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THE JOHN MCCOOK INTERVIEW – THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL

By Michael Fairman

John-main.jpgTV SOAP:

This soap season has been really great for your character, Eric Forrester. It’s been major story!

JOHN:

Yes, major story…. even when I was laying there. I had the scruffy beard, and the bedsores, and it was wonderful. Actually, the bed we had was the most modern hospital bed one can have, and it changes every 20 seconds. It deflates on one side, and puffs up on another, and that’s why it keeps the pressure off one place in your skin. So, it prevents bedsores, and sure enough, I did not get any.

TV SOAP:

Did you love the concept surrounding Eric’s heart attack?

JOHN:

I thought it was great, because it was a heart attack, and nobody realized it wasn’t caused by anybody when it happened. Certainly, none of the actors knew it had been caused by anybody when it happened. I endured a lot of Viagra jokes because it had happened after sex with Donna. I got tired of that. Then, a couple of weeks into his coma, it had been revealed that somebody had caused it and that it was a ‘Whodunit’. Then, that evolved into something else. As Eric recovered, the family worked to keep Donna apart from him. Then, they steal him back, and who does he see? Well, the good news is you’re waking out of your coma; the bad news is, your ex-wife Stephanie is there! Then, it was a really wonderful reunion with Eric and his family after that. Then what happens is that Eric sees Donna and Owen in a compromising position, and it appears to be more than that. Eric freaks out and it almost makes him sick again. They now keep Donna away. But then, this wonderful thing happens of Donna wanting to explain her side of the story, and sneaking into the house to get to talk to Eric. It was pretty cool! It goes on from there.

TV SOAP:

So, Donna pleads her case?

JOHN:

When she first comes to him, he still is monosyllabic. It’s hard for him to wrap his brain around anything, let alone express himself. So, she tearfully explains, “I never lost faith in you. I did not go off with Owen someplace and commit myself. I love you Eric. You are the guy I want to be with. I feel terrible that your family has done this. They are keeping me away from you. They are not telling the whole truth of what happened to you while you were in a coma.” Eric is not able to say, “What are you talking about? Tell me everything?” All of that is in the future with these characters. Right now Eric is still on the edge, and very vulnerable to anyone’s machinations: Stephanie’s or Felicia’s, let alone Donna’s!

steph-eric.jpgTV SOAP:

What does Eric feel for Stephanie? It seems like they will always have feelings for each other, and always drift back towards each other, no matter what.

JOHN:

It seems like that, doesn’t it? That’s the tension. I think what I like about how Brad Bell (executive producer and head writer, “B&B) writes is that he keeps these things unresolved, and these feelings are unresolved. Eric’s feelings for Stephanie are always in flux. He wants to shoot her in the head, and he realizes he owes her so much. He loves her and has been with her for 150 years! (He laughs) I always use to say that, “They used to hunt Bison together. They have been together so long!”

TV SOAP:

But Stephanie and Eric, for all purposes, are an iconic soap couple!

JOHN:

It’s a cliché I suppose, and a staple, and it’s necessary. So for this man to be so dependent, and owe so much to Stephanie, and be adored and loved by Donna is interesting. This is not a pin-up or hot tamale. Donna really loves him. That’s what’s different about this. It starts out as this “hootchie-mama” putting the makes on this older guy, but Eric really loves this gal.

TV SOAP:

What if Owen were to steal Donna away from Eric? How would Eric feel about that?

Owen-Donna.jpgJOHN:

If Donna left Eric for Owen, he would just go, “Donna’s big mistake”, and he would not blame this guy Owen. Owen is just a kid, and a cute kid, who comes around and has hot pants for Donna. If Donna went with him permanently, Eric would just shrug it off. However, he would be sad about Donna.

TV SOAP:

Would it devastate him?

JOHN:

It would devastate him, but he would not blame Owen. I don’t think so. Not to the point of committing a crime or getting into a fistfight with him. I think he would flick him off.

TV SOAP:

What about Eric’s relationship dynamic with daughter, Felicia?

JOHN:

We swept that under the rug; the fact that Felicia offered Owen $200,000 for a crime. They did not go down that road, but they did resolve it in 7 minutes between commercials 2 and 3, where Owen admits it to Donna. (He laughs) He admires her so much, and sees how much she is put upon by her family and Eric’s family. He feels sympathy for her and she admires him for turning it down. That shows that Owen is not some bad guy or some money hungry guy. He turned the money down for good reason.

TV SOAP:

How do you justify all of this? Won’t Eric be hell-bent on getting back at everyone in his family for how they took advantage of him during his coma?

ridge-plug.jpgJOHN:

Eric was very angry with his children prior to the heart attack. I think in the future when all is revealed, and it had not all been revealed to Eric, there is a lot for Eric to learn in regards to what happened to him when he was in coma. He needs to learn how Ridge tried to take the business away from him, and then tried to take the business away from Donna while Eric was down. Ridge wanted to violate Donna’s power of attorney that Eric had put in place. And, he also pulled the plug on Eric, and when Eric finds this all out, it’s going to be stunning! And this business with Ridge, Thorne, and Felicia, is not over.

TV SOAP:

I want Eric to have a backbone. The men on soaps and on “B&B” tend to be portrayed as weak.

JOHN:

These stories are about the women. Women are the manipulators, and fight, achieve, and fail, and I get that. The men are the prizes and are the thing to win or not. So the men have to not be aware of all the machinations going on, which in turn makes us look dumb. Then the scene is happening right in front of us, and you have to say, “I’m sorry, I don’t see that. I am not aware of that? How dumb am I?” And the producers go, “Well, be looking at the fern and pretend you don’t hear it!” So our characters are constantly being compromised by how little we are aware of. It’s true of Ridge Forrester, Eric Forrester, and all the men on the show.

TV SOAP:

22% of the soap viewing audience between the ages 18-49 in last months Nielsen ratings were reported as male. What kind of message does this portrayal of men send to those guys watching it at home?

JOHN:

It’s Ronn Moss’s (Ridge) and my frustration. How the hell am I going to play this and retain Eric’s intelligence at all? These characters are supposed to have achieved something in their lives. They can’t be this dumb or this blind. But, we have to be here. It’s not true on “Gossip Girls”. The men on that show are the prizes, but they are not stupid. As men on soaps, we are constantly having to come up with the spine of the scenes, and make it stronger than what is written for us. I think Eric will be upset when he comes-to, but it would be better if he was angry, rather than upset.

TV SOAP:

Eric needs to write to his children out of his will, like Victor Newman did recently on “Y&R”!

JOHN:

Well, that is a very Victor Newman thing to do! It would be a powerful thing for Eric to do, and to also write Stephanie out of the will, if you ask me. I like when Eric made a decisive choice, like when he chose Donna and he told Stephanie, “I am done with this. I am not coming back to you again. I’m not!” Eric is being nursed back to health after a coma and a heart attack. I think that changes men in business, when they have heart attacks.

wheel-kids.jpgTV SOAP:

Will there be physical and emotional repercussions from the heart attack when Eric tries to regain his life?

JOHN:

That was the thing I talked to Brad about. Does this change Eric? And he said, “No, no, we have to be careful. He did not have a stroke.” He said, “Eric does not have lingering physical or mental changes. He is not injured by it.” But, will he be a different man when he comes back to work? Yeah! It kind of slows a guy down, and makes you doublethink things. “Maybe I do need to ease off a bit.” We move things so fast on our show, that we don’t fully explain things over several episodes so that everyone understands and gets it. We explain it in one episode and one little segment, and if you were not there for that, you have to ask somebody else. I think our show moves too fast at times.

TV SOAP:

How is working with the new Beth Logan, Robin Riker?

JOHN:

I love her as Beth. I can’t wait for her to have more to do. She has a little twinkle in her eye and is a wonderful actress. I think she is beautiful and very attractive. I can’t wait to play with her. I have not worked with her yet, and that’s a surprise. Robin is an episodic television queen. I think I am a big episodic television person, too, but it’s been a long time since I have been out doing it. (He laughs)

TV SOAP:

Susan Flannery’s (Stephanie) moments in the hospital with Eric were wonderful. What’s it like when you work with her now?

JOHN:

It’s wonderful, c’mon! She does not surprise me, but that’s the fullness and the richness of what she does. That’s her skill. That’s her talent, and she does that better than anyone on television, I think.

TV SOAP:

“GL’s” Kim Zimmer (Reva) told me that the level of performance Susan Flannery brings to her role is unparalleled. I have heard that from so many of the top-notch actresses in the soap genre.

JOHN:

Sure they do. They aspire to it. The appreciation these veteran women have for each other is wonderful. They all come back to Susan Flannery all the time, because Susan is powerful and real, and inventive. What surprises me sometimes is how she chooses to do a scene.

TV SOAP:

Does that ever throw you off in your performances?

MacCook-wife.jpgJOHN:

No. I have been married to her for 21 years, and that is almost as long as I have been married to my own wife.

TV SOAP:

How is your wife?

JOHN:

Laurette is great, and she does surprise me all the time.

TV SOAP:

Are there times when you felt your performance was not up to par?

JOHN:

Of course, there are times. I will be in a scene with somebody, and maybe Jennifer Gareis (Donna) or Kyle Lowder (Rick) will say something about their own work like, “I wasn’t very good. Do you think I should do it again?” It’s not being cavalier, but I say to them, “It’s a different scene tomorrow, and that’s the lesson you have to learn. You cannot come out and rehearse and warm up to it in this medium. Nowadays, the first time we rehearse is probably when we are going to shoot it. So, be on it right now, out of the gate. We are all capable of doing that.”

TV SOAP:

How is working with Jennifer?

MacCook-Gareis.jpgJOHN:

She surprises me, to be quite truthful. We have been doing this story for at least a year. When I began, I was very excited to have a story with a young woman, any one woman but Stephanie, because that makes for good story for Eric. I think she was excited because it meant doing something different than she had done before. I had not watched her on “Y&R”, and I saw the ‘sex-kitten’ thing she does really well here at “B&B”. Then as Brad started writing it, I thought, “What are we going to do? Is it going to be Eric and some sex-kitten story?” It’s so, mid-life crisis for Eric. So I went to Brad, and he said, “No. She falls in love with Eric, and then Eric falls in love with her.” Jennifer and I had a quick talk then about how we’re going to approach this, and said, “Let’s make it different than anything we have ever done… for you, Jennifer, and for me, too.” It’s an opportunity to go to an acting place we had never gone before, and she just did fall in love with this guy. Her childlike reaction to loving him is what I reacted to. It was funny, sweet and real.

TV SOAP:

What can we tell your fans to look forward to from Eric in the coming months?

JOHN:

I think they can look forward to the same thing I do, which is really complicated reactions to a very complex storyline. He loves his Stephanie. He is in love and married to Donna, I think. Who is he going to end up with is an overriding story point, but that’s not even the story we are telling. The complex part of the story is, how does he react to the information he learns, and how does it affect him, with this family, kids and wife.

kyle-john.jpgTV SOAP:

When do you see all of this coming into play for the audience?

JOHN:

This will all be coming out between now and Christmas. I don’t know all the answers to those questions, and as we go through fall and come to the end of the year, he is going to know a lot more.

TV SOAP:

Do you think Eric could just fall apart and have a complete meltdown?

JOHN:

Yeah, he could. I would like to see him in an alley in downtown LA, with some of the same people Stephanie hung out with years ago. (He laughs) I think the business is too important to him, so he wouldn’t fall apart. We need to see Eric suffering with the business and bringing it back, and achieving stuff there. We need to see Ridge and Rick there, and see the other kids and everybody in that building, fighting for the millions and millions of dollars that are generated by that family business.

TV SOAP:

How has it been working with Kyle Lowder (Rick)?

JOHN:

Kyle is great, and has a lovely sense of humor. He is an efficient leading man, and it’s fun to fuss with him a little bit, and try to pull him out of that a bit. He is playing good Rick storyline now, and he is pulling that off really well.

TV SOAP:

And finally, you and Ronn Moss have been with the show since the beginning. How is your working relationship with him?

JOHN:

I love working with Ronn. It’s been 21 years. Ronn got better all through the years and every year he has done that. I am staying sort of the same, and Ronn is getting better, and it’s funny. People made fun of Ronn. ridge-eric.jpgIt was so
stunning to see a man who looked like that, even on television. And Ronn has a stunning look, and he is the icon of our show. The jaw, and the zero body fat, and Katherine Kelly Lang (Brooke)… the two of the them together in a picture are amazing. But at first, people would make fun of our show because of how Ronn looked. They would go, “How could this guy be any good as an actor, and look like that?” And Ronn proves that he can. He loves the show and the character. We all love being here together, and its great. Ronn says the same thing he said to me the first day, every day. He holds a script up and goes, “What is this?” If I ever win an Emmy, I’m going to thank him and say that! (He laughs)

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Been following John for many yrs!! I was hoping he might remember his roots were once in Tx!! The McCooks were kinsfolk from way back!! He has had a awesome career and I am one of his biggest fans!! I love all the family in what is my favorite soap!!

All My Children

Eva LaRue Talks On Her Daytime Emmy Nomination, And Opens Up About The Loss Of John Callahan

For Eva LaRue, the past two months have been some of the most emotionally gut-wrenching and challenging of her life, following the passing of her ex-husband, father of her child, and dearest friend, John Callahan (Ex-Edmund, All My Children). The outpouring of support she has received not only from her former AMC cast mates, but the soap world in general illustrates just how dear Eva is to all of us, and how many people had special memories of their time with John.

While mourning the loss of Callahan along with their daughter, Kaya, there was some heartwarming and re-affirming news that any actress would love to hear. Eva was nominated for a Daytime Emmy in the Outstanding Guest Performer in a Drama Series for her work as Celeste Rosales on CBS’ The Young and the Restless, and she is great company as her former AMC co-star Michael E. Knight (Ex-Tad) is also nominated along with her for his work on General Hospital.

The coronavirus pandemic has hit our country and world hard, but through it All My Children virtual reunions emerged as fans were engaged by the content, transported to happier times that brought them back to familiar faces in Pine Valley in which Eva participated along with her good friends, Kelly Ripa, Mark Consuelos and so many more, thanks to the EW. com weeklong event which concluded on Friday.

Michael Fairman TV talked with Eva in this very candid, at times heartbreaking, and open conversation where she shares details into the final days of her beloved John, her last moments with him, and how she tried to plan a memorial in his honor during the COVID-19 pandemic.

For so many of us, 2020 has certainly seen more lows then highs, but in the end for Eva, to receive a nomination now (an award she was last nominated for back in 1997 as Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for her work as Dr Maria Santos on All My Children) couldn’t have come at a better time. Here now is our conversation with Eva.

Photo: JPI

I’ve been thinking so much about you.  I’m glad we could do this, and in the midst of the tragedy of losing John Callahan, and then receiving a Daytime Emmy nomination.  What was your reaction when you learned you were nominated in a category with none other than your former AMC castmate and good friend, Michael E. Knight (Ex-Tad, AMC, now Martin, GH)?

EVA:  Oh, I know!  He’s the first person I texted!  I was like, “Congratulations, Michael!  Did you ever in a million years think that you and I would be in the same category of anything?”  Then I said, “And when you win this, can I just borrow it for the weekend just to dress it up and take pictures with it… just want to borrow it, just babysit the trophy for a weekend, please?” (Laughs)

Photo: JPI

What did you end up submitting that landed you the nomination for your role as Celeste on Y&R?

EVA: I submitted a scene with Peter Bergman (Jack, Y&R), who I have been friends for 30 years, if not more, and in all that time we had never worked together.  I met him when I was married to John O’Hurley (Ex- Dr. James Grainger) because John was over at The Young and the Restless at the time.  I went to a Christmas party with John to Peter and Mariellen’s house, and do you know who else was there?  Lisa Rinna (Ex-Billie, Days), and it was before she had gotten Days of Our Lives. She was dating Peter Barton (Ex-Scott Grainger, Y&R) at the time. We both ended up on soaps at the same time.  So, I submitted a scene with Peter, who is amazing, warm and open and such a great actor. Then I submitted a scene with my on-screen daughter Sasha Calle (Lola, Y&R) – I love that girl, and another one with Michelle Stafford (Phyllis, Y&R) who has also been my great friend for a couple of decades. The other scene I put on my reel was with me and Jordi Vilasuso (Rey, Y&R) who I also adore.  He is awesome and such a sweetheart.  I only had two months worth of material to draw upon.  So, I just submitted the scenes that I liked the best, and they all were within story, and all made sense.

Photo: Getty Images

Where is Celeste supposed to be now?

EVA:  She went back to Florida, and that was that. I would never say never to anything, but it was always supposed to be a short stint, and it was great.

So not only is it you and Michael E. Knight, but Jeffery Vincent Parise, Chrishell Stause, and Elissa Kapneck. This Guest Performer category is loaded!

EVA:  I know! I know and love, Chrishell (Ex-Amanda) because we worked together on All My Children, too, right before I left, and she is a doll.  She just might be the sweetest, kindest, girl on the planet.  She literally might be the sweetest person who ever lived!  I don’t know the other two nominees personally.  So, I’m excited for them too.  It’s such a diverse category.  It’s just really fun to be nominated with all of them.

Photo: Hallmark Channel

You were nominated before, though, for your work as Maria on All My Chldren during the emotional baby switch storyline; working opposite Susan Lucci (Ex-Erica) for a lot in it.

EVA:  Yes.  I was nominated for Best Supporting Actress for All My Children, and I was nominated for Best Original Song.  I wrote a song when Maria came ‘back from the dead’ to All My Children, with a producer friend of mine from Miami Sound Machine.

Photo: Live with Kelly Ryan

So, you’ve been doing all of these All My Children virtual reunions, which is so interesting that in this pandemic, people are looking for content, and they dip back into these beloved shows.  Was it fun doing the EW.com Santos Family reunion with everybody?

EVA:  Oh yeah, it was really, really fun.  I only saw in the big picture everybody else’s photo who was a part of it, and the people who I actually do hang out with the most, and see the most, and talk to the most, are Kelly Ripa (Ex-Hayley), Mark Consuelos (Ex-Mateo), and Sydney Penny (Ex-Julia).  I don’t see Sydney as much, but I do see her probably once every two years at least, but Sarah Michelle Geller (ExKendall) I see all the time and talk to all the time.  Kelly, Mark, and Sarah are the ones who walked me through that first week when John Callahan passed.  They literally were on the phone with me, the three of them, almost every day, but I got beautiful outreach, from what seemed like everyone.  This is when no matter how many years have passed since you have been in daytime, that the daytime family as a group – there used to be fifteen shows, now there are four – and people have bounced around and they are on other shows- – but the entire soap opera community reached out,   I cannot even tell you how much that meant to me.  It was overwhelming, and it was really, spectacularly beautiful.

Photo: JPI

I hope it was some solace to you knowing how much people loved John, and also that they love and care so deeply for you.

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EVA:  I mean, people who did not even work with John reached out.  Every soap was represented by getting a hold of me, sending a text or a phone call, or if they didn’t have my personal information, they tweeted, or whatever it was… literally from every reach of soapdom.  It was amazing.

And your relationship with John was amazing with all of the ups and downs you went through; that you remained such dear friends.

EVA:  We remained really great friends all the way.

Photo: JPI

I so remember when the two of you first got together and it was this storybook real life soap couple romance.  John was always so sweet to me.  I was so, so sad, and you know, my heart just broke for you.

EVA:  I think it was just such a shock.  I don’t think anybody, and even Kaya were talking about it, because she graduated this week, and her dad is not here.  We’re not having a graduation, because of COVID-19, which sucks on top of it, but we were just kind of talking through the feelings of it.  She said, “You know what’s weird?  I guess I never pictured dad getting old, and I always wondered why, and now I know.”  When I would get on John about his heart or his health, he used to always say, ‘Oh, don’t worry Evala, (he always called me “Evala”).  I’m going to be here.  I’m going to be here a long time.  I’m fine.  I’m going to be here to walk Kaya down the aisle and see her kids and all that.  Stop worrying,” Every time he said it to me, something in my gut said, “I don’t think he is.  I don’t think he is,” but I always just dismissed that.  But never in my wildest dreams did I think John wouldn’t make it to her high school graduation.  He was only 66.

Photo: JPI

I had heard you ended up running to Palm Springs to be near John.  I can’t even imagine what that must have been like.

EVA:  The only good thing about this pandemic is that we had been shut down for only two weeks at that point.  Kaya and I got in the car.  John had some heart procedures the day before, on a Thursday.  I called him in the morning before he went in for the procedure.  I said, “Call me as soon as you get out of there.  Call me as soon as you come-to again, and you’re good,” and he said, “Okay, I will.”  I said, “I’m going to send Kaya out to you on Friday for the weekend, just so you have somebody to hang out and watch you, and I might come out too,” And then, I said, “Maybe, I’ll come down too in case you are feeling weak, just to watch out for you for the weekend.”   So, he called me after the procedure.   I said, “I cannot believe they sent you home! You just had some major heart stuff done.”  He said, “Oh no, they said I’m fine.  It was just run-of-the-mill heart stuff, angiogram…”  I was like, “Are you sure?”  He said, “Yeah, I’m fine.  I’m just tired.  I’m going to go to sleep.”  I said, “Do you want me to send Kaya out tonight?” and he was like, “No, no, no.  Send her tomorrow.”  So, in the morning, I called him at 9:00am.  No answer.  I texted him.  He always texted me like Johnny on the spot, and then texts me immediately back.  So, I call him again at 10.  Nothing.  His best friend calls me about a half-hour later, “Hey, I talked to John at about 8:00 this morning.  He said he was feeling really, really shitty and was going to go back to the hospital, and then, I texted him again at like 8:30 to just tell him something, and he hasn’t texted me back, and he always texts me immediately back.”  I said, “Oh my, God, I’ve been trying to get a hold of him for two hours; he hasn’t texted me back,”   I said, “You know what, I’ll call you back.”  So, I called his friend who lives down the street from John, and I said, “Go to his house, please right this second, knock on the door, jump the fence, knock on his bedroom, he might be asleep, I don’t know.”  So, he gets there, nobody is answering.  I said, “Break into the house please.  So, he did, and John was collapsed in the bathroom.  They called the paramedics, and as soon as they called me back and said, “John is unresponsive in the bathroom,” Kaya and I threw everything in the car, and what usually takes us two and a half hours without traffic, we made it down there from Los Angeles in an hour and forty-five minutes.

Photo: JPI

I don’t know how you made it down there in one piece. Thank, God!

EVA:  I drove so fast, like literally broke all land speed records and thank God because we got there just in time.  He was in emergency.  He hadn’t been put up in ICU yet, where we wouldn’t have been able to see him.  They weren’t going to let us in the hospital.  Thank God the person answering the door was an All My Children fan.  She was the one saying, “Sorry, no one is allowed in the hospital, no one can come in,” and I was like, “No, no, no, my ex-husband just came in.”  She said, “Was it Edmund?” and I said, “Yes, it was Edmund!”  She said, “Okay, follow me.”  Thank God for All My Children.  Thank God.  So, we followed this woman secretly, and we get to spend a half-hour with him in Emergency.  He was already on life-support, totally unresponsive, but we got to play John his favorite music, we got to just sit there and hold his hand and talk to him, and tell him how much we loved him.  Sarah Michelle Gellar called right when we were in the hospital in Emergency, and she said, “Put the phone by his ear,” so I put the phone by his ear, and she talked to John too, and she told him how much she loved him.  She used to always call him “GP”, which was short of grandpa, because she came on the show when she was 15, and she didn’t have a dad, and John acted like a dad to her – but she used to always call him “grandpa”, and he hated “grandpa”, so he was like, “You can call me “GP”, but not grandpa,” so she always called him GP.  I just put the phone by John’s ear, and what was crazy is that when she talked to him, his feet started twitching.  He started moving his feet.  Then, when Kaya was talking to him about Yankee season, he started moving his feet.  We were kind of hopeful that something was changing for the better.  We had about a half-hour with him, and then, they took him up to ICU, and then, we knew we couldn’t see him again.  They called us later that night that he had passed.

Photo: JPI

I am just so thankful that you got to see John one last time.

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EVA:  I thank God every day that we got to say goodbye, because if we hadn’t gotten there in time to say goodbye, I just don’t know.

It’s very rare that a couple after a divorce, who have a child, and went from romance to dear friends, end up maintaining that relationship so many years later in their lives.  I know so many people who were together at one point in their lives, for years, and they don’t even talk to each other now.

EVA:  Well, you know, like any divorce, the first four years afterwards were super contentious but then, by year five, we kind of had this major breakthrough, and from then on, he was one of my closest friends, and one of the things we always kept alive for each other was we loved to  dance together. We fell in love, I think, dancing because originally our characters on AMC met at this country-western bar, and we had to take country line dancing lessons on the show.  They hired a choreographer for us so that during those scenes where we were falling in love, we would actually be able to do a two-step! So, we went out and practiced at Denim and Diamonds, which was a big country-western place in New York City at the time.  We used to go out with a whole group of us.  It was me, and Teresa Blake (Ex-Gloria) and Kelly Ripa, and her boyfriend at the time, Winsor Harmon (Ex-Del), sometimes Walt Willey (Ex-Jack); we just had a whole crew of us who would go out country dancing.  John and I also loved singing together.  He had the most amazing gravely kind of rockstar voice, but his real talent was harmonizing.  He could harmonize to anything.  So, when he would come over, we would sit in the kitchen and sing, and sing, and sing until the late hours because that’s what we loved to do, and that’s what he loved to do.  That’s one of my favorite last memories of us.  He was just over the month before, and Kaya’s bedroom is near the kitchen, so she came out and was like, “Can you two shut up?”  It was like two in the morning and we were still singing in the kitchen. (Laughs)  John was my dear friend and my confidant.

Photo: ABC

Were you able to have some kind of service during this stay-at-home pandemic we are all dealing with, in order to mourn the loss of John?

EVA:  It’s been so crazy.  We couldn’t even have a funeral.  That’s what made it all the more heartbreaking.  There were less than twenty of us, and we just got on a Zoom call and memorialized John.   I thought we were going to do a big Zoom memorial, but it seemed so overwhelming and so impersonal, it just was rubbing us wrong in every way.  Every way we were looking at it, we were like, “Oh my, God, we just can’t.”  We wanted to invite everybody he had ever worked with, and we were like, “No, we want to do that when everything can open back up again, and invite every person, and have a party” because John was always the life of every party.  Maybe we can do that in the fall or next year.  I kept trying to write something for the small memorial we did do for three days.  I kept coming back to this one song, because John was always the consummate bartender, too.  I sang a song that Bette Midler sang on the very last episode of Johnny Carson.  It was “One for My Baby (and One More for the Road)” and it’s about a bartender who has got a big personality and a lot to say.   I changed some of the words around a bit just to reflect who John was, and so, I ended up singing for it instead of speaking.  We always talked about that last episode of Carson; how stunningly emotional it was when Bette sang that song to kind of sing Johnny off for of all of his years on the air.  So, that’s what I did and because we loved to sing together, it just made sense.

Photo: HutchinsPhoto

I do think you touched upon something, earlier, too.  I don’t think any other genre would have that kind of unbridled camaraderie.  It’s such a family, like you said.  I don’t think you would find that quite like this; certainly in show business. 

EVA:  I really don’t think you can. Even though there is always a good amount of competition in the soaps as well; between the soaps it’s like they are any sports team, but there is always a level of respect, love, and familial connection within the community.  I think that is why they have stood the test of time.  I really do think that is what hooks our audience, that is what keeps them there after all of these years, even though unfortunately the genre is antiquated looking, there is something about it that is nostalgic, familial, and comfortable for people.

Photo: JPI

Every time I talk about All My Children, why do you think everybody go ga-ga for it, when it’s been off the air for several years now?

EVA:  It speaks to people’s childhoods.  It speaks to how we grew up.  You can’t undo nostalgia.  You can’t.  It’s in the way we grew up, the things we loved, the things that we scheduled our lives around, the people we fell in love with on the shows that we watched, who we cared about and loved their storylines. I grew up watching All My Children, General Hospital, and Days of Our Lives.

It must have been a spectacular moment for you when you realized you were actually in Pine Valley and a member of the cast of All My Children then?

EVA:  It was amazing.  I was a fan when I got the show.  I was a straight up fan.  I fangirled walking through that dressing room hallway for the first time! I was trying to keep it in check, but you know … (Laughs)

Photo: JPI

So, in closing, you would say, “Thrilled to be nominated”?

EVA:  Yes.  So fun.  It has really been a rollercoaster of a couple of months here.  That nomination was literally the bright, shining spot in all of this.

So, happy to hear Eva is in the running for a Daytime Emmy? Were you moved by Eva’s sentiments she shared on her relationship with the late John Callahan? Do you miss Pine Valley’s Dr. Maria Santos? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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Interviews

Y&R’s Tracey E. Bregman and Kimberlin Brown Pelzer Talk the Iconic Battles of Lauren & Sheila

As part of “Villains” theme week on The Young and the Restless, Tracey E. Bregman (Lauren) and Kimberlin Brown Pelzer (Sheila) reunited for a walk down memory lane of one of the greatest and most twisted knock-out drag-out feuds in the history of daytime drama.

The longtime iconic duo talk about many of their storylines; complete with baby switches, notorious catfights, doppelgangers, treachery and more, with Michael Fairman for a very special virtual conversation on The Michael Fairman Channel on You Tube.  Tracy and Kimberlin chatted with Michael from their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Photo: CBS

During the interview, Kimberlin revealed how: she was originally cast as Sheila, what happened when she thought she was exiting Y&R for good and her run with Sheila was over; only to find out that Bill Bell (C0-Creator, Y&R and B&B) had plans for her to move over to The Bold and the Beautiful and continue playing the role.

In addition, Tracey shares: how some of those iconic fight scenes between the two were physically demanding and tough to do, plus the actresses give us insight into filming some of their most popular scenes; including yesterday’s classic episode that aired (which can now be found on CBS All-Access and CBS.com under season 42) where Sheila wreaks havoc on Lauren and Michael’s (Christian LeBlanc) honeymoon with an assist from “Terrible” Tom played by the late Roscoe Born.

Photo: JPI

Finally, the women weigh-in on what they think a solid storyline would be in 2020 or 2021; if Sheila was to re-emerge in Genoa City and reignite the feud with Lauren and her loved ones!

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Watch the virtual conversation with Tracey and Kimberlin below.  Then let us know, would you want to see Sheila come back to Y&R and cause Tracey and her family some serious trouble? Comment below.

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Interviews

B&B’s Annika Noelle Chats On Her First Daytime Emmy Nomination For Hope’s Emotional Journey Back to Beth

The Supporting Actor and Actress in a Drama Series are often the highly-competitive categories in the annual Daytime Emmys, because they usually contain the most entrance vying for the final 5 or 6 coveted spots.

This year, after all of her soap alter-egos sturm and drang, Annika Noelle found herself with a nomination for her riveting work as Hope Logan on The Bold and the Beautiful.

As fans of the CBS Daytime drama know, Hope went through hell and back and hell again as she was led to believe that her baby girl had died, only to later find out that the little bundle of joy was adopted by Steffy (Jacqueline MacInnes Wood) in a heinous scheme put in motion by Dr. Buckingham (Wayne Brady). As the story unraveled, more and more people found out about the switch and kept it from Hope, chief among them Thomas (Matthew Atkinson), but all’s well that ends well when Liam (Scott Clifton) with a big assist from Douglas (Henry Joseph Samiri) figured out that Beth was Phoebe … and that set the stage for even more emotional drama.

Following the news of her nomination, Michael Fairman TV chatted with Annika Noelle, to get all the feels of this defining moment in her daytime career – cracking the glass ceiling and getting into a select group of actresses for the first time whose work has been deemed “Outstanding”. Here’s what Annika shared on her reaction to that great Emmy news!

Photo: JPI

Were you shocked and surprised when you learned of your Supporting Actress in a Drama Series nomination?

ANNIKA:  Yes!  I’m over the moon and so eternally grateful for it.  It means a lot to have the work I’ve done this last year get recognized by everyone.  It’s my first Daytime Emmy nomination, and now I get to say that.  It’s just a cool thing.

I can’t think of anyone who cried more in last year’s TV season than you as Hope.  That whole year was so heavy with the baby switch storyline and Hope’s journey back to her biological daughter.

ANNIKA:  It was.  Honestly, it took a lot out of me, and it was a lot to go through, and it really was a marathon.  I’ve never had to go through something like that as an actor, but I’m just glad that I made it out to the other side to get to experience this.

Photo: JPI

I was worried someone was going to have to pick you up off the floor from all the weeping! It must have been draining.

ANNIKA:  I can’t tell you how many times I was just like, “Do I have to cry? Do I have to though?”  I’m just really grateful that Hope finally got her baby back.  It was so funny when the fans would be like, “When is she getting her baby back?” and I’m like, “Trust me, no one wants it more than me.”

Were you watching the nominations unfold on The Talk?  How did you find out you were officially a nominee?

ANNIKA:  I went for a walk around the LaBrea Tar Pits because I didn’t want to be focusing on that, but I have family in Boston who were going to watch The Talk and let me know.  However, I guess the Mayor of Boston interrupted right before they started reading the nominations.  They were so pissed.  So, I was like, “Okay, I guess I’m not going to find out for a while,” and then the phone started ringing, and it was Brad Bell (executive producer and head writer, B&B).  Your heart kind of goes up in your throat when you see his name on the caller ID! I picked up and he said, “Congratulations,” and I proceeded to probably make him deaf because I was so excited. (Laughs)

Scott Clifton was your scene partner in so much of the arc of this storyline.  Did he say anything to you once you got nominated?

ANNIKA:  Oh yeah! We exchanged quite a few text messages with each other.  I thought he should have submitted himself this year.

Photo: JPI

I was so surprised when I found out that he didn’t enter the competition, because he did some incredible work.

ANNIKA:  It’s amazing the work that he did, and he was right by my side every step of the way during this incredibly difficult storyline, and honestly, I could not have done it without him … or Jacqueline MacInnes Wood, because they honestly were such great support systems for me as an actor and also as friends.  Honestly, I feel like this nomination is everyone’s.  It was such an ensemble effort.

Photo: JPI

What scenes did you submit that landed you the nomination?

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ANNIKA:  I submitted as the initial scene when Hope finds out about Beth (where Liam tells her that Beth didn’t make it) and she starts out thinking that Beth is still alive and then gradually the denial fades away and the reality sets in.  Then, the second scene I submitted was where she is kind of emotionally checked out, and then, Sally (Courtney Hope) comes in with that poor puppy dog to try to cheer her up, and obviously that backfires on Sally.  That was actually a very difficult scene to shoot because here was this little puppy dog looking up at me, and I had to just freak out.  The third scene was on the rooftop where Hope finally finds out that Beth is indeed alive, and that Thomas has been lying to her.  Then, the fourth scene was the hardest one to pick, but I’m really glad that I went with it.  It’s just this really quiet, intimate moment between Liam and Hope when they’re alone with Beth again for the first time as a family.  Then, Liam and Hope share their first kiss as a family again.  The final scene was where Hope gets to slap Flo (Katrina Bowden) and you get to see the momma bear come out.  I really tried to tell a story.  I really tried to show an arc of that 8-9-month saga, and luckily, I had the material to choose from to do so.

You played the Emmy game very smartly, because the reels that work, in my experience, have been the ones that tell the arc of the story, so that anyone who doesn’t know the show can follow beat to beat to beat.  I think those are always the reels that ultimately grab the voters.

ANNIKA:  I think that’s something that I had to learn too from other actors, and the advice that I had gotten, and getting to actually watch and vote last year.  I thought of it more as an actor’s reel.  I tried to do show versatility as an actor.  So, hopefully we will see what happens.

Photo: JPI

Are you familiar with the work of any of the other actresses nominated in your category …Tamara Braun (Ex-Kim, GH), Rebecca Budig (Ex-Hayden GH), Christel Khalil (Lily, Y&R), and Susan Seaforth Hayes (Julie, DAYS)?

ANNIKA:  Oh, yes, and I am nothing but honored to be in a category with such amazing performers.  It takes so much in general to be a daytime actor, and to even be in this category with these other performers, it’s huge.  .

Katherine Kelly Lang (Brooke), your on-screen mom is nominated for Lead Actress this year too!

ANNIKA:  I know!  I’m praying it’s her year, and Heather Tom (Katie) also did such beautiful work with the kidney storyline, and Thorsten Kaye (Ridge) just broke my heart with the divorce and the Thomas storylines.  It’s kind of all in the family in a way with our characters, but everyone did such beautiful work, and I’m rooting everyone on.  It’s nice that Katherine and I as an on-screen momma/daughter got to celebrate that together.

Photo: JPI

Did Katherine give you a call, or did you communicate, after the nominations were announced?

ANNIKA:  Yes, we talked, and then, ironically for about a year and a half, I had saved a bottle of Dom Perignon that I had received as a gift from her boyfriend, Dom Zoida.  I was always just saving it for a special occasion.  When I told her that, she was like, “I can’t believe you’ve been saving it this long!  We are going to have a toast tonight and celebrate!”  I was like, “Are you sure we don’t want to save it in case there’s other good news … maybe?”  and she was just like, “No!  We’ll get you another bottle.  We are toasting tonight.”  So, that was just a really beautiful moment because she really brought me in and showed me the ropes as a veteran on the show, and as someone who knows B&B and the dynamics so well.  I’ve learned a lot from Katherine, and I have nothing but respect for her.  She is one of the hardest workers I know; she does not stop, and I have such admiration.  I wish I were in half as good shape as she is!  It’s a special feeling to be able to share this with her.

You followed in Kim Matula’s (Ex-Hope) footsteps on the show.  That was no easy feat, and to make the role your own was beautifully done.  That has to feel good.  It’s not easy to play a role that someone else made ‘soap-famous’.

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ANNIKA:  It’s funny, because Mark Grossman (Adam, Y&R) and I started around the same time – him on Y&R and me on The Bold and the Beautiful, and even Matthew Atkinson as Thomas – everyone has kind of left their own mark on these characters as recasts, and it’s a challenging thing to do, stepping into someone’s role, especially with someone who originated the character. It’s a nice validation that you’re doing something right.

You and I will remember your humble beginnings on Venice the Series.

ANNIKA:  It’s such a crazy full circle too, because Hillary B. Smith (Ex-Nora, OLTL and Guya, Venice the Series) was my mentor in high school.  I would look up to her and be like. “She’s been nominated and won Daytime Emmys! Well, maybe one day I could …” Hillary was someone who I called and talked to for a long time before submitting.  I also have to give thanks to Crystal Chappell (Ex-GL, Days and Venice the Series), for seeing something in me and taking a chance on me when I was green as an actress.

I remember us talking on the set of Venice, and I remember you shooting your scenes as a recast in that show too at an apartment!  They threw you right into the fire.

ANNIKA:  Yep, and Susan Flannery (Ex-Stephanie, B&B) was directing a few of those episodes!  So, it was like… who would have thought that years later…?

Photo: JPI

I would ask you, what you are going to wear, but there is no red carpet that I know of, for a virtual Emmys this year!

ANNIKA:  I am so conflicted.  I’m like, “Do I wear PJs, or do I get glammed up and wear a beautiful gown?” (Laughs) I am the most comfortable in flannel and no makeup, so I’m like, “Okay, if I have to get glammed up, how on earth am I going to do my own hair because I don’t even know where to begin with that.” So, we’ll see, I guess, we’ll see!

It will be interesting to see what the virtual ceremony will look like.

ANNIKA:  I have a feeling that my cat might be a part of the awards ceremony.  He is going to try to steal the spotlight, a little.  Like an All About Eve moment happening here with Henry who I call “Burrito Man”.  He has his own Instagram.  It’s @theburritomankitty, and if there is a camera, let me tell you, he will try to interrupt.  That’s Burrito Man for you.  He’s a little diva.

Photo: IG

How have you and ‘Burrito Man’ been doing during the coronavirus pandemic?  How are your spirits? 

ANNIKA:  Well, this nomination has certainly been a silver lining.  It certainly has brightened the mood a little bit. It’s been pretty difficult feeling a little isolated, but The Bold and the Beautiful has been having Zoom happy hour every Friday where we will all get on in the late afternoon and catch up with everyone and have a little drink.  So, it’s been nice because I miss everyone.  We really do become like family.  That’s helped a lot, and then just… puzzles.  I’m doing a lot of puzzles, Michael.

Photo: JPI

In closing, many times you see a lot of the same names nominated in the acting categories at the Daytime Emmys, so it’s nice to see when someone new breaks through.  Kudos to you!

ANNIKA:  Honestly, that means a lot.  It was a lot, especially as a newcomer to daytime.  It really was sink or swim, but luckily, I have an amazing cast there supporting me and holding me up on those days where it was stressful, or where I would break down just because it was so demanding.  I can’t tell you how many people were there for me like: John McCook (Eric, B&B), Katherine Kelly Lang, Heather Tom, Jacqui, and Scott, these people championed me, urged me on, and believed in me.  I also have realized that I am a bit more of a method actor than I thought I was. (Laughs)  I might have taken some of the work home with me.  Queer Eye and RuPaul were cheering me up because it was a lot. (Laughs)  I just want to express my utmost gratitude for this honor and wish all the best of luck to the other nominees.  I have so much respect for everyone in this industry from the directors and our crews, all the way down to us actors. It’s a lot to do what we do in daytime with the budget and the time constraints that we have.  It really is a team effort.

So, were you happy to see that Annika scored a Daytime Emmy nomination for her hard work and being at the epicenter of the baby switch storyline on B&B? Comment below.

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