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The John McCook Interview – The Bold and the Beautiful

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Photo Credit: Getty Images

For the past 25 years fans of The Bold and the Beautiful have witnessed the ups and down of the show’s patriarch and matriarch, Eric and Stephanie Forrester.  And now with the departure of series star and multiple Daytime Emmy winner, Susan Flannery (Stephanie) a new chapter will begin, but not before viewers, the characters and the actors themselves are put though the emotional ringer of having to say goodbye to this soap icon, and central figure to B&B’s ongoing drama.

And while Susan Flannery, and rightfully so, is receiving all the accolades for her bravura final performances, it is her on-screen partner John McCook (Eric) who has been doing some of his most subtle and heartbreaking work of his career.  So what does John think the on-screen death of Stephanie will mean for Eric?  A new lease on life?  A deep grieving process?  You will find out as On-Air On-Soaps sat down with John in his dressing room to get him to share his thoughts on the end of a 25-year plus on-screen relationship.

From Stephanie’s goodbye party to Susan and John’s final scenes, one thing is for certain; John feels a tremendous amount of respect for what Susan Flannery has meant to B&B and to the genre.  However, as one door closes another one opens.  Hopefully, this will give John the opportunity to explore new story arcs… and as he expresses, after the dust has settled… with the stunning departures and losses of both Ronn Moss (Ridge), his on-screen son, and Susan, his on-screen wife.  The series is turning the page, but not before we all have a very good cry.

MICHAEL:

John, what did you think when you found out that there was going to be an on-screen party celebrating Stephanie’s life, which for all intent and purposes was going to be the vehicle for Stephanie, and for Susan Flannery, to say goodbye on-air to all the characters?

JOHN:

Courtesy/CBS

The premise of the party was Eric wanted to throw her a celebration of her life.  Stephanie originally told Eric, “I don’t want to have a party.  Everyone will just sit around and cry.”  And he said, “No.  Not like that… a real celebration of your life while you are still here to enjoy it.”  So she decides to go for it, and then Stephanie comes up with the idea to handwrite invitations to people that she loves and that she wants to be there.  So, she hand-delivers them personally to people, which was a wonderful device for our show, that as she delivers them to different people we see flashbacks of her with whatever character Stephanie is delivering the invite to.

MICHAEL:

Have you gotten to see any of those episodes?  The one where she delivers the invite to Brooke, and the performances of Katherine Kelly Lang (Brooke) and Susan was fantastic.

JOHN:

Yes I have.  It was a great opportunity to indulge in these flashbacks, instead of just sticking them in when she is dead.  So instead of having a party where we go back and look at all of that, we do that beforehand.  Eric is kind of the host and is the ringmaster of the party.  He says to the guests, “No long faces!  No crying.  I want everyone to enjoy themselves.  I know this is a difficult thing.”  But then he sits down and serenades Stephanie at the piano with When Irish Eyes are Smiling, and then starts to cry himself.  He does a short little rendition of it, but quietly, and it’s sad.  And then Eric hired Celtic Woman, who came from far and wide to be at the celebration, and he brings them in from outside and they come in to the party and sing.

MICHAEL:

Did you know before this arc of the story that Stephanie was even Irish?

JOHN:

Courtesy/CBS

Well, I could tell from time to time with her temper! (Laughs) And, she can drink like an Irishmen! (Laughs)  Brad Bell, our executive producer and head writer, said to me one day up in his office, “You’re Irish, right?”  And I said, “Yeah. some, but I am Scottish mostly.”   Brad replies, “Good, because we are going to do this party…”   It wasn’t exactly out of nowhere, but it was. (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Is Eric breaking inside?  This has got to be so deeply painful for him dealing with the impending death of his beloved, Stephanie.

JOHN:

He and Stephanie decided to commiserate a lot before the party.  We see them in the doctor’s office.  They heard the news that her cancer had returned.  They are mourning together.  And as a couple and a team, they decide they are not going to do that anymore.   They decide, “Let’s show everybody that we can rise above this.  Let’s be matter-of-fact about this, and try to get everybody to be as joyful as humanly possible.”  Is he dying inside?   Of course, but only very little.  It’s very important for him to have this whole thing be a celebratory thing for her and for everyone.  They want to leave the party at the height of it, and they do.  So Eric and Stephanie say goodbye, and everyone realizes it’s the last time they are going to see Stephanie, and she says, “When Eric comes back, he is going to be by himself.  You are going to need to help him.”  And, oh my goodness, we leave and we go away and she doesn’t return, and there you are.  I am very pleased by the way that Brad and the show was able to handle this, and that Susan Flannery was gracious enough to be selfish as an actress in a good way, and that is to say, she said, “I want to play this!  I don’t want you to sweep her death under the rug.  I want you to kill Stephanie Forrester.  I want to stay here and play it out, so that we have really wonderful drama.”  Brad then rolled up his sleeves and created a really terrific way to salute her character, and salute Susan.

MICHAEL:

How was it for you and the rest of the cast to step on set and film those heart-wrenching and emotional goodbye party episodes? 

JOHN:

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

This was real and those feelings were real, when we look at one another in the scenes and indulge in the reality of losing our friend.  It wasn’t just the characters losing Stephanie; it was also all of these actors losing Susan as an actor and everything else she brings to work.  Susan brings a great deal to work.  She takes up a lot of room, and she makes choices and she forces you to believe what you need to believe in a scene, and you argue with her if you think you are right.  If you are right, then Susan will let you do it in a scene.  But Susan is probably one of three of four most knowledgeable actresses on daytime television for this genre.  What she knows about this type of material is more than all of us combined.  I really give her that credit.

MICHAEL:

How was the taping of your final scenes with Susan?

JOHN:

It was wonderful.  And as the two old war horses that we are, we love it when it is real.  We have years and years of manufacturing, in our way, big emotions and big love, and being actors together.

MICHAEL:

Will Eric go through a deep grieving process?

JOHN:

So far, yes.  When you lose a character like Ridge and you sweep it under the rug until you decide what to do, it’s not very fulfilling and it’s unsatisfactory.  The audience is going to mourn the loss of this Stephanie character like crazy.  You don’t sweep that under the rug.  You mourn with them, and show how Eric mourns the loss, and how Brooke mourns her loss, and how Pam mourns her loss.  These characters all of had relationships with Stephanie.

MICHAEL:

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

There have been some recent scenes between you and Alley Mills (Pam) that have been very sweet.  There was one in particular where Eric held her when she started to cry at work after Stephanie delivered more invitations to the party.  Could it be that Pam and Eric could eventually develop a romantic relationship coming out of their grief and loss for Stephanie?

JOHN:

I think Eric and Pam will continue to enrich the relationship that they have, whatever that is.  We wanted to indulge in that at the beginning when Pam first came on the canvas.  At that point, they started to write a competition between the sisters for Eric.  But then we got away from that.  Pam is very sad about losing Stephanie.  She says to Eric shortly before Stephanie passes, “Are you going to send me back to Chicago?”  And he says, “What?”  And she goes, “Well, I am not family here.  I don’t have anybody here.”  She then says, “Wait, and remember when I was in love with you?”  And Pam just does not know what to say or do at the moment.  She is like ten years old in those scenes.  She is alone in the world now having lost both her mother and her sister.  Eric says to her, “This is your family now.”  There is sweetness between them that both Alley and I want to mine. I don’t know what is going to happen down the road, but certainly they can mourn together.  My opinion is that Pam and Eric depended on Stephanie in a way that nobody else did.  They can grieve in a way that is private, and in a way that nobody else sees or knows about.  I would love for Eric to see Pam weeping on the floor at Forrester Creations, and for him to comfort her, and for her to comfort him through the loss of Stephanie.

MICHAEL:

We heard from many of your co-stars when Ronn Moss (Ridge) decided to exit the series so abruptly.  Were you shocked by his decision to leave, and then Susan’s?

JOHN:

Susan has been talking about leaving for ten years and she never left.  Of course not, she has been snarking about it for years!  But when this negotiation began, Ronn, Susan, Katherine and I went out to dinner one night after taping the show.  Ronn said at that meeting, “I am not going to stay.”  And then Susan said, “I don’t know if I am either.” But in fact in the next coming weeks when Ronn’s deal did not happen, Ronn was willing to go.  He was very excited about leaving.  That is because he had the music thing going on and was looking forward to it.  Ronn was not bitter, or angry, or anything like that.  He felt that he had really given the show a lot and he loved doing it, and that it was time to turn the page and move on.  We all said, “We respect that.”  The fact that Ronn was being so honest with us, and did not hide it from us was really cool.  Katherine was going, “Oh, my God!”  And then Susan said, “I am going to leave! But I am going to go talk to Brad and tell him to kill my character.  I will stay the weeks it will take to give my character a proper send-off.”  She did not want to just go up to the toilet and not come back down for the next three months! (Laughs)  I am very happy for what the show had done for her, and for the fans.

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

MICHAEL:

Now as B&B move into the future, there are only two of the “core four” original cast members and characters … played by yourself and Katherine Kelly Lang!

JOHN:

And then there was two … Katherine and myself.   On-screen, she and I cross paths in the night.  She and I have not had scenes together about anything, about the kids, let alone our past relationship.  Things have changed around here, though.   Katherine is in Susan’s old dressing room now.  It’s refreshing for her to have a new environment.  And, it is not about “getting” Susan’s room; it’s about having a new beginning for all of us.  My dressing room has been cleaned up a bit.  I have a parking space now, and I never had one before.  Katherine has one now that is hers, too.  This is not the beginning of the end for this show; it is the end of the beginning.  We have turned the page … Katherine and me, and Hunter Tylo (Taylor) and the young couples, and the Spencer family.  That is good.  That has plugged in here very well.  Don Diamont relishes the part of Bill Spencer.  He has brought to the show a different flavor and spice that we didn’t have before.  I salute that.  And, to put Heather Tom (Katie) with Don is a brilliant move.  I am glad that Rick (Jacob Young) is back, also!

MICHAEL:

With the current battle over the top spot of Forrester Creations raging on since Ridge is now off the canvas, don’t you think Eric should step in there and take the reins over Thomas and Rick?

JOHN:

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

I hope I get to be a mentor in there and a referee, and get to step in there.  We shall see. That is a very key part of losing Ronn Moss as Ridge.   Now it’s about who is going to run the business?  It’s an international fashion house.  I get that Thomas and Rick want to run the family business, but I think Eric needs to step back in.

MICHAEL:

What is your takeaway from working with Susan Flannery for these 25 plus years? Good, and or bad?

JOHN:

When I got here 25 years ago to do this show, I was armed and educated for what I needed to know to work with Susan Flannery, or anybody else.  What I learned from Susan was how wonderful it is to trust another performer and another performer’s opinion, and what it is like for years and years to be dependent on each other’s talent, preparation, and commitment.  Susan has stolen scenes from me over the years.  I have been able to do that to her, too.  When it happens, she goes, “O.K.”  When she would do it to me, I would go home and yell at my wife, Laurette! (Laughs)  I have had times when I wanted to play a scene a certain way and Susan absolutely refused.  You pick your battles.  Stephanie has been wearing the pants in the family for a long time.  I have used the expression that Eric has been in Stephanie’s shadow quite a lot over the last few years on the show.  So as an actor, I look at this as an opportunity to be, “all about me” for a minute, because that is what actor’s do.  I relish the opportunity to be out in the light, and be part of the future here for a while.

MICHAEL:

We know viewers hope to see Eric really going through the appropriate stages of grief, and the isolation of that.  Will we see that play out on-air?

JOHN:

Courtesy/CBS

We are just beginning to do that now.  We have so many viewers that are more than 70 years old, and a lot of grown up viewers.  Some of them have experienced this.  So we can’t be cavalier about, “Oh, he is going to drink too much now and start having sex with younger girls.”  I think that is kind of cliché, folks.  That is soap opera cliché.  We could do it and do it well, but let’s have Eric mourn in a real way, and be alone and feel what it is like to be left behind.  I don’t think he feels he was ready to be left behind.  Yes, your family is there for you.  However, when you are alone in your house, it doesn’t matter how much your family loves you.  At the end of the day she is not there anymore.

MICHAEL:

Clearly, you would tell fans to have their boxes of Kleenex ready as the final moments of Stephanie approach … and even past that?

JOHN:

No question about it.  People have cried all ready just at the idea of losing Stephanie.  I am going to even say, I think that would be true of any of your favorite beloved characters on any soap opera.  When one of those dies, the show needs to honor that, and go there and indulge in that loss, and show the audience that, “Yes, we know how hard it is going to be, as in this case, for Stephanie not to be there.”

MICHAEL:

So when all is said and done, John, what direction do you hope B&B takes with Eric once Stephanie is no longer on the canvas?

JOHN:

Photo Credit: Gilles Toucas

What are they going to do with Eric?  I am not sure.  I know I will be rattling around that house for a while.  Will Pam be there?  Sure.  But everybody else is going to be there too, trying to help Eric.  Is he going to have a new relationship and get laid?  Who cares!  That is not what the story is about.  What we need to do is show Eric being by himself for a while, and coming back into his work life for a while.  Just about him trying to get through the day where he is thinking to himself, “Where is my coffee?  Where is she? Where is my Martini?”  These are sad things.  It would be so funny for Pam to try to make a Martini for him, and for him to say, “I am never going to have a Martini ever again in my life.”  And for her to say, “O.K.” and then she walks away, but then all of a sudden for Eric to say, “Do you know how to make a Manhattan?”  (Laughs)

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I hope they have the character of Eric and Brooke have some growth after all this I do not care to see either one jump into relationships. The one thing I would disagree with is Winsor Harmon has played Thorne the longest he should have a meatier role but maybe it is because I disdain the actor who plays Rick. The show will go on but I fear we will get back to the horrid teenybopper triangle. Mr. McCook has done some good work this last month.

I love the show and have been watching it since the beginning. I’m ready to carry on with the young people and see what will happen with Liam, Steffy,and Hope. I’m already seeing Katie and new baby Will back together and Dollar Bill will follow. As for Brook, don’t know maybe she will be laid back and alone for a while like Taylor. Bring back Jackie and her gang. The next few weeks or months will be something to see. Like always I will be glued to the T.V. everyday at 12:30 on CBS. Great Show!!!!!

It appears that Eric will not be supporting Thomas. He sides with his snake-of-a-son Rick over Thomas every time, which is funny because Rick can’t design a dish cloth!

Many viewers would like to see the Logans – Brooke, Donna and Hope — gone from Forrester Creations and have the Douglas/Forester clan can pull together. Thomas is the star designer and Rick is supposed to have business savvy, too bad their bad blood will not allow them to work together.

I just watched the last episode of the great Flannery. KKL and SF both made incredible performances. For me this was really the end of The Bold and The Beautiful. The show lost a lot when the late great Darlene Conley passed away, but with SF in the key role, B&B stayed alive though show’s golden years were gone (90’s). It’s extremely sad to see Flannery retiring (she absolutely deserves it!!). In the last 10 years, she has been the only reason to watch this show that has become only a shadow of what it once was! Thank God we will always have the clips from the golden days 🙂 KKL is a wonderful actress but no one can replace SF!!! Thank YOU SUSAN from the bottom of my heart for the unforgettable years. You are my true acting idol! The greatest actress of daytime!!! <3 Take care!!!

Iagree susan was and is a great actress,. she was in another soap years ago but i cant rember which one and she wa great in that one to . SoSUSAN COME BACK TO SEE USin spirit on occasion,like john does on y&r. thank you for such great acting it was so beliveable

GR8 interview, Michael. I just watched the final Stephanie scene and am still sniffling. It’s hard to imagine the show without her. Still miss Ronn Moss. I hope that John McCook is right and the writers give us something different than expected soap mourning. I’d love to really see Brooke and Eric mourn before jumping in bed with new relationships, and more focus put on their characters not the teeny boppers (which has gotten old fast). I find myself missing Nick, Jackie and Bridget too. Enough of preachy Taylor and her “entitled” kids. BORING.
But excellent writing here, Michael. You painted a wonderful inside portrait of what’s going on!!!!!!!
I loved Susan Flannery’s work. She was a major part of B & B. She will be so missed.

I have watched this show from day 1 and I love Susan and Katherine. The writers did a wonderful job with the hate love relationship between these 2 women. I cried my eyes out today to see Stephanie go but I think it was wonderful that Brooke was with her. I hope to see more exciting things for this show so that I can watch for another 25 years.

Nice interview, Michael. And I am one of McCook’s biggest fans.

I have watched this show from day 1 and I love Susan and Katherine. The writers did a wonderful job with the hate love relationship between these 2 women. I cried my eyes out today to see Stephanie go but I think it was wonderful that Brooke was with her. I hope to see more exciting things for this show so that I can watch for another 25 years. John is the back bone of this show I hope he is not planning on leaving any time soon.

SUSAN I HAVE ENJOYED WATCHING YOU ON B & B, I HAVE WATCHED THE SHOW SINCE THE VERY FIRST SHOW IN 1987, SF WILL BE MISSED, I ALSO MISS RONN MOSS, HOPEFULLY YOU BOTH WILL HAVE A GREAT TIME IN WHEREVER LIFE TAKES YOU BOTH. I WILL MISS YOU BOTH BUT THE SHOW WILL GO ON & BE GREAT AS EVER, SO MANY NEW YOUNG CHARACTERS BUT THERE WILL NEVER BE ANOTHER SF.

I just want to say the very best to Susan for alll the years on t.v. You are one amazing lady B&B will not be the same without you May our LORD be with you and Bless you in whatever you intend to do love you Susan and will miss you

Stephanie Forrester it was a pleasure watchin you on th B&B..
I wish you didnt have to leave the show, you really made my day
When i watch you on the show, you were a woman not to mess with..
Well all must come to an end.. I wish you luck in everthing you do…
You will be missed!! <3

I am so sad to see Susan leave I am glad though her and Brooke had quit feuding that was getting tiring I still dont understand why they gotr
id of Nick and Jackie they just quit showing them I wish they would bring them back. i was hoping they would do more with Deacon and Ambers characters it doesntlook like they will though,I wish I could write for them.

Today was a great day for B&B. I cried and am still upset even through I knew it was coming that Stephanie would die on the show. I think Brook did a great job and I wonder if those tears were real because they sure looked real and always do when she cries. Great ending for a new beginning. Looking forward to all future shows with all the young and old . Thank you B&B . At one time I watched 2 soaps everyday but sometime way back I only tune in for the B&B and if I miss an episode I’ll turn on the computer and kick back and watch,

These last couple of weeks have been hard I have road with BB for the entire 25 years ever since they took ove the Capital spot,even though the selfish side of me wants things to stay the same,with the oringinal characters, I understand that people must move on and make room for the next generation the next chapter,but it is still sad, we the viewers forget that these actors work as we do and there comes a time when wanting to retire kicks in, be it acting ,bus driving, people want to retire,people want to experience new horrizons,I wish Susan and Ronn well on their journey and thank them both for the dedication that they have given,God Bless to you both. Afaithful fan Syreeta

excellent interview michael!

WOW!!! What can I say. I have been there the whole 25 years of the show also. I think it is wonderful that they let Stephanie & Brooke end with a good relationship. Susan will be missed so much. She was one of those characters that you had a love/hate moment with. I like watching the new actors on the show but the old ones are the best. It is hard to replace those. I would love for NBC to make B&B a hour long Soap Opera. There seems to be a down fall on the Soaps now. I am beginning to think that they are trying to do away with all of them now. My generation and the older ones were the die hard fans who never misses a episode. The generation now just don’t watch them as we have. I hope that B&B will keep Katherine & John for a long while. I know he is getting on up in age and his time will come when he is ready to retire also. I know Leslie Downs had to fight with cancer for a while and I think that is why she did not sign another contract. Also Jack Wagner and Brandon Beemer contract ran out also. There has been a lot of soap stars lately who are not signing new contracts. It seems that they are getting out of it I guess. I hope that this is not the end of my favorite soaps. There is only a few of them left on daytime TV now. So if you are a devoted fan to the soaps that are left on NBC, please keep on viewing them because if there ratings go down they will take them off like they did the other shows. God Bless Susan, may your retirement be very fulfilling. Ron I hope your next journey is very fulfilling also. I never knew that you were in that group until I read your interview. I miss seeing your face on there. If they decide to replace you on the show, I hope it is someone who favors you because it will seem so strange looking at a different person. Good luck to all the cast & crew in the future episodes.

bold and beautiful is on CBS notNBC

I really enjoyed this interview. I hope JM will get the chances to shine in the spot light again. When I watched the flashbacks and saw how beautiful his hair was I almost swooned. I remember those days so well. (He is still a handsome man but when he was salt-and-pepper he was so debonair.) The actors who have recently left will be missed, but I know that JM and the rest of the cast will make the show so interesting that we will all continue to wait impatiently for it to begin every week day! I am an Irish girl, btw, and the party scenes, and those leading up to it, were some of the most enjoyable on television during the past few years — in any time slot.

I have not seen the passing of Stephanie yet .here in Cyprus we are behind……….have watched entranced since 1987.in South Africa now here in Cyprus……………..I salute you Susan and thank you for the many many years of great entertainment i have enjoyed in my living room…will miss Ron too………Blessings and thanks to all at B AND B

SUSAN SPASSING WAS A WONDERFUL SEND OFF DONE WITH PASSION WARMTH AND SO VERY WELL DONE WITH GRACE AND DIGNITY. THANK YOU WRITERS.

MICHAEL. THANK YOU FOR THE WONDERFUL INTERVEIW YOU DID ON THE bold&beautiful.

Is Eric going to leave the show and the people on there should let him be with the woman he wants in his life

In the Sept 30th episode di John Mccook leave the show?

I don’t think he did, he said in an interview that he was glad to have frontburner for the first time in years. I think he just passed out again in today’s episode though.

I am from Sri Lanka, I am trying the best to contact John McCook and Stephanie for over 10 years. It’s a shame, because I am a very good fan of both of them. I cn even giv my personal no.0094767733195
Pls contact me. I love both of u.
God bless both of u
With love, Freeda

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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General Hospital

(INTERVIEW) William deVry Talks on His Roles in Hallmark’s ‘A Whitewater Romance’, New Film ‘Pocket of Hope’ and His Time on the Soaps

For soap favorite, William deVry life-after-daytime has been reinvigorating, filled with new projects and new directions. This Saturday, May 11th he can be seen in the latest rom-com from Hallmark, A Whitewater Romance (8pm ET/PT) starring Cindy Busby as Maya and Ben Hollingsworth as Matt who play intense business rivals, and featuring Will as Jim Burdett, set against the backdrop of the outdoors and Canada.

In addition, Wil has been busy prepping other projects in which he is executive producing and starring including: Colt & McQueen and Christmas in Bordeaux, and producing and starring in a very dramatic departure for deVry, as the lead in the new true-life story feature film, Pocket of Hope.

Michael Fairman TV chatted with Wil to get the lowdown on his latest and upcoming roles, his expanding career aspirations, and to get his reflections on his three main soap roles: Julian Jerome on General Hospital, Storm Logan on The Bold and the Beautiful and Michael Cambias on All My Children. Read on for what deVry has been up to of late and his reflections of the past.

Courtesy/Hallmark

In A Whitewater Romance, you play the character of Jim Burdett, tell me about him?

WIL: My character runs this whitewater rafting company and the deal is that there’s a corporate retreat that is organized at my company. Jim is sort of old school. He’s been running the company for quite a lot of years. Jim’s not social media savvy. In the story, Maya and Matt get there, and they end up obviously enjoying themselves at this corporate bonding retreat. They discover that Jim was going to close down the company. He stayed open specifically to accommodate this corporate retreat. And then, of course, Cindy Busby’s character, and Ben Hollingsworth character do this little online thing for Jim and get business booming. Before he knows it, the entire summer is booked with clients and they basically saved his company. It’s a feel-good movie with beautiful, stunning locations.

And, are you a good guy in this?

WIL: It’s almost like, wait!  Will is playing good guy? It’s funny because our director, Jason Bourque knows I’ve been playing bad guys for so long. Even the Christmas movie that I did with Terry Hatcher, Christmas at the Chalet, I went through such an arc. My character was so focused in his business and kind of unhappy because he was living his life for other people, and you don’t really realize that you might be slightly unhappy because you don’t take time to do inventory for yourself. In A Whitewater Romance, Jason had this idea that I was this really kind of ‘happy-go-lucky’ guy. And by the second day of shooting, he goes, “I think maybe Jim is a former military …” We both laughed because it was a subtle joke, because you know, I can be a little bit serious.

Photo: Willdevry

How was it to work with Ben and Cindy?

WIL: Great. Cindy being a lead, they set an example for everybody. Cindy is so low key and very friendly, and basically the trailer door is open if you want to discuss anything. Ben was also a producer on this. He might have had a little more stress on him than just sort of acting. But honestly, you couldn’t tell. Both of them had a good sense of humor. I would work with either one of them in a heartbeat again.

You have some exciting news to share; as you are about to be the lead in a new film?

WIL: Yes, I’m the lead in a new film called Pocket of Hope. It’s based on the true story of Chad Gaines, and I am playing Chad. It’s a beautiful movie. It’s in the present day with Chad talking with his daughter. He’s always been reluctant to share his past with her, and because there was a lot of trauma involved, he didn’t really want to put her through that. She’s no longer a young lady and so he feels now is the time to share that. There are a lot of strong flashbacks in the movie. It goes back between the past and the present, which I think is really engaging. The budget is well over a million dollars. We start filming at the end of May in Los Angeles, and then we will go on location in August to shoot the remaining scenes.

Courtesy/Willdevry

How do you feel about tackling a dramatic role such as this with tough subject matter?

WIL: It’s a heavy-duty role. There’s a lot of responsibility. I’ve prepared my whole life for these kinds of roles. It’s really exciting to play a true life individual, who has a story to tell. I think it’s a great honor for me and for the director/producer David Kohner Zuckerman, as well. David is wanting to do Chad’s story justice. We’ve got a good team for this. Robert Altman Jr’s, Cora Atlman, is playing my daughter. When you find a troupe that you like to work with and you can collaborate with, you stick together. So, we have David, as I mentioned and also Deran Sarafian, who is consulting on the project. Deran and I have been working on my other project together, Colt & McQueen. We are the luckiest people in the business right now to be working with Deran. He has had a lot of successful pilots that he’s done for Fox, ABC, and NBC and also Marvel and Netflix shows. He was also a producer on House for Fox.

Photo: Willdevry

In Colt & McQueen, you play a former LAPD detective, right?

WIL: Correct. He was basically dishonorably discharged for something that he didn’t do. He is going be trying to clear his name of any wrongdoings. However, in order to make a living, he sort of does these unsanctioned assignments for the captain of the LAPD, who is also on his way out. He’s a good guy. Kin Shriner (Scott, GH) is in it and he kind of plays a man of the streets who goes by “The Professor.” Rebecca Staab (Elizabeth, Port Charles, et al) is in it, and she plays the character with the code name “Leather Jacket” within the LAPD system. We go into production on it in July.

You’re doing your own projects now. That must be liberating in some ways and harder in others.

WIL: I just said, “Look, if I’m going to stay in this business, I have to have some control over my career now as opposed to just auditioning blindly.” That can be a frustrating process. I am learning a lot because I’ve never produced before or executive produced, but the effort is there, and the will to do so is there.

Photo: RStaabIG

Speaking of projects, you have another one you are working on, a romantic comedy called Christmas in Bordeaux. What is the theme of that one?

WIL: It’s a tale of family traditions, renewed passions, for love and life and spiritual and cultural awakenings. Finding value in the time we have left. And of course, a happy ending for all involved.

As an actor, when you finally get to the point where you get to act you probably really enjoy that. It’s just the challenges of all the things it takes to get there that can be daunting for a performer.

WIL: As an actor, you have to be so good and so comfortable and embrace the rejection. The rejection has to feed you. It can’t defeat you. However, I kind of do take everything personally. If a casting director doesn’t want to bring me in for something that’s their prerogative. I don’t really get angry about it, but I take it personally because I kind of feel like, they should bring me. I can’t just sit back and accept my fate based on other people’s ideas of what I’m capable of or not capable of. Sometimes my resume is a benefit, and sometimes it’s a detriment. It’s up to me to change the narrative.

Photo: JPI

What would you want to say to the GH fans who had been so supportive of you through the years?

WIL: It blows me away how loyal they are, and their passion. I want them to be of aware that. I’m excited to work for myself, and if that doesn’t work out, I am very comfortable going on to do something else with my life. Nancy Lee Grahn (Alexis, GH) and I had talked about it at one point, and how she absolutely loves the business. I have other things that interest me and move me. I hope every single fan of Julian Jerome comes along on this journey with me.

Photo: JPI

Looking back, do you think your best role on the soaps was Michael Cambias on All My Children?

WIL: I think with Michael Cambias that All My Children destroyed the character. I sat down with the executive producer at the time, Jean Dadario Burke, and she said, “You’ll be here as long as you want. We did a focus group and you’ve got a 96% approval rating. That’s through the roof.” Two days later, I was called back into her office as they had fired the head writer. I was told Megan McTavish was coming back and they were going to make my character irredeemable, which as everybody knows, Michael Cambias went on to do horrible things to Erica Kane’s (Susan Lucci) family and then he was off the show.

Photo: JPI

Then, you went on to portray Storm Logan on The Bold and the Beautiful and the heartbreaking suicide storyline which saved Katie’s (Heather Tom) life, but cost Storm his.

WIL: Storm had a lot of potential. When you’re going through such a beautiful, heart-wrenching, horrific story like that, I wanted to give the audience a lot of credit. Soaps have a smart audience. I wanted them to go on the journey with me. I didn’t want to ruin it for them by playing the problem. I didn’t want to create the drama before it was time to pay the price, if you know what I mean. I allowed it to play out on-screen without any foreshadowing. I think that’s why it worked and that’s why it broke everybody’s heart, and I think that’s why it won a Daytime Emmy for Best Drama Series. Brad Bell (executive producer and head writer, B&B) trusted me with a vehicle that ended up being the Ferrari for that year. I’m eternally grateful to him.

Photo: JPI

Do you ever check out General Hospital nowadays to see how your old castmates are doing and what is happening in Port Charles?

WIL:  I like to check in. I like to see what Kin Shriner (Scott) is up to, and I like to see who’s showing up and who’s going. I like to see Maura West (Ava) who is such a terrific actress and who played my on-screen sister. We had such a good working relationship and I hope she is on the show forever.  I was happy with my eight years on the show. I knew for 18 months it was time for me to leave. I knew in my heart the character was done. Frank Valentini (executive producer, GH) was thrilled with how I left the show. Those six and a half years on General Hospital were a lot of fun. I really loved going to work.

So, will you be watching William deVry in ‘A Whitewater Romance’ this weekend on Hallmark? What do you think about his upcoming projects and roles? Miss him on daytime? Comment below.

 

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