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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
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
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
Dinah

ever not every sorry

Chris
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 because of the fact that we really did lose a loved member of the cast. That’s why these episodes worked.

Jules
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. I haven’t been watching long, but I do know the couple has been off and on for decades. This insta-wedding did such a disservice to their fans who have waited for years for them to find their way back to one another and get the wedding they deserve.

The episode was a mess and completely disjointed, and it’s a real shame not only because of what it was supposed to be about (which in and of itself is a damn shame), but also because it so easily didn’t have to be this way. I think Josh Griffin THOUGHT he was giving everyone what they wanted, and JFP THOUGHT she was creating her Emmy winning episode- balancing the sad and happy emotions, “a little bit of this, and a little bit of that”- but the final product was just a disaster. What started off as a really strong, sentimental and touching episode dedicated to the memory of one of the most legendary and enduring daytime divas of all time, was reduced to a pitiful, uninspired wedding after switching gears on a 180 degree turn at the next commercial break. RI-DIC-U-LOUS.

Jewell
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
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 urn– now I am blubbering like a baby– thanks for giving me a real moment to say goodbye to great actress and character.

yogabba
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
Cupcake

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

Judy
Judy

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

Carole
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
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
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
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 will hold, especially in the wake of the JFP/JG falling out, but I appreciate that I got to see a whole bunch of Bill Bell characters gathered together.

Joan
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
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
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
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 EVENT and I am soooo proud and happy to have been able to virtually participate in paying my respects through my “attendance.” No other television star, has EVER been honored in such a way, by Millions of sincerely loyal fans. Just amazing, and soooo deserved. Great Lady!

PatF
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 of the show are able to continue the show with these characters we love.

Joy Mathys
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
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
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 it. If they mess up me and my 7 friends who Josh got back to watching will all but quit as we almost did under MAB I only watched when CLB TEB and DD were on and you all know how seldom it was under MAB ..I was disappointed to see Josh G. go..lets hope the new writers are worthy of writing Y and R as it is supposed to be written.

Karen
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
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
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
ellen

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

Beacon
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
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
Michelle

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

lisette
lisette

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

THANK YOU VERY MUCH

David
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. Loved the slow build up of Chris & Paul then their wedding at her memorial service, and LOVED Jill’s speech. I lost it when Father Todd came up in the beginning and at the end. I dunno if it helped Corbin or dug deeper, but everything about this week FINALLY made sense.

Contrary to what people say this memorial will move story forward. Paul & Christine’s wedding (Loved when Jill called her Cricket). Nina forgiving Paul. Cane rushing up to Jill NOT Billy. Victor NOT learning the meaning of life lol I loved this. If they want to win the Emmy for best writing they need to submit this week’s episodes. The ghost of Mrs. C shocked me. I don’t watch GH so I never seen this done. I loved it.

I still want Wendy Riche and Claire Labine as Executive Producer and Headwriter respectively, but if the new writing regime can build off the momentum JG wrote I’ll be ok with that.

jaybird369
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 just me. Now that Paul and Christine are re-hitched (yawn), I think that Danny and Nina should hook up…that would truly ROCK!!!!! As for Jill Farren Phelps…STUPID WOMAN!!!!! And the DECLINE of Y and R continues……….

Betsy Dobrick
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
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
ellen

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

beth ryker
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
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
laryssa troniak

is doug Davidson leaving Y and R

Days Of Our Lives

DAYS Alum Kevin Spirtas Chats On His Heart-Tugging Series ‘After Forever’ & Love and Life In Your 50s

Filling the void in the digital drama series arena, the eight episodes first season of After Forever (available on Amazon), tackles the journey of a two middle-aged gay men in their 50’s in a deep romantic relationship, and looks at it through its various stages of love, loss, and moving on with one’s life when suddenly your world is turned upside down, when one of them has died.

While the LGBT community has seen other love-centric and dramatic web series, none have really taken a deep dive into the difficulties of starting anew in your 50’s or even older.  Leave it to former Days of our Lives alum and Broadway producer, Kevin Spirtas (Ex-Craig Wesley), along with another DAYS alum, writer, Michael Slade, and the two put their shared experiences, and dramatic ideas into this emotional series, that is not limited to anyone who is gay, but touches on the universal themes that anyone may have, or will experience, at one time in their lives.

Spirtas, brought along with him none some notables for his passion project.  First, none other than former Prospect Park One Life to Live EP, Jennifer Pepperman, to bring his vision to life, and some amazing co-stars: Mitchell Anderson (Ex-Party Of Five), MIchael Urie (Ugly Betty), Cady Huffman (Ex-OLTL), Anita Gillette, Colleen Zenk (Ex-Barbara, ATWT) to  name just a few.

While the series bowed a little over a month ago, if you haven’t taken a look, check out our interview with Spirtas for some juicy insight into the making of and the construct of, After Forever.  Following that, check out the teaser for the series, and the video for the theme song, “My Forever” by Lio Nicol which becomes available tomorrow June 4th on Amazon and iTunes.

Photo Credit/JPI Studios

What was the genesis of the idea for the series?

KEVIN:  Patrika Darbo, came to New York close to 7 years ago. She had called me ahead of time, and said, “I was asked to present at the ISA Awards, and you’re coming with me.”  She was getting very involved in the world of the web series. I looked at this amazing presentation of content that was being shown at the ISA’s.  I was blown away. It was better than half the stuff on TV, theater, or film. At that point, I made a mad rush for a gentleman by the name of Sebastian La Cause.  Sebastian had won several awards that night and his material was so well presented, and beautifully shot, and his acting was very unique.

Sebastian La Cause was the star of the web series Hustling, right?

KEVIN:  Yes, it was Hustling, the first season.  I went up to him and I said, “I’m Kevin Spirtas. I’m an actor, I did a soap …”  He goes, “Kevin, I know who you are.” I was starstruck, and impressed, and inspired, because he is exactly the kind of person I want to work with.  He is talented, and creative and I want to work with those kind of people. I said to him, “If you do a second season, I’d love to be considered for anything you might be doing.”  Wouldn’t you know? He wrote me in. I fell in love with the story. I was very clear to me, that you have to start creating for yourself, because creating your own content in this industry now is king.  The third season of Hustling then crossed me over to appearing in Winterthorne.  That was also the first year that NATAS opened up the judging to the digital world.  I got nominated for an Emmy. It inspired me to start thinking about, ‘What do I know?  What do I have in my life that I feel is worth sharing and putting out there to help heal, or inspire?’  I had been producing in New York City for 3 years at this point.

Photo Credit/JPI Studios

It becomes every performer’s concern, as they get older, that they can still be considered for the roles they would like to play.  Sometimes, actors can grow into the types of roles, and sometimes they’ve expired past those types of roles. Was creating After Forever also a way to re-enter being part of the conversation?

KEVIN:  Well, I was hoping to write something for myself … because I just didn’t see the roles coming toward me anymore.  My name wasn’t on them as I imagined them or had seen them in the past. I was worried about that. I thought, “If I have a chance to keep working, I’ve got to keep current.”

And somehow, you and Michael Slade ran into each other, and thus, a collaboration began that would eventually turn into After Forever?

Courtesy/AfterForever

KEVIN:  Then, I ran into Michael Slade at a gym… I had never met him before, he was a writer on Days as I was leaving the show.  And I remember saying to myself, “wouldn’t it be great to work with somebody, and see what kind of story we could come up with?”  Unbeknownst to me, Michael, at that particular time in his life, was working on the very same type of story and idea about what it’s like to be who he is, at his age, where he’s at, and what he knows.  I pitched him this idea: “I think there’s some really funny ideas I could express to the world about my experience as a single gay man at this point.” He said, “Call me.” In short, he was living life as a single gay man, and I was living life as a single gay man, and that’s how After Forever was born.  Michael had the experience of losing his long-time partner of 25 years.  There’s a part in the story where Brian and Jason are going along and they have everything in their life that they could possibly want, and then they don’t, because Jason is diagnosed with cancer and it takes him away.

Do we see Jason die in this?

KEVIN:  You just might! … It’s how we incorporated him in the story…

Courtesy/AfterForever

After Forever bounces back and forth in time, obviously, that was part of the unique structure of the storytelling?

KEVIN:  It does do that.  It tells the story through a lot of present, and a lot of flashbacks.  There is also the present with Brian, and his memory of Jason. As Brian is going through the next chapter of his life as a single man, he has to look at his life and learn how to continue to love even though the person’s not there.  When someone dies, the love doesn’t die, the relationship doesn’t die, it keeps growing on a certain level. So, if he turns around, and he sees him, is it real? Is it him working it out in his own mind? It’s a tool to tell more story …

Tell me about casting Mitchell Anderson?  He had retired and moved to Atlanta, and he ends up playing the love of Brian’s life.

Courtesy/AfterForever

KEVIN:  When Michael and I were writing, we threw out, “Who do you think would play this part?”  One day, I just dropped the name “Mitchell Anderson” I said, “I just see him as Jason.” Michael said to me, “Kevin, he’s retired.”  I just knew Mitchell and I had great history in the business. We started off as actors together in class. He went one direction, I went another, then he left the business, but I just felt there was something about his persona – not to mention his talent – his unique humor, his sensibility, and style, so I said, “I think we should ask him.”  We did. Mitchell said, “Okay, Kevin. Let me read the script.” He called back immediately after receiving it, and said, “I would love to do this!” I have not stopped thanking him every day. He’s so good in it.

The main character of Brian goes on this journey: he meets other guys, some appear younger than others! (Laughs)

KEVIN:  It’s a year after Jason is gone, Brian is trying to settle into his new life, but he’s guilty that his partner has died.  He has sadness, grief, and so much love for Jason that he’s having trouble moving forward, and everyone is trying to push him forward.  Brian is not necessarily ready, but sometimes his body is ready, while emotionally, he’s not. It’s how we deal with all that navigation of seeing good-looking guys.  He meets a guy in the middle of the series, and it starts to open up the doors. That’s the beauty of what happens when he starts to let himself open up to the possibilities.  There are some great rollercoaster moments that you’ll see.

Would you do another season of After Forever?

KEVIN:  Oh, my God!  Michael and I have already started to script out seasons 2 and 3.

Courtesy/AfterForever

Middle-aged gay men do have it rough in the relationship department, if they’re not already partnered up by this point in their life.  Younger guys think they’re over the hill, older guys aren’t necessarily interested either, and unfortunately, the LGBTQ community is unforgiving to community if you’re not young and pretty, and not in your 20s or 30s. There aren’t a lot of LGBT-oriented shows out there like this.  On that level, I think the concept of the show is an important story to tell.

KEVIN:  We were absolutely committed to writing not just another gay story.  We’ve seen those. I think the beauty of After Forever is that it’s not just a gay story- even though it’s told through two gay men… but, it’s a story about love … it’s a story about loss.  Everyone is going to have to deal with this in their life.

Courtesy/AfterForever

Dealing with loss is part of the circle of life, whether it’s a parent, a child, a lover, a friend, or your longtime partner. Many in the LGBT community succumbed to AIDS in the ‘80s and ‘90s, which was a pivotal moment in the gay movement.

KEVIN:  We lost half of our community.  We lost half of our brothers. To jump back to that history with Mitchell, he and I had so many mutual friends who aren’t here anymore.  We would look at the scene that was at hand, take a breath, look at each other, and they’d say “action” and we’d step into these people. Yes, it’s gay themed, because it’s told by two leading male characters who are gay.  But, I have heard more people in the last two months since this has come out, who have not only stopped and said, “Thank you for writing such a wonderful story about love and loss, and new beginnings, but also, what it’s like to have to confront that loss.” They also went on to say, “For so many years, gay people have had to watch the heterosexual world. People are trying to fit themselves into our world now, into our story, and how they would feel navigating it.”

Michael Urie is in it too? And you have some pretty accomplished people in your cast.  

Courtesy/AfterForever

KEVIN:  Yes, there’s Michael Urie, Cady Huffman who sings in one of the episodes.  Tere is a scene in episode 3 that it still floors me, I can’t watch it without losing it.  Then, there’s Anita Gillette, Lenny Wolpe, David Dean Bottrell. Everyone is perfect, and everyone was able to show up, and everyone delivered a million percent.

What’s the response you’ve been getting from people who have watched After Forever?  You mentioned it’s been very positive.  

KEVIN:  Everyone has been touched.  The majority who have seen this, are just moved to tears and full of excitement.

I saw that Jennifer Pepperman, ex-executive producer of One Life to Live, directed your series.  What was it like working with Jen?

Courtesy/AfterForever

KEVIN:  We had a lot of people who we could have pulled from.  Jennifer came up in conversation, because she had sent Michael an invitation to go see her new short film that she had done with Austin Peck (Ex-Austin, Days) and his wife, Teri Conn (Ex-Katie, ATWT).  I said, “Maybe if I go see the show and I like it, I can introduced myself to Jennifer.”  I called him right after and I said, “If we don’t get her, we’re crazy!” She’s so good. What she did is perfection.  We shot the whole thing like a movie. It was shot in 12 days. She knew everything she wanted to do and it shows in the edit.  And, this extraordinarily, talented girl named Colleen Kwok, who was the director of photography. She’s the real thing. She got it.  She got the style we were going for immediately.

So, we want to tell people to binge watch the series on Amazon.

KEVIN:  Binge it, or make it last for 15 days…

How many hankies will I need for this? 10? 5?

Courtesy/AfterForever

KEVIN:  I say Kleenex is not included … Anybody who has ever loved, anybody who has ever lost, must see this show, because it unifies all of us, it shows us that we are the same.  It shows us that we still have love in our lives, regardless of if that person is gone, the relationship never ends, it never dies. That’s what people are getting from this.  That’s what people are taking away from it. You and I were raised with the symbols of a straight world and how we had to fit into that certain way of life. That’s changed now.  We have Will & Grace … we have RuPaul … all these great things that are illustrating our diversity.  Now, people are going, “it’s just a story being told.”

What was Mitchell’s reaction when he saw the final product?

KEVIN:  We saw it together…We just sat there and cried.  It’s hard. Especially, the first two episodes and the last two episodes.  We served it up, Michael, we served it up!

Courtesy/AfterForever

I think you spoke to a greater issue, as you move through this career, you have to remain relevant as things change.  So, you’ve dipped yourself into this pool and now you can do more.

KEVIN:  I hope so.  You and I talked about this along time ago, when I first started on Days Of Our Lives, it was still a different world.

It was so different back then.  Actors couldn’t be out. There was still that stigma that if the audience at home knew they were gay, they wouldn’t buy into what they were portraying.

KEVIN:  That’s where I kind of worked it out, because I didn’t pretend not to be me, I just wasn’t very open about everything in my life.  Not that I still am. There’s certain things that I don’t talk about, because it’s not relevant, or it’s no one’s business.

So, do you get the obligatory question, “What’s a guy like you doing being single”? (Laughs)

KEVIN:  Michael said to me one day, “How come a guy like you is single?”  I made a joke out of it and said, “Have you seen me eat? Come on!”

So, intrigued to check out After Forever? What do you think about its central theme looking at what happens when one loses their partner at middle-age and more?  Share your thoughts via the comment section below.

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General Hospital

GH’s Laura Wright and Wes Ramsey Talk Their Love Connection & The Demands Of Daytime

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

After presenting for the first time together, at the 45th Annual Daytime Emmys since they’ve been a couple, Laura Wright (Carly) and Wes Ramsey (Peter aka Henrik) of General Hospital have certainly been in the throes of a romantic, fun, and cherished relationship. The two former stars of Guiding Light reconnected last year at Emmy time. Now, sharing their over one year anniversary, Michael Fairman TV caught up with Laura and Wes to get some insight into what makes their relationship work amidst the hustle and bustle, and pace of both being on a network television daytime drama series, and with the pressures of Hollywood where often relationships between two actors seem to start hot and heavy but then fizzle out.

If you caught this week’s GH, you witnessed that the town of Port Charles has found out that Peter is the notorious Cesar Faison’s son, and the ramifications that will be felt for weeks and months and potentially years to come. Meanwhile, Carly is in all sorts of trouble, thanks to naughty Nelle (Chloe Lanier). Nelle is making Carly look awfully unstable and what happens next could change Carly’s life forever.

So, what do these two lovebirds have to say about their relationship and their passion for working on the soaps? Check out what they had to share below. 

Wes, you had met Laura originally years ago on Guiding Light.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Wes: Yes, 15 years ago in New York.

And what did you think of her then?

Wes: Well, I was smitten, but I had to keep it to myself.

You had to keep it under wraps, huh?

Wes: Yep!

Laura: I was married then.

Wes: She was pregnant with her second child.

Laura: And he’s a good Kentucky boy.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Wes: Uh-huh! But we would run lines in the green room and I would try very hard to make sure she didn’t catch me staring at her… too often. But we laughed, and had great conversation.

Laura: I would always say, “Wes, will you run lines with me?,” because I would want to run my lines.

Wes: We never had story together, but she always knew I was game to hang out with her for a moment.

It’s good when you’re in a relationship with someone and you can laugh with them. You seem to be able to do that a lot!

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Laura: Oh, gosh. I think that’s all we do.

Wes: Yes, yes, yes, yes…

Laura: Like, we belly laugh. It gets to the point where people would think we were ridiculous. We’ll say things and just think it’s the funniest thing ever and people would be like, “You guys have a problem …” and we’re like, “Yeah.” (Laughs)

Laura, and then he comes back into your life years later…

Wes: That’s right, it was Emmy weekend 2017.

Laura: I totally was not expecting it at all. Even when I gave him my number I walked away going “huh…”

You mean you thought he wouldn’t call?

Laura: No, I didn’t feel that… because he hit on me hard. He’ll tell you that.

Wes: I still am hitting on her.

Laura: I remember I walked away quick after he got my number. I was like, “Oh, my God … I gotta go.”

Courtesy/Instagram

Wes: There was an assertiveness on my part that was for sure 15 years in the making. I did not expect to run into her. I also did not expect for her to tell me that she was recently single. In that split second, it was one of those, “stop the presses!” moments. Like, you need to give me your number, I’m taking you to dinner.

Laura: I go, “Oh, be quiet! Are you like, 32, because I can’t do that.” (Laughs)

Wes: And I said, “Far from it.”

Laura: He’s like, “I’m getting ready to be 40.” And I’m like, “I can do that!”

Then, on top of all of this, Wes, you land a primo role on General Hospital. That of Henrik aka Peter, Cesar Faison’s son.

Photo Credit: Courtesy/ABC

Wes: Yes, a dream come true.

Laura: I’m going to jump in and say it’s a role that he worked all on his own for. He had to screen test against 8 plus guys, 3 different auditions, 2 different days.

Wes: That’s true.

Laura: I can’t say strong enough that the best actor got the role. Meaning, Wesley is so talented and has the ability to give this character the depth, and emotion, and layers that it needs to tell the story that needs to be told. I just think he’s incredible.

So, did you know from the get-go who you were going to be playing?

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Wes: I did not.

Laura: I did! (Laughs)

Wes: I’m thrilled that the writers have been giving me such incredible material to dive into.   Each month that goes by, it becomes more and more complex, and more and more layered and intense. I love the depth… I love the conflicts… I love the humanity… I love the desperation… I love the psychology behind it. It’s a very interesting story and a great journey to tell.

Laura: I was getting ready to say, where you mentally have to go to be the son of Faison and Anna Devane (Finola Hughes)! To blend that together is amazing. It’s incredible to watch.

You used to run lines together on Guiding Light. Do you run lines together now on GH? It’s like a full circle moment.

Laura: We do, and we carpool.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Wes: Something we were trying to manifest together. We thought it would be a lot of fun to work together one day.

Laura: The last week we worked, we didn’t. He worked all afternoon. I worked all morning. I was like, “Are they doing this on purpose?” I was so mad! I was like, “Why are you in the afternoon everyday?” (Laughs)

Wes: She lost her chauffeur. (Laughs)

Laura: I did! He always drives us to work. I also love when we both have afternoon calls, because we love having mornings together. So, I didn’t get my morning, nor did I have my chauffeur!

So, two actors can have a good relationship? You see so many Hollywood relationships with actors and they go bust. But that’s not always the case …

Wes: Oh, my God, yes.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Laura: I’m going to say this; I think I can see it being more difficult for daytime actors, because the work we do is so intense. I know the weeks he’s getting ready to go into, and I’m getting ready to go into. Where we go emotionally and psychologically to tell these stories, on the level that we tell them, as quick as we tell them, you kind of have to become really in a headspace. The fact that we can …

Wes: … the long hours …

Laura: Yes, and exhaustion! You really have to go, “Wow! It’s not about me right now. It’s about us individually as actors.” Thank God, we know the workload. I know what he’s getting ready to go through.

Wes: I have always had so much respect for Laura’s work. On Guiding Light, I’ve always been in awe of what she’s capable of doing. So, the level of respect is obviously there. But also, the understanding whatever it is that you need from a personal assistant in one moment… or a life partner in another moment … or a best friend in moment … or whatever it is in order to get through the day-to-day and the week-to-week, so we can do what we love to do. We know we’re very lucky to have the opportunity to do what we love.

Courtesy/welcometolaurasworld Instagram

Laura was such a great co-host on my Soap Nation Live! Daytime Emmy Nomination Specials, in particular when she talks about acting. It’s so rewarding to hear the other actors who are guests on the show listening to what Laura has to say about her craft and respecting the hell out of her.

Wes: Without a doubt. You can’t watch her work and not be in awe. It speaks for itself.

Laura: I just love the journey of going to the places that we go; to bleed for it.

Wes: Leave it all out on the floor.

Laura: I know that process. So, when I see another actor that’s bleeding, I just bow to them, because I know what it takes to go there. I know the work that Wesley does. When I see that he’s spent at the end of the day, I’m like, “Babe, I so get it.” So, I can see where it could be really difficult for people that haven’t been there, because it’s a lot of work and you’re spent. It’s hard! For us, that works.

What do you think of Laura and Wes’ love connection? What do you think of the latest developments for GH’s Carly and Henrik? Comment below.

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Interviews

EXCLUSIVE: 45th Annual Daytime Emmys Winners & Backstage Video Interviews!

Photo : MF Soaps Inc

The 45th Annual Daytime Emmys are in the record books.  And as previously reported, it was a big night for NBC’s Days of our Lives taking Outstanding Drama Series, Writing and Directing in a Drama Series Awards, plus top acting nods to James Reynolds (Abe) and Greg Vaughan (Eric).

Behind the scenes while the ceremony continued on-stage, and as the night’s big winners and several presenters were whisked away backstage following their victory, they took to the Winner’s Walk and chatted with Michael Fairman who got their reactions to winning the gold, or presenting important moments of the night during the live-stream broadcast.

From DAYS Deidre Hall (Marlena), Dr. Oz, The Ladies of The Talk, and GH’Chris Van Etten to DAYS head scribe Ron Carlivati, to Y&R’s actress winners: Eileen Davidson (Ashley) and Camryn Grimes (Mariah), and GH’s Chloe Lanier (Nelle, Vernee Watson (Stella) and more now you can watch the complete backstage series of conversations on The Michael Fairman Channel on You Tube.  Make sure to “subscribe” for these and more celebrity interviews.

After the jump, check out some of the winners and backstage interviews with Michael.  You can also go directly to the video you are looking to view, by clicking on the blue hyperlink on the interviewees name. (more…)

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Video du Jour

This week, Nick lost temporary custody of Christian leading to a defiant and emotional turn by Joshua Morrow (Nick) as he has to say farewell to the little boy he has come to love as his own son, and give him to his father, Victor, who wanted and was granted custody of the child. Watch the hankie-inducing moment! Leave A Comment

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Jason Thompson as Billy

The Young and the Restless

Airdate: 6-21/22-2018

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