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The Jess Walton Interview – The Young and the Restless

© JPI Studios

© JPI Studios

“Hello, Restless Style, Jill Fenmore speaking?”  What???  Yes.  As viewers learned late last week, and at the beginning of this week’s episodes of The Young and the Restless, the previously known Jill Foster Abbott apparently is part Fenmore… as in… Lauren Fenmore.  The truth of what we all hope will finally be the end to Jill’s long and exhausting plight and search for her biological birth mother, (for her sake, not necessarily the viewers), took a drastic turn when Jill’s adopted mom, Liz Foster, made a death bed confession to her son, Dr Snapper Foster. (The guest starring David Hasselhoff)  Loaded with the info, and following the powerhouse scenes by two-time Daytime Emmy winner Jess Walton (Jill), (when she has to cope with the grief and feelings of abandonment after losing the one mother that loved her unconditionally), Snapper tells Jill what Liz explained to him about her birthright.

On-Air On-Soaps chatted with the amazing Jess Walton to revisit the latest developments in the ongoing saga of one of daytime’s most unique and enduring characters.  In addition, Jess discusses her on-screen relationship that has endured and withstood countless relationship rewrites, that between her and soap legend, Jeanne Cooper (Katherine).  From the catfights, to the cake-fights, to the DNA results, to the doppelgangers, these two have gone through it all.  Walton also reveals she was sad the return of Y&R 80’s Foster brothers, (David Hasselhoff and Wings Hauser) was so brief, but yet it propelled great story. 
And, what of her current on-screen sons, Daniel Goddard (Cane), and Billy Miller (Billy)?  Find out what this savvy soap veteran has to say about these two popular soap studs.

And, with the 37th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards just around the corner on Sunday night June 27th from Las Vegas live on CBS, Jess and I take a trip down memory lane through her two Emmy wins – one for Supporting Actress in 1991, and the other for Lead Actress in 1997.  An irreverent, funny, tell- it-like-it-is phenomenal actress, and a pure joy to watch on-screen, here’s what Jess had to say about all her mommas!

MICHAEL:

Your performances last week when Liz was dying were phenomenal.  Now we learn, Jill is apparently part Fenmore.  How did you feel when your character gets thrown around so many times, in so many directions, with mothers, jobs, men, etc?  I think she is one of the soap characters who has changed course so many times, it’s hard to keep up with her!

JESS:

It is, isn’t it?  I agree with you, and it used to bother me.  I would try and keep a steady course with it, and now I can’t.  Now I just roll with the punches.  It’s impossible!  For awhile there you just kind of say things like, “My character wouldn’t do this, and who is this?”  But now, I just kind of go, “Oh, my God.  This is going to be fun”, because it’s something new, and it’s something different.

MICHAEL:

© JPI Studios

The episodes that just aired were very well written.  It really made the audience aware of Jill’s emptiness and issue of abandonment, and where it all stems from.  Therefore, the viewers felt really bad for her.

JESS:

They were well written, and that is what you have to do, because when Jill goes off on her crazy tangents, I have got to balance it with some sympathy.  Because, if the audience can a see a bit inside of her and understand her, and not just hate her, then it affects them. I thought the scenes with her brothers, Snapper and Greg, were just so good!

MICHAEL:

It was sad to say goodbye to Julianna McCarthy as Liz, and then at the Friday tag you end up at Lauren’s door.  And this past Monday you explain to Lauren what you were told by Snapper via Liz, of Jill’s biological background.  What do you think of the Fenmore twist, it sort of came out of nowhere?  However, the big question as to who is Jill’s real mother is still a mystery.

JESS:

It all happened so fast. We had David Hasselhoff for a week, and Julianna as Liz, dies within a week and all of a sudden it’s, “I am a Fenmore”.  And we really didn’t have a chance to explore it much, but in real life that happens.  My first thought as Jill is, “I actually know who my blood is, and I have a sister.” And, Jill was very moved and touched and shocked from the death of Liz, but full of love for her sister.  Lauren would actually be Jill’s half-sister.

MICHAEL:

Do Lauren and Jill have a bad past?

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JESS:

Most people don’t like Jill, and she hasn’t particularly loved Lauren. I have never had that much to do with Lauren, really.

MICHAEL:

So now, the canvas is wide open again, as to who could be Jill’s mother! Speaking of past mothers… how did you feel about the reversal of plot point that unconnected Katherine and Jill as mother and daughter?  Jeanne Cooper made no bones that she did not like it from the beginning and was glad it has been dropped. With everything that has transpired on-screen, how do you feel about Jill not being related to Katherine?

JESS:

As Jess, I originally loved the idea and it seemed a natural progression to me. I thought it would make it more interesting, because we had already been playing our relationship for 20 years on one note.  I thought it would deepen, but it never did what I thought it could have done.  But, Katherine and Jill have an incredible relationship on-screen in spite of all this.  The love and the hate is so mixed, and there is never any telling when it will bubble out now.  It used to be, “This month I like her… this month I hate her.”  Now, it’s more from moment to moment.

MICHAEL:

How was it to play those huge emotional scenes, and watch Julianna die on-screen?

JESS:

They were easy, easy, easy.  I knew we only had David Hasselhoff for one week, and it was all going to happen.  There was going to be a lot of pain, and a lot of crying, and I was dreading it.  But I have got to tell you, those tears flowed so easily.  Julianna, first of all, is a consummate actress.  She and I have a lot of history together, and we are friends. I adore her, and when I lock into those blue eyes of hers, I just become Jill.  And the strange thing is, Wings Hauser, who I never met before, because as you said, the scenes were so well written, that as soon as we started playing them, the story all made sense.  It was great, and pretty effortless.  I really felt Wings and David were my brothers.  I have to say there was a lot of distraction on the set while David was filming his reality show and that was different.  But I was kind of excited about it, because it was fun.  In the end, I think the scenes came out really well.

© JPI Studios

MICHAEL:

How was David to work with?

JESS:

He was wonderful and a friendly guy and upbeat.  David was proud to be back on The Young and the Restless, and like all parents, proud of his kid.  And that was all he could talk about… his daughter, Taylor-Ann, who played the nurse in some scenes who mixed up Liz’s medications.

MICHAEL:

Jess, you have won two Daytime Emmys, and I was watching this year nominated writing episode from Y&R where yet again, there you were with your mother issue. Jill found out at Billy and Chloe’s wedding definitively that Katherine was not an imposter and your DNA did not match.  Then comes the cake-throwing scene, which set back the Katherine and Jill feud to its rightful place!  What did you think about those scenes?  Jill was a raving bitch!

JESS:

Always, the scenes that turn out the best are the ones I am most worried about, because I know they have the potential to come out great.  I thought they were fabulous.  I had no idea how I was going to be playing all that craziness.  You remember how crazy Jill was acting?  She was all over the place and flip-flopping.  I said to Sally MacDonald, who was directing the episode, “Um, you have to give me a drink in my hand at the very beginning of this wedding because I have to have a little aid, and you have to assume Jill is a little tipsy.  It gives the excuse for why she is so all over the place.”  So, Sally started me out with a Mimosa right at the beginning of the show and it kind of explained it.  And what did I say to poor Murphy?  I know, “You dig up worms for a living!”  (Laughs) She was awful!  Then I threw the cake in Nikki’s face, too!  I said to Melody Thomas Scott (Nikki), “You better watch out Melody.  I am going to get you, too.”  It was great!

MICHAEL:

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What did Jeanne think of this cake fight extraordinaire?

JESS:

Jeanne was like, “bring it on” with the cake fight.  Here was the problem. The problem was that the frosting was butter cream and it got on the floor on the tiles.  And whoever was holding me up, was really holding me up…and it was Beau Kayzer. (Brock) That was because Jeanne was trying to get her arms around the entire cake!  I am telling you, that is what she was trying to do!  She is so funny! (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

So to make this extraordinary pairing work on-screen at this point, after so many years, do you and Jeanne sit down and have a process where you run lines, or is it all just hit your mark, say your lines, and we will make it remarkable?  With daytime production moving so fast these days, has it at all impacted you and Jeanne?

JESS:

There is very little time to run lines if we are first up to tape in the day.  Other than that, there is usually time to rehearse.  We use to have a drama coach on set who was great.  His name was Judd Lawrence.  He was great for group scenes, and he had a little room near hair and make-up.  When we had those group scenes with a lot of people, as we passed by his area, all of us would sit down in a room and get those really fast cues that you have in party scenes.  So that was cool.  But for Jeanne and I when it comes to one and one scenes, we find each other and we put in the work.

MICHAEL:

Jeanne is a remarkable lady!  And the two of you still “bring it” to the viewers!

JESS:

© JPI Studios

I thank God every day for that woman.  She feeds me. She is like a shot in the arm when you see her in the morning.  She is funny and sharp and I love her.

MICHAEL:

What are you playing as Jill now?  Inner-struggle? Is she going to have a metamorphosis?

JESS:

She is feeling all of her emotions right now to the hilt and thinking, “Whatever I am feeling, it’s like what the hell!  Life had always brought me a lot of dirty blows,” but she always tries new things.  She has really deep feelings for people like Cane and Billy.  She adores them, even though Billy is such a little brat.  He has a lot of Jill in him, but when she gets mad, she really gets mad, but I don’t think she is any longer trying to make much sense of it.  Jill went out of trying to fit in and be part of society.  She is now like, “What is going on?” (Laughs) Michael, I can tell you, there is really good stuff coming up.

MICHAEL:

Jill is such a shrew sometimes!

JESS:

She can be such a shrew!  Did you know that a Shrew is really an animal that has a horrible personality! (Laughs)  Jill gets her happiness where she can, and she certainly is not going to contain her anger.  She lets it out, so it does not fester in there.  She is on a roller coaster though, I will say that much.

MICHAEL:

So she is going to be in a continual search for her biological mother, coming up?

JILL:

I suppose.  I can’t tell you anything. (Laughs)

© JPI Studios

MICHAEL:

Another thing, Jess, is that Jill has had a lot of job changes. (Laughs) Where is she working now, officially?

JESS:

She is still with Billy. He fired her once (laughs), but I am working at Restless Style.

MICHAEL:

How is working with Daytime Emmy nominee Billy Miller (Billy)?

JESS:
Oh, it’s fantastic.  He is the best actor. Yesterday, Billy walked on the set after we had just rehearsed these scenes, and during the performance I looked at him and I saw so much!  I think back to when he met Cane, and the character had just come back.  Billy was jealous of him and happy to be home with Jill, and it was all playing across his face. He is very, very good.

MICHAEL:

Your other on-screen son, Phillip Chancellor III played by Thom Bierdz, came back for sort of a reverse coming out story to his family, but the story fizzled.

JESS:

When I worked with Thom recently, I have to tell you, he hasn’t changed a bit.  He is still the same sweet guy that he was.

MICHAEL:

And how is working with Daniel Goddard (Cane)?

JESS:

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Oh my God, it’s like butter.  It is, it’s like butter, and we have this connection.  He reminds me of my real life son.  His energy is like my son.  And I feel like he is my real son, and he is just amazing.  Daniel’s sense of humor is so terrific.  I love his wife and his kids.  I am always thrilled when I work with him.

MICHAEL:

On Sunday, the 37th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards will be handed out on CBS.  So as a past recipient, where are your two Emmys?

JESS:

They are on each side of the TV.

MICHAEL:

When you look at them, do you look back and go, “Wow, I won these!  How cool.”

JESS:

They are always there so I don’t always notice them, but as I am sitting here talking to you, I am looking at them.  Sometimes when I have new people come into the house that don’t really know me well or know what I do, I think “Oh, what are they going to think when they see those?” (Laughs)  They are very impressive, but most of the time I forget.

MICHAEL:

When you won them, do you remember what went through your mind at the time, close to when your name was called or shortly after?

JESS:

© JPI Studios

The first one was at the Marriott and it was a lunchtime deal. I remember when I won them I was very angry that I had to do anything, because all I wanted to do was feel.  I remember it distinctly.  First of all, I sure as hell did not want to get up and give the damn speech. (Laughs)  It was just horrible!  Then I wanted to go hug my husband and I had to do the press, but I did not want to do the press.  Not because it’s difficult, or that I don’t like doing it, it’s just that I wanted to feel that feeling, and I wanted to feel it purely and not have to work.  Then the second one was killer and the icing on the cake.  It was for Lead Actress and it was really, really great.  And, at that time it had been many, many years since The Young and the Restless was on, and no one had ever won in the Lead Actress category.  I think it had been on 20 years maybe at that point.

MICHAEL:

What would you say to the actresses this year who are in the final five, as we countdown to Emmy night?

JESS:

I would say, enjoy the nomination process, because everyone is a winner until that night and it’s a glorious, glorious time.  And for the winner, it goes on, and for the ones who don’t win, it sort of stops right there.

MICHAEL:

Well, after seeing this last week of air shows, I think you have some very strong material, that if you so choose to throw your name in the mix next year, you could just get a nod!

JESS:

If I decide to do it, we shall see.  But the great thing about the Emmys is: once I won one, and then won a second, it did not matter to me anymore.  It’s over and done and I did that.   I did not have that yearning that I had before.

MICHAEL:

OK Jess, of all the numerous twists and turns in Jill’s storylines, there had to be some that you were like, “You have got to be kidding me? How I am going to make this work?”

JESS:

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Oh, my God, Michael.   I had those moments a lot when you think of the twists and turns. And the very first one I remember was when Billy was small.  I was fighting for custody with John Abbott.  Jack went and hired a guy who sweeps me off my feet who lets me know he is not interested in a child.  And…I give up custody from that one day of scenes. That was a “How am I going to make this work?”  And every time I have scenes with the whole town (Laughs), and I announce to the whole town that I was going to take over Katherine’s house, knowing they all loved her and hated me (Laughs)…. I am always having to do stuff like that.  I mean, when I had to tell poor Murphy that he digs worms for a living…you know, it was like, “How am I going to do this?”  My whole soap opera life is filled with, “How am I going to make this work?”  Sometimes, my solution is going to the director and saying, “Please give Jill a Mimosa the first thing in the morning so I can make this work.” (Laughs)  The other story that was the hardest, “How am I going to make this work,” was Brittany’s baby.  I fell in love with the baby, and I was going to go into the Witness Protection Program to be the nurse maid for the baby. (Laughs) And then, Michael Nouri was on the show for a while.  He was a dishonest CEO for Katherine, and I was trying to get the goods on him and fall in love with him.  But then, Jill runs off with him knowing he was an embezzler and never to see her family again. Well, please! (Laughs) You know what I mean?   It’s so much fun, and it’s been such a
challenge to try to make it some sort of cohesive tapestry of a human being.

MICHAEL:

But you had to speak to the writers at times to clarify or find out where your story is headed sometimes when things were perhaps, murky?

JESS:

I have gone on the phone with the writers before to shape an idea, or to go over the forward thrust of a story, but mostly it’s self-explanatory.  I don’t know how to answer that except there have been times I have needed to talk to them.  Particularly, if I saw in the direction it was going that there were going to be problems.  But of course, they are great that way and glad to talk about it with us.

MICHAEL:

Who do you think is the dream mother for Jill?

JESS:

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I think Julianna was!  Liz was the dream mother for Jill.  She always could handle Jill.  That is the trouble on soap, you can never be happy. You always have to be unhappy because that is where the drama lies.  I had many mothers now haven’t I?  Remember Elizabeth Harrower, played by Charlotte, and Jill was crazy about her! (Laughs) Oh, my God.  She had so many mothers! (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

But Jill’s deep rooted insecurity and issues stem from that and from when she was poor.

JESS:

There is a basic insecurity that came from her being the housekeeper’s daughter. She was around Katherine with her rich society country club friends, and she had this deep feeing of inadequacy, and that is where I think it all stems up.  But, she is very much a bossy little lady, and domineering.  Jill is attracted to powerful men, but yet she is not going to buckle under to them.

MICHAEL:

Have you ever been bored with playing Jill?

JESS:

No, it’s never boring now.  When it was boring, was the time I won Best Actress because all I was doing at that time was supporting Sonny Von Deusen who played Keith Dennison, and his two girls, Megan and Tricia. That is all I did for two years and it was really boring, and nothing ever has been that boring, and no period of time on the show has ever been as boring as that one.  Sonny was a wonderful actor and I loved him, but I wasn’t doing hardly anything.

MICHAEL:

When you heard all these people were coming back for one week, David Hasselhoff, Julianna McCarthy and Wings Hauser, were you shocked when they told you?

JESS:

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I have a really good friend whose is David’s agent, so I was not completely unaware of what was going on.  But, I was very sad that it was so quick though, and no, I am not in David’s reality show!

MICHAEL:

What would you say about working with Jeanne Cooper after all these years?

JESS:

It’s like rolling off a log at this point and so easy.  Working with Jeanne is stimulating and we laugh constantly.  We are so in the same boat.  We know each other so well, and we know the looks on each others faces, and we know if we have gone up on each other’s lines, and we know if this isn’t working right or it doesn’t feel right.  It’s just wonderful.

MICHAEL:

So what happened when Jeanne’s prediction that the mother/daughter storyline was not going to work came true?

JESS:

What are you going to do?  I hate that Jeanne was proved right that it didn’t work, because I think it should have.  But, I thought it would deepen it in theory, and make it more interesting, in theory.  C’mon, we got years of story out of it, and there was no wrong to that.  I don’t care what she says.  It’s been 25 years that I have been on the show, and there has been a Jill in her life for way longer than that. You have got to throw it some curves.

MICHAEL:

OK, after all the mothers, men, children, boardrooms, and manicures that Jill has come in contact with or had in her life, what is something you would still love to see your character get to do?

JILL:

I would love to see a lot more fantasizing scenes, where apparently I put Katherine under the hair dryer and electrocute her! (Laughs)  And one time, I know I did hide the toilet paper in the Colonnade Room when she went into the stall.  And, I loved it when I rented the Doberman, because I knew she was afraid of dogs.  And I loved it when I hired my own maid, so we could have dueling maids, with her Ester being her maid.  I remember, Beverly Archer from Momma’s Family, who played the neighbor on that sitcom, played Jill’s maid.  She was hilarious, and her sense of comedy timing was out of this world.

MICHAEL:

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Would you like to see Jill have a new romance?

JESS:

No.  I would like to see her become a master spy.  (Laughs) Look, I am up for anything new and different at this point.

MICHAEL:

Well Jess, I know and the fans know, that there is some big stuff coming down the pike for Jill, from discovering more about who she is, to God knows what else, in the coming weeks!

JESS:

It will be an emotional roller coaster, and it’s never smooth.  It’s all about going for broke with her coming up, and its going to get very interesting.

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Thanks for the great JW interview. I don’t think I have ever read an interview with her. She seems pretty cool, so unlike her neurotic alter ego!

I’m not so crazy about this Fenmore storyline, but I will keep watching to see where it goes.

Jess is the BEST actress on daytime tv!!! She makes Y&R the show that it is #1!!!

Great interview! I love Jess and I’m looking forward to this new development!

Absolutely one fabulous intereview with the great Jess Walton whom I love and adore and have since I saw her ‘ions’ ago when she was a young gal on the now defunct soap SOMERSET! Awesome ballsy broad and I love her character and what she brings to it. Thanks Michael.

Good interview Michael. When people say that they don’t like Jill, that shows that Jess is a good actress.

found interesting and helpful. Jill is such a difficult person to like; but now, separating the actor from the character, makes it easier to watch the prerformance.

I like Jess but my favorite of all time was the original Jill, Brenda Dickson.

Interviews

The Bold and the Beautiful’s Kimberlin Brown Teases to Fans: “There’s Something Coming Up, But It’s Not What They Think”

Sheila Carter (Kimberlin Brown) is now a married lady! Yup, after a small, very small intimate ceremony she married Deacon Sharpe (Sean Kanan) on recent episodes of The Bold and the Beautiful.

Deacon’s daughter Hope (Annika Noelle) showed up for the nuptial to support her father, but Sheila’s son, Finn (Tanner Novlan) happened by Il Giardino, to pick up some food only to stumble upon his mother’s wedding, causing more trouble in his marriage to Steffy (Jacqueline MacInnes Wood).

All of this, after Deacon figured out that Sheila didn’t really die at the hands and butcher knife of Steffy, back in February of this year, but it was really her lookalike Sugar who had plastic surgery to look like Sheila many years ago ( one of Sheila’s more heinous acts) who was killed. Thus, setting the stage for Sheila’s return.

Photo: JPI

Kimberlin Brown visited You Tube’s Michael Fairman Channel for an exclusive livestream one-one-one chat where a myriad of “Sheila-esque” subjects were discussed.  Here are a few of the more intriguing excerpts below.

After Kimberlin was informed she was exiting the show, did she have any idea, if or how, they were going to bring her back via the Sugar connection? Brown shared “I didn’t. As a matter of fact, when Brad Bell (executive producer and head writer B&B) called me asking if I would come back to the show, I said, ‘Well, how are you gonna pull this one off?’ And he goes, ‘we’re researching it right now.’ So, I guess that’s where their research took them to Sugar, and Sugar was on The Bold and the Beautiful at one time with me as well. Remember, when we had all of the Forrester boys, and we were holding them against their will and and at the foundry? Robin Mattson played that part brilliantly, and then back on The Young and the Restless is when she ‘unfortunately’ had the surgery to look like Sheila, unbeknownst to her.”

Photo: JPI

With Sheila being married to Deacon, does she think it will last more than a month, before her vendetta streak against others takes major hold of her? Kimberlin weighed-in, “I think for the first time in Sheila’s history, she has found a man who truly does love her. And yes, she does love him. Sheila desperately loved Eric Forrester too, but there were too many people around her that would never allow that to happen. And even though there are people around Deacon that prefer that this doesn’t happen, he’s actually stood up to them and said, ‘No, this is who I want to be with. She makes me happy. There are a lot of things that  make me a little crazy, but I go crazier when she’s not there’.  Sheila has finally found true love, I believe, and it’ll be interesting to see if she can hold onto it, and it’ll be interesting to see if a good man in her life can truly make a difference in hers.”

Photo: JPI

Everyone has waited and hoped, that when Lauren makes cross-over appearances to B&B she will bump into Sheila, but still years later that has never happened. Brown feels it’s just a matter of time, sharing, “I believe that they will cross paths one day. It’d be too good to not have that happen. Tracey Bregman and I, really did create something fabulous together. It was at the time, villain against really not a good girl, but a girl that never wanted what she had until Sheila wanted it. So it’s definitely a storyline that I think could resurface, there’s no doubt about it.”

Photo: JPI

Finn’s adoptive mother Li played by Naomi Matsuda may not be what she appears to be either. Might we look forward to the two moms going at it again?, Kimberlin teased, “Working with Naomi Matsuda is great. She’s fun a lot of fun to work with. But let me tell you what, Li has a mean streak. She really does. I have a feeling it may come out, or it may not, but she’s no angel herself.  She may be one calling the tea kettle black, you know?”

Photo: JPI

Fans of B&B have come up with many scenarios of where Sheila’s story is going, from an attempted murder mystery of her, to a plan to get Hope and Finn closer together to put the screws to Steffy. Kimberlin previewed, “There’s some big stuff happening on the show coming up that. I wish I could say more.  I got the script and when we were filming it, I was going, ‘Oh my gosh, this is just too good.’ There are a lot of characters involved in it. There’s something coming up, but it’s not what they (viewers) think.”

Photo: JPI

It’s clear that Finn wants to appease his wife, to stay away from Sheila, but seemingly can’t. “I mean, he definitely has Sheila in him. It is her son,” shared Brown.  But, I think it’s really difficult for him to be in that position. I believe that he wants to give Sheila an opportunity and wants to get to know her. He feels a pull towards her and being he doctor that he is, he wants to explore that and figure out why, be it good or bad. But, Steffy is just not going to allow that to happen. So for Finn to always being stuck in the middle is definitely going to cause conflict.”

Watch the full conversation with Kimberlin below.  Then let us know, based on Kimberlin’s comments, what do you think is the big story coming up on B&B she previewed? Share your thoughts in the comment section.

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Interviews

OLTL’s Erika Slezak Recalls Viki’s Breast Cancer Battle, Pays Tribute to Andrea Evans, and Shares Heartfelt ‘Thank You’ to Those Who Reached Out on the Passing of Her Daughter, Amanda

One of the all-time classic breast cancer storylines of the soaps was that of Viki’s on One Life to Live. Back in 2000 and into 2001, the character went through many trials and tribulations trying to face the disease, which again afforded the iconic Erika Slezak to be featured in another dramatic storyline, which at the same time helped so many female viewers.

As part of last week’s virtual event, Daytime Stands Up – A Benefit for Stand Up To Cancer – We All Have a Story, Slezak chatted with co-host Michael Fairman about her remembrances of the important storyline, the passing of her co-star, Andrea Evans (ex-Tina) to breast cancer, and took a moment to address the fans and those who reached out to her following the sudden death of her daughter, Amanda Davieback at the end of January of this year.

While Erika has still been in mourning, she took the time to be a part of the night and wanted to contribute her voice to the benefit, and we cannot thank her enough.

Photo: ABC

Speaking on how Viki dealt with her diagnosis of breast cancer, and at the time being in a relationship with a younger man, Ben (played by Mark Derwin), Erika shared, “It was a very good story to tell because Viki, who had always been strong and by herself and tough and ‘I can deal with anything’, suddenly couldn’t deal with it. She was afraid. There was the whole relationship with Ben that was going on, and she didn’t want him to be a part of it. So that was separate, and the day that Vicki checked into the hospital, the last shot was me sitting on the end of the bed, sort of my dangling my feet over it, completely alone because she didn’t want anybody else to know.”

“Ben was around in the hospital and eventually found out that she was there and wanted to be a part of her life. But she didn’t want it,” Erika added. “She couldn’t deal with it. It was a frightening thing for her because it had been caught too late to treat. She had to have a mastectomy and a reconstruction and she had never been faced with such a very personal trauma. I mean, yes, she had Niki and all the others (Viki’s alters), but this was a physical thing that she could not control. It was a very powerful story, I think.”

Photo: ABC

One of the memorable moments from the story was when Viki sang the Gloria Gaynor hit, I Will Survive. Slezak remembers, “That was at Crossroads. She was singing to herself, I Will Survive, and she was desperately trying to believe it, as we all do when we deal with something horrible.”

In tribute to her former co-star, Andrea Evans, who started on One Life to Live as a teenager in 1978 and who died in July of 2023 at 66-years-old, Erika expressed, “Andrea grew up so beautifully and she was so talented that the person that she really was, who was a a kind and loving woman, could play so many different levels of Tina. I had such admiration for her for that. It wasn’t in her nature to be Tina, but she played the hell out of it. She really did. Her first day on the show, her hair was down to the back of her knees. She was just a kid, and she grew up to be a wonderful woman.”

Courtesy/SRodriguez

Speaking emotionally about Andrea’s personal life, Erika recalled, “I think one of the proudest moments of her life is when she got her daughter Kylie, she was so happy. Audrey, Andrea’s mother, used to bring Kylie to the studio, all the way from California she would fly in. I first met Kylie when she was a year old.  I watched her slowly grow up and it was wonderful. Andrea was a fabulous mother. I never met her husband Steve. I wrote to him after she passed, and he wrote me back a very, very sweet letter. But when Andrea met Steve, it was like her life was almost complete, and then she had Kylie, and that was complete. And it is so, so sad that she died so young.”

Photo: JPI

During the conversation, Erika took a second to acknowledge all those who contacted her with their condolences, thoughts and prayers on the passing of her daughter, Amanda, sharing, “I thank all the fans and the people who have written to me. I’ve saved every single card. I’ve responded to every single person because the amount of people who reached out to me is just astonishing. I have a pile that it’s two feet high of cards and letters that people wrote to me. And I’m very, very grateful because this is the hardest thing that’s ever happened to me in my life.”

You can watch the conversation with Erika below on the replay of Daytime Stands Up – A Benefit for Stand Up to Cancer. The six-time Daytime Emmy-winner appears at the 34:17 mark in the show. Below that is a playlist of scenes from Viki’s breast cancer storyline on One Life to Live.

Now let us know, what did you think of Viki’s breast cancer storyline? Erika’s words on the late Andrea Evans and her “thank you” to all for sending their condolences to her and her family during their difficult time? Share your thoughts in the comment section.

 

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Interviews

Y&R’s Eileen Davidson Talks on Ashley’s DID Storyline, the Challenges of the Alters, and Working with Trevor St. John

The Young and the Restless two-time Daytime Emmy-winning actress, Eileen Davidson, has recently been given the ball by series executive producer and head writer, Josh Griffith to tell the ltin the latest of Ashley Abbott’s emotional struggles. This time, Ashley has splintered into multiple personalities: Ash, Mrs. Abbott, and Belle.

Given Ashley’s history (which has included several mental breakdowns), Y&R has chosen to revisit her psyche in a brand new twist in 2024 by launching a Dissociative Identify Disorder storyline. When things spiraled downward to her marriage to Tucker (Trevor St. John), and a flashback to a car crash which took her unborn baby in 2003, Ashley began to hear voices in her head and her alters began to emerge.

Speaking live on a virtual appearance on Tuesday on You Tube’s Michael Fairman Channel, Davidson shared her thoughts on the storyline, how she crafted Ashley’s various alters and what she thinks of her co-star, Trevor St. John.  Here’s a few key remarks from the chat below.

Photo: JPI

Eileen talked about Ashley’s overall emotional make-up, explaining, “Everybody always talks about her being so strong and so together, and they don’t like seeing her weak. I’m like, ‘Ashley’s never been as strong and together. She’s had issues from the gate out of the gate … years … forever.’  She had amnesia. She had all sorts of issues. I love her fallibility and her vulnerability.”

Taking on the different personalities is a challenge, but Davidson pointed to one, in particular, that she feels is the hardest to play, “Ash has been the most difficult one,” explained the actress. “Because I didn’t want to do anything too broad and too ‘teenagery.’  So it was just trying to be honest about somebody who’s kind of young and sees the world in a certain way and is perhaps defensive and is an angry teen.”

Photo: JPI

However, embodying Ms. Abbott was a lot easier for Davidson. “It wasn’t hard for me to figure her out,” she expressed. “It was the very first time she was introduced on paper. She’s in Tucker’s hotel room. She’s breaks in. I’m like, ‘Okay. she’s sitting in the chair and it, it says kind of like a ‘Sharon Stone-type moment.’  I felt pretty comfortable embodying that in control, kind of toying with a man. She knows how to put on vulnerability and softness to get what she wants, but is always in control. And her ugly side shows more and more as the story has been coming out.”

The newest alter to emerge was Belle. Davidson shared how much she knew of the alter before she began playing her, stating, “They gave me southern, flirtatious, likes tequila, and always looking for a guy’ and I was off to the races. It’s been really, really fun for me. I didn’t want her to sound like she’s from the South completely, because Ashley is not from the South. It’s just a persona of how Ashley thinks a southern person sounds. So, she’s not playing a southern character. She’s playing a personality that thinks she’s southern. It’s very different.”

Photo: JPI

Currently, it looks like Tucker’s life may be on the line as Ashley’s alters want to get rid of him once and for all.  Eileen explained why, revealing, “The most fascinating thing about DID and what I kept trying to inject into the performance is these alters are created to protect somebody. They all believe they’re protecting Ashley. Ms, Abbott thinks the way to protect Ashley is to kill Tucker because Tucker’s caused Ashley so much pain. So I mean, from that aspect, it’s good daytime drama.”

A lot of times in DID storylines, a very traumatic event from the childhood is revealed which caused a person to fracture into a multiple personalties. When Davidson was asked if she thinks something will come to light that the audience never knew happened to Ashley, she responded, “You would think so, right?  I mean, why not? The one thing that’s true about Ashley is that she had a traumatic childhood. Her mother abandoned her when she was very young, and then found out in her early twenties that her father wasn’t her biological father. So, who knows what happened. Whether or not they choose to explore that, I’m not sure. You have to kind of keep reinventing things to keep them interesting. I think like that stands true for characters (on a soap) as well.”

Photo: JPI

Over the years, Eileen has worked with several leading men. When asked how she feels the dynamic is working with Trevor St. John, she enthused, “I love working with Trevor. I just told him you breathe fresh air into the scenes. We work well together. We don’t really know what the other one’s going to do (in a scene), but we play off of each other. There’s a huge trust factor and that has been there from the get-go. When I first started working with Treb, I told him, ‘We got lucky.’ When you meet somebody out of the the blue and you start working together, we just had something and it just worked beautifully. I always know that when I work with Trevor, it’s going to be a terrific experience.”

Photo: JPI

Watch the full conversation with Eileen below.

Now let us know, which of Ashely’s alters do you enjoy seeing the most? Do you think something happened to Ashley as a child that we never knew about that is causing her DID? Share your theories via the comment section below.

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