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The Lauralee Bell and Doug Davidson Interview – The Young and the Restless

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

If you watched today’s highly emotional tribute and memorial service to Katherine Chancellor on The Young and the Restless, you may have been caught by surprise, as were the actors who play Christine and Paul!  Of course, we are talking about Lauralee Bell (Christine) and Daytime Emmy winner Doug Davidson (Paul) who have kept the secret that during the memorial, Paul and Christine get married!  The shocking turn of events brings some happiness and hope to a rather heartbreaking day for Katherine’s loved ones, family, and friends who come together in Chancellor Park, the new set honoring the late Jeanne Cooper, to say goodbye to the Grand Dame of Genoa City.

On-Air On-Soaps chatted with Lauralee and Doug exclusively to get an inside look at what went down during the emotional taping of Katherine’s memorial, especially for these two who had such a deep and close bond to the legendary Jeanne Cooper.  Plus, we learn, what was their reaction when they learned that their characters would marry in the middle of the memorial?  Fitting, or, inappropriate?

For longtime fans of the number-one soap, Doug references throughout our chat the influences of Lauralee’s dad (Y&R creator Bill Bell) throughout this new storyline involving the letters Katherine left for the residents of Genoa City, that for many is a call to action, and for many a time to contemplate.  But for once in soaps, the good girl and the good guy finally get together.  What better way than to have their beloved friend and long time cast mate Jeanne Cooper looking over them from the heavens above onto the soundstage at CBS to watch the fictional union of two of her dearest friends in real life.  Here is what Lauralee and Doug have to share about the experience with all of you!

MICHAEL:

How was it for both of you to perform and participate in the memorial episodes for Katherine Chancellor knowing your deep personal relationship with Jeanne Cooper?

LAURALEE:

Courtesy/CBS

I don’t think Doug and I have ever cried so hard, honestly.

DOUG:

What happened was… the part that got me the first time was that during rehearsal Corbin Bernsen is up there as Father Todd, and where does the play stop and real life begin?  There are these big pictures of Jeanne around, and he started and he got caught up, and we were OK then, but then he goes to read this poem, and so much of the poem reminded me of Jeanne not really being away.  You could feel her presence in the studio.  She is such a powerful force.  Then having her son read this poem about herThen, suddenly Doug was getting more emotional than Paul should …

LAURALEE:

… Right, right!  We were all getting so emotional, especially our row.  If the camera were to have cut to us, it would have been an odd choice.  We could barely keep it together!  But there was one little segment apparently that Corbin said, “When I read it at home and was preparing to shoot the episode, I did not see this one sentence that said, ‘my blood lives within you,”’ or something to that effect.  It just choked him up immediately, because everything was, and is so real.

DOUG:

And, it’s so contagious.  It’s his mom, and you feel for him, and you feel for the loss of his mom, and our friend, and on so many levels, that you can’t anticipate how you are going to react with all of that coming at you.

LAURALEE;

Courtesy/CBS

It was a really hard day.

MICHAEL:

Were the two of your dreading taping the episodes, because of how close real life and art were this time?  Did you like the way the writers decided to deal with Katherine’s death?

DOUG:

What I liked is that Katherine is not off the canvas, and that is the bottom line, and that is why we were both thrilled how it was handled, because she is living beyond her departure through letters she gave to all of these cast members.  All of the letters are changing the lives of the people of Genoa City, and she is now still the topic of the show.

LAURALEE:

I had not really thought about if it would be difficult or not, because I felt like we had been through that.  But in some weird way, this was almost harder than Jeanne’s real memorial.

DOUG:

I think we were all eager to do it, because it was such a tribute to an iconic television character.  So, I think everybody involved in the story was honored to be there.  Our fans deserve a great tribute, and that she be honored in a fitting manor.  I guess if you are afraid of emotion, you have got the wrong job of being an actor on a soap opera.  From my perspective, it was a privilege to be able to honor her.  I don’t think anyone has been honored quite in this fashion: first a memorial for Jeanne, and now her character.

LAURALEE:

Courtesy/CBS

It all ended so nicely, too, because each cast member went up and singly had a sentence about her and for her as they put roses next to her ashes.  It was so well done.

DOUG:

Corbin brought some of Jeanne’s ashes to be in Katherine’s vessel.  It was very cool.

LAURALEE:

It was very intense.  And when you would look to your left and see the camera operators and the boom guys all choked up too, everyone on that set was involved.

DOUG:

There was no way out.

MICHAEL:

So, Paul is the last one to get a letter from beyond the grave that starts the turn of events at the memorial that sort of matches up with what Katherine said to Christine in her letter.

DOUG:

Paul is the last one to get a letter!

LAURALEE:

Christine’s letter said something to the affect of: “No one ever had on their tombstone, you put in great hours.  Take time to look at the sunset and take time to live your life, and if something is right there in front of you that you know it is meant to be, get it.  Don’t waste your life away.”  So the meaning was in there, and then Paul got his letter.

Courtesy/CBS

DOUG:

And Paul’s letter says, “What are you waiting for?  Marry her!”  That is all it said.

MICHAEL:

What happened to Nina (Tricia Cast) in all of this?  On Tuesday’s episode, Kay’s letter impacted her so much that she was ready to let go of Paul, and just in time!

DOUG:

Nina got a letter to forgive.  I must say since that story started, it has been more Bill Bell-esque in the style of the show, and character-driven with a heartbeat.  It has certainly felt more like Bill’s show since her passing, and that is due to the fact that Jeanne Cooper’s Katherine Chancellor is part of the original creation and concept of Y&R.  And, it’s carried through into all the other stories right now.

LAURALEE:

Plus, I hoped the fans loved all the flashbacks during the memorial.  It was great to hear Jess Walton (Jill) talk about how Jill and Katherine met.  And, how she was her manicurist, and that is something you forget.  Even as an actor on the show, to listen to everyone’s little vignette was. “Oh God. I forgot about that.  And Wow, there is such insane history.”  It was just all great!  So Paul says to Christine, “Will you marry me?”  It is a bizarre place, but at least we acknowledge it, like, “I don’t think we should crash Katherine’s funeral!” (Laughs)

DOUG:

But what was your reaction, Lauralee, when you heard about Paul and Christine getting married at Katherine’s memorial?

LAURALEE:

Personally, I did not believe it!

DOUG:

Courtesy/CBS

It was like, “What the heck?”

MICHAEL:

How did you first hear about the shocking fact that Christine and Paul would get married at Katherine’s Memorial?

DOUG:

I heard about it from the wardrobe department.  I was like, “Have they totally lost it?” (Laughs) And I have got to say when we got on the floor; it once again honored Kay and Jeanne.  It sort of all came together there … our emotions and our love for her.  It was about the things that stop us in life that maybe we would not have heard when she was here, but you hear loud and clear when she’s gone.  I will get messages from our viewers that they have so much more attachment to the veterans on the show since her passing.  And there again, they cherish what they lost, and are attaching to the people they have spent 25, 30 or 40 years with.

LAURALEE:

I went for a fitting for a wedding dress, and I was like, “Right?”

MICHAEL:

What did you think about how the marriage came about so quickly?

LAURALEE:

Well, Paul gets down on knee!  And … with Reverend Corbin looking on!  (Laughs)

DOUG:

Courtesy/CBS

Then Jill says, “This will be perfect!”

LAURALEE:

And Christine says, “I don’t think this is appropriate.  It steals focus.”

DOUG:

It makes it so right that it will honor her, in that we are starting a new life together and honoring a life that just past – so it’s a death and birth at the same time.

LAURALEE:

And there were instructions from Katherine, that this should not be a sad occasion but a party, and all of that.  So it did work.

MICHAEL:

You must have been concerned that this would come off as a bit odd?

DOUG:

In the beginning, yes … but then also what came into this was Lauralee’s relationship with Jeanne, and my relationship with Jeanne, and suddenly we looked at each other and we have our own history together.  So, then it becomes about Doug’s working relationship with Lauralee, and Lauralee’s with Doug’s, and suddenly your realize, all of our adult life has been spent in this environment.  Corbin pointed out that over half of Jeanne’s life was spent on Y&R, and suddenly we could all relate to the fact that what Bill and Lee Bell created lives on.  After the taping of the memorial was all done, Corbin personally challenged all of us in keeping the show alive and working as hard as we can.

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

LAURALEE:

He challenged us to take this and take it to the next level, and never give up.  Even when you worked with Jeanne, she would force you to work harder to make it a better scene.

DOUG:

At 84!  She would show up, ready to go.  It was amazing.

MICHAEL:

And where do you think things were between Christine and Paul before the letters arrived?  Were they in a good place where Katherine’s influence would have sparked this to happen so quickly?

LAURALEE:

All Christine says to Paul is, “I know you are a little disappointed that you didn’t get a letter.”   She has been away and she shows up and Paul says, “Do you want to just pass on the memorial?”   Christine says, “No, after getting this letter, I feel closer to Katherine.  And, I am sorry you did not get a letter.”   Paul just sloughs it off and says, “I will just share yours.”   But you can tell he is very sad he does not have a letter.  But it was pretty immediate, and probably better that way, because if there was too much thought about it, it would not have worked.  The whole thing had to be spontaneous.

DOUG:

I am delivered the letter towards the end of the memorial service, and I go off to a private area to read it. 

MICHAEL:

So all this time Christine and Paul loved each other from afar?  Lauralee has not been on the show as much recently.

LAURALEE:

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

Well, she moved back from Washington to be with Paul.  I work a bunch more in the beginning of September, so I think things will become clearer.

DOUG:

I understand there were production reasons why Lauralee could not come earlier, and then for Lauralee she had family plans during the summer.

LAURALEE:

I don’t know if I will be on more. I hope so.  I am auditioning and doing my web series, and when I get the call to come back to Y&R, I am happy to go.  It is all good.

MICHAEL:

Nina seemed happy she got her letter, so she was satisfied to let bygones be bygones.  She even was Christine’s maid of honor! But what about Danny (Michael Damian), who Christine has a romantic past with?  He did not look to happy about this union!

LAURALEE:

Nina was happy because she got a letter from Katherine.  She was happy to be acknowledged, same with Danny who said something like, “I’ve moved on.  I don’t care.”  It was pretty funny. (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Do you think Christine and Paul ever stopped loving each other?

DOUG:

I don’t think they ever stopped.  I think they were driven apart by Michael (Christian LeBlanc) and Isabella (Eva Longoria) and if not for that, I think they would have made it over the separation.  But having the two forces; Michael on Chris and Isabella on Paul, it drove a wedge between them when Chris was working in Hong Kong. Upon her return, I don’t think they stopped loving each other.  I think it was all still there.  I think they became jealous, and because of it, it shrouded their love, but if you recall none of that happened naturally.  It was all forced upon.

LAURALEE:

Courtesy/CBS

Paul’s competition really is Christine’s job.  That is her problem.  She has to figure out what she needs more … a career, or a life.  But at this point in life, as people get older this marriage has a better chance of working, because it’s a different stage in your life, and you do realize that life does not go on forever and you re-prioritize.  I think that other than the circumstances of Katherine’s wedding, it was an emotional ceremony, and that they are on now on a very adult level with each other in a different way.

DOUG:

The fact that they have such a strong foundation and relationship beyond husband and wife, is the reason it’s probably going to last forever.  And, I mean forever as anything is on a soap opera. (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Do you think Jeanne would love the fact that Paul and Christine got hitched on the memorial episodes dedicated to the legacy of her character, Katherine Chancellor?

DOUG:

I think you go one step further, too; it was a pairing that was incredibly important to Bill as well.  And for me, it was quite an honor that he picked my character to marry the character his daughter plays.  If you know anything about Bill, he would never do anything like that lightly.  That in itself is an honor, but Jeanne being connected to that goes above and beyond.  There is a video clip of where she is talking to me about Chris that was 20 years ago.

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/CBS

Lauralee, do you think Dad would be proud of this story?

LAURALEE:

I think so.  The history is there.  It defines itself, and the audience knows what we are thinking without speaking, and it’s characters that our so embedded in the show.

DOUG:

We could not have done this without Bill Bell.  This goes so deep into the core and the heart of the entire show, that it’s all him.

LAURALEE:

Friends who never watched the show asked me, “Oh, you’re getting married again?”  Then they asked, “Well, what number is this for you?”  And I said, “Surprisingly, it’s only the second man I have married on Y&R.”   Again, this relationship was not so all over the place, where Paul was with this person, and that person, and Christine was with half the cast.  These two have such a special bond that when you see one; you expect to see the other.

DOUG:

I hesitate to use the word “old-fashioned”, but it was the hero and the heroine, and Bill Bell was very protective of both our characters, and what we got involved it.  I know from my perspective, Bill would never have Paul shoot anybody.  He wouldn’t even let me point a gun.  That is how pure that was…

LAURALEE:

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

… Or, let you solve a case! (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Well, while Paul could never solve a case, Christine could!  She never lost a case in court! (Laughs)

LAURALEE:

When I went to The Bold and the Beautiful Ronn Moss (Ex-Ridge) said, “You’re my attorney?”  And I said, “You’re gonna win!”  (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Do either of you have a favorite moment, or scene with Jeanne?

LAURALEE:

Well, I wouldn’t even know how to describe what we were talking about, but a few years ago, I think I came back for a couple of months.  I had a scene with Jeanne where I am assuming I was talking about Paul.  I bawled in the scene to her, and it didn’t ask for tears.  But in my brain, I had this thing like, “Oh, my God.  I bet I am never going to work with her again.”   Little did I know that she would live two years longer.  But it was so intense for me.  She did not say very much, but all I had to do was look at her, and it was sort of like the trust factor I have with Doug.  It was such a wonderful day for me. There was no panic about how am I going to say this big monologue with this person, and hope that it comes out right.  All I had to do was just look at her.  I don’t know if you can call it a favorite scene, but it was so beyond comfort in terms of working with someone, it was just such a gift that day.

DOUG:

Paul and Kay had a professional relationship, and it was not nearly as deep as Doug and Jeanne.  I have pictures of me in a scene with her, and she always made me laugh.  I would solve crimes, or loved ones for Katherine.  So that made my job kind of difficult. Paul would be sad, but not so heartbroken, that you can’t talk.

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/CBS Photo Credit: JPI

So Christine got this makeshift wedding, and wore what she had on for the memorial as her “wedding dress”!

LAURALEE:

Yes.  All the girls give me something borrowed, something blue and there is a makeshift bouquet! (Laughs)

DOUG:

Katherine did not want people wearing black, so no tears, no mourning.  So that colored the palette of what we were all wearing.  It was not a maudlin ceremony, and it took place in a place that never existed before.  So for the near future, this park is named after Katherine Chancellor, and we have scenes there with her plaque on the wall.  We honor her every time the park is up.  That is what I mean she is not off the canvas, and she will never be.  She will live on in the hearts of viewers, and all the people that had a personal relationship with her that remain on the show.

 

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mary jonas
Guest
mary jonas

Thank you for this. It was a really nice ending to #rememberKay. I like how it has a deeper meaning because Doug and Lauralee seem so close with Jeanne Cooper. Something sweet.

Dinah
Guest
Dinah

The only I dislike about today show, sorry this was should be only about Mrs C, besides they are very boring couple every been on YR

Dinah
Guest
Dinah

ever not every sorry

Chris
Guest
Chris

I love these actors and the characters they portray! I especially love Jeanne Cooper and Mrs. C. The tribute had some beautiful moments but the wedding was weird and upstaged why we all tuned in. Personally I thought it was in poor taste. I was emotionally involved the first half and then reminded that people who don’t get this show are running it. JG and JFP don’t seem to know how to write/produce moments and just let that moment have its place in time. There is nothing deep in how they tell story. Overall the episodes will remain with me… Read more »

Jules
Guest
Jules

I completely agree with your observation about the wedding. That wedding was entirely unnecessary in this particular episode. It was rushed, meaningless, no depth or poignancy and COMPLETELY took away from the otherwise lovely tribute they were giving to Katherine and Jeanne. Frankly, I would think JC would have been APPALLED that the show would try and upstage, or at the very least compete, with a tribute dedicated to her…in her humorous way of course, but you just know there would be truth behind her displeasure. And moreover, it didn’t do anything for the characters of Paul and Christine either.… Read more »

Jewell
Guest
Jewell

At least Nick and Avery decided to wait.. Paul and Christine only got married because of what Katherine said in that letter.. Also I learned Michael broke up their marriage last time, so Paul asks him to be his best man? Come on..

Mary SF
Guest
Mary SF

I watched the memorial shows and I never cried, got a bit misty eye at a few spots, but it was all done like I expected The clips were clips I had seen many times, but I enjoyed them. Maybe fatigue made me feel numb all through it;even the ghost at the end was a sweet, but lack the emotional punch of Edward and Lily’s ghosts going up the staircase did on GH. So here I thought nothing about it was going get me to cry– and then you tell me that Corbin placed some of Jeanne’s ashes in Katherine’s… Read more »

yogabba
Guest
yogabba

Lovin the good use of vets! sweet moments for a longtime couple. me likes. They need Isabella back now to go crazy on em!

Cupcake
Guest
Cupcake

Awesome soap I’ve been watching for 40 yrs and will really miss Catherine.

Judy
Guest
Judy

Great interview! I loved the wedding and certainly hope we do see more of Christine going forward!

Carole
Guest
Carole

Was very disappointed but not surprised that Christine would be suddenly brought into the story line and made the star of the show. The boss’s daughter has always been given the best storylines, clothes, close up shots, etc. Todays episode just proves it and was disrespectful of Jeanne Cooper and all the fans.

yogabba
Guest
yogabba

thats a stretch. she hasn’t been on much at all in recent years and suddenly she was ‘made the star’. i think it was just supposed to be cute.

lisa
Guest
lisa

It was a surprise – but I liked it.
In keeping with Katherine’s spirit ,I think she would have liked it too.
In death,life goes on.
I was very moved to see Jeanne’s real life son Corbin (Father Todd) performing the service – as he is cast as Paul’s brother on the show – I do hope he will make future visits.
It was a good episode.

Tom
Guest
Tom

At first I didn’t understand this storyline choice, but I always loved Paul and Cricket as a couple so I went with it. I haven’t agreed over the past few weeks with every story beat in the wake of Katherine’s passing, but take these memorial episodes as they were: we got a chance to see the show’s veterans in one last hurrah. With far too much of the past year–and years, for that matter–showing Genoa City awash in boring new faces, it was nice to just see the vets and legacy characters as well. We can’t predict what the future… Read more »

Joan
Guest
Joan

I know every one is entitled to their own opinion. Paul and Christine have always been a good match. I’m not surprised that they find their way back into each others arms.

Jewell
Guest
Jewell

The memorial was beautiful, when they shown the hologram of Jeanne Cooper at the end I lost it.. IMO the wedding didn’t belong at the wedding.. I would love to see Danny come back and fight for Cricket you can see that he still loves her.

k/kay
Guest
k/kay

Jeanne Cooper would have loved it Doug & Lauralee she loved hey it was her Dad’s creation you are suppose to love your children, don’t worry it is downhill all the way now The Steve Burton show. JFP you are welcome to it you and the golden boy deserve each other. I just pray that if Y&R goes first and he is out of work RC &FV tell him to kiss off.

Deborah
Guest
Deborah

BRAVO! Wonderful article. FAN-DAM-TASTIC Memorial. We ALL Wept like “the Family we are”….Hope the Chancellor Estate has a new portrait hanging over the mantle for the rest of time! Want to see the Duchess of Daytime Every time theyre is someoen in the living room! She will NEVER be forgotten … she’s “just in the next room.” The wedding was bizzare, but it was alright for this life-long fan. Jeanne would be as happy as Katherine that the wedding took place there. So thrilled to learn that she was present in the urn as well. Such a WONDER, REMARKABLE, UNIQUE… Read more »

PatF
Guest
PatF

It was a bit odd, but I do like that Josh G, who wrote it, was really doing so to keep all the veteran characters involved. I’m suspecting that’s one of the reasons he was having creative differences with Ms Phelps, because she seems to want to get the show AWAY from our loved characters. The entire two episodes really were pretty good and honored Kay’s and Jeanne memory. I love the park idea, but it better NOT replace the classic Mansion we want to continue to see. I hope these new writers, who have no idea of the history… Read more »

Joy Mathys
Guest
Joy Mathys

Paul and Chris were my favorite couple when I started watching the show, years ago… and they still are. I loved these two episodes, I love Chancellor Park and I loved the wedding.

H Parson
Guest
H Parson

I love both of these characters, but I felt their wedding hijacked what should have been a second episode of our other characters strolling down memory lane.

And I think the park that was named in Katherine’s honour looked fake.

The new sets do not have the warmth of character Y&R sets have had in the past. In particular – the new ranch set is a disgrace. It’s so tacky and cheap looking.

Dee
Guest
Dee

I loved the dedication to Jeanne Cooper; glad to see Paul & Christine married and that Michael was best man(CLB is my fav actor) their friendship has grown as has their respect for each other. I think Josh did a great job and was sorry to see him go as I do not trust JFP to keep our beloved characters of the past front and Center..I have loved the fact that Christian LeBlanc Tracey Bregman and Doug Davidson have had more screen time since Josh took over..Now am waiting with bated breath to see how JFP and her cronies handle… Read more »

Karen
Guest
Karen

I thought Katherine’s memorial was perfect. It had me in tears one minute and laughing along with everyone else the next. It must have been so hard for Corbin though. I don’t know how he got through it, but it couldn’t have been more appropriate. I was so happy to see some characters back for her memorial, but missed many others. As for the wedding – I loved it! It was a perfect way to end her memorial. And I have waited FOREVER for Paul and Christine to re-marry. Katherine would have been so happy. Will miss her always.

Agnes McKamey
Guest
Agnes McKamey

I wanted to find a copy of the poem that Father Todd read for Katherine. Please let me know since it was beautiful. The memorial service was outstanding and very fitting for a grand duchess!

Andrea
Guest
Andrea

If you find a copy of the poem read or even the name and author please e-mail me with the info.

Thanks

ellen
Guest
ellen

I’ve been searching for this too as I have an upcoming memorial that this would be perfect for. Thank you

Beacon
Guest
Beacon

Bill Bell knew that Cricket belonged with Danny. They were the love story of Y&R in the 80s. If Bill hadn’t have retired, Cricket and Danny would have found their way back together. There’s an episode from December 1995 I have where Danny is visiting Katherine and she tells him that Paul and Christine can’t last because Cricket’s heart is with Danny.

Daphne
Guest
Daphne

Actually, Bill Bell idolized Paul and Christine. Bill Bell was also the one who wrote the Danny character off in 1998 and put Paul and Christine back together to work on their marriage. Bill Bell only had the Danny character chasing after Christine while Danny always end up on the losing side.

Michelle
Guest
Michelle

Cricket better not hurt Paul. I feel that she is still in love with Danny and Nina still loves Paul!

lisette
Guest
lisette

PLEASE TELL ME WHERE I CAN HAVE THE POEM FOR MEMORIAL OF CHANCELLOR OF YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS.

THANK YOU VERY MUCH

David
Guest
David

In the “you can never please everyone” category I personally thought this week was the best week in YEARS! The day Bill Bell retired was the day the show floundered. Kay Alden did a good job trying to maintain, but after she left so did the heart of Y&R! Stories sped up, didn’t make sense, and bad stories/characters interwove into the heart of the show. No matter what I think of the show prior to this week JG and JFP did an AMAZING job. Every character that touched Mrs. C was a part of the show. Loved the Chancellor Park.… Read more »

jaybird369
Guest
jaybird369

OMG!!!!! Leave it up to BOTH Josh Griffith and (especially!!!!!) Jill Farren Phelps to ruin Katherine’s memorial service on Y and R!!!!! That so-called (and forced) impromptu wedding of Paul and Christine was beyond ridiculous. What in the hell were JG and JFP each thinking????? Also, Danny didn’t look too happy as Paul and Christine were renewing their wedding vows. And, as for Nina (my all-time FAVORITE Y and R character…HOLLA!!!!!) being Christine’s maid of honor at the last minute…blah blah blah blah. If I were Nina, I would have left before those annoying and force-fed nitwit nuptials. But, that’s… Read more »

Betsy Dobrick
Guest
Betsy Dobrick

Thank you, loved the two-day tribute to one of my favorite stars. I am sorry for her family including the Y&R family. I liked the wedding as it finished off the “party” in a sweet way that was just fine. I loved the park dedication. I will miss her and the reunion was touching. Lots of loose ends tied up and look forward to the life and loves of the characters. She was very special.

Dave
Guest
Dave

I felt like Beau Kazer (Brock) should have had a lot more to say about his on-screen mother at the memorial. I felt a bit ripped-off that he was brought back after all this time and the writers had barely written a word for him to speak.

ellen
Guest
ellen

Please give the name of the poem read by Corbin (Father Tom) during the Memorial.
I Corintians…which verse was read?

beth ryker
Guest
beth ryker

I love Jeanne cooper (mrs.c) and miss her ever day.she was one great lady.she was ever one friend,mom and grandmother.i feel like I loss my mom all over again!!!

Jasmine
Guest
Jasmine

I enjoyed the tribute to Jeanne Cooper. I cried when Father Todd first came up, read the poem, married his brother to Christine and when he left. I was leasnantly surprised by the wedding of two of my all time faves. Also, loved Christine’s very pretty blue dress. I hope the marriage will be long and happy. I do hope their will be a complication if Dylan is Nikki’s son, I hope Paul is the biological father.

laryssa troniak
Guest
laryssa troniak

is doug Davidson leaving Y and R

Interviews

B&B’s Matthew Atkinson Weighs-In On Daytime’s Wildest Storyline, The Hope Mannequin & What’s Really Going On With Thomas

If you think you’ve seen it all on daytime soap operas, think again! Over the past several weeks viewers of CBS Daytime’s The Bold and the Beautiful have been witness to fashion designer Thomas Forrester’s (Matthew Atkinson) descent into madness, or is it?

In B&B’s thriller-esque storyline, complete with tight close-ups and tilted angles of Thomas and his co-star, the Hope Mannequin – yup, you read that right, the series is taking the audience on one wild ride, something we have not seen the likes of since back in the hey day of the late head writer, James Reilly, during his tenure on Days of our Lives or Passions.

Photo: JPI

Inspired by, believe it or not, true life events, B&B’s head writer and executive producer, Brad Bell and his creative team have served up a story generated off all of the buzz the show was receiving for using mannequins as scene partners for the actors in intimate moments to adhere to Covid-19 safety protocols.  B&B was the first American show back in production amid the pandemic.

 

Within this twisted tale, Thomas has the life-like version of Hope Logan Spencer (Annika Noelle) at home with him.  Those who have stumbled upon him with the mannequin, well, he has been able to explain that away by saying that having the doll with him is helping him create some of the best designs of his career.

The problem is the mannequin is talking to Thomas, it’s eyes have often turned devil-red, and on Friday’s episode it walked!  It’s objective is to get Thomas to kill Liam (Scott Clifton) and to get Hope back to be his one and only. Throughout many of the scenes in the storyline, Thomas suffers from what appears to be severe headaches.  All of this leading the audience to believe either … he has a brain tumor … he is being drugged … he is suffering from a severe mental break and disorder, or something else.

Photo: JPI

In a very candid and often humorous conversation with Michael Fairman for the Michael Fairman Channel on You Tube, Thomas’ portrayer, Matthew Atkinson, discusses some of the craziest scenes to shoot thus far including Thomas having dinner with the mannequin!  In addition, Atkinson reveals how he and Annika Noelle tape the scenes where she is the voice of the Hope mannequin while adhering to safety protocols,  and how Liam is the only one, apparently, thinking something is off with Thomas, and so much more.

Photo: Gilles Toucas

One thing is for certain, Matthew Atkinson is sinking his teeth into the material and making it must-see daytime drama through his performances while we all wait to see what the possessed mannequin does next.

Check out the full interview with Matthew below. 

Then let us know, what do you think is happening or wrong with Thomas? Are you getting a kick out of the Hope Mannequin storyline? Share your thoughts and theories via the comment section below.

 

 

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Interviews

Eric Nelsen Talks Latest Film, Becoming a Tony-Nominated Producer, ‘The Bay’, and His Elizabeth Gillies & Ariana Grande Connection

You can catch All My Children reboot alum, Eric Nelsen (Ex-AJ Chandler), just about everywhere this month, and that’s hard to do given that we are all living in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic.

However, this Daytime Emmy-winning actor has his hands in a myriad of projects of late including: appearing on season six of The Bay (new episodes every Tuesday on Popstar! TV) where he continues to play Daniel’s journey after the character has come to terms with his sexuality and finds love, plus his comedic turn in the film, 1 Night in San Diego, and recently becoming a Tony-nominated producer along with his wife Sainty for the critically-acclaimed, and now 11 times nominated Broadway play, The Inheritance.

Michael Fairman TV chatted with Eric to get the lowdown on his busy professional life, and we were in for some surprises along the way including: what the producers of AMC had in mind for the character of AJ that ultimately did not happen, and that Eric starred on Broadway with Elizabeth Gillies (Fallon, Dynasty) and Pop superstar, Ariana Grande – and there’s more to that story below.

 

What makes Nelsen so good at what he does on-screen is that he is a like a chameleon; adept at playing the quirky, to the troubled bad boys, to the emotional heart-tugging anti-hero. So here’s what Eric had to say in this fascinating conversation.

Photo: : Metropolitan Entertainment,

Your latest film appearance in 1 Night in San Diego is out this week on multiple streaming on-demand platforms from: Apple TV, Amazon Prime Video, Google Play, and more. Tell me about the movie and when did you film this?

ERIC:  We filmed it near San Diego, not this past February, but last February, and it’s hilarious.  It’s a female-driven comedy.  The cast is incredible.  Alexandra Daddario, who is just epic, and Jenna Ushkowitz, and Laura Ashley Samuels, they truly bring it in this powerhouse comedy, and it’s just one of those make-you -laugh movies from beginning to end, just silly, stupid stuff happening the whole time.  General Hospital’s Mark Lawson (Dustin) is also in the film.  While we don’t work in scenes together, I did get a chance to meet him and he’s a really great guy.  I play this off-the-wall character, named Gordo, who is a real burn-out, think Matthew McConaughey meets space cadet, which was a lot of fun to play.  Gordo is a great role.  I had more fun with this part than I’ve had in a long time.  So, it was cool to throw a comedy into all of the drama I have been playing in my other projects.

How does Gordo know the girls in the film?

ERIC:  One of the girls knew him back in the day, so they were in town looking to reconnect, and she’s like, “Oh, we want to party and let’s hit up Gordo,” and they do.  He has just gone completely off the rails, off the deep end with spirituality and kind of in his own world. They find themselves in quite a predicament when they come visit what they didn’t know was a commune, basically.  Gordo creates this hippie commune for a bunch of outcast musicians, (laughs) and I don’t want to give too much away, but a lot of interesting stuff happens there.

Photo: InheritancePlay

 

In addition, you are now a Tony-nominated producer for the play The Inheritance!

ERIC: That was crazy, because it’s always been a dream of mine to produce for Broadway.  That was how I got into the world of film and TV acting, which was through the theatre.  That’s where I started.  I was lucky enough to star on Broadway when I was 16 and 17, in a musical called, 13.  I started with Ariana Grande! It was so fun.

Wait, what?

ERIC:  Yeah, that was her first big show, and Elizabeth Gillies’.

Photo: AP

I think Elizabeth Gillies is terrific in Dynasty.

ERIC:  Oh yeah, and you know she and I dated for two and a half years during the whole run of the show 13.  Elizabeth is very talented.   She is amazing.  The funny part of it is, we were dating forever, and kind of had a bad breakup, and then Sainty, my wife, gets cast in her show Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll, in the pilot to play Liz’s best friend on the series.  So, all of the sudden, I’m like, “Wait, wait, wait, out of all the shows, all of the things, this is who you have to get cast as best friends with?” and so they actually became really, really, close friends.  So, I’d actually come home from work or filming, and Liz would be on my couch sitting there giggling with Sainty.  I’m like, “This is just becoming too much.  This is a full-circle moment here.  I can’t deal.” (Laughs)

Now, you and Elizabeth are broken up at this point?

ERIC:  Yes.  We had been broken up at this point.  Sainty and I were actually together.  I started dating Sainty in New York and the pilot she was shooting was in New York, and she gets cast as Liz’s best friend, and I was like, “Oh, of course.”

Photo JPI

But Sainty knew you’d dated Elizabeth?

ERIC:  Yes, she did.

You must have been dying.

ERIC:  Yes, so dying.  Dying.   You know, it’s just one of those things that in a million years, you would never expect this to happen, and of course, Sainty and her had to become best friends in real life because they’re both great girls, and naturally, they would be friends, but now, I’m like this guy stuck in the middle who can’t believe what’s happening, and thought that was one chapter, and this is a different chapter, and now the chapters are combining.  It’s kind of a comedy act.

Photo: JPI

Since Ariana Grande was on Broadway with you and Liz, what was she like back then before her meteoric rise to fame?

ERIC:  Ariana was literally the sweetest, most innocent, and cutest – like my little sister.   To me, it was like, Liz and I were dating, and Ari was kind of like the little sister.  All of a sudden the show ended. Ariana got a Nickelodeon show, and after that, she became the most famous person in the world and was like this sex icon, and I couldn’t get over it.   She’s always had that talent with her voice and in 13 she was an ensemble member.  She wasn’t even one of the leads, but her voice was so incredible, even then as a young teenager.  I thought she was going to go on to have this great Broadway career as an actress and do musicals her whole life just because of her voice.  Then, all of the sudden, right after the musical, we all auditioned for the same Nickelodeon show.  I ended up going to the finals for the boyfriend role, Liz got the girlfriend role, and Ari got the funny friend on the show role.  That kind of catapulted them into the TV world, and Ari got a spinoff because of her character on that show for another Nickelodeon show, called Sam and Cat, and then after Sam and Cat, she went from this innocent, sweet, little Nickelodeon girl that I knew to being the biggest star.  It was unbelievable to me.

Photo: Broadway World

So, you started on Broadway as a teenager, and you found you always wanted to produce for the Great White Way? 

ERIC:  Yes, I did the Broadway thing, and then I got into film and TV, and then I got into film and TV producing.  As an actor, there are a lot of ups, a lot of downs.  So, in between the ups, I wanted to fill my time, so I got into producing, and I loved it.  I loved creating.  As an actor, we just show up, and everything is already done.  All we have to do is say our lines.  We get pampered, and we go home, but I wanted to know how it got to that point, like what happens before that.  So, I started producing film and found some success doing that, and it was so much fun for me.  Sainty’s and my first love, and what feels like home, is theatre.  So, I wanted to take it full circle and produce a Broadway show.  I just thought that would be such an incredible moment, and so that’s what I did.  I started emailing all of the Broadway producers who I had worked with as an actor, letting them know what I had been doing, kind of the success I had gotten from producing The Bay and some of these other things. Different shows came across my desk that I didn’t quite bite the bullet on, a couple of which I wish I would have, Dear Evan Hansen being one of them.  I would have been so rich by now!  (Laughs)

I just want to clarify for people who might not know, the word “producer” can mean different things.  There are “producers” who are putting money in … they’re backing projects or shows.  There are other people who are “producers” on the creative side of projects.  So, when you’re talking about producing a Broadway show, it is as an investor?

ERIC:  So for theatre, unless you’re the head producer who kind of gets creative control, every other producer listed in the credits is basically helping raise finances and is also very heavily involved in the process of everything else along the way, which is also what makes it special.  So finally, The Inheritance came across our desk, and it checked every single box.  It was just an epic play.  It’s a two-part play, and it’s just hours and hours and hours long.  You see it in multiple days or in multiple shows.  I remember reading the script and not stopping until I finished.  I was like, “This is amazing,” and it had just come off of a huge commercial successful run in London.  It won the Olivier Award for “Best New Play” and just about every other award you could win, and so I was like, “This is the one.  This is incredible.  I love the piece, love the message, and pulled the trigger,” and I would have done it all over again if we could.

Photo: Broadway World

The Inheritance is a generational piece centering on gay men during the AIDS crisis.  What can you say about it to those who don’t know about it, or have not seen it yet?

ERIC:  It takes place in the past, and then it fasts forward to the future.  You see two generations of gay men in New York City, and it’s all about the AIDS crisis, and so you’re bawling crying, and then you’re laughing throughout it.  It’s just one of those epic plays that pulls at every single emotion and you feel like you’re watching a movie.

It seems reminiscent of Angels In America, but different.   

ERIC:  Yes.  It’s definitely its own thing.  It’s actually an adaptation of Howard’s End, the novel by Forster, definitely different from Angels in America, but the two-part show is kind of what I was meaning by that.  People have said it is kind of our generation’s Angel’s in America in tone and subject matter.  It was just a dream come true, and like all other theatre that was open during our season, it had to close because of the pandemic, and it will have life after Broadway.  We are already slated for the Geffen Playhouse in LA, so I’m very excited for all of my LA friends and the public to get to see it.

Courtesy/ENelsen

And you get nominated in the year that the coronavirus pandemic shut down live theatre! But it is my understanding we still do not have a date for handing out this year’s Tony Awards.

ERIC:  No, we do not.  They finally announced that they were going to announce nominations, and for a while we didn’t even know that they were going to do that.  We received 11 nominations, which is incredible.  We were so excited.  I truly thought the American Theatre Wing and the Tony committee were not going to do the Tonys at all, and so we were just like, “I can’t believe the one year we pull the trigger on the show, this isn’t going to happen for us,” but then thank God, they came to their senses.  There were plenty of shows that opened and needed to be recognized.

How long was it open on Broadway?

ERIC:  We were open from September 2019 through February or March.  So, as long as your submission was open on Broadway before Covid-19 and had at least all of its previews and an opening night before Covid-19 hit, then you could qualify, and then in the play category, there were like 10 plays that had opened last year that were contenders.  So, that was definitely the hardest category.   It will be interesting to see what happens after all of this.  The only good thing I know that is going to come from this is the amount of creatives who have had so much time sitting at home to create and write, that there will be so many new scripts and plays and musicals that are going to come from this.  I think it’s’ going to be the biggest boom that we’ve probably ever seen in theatre, just because there’s been so much time to develop stuff.  At the same time, it’s piggybacking on the darkest time that theatre has ever seen.

Throughout the pandemic, I always stream all of the Broadway Actor’s Fund events.  It’s really sad.  It’s just a difficult time, those in the arts are struggling and especially in the live theatre and also musicians who can’t tour or play gigs in front of an audience. I know they said Broadway is closed through May 31, 2021.

ERIC:  It is really hard.  I’m happy that we are able to find other ways like streaming shows.  I’m actually producing a big benefit for Broadway Cares Equity Fights AIDS that will be airing on World AIDS Day, December 1st.  It’s a show called Elegies for Angels, Punks and Raging Queens.  The cast we have is everybody from Nathan Lane, to Academy Award winner J. K. Simmons.  It’s insane.  It will be streaming online on the Broadway HD network.  It is a huge list of Broadway stars and a lot of movie and TV stars as well that are participating.  We’ve got people from all over the map.

And … Ariana Grande? (Laughs)

ERIC:  (Laughs)  Ari is not in it, actually!

Photo: Prospect Park

So, in this week’s latest episode of The Bay, your character of Daniel Garrett makes his final choice for love between Caleb (Mike Manning) and Matthew (Randy Wayne).  When you came to the show, did you know that this part was going to wind-up being a gay character?

ERIC:  No, I did not.  I think I dropped a bird in Gregori Martin’s (creator, The Bay) ear by telling him that before All My Children ended, they were going to have my character of AJ Chandler have a storyline where he is gay.  The producers sat me down and talked through an entire storyline arc with me.  Basically, Ginger Smith (ex-executive producer, All My Children) and Alison, our casting director, and one other person from the show, took me to lunch in New York. They pitched me what they wanted to do for my character, and asked me if I would be comfortable with it, and they wanted my opinion, everything.  It was really cool how they approached it, and I was like, “100% completely.”  I look at what Chandler Massey (Ex-Will Horton) did on Days and where that brought him and his storyline, and I thought, “Yes, there’s going to be so much more depth and stuff to play than just being this fun little rich kid.”  At the time, there really wasn’t much depth to AJ.  So, I was like, “Yes.  I will be all over it.  Absolutely.”  So, I told Gregori that, and I don’t know if he already had something in his mind or not, or if that influenced it at all, but maybe he just figured that was something that would work well, and up till that point, I guess they didn’t really have that on the show.  Regardless, no, I wasn’t aware that that was the direction it was going in, but I was really happy with my storyline and it’s grown a lot since then, and in this current season especially.  It’s really given me an arc to play, which I’ve enjoyed.

Photo: LANYEntertainment

So for those who may not know let’s do a re-set.  Where is the character of Daniel at? It seems like he is at crossroads, and is making some important decisions, or trying to.

ERIC:  So Daniel was a wild party boy in the beginning, just head in the clouds, lives life with thinking there’s no repercussions and just doing what you want to do all of the time, and that got him into a lot of trouble with drugs and alcohol. Then, we realize why Daniel has been the way he is, and why he acts out, and why he has been so all over the place, and it’s because he hasn’t been able to come to terms with who he is.  Then, he admits it to himself and for the first time to somebody else – who happens to be his priest in a catholic church, ironically –  that he is gay and this is what he has been battling with.  For the first time (and I don’t know where on television it has depicted it this way), but the catholic priest looks at Daniel, and he’s like, “What’s your sin?  You haven’t sinned.  This is perfectly fine.”  So, I love that Gregori made that the outlet for which Daniel was able to basically come to terms with who he was, because he grew up in the church, and so he was always told that it was wrong.  Obviously, it’s not wrong, or obviously the church needs to change their mindset, but on The Bay, he chose that to be the outlet through which he came out, which I thought was really powerful.  Through that, Daniel experimented with other boys and such to figure out where he wanted to land, and then in this newest season, I can’t say much that gives anything away, but for the first time, we really see Daniel’s growth, and he’s making decisions, and the most mature we’ve ever seen him, and it’s been really cool to see that come full circle.  He’s making commitments to himself.

Photo: LANY Entertaiment

In story, Daniel chooses Caleb.  Why so?

ERIC:  Obviously, that’s who it works with,  Caleb is a teacher and a great guy.

… And Matthew is not a great guy?

ERIC:  He is… he’s just not the great guy for him.

Photo: LANY Entertaiment

This season of The Bay is heavily steeped with social issues of our time.  Covid-19 has come to Bay City and the Black Lives Matter movement also plays prominently.

ERIC:  Yes.  It’s kind of the beginning of the pandemic in The Bay and within all of the intense drama that Daniel has been having, he is still, for all intent and purposes the comedic relief of the show, and so there is a funny scene where I’m carrying like 28,000 rolls of toilet paper like, “Come on, guys.  We’ve got to stock up!”  We all remember those days, don’t we?

Photo: JPI

How do you feel about this season of the show and your work in it? You’ve previously won a Daytime Emmy for your performances on The Bay.

ERIC:  This season is more cemented in a character that has truly grounded himself.  So, the first Emmy I won was for a storyline of coming out and uncertainty and struggle and pain, whereas this season Daniel knows what he wants and is going for it.  There is much more passion and love in this season for Daniel, as opposed to struggle and heartache.

The cast and crew of The Bay all went away and quarantined at this ranch this past summer to get the new season completed.  What was that like?

ERIC:  We were actually in Santa Barbara, and filmed on this epic ranch up there.  It’s like this 500-acre ranch that we all quarantined on.  We had to do the testing, and temperatures three times a day, and the whole thing.  So, it was really structured, tough to pull off, but we were all so grateful that we were able to do this.  Luckily, we had this incredible kind of bubble of a ranch to live and work on while we were shooting.  They were really good about block shooting it all, so we’d kind of shoot one person’s character, then the next, so we wouldn’t have to ever be leaving the ranch before we were done.

Courtesy/ENelsen

Finally, how is being a dad?

ERIC:  Oh, it’s amazing.  I just can’t believe how fast the time is flying by because of it.  We just had Molly’s first birthday on October 1st, and I feel like yesterday she was born.  I sound like my parents when I say this, but it’s like the time keeps getting faster, but it’s so true.  She’s awesome.  We play Broadway musical soundtracks to her all day, and she sings.  She sits at the piano with me when I play, and she kind of plunks notes out next to me.  She loves music, and we’ve introduced it to her from day one.  We always joke that she won’t be able to watch any of daddy’s stuff until she’s 18 probably, but Sainty is a voice-over actress.  She has done parts for animated films and TV shows such as Trolls, and Barbie, and Boss Baby, so everything from the first part of my daughter’s life is all going to be Mommy’s stuff, and then, in the later part of life she can start watching Daddy’s stuff.

Right, she can’t watch anything that you do!  (Laughs) So, basically forget that!

ERIC:  (Laughs) Yep!

Check out the trailer for 1 Night in San Diego below.  Then share your thoughts on Eric’s current role on The Bay, if you hope he wins a Tony to go with his Daytime Emmy, the six degrees of separation between him, Elizabeth Gillies and his wife, and that the All My Children reboot considered making the character of AJ Chandler gay via the comment section below.

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Days Of Our Lives

Peter Reckell Reflects On His Time As DAYS Iconic Bo Brady, Life In New Zealand & Christmas Music Project

Last week, Days of our Lives  turned 55-years young, and the historic long-running NBC daytime drama series has been home to some of the most memorable stars and characters of the soap opera genre, perhaps none more so than anti-hero Bo Brady played by Peter Reckell.

Reckell who appeared on the show for several runs that lasted over four decades, premiered as Bo back in 1983.  He then stayed through 1987, came back from 1990 to 1992, again from 1995 to 2012, and back again in 2015 during DAYS 50th anniversary and to wrap his run as Bo, when the character was killed-off, after Reckell made it clear that he wanted to give the audience closure for the character.  He later made another return in 2016 to help the character of Hope (Kristian Alfonso) move on with her life.  Hard to believe for all of those heart-tugging performances, Peter was nominated only once for a Daytime Emmy.

Photo: JPI

In this candid, deeply personal and enlightening new interview for the Michael Fairman Channel on You Tube, Reckell opens up as to: what led to many of the decisions he made throughout his time as Bo, how he helped craft the role from the start, the accident that almost took his life, how he handled all the fame that came his way as part of the Bo and Hope supercouple pairing, and how two women in the cast; the late Frances Reid (Alice) and Peggy McCay (Caroline) made lasting impressions on him that he will carrying with him for the rest of his life.

Photo: JPI

What would Peter say if somehow DAYS wanted him back and Bo was actually alive and well?  Find out as Peter weighs-in and wishes his former show a happy anniversary  In addition, he even shares how he felt when Robert Kelker-Kelly took over the role of Bo when he decided to leave the show at one point, and his time playing Johnny on primetime’s Knots Landing.

Photo: JPI

Reckell has moved his family to New Zealand, and this conversation was conducted from his home.  Peter is married to singer/songwriter/producer Kelly Moneymaker and the couple have a daughter, Loden.   It was not wanting to miss the moments of his daughter’s life growing up that has been much of the impetus for some of Peter’s career choices.

Photo: BlueAeris

With Christmastime approaching, Kelly and Peter are part of a brand new Christmas LP entitled Joy.  The album is now available for download on Spotify, Apple Music and major music streaming platforms.

In an exclusive during the interview, we give fans a sneak peek of Peter’s new music video for “Under the Mistletoe”, the song he sings that appears on Joy, which was written by his wife.  For more on the album project visit BlueAegis.com

Photo: BlueAegis

Now, check out the interview with Peter direct from New Zealand below! Then share your thoughts on Peter, Bo, and more via the comment section.

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B&B’s Matthew Atkinson chats with Michael Fairman about the wild ride of the Thomas/Hope Mamnequin storyline currently on The Bold and the Beautiful.Leave A Comment

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