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The Kate Mansi Interview – Days of our Lives Farewell

Photo Credit: Mansi Instagram

Days of our Lives fans have spent five years getting to see the twists and turns in young Abigail Deveraux’s life, as portrayed by Kate Mansi.  The actress who came on to the long-running NBC soap had that “it” factor that captivated audiences, and made you take notice of her.  As Abigail, the daughter of Jennifer (Melissa Reeves) and the deceased Jack (Matt Ashford), she continually made some very dicey choices with the men she found herself romantically involved.  But none more shocking than when an unaware Abigail found out her then fiancée’ Ben Weston (Rob Scott Wilson) was a serial killer, and had murdered several people she knew and loved.  However, Abigail was truly in love with another, Chad DiMera (Billy Flynn), and for many months Kate and Billy’s performances made them one the most popular duos on DAYS, known by their adoring fans as “Chabby”.  In recent months, Abigail suffered a mental breakdown from the harrowing events that transpired at the hands of Ben.  Add that to the fact that mental illness runs in her family, and Abby was set on a dark path that she would struggle to get out from under.

In major soap news, daytime fans learned at the beginning of 2016 that Kate had actually taped her final episode of DAYS, and had made the decision to depart the series.  Because DAYS tapes six months in advance of airing, today June 24th, marked Kate’s final appearance as Abigail.  With DAYS wanting to leave the door open for Abigail’s return, viewers last saw the character escaping Shady Hills.  How did she to it?  Through a window!  But not before imagining what a happy reunion would be like with her husband Chad, and her son Thomas, and not before facing her demons, and visions of Ben one more time.

On-Air On-Soaps chatted with Kate Mansi to bring you this one last look as we close this chapter of the actresses’ career.  During our candid chat, Kate opens up about: her feelings as her final episode airs, what the fans love and support have meant to her, how important this last story about Abigail’s sanity was to her, and how she was completely invested in making sure it was told fully and completely.  Recently, fans and Kate learned that after an exhausting talent search, Days of our Lives found her successor.  Marci Miller now takes over the role of Abby, and Kate shares her thoughts on the show’s pivotal move, plus working alongside her co-stars Billy Flynn and Rob Scott Wilson during her final tape day.   Here’s what Kate shared in our heartfelt conversation.

MICHAEL:

This is really a full circle moment for us!  I remember back at Christmastime last year coming to the DAYS set to interview you, Billy Flynn, Mary Beth Evans (Kayla), and Stephen Nichols (Patch) for a 2015 year-end honors roundtable interview.  And there you were just having wrapped your run!  How on earth did you get through the chat?

KATE:

Courtesy/NBC

I can’t tell you how many times I thought of that interview, and to keep my lips sealed! That was the hardest thing to do that day.  I finished my scenes the day before, but I was back the next day at DAYS for the Christmas party, and getting my things, and we were doing that interview.   For all intent and purposes that was my last day.

MICHAEL:

Not only were we saying goodbye to you as Abigail on Friday’s episode, but we were also saying goodbye to Rob Scott Wilson as “Ben”!

KATE:

I know!  Rob was there that last tape day as a figment of Abigail’s imagination, but I think we realized he was finishing his last day that morning.   It all kind of had escaped us somehow that it was his last day, too.  When he finished he gave me a big hug.  I went, “Wait, this is it!  This is your last day.”  He was like, “Yeah, it is!”   Everyone paused and gave him a moment.  I am so lucky that both of us got to have a parallel experience that day.

MICHAEL:

Did your final day on the set kind of creep up on you, as well?

KATE:

Courtesy/NBC

I think yes, and no.  There were moments that I felt the end was near.  I was very aware of what I was leaving behind … incredible fans, the opportunity to work with great actors, and to have great story, and to be in a place that you were comfortable and know how to work.  There were moments when I felt like I was going to have to be pushed out the door, because I was so aware of it.  Then there were moments where the story just took me, and the day sort of past.

MICHAEL:

In your final episode, Chabby fans witnessed Abigail’s fantasy scene where she reconnected, and had a happy reunion with Chad, and their baby Thomas.  What did you think of the way the writers constructed that scene, which ultimately was your last scene with Billy Flynn?

KATE:

It was really cool that the writers did that.  I was so afraid to look at my scenes the last few weeks.  I was looking at them at the very last minute the night before we would tape, and then I would put it away, and look at it that morning.  Somehow, I forgot there was a fantasy scene to tape that day.  I am so glad my mind protected me, because it would have been too much for me to prepare for that.  The writers were dead on for writing it, and it was there for a reason.  They knew it was so powerful, even reading it to me it felt so powerful.  It’s very simple, straight forward, and perfect.  It’s exactly how we all would want it to end.

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/NBC

Chabby took DAYS fans by storm.  Looking back on it now, after having some separation from the show, why do you think Billy and you clicked with the audience as a couple to root for?

KATE:

The truth is I don’t know, or have the answer, other than two actors came together at the right time, in the right story, and what we created together was something very moving.  I am so incredibly grateful to the fans who have been so responsive to that story.  I have never been a part of a story like that before.  If I put my opinion on it, I think the fans felt with Billy and me as actors with our characters that it was never perfect and tied up in a bow.  It never lacked complexity.  There were always layers.  When Chad and Abby were at their highest highs, and so in love, there was also the depth we brought to those scenes of the tension, fear, and anxiety-provoking love we have for each other.  The stakes were so high knowing we were each other’s one great love.  I think both of us understood the real significance, and the power behind what the love story really was.  It just worked!

MICHAEL:

Did you have a hand in crafting the story of how the writers inevitably decided to tell Abigail’s exit story with her literally losing mind?

KATE:

Courtesy/NBC

I can’t take full credit, but I had the idea originally when Josh Griffth (former co-head writer) and Dena Higley (present co-head writer) came on board to write the show.   I had mentioned my idea to them, and that if I were to tell a story about Abigail this is the way I would want to go, and looking at the trajectory of my time at DAYS, and my time in the character.  It was again the right time, and right place, and the right combination of people.  Josh, and our co-executive producer Albert Alaar really took it by the reins.  The writing was so truthful.  For me, it feels like it was the first time we had taken our time to tell a complete story of something that really was not an easy story to tell.  It wasn’t a pretty story to tell, and it wasn’t a story about a woman being defined by a man. (Which in Abigail’s case, she was for so long being that vessel looking at all of these other men to be fulfilled).  It felt like all the powers-that-be at DAYS we were all on the same racetrack for this chapter.  I just went for the ride, and the momentum took over all of us.  It was the time of my life.

MICHAEL:

Was it difficult to play Abigail’s descent into madness week after week?

KATE:

Yes, emotionally it was difficult in the same way that an athlete feels the weight of their training.  It wasn’t difficult for me, in the sense that it was confusing.  However, I felt a certain sense of responsibility.  They had worked so hard to write this fantastic story, and I wanted to do everything I could to explore it truthfully.  So in that sense it was draining, it was difficult, all encompassing, and truly the best gift I ever had.

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/NBC

Abigail had gone through so much … almost being set on fire, the kidnapping of her newborn child, watching people she knew and love die, and being involved with her fiancée’ who turned out to be a serial killer, and I could go on!

KATE:

Yes, and even before then! Like sleeping with Chad, and then he lies about his brain tumor, lying to Austin about having sex with him, or not having sex him.  This is a really disillusioned woman.

MICHAEL:

Yes, and it would have made no sense if after all Abigail went through with Ben she would have come out of it unscathed.  Anybody would have been severely traumatized.

KATE:

That’s the key, though.  Josh and Dena said to me, “What do you want to tell about her?”  Dena, who originated the character of Abigail, and I sat there in the room and said, “I want to believe this is truthful.”  Dena and Josh both felt the same way.  Not to knock the soap genre, but sometimes I think because we work so quickly we don’t get to see what’s been done, unfortunately till much later.  Sometimes you are in the position where the story gets scraped, or gets tied-up really quickly.  It happens, and we all feel that, and the fans feel it, too.  I felt so privileged that everybody around helped create this story, from Billy Flynn, to the writers, and all the directors that worked on all the episodes.  Everybody was invested in telling the complete story, not just a love story.  Everybody wanted to sort of rip it open, and expose the framing of the foundation that was so cracked behind this woman.

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/NBC

The episode where you turn the tables on Ben, and light him on fire, and are bouncing on the bed … that was an Emmy-worthy performance!  Then we find out that harrowing experience was actually coming from Abigail’s tormented mind.  It was just brilliant.  I remember when it aired I was writing it up as your star turn.  It had such a beginning, middle and end arc to it, and set up the rest of your remaining months on DAYS.  What do you remember from taping it?

KATE:

All I remember is seeing memes of me screaming on a bed!   I remember thinking, “Oh, Lord, what have I done!”  I remember moments of taping it, and I remember reading the script for the first time going, “Holy s**t!   This is a new level of work ethic I am going to have to demand of myself.”  The writing was really moving.  Naturally, as a human we want to steer away from that which makes us uncomfortable.  A lot of the stuff, I could feel myself inside going, “I don’t want to do that,” because no one wants to look like an idiot. (Laughs).  No one wants to look like a jerk jumping up and down on a bed.   When I read it at first, I remember thinking, “I am going to have to change this.” (Laughs)  And then I remember saying to myself, “Kate!  Don’t you dare!  Just because you are afraid?  C’mon!  Grow up and honor the truth here.  We have come too far!”   What I thought was so cool about jumping on the bed scene was that I kept certain items of Abigail’s wardrobe over the years.  There was never a scene that showed what Abigail did with her engagement ring from Ben after she left the cabin.  I thought Abigail is just sick enough that she would keep it with her as a reminder to never let herself stray so far from who she was that she would be blind to the signs in front of her, and put everybody else in danger.  Ironically, the day we were taping the scenes, and I was supposed to be pouring gasoline over Ben, I said to our director, and Albert, our producer, “Oh, my God. Can we go get the wedding ring?  It’s the perfect opportunity to use it.”  Albert loved the idea, and he is always game for anything.  He said, “Let’s do it!”  Ben was taunting Abby saying, “I am not real.  I am all in your mind.” And that is where Abby came over to him and dug the wedding ring into his shoulder.  I thought it all just came together so nicely.

MICHAEL:

Who knew that Rob Scott Wilson could play so sick and twisted!  Actually, the two of you together were so sick and twisted! (Laughs)

KATE:

Courtesy/NBC

It was so twisted, and so great!  But to say I didn’t know Rob was capable of pulling this off would be a lie.  I think that Rob is an actor who has unfortunately been blessed with such great looks and a body where he might as well be a statue.  I feel when he was given the material, everybody was surprised.  However, Ron is a sponge with an incredible work ethic.  He is not afraid to make a fool of himself.  I would work with someone like that any day.

MICHAEL:

Talk to me about what was going on inside of Abigail’s mind in her final scene with Ben at Shady Hills, as she was plotting her escape during your last episode and breaking free of him?

KATE:

Ben is with Abigail, and it’s really the first time they sort of work together; we take off the mask together.  Here is the thing: when she willingly signed the papers to enter the rehab facility, she is in a much different state of mine.  At that point, she is completely lost in the darkest of oceans.  She doesn’t know who she is, or what is happening.  She’s lost.  Now at this point, when we see her at the end of the story, she has the confidence to escape, because she knows she is safer out there than she is locked up.  Abby has realized Ben is never going to leave her.  The reason she checked herself in to begin with was that she was so afraid Ben was going to come get her, and that has caused her to completely loose her grip on reality.  But once she sees Ben in her final moments with him, she realizes the very triumphant power she has saying, “I’m going to embrace this.  I am going to go back to my family, and my son, and my husband, and know that we all have demons, but it’s how we choose to deal with them that makes, or breaks us.”  Abigail now has the confidence to know that she can live a life where she is a proud mother setting a good example for her son, and that she is capable of being a loving wife in her relationship, and all of these things even if Ben never leaves her.  So she works with him.  They take off the mask together, and she is going through an escape, but really in her mind Ben is with her.  By the time she goes to escape, she has already had this fantasy of what it will be like, and what she is running toward, and escaping from.  She is running toward that perfect romantic image of her holding her son again, and looking at her husband, and realizing that she is a flawed human.  She thinks: “Yes, I went off the edge a little bit, and I brought myself back, and this is something I am going to have to work through, and surrender to and have with me for the rest of my life.  However, she is aware of that task now.  That is the difference.

MICHAEL:

Photo: Courtesy/IMDB

When any actor, who has played a role for a long time, and has invested so much of themselves into it, finds out after they have decided to move on from their show that their part has been recast … it’s always a double-edge sword for them.  Was it difficult for you to hear that DAYS recast the role?  Did you think perhaps they wouldn’t?

KATE:

We went through a lot of changes, in regards to the recast.  In the beginning, they told me they were going to recast on my last day.   In that moment, I felt it was a natural ending, and this was the way it was going to be.  Then, I had some significant conversations where at that point they weren’t going to recast.  I think they revisited it a few months later, and it went back and forth.  Honestly, it was out of my hands the day I walked out the door.  I couldn’t have any control over it.   I didn’t know what the show was going to do, and I tried to not get too invested on whether they were, or weren’t.   My time as that character has past.  I don’t know too much about Marci Miller, but I think it’s obviously a good thing for the show, and I hope everyone is happy.  I am so proud of the hard work I put into Abigail while I was there, and the privilege I had playing her, and all the stories I had, and mainly the last story.  It feels like that story was the one where, as a young 17-year-old actress, that this is what I was waiting for.  I felt so honored to have played her, and that is what I focused on.

MICHAEL:

Six months have gone by since you walked out the studio doors at DAYS.  With one last look at you as Abigail Friday, and all of us who loved your performances also saying our goodbyes, does it make it all seem more real to you?

KATE:

Courtesy/NBC

I just got tears in my eyes!  I would be totally b*s*ing you if I said it wasn’t something I am feeling, the emotional weight of it as well.  I graduated college and I went straight to DAYS, and for five years I was on the show.  That’s a big part of my life, and always will be.  I haven’t been able to watch any of the episodes, but on Friday my mom told me she has taken the day just dedicated to me.  She told me, “I want to come over and binge watch the last month of episodes until the end.  Then when it’s done, we will walk down the street, and have a drink together.”  I said, “Mom, I don’t think I can do that.” She said, “No.  I’m sure you can.  I am going to do it with you.”  It was very sweet.   I remember the day before I booked this job; I was a totally different person.  My boyfriend at the time had broken up with me.  I was living at home not knowing what I was going to do next.  DAYS casting director Marnie Saitta called me and said, “Dye your hair blonde, and come in for a meeting tomorrow!”  I thought, “Well, what do I have to lose?”  My mom looked at me as I was leaving for the meeting, and she said, “I can feel it.  Today your life is going to change.”  She was right!  I mean, I had the time of my life the last five years.  To Marci Miller, who is playing Abigail now, and whoever else should inhabit the role in the future, the character is the most interesting, complex, messy, wonderful parts of all of us.  So mom is coming over Friday, and maybe we will make it through ten minutes of an episode, or all of it, but while I feel the emotion of it, I also feel clarity.

MICHAEL:

The last sentence you utter as Abigail, in the fantasy scene with Chad and Thomas, is “It’s perfect”.   I hear there is a very moving story behind how that line came to be.

KATE:

Photo: KMansiInstagram

Yes.  That is the last line I say, and it’s in the fantasy scene.  Originally as they wrote it she says to Thomas: “I’m home.  Daddy brought me home.  I love you.”   Then I look at Chad and go, “I love you.”  I really struggled with that, because I knew what they wanted to say.  There was a part of me that felt about the story we were telling was that the reason that Abigail claws her way out of completely loosing her mind, and regains her sanity, and escapes the mental hospital, it’s all for her son.  She does all of that with Chad’s help 100%, but then when she says to her son, “Daddy got me home,” I thought it was a massive oversight of what it really was, which is that’s love!  It’s the two of them as parents saying to their child, “We fought for each other, for you.  We will do anything we can for you, and we’re here together … both of us, not just daddy, not just mommy, but both of us.”  So, I didn’t know what I was going to say.  I just knew I wasn’t comfortable with that.  When I was waiting for Billy to come up to me, I stood there and realized, that I was in the exact set (the DiMera mansion) that I had screen-tested on, and that was way back when I screen-tested for the role of Melanie.  When I had that realization, it’s like I was given this moment and it was a really spiritual feeling that I had.  I was in that very same place where I started my journey with DAYS, and that is where I was going to end it.  The next thing I know, I was doing the scene, and I was looking at Billy and Thomas, and before I finished I just looked out and took a deep breathe, and inhaled in everything that was good and wonderful on that set.  I looked out and saw Marnie standing there right across from me …just how it started.  All you need in this business is one person to believe in you, and she was that one.  I looked out at her, and everyone that was standing there, and all that came to mind was how perfect this was.   It was the most appropriate period to that sentence of my time there.

MICHAEL:

Did you realize you said, “It’s perfect” while taping?

KATE:

Courtesy/NBC

I went to lunch with my mom, afterwards.  It’s so funny, because I was inhaling my salad like I hadn’t eaten in days.  My mom is like, “Do you know what your last words were that you spoke on the show?”  She told me I said, “It’s perfect.”  And to have my moment with Chad, and have the moment with Thomas, and then to have “It’s perfect” plop out of my mouth … I honestly didn’t even realize it.

MICHAEL:

Abigail went out the window at Shady Hills and had her great escape.  So, where do you think she is?

KATE:

Having a drink somewhere in her hospital gown! (Laughs)  Truthfully, I think Abby ran barefoot and bare-assed all the way to her house, and crawled through that window.  That’s my story! (Laughs)  Meanwhile, Kate went to get a drink. (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

For your last several episodes, you had to wear a protective mask that covered your face, due to the storyline turn where Abigail was exposed to the accelerant when she tried to set fire to the facility she was in.  Looking back, what are your thoughts on wearing that mask?

KATE:

Courtesy/NBC

I had asked for the mask back, and the show said when they are finished using it they will send it to me.  I want to keep that mask forever, because you can always get to love that which you used to hate! (Laughs)  But, at the end of it, we took the mask off, and I was like fuggetaboutit!  This mask is mine now! (Laughs).  I found a way to love it, and to discover what it brings for me.  For some reason, it scared me to be under something like that on my face.  I remember I called Kassie DePaiva (Eve, DAYS) the night before and said, “What if I start crying under the mask?”  She said, “Oh, please! What do you think? You’re going to be a wet tampon?  It’s fine!” (Laughs)   It made me laugh so hard.  So during my last few tapes days, I thought, “Maybe this is a good thing,” because I don’t know if I could have done the scenes they had wrote, where I actually seem to say goodbye individually to people like Melissa Reeves (Jennifer), and Deidre Hall (Marlena).  I started to think they did me a massive favor.  All I have to do is sit here, and the mask is hiding the well of tears I had.  One time I had to take the mask off, as I had been crying from these beautiful moments that all the rest of the cast had performed while Abigail was unconscious.  I took the mask off, and they said, “Oh my God, it’s steaming!” (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

How difficult was it to say goodbye to Melissa Reeves, who for the last five years played your on-screen mom?

KATE:

Photo: KMansiInstagram

Missy and I didn’t say goodbye.  She is so true to the mom in her.  She said to me, “No. I am not saying goodbye to you.  I am not saying see you later.  I am still going to be your mom forever.”    So she refused to say goodbye in a very sweet way.   We knew exactly what it meant.  We will always be very close.

MICHAEL:

What can you say to the fans that have been so supportive, and vocal about Abby? There are things they have liked, and have not liked, and yet they were invested, passionate, and involved.

KATE:

I was shooting a film in Florida, and I was on the set and feeling so far away from home.  I missed home, and home to me was still Days of our Lives.   I would go on Twitter and see the fans were making videos, and capturing images, and things.  I know that social media is a powerful, and incredible thing.  To be able to have people I don’t even know tell me that they were just a little bit connected, and moved by a story I was portraying, that is just the best feeling, ever.  To feel like you have this army of supporters … I wish it for everybody.   It’s amazing.   It reminds me every single day about what the kindness of strangers is all about.  It’s incredible!

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/NBC

I loved watching your journey in the role from the very beginning.  I remember thinking, “Another Abigail!  Oh, God!”  The role has never really taken off, and there have been multiple actresses inhabiting the part over time.  Then, here you became the defining Abigail.  Let’s be real here.  Think about all the videos the fans made over the years with love for you, too!

KATE: 

I appreciate that, and I know you mean that.  Oh my God, the videos the fans made, they just made me weep like a five-year-old.  I am angry; of course if I don’t have Wi-Fi somewhere, and I am going into shock that I can’t watch them! (Laughs)  I know there have been tons of super couples on the soaps.  Just look at Alison Sweeney (Ex-Sami) and James Scott (Ex-EJ), and I had to get in the middle of that storyline. (Laughs)  I have seen it from the perspective of other people.  Being on the other side of it, I have to say it’s so special.  I have had messages that I have screenshot from Twitter, because I want to show them to my kids some day.  People from all over have said to me, “My relative has struggled with mental illness” or, “The way you told this story made me feel so understood.”  The amount of people that have been outspoken about this storyline about mental illness, and have been so happy that DAYS has been willing to show, it gives me this feeling that we are all in this together.  Guess what?  We all have depression.  We all have anxiety.  We all have problems.  We all have flaws, and every single one of us has our own coping mechanism, and our way to deal with it.  You have to reach out and let people know that they are not alone.  To know that I got to be a part of that makes me feel so lucky.

MICHAEL:

If I had been able to talk to you the first day you started as Abigail, I would have told you, “Be prepared.  Soap fans will never leave your side.  They always follow you, and are there to support you no matter what projects you do.”  They are a loyal bunch, that crew!

KATE:

Photo: KMansiInstagram

I am getting so emotional now.  I started this interview knowing I would be totally fine, and I even told my boyfriend, it will be fine.  And now I am like, “How did I not realize this?”  Yes, it’s been a long journey.  You’re like the therapist for all of us. (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

So since departing Days of our Lives, you have been filming some movies?

KATE:

I did two indie films; one is called The Guest, and one called The Boyfriend Killer.   I am leads in both films, and I play a crazy killer in both.  When I left DAYS I was thinking, “Oh, I’m going to go do something light.  I’m going to take some improv classes.”  Then I went into Fatal Attraction 2 and 3! (Laughs)   I have been enjoying auditioning, and getting the opportunity to play other roles, but of course, you miss the security of playing a character you know so well, and know even better than yourself while having a place to show up where you feel respected, and you don’t have to prove yourself.   So that part is different.  I like to be working, and that is the thing I am learning.  Patrick Muldoon (Ex-Austin, DAYS) jokes with me so often: “Oh, it’s not like you are going to be type cast, right?” (Laughs)  It’s his favorite joke.  He thinks it’s his claim to fame.  Patrick will say, “The Austin/Abby story is when you learned to play crazy.  So I really take credit for that!” (Laughs)  Patrick is in the The Boyfriend Killer, and he was cast first.  By the way, not to say that he is not type cast, he is playing a recovering alcoholic father that is the cool dad, and womanizer.  So, I will have to throw that back at him! (Laughs) 

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/NBC

As we come to a close, what do you think are some of your proudest moments from your time at DAYS?  What are you taking with you that you will hold near to you for the rest of your life?

KATE:

I was really hoping we could tell the truthful story of the culmination of events in Abigail’s life, and what that would really do to a person.  I am so proud that DAYS took the chance, went for it, and gave me the opportunity.  I am so proud that I had people that I knew I would be safe enough to do that kind of work.  I think that mental illness is something a lot of people are not willing to look at, and a lot of people don’t take seriously anymore.   I think I will be forever changed by this story, for sure.  I am also proud every time I hear from someone who tells me that this story made them feel a little less alone, or a little less misunderstood, and makes them feel more validated.  This last story made me feel so proud.  I left it all on the floor. There is not an ounce of me that I did not give to that.

So, what did you think of Kate Mansi’s final performance and last episode of Abigail? Will you miss her on DAYS?  What are your thoughts on the on-screen dynamics she created with Billy Flynn and Rob Scott Wilson? What moment and insight that Kate shared during the interview touched you the most? Share your thoughts in the comment section. (Note:  To make a comment, go to the top left side of the interview and click on “Leave a Comment”)

 

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Abby had her beautiful son in her arms with Chad. Heartbreaking wonderful dream. Will miss Mate.

You did a good job Mr. Michael, as always, and a thank you is deserved for Ms. Mansi for her performance over the years. There is so much more to say. The show will go on.

I am so happy to finally get a break from Abby. I wish they didn’t bother with recasting the role, and instead brought back the character of Stefanie. But hey, you never know, maybe Marci Miller will enable me to finally take a liking to Abby, because until know I could’t find anything remotely likable or interesting about the character. Plus she ruined Chad DiMera for me.

I think you did a wonderful job. But my heart is hurting I really wish you and Chad can stay together like Bo and Hope the next super couple, Chad l has so much love for you that he would have helped you threw it all. You did such a awesome job, I felt like you two where part of my family. I wish you only the best . Thank you, and God Bless you. I will miss you everyday

I miss her but I wish her great success.

So do I!

That is a wonderful interview, Mr. Fairman. Thank you. All the right questions, no sidetracking, concentration on this last episode. Good work. I do appreciate and thank Kate Mansi for extending her stay at Days in order to wrap the story, her work has been exemplary, & I do hope she doesn’t get cheated out of an Emmy next year for it. I am so glad to have read her thoughts about portraying Abby’s depression and ultimate descent into the mental illness that resulted from all her trauma.
Thank you again, Mr. Fairman, and huge thank you to Kate Mansi.

Kate is a great actress she did a very fine job in her role as Abby! And she will be greatly missed ! I miss her already just got done watching her last scene it brings me to tears every time she says I Just want to go home ! Anyway I wish her the best with great success !

Abby is ok but not a crucial character. Really only enjoyed her part when she married Chad. Maybe Days can expand on that, but only if they can be a more ‘normal’ couple, no more fires in the bedroom, no more setting other people on fire, just more sanity!

What is Ms Mansi smoking and why did Mr Fairman correct her. Dena did NOT “originate the character” since Kate Mansi is a RECAST!! Ashely Bensen was Abigail long before this “Public Relations” major. I tried very hard to give Ms Mansi some benefit of doubt, but I got to that line and realized she thinks she was the original actress to play the part. She is self absorbed and delusional. I couldn’t even finish it. I’m surprised she even gave the writers any credit.

I did not realize that Dena was head writer for days was Ashley Benson was on the show? I was not as aware of the older behind the scenes writers.

I forgot to apologize for the misunderstanding.

Michael thank you for another interview, we are all going to miss Kate she is a fantastic actress but we wishher the best of luck in whatever she does.

Kilometers Kate is an amazing actress,I sure you will have a wonderful career, I will miss you as Abbey.

She will be missed and she did a very good job

How lovely and thoughtful she is! She’s a fellow Virgo so I love her take on things, the careful nature to get things right, to be fully present. She really made Abbey her own and became a force even surviving a popular couple interlope story. Heck! She created a strong fanbase from that interlope story with EJ/Abbey but then when folks wrote her off she created an even stronger fan base in Chabby lol!!! I love it. Kudos to the talented Kate Mansi for sticking it out and delivering some great moments. Can we also note how awseome she is with co-stars! I have seen highlights with her relationshipd with Kassie, Mary Beth, Deidre, Missy, Kristian, Patrick, Christie, Rob, Casey, Lauren, Billy, Thao and so forth. It tells you something when you garner that respect off set with peers.

I will miss Chabby and I will miss Kate’s Abbey dearly.

Free speech I see gets deleted.

Such a self absorbed actress. Will not miss her.

Kate Mansi has a very special quality as an actress that kept me invested in Abigail and all her travails. Truly, a bright light on “Days of Our Lives”. I look forward to the next chapter in her career.

Excellent interview, Michael.

Kate Mansi has been wonderful to watch over the last 5 years… Such a talent and a class act. But I think the thing that resonates with her fans most, is that it isn’t just who she is as an actor. She’s a beautiful person, inside and out. Michael was absolutely right, when he said her fans won’t leave her side. I’m very sad to see her “set sail from Salem” (or escape it barefoot and bare-a$$ed) haha… But I am also excited to see where she goes from here. With her gift, the sky’s the limit. And this loyal fan will won’t miss it.

Thank you, Kate!
And thank you, Michael, for this amazing interview.

I loved Abby’s journey on Days ! I will miss Kate as Abby ! I always have trouble with a recast. Abby and Chad are my favorite couple next to Steve and Kayla! Both have magic on the screen. Thanks for the 5 years Kate and all the best to you!

I loved every minute you and Chad had together. I will really miss the love the both of you have for each other

Kate is a very talented actress. I loved her in her role as Abby. It will be hard transitioning to a new actress playing the part but I wish her well in all she does. The Abby breakdown was sad because for those who watched for years grew to know Abby and love her. Kate’s performances were outstanding and award winning. I will miss her.

Chad and Abby are my all time favorite couple and brought me back to Days. Kate Mansi and Billy Flynn were fantastic and so real together. The chemistry, the story, the acting and the depth just made them stand out and pull you in to their world.

kate played an amazing part. was on the mark the past two years. she grew into on hell of an amazing actress. im sure she will get an emmy. if she doed not some one is blind . loved chad and abbys love story. they were amazinf together. kate should be so proud of herself. gonna miss her as abby but i wish her all the best in the future. cant wait till i see what her next step in the business will be. im sure she will do great.

excuse my type errors should have looked before hitting submit. but its all from the heart.

Will miss her so much, Chabby became must see tv for me due to Kate & Billy.

I miss kate she was a great actress for that part..no one can take her place.such a pretty young lady.her and Billy were great together. Iwish her good luck

All My Children

Soap Favorites Jason Cook, Brytni Sarpy and Jacob Young Visit the Michael Fairman Channel

On Wednesday night, February 28, Four for Fun, the movie written and directed by former Days of our Lives and General Hospital star, Jason Cook (ex-Shawn-Douglas; ex-Matt, respectively), which stars Brytni Sarpy (Elena, Y&R) and Jacob Young (ex-JR, AMC, Lucky, GH, and Rick, B&B), will have its premiere as part of The Golden State Film Festival.

If you’re in the Southern California area, tickets for the festival and to see Four for Fun showing at 7:30pm PT can be found here.

In the premise of the film, a dinner party between two couples experiencing eleven different endings, all of which points to the same conclusion – the best possible life comes from the one lived the most in the present. Sarpy and Young play one of the couples and actors Donovan Patton and Annika Foster, play the other.

Photo: FourforFun

After its premiere at the festival, on the next night, Jason, Brytni and Jacob will visit You Tube’s Michael Fairman Channel for a livestream conversation about the making of the film, working with each other, and a discussion on their numerous soap opera roles and much more.

It all begins on Thursday night, February 29th beginning at 8 pm ET/5 pm PT. Make sure to join us in the live chat, so you can ask your questions and share your comments with this talented trio.

Photo: FourforFun

Check out the trailer for Four for Fun below, followed by how to watch the livestream interview.

Then, drop any questions you would like us to pose to Jason, Brytni and Jacob in the comment section, and we just might ask it live on Thursday night.

 

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Days Of Our Lives

DAYS Blake Berris to Chat Live on the Michael Fairman Channel as Everett & Bobby’s Story Heats Up

The tale of Everett Lynch and Bobby Stein is starting to reveal itself on Peacock’s Days of our Lives, which puts returning cast member, Blake Berris front and center in story.

On Monday’s, February 26th episode of DAYS, the results of Everett’s CAT scan indicate he suffered a traumatic brain injury which jives with his story that he was in a car accident and spent in a year in a coma, or does it?

Stephanie (Abigail Klein) and Everett are reeling that Everett as Bobby Stein was married to Jada Hunter (Elia Cantu) and treated her badly. While Everett claims he doesn’t remember anything about his time as Bobby, despite his fingerprints matching those of Robert Stein’s, Marlena (Deidre Hall) ponders if he could be suffering from PTSD, which might explain his memory loss.

Courtesy/Peacock

Everett wonders if he has a brain tumor, but Marlena points out that they would have found it on the CAT scan. While there is no obvious reason for his memory loss, Kayla wonders if he is faking his amnesia? Marlena tells Everett that she is a psychiatrist and they should set up sessions immediately. Will it be revealed that Everett and Bobby are split personalities living inside one man?

Blake Berris is set to chat about the latest storyline developments and more, when he visits the Michael Fairman Channel on Wednesday, February 28th beginning at 3 pm ET/Noon PT.  Make sure to join Michael and Blake in the live chat for your turn to share your questions and thoughts on the story.

Photo: JPI

Days of our Lives fans first met Blake when he played the character of Nick Fallon who was eventually murdered in 2014. Later, Nick made a few return appearances from ‘the grave’, in 2021 and 2023. Recently, Blake returned to the show in his newly-minted role of Everett Lynch at the end of October of last year.

Blake will talk about portraying Everett/Bobby, plus working his co-stars, and being a dad to his three boys, and more.  You can catch the livestream below.

Now, let us know, what is your theory about Everett Lynch and Bobby Stein? Looking forward to hearing what Blake has to say? Share your thoughts in the comment section.

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Days Of Our Lives

Days of our Lives Legendary Susan Seaforth Hayes Talks on the Horton House Fire Storyline, Mourning the Loss of Husband Bill Hayes & His Near-to-Final Performances

It has been an emotional time for longtime fans of Days of our Lives and beloved veteran, Susan Seaforth Hayes (Julie Williams). On-screen, the iconic Horton home was burned to the ground in what appears to be a storyline-dictated decision that shocked many. In real life, Susan is mourning the loss of her husband and DAYS enduring favorite, Bill Hayes (Doug Williams), who passed away at 98 in January. Over the weekend, during the 2024 SAG Awards In Memoriam tribute, Hayes was remembered along with other motion pictures and television stars whom we lost over the past year.

Since the Peacock streaming soap opera tapes months ahead of air, the Horton home fire and its aftermath are currently playing out in all-new episodes with more on this story featuring Susan to come. Bill Hayes also appeared in several of these episodes making it all the more touching and heartfelt.

When Julie came back to the Horton home to see what remained of it after the fire, Days of our Lives fans were treated to a heart-tugging episode that streamed last Wednesday, February 21st. In it, newly-taped scenes of a young Tom (Zach Chyz) and Alice (Sydney Kathrann Smith) Horton telling the story of how they came to live in the house to raise their children, juxtaposed with Julie and Doug (and members of their family and friends), surveying what’s left of the beloved house, brought many a tear.

Michael Fairman TV talked with Susan Seaforth Hayes for this very candid and heartfelt conversation to get her feelings on the Horton house fire, and being given the opportunity to have a storyline at this point in her storied career. In addition, Susan provides some insight on what it was like for her ailing late husband to tape scenes at DAYS shortly before his death, what the series plans to do about writing off the character of Doug while honoring the legacy of Bill Hayes, and how she knew she had the greatest love affair that anyone could hope for in their lifetime, which in turn, has inspired all of us.

Photo: JPI

I was shocked when they decided to burn down the Horton house. Were you at first devastated … and did you know that there would be a big story surrounding it?

SUSAN: I did not know how big a story was with it. I knew that many years ago, another regime had planned on trashing the set and getting rid of the set because nobody cared about the Hortons anymore. It was stopped by one person, and I was eternally grateful for that. This time I thought, “Oh, my goodness! I guess I’ll be meeting people for a cup of coffee at the Horton Square. No home, no roots, no reason to be called in,” and thinking that’s the end of Julie. That’s the end of Doug and Julie. Then, when they began to structure a story around it, I think all of this came up during the writer’s strike. So of course, I was curious to see how this was going to turn out. I enjoyed the aftermath, because in the aftermath, and a little bit before the fire, if you saw the show, I get to talk a bit about the history of the household and the people in it.

Photo: JPI

In the special episode that aired last Wednesday, Julie gave Leo (Greg Rikaart) the family tree history of the Hortons for his story in the Spectactor.

SUSAN:  I’ve had a couple of good long soliloquies about the past. I’m fated to be the character that does that because I’m the one still standing. I must say, I do enjoy doing them. Emotionally, all I have to do is rerun some of the actors and my own family in my mind and the emotion starts to come, you know, the emotion starts to flow.

Julie talks to Maggie (Suzanne Rogers) immediately after the fire. She is upset that the Horton family Christmas ornaments are gone. Fans were not happy that they could possibly have burned up. Thank God! There was a happy ending when they were located and unscathed, or there would have been hell to pay! 

SUSAN: I knew that they were in the prop room and that they still existed. But how much they were going to put a story around their loss, I did not know. We don’t get to ponder the plot. We just get to show up and start doing it. I think on this particular matter, something as important as a structure of the original set of the show, there’s been quite a bit of interest. So, I can appreciate that.

Photo: JPI

I was thinking, ‘Did they decide to burn the house down, because they were finally retiring the old Horton home set?’ What was the purpose of it?

SUSAN: They’ve done everything to make quicker set changes, which is remarkable and very efficient right now. The set designer said, “I’ll be interested in your input,” which was nice. The one thing that I loved that had been done, didn’t work. You couldn’t shoot into it. It was a federal mirror over the mantle. I loved it. The size was perfect. I was just delighted. And then, we tried to shoot it, and because of the roundness of the mirror, you got a perfect view of camera one and camera three. So, it came down.

This is Julie’s project to renovate the home. She’s determined to bring back all the memories and redo it?

SUSAN: Absolutely, which is another nice note to play for my character. She’s determined to make the house something that her grandparents would recognize and still feel comfortable in.

Photo: JPI

What did you think of the episode that just aired where the show incorporated flashbacks of a young Tom and Alice Horton?

SUSAN: Well, I set it up. They had their own their own lovely scenes. I read them, and I’m sure the audience was charmed.

What do you remember when you first came to DAYS, and you were in that house, in that set?

SUSAN: What did I notice about the set? I noticed that it was a strange shade of green. (Laughs) It was explained to me that that dull color meant that your face would pop on color TV. I understood that. I loved the little window up the staircase. I’ve always loved that. And at one time, there was a model of the house that sat on the set on its own little pedestal, a little playhouse of the exterior of the house. Whenever the house was on (and remember this is when we were a half-hour and practically live, but not live, because there was no editing), there would also be the sound of a barking dog whenever we reached the Horton house neighborhood. We never saw the dog, but I’m sure his name was “Spot”, and I’m sure he belonged to someone.

PhotoL JPI

You shared so many scenes with Frances Reid (Alice) and MacDonald Carey (Tom) in the Horton living room set and up till they passed. Did they get along well with Bill? Looking back, how was your relationship with them?

SUSAN: They loved him. Well, Mac and Billy had worked together before in theater. Mac was very kind to me at the beginning and helpful. Frances was as well. As Frances got older, she got a bit testy. When someone says, “You’re not going to read the line like that … are you?” It catches your attention. (Laughs). I got peeved at Frances from time to time, but her intent was always to make everything as good as it possibly could be. I saw her come back from her stroke. learn to talk again, learn to do it all again. Not do it easily, but to do it at all was wonderful, and the same with Mac. In his last shows, he was very frail, but we’re actors. We liked being there.

Photo: JPI

During the taping of the episodes surrounding the Horton house fire, Bill was mostly in them with you. How was Bill doing at the time you taped these scenes?

SUSAN: He was okay. He was up for it. He had difficulty moving at that point. So, they restricted his movement a lot. Bill always enjoyed coming to work a lot, and it was extremely difficult for him because he was blind, and didn’t move very well. And now, to do a scene with people who may or may not, have rehearsed with you, who may or may not, give you the exact cue, and when they are attempting to have you look each other in the eye, you can’t see who’s eyes they are, that was the hard part. The easy part was working with him, which was lovely and was a gift. It was a gift from Corday Productions that he was able to work within three weeks of his death, which I thought was super and extraordinary.

Photo: JPI

That is amazing. Did Bill understand everything that was going on at the time of the tapings?

SUSAN: Absolutely. He understood what was going on. He just couldn’t see it or touch it.

The timing couldn’t have been easy for you with Bill’s declining health, and that the show was going to burn down the Horton home where you shared so many scenes and memories.

SUSAN: Well, it hasn’t been my greatest stretch. But I knew that life would be like this. I’ve had five decades of an absolutely wonderful, blessed marriage and a chance to work and a chance to live in my own home and travel, all good. And now, we’re going to have the epilogue. And the epilogue is the hard part, seeing rapid change around you and losing the people that were the center of your life. I’ve just been very fortunate to have cultivated some wonderful friendships, and to have a wonderful large family of Hayeses.

Photo: JPI

You do realize that you and Bill were the gold-standard of what we all should be lucky enough to have in our lives. What an incredible, beautiful, passionate, loving marriage that the two of you had. You don’t see marriages like that anymore. We were all just in awe of the two of you. To us, it was the greatest love affair. You got to have that which is so extraordinary.

SUSAN: I know, and it was all Bill. I mean, any idiot could have been married to Bill Hayes and been deliriously happy. The guy was so perfect in every way that you really would have to pick something and blow it out of proportion to ever complain about any of his traits of character. He was just all good character, goodwill, and good humor. I just followed along and tried to live my life for him, with him, and follow his style, which I hope to carry on. I hope to be as good to people as he was to people, and, not be selfish.

Photo: JPI

I always remembered how the two of you would come to the studio with your suitcases, ready to work no matter what material, large or small, they gave you. You showed up. You just had such great work ethic and you don’t see that as much anymore.

SUSAN: At the moment, it’s hard to find it everywhere. I think it’s probably generational. You cannot get too angry at people that are still holding up their phones in the one rehearsal that we have. I think it’s more convenient to receive your work electronically, but somehow it doesn’t seem quite as real. You don’t have a script in your hand anymore unless you print one up yourself.  Sometimes you haven’t met the person you’re working with. Well, that’s not unusual, but no rehearsal at all, that’s kind of marvelously new.

Photo: JPI

Does Julie lean on anybody for emotional support as she tries to rebuild the Horton home. Who’s there for her?

SUSAN: As far as I can tell, nobody. I’m supposed to be the wise woman, and Marlena (Deidre Hall) is supposed to be the other wise woman. I haven’t had any scenes with Marlena for help. I would think Marlena would be the person I would be going to for grief counseling, for friendship, for all of that. I haven’t seen it in the scripts, yet. I’m still deeply entwined with Chad’s (Billy Flynn) storyline.

How is Billy Flynn to work with?

SUSAN: A pleasure. Billy Flynn has grown a lot as a human being and as an actor since I’ve known him. I’m really enjoying his company and really enjoying doing scenes with him. We rehearse and then we get on other subjects and laugh and talk and inform each other. We’re interested in a lot of the same things. He’s a new parent. He’s really devoting himself to that, to that experience in the best possible way. So, I’m lucky.

Do Julie and Chad try to figure out who set the fire?

SUSAN: Oh yeah.

Photo: JPI

I kept thinking about how Julie got burned in the kitchen fire years ago and her face was scarred, At the time, your mother Elizabeth Harrower was writing DAYS and wrote that for Julie. Did you hate that story?

SUSAN: Well, I know where the story came from. It came up from something in mother’s own life. I knew the people involved, and I wasn’t crazy in love with the idea. Then, when it was supposed to go for six weeks and went on for months and months, I was concerned. Mainly, I was concerned that my face was going to be affected because of the appliance, the scars, that I was wearing. I was told by a dermatologist, “You’re going to have a little beard after this. Ripping your face every single day to get this off is going to be hard on you.” But, I seem to have survived.

Has the show even addressed with you how they plan to handle writing-off the character of Doug Williams, and how they want to honor Bill?

SUSAN: Only in the smallest way. I had a conference call with the producers and our head writer last Friday. I was informed about the immediate, immediate future. I’ve also been promised that they’re going to keep me busy. It’s a cast of over 40 people. I’ll be happy to show up and to be included.

Photo: JPI

I was just hoping that whatever they decide to do with the character of Doug that they were going to run it by you, first.

SUSAN: They have, and they have been very sweet about it.  I’ve got to tell you, this regime, they have a sign up on the wall now, that says, Things we expect on this stage.”  The first one at the top of the list is “kindness.”

Have you watched your work back all these years? I know some actor’s never like to watch the scenes they taped.

SUSAN: I think you learn by watching yourself, if you have an open mind, and if you are not hypercritical, or dismissive. I cannot be dismissive of a character that has given me such a wonderful life. I’m still interested in Julie, perhaps I wouldn’t have been if I’d been on the show for three years and never returned to it. But I’m quite interested in her now, and what she has to offer as a member of this ensemble.

Photo: JPI

Julie’s ties to the whole history of Days of our Lives from this point on are very important. How do you feel about that?

SUSAN:  There are those that don’t care about the history of the show. I know that. I know there are those that only care about continuing with something snappy to keep eyes on the screen through action, adventure, drama, death, kidnapping, missed opportunities, all that, which I suppose that’s what the audience craves. But, that’s not just what the show can do. What the show can do so well is character. There’s a lot of people over 70 who are still on the show now. I’m the oldest one, but I’m not the only one. We’re coming up on the 60th anniversary. I don’t think the show is worn out. And if it is, it’s had a remarkably successful six decades.

Lamon Archey (Eli) is back on DAYS for a stint. What has it been like to work with Lamon as his on-screen grandmother?

SUSAN: I think he’s terrific and visually he is so beautiful, so appealing. I think both Eli and Lani (Sal Stowers) are very appealing as characters. I’m delighted to be connected to Eli as a family member. That was a lucky break for me.

Photo: JPI

Do you think DAYS fans are going to continue to be emotional in the aftermath of this fire and all the story that comes out of it? Do you think we’ll be touched by what Julie goes through to get the remains all cleaned up for a new house?

SUSAN: I think anybody in America who’s gone through a disaster, and have unfortunately had the disruption of their home, will be sympathetic and interested in how it all turns out. It’s a nice note to play. We haven’t had to do that very often. We just go from one lovely apartment to another without much discussion. I think this is the one set that meant a lot to people. I was very sorry to lose “Julie’s Place,” as it turned into kind of a sandwich shop. I still loved having a business, a tangible place to be, and an alternate place for people to meet.

Photo: NBC

Upon reflection, what was your favorite scene with Bill? Was it when Julie and Doug got married on-screen, or was it something else that was much more intimate?

SUSAN: I think our last scene is going to be more important, emotionally. I think the first wedding was beautiful, but the material around the time of our second wedding, when Brenda Benet (ex-Lee) came back on the show and Doug stood up to her and says, “I’m not going to be manipulated anymore,” was also strong. There has been a lot of very important times – when Doug was killed-off by James Reilly, and we met in the tunnel of light. That was a day. That was a difficult day, which I certainly can’t revisit right now emotionally. When Julie found out Doug had run off and married her mother, Addie, that was a day. It was a day because, I went to the producer at the time, Jack Herzberg, and said, “Is this it? Am I not going to work with him anymore?”And he said, “Right! That’s it. You’re not working with Bill Hayes anymore.” We were not married at the time, and I thought I was going to go through the floor! That wasn’t a happy day.

Photo: JPI

In terms of Bill’s final day on the set with you, did you know that it was his last, and what would turn out to be his last scene?

SUSAN: Well, they didn’t know. But I knew. I had been allowed to rewrite it. So, I can’t tell you Bill’s last line now, of course, but I will in time.

What do you think about the sentiments shared by Susan on her late husband, and this storyline? How do hope the show properly honors Bill and Doug Williams when the series writes-off the character? Are you enjoying the Horton house fire story arc or does it upset you too much? Share your thoughts via the comment section below.

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Peter Reckell returns for a second visit with Michael Fairman following the wrap-up of his recent run as Bo Brady on Days of our Lives.Leave A Comment

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