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The Jess Walton, Doug Davidson, and Tricia Cast Interview – The Young and the Restless

Courtesy/CBS

Photo Credit: HutchinsPhoto/CBS

This week on The Young and the Restless, friends and loved ones of Katherine Chancellor (Jeanne Cooper) gather together for a remembrance on the 1-year anniversary of the passing of the Grand Dame of Genoa City!  And as we know in story thus far, Katherine left specific instructions of how she wanted her party/celebration that honors her in the hands of her long-time friend and often times foe, Jill (Jess Walton)!  For the special episodes, which will begin airing on Tuesday and Wednesday, Y&R brought back fan favorite Tricia Cast (Nina) who notices during the celebration that there seems to be trouble in paradise between Paul (Doug Davidson) and her bff and his wife, Christine (Lauralee Bell). In addition, actor Michael Fairman (Murphy) makes a return when Murphy has been given his own set of instructions from Mrs C., and that doesn’t sit well with Jill!

But with this being the 1-year anniversary marking the death of the character of Katherine Chancellor, it has also been a year and a few months since the passing of the iconic and beloved Jeanne Cooper, who died in May of 2013.  How are her co-stars and Y&R family dealing with the loss a year later of this remarkable woman and talent?  On-Air On-Soaps talked with three cast members who have each shared a long-standing unique and profound relationship with Jeanne: Jess Walton, Doug Davidson, and Tricia Cast.

In this very special tribute interview, Jess, Doug, and Tricia share what it has been like at the studio without Jeanne, some of their favorite personal stories that are, for anyone that knew her, or are fans of hers, quintessential Jeanne!  Plus, the trio weighs-in on if they feel the number one soap has done a good job at keeping Katherine Chancellor in story enough, and they give us a preview of what is happening with their characters on the day of the gathering at Chancellor Park.

There isn’t a day that goes by for many that knew and loved Jeanne that don’t miss her panache, humor, graciousness, often cantankerous nature … and how she loved, in her own way, all of us.  For anyone who was lucky enough to be able to spend some time with this woman, she left an indelible mark, as well as on the millions of fans of The Young and the Restless.  This one’s for you, Jeanne!

MICHAEL:

The three of you were so close with Jeanne Cooper, personally and professionally.  What has it been like for each you, a year or so later, coming to the studio and realizing she is not there?  Do you still feel her presence with you?

JESS:

Courtesy/CBS

I kind of feel like, “The joke’s over. Where are you?”  It’s really dawning on me personally, that it’s becoming more and more real all the time.  I so miss her energy in scenes.  Whenever you would walk on to the stage with Jeanne everything came alive in a way it doesn’t without her.

TRICIA:

I am not there at Y&R all the time, and when I was there filming these episodes it was really apparent that she wasn’t there anymore.  I think she is there in spirit.  We all laugh about her and talk about her, but you can’t walk into her open door dressing room anymore and get cursed at!  (Laughs)  It’s kind of empty.

DOUG:

I have to remind myself she is in a different form, in a different place, and when that happens I am saddened.  I think her spirit must spend a lot of time around Y&R, because I feel her presence, and what she would say if she were here.  It’s almost like she is speaking silently inside of my head.  There are aspects of it like with Jess, where you feel, “My gosh, I guess she is not coming back.”

JESS:

You just reminded me that she gave us so much power of personality, and the staying power of it, and the fact that she is still there, and she is so much a part of everything.   I wonder if that’s why it’s not even more painful?  She filled us up so much, didn’t she? … More than an average person would.

DOUG:

I didn’t see her everyday, even when she was here.  There would be long periods of time, but I would still feel her presence in her heart and soul, and that hasn’t changed.  She had a huge aura that radiated beyond her physical being even when she was alive. 

MICHAEL:

Photo Credit: HutchinsPhoto.com

For me, I so remember an interview I did years ago with Jess and Jeanne.  I came to Jeanne’s dressing room, and sat on the floor and chatted with the two of you.  I remember Jeanne saying to me, “Come in, dear” or “Come in, love”, and giving me a kiss.   And just being there with Jess and Jeanne, and seeing how remarkable the two of you were together, and the banter, and the fun they had with each other, was truly special.  Jeanne’s presence was always so welcoming.  It’s weird now when I do visit the set, and still expecting to see her there.

DOUG:

Once in a while the link is posted of that comedic video they did with Jeanne and Jess in the dressing room to me.  It is just so “both of you.”  It’s amazing to watch.  And it’s a moment frozen now for eternity.  You can look at it over and over again.  Jeanne has the audio version of her memoir, Not Young, Still Restless, and I have not been able to bring myself to listen to it.

JESS:

I have listened to it, Doug!  It’s exactly like she’s right there!  It’s like she is back with us.

DOUG:

Yes, there is a sample of it on Amazon.com, and I said to myself, “I am not ready for that yet.”

JESS:

I can’t think of anyone who was uncomfortable with this woman.  She made everybody feel like she had known you forever.  She would bust your balls on anything at all.  What a heavenly creature she was, and devilish.

DOUG:

Photo Credit: HutchinsPhoto.com

And then she would disrespect everyone to their face from the highest echelon of CBS and Sony … and for some reason no one took offense to it at all.  And, she was spot on with her comments! (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Tricia, you actually stayed with Jeanne at her house?

TRICIA:

I did, and she was just a darling.  Jeanne opened up her house to me and let me be who I was.  I was not always terribly social.  So she would let me go hide in whatever room in the house, and sleep in the most comfortable bed I have ever slept on.  Then, I would creep out of my room, and we would laugh at the silliness on the television, or she would just go on with stories that were fascinating about old Hollywood and her old times, and her as child and her upbringing.  I really feel very grateful for that special time I had with her, and if I would tell her that it was very nice of her to open up her home to me, she would curse at me again! (Laughs)  I would say to her, “Thank you so much Jeanne for having me,” and she would say, “Shut up!” (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Jess, after a year or so later, where do you sit with that final scene between Katherine and Jill, where Katherine goes up the stairs and says “goodnight” to Jill?  Do you think: “I can’t believe that was my last scene with her!”  Or, do you think: “I am so glad I have that on tape between us!”

JESS:

It was so magical that we even had that scene, because nobody knew that would be her final scene …

PAUL:

Courtesy/CBS

Oh, she knew! (Laughs)

JESS:

She was getting weaker and weaker, and it was magical. You are right.  I was reminded of it when we did those scenes for the memorial this time.  I was reminded when Katherine married Murphy (Michael Fairman).  He had given her a tiny, tiny ring, and after a while Jeanne got really tired of it and missed her diamonds, so she would put these huge rings over it.  And I am reminded of it because Colin (Tristan Rogers) gave Jill this little band, which kind of looks like stainless steel, and now I am kind of tempted to do the same thing Jeanne did! (Laughs)  She used to make funny remarks about Murphy all the time.  (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Doug, you were so close to Jeanne in real-life, but as for your character of Paul Williams, he was more ancillary in the life of Katherine Chancellor.  As an actor, do you feel that proved difficult during last year’s very emotional memorial episode honoring Katherine?

DOUG:

Paul certainly was not as close to Kay, as Doug was to Jeanne, which was part of the difficulties playing those scenes. You had to tell Doug to shut up and have Paul just be respectful.  Corbin Bersen (Jeanne Cooper’s son, who plays Father Todd on Y&R) was there and he brought part of her ashes to put in the urn.  I mean, so much of it was for me: “Is this real?” Or: “Is this the play?”  That was a hard line to draw that day.

TRICIA:

Photo Credit: HutchinsPhoto.com

There was a lot to draw on that day.

DOUG:

There was so much energy, and it was on the heels of the other show we put together, where the cast sat around and talked about Jeanne.  And, that was only after a few months after she died.  So, it was pretty raw in all of her hearts.

MICHAEL:

How do the three of you feel the writers have done keeping Katherine Chancellor alive in story?  We have had a few stories coming out of Katherine’s passing.  Do you feel Y&R has kept her enough front and center in people’s minds?

JESS:

It’s not difficult to do.  They have kept her alive with his music box story, but the fans still talk about her all the time.  When I said earlier what a true gift she was to all of us, it’s impossible to ever forget her.  It’s almost impossible to believe she is on another plane, and she is in the minds of the fans every day, like I am talking hundreds of thousands of people!  So, her vibration still lives on so strongly.

MICHAEL:

So now leading up to this week’s 1-year anniversary of Katherine’s death, she has written letters again from the great beyond? (Laughs)

JESS:

Courtesy/CBS

She has written letters to be delivered at this time.  Colin and Jill had been off on their honeymoon and it’s very, very emotional for Jill to see Katherine’s handwriting, to hear the voice out of the cosmos, and it’s very amusing how she gives all of these specific instructions for her party.  It’s fabulous, and it has all those emotions that are mixed in with Jeanne.  She was the sweetest lady in the world, and then she would make you almost want to strangle her! (Laughs)  The letter was very much her.  I am so glad the show is keeping her alive in that way.  It’s going to be a fabulous episode.  And, to see Tricia there is great, and Michael Fairman back, who plays Murphy, was wonderful.

MICHAEL:

And then I hear Nina returns to be part of the remembrance, and she is not too happy to see that Paul and Christine (Lauralee Bell) are having marital issues, ( Last year at this time, Paul and Christine got married at Katherine’s memorial service) due to the attention Paul is giving hapless Nikki Newman (Melody Thomas Scott)!

TRICIA:

The nerve of him!  Not cool!  Nina sees that Paul is not exactly pining for Christine at the moment.  All he can do is watch Nikki, and true it’s out of concern for her, but still it doesn’t sit well with Nina. This is: 1) her best friend Christine: 2) that marriage was supposed to last forever, and for Nina she is saying to herself, “If it wasn’t me you chose to spend your life with, than darn it, it better be my best friend!”  It’s a tough moment for Nina.  I think she actually channels Mrs. Chancellor a little bit, and tells him “what’s what!”

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/CBS Photo Credit: JPI

So Nina wants to help Christine, even though Paul dumped Nina to be with her bff?  That’s awfully nice of her! (Laughs)

TRICIA:

Yes.  She wants to help Christine, and since Paul dumped Nina she is thinking, “You better be there for my girlfriend!”

MICHAEL:

So Doug, what is going on here?  Paul is clearly drawn to Nikki because of the revelation that they now share a child together in Dylan (Steve Burton), and all that has happened.

DOUG:

I don’t know if that’s exactly the case. Nikki has a lot of stuff going on in her life right now.  I think as with any friend, at least from Paul’s perspective is that she is pretty needy right now.  She has been batted around by Ian Ward (Ray Wise) and she has these health issues, and she is not handling the little bumps in the road so well.  She actually looks pretty doggone fragile.  I think Paul just wants to make sure that she is OK.   I think Paul loves Nikki, but I don’t think it’s the kind of love that everyone else seems to be worried about.

TRICIA:

You’re lying to yourself! (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/Pinterest

Doug, what did you think when they made Dylan, Paul’s biological son?  Did you like it … or were you like, “Where is this coming from?

DOUG:

I think a little of both.  I think the long-term story that we have they spent quite a while building is certainly interesting.  And, it was interesting coming on the heels of Paul having lost one son, and then it’s not like I can teach Dylan (Steve Burton) how to ride a bike, or play ball.  He is a grown man.  So, that is a very odd position to be in, and for Dylan as well.  I think that part is interesting, and to have to figure out what’s next is also interesting.  I think that requires the writers to consider the possibilities, and not just jump to the lowest common denominator.  I mean, Paul and Dylan do care about each other, but now it’s just blood related, so it’s a little bit different.

MICHAEL:

Can viewers expect an emotional and touching show when Y&R marks the 1-year anniversary of Katherine’s passing this week?

DOUG:

I think it’s more story-related this time, and the fact that she has more letters is pretty interesting!  Katherine has us turn inside for our feelings, and that is kind of interesting that even in life on this planet, she is assisting in the lives of the people in Genoa City.

MICHAEL:

So we know Jill got a letter this time from Katherine, but does everyone else get a letter by the time the gathering happens?

JESS:

Photo Credit: HutchinsPhoto.com

No, we don’t all get a letter, but Murphy reads her words to all of us and her instructions about something.  What is very interesting about it is it psychologically makes you feel like she is there talking to you.  It really does.  It’s like she is still alive, and talking to them. They really use her voice, or how the character of Katherine would speak in the letter, and the language that she would use.  It’s a device that works.

MICHAEL:

How was it to film those episodes this time?  Was it emotional for you?

JESS:

It was emotional when I was reading Katherine’s letter in the Chancellor living room … that was very emotional for me.

DOUG:

I think every time we get together as a group, it’s hard not to feel her presence and remember her.  And, the characters that are involved in this particular episode are probably the people in real life that knew Jeanne the best.  So, it’s hard to not talk about her and not feel her.

MICHAEL:

Will Katherine send Jill off on another goose chase … ala “The Music Box Mystery”?

JESS:

Courtesy/CBS

I have no idea, Michael, because the “Music Box” is still going strong!

MICHAEL:

I thought that was going to be wrapped-up! (Laughs)

JESS:

Yeah I did too, and it’s still going strong … and there you go. (Laughs)

DOUG:

I was surprised.  Y&R has re-signed the music box!  It has its own dressing room now! (Laughs)

JESS:

It has a special slot on the prop box! (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Who has Jeanne’s dressing room now at the studio?

DOUG:

Courtesy/DougDavidsonTwitter

It’s Daniel Goddard’s (Cane) dressing room.  He gets it when he’s there taping.  If he’s not there, whoever is working, and in that day, might get it.

JESS:

But it will always be Jeanne’s dressing room.

DOUG:

When Corbin was in, he was in her dressing room, which was harder for him than he expected.

MICHAEL:

So Tricia, you just come back for a few episodes?

TRICIA:

Yes, and I am very happy that they called me in for this.  It was great chance to see everybody and laugh, play, and act. What a gift!

MICHAEL:

Fans are always excited when you come back to the show.

DOUG:

Maybe, she can come back to the show and rag on somebody else next time!  (Laughs)

JESS:

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

You could come back and stay in Katherine Chancellor’s house with us!  And maybe then Chance (John Driscoll) could come back.  It would be great!

TRICIA:

It would be.  A house full of us would be good!

DOUG:

A house full of people that really don’t like each other! (Laughs)

TRICIA:

What better soap opera!

MICHAEL:

Can each of you share a story or little nugget about Jeanne?  We have all had such fond memories of time we shared with her.  I know it’s hard to single out one thing, but what comes to mind?

TRICIA:

There are so many, but there would be times we would sit together an eat ice cream and poke fun at Dancing with the Stars, or whatever show was on.  I just remember watching it at the time and just laughing.  Jeanne’s laugh was so infectious.  I loved making her laugh!  That was amazing.  If I could get a chuckle out of Jeanne my day was made!

DOUG:

I think what happens to me now is the Chancellor Mansion set is usually stored in a visible location on the way to the CBS commissary, if it’s not up.  I have her voice in my head and part of the sorrow has lessened.  I don’t think there is a day for me that goes by, in or out of the studio, where I don’t hear her saying something to me, or have a memory, and for me it’s just knowing that she is still around.

JESS:

Photo Credit: CBS

I was just reminded recently, because somebody brought this up on Twitter, that there was this segment that I think Entertainment Tonight had done years and years ago … like in the 80’s!  And, it was Jeanne and I on stage, and it was around the time Barbara Crampton was on Y&R as Leanna Love, and Jill was trying to think of something to call her.  And she called her: “Bubble butt”, and they wouldn’t let me say, “Bubble butt.”  So I just came out with “Fish head”, and Jeanne loved, “Fish head”.  And I kept going; “I can’t say ‘Fish head’… it doesn’t make any sense.”  And Jeanne was going, “Please!  Please say ‘Fish head’”. (Laughs)  And if you go on Twitter you can find it, but it was a perfect example of how we used to sit in the dressing rooms, back in the day when we both smoked for hours.  Jeanne’s set was up last in the afternoon, so we had hours to kill.  We would go over every bit of comedic material, and we would sacrifice our characters to work up to a punch line for the other one. (Laughs)  We would make ourselves look foolish, so the other one could have their moment.  It was the most beautiful partnership, and it didn’t even make me so sad, but what it left me with was wonderment that I didn’t even appreciate more at the time of what a wonderful combination of people we were, whose intention was the same, which was to make the story great, and to make the duo of Katherine and Jill interesting and entertaining.  We loved the comedy of Jill and Katherine.

MICHAEL:

Jess, you have to pinch yourself when you look at the legacy you have left with Jeanne!  Those classic fights between Katherine and Jill are the best!  The hose scene, the cake fight, the attic, I could go on!  When I was culling clips for the 40th Annual Daytime Emmys clip package on classic soap catfights, I watched so many of those moments and just laughed out loud!

JESS:

Courtesy/CBS

Remember the hose in the face?  I came at her with that hose and I just sprayed it in her face … and it was just awful! (Laughs)  What I did to that poor woman? (Laughs) Oh God, it was so much fun.  I wish I could relive some of those days.

MICHAEL:

That’s the thing; Jeanne was so much fun, a vibrant lady, exceptional!

JESS:

She was so much fun, and it was always fun with her and we would drive over the hill together to come to work at CBS.  Because most of our scenes were together, we would meet up on Laurel Canyon and we would drive along to the studio waving to each other!  Her in her seafoam jaguar, and I was in a Volvo wagon, and I would always pass her! (Laughs)  She loved that! (Laughs)  Jeanne was incredible.

 

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Gloria Zimmerman
Gloria Zimmerman

Thank you for this lovely conversation between these wonderful Y&R actors! One would think a person would get used to the fact Jeanne is gone but she isn’t ! This week is proof of that .a year has passed already but when you scratch the surface of the story lines Jeanne keeps popping up as though she were rehearsing for her scenes …. People let us never forget this dynamo wrapped up in a beautiful smile !keep looking up and Jeanne don’t forget us the loyal fans… Farewell lovely Lady 🙂

Liza
Liza

It’ so nice to hear all the stories about Jeanne. Thanks for a heartwarming interview.

I only wish Y&R would do the same with Katherine Chancellor’s story. I hated that Katherine Chancellor’s memorial turned into Christine & Paul’s wedding. Now it sounds like the 1 year anniversary is about Paul & Christine’s relationship. Who cares? I’d love to see some flashbacks of Katherine Chancellor intertwined with the future of Kay and Jill’s long story which began back in 1973. Shouldn’t Kay’s anniversary episode be about her relationships, her estate, and her company? She has 40 years of flashbacks and story to pull from, they shouldn’t have to go off topic.

I sure hope that music box ends up returning Chancellor Industries to Jill. Jill opening up a little hotel boutique seems silly given her past. Jill may have done something like that when she was 20, but she has come a long way since then. Launching the Jabot Men’s line, major stock holder , CEO of Jabot, then CEO Chancellor Industries…. now starting up a teeny hotel boutique????. Watching Jill take over Kay’s role at Chancellor would be something to turn in for, watching her put together a hotel boutique…..not so much.

Size matters when it comes to interest in a story. I remember when Neil Fenmore died leaving a very young Lauren with this huge corporation, a chain of upscale department stores, to run. That was amazing, if he had left her a simple boutique no one would have cared. All the females roles have been diminished. They have been stripped of money, influence, and ambition they had pre-2005. The women of Y&R used to plot and dream, now they cry, and cry, and cry as they react to the men around them.

LOu
LOu

I agree. Chancellor industries should have been left to Jill, not Victor. And I agree with your comment about the roles of women being diminished. They have become sniveling little women from the 50’s, not the powerful women of 2014.

Barbara from Atlanta
Barbara from Atlanta

I agree as well. I’m disappointed in how the show has used Katherine’s death. Everything seems unoriginal: I’m not sure where the music box storyline is going but it really seems to me to be a knockoff of the “red swan” storyline that was used on Another World when the actor who played Mac Cory died suddenly. Also, Chancellor Park seems like a copy of Horton Square on Days that is suppose to honor Tom and Alice Horton. Of all the ways that the show could remember the Duchess, a park would be the LAST thing that would come to my mind.

Chancellor Industries does belong with Jill. I’ve thought it was strange that Jill barely batted an eye at Victor receiving it and then simply folding into his operation. With Jill’s history, there could have been a MAJOR battle between Jill and Victor over it. Instead, Jill is “stuck” with this music box business and Colin. Frankly, I’m disappointed in the writing for Jill. Not only has she been stripped of her lineage (no longer a Foster) but she barely has ANY involvement with her sister, Lauren, or her son. When exactly was she in a scene with Billy? Has Walton even acted opposite the new actor playing him?? Far more needs to be done with Jill than what we’re getting. This character has been butchered over the past decade and it really is a shame.

Here’s what I would love to see: Jill winds up owning Chancellor Industries. The business gets its own set — maybe an office or conference room — with Kay’s portrait hanging prominently in it so Jill can talk to it from time to time. Meanwhile, Chance returns to town to work at Chancellor with Jill. I personally would love to never see that park again!!!

DE fan
DE fan

very well put!!!

Sally
Sally

Yes, I am also SO sick of that park!!!

Jess Walton
Jess Walton

Michael, what a wonderful interview……you are so good at what you do! You really bring all your subjects to life! Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

jaybird369
jaybird369

Jess…I totally agree. I TOTALLY ENJOYED reading the interview!!!!! I LOVE to read, period!!!!! Thank you…Jess, Doug and Tricia. And, yes…Michael Fairman is so good at what he does!!!!! Thank you, Mr. Fairman. And Mr. Fairman…your website TRULY ROCKS!!!!! Thank you.

Take care, Jess. XOXOXOXOXO

MBmomof3
MBmomof3

Thank you, your cast mates, and Mr. Fairman for a lovely interview!

alistaircrane
alistaircrane

Nina needs to be back full time!

Lois
Lois

I really miss Jeanne- it always feels like something special is missing….RIP Jeanne

Jake
Jake

Its time to make Nina the new Katherine Chancellor. She should have gotten the mansion so she could but heads with Jill Abbott.

bernie tauer
bernie tauer

I miss her she was a great lady

bernie tauer
bernie tauer

An a great actress

jimh(leave it to beaver)
jimh(leave it to beaver)

Katherine shouldve had a half sister and it should be Mamie Johnson who was the Abbots housekeeper…Jill was Johns wife and she and Mamie didnt get along…Mamies neice was Dru so she also has ties to the Winters family…Mamie could return to town as half owner of the Chancelor estate and be in constant conflict with Jill like Katherine and Jill were for years…just a thought!!!

DE fan
DE fan

Such a fab idea. You should write for them! 🙂

Scott (ATWT Fan)
Scott (ATWT Fan)

The death is Jeanne and Katherine still lives on with the show, and the struggle everyone has in their every day lives. And I feel like this one-year tribute to the both of them is really going to be a great remembrance of what an extraordinary woman Ms. Cooper was, and what a tremendous and bold character Katherine was too! Mrs. C, we miss you!

kalamaty
kalamaty

THanks for sharing this wonderful interview! Wonderful to read their personal accounts!

Sam
Sam

Enjoyed the interview piece. Been a Y&R viewer for 30 years. Truly miss Mrs. C. RIP.

Loretta Singleton
Loretta Singleton

Wow this was so good to read and I remember her last scene when Jill was about to help her and she threw up her hand and then started up the stairs and Jill ask do you need some help going up the stairs and Ms C look up and say I can manage turn around and say good night I knew when she walk up those stairs that was the last time we would see Ms C. I can see her now pointing her finger and telling you how she feels love this Lady and all The Casts of Y&R. R.I.P. Jeanne Cooper/katherine Chancelor WE WILL ALWAYS LOVE YOU AND YOU WILL BE TRULY MISS. I am crying as I write this I can see her smile love you Ms C

Robert Clark
Robert Clark

Thank you all for remembering a woman who was and is such apart of my childhood and life. I starting watching Y/R with my Grandmother. When I watch it and see Ms.C. it brings back memories of my childhood. I know Y/R has a special Angel looking after the cast, crew and it’s fans. Thanks for the memories.

Tami Ply
Tami Ply

I have been a Y&R fan since day one! Jeanne Cooper has always been my absolute favorite! I miss her soooo much! And just as everyone else,…I cherish all the memories and awesome scenes that she made epic! Wish she was still with us! She will forever be a part of the Young and Restless! Love you and miss you Jeanne!!!

Eva Watson
Eva Watson

Love Y&R. Miss Ms C. The people are so real. Good storie. Great writers.

damien
damien

don t understand why we have kelly and a recasted phyllis who will never last( lets be honest) when we can just have nina back full time on our screens!! a character who everyone cares about with plenty of storyline potential, history and a amazing actress portraying her! baffles the mind…

Barbara from Atlanta
Barbara from Atlanta

AMEN

Mary SF
Mary SF

Timeless beauty never fades; the blooms of youth my whither and fall to winter’s touch of cold death, but the vibrant promise of spring lingers in slumber yet.

Iakovos
Iakovos

This is a gift, Michael Fairman. Thank you for this interview. The conversation reminds me of the Y&R I loved and I miss now.

mary
mary

I have watched Y&R since day one. I record it every day. I felt like I lost a member of the family when Mrs. C past away. I miss her wit, charm. She could make you laugh, cry, and cuss right along with her. There was never a dull moment when she was in a scene. I was so afraid they were going to try to replace her when she died. It would of been a disaster. You could never replace her. She was one of a kind and I am so glad that I got to watch her for all those years!

Carol
Carol

I miss Jeanne Cooper. What a Great Lady. Thank you for the
Memories. Keep the rest of actors on show, so it stays alive.

Deb
Deb

I loved reading this article and thanks for sharing. It’s great that the Y&R had the 1 year celebration of her passing on the show. I remember watching it when she told Jill goodnight for the last time. Jill asked her if she needed any help and Katherine turned around and snipped at her no I can manage(I believe this was her words). Katherine then finished up the stairs. Katherine will be missed by all.

Timmm
Timmm

I dont know why things can be so obvious but never done. Katherine and Jill had a bitter sweet relationship. Katherine is dead. You have to bring someone in that Jill can spar with now. Katherine could have had a long lost son [Corbin] or daughter come into town looking for their inheritance. Giving Victor control of Chancellor would make good business sense but one, who does benefit from it and two, story line wise, Victor has no competition now. I would have liked to see someone challenge Victor. Even Tucker, bring the original Tucker back and have him and Victor be enemies. Plus Tucker and Jill have a history together and Tucker could have a past with Colin which would make him more interesting. Its time to clean this BS up. I understand losing Jeanne was a shock and writers had to scramble but lets put this whole big mess in the trash and start fresh!

Liza
Liza

I like the original Tucker too. William Russ’s Tucker had oodles of chemistry with Jill and could give Colin some competition. The only problem is MAB went too far with the Tucker character, he became unappealing…gross really. Maybe nuOldTucker could have had a brain tumor?

DE fan
DE fan

the 1st tucker with the white hair and overweight was too old looking for her, but had a hell of a lot more charm

Lisa
Lisa

This was a great interview, thanks for sharing!

MBmomof3
MBmomof3

Great interview to honor a great lady. Clearly she is loved and missed by all who knew her and her multitude of fans.

She is one-of-a-kind and will never truly be gone. She is immortal through her body of work and the legacy she left on the lives of those she touched.

wil
wil

I have watched this show for most of its running.. I have always enjoyed the part of Nina, played by Tricia Cast.. I was so glad to see her character brought back after the death of Jeannie Cooper.. and also to have her back for the memorial.. It would be great to see her back on the show again, and living in the Chancellor Estate.. I am sure that Katherine Chancellor would have wanted it that way..

Tracey
Tracey

Thank you for the interview. Jeanne Cooper was a treasure. I miss her.

Interviews

B&B’s Katherine Kelly Lang on That ‘Brill’ Kiss, 33 Years as Brooke, Her Co-Stars & International Success

Just when you think Brooke will finally score a moral victory in her vendetta with Thomas Forrester, (who’s manipulations almost destroyed her marriage to his father, Ridge), then she finds herself once again in hot water, and with a secret that in the wrong hands could cause a seismic shift to several relationships – that would he hers and her sister Katie’s – thanks to that ill-timed smooch with Bill!

But what else is new for Brooke? For 33 years, the character has captivated audiences with bold moves, questionable choices, enduring romances and plenty of gusto, all in the more than capable hands of her portrayer, the one and only Katherine Kelly Lang.

This week marks Katherine’s 33rd-year in the role of Brooke Logan Forrester, who along with John McCook (Eric Forrester), are the two original cast members since the very inception of the CBS daytime drama; which debuted back on March 23, 1987.  Now over three decades later, Lang is an international favorite. First, due to the success and broad appeal of B&B in foreign countries, but second, from her own entrepreneurship and hustle.  Always with multiple projects going on at once, Lang and her beau, Dom Zoida recently opened the American version of the Italian clothing and leather store in Beverly Hills, California, Benheart USA.

Michael Fairman TV chatted with Katherine to get the lowdown on: Brooke’s line-up of nemesis’ which seems to be growing! (Yes, you can put Thomas, Quinn and Shauna on that list, for sure.) Plus, what she feels this B&B anniversary is truly about, how she and others in the cast are coping with the ‘stay at home’ orders in California during the coronavirus pandemic, the recent loss of B&B co-creator, Lee Phillip Bell, and those all-time classic Stephanie and Brooke scenes opposite Susan Flannery and more.  Here’s what this BOLD original had to share with all of you.

Photo: JPI

What did you think about Brooke’s whole relationship with Thomas (Matthew Atkinson) and the tit-for-tat between them?  Brooke really stood up to him and his manipulations, and held her ground. Meanwhile, he was going to do everything he could do ruin her and cause so much trouble for Brooke’s marriage to Ridge (Thorsten Kaye).

KATHERINE: This is my feeling: she was so adamant and so trying to convince people about Thomas and that he was so out for himself;  and out for Brooke’s daughter, Hope (Annika Noelle), and very manipulative, and nobody would listen really.  Only a few people like Liam (Scott Clifton) did and her daughter finally agreed with her.  Then at the wedding of Thomas and Zoe (Kiara Barnes), it proved that Brooke was right all along.  I still don’t feel like Brooke got her due as far as what everybody was saying.

No, she didn’t!  No one really said to her in a grand way, “Oh, my God, Brooke!  You were right about Thomas all along.”

KATHERINE:  I know!  Ridge did say, “You were right,” and that’s great.  However, more people should have apologized and acknowledged her, and said, “Oh, we understand now where you were coming from,” and, “Hey!  Good intuition!”

Photo: JPI

That was must have been so frustrating to Brooke!  She knew the truth, and everybody was treating her so badly and painting her to be the bitch.

KATHERINE:  Yup!  They dubbed herthat crazy one” and the bitch.

Was all of this enjoyable to play?

KATHERINE:  It was enjoyable that it finally came out that Thomas is the manipulative person that he is, even though he is so good at it that he almost makes you feel sorry for him.  But he’s like a good sociopathThat’s why they’re so good at what they do.  They’re good at bringing real emotion into every situation and yet being very manipulative.  Kudos go to Matthew Atkinson for playing Thomas, really well.  He’s been great, and he brings something really different on to our show.

Photo: JPI

Brooke and Ridge’s relationship has been severely tested; almost tearing them apart over Ridge previously standing up for his son.  Now Brooke’s recent kiss with Bill (Don Diamont) threatens it, as that kiss was caught on tape, and landed in the wrong hands.  Is Brooke in freak-out mode yet?

KATHERINE:  I definitely think she is, and she wanted to take that kiss back from the second that it happened.  She allowed it to happen.  It’s a little bit of old Brooke resurfacing there.  Right away she was like, “What are we doing?   This is ridiculous.  You’re with Katie, and I’m with Ridge, and we’re both happy.”  Brooke has had underlying feelings for Bill, and she probably always will (and he for Brooke), but we know that’s not where we want things to be.  So, in Brooke’s mind, it’s “let’s forget about that and carry on, and don’t tell anybody.”  Of course, it comes out to some people, and it’s so embarrassing for Brooke.  Like, how does she explain herself?  I mean, at that point she can’t explain what happened … or why she did that.  She has to kind of succumb to it.

Right! And of course, Shauna (Denise Richards) and Quinn (Rena Sofer) want to take her down with this ammo.

KATHERINE:  Of course!  That’s what they live for. (Laughs)

Photo” JPI

Recently, Quinn spiked Brooke’s drink with some booze after they had quite the argument. Fans were on the edge of their seats that Brooke might start drinking again.  What did you think of the plot point?

KATHERINE:  I think it could have been interesting.  I have no idea if they will bring it up again.  That happens sometimes.  They’ll put in a little teaser and not run with it.  However, you never know if it’s going to resurface down the line, especially when Brooke is really down in the dumps for some reason.

I could see her being down in the dumps if she finally had no man in her life! (Laughs)

KATHERINE: (Laughs) That’s probably what she needs … not having a man in her life!

How is working with Rena Sofer and Denise Richards; especially when they are antagonists in scenes with Brooke?  Do you ever have a good laugh while trying to tape those scenes, as well?

KATHERINE: I think there’s a good chemistry between the three of us, and we have that rivalry going on.  So, I think it’s been working, and it’s been entertaining and interesting.  They’re fun to bounce off of.  Usually we are pretty serious when we do those scenes, especially if they’re more verbally combative.  So, we’ll just be really serious and stay in it.  Of course, sometimes things happen, and you laugh, but we sometimes don’t have the luxury to take the time to laugh and enjoy the moment, because we have to try to get the scene done in one take and move on.

Photo: JPI

There were a few months there that Brooke was slapping everybody! There were plenty of bitch-slaps that needed to go around. What did you think of those scenes?

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KATHERINE: I loved it, but then I felt like it was also maybe getting out of hand because it’s not really PC.  Nobody is supposed to hit people or slap people in anyway.  So, it worked more years and years ago in our genre, as times have changed in our world and culture.

Viewers saw this week that Donna (Jennifer Gareis) knows Brooke kissed Bill and that they have to make sure Katie (Heather Tom) does not find out, while others are out to expose Brooke!

KATHERINE:  I would imagine that everybody would want to see how Brooke unravels.  So, just keep watching!

Photo: JPI

Would you welcome another go round at a Brooke and Bill romance?

KATHERINE: Not when Bill’s with Katie and with everything that Katie’s gone through.  I couldn’t see that.  I don’t think it would be right.  That would mean that Brooke is completely selfish, you know?  There are so many other men.  Why does she have to go for her sister’s man?

Photo: JPI

In recent months, we have witnessed scenes where Brooke has been more confrontational and fighting back and not putting up with the shenanigans of others!  We have seen this in particular with Thomas, Shauna, and Quinn.  Did it seem like they ramped that up for Brooke?

KATHERINE:  Yes, because at some point it’s frustrating because nobody was listening to her.  It all started with the whole Thomas thing, and once she started fighting back, she wanted to fight back on everything.  She’s been lied to about a lot of things.  It’s not been fair.

Does Brooke still think Hope is too vulnerable to make wise decisions for herself; even after she stood up for herself at the wedding of Thomas and Zoe?

KATHERINE: Now. I think she feels much better, because there are moments where Hope is very vulnerable, but then she kicks herself in the butt, and stands up for herself and everybody else.  So, Brooke knows that Hope’s strong, but she also knows that she can be vulnerable.  At this moment, she is proving that she can handle things.

Photo: JPI

B&B turned 33-years-old this week as the show continues to remain so popular in the United States, and of course, is the most watched soap in the world. What can you say about still being with the series since its inception, and all that has happened to you in your life and career, because of playing Brooke, plus a nod to the fans?

KATHERINE: It’s been an amazing opportunity for me.  It’s been my life basically! 33 years on The Bold and the Beautiful, and the show has always kicked butt.  I mean, the show has been going strong ever since it started, and it still is going strong.  It’s just been an honor to be on the show, and remain on the show for so long as one of the original characters.  My heart really goes out to the fans, because honestly, so many of them tell me they’ve watched from day one.  We have a history with them raising their families.  Younger people come up and say, “I’ve been watching the show ever since I was little with my mom.”  So, there’s a wide range of different people who watch the show, and I appreciate them so much.  We all appreciate them so much because really, without them, there would be no show.  I just want to say ‘thank you’ to all of the fans.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Photo: JPI

Brooke is one of the most notable characters of all-time in soap operas and you are the actress playing her. That has to be a very good-feeling for you.

KATHERINE: I think there have been a lot of notable characters on soap operas, who have even been on the air a lot longer than me.  Look at Eric Braeden (Victor, Y&R) who just celebrated his 40th, and Melody Thomas Scott (Nikki, Y&R) who also reached a milestone recently.  What I have learned from all of this is; what matters is when you come on a show that your heart is in it 100%, and you come to your job and you try your hardest.  That to me is what matters and makes you an honorable person.  I’m very flattered that I’ve been on The Bold and the Beautiful for as long as I have.

Photo” JPI

When you look back at 33 years of your time on The Bold and the Beautiful, are your scenes with Susan Flannery and those epic moments between Stephanie and Brooke, the ones that still standout to you the most?

KATHERINE: Those scenes with Susan informed and formed the show and the characters for years.  I had a lot of memorable scenes with Susan.  I’m so lucky to have worked so closely with her.  She’s an amazing actress.  I learned so much from her, and just watching her.  I would hang on her every word – how she would talk about the business, how she would talk about acting, directing (because she loved to direct), and producing.  Susan was very knowledgeable, and she was very tough, but very fair, I thought.  I just loved her work ethic.

You and Thorsten Kaye have created your version of Brooke and Ridge. What do you think about working with Thorsten?  Is it fun? Challenging? How would you define it?

KATHERINE:  He’s very fun to work with.  Thorsten is very serious, very prepared all of the time, and he’s watching everything.  He’s got eagle eyes.  He’s just so on top of it and working with people like that makes you raise your bar.  It makes you want to try 110% to be there and put in the work.  Thorsten’s also so funny, and easy to work with, and so charming, and such a dear friend.   I love working with him.  I do think Brooke and Ridge have an interesting relationship even though some people say, “Oh, they should be over,” or whatever they want to say.  I do think they have created a good banter between them, and almost an understanding without having to say anything.  Thorsten’s a delight!

Photo: JPI

What is your takeaway when you travel overseas and internationally to places such as Italy, Dubai, Monaco or Australia where B&B is so widely popular and the reaction you receive from the fans?

KATHERINE:  Just seeing the overseas reactions in different countries and how popular or how loved The Bold and the Beautiful is truly special.  The fans really do love from their hearts.  They feel a part of it, and they are, but just their enthusiasm and their passion and their love, and they give their whole heart to you and to the show.  I just found that really interesting, and like I said earlier, we owe the success of B&B to the fans who love the show so much.

Photo: JPI

You recently were in Greece appearing for a multi-episode arc on the soap 8 Lexeis.  How was that experience?  I know Greek soap star, Andreas Georgiou, also came over to the States and appeared on B&B afterwards, too.

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KATHERINE:  It was an incredible opportunity.  I love working in other countries, and seeing how other people work, and how they make different projects and things.  8 Lexeis is their top TV show on their top network in Greece, so it was really exciting to go there and work on that.  I did 15 episodes in 5 days; something crazy like that.  We worked all morning through late at night every day, but it was fun.  It was amazing to see how creative they are and how they just run with it.  Everything was really chill on the set, but they still moved really fast and got everything done, and they were all so talented and so nice.  Then later, Andreas came over and did some shows here.  He was supposed to come to visit, but then the Coronavirus happened, so he had to postpone his trip, but we’ll see him soon.

Photo: JPI

B&B is on a production break due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Have you stayed in touch with your co-stars during this time?

KATHERINE: A lot of us talk on Instagram all of the time, and then a lot of people have been going live on their as well.  So, we jump into each other’s live videos!  Have you seen Katrina Bowden (Flo) and Kelly Kruger (Mackenzie, Y&R) do their little workouts together? You should check those out! Ashley Jones (Bridget) is always on, and Annika Noelle, and then our Supervising Producer, Casey Kasprzyk, started doing Zoom.  He did a Zoom with some of the B&B people.  So, we’ve all been texting and keeping in touch and making sure that everybody is okay.  I know it’s very hard times and it can be scary for all.   Hopefully, if everybody does what they should be doing, it will flatten the curve and the Coronavirus will be a lot easier to deal with.

Photo: JPI

You are one of the busiest people I know! Recently, you went to Australia, you opened your new store Benheart USA in Beverly Hills, and you appear on B&B in a lead role.  Is there ever a moment when you’re like, “I can’t do one more thing?” or do you like the go-go-go of it all of the time?

KATHERINE: I like the go-go-go, but I felt that I was going too fast and too hard, and I’ve recently been thinking of what I can take out of our lives and our schedule, and then in thinking of that, I couldn’t really think of what I can take out.  Then, this all happened with life coming to a screeching halt, which I find very interesting because life is set up to go so fast.  Nobody can really enjoy anything.  We have to get up early, we have to go to work, we have to make money to pay for this, we’ve got to take care of the family, do this, do that, maybe just try to be motivated to be successful, whatever your dreams are, you’re going after them, etc.  It’s such a driven world all around that I think with having to self-quarantine that this is a chance to take a good look at what is going on in your life.  Now, we have a lot of down time.  We have time to think, go inside ourselves.  It gives you time to be kind, slow down, think of others.  What can you do for others?  What can you do for the world?  It’s been frightening for a lot of people; especially the ones who have gotten sick, or the ones who are scared of getting sick because they are immunocompromised.  But, at the same time, we need to try to not let that anxiety get to us and try to appreciate what we have.  Like, “Why is this happening?  What is this moment trying to tell us?”  I’m always trying to find the silver lining; or what is this trying to tell us in life?

Photo” JPI

B&B and Y&R co-creator Lee Phillip Bell passed away at the end of February, and it was so heartbreaking.  I know you were close with Lee.  What can you share on her passing?

KATHERINE:  It was heartbreaking.  I always think, “Gosh, I wish I saw her one more time before she passed,” but she was around her family, who are so loving, and supportive, and always there for her.  Lee created an amazing life for herself and for her family, and she was a huge part of The Bold and the Beautiful, and of course, I thank her so much because she hired me.  Lee gave me my life, and this time on the show.  She was amazing.  She cared so much about the show and the people on it.  Lee was such a great mom and such a great friend.  It’s been special knowing her and spending all of that time with her that I was able to through the years.  My heart goes out to the Bell family as well.  I know this must be hard for them.

Photo: JPI

Then, it was so sad that Orson Bean died tragically before that.  Have you talked to Alley Mills (Pam)?

KATHERINE: Yes, a bunch of us went over and spent time with Alley and brought her food.  We brought her goodies, and we just hung out.  We just gave her lots of love, spent time, and that was before I had to run off to Australia as well, but she’s really strong.  That was just very tragic.  Two weeks before Orson died, we had seen them both in the play Bad Habits.  It was so, so funny, and they both had all of us who attended laughing so hard, and it was such a pleasure.

Photo: JPI

In closing, what are your hopes for Brooke moving forward into the future?

KATHERINE: I’ve been saying that I hope she’ll spend time by herself and be alone for a while and focus on her family.  I’ve said that for so long, but I don’t know what’s going to work for her! (Laughs)  However, I’m just so curious to see what will happen next for her.

So, what do you think of Brooke’s latest predicament after her kiss with Bill? Do you hope that Ridge and Brooke stay together? What have you thought of the more recent version of a feisty Brooke who fought back when no one believed her about Thomas? And finally, share your congrats to Katherine for 33 years as Brooke and let us know some of your favorite all-time scenes via the comment section below.

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Interviews

Y&R’s Eric Braeden Talks On 40 Years Of Life In Soaps As Victor Newman

Back in February, Eric Braeden added another milestone to his illustrious career – that of portraying the one and only Victor Newman for 40 years on the top-rated daytime drama, The Young and the Restless.  And boy was he celebrated!  First, there was a one-of-a-kind on set celebration at CBS Television City which was quite the star-studded affair.  That was followed by special episodes of Y&R, where Newman Enterprises turned 50 with a gala that also proved emotional with speeches and retrospective clips.

When you talk daytime dramas to anyone, you would be hard-pressed for the general public to not know the name “Victor Newman”- and that is because of the powerhouse performances and nuances that Braeden brings to his soap opera alter-ego.  For it was Y&R co-creator Bill Bell and Braeden who really shaped what viewers have come to know, expect, and love, forty years later.

Those who know Eric understand he can be at times outspoken, has a heart of gold, stands up for what he believes, can bring the drama, the suspense, the tension, the romance and the tears in any given scene when it is called upon, and that throughout the years he has earned the respect from his peers for an impressive job well-done.

Michael Fairman TV caught up with Eric to take a look back at all that had gone down recently in his honor, and to get his thoughts on some major moments in time through over 40 years in Genoa City, and where things are at now.  Check out our special conversation below.

Photo: JPI

When I attended and saw you at your 40th anniversary on set celebration at Y&R last month, I cannot tell you what a special event that was.  I have never seen that for anybody else!  The amount of people who attended, and the love they showed for you, was so special. When you were sitting in that chair on the soundstage and watching and hearing what was being said about you, what was going on in your mind at that point?

ERIC:  Well, first of all, it was the nicest thing that’s ever happened to me in 40 years on that show, and secondly, in moments like that, you try to stay focused on who is giving the speeches, because if I then look around and see all of the people who I have known for so many years, it’s emotional.  There’s a saying in German, “he’s close to the water,” meaning it’s very moving.  I saw my son and my granddaughter there and obviously everyone else, and my old coach and players, and so many others that have been a part of my life.

Photo: JPI

There were some very special guests and speeches.  I loved that Justin Hartley (Ex-Adam, Y&R and now Kevin, This Is Us) came.  I thought that was sweet and cool, and also that ESPN sports personality, Stephen A. Smith was there calling you one of his good friends.  There were so many moments.  You knew who was going to speak, right?

ERIC:  Yes, I did.  We kept it to just family, and in other words, Y&R family, etc.  I want to thank Matt Kane (Publicist, Y&R), who had a lot to do with putting the event together.  I also wanted to thank Tony Morina (executive producer, Y&R). The Y&R art department and David Hoffman (Production Designer) also did a fantastic job with those pictures they had created that was part of a set.  Thinking back on it, again, I would without a doubt say, that the celebration was the most moving moment in 40 years in the business and on that show.

Photo: JPI

A few weeks ago, Y&R and B&B co-creator Lee Phillip Bell passed away.  Obviously the late Bill Bell (co-creator, Y&R) and she were instrumental for you being at Y&R in the first place, and the creation of Victor Newman.  What can you say about Lee? 

ERIC:  We invited Lee to the event, and she apologized and said she was not in a position to attend, and then, shortly thereafter she passed.  In a sense, I’m glad Lee wasn’t there because when I would see her on some occasions, I just am moved to tears.  I would have not been able to really hold it together for long.  Obviously, she was co-responsible for a lot of stuff that happened on Y&R. co-responsible for that show still being number #1, and my heart goes out to her.  I know what I owe them, and she had a lot of influence on the storylines.  Lee was an incredibly smart and bright lady.  Her son, Brad Bell (EP and head writer, B&B) did speak at the 40th event and I appreciated it enormously.

There were a lot of retro clips shown of you show in celebration of your 4oth anniversary from when you started on the show back in 1980 till now.  Did you remember all of those moments?

ERIC:  First of all, they put that together so beautifully.  That was done so extremely well.  When I see it, it comes right back, or in other words it evokes precise memories, but if I weren’t seeing it, it’s all a blur.

Photo: JPI

Y&R brought Meg Bennett (Ex-Julia) and Robert Parucha (Ex-Matt), for the on-screen episodes celebrating Newman Enterprises 50th anniversary.  Was it nice having them back and seeing them, or is it kind of weird, because it can be such a long time in-between since you have all been together?

ERIC:  It is both.  It is very nice to see old colleagues obviously, and very touching, but look, we are in a weird business.  When I saw Meg, you suddenly realize how the show has evolved in many ways.  So, I’m always very grateful to see those who I started out with on the show and of course, doubly grateful to those who are still there.  I think of Melody and Doug Davidson (Paul) for example.  Doug has been there for longer than I have, and what a great job he did emceeing the 40th anniversary event, and as for Melody, that her and my relationship still endues after all of these years is amazing.

Photo: JPI

Let’s talk about those Newman Children.  I thought Joshua Morrow (Nick) gave a hilarious speech and even Mark Grossman (Adam) spoke so sincerely from the heart to you.  You get a sense that the Newmans are a fun group to work with.

ERIC:  I obviously love working with Joshua.  Same for Amelia Heinle (Victoria), I adore her, and Melissa Ordway (Abby).  They all have a great sense of humor, and Mark Grossman, I think is doing a damned good job.  And there is Peter Bergman (Jack).  Peter has been a great nemesis for all of these years.  Of course, Peter was very funny in his speech, and Joshua was very funny, and Ed Scott’s (Producer, B&B) was very good.  Tony Morina also shared a very funny little antidote!

Photo: JPI

What came across loud and clear is what we already knew.  Everyone knows the name “Victor Newman”.  You know when they go, “Victor Newman … Y&R!”  It’s so synonymous, right?  I don’t know what it must be like for you knowing the public has that reaction to you … and you’re that guy.

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ERIC:  I’ll tell you very honestly, I have an ambivalent relationship to that fact.  I deny it on one hand, don’t want to know about it, don’t really want to know about it, and on the other hand, when I hear about it, I say, “Yeah, very happy to hear about it, but is it true?”  I am sort of strange that way.  I have not had a picture of myself or anyone else in my dressing room for these 40 years.  It’s barren, as you know.  I don’t have any pictures hanging up of me; there’s nothing.  Now, I was talking about taking the one picture that David Hoffman had designed beautifully, and I have it on one wall.  I thought, “I’ll be damned,” because the picture includes Melody and some scenes that went on.  I’ve always been funny that way with praise.  Do I like it?  Of course, but …

There’s an uncomfortableness about it, right?

ERIC:  Yes, but I’ve seen too much in this business.  I’ve seen too many extraordinary stars, where you wonder, “Where are they now”?  I take this business with a grain of salt.  I really do.  It’s so easy to succumb to it.   I’ve known many people, including on our show, who used to say, “Well, without me, this thing would go down the drain,” and I said, “Yeah?  No s**t,” and they’re not there anymore.  You have no idea what happens to some actors when they see themselves on the cover of soap magazine.  They go crazy.  I’ve seen it, and the worst thing you can do is to believe in that, and I’ve always been skeptical of that, very skeptical.  Get back to what counts in this business:  do a good job … do the best you can … and where is the money?  I mean really, let’s call a spade a spade, and that’s it.

Photo: JPI

I was just going to say, the one person I so wished was at your 40th celebration was Jeanne Cooper (Ex-Katherine, Y&R).   I wish she could have been there with us, because she would have loved it.  I know she loved you.

ERIC:  She would have spoken, trust me!  She would have said, “Alright, you son of a bitch.  Alright, macho man let’s see what you’ve got!” and then she would grab me by the balls.  The first scene I ever had with her, Jeanne did that.  Absolutely hilarious!  Jeanne and I could not do a scene without laughing.  I’m serious.  We had to pull ourselves together.  She had such a great sense of humor, and we both looked at this, obviously, with an enormous grain of salt, because we’ve been there.  We’d seen it all.

set

Photo: JPI

Through the years, you obviously have been vocal on social media where you will call out things as you see them and as you truly feel, especially through various regime changes, or if there is a noticeable shift away, or focus, from core characters. What are your thoughts on what ultimately makes Y&R, the iconic soap that it is?

ERIC:  Let me put it very simply: the show is based on the comradery and enmity between the Newmans and the Abbotts, and I’ve included on that a go-between, if you will, a Chancellor … Jeanne Cooper.   That was sort of the plan, but the major triangle was sort of the Montagues and the Capulets in Romeo and Juliet.  That is what legendary stories are based on.  It’s family rivalries, and within those rivalries, we tell all kinds of fantastic stories.  It’s father-son, father-daughter, husband-wife, love affairs, disloyalties, ruthless business competition, and it goes on and on.  The scenes with Peter Bergman and me over the years have been legendary, wonderful, and they’re great scenes.  Now, to suddenly bring in whole new characters that no one knows about, which previously happened on our show, you have to ask, “What are you not getting?  You want to reinvent the wheel?”  Go with what is working.  It doesn’t often happen that you have the right cast and the right story.  That is what makes a show successful.  Imagine taking Cosmo Kramer (Michael Richards) out of Seinfeld.  You couldn’t.   It wouldn’t work.  In other words, when you have the right actors and the right storyline, you have a hit.  We’d been number #1 for over 30 years because of it

Photo: JPI

When you get a script, have there been those moments in the 40 years where you will say. “My character would never do this.  I’m not playing it!?”

ERIC:  Of course.  Not that I’m not playing it, but I will make certain adjustments here and there.  I always have, by the way, from the very beginning.  Bill Bell agreed with most of it.  I know my character, and I have and instinctive feel for what is emotionally touching and what is not.  Look, I have always said that I admire writers.  I don’t envy their job.  I really don’t.  I think it is the hardest job in the business, and writing for soaps is even harder.  So, I have great respect.  So therefore, I don’t even want to know who wrote what.  I don’t ever want to be in the position of insulting a writer because I know how difficult it is.  As in everything in this business, it is a cooperative business.  There are very few writer/directors who have earned the right (I’m talking about Martin Scorsese, I’m talking about Ingmar Bergman, I’m taking about a handful) to write and direct their own stuff.  Even they rely on the cooperation of their lead actors.  That’s what is so wonderful about this business in that it’s this precisely cooperative thing.  However, when there are some people who simply don’t listen to those of us who have been around for a while and we know, we really know, then, they’re being foolish.

Photo: JPI

Y&R taped the Newman Enterprises 50th anniversary gala, which was in essence, your on-screen 40th anniversary episodes.  That was another amazing part of this.  I love that they would go to a clip, and one of the characters would say something in speech, and then, they’d go back to a shot of you reacting.  Were you, you, or Victor at that point, because it seemed so genuine and emotional?

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ERIC:  You know, look, one thing sort of blends into the other.  I loved that show by the way.  It was brilliantly done, and they could have easily screwed that up, but they didn’t.  I thought Josh Griffith (head writer, and Co-EP, Y&R) did a hell of a job, and Tony Morina did a wonderful job, they really did.  So, I really can’t say enough about that.

Photo: CBS

When you look back on the enormity of scenes you have performed as Victor Newman; the ones that and you and I always come back to are the scenes between you and Dorothy McGuire as Victor’s mother; and the scenes with you and George Kennedy as Victor’s father.  Do you still consider those your all-time favorites?

ERIC:  I always think about them.  They are my top favorites, plus one other.   No question about it; because the scene with Dorothy McGuire laid the groundwork of what Victor Newman is all about.  That summarized all of his subsequent moments of anger, and upset, and mistrust, and etc.  It was the seminal scene for Victor Newman … period.  One other scene that one of my favorites was the one with Melody, on Christmas Eve where Nikki keeps on bugging Victor to tell her about his past, and he finally does.  It was about that orphanage experience, etc.  Actually, those two scenes early on were responsible for my really wanting to stay and realizing that now I had a chance to play some real emotions, some real feelings, some real conflict.   I remember after Victor told Nikki that story, a moment when I went to my dressing room, I called home, and I said, “Now, I’m going to stay.”  No two ways about that.  I called my wife, and I said, “I’m staying,” because I wasn’t sure if I was going to.  It happened because I had talked to Bill Bell and I said, “Bill, I’m so tired of playing bad guys.  I’ve done it for too many years.  I’m empty.  I’m burnt out.  It’s too dehumanizing.  Let’s imbue this character with a background,” and he did, brilliantly, and that’s the reason I stayed, and that’s the reason I’m here 40 years later, truly.

So, when you were feeding rats to Nick Benedict as Michael Scott, were you ready to leave? (Laughs)

ERIC:  Well, that was a little different story, but I looked at that, and I said, “Are you kidding me?” (Laughs)  Back then, I knew little about what works on soaps … and people still talk about it!  They loved it.

Photo: JPI

The scenes opposite George Kennedy were so emotional … and heavy-duty, too.  It was so sad watching Victor’s father reject him.

ERIC:  It was sad.  It was really, really sad, and George played it wonderfully.  I cannot say enough about that because here is an actor who comes from the outside of our genre.  George lived in Boise. Idaho and he traveled all the way by car to LA with his grandson to do the scenes He wouldn’t take a plane.  George was so damn prepared that we did those scenes in one take!  It’s stunning!  I can’t talk enough about him.  I just so admired and respected him.  George passed away about a year ago, but that’s why I had him in my film, The Man Who Came Back.

Photo: JPI

As a leading man, Victor has had many women in and out of his romantic life for years and of course, his constant, Nikki Newman (Melody Thomas Scott).   You’ve been fortunate to work with so many wonderful actresses such as Eileen Davidson as Ashley.  Which standout to you? 

ERIC:  I have to say obviously Melody, but I have to also say the scenes with Eileen – they meant a lot to me.  I regret that she and I did not have more storylines together.

Photo: CBS

So, the coronavirus is shutting down the world, life in America, and has shut down production on the soaps.  How is everybody dealing with it at the show, and how do you feel it’s being handled?

ERIC:  Well, originally I wanted to continue working, but I said only if everyone was fully supplied with the proper wipes and antiseptics all of the time.  In other words, from the makeup department, from the props department, to someone wiping down all of the handles and all of that, but I completely understand now from a company point of view, they had to shut down because what if you work and someone gets sick because of it… and it goes on and on.  It’s a terrible thing, but I was willing to continue working.  Yes, perhaps stupidly so.  It’s going to be tough when we come back because a lot of work has to be made up, but I understand why we stopped.

What would you say to the fans who have stayed so invested in Victor Newman, and you, even 40 years after your Y&R debut? 

ERIC:  I’ve said it before, and I will happily say it again:  I am deeply grateful to the fans everywhere.  Without them, you and I would not be talking.  That’s really the long and the short of it.  The fans have really everything to do with it.  I’m glad that I am on social media because I am engaged with quite a few people very gladly, and I hear some interesting stories, and some very touching stories.  Y&R has taught me to really not look at that as a sort of nebulous audience.  I put faces behind it because I’ve seen them.  I’ve seen them in the last 30-odd years in public appearances.  I don’t forget them.  I don’t forget what it means to me.  It’s deeply touching.  I’m not at all anesthetized to it, no.  It touches me deeply, and whenever I do a PA, and receive the people’s reactions, I say, “Whoa,” and now I know why I’m in the business.

Courtesy/CBS

In closing, fans have been watching what looks to be another showdown brewing between Victor vs. Adam for control of Newman Enterprises.  Do you think still after all these years; Victor has it in him to out maneuver his black sheep son, as he has done in the past?

ERIC:  Hell, yes.  What do you think?  Bring him on, man.  Bring him on.  Victor’s still full of piss and vinegar.  Okay?  What people don’t know is that I’m a feisty son of a bitch.  I don’t give up.  I fight to the last.  I mean it.

So, what has been your favorite all-time Y&R scenes featuring Eric Braeden? What do you hope happens next for Victor and the Newman clan? What do you think about the sentiments shared throughout our conversation on Eric’s 40th anniversary celebration? Comment below.

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General Hospital

General Hospital’s Johnny Wactor Talks ‘Being Brando Corbin’

This week on General Hospital, viewers saw that Sonny Corinthos (Maurice Benard) has set Port Charles newcomer Brando Corbin (Johnny Wactor) up with a mechanics garage for a place of business, that has left Brando concerned, but also thankful.

Brando came onto the scene when he saved Carly (Laura Wright) from gunfire. The once believed-to-be-dead son of Gladys Corbin (Bonnie Burroughs), has a checkered past, but has been trying to remain on the straight and narrow.  Sonny had previously put into motion protection for teenaged Dev (Ashton Arbab), that he will continue to be passed off as the biological son of Brando to keep him safe.  That, along with a back-story that includes: the Iraqi War, prison time, drug use, PTSD, familial issues, mob wars, and more, has loaded the deck for actor Johnny Wactor to show his acting chops and more within the daytime drama arena.

Since making his debut in the recurring role of Brando back in January of this year, in a short amount of time, Wactor has already displayed that he has solid leading man, and soap anti-hero potential, something that always serves one well amidst the romance, intrigue, and suspense of the genre’s storytelling.

Michael Fairman TV chatted with Johnny to get his thoughts on becoming part of the iconic GH and where he hopes Brando’s journey goes from here.  Check out what he had to say below.

Photo: ABC

What do you think about your character’s name being “Brando”? Did GH tell you where the idea for the name came from?

JOHNNY:  Oh, I love it.   No, they didn’t tell me why, but I assume it was in some relation to Marlon Brando; when back in the day he was in a leather jacket … because I come onto the scene wearing a leather jacket as a badass!

What’s your experience been like coming onto a show like GH?  Previously, I know you’ve done a lot of primetime roles and series.  Were you shocked at the pace of shooting a daytime drama?

JOHNNY:  Oh, yeah.  I was made aware of the pace beforehand by my manager, as well as my buddy, Mark Grossman (Adam Newman) who works on The Young and the Restless.  He’s kicking ass over there.  In this genre, you get one rehearsal and one take pretty much, and then, they move on.  It’s definitely been a learning curve, and I’m still getting used to that at times where I’m just like, “Ah, I want one more take!”  I can get a bit obsessive and I’m a perfectionist.  It definitely has been challenging, but I enjoy it.  It’s fun to work at a fast pace.  It’s a lot like working in the theatre.

In story, Johnny is pretending to be Dev’s father.  Did you know that would be part of Brando’s story when you took on this gig?

JOHNNY:  I did not.   I didn’t know that until I read the first script that they sent me.  I’m like, “I also have a son?”   It was a lot to take in, but that’s where the imagination comes in.

What’s great for you, I would think, is that you’re getting to play in scenes with Maurice Benard and Laura Wright and major players who are a part of that core group.  What’s it been like working with them?

JOHNNY:  It’s been a Godsend, really.  Being my first time on a daytime show, for one, anytime you come onto a new project and one that’s been going on for some time, and you’re a newcomer, there’s always that concern like, “What will this set be like?  Is it like a familial atmosphere?  Am I going to be welcomed?”  They’ve made it super easy.  I’m just so lucky that I have people who have so much experience on this show and just daytime shows in general, where they’ve kind of taken me under their wings and are super helpful.  Anytime I have questions, they’re patient.  I’m sure I annoy them sometimes, but they don’t let on to it.   I’m grateful that they’ve sort of “teamed” me up with them to kind of ease me onto the show.

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The fans are seeing a spark between Brando and Carly.  Is Brando into Carly?

JOHNNY:  I’d like to say that he rescued her because she was a beautiful blonde, but that’s not what that was and why he did it … even though I’m not denying that she’s a beautiful blonde.  I think there’s something there, but how far Brando pursues that, I don’t know!  Sonny sets Brando up with the garage and a pretty sweet deal at that.  So, does Brando want to screw this up?  However, not everyone makes logical, levelheaded decisions.  We’ll see.  I’m not ruling it out as something that could possibly happen.

How are you playing Brando right now? Is he a good guy … or, are there secret ulterior motives going down that the audience may not know about, yet?

JOHNNY:  In my opinion, he is a guy who has got a good heart.  I don’t think he is infallible.  I think he is someone who is determined to be on the mend and make up for his decisions and his past, because he is someone who has made poor decisions.  I don’t think you can rule him as a good person who will never make a mistake, or won’t get into trouble, or won’t make some bad decisions.  “Does he have ulterior motives?”  Maybe, but I think that if he does, they might be a little unconscious.  I think he is a genuine good guy.

Photo: ABC

Are the fans swooning over you on social media now that you’ve made your GH debut?  When you get the, “Oh, he’s hot,” do you take those compliments well, or, is it uncomfortable for you, and you deflect that?

JOHNNY:  It’s always flattering to get those compliments.  I think when I was younger, like 22, first getting into this business; I was definitely pining for those compliments and put more weight into it.  I will say; it’s always good to have someone say something positive about you.  I will take, “Hey, he’s good-looking.”  I love the comments.  It’s great.

So, what would you love to see happen with Brando?  Is there anything that you’re seeing with your character that you wish you could do …or get to have the opportunity to be able to drive the direction in which he goes in?

JOHNNY:  That’s a great question.  I love when the writers put Brando on the scene and planted some seeds early on when he was revealing a little of his background to Carly.  He reveals he has PTSD and spent time in prison.  Brando also has got issues with drug addiction.  I would love for those to kind of resurface somehow.  Maybe Brando has a relapse and gets back on the sauce, or drugs, or maybe has some kind of other issues with PTSD, because those are the real things in the world that people deal.

Photo: ABC

What’s great about it is that they kind of loaded you up with a back-story that they can fill in, so that as a viewer, you ultimately root for the guy

JOHNNY:  Absolutely.  Yeah, nobody wants to root for the guy who has everything and just has the perfect life.  We’ve all made mistakes.  So, alright, he’s trying to get back on the horse and make a good life for himself.

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Did you get any pointers from GH vet Steve Burton (Jason), who you have also shared several scenes with since coming to GH?

JOHNNY:  The most pointers I’ve gotten from Steve are about preparation for the scenes.  Every time we have scenes together, he’s just always willing to work with you, and make sure that you’re prepared, and he’s prepared, and the scene is going to be the best that it can be.  Also, he’s been really invaluable with giving me more of a crash course on the background of these characters.  This show has been on for decades and it’s tough to get caught up in the short amount of time between when you find out you have the job, and you start filming, to really know who everybody is.  So, he explained to me who Jason is on the show and who the Corinthos family is and what they represent … these are dangerous guys!

Photo: ABC

Take me through what happened when you learned you got the part of Brando, and were joining the cast of General Hospital?

JOHNNY:  I was at my apartment.  I think it was probably two days after I went in for the producer’s session.  They brought in 4 or 5 guys to read in front of the producers, (at least that I saw) and I felt strong about my reading.  Then, I just kind of tried to forget about it after I left so I wouldn’t get all into my head about whether I got the part, or not.  Then the next day, I didn’t get a phone call.  So, I’m like, “Man, really?  I thought that might have been it.”   But the next day, I was with my girlfriend at the time and my agency was calling.  My manager was on the phone as well, and they shared with me that I got the part, and it was exciting.  It was a relief and an affirmation.  It’s always exciting when you book a job and then to book a major recurring role on a show with a character whose name is “Brando Corbin”, needless to say, was really cool.

Photo: ABC

I think it’s very apparent that you have the “It” factor.  You already have a shown a strong presence on the show and have a very bright future ahead of you.   I have seen a lot of actors come and go, and who launch their careers on daytime over the years, and I think you are going to be one to watch for quite some time to come.

JOHNNY:  First of all, thank you so much for saying that.  That’s really kind of you.  It’s really high praise.  Coming from someone who knows that show and who is a fan of it that means I passed the test!  Thank you, Michael!  I really appreciate that affirmation.  It’s good to get validation from someone whose opinion really matters.

Photo; ABC

Could you see a love interest for Brando coming up in the future?

JOHNNY:  I could definitely see a love interest for him coming up.  Maybe multiple love interests!  Who knows?

I think there are a lot of single ladies in Port Charles.

JOHNNY:  Yeah!  But, why do they have to be single?

Right! Or, they could be married!

JOHNNY:  It’s Port Charles!

Photo: ABC

So, have you been enjoying Johnny’s performances as Brando Corbin thus far?  Who do you hope he becomes involved with romantically on GH? Do you want to know more about his back-story and see what happens next now that Sonny has set him up with a garage? Comment below.

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DAYS Eric Martsolf and Stacy Haiduk chat with Michael Fairman at Day of Days 2019; during their conversation the on-screen dup talk about the latest developments of Brady and Kristen within the series time-jump and more. Leave A Comment

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Katelyn MacMullen as Willow

General Hospital

Airdate:2-21-2020

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