is not. And I am also sorry that you think Taylor/Hunter is ‘carrying the show’, because no one has been saying anything like that except YOU. Thanks for acknowledging her impact.

Right
Guest
Right

On the contrary. I was not sure about the pairing with Eric at first, but now I am convinced that the show has found a replacement for it’s matriarch. It’s perfect.

kelly-ann jones
Guest
kelly-ann jones

who should carry the show brooke logan
what has brooke dont for the show ohh yea he return tanked the ratings that week
the thought of her getting stephanies shares caused outrage resulting in the bb call line crashing the thought of stephanie dying in her arms caused outrage from fans the only mistake was pushing brooke front burner
brooke logan a washed up cat kitten who can only play 1 type of rolls

Gillian
Guest
Gillian

I’ve been watching BB since AMC was cancelled. I find Brooke and the Logans’ feelings of entitlement annoying and think it is refreshing to see Taylor with a backbone.I fastforward through most Hope & Brooke scenes.

David
Guest
David

Great interview! I like Hunter Tylo but i’m very disappointed by Taylor! Taylor is not Stéphanie! She would be with Thorne or Bill! Not Eric! I don’t understand Bradley Bell! The Bold and The beautiful become an incredibly stupid soap opera. Marcus, Dayzee, Maya, Katie are deadly boring! Where are Deacon, his son, Amber, Kristen, Felicia, CJ??? Fortunatly, Rick, Brooke and Bill are here!

linda
Guest
linda

i think taylor is a pure ecuse for a doctor an please dont put her with eric she has interfered with every ones life shes just a poor excuse for a women or doctor

barbara
Guest
barbara

taylor has always been a poor psychiatrist and doesn”t have much insight into her own feelings-she has always been jealous of Brooke and repeatedly misjudges her-she should be as kindhearted as Brooke .I don”t think she is -she is so blind to her own lack of insight

Pam
Guest
Pam

I totally agree with you Linda. I can’t stand Taylor. She thinks she is so high and mighty, and all she is , is a trouble maker. Taylor thought it was just fine for Steffy to break up Liem and Steffy but not for Hope to go after what was taken away from her. Taylor should move to Paris and go after Ridge and leave Eric alone.

k/kay
Guest
k/kay

Hunter Tylo is really a very nice lady when she lived in LV I lived in her area also and would run into her from time to time I am glad she is getting screen time again. Brad Bell has to realize their are some of us out here that are worn out with the triangle for two years of Steffy/Liam/Hope I remember when they were going to go down that road of Eric & Taylor but backed off for good reason then, but now it feels right just once let Taylor win it all. So in other words it… Read more »

k/kay
Guest
k/kay

I would also like to thank you Michael for helping straighten out this rumor that KKL & HT did not get along two soap columnists actually three tried with the help of soap fans to start a war back when Ronn Moss left it was tacky. Thanks again for asking the right respectful questions. You are indeed a gentleman with the soap actors!

CC
Guest
CC

How classless of Hunter Tylo. She seems to be the one unable to separate the character from the actor. Susan and Kelly played enimies for years, yet are close in real life. come now Ms. Tylo. Your jealousy is shining through, loud and clear, lol.

k/kay
Guest
k/kay

Maybe you might want to do some research on Ms. Tylo she and Kimberlin Brown/Sheila became very best friends they went into business together etc then when Ms. Tylo and her husband Michael were thinking about getting a divorce Ms. Brown testified against her saying she was an unfit mother. I think I personally would think twice before I became close to a co-worker again. It was very nasty and I would not want to go thru that again.

Tay Fan 101
Guest
Tay Fan 101

There is no rule that states any actress needs to be friends with any co-workers off camera. If that were the case, no one in Hollyweird would have jobs. Who needs phony work related friends? I am sure Mrs. Tylo has had more than her fair share of those. LMAO! She hasn’t been employed in this business for over 20 years for nothing. Obviously, she knows her business well. To hell with friendships! Keep the money and keep it moving!

Robin
Guest
Robin

Michael does it again. GREAT interview!!! Very revealing. That said…I HATE TAYLOR, ALWAYS HAVE, ALWAYS WILL! And she’s nothing like Stephanie (who was likeable, Hunter!!!) Taylor is an entitled, preachy, holier than thou, self serving bitch! Ok, feeling better lol. The character is so unlikeable and unrelatable. Stephanie was evil but fun and likeable. I really miss her!!!!!! Hunter is right when she talks about her character being someone who rationalizes her bad behavior then believes the rationalization. Liam is spineless and Steffy seduced him while he was engaged. Remember Taylor?? Bring back Bridget and Nick! OMG I need to… Read more »

Deb
Guest
Deb

It is about-damn-time! Ok Hunter, I’m sticking with this for awhile longer ONLY because you are getting a serious storyline … If Hope and Liam walk down the aisle a 5th time that’s it! The Hayes/Forresters need to move to the front burner for a LONG time … (OMG I just saw Brooke meet Carter … so I guess she has a new one to have sex with!) She is so condescending all the time and second guessing Eric about HIS choices at the company! Ugh … you still need a scen where you get to slap her! (for all… Read more »

Dawn L. Hayes-Stewart
Guest
Dawn L. Hayes-Stewart

Actually had the pleasure of meeting Hunter and (now-ex) husband, Michael Tylo, years ago. She is a completely lovely, down-to-earth person who really appreciated that I didn’t call her by her character name (I actually forgot it for a moment!). I think it’s great that her character is getting a chance to be the pseudo-bad girl for a change. You can only sit back and take “stuff” for so long, in life and in soaps. So Hunter – don’t “go gentle into that good night” and we cheer you on!

Cathy
Guest
Cathy

It would be a blessing for Taylor & Eric to be together! They belong together and I know Stephanie would approve. I think this is what she wanted all along.

Tay Fan 101
Guest
Tay Fan 101

Thanks for the article Mr. Fairman…..Taylor/Hunter are the reason that I watch this show and I LOVE watching Taylor shine in all of her new material. It is about time the show started to put her character on front burner again. I had almost given up on this show. This shake up gives me something to look forward to.

Dolphinrocks
Guest
Dolphinrocks

Taylor is the only reason that I have endured the B&B over the years.When Hunter left the show I stopped watching until I heard that she was returning.I am loving the New Taylor and loving that she has a back bone now and that she is ready to take on the world..Ya never mess with a woman scourned and it’s great to see Taylor take on everyone who has wronged her and her family.I also love Steffy and Thomas..If Taylor and Eric get together then so be it..Bring it on..Team Taylor all the way..It’s great to see that Taylor front… Read more »

oldsoapfan1969
Guest
oldsoapfan1969

I been watching this soap since the the very first day. I always loved Taylor’s outlook. Since Stephanie died, Taylor flipped a script. The way she is now on the show isn’t Taylor! It’s like she should take her own advice like she gives to her patients. Take into consideration you wouldnt tell your patients to do the things your doing. They will tend to look up to you (on the show) and see your not following your own advice.

Shari
Guest
Shari

I’m another Hunter/Taylor fan and love this article. Thank you Mr. Fairman. I used to DVR to either watch part, FF’d the rest, or delete it completely, now I’m watching live and love that Taylor is front-and-center, with a story. It’s a long time coming. I see Taylor as a Mama Bear, just like Stephanie used to be, so I can definitely see the comparison. I’m not sure why anyone would have a problem with another character becoming front-and-center, isn’t that what soaps are all about – BALANCE. Hunter Tylo/Taylor is a very important part of B&B and it’s about… Read more »

Tayfan4ever
Guest
Tayfan4ever

Great article! I am so excited and looking forward to seeing Hunter front and centre once again on B&B!! I have watched the show since Day 1 and the best thing that ever happened to this show was bringing on the character of Taylor portrayed by Hunter Tylo.

Wanda
Guest
Wanda

I am for Brooke all the way!!

mmb
Guest
mmb

Thanks for the interview.. honestly.. u interviewed Don, KKL, John and Heather before this and I wasn’t interested in what they had to say abt their characters on the show. those characters do nothing for me. i am not interested in brooke incest for the nth time, nor am i interested in watching Bill strut his stuff ard. stallion?? give me a break!! i dnt care if katie recovers or dies, all I have been interested is in Taylor, cuz she is BEAUTIFUL of BnB. Hunter Tylo is an amazing actress who portrays Taylor best and I only watch BnB… Read more »

Crispy829
Guest
Crispy829

So ready to see Taylor/Steffy & Thomas come out on top (FINALLY!!!!!) for a change. It is long, LONG overdue from all Brooke & her whiny getting their way far too long. I’m sick and tired of Brooke always being justified, propped up and put on a pedestal as the queen, with her pion children never taking responsibility for their actions and always expecting things to go their way. Brooke is and always will be needy, and her children, Rick and Hope are no different. I’m Team Taylor all the way; looking forward to them emerging as the family to… Read more »

Desi
Guest
Desi

I love B&B but Taylor needs to get a grip on reality and realize that Stephy is getting a dose of her own medicine. It’s about time that B&B wrap up this story line with Liam/ Hope / Stephy , it’s getting real old fast. Get creative writers “Yawn”

TeamTaylor
Guest
TeamTaylor

What a great interview! Hunter is what got me hooked on this show!! It’s about time she is finally up front and center again where she belongs. She is a one of the show’s long time veterans, and much needed. Believe me, Hunter’s fanbase is worldwide and just as big as anyone else’s. We watch for her. For the longest time, Brooke has been on screen every single day. It’s time to share the limelight.

Taylor_Fan
Guest
Taylor_Fan

Thank you for this interview Mr. Fairman!!
The only reason why I still watch B&B is because of amazing Hunter Tylo as Taylor.
I am so happy that Taylor is finally front and center again, standing up for herself and her kids. Go Taylor!!!

Danielle
Guest
Danielle

Taylor is the reason I started watching the show and it is about time she got a good story. I think many of the Brooke fans are so selfish — Brooke is already the show hog and has been for years and they begraudge Taylor (and Hunter) being front and center for a while—- many people don’t like Brooke and I am glad that Bell offers us a choice. I would NEVER support a woman/character who would screw her son-in-law for a year and do what she did to her own daughter. That is disgusting — but that is exactly… Read more »

HunterFan
Guest
HunterFan

Thank you so much for this wonderful interview. Im a day 1 viewer and Im thrilled to see Hunter/Taylor back on my screen. I had tuned out because the stories were so predictable that the Logan’s were always going to win. Glad to see Taylor and her children for once just may stand a chance unless Brad pulls the rug out from under us. Hunter Tylo is a beautiful person inside and out and her class comes shining through in this interview.

Gale
Guest
Gale

I have always enjoyed watching Hunter Tylo playing Taylor. She is an amazing actress. It is great to see her on the screen more. I’d much rather see more Taylor and less Hope. I can even tolerate Brooke more than I can Hope. KKL and HT are both exceptional actresses.

Skyla
Guest
Skyla

Great interview, I really enjoyed reading it. I’ve always been a fan of Hunter Tylo since I was a kid and admire her as a person very much for how much strength & grace she has, and how she’s come through so many hard times. I believe she put alot of that into her character Taylor but the writing did not always allow Tay to stand up for herself. I am so glad they are finally doing that. So many people I know are tired of The Logans always come out on top when for the most part they are… Read more »

WasATayfan
Guest
WasATayfan

I have been watching B&B for many years now, I used to be a Taylor Fan and when she was dead in a scene I got sad and was on strike with the show until they brought her back, but now I am not a Taylor fan. She is a hypocrite and acts as if she is too holy. She makes it seems as if she doesn’t break a glass. She is always so meddling and her character makes it seem as of she wants to be like Brooke. She hates her so much, yet deep inside Taylor wants to… Read more »

HunterRocks
Guest
HunterRocks

Sounds like a typical Brookie pretending to be a Tay fan. LMAO! Very transparent and immature. Nice try. I am sure Bell will be crying in his soup over you as he continues to write more fabulous storylines for the lovely Hunter, who can carry her own stories, has a huge fan base and can act. She has shown so much perserverance and it is nice to see the powers that be recognize her ability by moving her to the forefront. THANX BELL AND STAFF FOR RECOGNZING TAYLOR IS A POWERHOUSE. Please let her wear the pantsuit and broche!!!!

Right
Guest
Right

Great interview. HT appears to be a very professional, very focused actress. Her performances are always enjoyable. Looking forward to see more of her.

Misha
Guest
Misha

Great interview with Hunter! Taylor will make a hell of a matriarch for the show

JJ Phoenix
Guest
JJ Phoenix

Excellent interview there Micheal , LOVEEEE Hunters Wok the main reason i watch lov it lov it lov it i can actually start watchin bnb again

Sandy
Guest
Sandy

If Taylor is on my screen more often, I will stop to watch. I’m so tired of her whining.

Jake
Guest
Jake

Thanks for the great interview Michael! I Love HT and Taylor, glad she is getting more screen time!

daring sally
Guest
daring sally

The show does have some boring characters on it now. Marcus and Dayzee and Amber can all go away and no one would be the wiser. Boring is an understatement. Hope should have remained virginal and soft-spoken. Why mess up a good thing? The writiers need to get on the ball with this show before it slip down a volcano. Bill and Brooke should have never kissed. They should have made him a villian but one that loved his wife with all of his heart. Brooke is not all that. Get her a man from some other planet and leave… Read more »

Jean
Guest
Jean

taylor needs to go. if she hooks up with Eric i will quit watch the show.

Brandy
Guest
Brandy

I’m not being disrespectfull to Hunter Tylo but I don’t think she is a good actress .
Katherine Kelly Lang is a underated actress her story lines are horrible in spite of that her talent shines. I think she has such natural beauty very beautiful women. I’d like to see her with Eric and keep the story line genuine. I think the show would be better without

Interviews

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

Courtesy/CBD

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

Courtesy/CBS

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

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

Photo: Ed McGowan/Plain Joe Studios

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

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

Photo: CBS

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

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

Courtesy/CBS

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

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

Photo: CBS

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

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

Courtesy/CBD

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

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

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

PETER:  Yes, or a bad woman.

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

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

Courtesy/CBS

Well … that ought to be good.

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

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

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

Courtesy/CBD

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

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

Courtesy/CBS

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

Courtesy/CBS

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

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

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

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

Photo: CBS

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

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

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

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Interviews

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

Photo: Getty

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

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

Photo: HallmarkChannel

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

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

Courtesy/CBD

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

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

Photo: CBS

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

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

Courtesy/CBS

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

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

Courtesy/CBS

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

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

Courtesy/CBD

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

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

Photo: CBS

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

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

Courtesy/CBS

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

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

Photo: CBS

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

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

Courtesy/CBS

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

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

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

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Interviews

B&B’s Jacqueline MacInnes Wood Talks Steffy’s Opioid Addiction Storyline, The Emotional Scenes & Adjustments Made Due To COVID-19

If you have been watching CBS’ The Bold and the Beautiful over the last two weeks, you have witnessed the compelling and important storyline unfold with Steffy Forrester (Jacqueline MacInnes Wood) at its epicenter.  In a harrowing tale of opioid addiction that can so easily happen to anyone given the circumstances, the daytime drama took on a social issue prevalent and rising in our society today.

This story gave Daytime Emmy-winner, Jacqueline MacInnes Wood another chance to shine in some of the most deeply affecting episodes and scenes in soaps of 2020.  In story, after Bill Spencer (Don Diamont) accidently hit Steffy with his car while she was on her motorcycle; she became hospitalized to treat her injuries. Once there, she met new love interest, Dr. Finnegan or as the show calls him “Finn” played by newcomer, Tanner Novlan. Finn prescribes pain medication for her. But before you know it, once Steffy is out of the hospital and back at home she struggles with the pain and the isolation of her life, and the losses she has experienced over the last many months, and before you know it, she is addicted, and no longer getting the pills from her doctor, but by any means possible.

Last week, we named Jacqui’s work the ‘Power Performance of the Week’, but we are also giving it to her again this week for her masterful performance on Tuesday’s episode, where Steffy breaks down after being confronted by Finn, Liam (Scott Clifton) and her father, Ridge (Thorsten Kaye) and finally coming to the stark realization that she is an addict.

Michael Fairman TV caught up with Jacqueline MacInnes Wood after all the key scenes had aired to: get the inside Intel on what went down taping those moments, and how the show made some important decisions amid the coronavirus pandemic about the telling of this storyline. Here is what Jacqui had to say about: her co-stars, herself, and what she learned about those who struggle with addiction.

Courtesy/CBS

How did you feel about being handed the ball to tell this important story, and how much were you told ahead of time?

JACQUELINE: Originally, I was told that we were going to tell this story, and that was before Covid-19.  So, it was literally the week before we went into lockdown, and we were about to dive into this story. Obviously, I am so grateful to be able to tell this story because traditionally The Bold and the Beautiful has a long list of social stories that we are known for telling.  It is something that that we need to talk about because it is happening, and it is happening everywhere.  Someone knows somebody – it is in our family, or our friends are dealing with this, and I didn’t realize how close to home it was for so many people.  I think that with our show, the way we balance drama, and romance, and real social issues that really touch people, is special.  I noticed that throughout this week with so many people reaching out to me.  People who are police officers, to people who actually work with people who are addicted, people who were addicted have reached out to me.  There have been a lot, but I’m very honored, again, to dive into this story.

A lot of fans and viewers remarked along the lines of “Wow, Steffy got addicted very fast,” because it felt like the story kind of accelerated itself, and some people are like, “Well, they just told it too fast.”  I wondered how you felt about that, knowing what you know about soap operas and research you may have done on addictions.

JACQUELINE:  I did some research on YouTube on opioid addiction from first-hand accounts of addicts and the effect on just them, but also on the grief it had caused their families. I originally had mistakenly thought, “It must take years to become addicted,” and I was very surprised by how quickly and easily one can be trapped in pain management, and many cases are heartbreaking.  You always think, with opioids, “Oh, this can’t happen to a lot of people,” but it’s not just, “Oh, the ‘crackhead’ down the street…”  It could be a mom, or these people who have a surgery, or an accident, and then they just get on these pills, and it happens so quickly.  Yes, the storyline happened extremely fast, but there is truth to it because addiction does happen very quickly in this world.  The other thing I have to say, I think what Brad Bell (executive producer and head writer, B&B) did so elegantly, is that we were going to tell this story, and we were going to tell this story for a very long time.  I love that he was very perceptive to this – that we are in a dark time right now.  It’s a dark world, and I think that it is important, again, to shed some light on this, but we didn’t want to necessarily drag it on too long because it’s like, you watch every news outlet, and it’s depressing, and it’s depressing everywhere.  Before Covid-19, this story would have been a lot longer, and I think it was kind of realizing, “Let’s take it back.  But, let’s dive into this.” I think we were also being mindful of the viewers because we are shedding light on this, but also, opioid addiction had now skyrocketed through this pandemic, and this quarantine.  I think, again, it’s important to tell this story, but we didn’t want to be another show that is just so depressing right now during such a depressing time.

Photo: JPI

Right, so the story won’t be as elongated , but obviously, she will always have this addiction now, which is always great as a character, to delve back into, that Steffy will have in her physical and emotional make-up now.

JACQUELINE:  Absolutely.  She will always have that.  She will always have to be mindful of it.

What did you think about Dr. Finn in all of this?  Do you think that he should have caught on earlier that this was happening to Steffy?

JACQUELINE:  (Laughs) Yes, absolutely.  I think, Steffy was pretty good at hiding it from him, especially the last time when she invited him over, and she said she didn’t need the pills.  However, on Tuesday’s episode when there was that huge explosion, and he really got to see that visceral side of Steffy as defiant and angry, that was a lot for him to take in.  Tanner has been doing such an incredible job of diving into this and telling this story, but yeah, you wonder if Finn noticed, but again, I do think Steffy was pretty good at hiding it.

She was pretty slick, but when she got the pills from Vinny, I kept thinking, “What did he give her?”, because they seemed awfully strong, or laced obviously with another drug. 

JACQUELINE:  When Steffy got the pills from Vinny, that was the first thing I said, “Is this just opioids?” Now, she’s getting it off the street, and we just don’t know.  It’s laced with God-knows-what.  She has no idea because she’s not getting it from an actual doctor; she’s getting it from Vinny.

Courtesy/CBS

So, when Tanner came to the show, did you read screen-test with him?  What was your initial thought of him and Steffy finally having a potential new relationship?

JACQUELINE:  He is absolutely wonderful.  It’s funny because we have a lot of friends in common, and he is a fellow Canadian, and we bonded over that.  He originally screen-tested, I think, a few days before we went into lockdown.  So, who knew that we were not going to be able to work with each other for months and months and months, but he has been completely added to the group, and it is a different world that we are navigating, especially with how we are filming on set and the 8 feet apart rules, and you have these emotional scenes, and you feel like you just want to grab someone, and hold them, and cry.  I have so many fans going, “My God, I just wanted one of the characters to hold you!” and then you’re like, “COVID,” and nobody can really touch me, so…

Photo: JPI

Isn’t he kissing his wife though as your stand-in?  B&B alum, Kayla Ewell?

JACQUELINE: Yes, yes he is!  I just thought it was priceless that, how long have I been on the show, that Steffy has just been pining away for Liam for years, and years, and years, and finally gets the go-ahead, and she’s going to get a new love interest, and I’m like, “Woo-hoo!” and then, COVID happened, and I find out, “Your love interest is going to be a doll!”  So, he gets his wife, which is great.  My husband has been completely supportive, but my husband has not come in.  I don’t think it would work playing opposite him as Tanner, but his wife actually has a very similar look to me, which is great.  So, she’s been in a few times, which has been amazing!  I get the foam doll. (Laughs)

Photo: JPI

I was just thinking it’s so funny, too.  Steffy FINALLY gets a new man, but she is with a doll! 

JACQUELINE:  I know, I know.

Photo: JPI

What’s great about when you get to play these kinds of emotional levels in an addiction storyline … or anything that kind of flips the character’s mental state, is that you get to see the anguish.  You know, we’ve never seen Steffy discuss or really say anything about having Beth taken from her, whom she raised her as ‘Phoebe’, and then losing Liam to Hope, and this is kind of addressing her pain through this story arc, which I thought was really good, that it wasn’t just swept under the table.  The characters, the audience, and Steffy were realizing that she had emotional baggage and distress over those losses.  How did you feel when taping those scenes with the confrontation where she pulls out a switchblade on Brooke (Katherine Kelly Lang), Ridge, Liam and Hope (Annika Noelle)? Those were great scenes. 

JACQUELINE:  Thank you, thank you.  We didn’t know how we were going to be able to do these scenes.

Because of the social distancing?

JACQUELINE:  Well, yeah, social distancing!  We did it in one take.  It was a long 10-12 page scene.

Photo: Gilles Toucas/Bell-Phillip Television

Well, the final 7 minutes of that episode were just a riveting; which included that knife scene, which in itself was gut-wrenching to watch, as I assume it must have been to play?

JACQUELINE:  It was a big scene, and it was a big, emotional week for all of us, obviously, and I couldn’t have done it without my cast.  They were so phenomenal as well.  We were trying to think, “How are we going to do this?”  Thorsten Kaye came up with this idea that Steffy should have a knife because Ridge would want to go to her and grab her, and the only thing that would maybe keep him away.  She is so angry, and she does have so much emotional baggage, and yes, she is in pain from her motorcycle accident, but I think that a lot of people saw in that phone call from Hope, where Hope said, “Oh, Kelly wants to spend another night,” that was that whole mental shift of, “Oh, my God, this is my worst fear.  It’s finally happening.  My daughter doesn’t want to stay here.  I am truly alone.  I don’t have anybody.”  Her life up to now has been about raising Kelly, and then that was that whole baggage unload – the pain of all of the years of what the Logans had done to the Forresters – it was just a domino effect. She obviously is not dealing with the pain in a pragmatic way.  I think Steffy was using the pills to mitigate her misery, physically and emotionally.

Courtesy/CBS

I think there were two turning points … after the switchblade incident, when she finally realized, “Oh, my God, what am I doing?  I’ve got this knife,” and she gets rid of it.  She does seem to have these moments (in that episode and the one that aired Tuesday) where she realizes, “Oh, my God, I’m messed up,” which were heartbreaking moments.  Do you remember playing that moment of, “Oh, my God, I’m an addict,” where Steffy admitted it out loud?

JACQUELINE:  Yeah!  It was extremely difficult.  I’m really good at being able to work on set and being able to leave it behind.  That’s the one thing that people will say to me, “What is it like off of set?  It must be so emotional for you!”  Once we say cut, I’m done.  I don’t mentally check out from the scenes, but I’m just able to let go because we just have so many episodes and so many emotional scenes, but I have to say this took a little while to shake.  I had to get into my car, and I was still emotional, and I had to put some good music on, and blare it, and drive home.  To know that these things are happening in the world and it is happening to so many people, it just breaks my heart, and I still get emotional about it.  It is gut-wrenching to know that this happens.  When I have those emotional scenes, (especially like that) I can’t fake it.  That’s just not who I am.  I can’t just fake cry to get through it.  Yeah, I’m an actor, but even though we film so quickly, even though it’s usually just one take, even though we are crying all day with all of these scenes, I really like to emotionally get there.  Obviously, over the years, I’ve learned to get there quicker, and I am really proud of myself for that, but what you see is what you get.  Those are real emotions.  I am just as present as I possibly can be in that scene and just listening to Ridge, and Liam, and Finn and just taking it all in – then Steffy realizes that she is addicted, just that moment of everything breaking down; her whole world was falling apart.  I think it was an important moment, but we were just really there for one another in that scene.

 

Scott Clifton, I just really want to say, throughout that week, had to play annoyingly holier-than-thou with you as Steffy.  People were annoyed with Liam.  He was the perfect annoyance to get her really pissed off!

JACQUELINE:  Yeah, I know!  It was actually funny at one point because so many fans were like, “Steffy was out of her mind!  She was clearly on drugs!”  I love the Steffy fans who were like, “Liam is so wrong!”  You could see how loyal the fans were.

Courtesy/CBS

They were!  It was great, but Liam was super annoying. That being said; did you watch back last Friday’s episode where after Steffy runs out, the camera pans to Scott, and Liam breaks down and cries?  So good. 

JACQUELINE:  Yep, yep.  I know, it was so good, and that was him!  That’s what I find so beautiful is that when you are in that scene, you don’t know what the reactions are going to be, and I know that was so true and authentic of Scott.  It was a genuine emotion that came out of him. I hadn’t seen him break down in a long time, but it was so unexpected, but I was glad to see it, really glad.

Photo: JPI

We haven’t seen Bill Spencer come to Steffy yet.  How does she feel about that?

JACQUELINE:  That’s a good question.  I don’t know how Steffy is going to feel about that.  I think, obviously before the addiction happened, she would blame him for hitting her on her motorcycle, but you never know, things could change coming up with Bill and Steffy.

Well, he will probably blame himself now for the addiction, I would think, because he hit her.

JACQUELINE:  I think so, too.  That’s one of the things he may be playing in those scenes.  So, we shall see.

Courtesy./CBS

Talk to me about Thorsten Kaye in those scene with you as the dad, because in the episode we saw Tuesday, there was a powerful moment when he just sat beside Steffy, but not holding her at the very end.  I thought that was a very nice touch given also Covid-19 protocols.  At that point they weren’t dragging Steffy out into a rehab facility.  We just watched him sitting there quietly while Steffy had this reckoning to herself. 

JACQUELINE:  I really liked it.  I liked that we had a lot of those chill moments of taking each other in. Thorsten and I get along so well.  We’ve just always had a bond, and I love working with him because in rehearsal, we do something one way, and then, again, when you’re filming, it’s always so unexpected, you don’t know what he is going to throw at you, which makes you be even more present.  It’s a tough scene.  I was feeding off of him and vice versa, and I’m sure he was putting himself in that situation of God-forbid if his daughters were in this situation, and you know, I’m looking at him in that father-daughter moment and seeing him become emotional for his daughter.  It just kills you, it really does, but it was a heartbreaking moment, but I like how we ended the scene: with something as very simple as sitting beside each other.

Courtesy/CBS

Your fans and the soap pundits are saying that obviously you have your Emmy reel for next year, it’s done.  It’s right there.  This may just make you a two-time Lead Actress Daytime Emmy winner.

JACQUELINE:  Aw, that’s so sweet.

It is great for you because you have an arc of a story there to tell, and we’ve talked about this before – an arc of a story for a submission in Emmy competition seems what many of the judges like to see and can understand because they watch the performer in scenes from the progression of a story.   

JACQUELINE:  Definitely, and it was nice to know that I was going to do this story and that we were going to tell this story, but once we came back months later, I didn’t know that we were still going to dive into opioid addiction with Steffy, because again, with our show, and with a lot of soaps, storylines change all of the time. I am very grateful for it.

 

So, what can we tease?  Will Steffy get Kelly back, or will she be estranged from her for a little bit?  What do you think?

JACQUELINE: I think that Steffy is a strong woman, and I think she will come back stronger than ever, and I think she will get her daughter.

Courtesy/CBS

You should be very, very proud of this work, Jacqui!

JACQUELINE:  Thank you.  I am.  During the week, when we had all of the dialogue to do, and it’s a different world now when you’re taking care of a toddler, and then with the Covid-19 protocols, and then you get the story, (and again, so grateful for it), but it was so much dialogue, and going back and forth, and making sure you’re bringing it emotionally, and it was extremely challenging, to say the least,  But, I am really proud of myself that come that Friday I was like, “Oh, my God, we did it.  We did it!”

What have you thought of Jacqueline’s performances in the opioid addiction storyline? Were you glad to hear the show decided not to drag out the story due to the times we are all in? Do you feel this storyline was powerful and could help those in need of help? Share your thoughts on the interview with Jacqui and more via the comment section below.

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Video du Jour

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

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Power Performance

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Airdate: 10-08-2020

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