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The John-Paul Lavoisier Interview – Beacon Hill

Courtesy/ABC

Photo Credit: Lesley Bohm

It’s been awhile since soap fans have seen John-Paul Lavoisier!  The former One Life to Live favorite where he played Rex Balsom, is now co-starring in the political soap opera Beacon Hill, which will have its online debut on March 5th.  In it JP plays Eric Preston, the son of Crystal Chappell’s Claire Preston, and brother to Alicia Minshew’s Sara Preston, and who’s Grandfather Senator Preston is played by Ron Raines!  How’s that for a family tree for starters?  Beacon Hill also reunites John-Paul with his One Life to Live sister Melissa Archer, and former on-screen love interest Jessica Morris!

As for John-Paul’s personal story, it was no secret that he, as well as many others in the cast, were devastated at the cancellation of One Life to Live by ABC.  Once the series was canned, he and then girlfriend Farah Fath (Ex-Gigi) moved out to Los Angeles, where JP began to pursue other acting career opportunities.  But many have asked: what happened to his relationship with Farah?  According to John-Paul, when he came out to Los Angles he had a hard time dealing with the change from the east coast.  He admits he was in a dark place, and he says that Farah could not deal with it.  Apparently he relates, she had a five month limit on how much she could take a depressed JP, and left him in June of 2012.  Since that time John-Paul has been single.

There had been other rumors circulating as well for over a year concerning JP.  One of which was that the popular actor was next in line to take over the role of Dillon Quartermaine on General Hospital, and another being about why he chose not to become part of Prospect Park’s online version of One Life to Live.   Well, in this candid interview with On-Air On-Soaps, John-Paul fills us in on if the rumors were true, and if anything would have brought him back to One Life to Live for a reprise of his beloved role as “Sexy Rexy”!   Plus, we learn what the heck is, “The Full Dolores” that he and best friend and former OLTL cast mate, Tuc Watkins (David) have cooked up!

One thing is for certain, John-Paul holds a very special place in the hearts of One Life to Live fans for all-time. And with that, he hopes to make new memories with his upcoming role in Crystal Chappell and company’s, Beacon Hill.  Here now, the one and only JP!

MICHAEL:

So many soap fans have missed seeing you every day!  How did you become involved in Beacon Hill?  What made you decide to be part of this project, since this is your first soap role since One Life to Live?

JOHN-PAUL:

Photo Credit: HutchinsPhoto.com

It fell into my lap.  I randomly got an email from Hillary B. Smith saying, “I have this project I am working on with Crystal Chappell, and there is a part for you that you would be perfect for.  And can I email you the script and the material?  We would love to have you.”   So, she emailed me the script and I thought, “Well, I can do this.  I want to work with you, and I miss you.”  So, it was a chance to work and to see Hillary again and to fly back east.  I had never met Crystal before, so it was a chance to meet her for the first time.  I knew Ricky Paull Goldin was involved, and I love Ricky.  He is one of the easiest guys to talk to, and one of the funniest guys to talk to.  Then, when I found out I was going to play Alicia Minshew’s brother, I was very excited.  I grew up watching All My Children, and I have grown up knowing Alicia’s work forever.  I was sort of a fan, and I would see her at soap events.  It was a chance to reconnect and sort of get to know her better, as well.  I am glad I did Beacon Hill.  It felt so good to be in cold weather in Massachusetts bundled up, and I just felt at home, because I also was with Melissa Archer.  Even though I never worked with Alicia and Crystal, it was kind of like Abbott and Costello not working together for 20 years, and then someone calling them up and saying, “Hey, can you do this part?”  It was kind of like us all falling back into the old routine.  We knew we could trust each other.  We knew it was going to be fun, and we had the same sort of work ethic.  We all came from the same place, sort of.  I knew it was going to be fun, and we were going to get it done without problems.  Everyone was so professional.  It was neat to see Hillary in producer mode, because I am used to seeing Hillary in “Hillary mode” mostly (Laughs).  Your producer Hillary!  You have your headset on and you are watching the monitor. So there was that element that was new.

MICHAEL:

Did being a part of Beacon Hill, make you miss OLTL?

JOHN-PAUL:

Oh, c’mon.  (Sighs)  I would sign a 30 year contract to be on One Life to Live if it was in front of me, right now.  It’s a no brainer.   I miss everything about it.   Everything!  I never had any complaints that whole time when I was on ABC.  I hope Beacon Hill continues, because it brought me back.   It’s sort of like we all have come together to do the same magic trick.  We know the gimmicks.  We all have this well-oiled machine.  We know how to hit our marks.

MICHAEL:

Photo Credit: Lesley Bohm

When I interviewed Crystal Chappell (Claire Preston) about what she thought of you, she says what I have always said about you, that you are so interesting to watch and you never know what is going to happen.  I have often said that you have your own unique, very non-soap acting style, the way you delivered your material as Rex on OLTL.  So, I totally get what she is saying. 

JOHN-PAUL:

I had one scene with her, and she is really fun.  Her character is not of sound mind when my character has this interaction with her.  We had this close moment; she affected me.  I was happy and excited that Hillary threw me this bone, but when I found out I was playing Crystal’s son, I thought, “I don’t think she is old enough to do this! I hope that it’s believable and they buy I am her son, because I would sleep with her!” (Laughs)  Crystal is very good at turning on and off … I am the actress now … I am the hang out co-worker … and I am also the producer and boss … and I have to give people orders and tell them what to do, and flip that switch, just as Hillary was.

MICHAEL:

So what is the deal with the Eric Preston character you play in Beacon Hill?

JOHN-PAUL:

I have not read anything for season two, but in the first season he is basically playing this runner, wet nurse, for his grandfather.  He wants to keep the family working, and he only wants what’s best for the family.  He is probably the future heir to the family, and right now he is just the “yes” man to the grandfather.  You see him getting him tea, or answering the door, or carrying people’s luggage.  He is sort if like the family slave, and the caregiver right now. He is making sure the dust is off the counter.  I heard that he has his own plans for taking over certain things, but that is not happening yet.

MICHAEL:

So, you therefore share scenes with the amazing Ron Raines (Senator Preston)?

JOHN-PAUL:

Photo Credit: Lesley Bohm

Everything you see Eric doing is for Ron Raines’ character.  You sadly never see him with Ron Raines!  We are never face to face.  Although I am face to face with his lover, my old sister on OLTL, Melissa Archer, which was neat.

MICHAEL:

I was thinking Eric and Evelyn (Melissa Archer) would end up having a fling!

JOHN-PAUL:

We have been told that since they are closer in age, and this being a soap, that there is a sexual spark that they have to deal with soon.

MICHAEL:

So is Eric Preston a good guy?

JOHN-PAUL:

In the first season, I played him as a good guy.  I wasn’t playing that he had nefarious activities.  I was basically being truthful and honest with everything I did, except I know there was a moment where I have this moment with Crystal.  I was beat down from her, and when my grandfather yells something from the bedroom.  I give a look like, “Not again.”  I think Eric was tired of all this crap, and that he is running all the time, but he just sucks it up and does it, because he thinks, “I am family, and family comes first.   And being the political figures that they are, I have to keep everyone’s face pretty for the world.”  I am excited to see how much more of the brother and sister relationship they build between Sara and Eric.  I feel a cool bond with Alicia.  I hope that I can pull though as an actor, if they do push and something evolves between Evelyn and Eric, because it’s incredibly weird.  I have known Melissa Archer for 12 years.  I see her almost every day.  We hang out in L.A. all the time, and she is like my sister.  And the thing with me is, the less I know about you sometimes, the better I can act with you, depending on our character.  With Bob Woods (Bo) on OLTL, it was easy to work with him.  He was kind of like my dad.  With Erika Slezak (Viki), I respected her, so it was easy to respect Viki on the show.  With Melissa it was easy.  She was like my sister, and she played my sister on the show.  But if all of sudden we are bedfellows, this will definitely be the biggest challenge of my acting career; playing that I want to sleep with Melissa Archer.  I love Melissa, she is very sexy, but she is John-Paul’s sister. (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

It takes me back to the final scene between Natalie and Rex on OLTL, and she runs into the Buchanan’s as Rex is leaving for London to say goodbye!  I must have watched that episode back countless times and it is a five-hankie episode.

JOHN-PAUL:

Courtesy/ABC

It was heartbreaking.  If anyone can go back and watch the same scene, I also say goodbye to Bo. And we did it in one take, and I actually flubbed one of my words because I couldn’t get it out, because I was so upset about the whole moment.  Yes, in that moment when I had to say goodbye to Natalie, I remember the line that they wrote for her was, “What am I going to do without you?”  And I think I said, “What am I going to do without you?”  Those lines made perfect sense, because at the time everyone thought that Prospect Park was continuing OLTL, and at that time I was not going to go to Prospect Park, I was leaving, and so it was her saying, “I’m staying in Llanview, what am I going to do without you?”  And John-Paul is going to stay on the west coast and Melissa is staying on the east coast.  And what are we going to do without each other?  And it was very real.  The music was great.  Sadly, it was a good episode.

MICHAEL:

How was your last day of filming One Life to Live?  Eventful … or uneventful?

JOHN-PAUL:

My last work day was November 17th, and unfortunately it is, what it is.  Things were shot out of order.  In my last scene, I was working with Terri Conn (Ex-Aubrey).  I was walking into Asa’s mansion and I was talking about Gigi (Farah Fath).  It was my last scene ever, and it was like five lines and not a big deal.  I did not get to have “And ‘Cut,’ that’s a wrap on JP!”  It was like “Cut’ moving on” (Laughs).  As soon as they yelled cut, I looked down on Asa’s desk and decided to take something with me, and it was a prop of a picture of me and Shane (Austin Williams).  And that was it.  I did not have a fond farewell.

MICHAEL:

Did you watch the new OLTL from Prospect Park?

JOHN-PAUL:

Courtesy/TOLN

I watched the first couple episodes of the new OLTL.  I will say I enjoyed the AMC intro. I don’t think I got the OLTL intro.  The dancing was weird.  

MICHAEL:

Were you hoping that if the online version of One Life to Live had taken off, and if you felt it was a successful platform, you would have eventually signed on and joined the show?

JOHN-PAUL:

I was in a wait and see mode.  There were so many unanswered questions.  They did ask me to be in the show, twice.  Because of it being the Internet, I did not know what they could put on the Internet.  I knew it wasn’t going to happen, but I still questioned things like, “Well, are we going to be doing full frontal nudity?”  Is it going to be True Blood meets daytime?  Who is Rex going to be on Prospect Park’s version?”  There were too many unanswered questions, and no answered questions.  But because Melissa Archer, and Bob Woods, and Tuc Watkins were all going with the production, I wanted too.  But at that point as soon as they announced the ABC cancellation of OLTL, I immediately made plans to pack up and move to L.A.  I could not deal with all the uncertainties of Prospect Park, and closing up and moving from New York, and to starting in L.A. and giving it a try.  I had to make a decision.   So I said, I am going to close this door. This got cancelled.  I am just going to go see what other opportunities are out there.  If right now everything worked out and they put OLTL on Showtime and offered me a contract for the rest of my life, I wouldn’t think twice about it.  It was an awesome show.  Until that day, however ….  The other thing is, and this is just being a selfish actor, and sometimes you have to be, a lot of it was going to take place during pilot season and at the time being a 31-year-old new to L.A, I kind of needed to make myself available for other opportunities.  The ten weeks they would have needed me was a crucial time for an actor to get his face known in L.A.  The timing did not work out for me to try and do other things.

MICHAEL:

Would you have done the OLTL “Brand New Start” dance sequence, if they had you in the cast?

JOHN-PAUL:

What am I dancing for?  What is my motivation?  I would dance with Shenaz (Treasury)!  (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/ABC

There had been so much speculation that you were going to actually come to General Hospital and be the recast Dillon Quartermaine following Scott Clifton.  Did you ever receive a call about this?

JOHN-PAUL:

I have never gotten a call from ABC.  There is no truth to this rumor.  General Hospital never called me.  I have never been out to their studio lot except for a pilot.  I have not even seen Frank Valentini since the cancellation of One Life to Live.  I honestly can’t tell you what I would say if my phone were to ring.  It’s been two years now, and I can’t imagine it ringing.

MICHAEL:

Did you meet three-time Daytime Emmy winner Sarah Brown on the shooting of Beacon Hill?  Word has it that this was her first acting experience where she had to kiss another woman!

JOHN-PAUL:

Well, apparently she did a fine job! (Laughs) Without saying too much, and I have not seen any of the footage, but the first day I arrived in Massachusetts there was girl on girl action … and where was I?  I was just sitting in the hotel with my latte!  I am kind of in the wrong place! (Laughs)  So I was at the hotel and everyone was on their way back, Sarah, Rebecca Mozo, and Ricky, and they all come flying in the door and everybody was on high.  I was like, “What is going on?” And Sarah was like, “I had a love scene and we were throwing each other around, and we were kissing, and it was fine.  It was fine.  We had a great day.”  I said, “Hi, Sarah. I’m JP.  Nice to meet you!  You did what? With who? (Laughs)”   Sarah is a dynamo.   I just sit there and listen to her, and occasionally ask a follow-up question! (Laughs) Apparently, they had a great shoot and the lesbian action was flawless … and hot!

MICHAEL:

John-Paul, you are one of the most innately funny people I know.  Would you like to do a comedy series?  

JOHN-PAUL:

Photo Credit: Sue Coflin/Max Photos

Funny, you bring that up.  I have only had a handful of sitcoms auditions since I have been out here, and honestly my feedback has been, “He’s not good enough.”  I am not going to name names, but I did meet with a woman who used to work at the same company as me.  I got to be in the same room with her and my feedback was, “He’s not multi-cam.”  I said, “OK,” and unfortunately there were no cameras in the room, so there was no proof of that.  It was just me sitting on the couch and us running lines and she said I was not multi-cam, and so that’s that.  I said, “Really?  I did multi-cam for ten years.  It just so happened that it did not have a laugh track.” (Laughs)  I am still trucking along.

MICHAEL:

Tuc Watkins (David, OLTL) is your best bud.  I hear you spend much time with the twins!

JOHN-PAUL:

I am at Tuc’s house 20 hours a day.  I house sit, and dog sit for him, when he is out of town, and take care of the twins.  I want a wife and a daughter.  I think I would be a good dad.  Right now, I am on the hunt for a wife, who wants to have a daughter! (Laughs)  Listen, I am very lucky to have Tuc in my life.  I owe my sanity to Tuc.  He is one of my best friends in the world.  There are only a few people in your life you can trust and he is one of them.  I can’t imagine having a better friend.  He is the guy I can call on when the chips are down.  I tell ya, if he did it for me, I would be the luckiest guy in the world.  (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

What did you think about Tuc coming forward and publicly coming out and revealing he is a gay single dad of newborn twins?

JOHN-PAUL:

He was excited when he was booked on the Marie Osmond talk show, Marie! He said, “I am doing these shows because I want the world to know these things.  It’s now time for me to talk about my life, and tell the world who Tuc is, and what’s going on with Tuc.”  We watched all his talk show appearances together.  He was very proud and happy about it.

MICHAEL:

OK, now you must tell me about “The Full Dolores”.  You and Tuc are actually starting the next exercise fad!  Fill us in!

JOHN-PAUL:

Courtesy/JPLavoisier

Tuc Watkins and I have a new fun thing in our lives that is our bible.  We do a work out routine at Runyon Canyon called “The Full Dolores”.  It’s a 100 minute workout that is basically a 4.4 mile track, and I think we go up to an elevation of 800 feet.  Anyone is welcome to join us. If you do, and complete “The Full Dolores”, you get a t-shirt authenticated in Tuc and my handwriting.  Only four people have thus far completed her.  If you attempt “The Full Dolores” and you skip anything, you have done a “Baby Karen,” and that is not a good thing, and we don’t want to talk about. (Laughs)  If you do not complete “The Full Dolores,” but want a t-shirt, we might give you one.  It just won’t be authenticated.  So we are running and hiking all over the place, going up and down lots of hills.  At moments, you feel like you are going to die, and throw up, and that’s a good thing.  But you won’t throw up; it’s that moment where you realize, “I am OK” …that’s the moment!  We do 14 different stations where we do 26 push-ups, which come to a total of 364 push-ups, one for every day of the year, but you get your birthday off. (Laughs)  We do a 100 pull-ups and a 600 count of planks, and the whole routine ends with it being plank to failure.  The whole routine ends with the last man standing wins for the day.  Tuc always wins.  You cannot out plank Tuc!   He can go for weeks and weeks, and he kills me!  Tuc is much better shape than anyone I know.  He is so jacked, so ripped, and I am so jealous!  He went out of town to Kansas City over the summer for three and half weeks, and I house sat for him.  And during that time he came back 17 lbs heavier, and when he got back we started this “Full Dolores” routine in July and he shed those pounds instantly.  It is ridiculous how in shape he is!  I am OK, but nowhere near the shape he is in.  He owes it all to “Dolores”.  We don’t go to the gym anymore, “Dolores” is free.  We just ask that you come and have fun and talk about it.   It’s a great social thing too.  We have met people at Runyon.  And we have invited people to “Dolores “…. you get one invite.  (Laughs) You know “Dolores” is happening Monday, Wednesday, and Fridays.  “Dolores” will crush you.  You never really win.  You get a little better each time.  You can sort of eat whatever you want.  I eat chocolate every day, and butter and crackers, and I don’t go to the gym, I just do “Dolores”.  It’s all I need.

MICHAEL:

In closing, with all you went through personally and professionally, is acting still your passion?  Because you are one of the most naturally gifted young actors I have seen.  Los Angeles can be tough and unforgiving, when there are so many talented people vying for roles on shows, and more often than not, its about that lucky break.

JOHN-PAUL:

Courtesy/ABC

I will say working on the soap was a huge blessing, and one of the greatest things that ever happened to me.  I was thinking about this a couple of months ago.  Everybody in my life that is important, I have met all of them because of ABC and One Life to Live. Everyone I know is an extension of someone I met at ABC or One Life to Live.  I know so many people through Tuc.  The Fumeros I see all the time.  I have reconnected with John Brotherton, and I see Billy Warlock and Julie Pinson all the time.  Plus, I got to act and do this character, and I had a great Manhattan life because of it.  I will say on the record, it was a huge curse working on One Life and on a soap.   I am having a difficult time doing non-soap work at a non-soap speed.  Everything else is slower.  I am in play rehearsal right now, and as happy as I am being in the play, the rehearsals are so slow, and it just is, what it is.  With primetime stuff, there is more money involved, so it allows you to have more time.  But with soaps, time is money. We had to do 250 shows a year.  So this is the way, I put it: “Going from soaps to anything else, is like a NASCAR driver having to drive a city bus.”  That’s the best way I can put it.  Beacon Hill was pretty close, because we did anywhere between 1 to 3 takes per scene, but again the process was still slower.  Beacon Hill is really the perfect balance between film and soap.  They want the film quality, but they did take a lot of time for set-ups, and it was very professional.  But when it came time to do the acting, we can get in one take, because we can.  Now we go into soap mode, because we are soap actors.  We are going to save you time and money now, so you can take that time and put it towards the production, or setting up for the next shot.  I still will never understand why a large percentage of this business looks down on soaps, when in fact it should be the opposite.

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Monica
Guest
Monica

At least he put it out there as honestly as he could. I wish him well and look forward to Beacon Hill.

robin fletcher
Guest
robin fletcher

Oh, how I miss this man. He was just incredible. I hope he gets a sitcom. No question he can multi-cam.

Joshua
Guest
Joshua

As long as he stays off of the four daytime soaps, I am happy.

He was THE BIGGEST PROBLEM with “One Life to Live” during it’s final four years.

Esther Sue
Guest
Esther Sue

Says you, girlfriend. I adored him and miss him still.

egolf
Guest
egolf

Great interview. Beacon Hill will be awesome

Perla
Guest
Perla

Great interview and great actor, I can’t wait to see his character on Beacon Hill.

Cheryl
Guest
Cheryl

Great interview, thanks!

Margie
Guest
Margie

Love him. Miss Rex so much, and all of the Llanviewers. Damn ABC. He did a great job on The Mentalist. I hope he gets more prime time work.

rebecca1
Guest
rebecca1

I think that is one of the most honest, down-to-earth interviews I’ve ever read. It’s always nice to actually LIKE the actor whose work you admire. I loved him as Rex…he was both cute and sexy…a “bad boy” who grew up into a great guy…great friend, brother, father, boyfriend…loved his relationship with Bo…just really, really connected with his character. Now, after reading this, he just seems as genuinely endearing as he did onscreen. (Much more so than his ex Farah…after reading a few of her tweets I’m not such a fan…think “Gigi” was a better woman for him than Farah!)… Read more »

rebecca1
Guest
rebecca1

Hahaha…after rereading my post it might look to some like he had a relationship with Bo! I just segued into that thought…just mean great father/son-type rappost
that emanated off the screen.

rebecca1
Guest
rebecca1

now again in English! LOL…meant… great rapport!

SiteAdvocate61
Guest
SiteAdvocate61

Rebecca,don’t sweat it. I totally agree with your comments. JP has always been one of my favorite actors since I began watching OLTL in mid 2006. I enjoyed how Frank and Ron made a responsible loving dad out of a smarmy playboy. Rex was more than Shane’s father,he was his best friend and you rarely see that. This show was known for displaying that side. I enjoyed JP’s down to earth interview with Michael very much.

KatieK
Guest
KatieK

JPL is the best! I really hope he finds something. I could easily see him pulling off Adam Newman on Y&R or bringing him on as Dylan on GH. But, Ill watch this new show, it has so many of my favs.

Potato hip
Guest
Potato hip

Loved this interview, disappointed to hear they don’t want him for Dillon Q., but maybe they will call him!

rebecca1
Guest
rebecca1

He would make an excellent Dillon! Could totally see him in that role.

Harry
Guest
Harry

And OF COURSE Frank Valentini never called him. Why am I not surprised to hear this?

Bennie
Guest
Bennie

I have been searching and searching to see when you would start acting again. I am very happy and you can count on me, I will be watching everything you do! Break a leg John Paul!

louisa
Guest
louisa

I loved this interview too! And I adore him. Always have, but after reading this really revealing interview, I love him even more. I miss OLTL and Rex so much!

He is too good for a sitcom. Plus, sitcoms don’t last. I would love to see him on GH as Dillon. I hope he finds a nice wife very soon.

Diane Hunsel
Guest
Diane Hunsel

Beacon Hill… please what station, time and day is it going to be on? I hope it will be on tv and not the internet, but I will watch it anyway. There is a lot of great stars from One Life To Live that I have missed.Thanks

Scott (ATWT Fan)
Guest
Scott (ATWT Fan)

GH should call him to be Dillon. He’s a shoe-in for the recast. As for the online version of OLTL, I think we all had the question of nudity, etc. Obviously it wouldn’t happen (disappointingly) since the swearing did not kick off well, due to people unwilling to get into a change. I hated Rex, but due into J.P. as an actor and would like to see him back on television.

Joe
Guest
Joe

You will see me at Big Bertha!!!! haha
I miss JP on TV. He would be great as Dillion Q! WIsh he would get the role!

heidi
Guest
heidi

Another great interview Michael and JPL… thank you!!! Miss JPL and wish he could be Dillion on GH. He could be with Maxie when she comes back… since we don’t have my fave Bradford as Spinelli!!!

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

If he’d like to do both a sitcom and play Dillion, GH would be the perfect place to do both…lol(i know im poking fun at the soap with my sitcom crack but i do like the show regardless of its sitcom silly moments and characters!!!)

ScoobyDum
Guest
ScoobyDum

If General Hospital ever wanted to do a long flashback, he could be a young Stefan Cassadine…Are you listening Cartini?

MBmomof3
Guest
MBmomof3

Thank you for another great interview. I really enjoyed JPL on OLTL (my favorite soap).

Anyway, Beacon Hill looks like it has great potential. Best wishes JPL on all your future projects. We have missed you.

jbj
Guest
jbj

Thanks so much for this interview, MF! I missed him on the PP version of OLTL, because I think they let Bo, Nora and Natalie have a lot more fun than on the ABC version, and I would have enjoyed Rex’s running commentary. That said, I totally get his conflict and he has probably grown a lot more from his Hollywood experience. This interview was also an interesting follow-up to Dirty Soap, which gave some insight into his personality and relationship with Farah Fath. I’m not at all surprised she broke up with him so soon after, because she really… Read more »

Terri C.
Guest
Terri C.

Hi John Paul, You will always be Rex, but I wish you success and much happiness. With you looks and the person you seem to be , you are in line to find a wife and have a happily everafter with children. Bless you and welcome back to the light!

lenafreed
Guest
lenafreed

Loved JPL as Rex – I will be watching Beacon Hill and hoping it is picked up for cable TV!

Omar
Guest
Omar

Good interview and wish him all the luck..A bit taken a back with the “wanting a wife and child” comment, you can have a child and still be who you are JPL, have a loving partner and still be a father with a willing female “friend”..I look forward to BEACON HILL!!!

sandy
Guest
sandy

I love JP and would like to know where can I watch Beacon Hill

david1964
Guest
david1964

Ok, I’m really confused. He wouldn’t join the on-line version of OLTL which was already a well established show on ABC. But he did agree to join “BH” which is online, not knowing how well the show will do. Huh? That makes no sense.

Jim Reasoner
Guest
Jim Reasoner

JP, you truly are very gifted. I always looked forward to your scenes with all of your co-workers especially the ones with Robert Woods. It was obvious that you were friends on the show and in real life. Your ad lib moments cracked me up! Especially when you made movie references without caring that it didn’t matter if no one else but you and Bob got it. Not that it matters, I got it! Subtle humor is a sign of intelligence and you are swimming in it. Thanks for all the great scenes on OLTL and I look forward to… Read more »

Joan Brigham
Guest
Joan Brigham

I miss Rex (John Paul) most of all. He lit up the screen and he and Gigi (Farah) were magical together. I still won’t watch anything on ABC due to their inhumane treatment of their soap stars. Their viewership tanked after the Boycott began, and has yet to recover. I sincerely hope that John Paul will return to television soon, he makes a show worth watdhing.

Kim B
Guest
Kim B

Farah is better off, she’s happy engaged and very obviously in a much better place. I don’t think JP has done anything at all since OLTL.

Interviews

Y&R’s Brytni Sarpy Talks On Her Emotional Week of Scenes & The Fallout From Elena and Devon’s Break-Up

Talk about self-sabotage! Over the last few weeks, fans of CBS’ The Young and the Restless have seen how one decision, or moment in time, can have an effect on several residents of Genoa City, such as the case with Elena Dawson (Brytni Sarpy), after she had sex with her colleague Dr. Nate Hastings (Sean Dominic) … at the clinic they work at!

It all starts unraveling for Elena when her fears get the best of her thinking that the current-love-of-her-life, Devon (Bryton James) will fall for the sister of his late wife, Hilary, in the form of Amanda Sinclair (Mishael Morgan).  And thus sets the stage for a potential quadrangle, and perhaps … some baby drama?

Since coming to Y&R from General Hospital, actress Brytni Sarpy has been developing the character of Elena and playing her for all she is worth and then some in recent heavy-duty heart-tugging scenes where viewers saw Elena confess to Devon that she cheated on him with his cousin, Nate! Then later, she gets kicked to the curb by the man she loves, leaving her wondering, “What did I just do … and why?”

 

Well, Michael Fairman TV has some of the answers as we chatted with Brytni to get the lowdown and the insight on these pivotal moments in Elevon’s love story, and if there is even a future for them, or is it on ice for good? Plus, Brytni opens up about falling for her co-star and recent Daytime Emmy winner, Bryton James, and taping what would normally look like a red-hot passionate sex scene on the soaps with Sean Dominic, but having to do it under strict CDC Covid-19 protocols. Here’s what Ms. Sarpy had to say about it all!

Courtesy/CBS

You’ve got this big storyline unfolding now on Y&R.  Did you know when they brought on Sean Dominic that they were going to bust up  Elena and Devon?

BRYTNI:  Yes and no.  When Sean was first brought in, there had been another actor playing his role, so technically his character has already been on-screen.  So, I didn’t necessarily think it was going to cause any type of conflict, or a love triangle, or anything like that.  However, I think that there were little hints about it along the way in the writing, and our characters similarities in both being doctors.  The writers are pretty tight-lipped, so I only know things two or three weeks in advance.

Were you playing that Elena had this attraction to Nate for a while now?

BRYTNI:  There was a point where I decided to play it, and that is when I felt that it was in the material. It was when things got a little crazier with Amanda coming around and Elena being at the height of her insecurity about that, and her really choosing to only confide in Nate.  I think that kind of relationship and comfortability that she was finding and that dynamic of being at the clinic with Nate, and establishing that with him, she was not having with Devon.

Courtesy/CBS

Right, and so do you think once Elena knew Amanda was interested in Nate, she subconsciously stepped up her own interest in him?

BRYTNI:  No, I think around this time she was hoping for Amanda to date Nate, and she was asking a lot of questions and things to egg on that whole relationship.  I think in her subconscious she really felt like, “Oh good, if I can put these two together, then my fears about this woman who looks exactly like my boyfriend’s dead wife… that resolves that.”  I think for Elena it was just kind of putting them together.  It wasn’t about Nate.  It was about someone to occupy Amanda so that Elena’s insecurities didn’t have to come out and she didn’t have to worry about Devon, or anything with those two being together.

But didn’t Elena have a nightmare/dream about Amanda and Devon having sex?  Wasn’t she freaked out about Amanda being Hilary’s sister?

BRYTNI:  This was when she had already jumped down the rabbit hole of being insecure about what was going on about Amanda and Devon and how much time they were spending together and hoping that he didn’t fall back into those feelings he had for Hilary that he had just gotten through.  For Elena, I think it was a lot of PTSD; for her.  She felt the first half of their relationship was trying to get over Hilary.  Once it finally turned to a point where Amanda was spending a lot of time with Devon. and she had started only confiding in Nate and not Devon about how she felt, that’s when I think those insecure feelings came up, and her talking about it so much manifested into her dreams, and she set herself up for her own trauma.

Courtesy/CBS

So, you have to do this sex scene amidst Covid-19 protocols with Sean Dominic.  How was filming that scene with Sean because Nate looks at Elena, she looks at him, signaling they want to have sex right now, right there at the clinic, and then it cuts out.  Was it awkward filming it?

BRYTNI:  Yes, it was certainly awkward because his double was Bryton, so it’s hard to play that you’re cheating on a character with the actor who plays the character that you’re cheating on. (Laughs)

We are going to give you the Emmy right there for that!  (Laughs)

BRYTNI:  Right! (Laughs) Then in some of the scenes we are looking into each other’s eyes, and we appear to be close, but of course we are not that way.  So, I am staring up at a mannequin that it is at Sean’s eye-level, and he is staring down at a mannequin that is at mine.  It is not easy to try to sell that energy that is between two people in such an electric, heated moment, so it was definitely challenging.

Do you buy Elena’s rationale that they were on a euphoric high from saving Jared’s life at the clinic, as the impetus that leads her and Nate to have sex?

BRYTNI:  I don’t think she really understands what happened.  I think she is trying to put it together.  Right after it happens, she goes into that whole monologue about how, “I’m not blaming you, but this happened, and we were just coming down from a high.”  I think it’s just her trying to figure out why her emotions brought her to this place because I think this is one of the few times in someone like Elena’s life when she has acted without thinking or without forethought to the consequences.  I think she has just been exhausted with trying to battle her emotions, trying to be a doctor with a residency in a hospital, and then also trying to do as much work as she is doing at a clinic.  Then, coming off of an emotionally-charged partnership with Devon after seeing what he was going through with the ghost of Hilary for so long, and going back into this after finally having a calm and peaceful few months, it rocked the whole boat again.

Courtesy/CBS

Viewers have seen what played out over the last week and half, a lot of scenes were you as Elena are called upon to do a lot of breaking down, and crying.  So, how are those scenes to perform? Do you like those types of scenes, or are you like, “Oh, God! These are so soapy!”

BRYTNI:  For me, personally playing that, I think with all the tears and all of that, it’s been exhausting, because there are certainly levels of reality to this where I have to go for it to not be me just trying to emote on-screen, but actually feel the depths of what my character would be going through.  It’s a lot.  I’ve had a few migraines after work sometimes, but I do enjoy it.  I enjoy getting those emotions out.  I think that because of what I’ve established with her character for a little over a year, I’ve been building up Elena, and more importantly, building up her relationship with Devon.  I think to understand her actions, it had to come from a really solid place.  I don’t think she is ill-intended in any of her emotions.  I think she really cares about and wants to protect her partner, Devon throughout all of this, and then she finds herself unprotected and vulnerable in making decisions that inevitably do the complete opposite.  So, I think at the end of it, she really is disappointed in herself and also, she has just created this entire disruption of her life in the matter of a moment, and I think there is a lot of mourning, and there is a lot of guilt.  I just don’t think that it is intentional of her character to do something like what she did.  I think that for me to make it what it was… something that my character would do or did … it had to come from a real place that didn’t sit well with her, and it just happened, and she feels guilt-ridden.  It’s as serious as a character attempting to murder someone, or any other kind of character who would go to the extremes of who they are in their characteristics.

Courtesy/CBS

For you, since you are romantically-involved with Bryton James in real life, does that make it harder or easier to play?

BRYTNI:  I’d say both.  It makes it harder because it’s more real, but it also makes it easier because it’s more real.  These are situations that could at some point come up or have come up, and to put yourself in those positions, and to have him look at me the way that he does and to jeopardize something that real, to go to that place, is a dark place to have to portray.

… And then Devon throws her out! 

BRYTNI:  He does.

Devon tells her to leave the penthouse and he tells her to pack her stuff and go.

BRYTNI:  Rightfully so.

Courtesy/CBS

Doesn’t Elena deserve that reaction for her actions?

BRYTNI:  I think so.  She made a mistake, and she has to learn from it.  I think if there is any potential for these two to ever reconcile, there has to be space given, and there has to be understanding.  You can’t just pretend like everything is normal even though she is sorry.  Sorry isn’t a reason why and sorry isn’t proactive.  She has to fix the issue.

They brought Jared (Michael Maclane) back to be the catalyst that was ended up being the spark that ignited Nate and Elena’s passionate moment together at the clinic. What did you think of that plot point?

BRYTNI:  The point was actually, that it was a patient who they had invested in and cared about, and she was able to do something for this kid and save his life with someone who she has been leaning on, someone who she has had a shared connection with, someone who shares her perspective, and helped her through situations with Devon, and who has seen her ugly side and her insecure side, and it was a bonding moment, I guess, that they were able to save a kid’s life who they both knew added another layer to their relationship that caused things to go grey.

Coming up, it appears that Amanda is going to be instigating a lot of stuff, and Nate is going to still have feelings for Elena.

BRYTNI:  Yeah, I mean, it’s not over.  Now that the cat has been let out of the bag, they still have residual feelings.  I think Nate is starting to make it very clear why he went the direction he went.  I think he has more of an understanding of where his feelings lie and that they are with Elena.  I think with Amanda, maybe a part of her ego just got bruised, and maybe she wants to unearth the truth of all of this because she was kind of caught in the middle of it.

When you and Bryton are together in real life, are you rehearsing all of these scenes and playing all of the other characters in them?

BRYTNI:  Typically, we run lines together.  I have voices for everyone.  I have a Nate voice.  (Laughs)  I have an Amanda voice; I have a Lily (Christel Khalil) voice.

Photo: Sonja Fleming/CBS

You are in one of those interesting situations where you are with the person in real-life and in story.  I have talked to Bryton about this, but what was the moment when you knew it clicked with him? 

BRYTNI:  We certainly liked each other since day one just as people.  He was a great scene partner to do a screen-test with, very giving, just really professional, but just a down-to-earth nice guy. Then, just moving forward from that and working with him as my scene partner on Y&R, I think it was during our first group scene, it was the opening of Society, and we did a tribute to Neil Winters (Kristoff St. John), and that was the first time I had spent long hours on a Y&R set.  You’re with the whole group all day because you’re doing group scenes.  We just discovered and learned that we are both really goofy, and we were just laughing and talking about stories.  I think we found that we had a lot more in common than we would have realized… very similar pop-cultural references, and upbringings, and all of that.  From there, we’ve just gotten along really well, and it progressed.

Photo: Sonja Fleming/CBS

Back in late June,  there was this viral video of you jumping up and down when Bryon’s name was called as the winner of the Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series during the 47th annual Daytime Emmys telecast.  What do you remember of that night with him?  You seemed more excited than he was!

BRYTNI:  Yeah!  I was really excited for him.  The year before – well, I didn’t know that it was our first date –  but,  I guess it was our first date at the 46th Daytime Emmys, because I honestly thought that Matt Kane (publicist, Y&R) had asked me if I wanted to go along, and apparently, Bryton had asked if he could invite me.  So, we spent that time together, and he was nominated that year as well and lost.  Cut to this year where Bryton is a person who I have actually worked with and have seen how he works, and after Kristoff’s passing, and just seeing the amount of work that Y&R put into it, and the time that they spent on those episodes, and how beautiful they came out, everyone deserved an Emmy for that.  It was really beautiful work, and it was really touching, and it was really true and honest.  I really thought Bryton deserved it.  I think he was just as happy.  He’s just more reserved than I am.

What do you want to see happen for Elena moving-forward?  Do you want to see more of her extended family pop up so she is a character who has more ties to Genoa City?

BRYTNI:  I do, I do.  A lot of the characters never know who their father is.  I’d love to know who that is. (Laughs)  Like when I played Valerie on General Hospital, she didn’t know who her father was either.  Things like that are interesting to play.  I’d love to start closing those little holes about her because that helps me.  It helps me to create more dimensions in her character and to make firmer choices, and give her somewhere to go, and it gives more richness in her story.  I would love to also cement her to the Y&R canvas if she has any relation to anyone else there.

Courtesy/CBS

There have been rumors that Elena will become pregnant.  What would you say to that?

BRYTNI:  What do I think of that?  I don’t know.  It could happen.  Crazier things have happened on soaps.  Will it be the classic, “Whodunit?”

You mean, who could be the baby daddy?

BRYTNI:  (Laughs) Yes, that would be interesting, and yes, I’ve seen those rumors, too.

Do you think Elena will fight and claw her way back to Devon, or do you think she is going to let it be? 

BRYTNI:  I think even from the scenes that aired this past week, you can see the extent of how sorry she is.  She is laying it all out there, in a puddle of tears, exactly how she feels even though she is not able to really understand why she did what she did, her sorrow is there.  I don’t think there is really much more for her to do as far as pleading to get him back until he is ready, if he ever is ready.  I think her respecting his wishes in the situation is probably the best thing that she can do at this point.

Photo: IG

Meanwhile, if you have any more romantic scenes with Sean Dominic, Bryton will step in, so you will still be in scenes with him, even if Elena and Devon aren’t together. 

BRYTNI:  (Laughs) Yes, that’s true!

So, are you rooting for Devon and Elena to get back together quickly?  Do you think she may end up in a relationship with Nate? What have you thought of Brytni’s performances in this storyline? Comment below, but first watch Devon tell Elena to move out!

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Interviews

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

Courtesy/CBD

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

Courtesy/CBS

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

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

Photo: Ed McGowan/Plain Joe Studios

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

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

Photo: CBS

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

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

Courtesy/CBS

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

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

Photo: CBS

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

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

Courtesy/CBD

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

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

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

PETER:  Yes, or a bad woman.

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

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

Courtesy/CBS

Well … that ought to be good.

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

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

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

Courtesy/CBD

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

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

Courtesy/CBS

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

Courtesy/CBS

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

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

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

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

Photo: CBS

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

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

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

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Interviews

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

Photo: Getty

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

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

Photo: HallmarkChannel

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

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

Courtesy/CBD

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

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

Photo: CBS

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

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

Courtesy/CBS

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

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

Courtesy/CBS

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

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

Courtesy/CBD

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

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

Photo: CBS

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

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

Courtesy/CBS

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

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

Photo: CBS

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

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

Courtesy/CBS

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

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

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

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