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The Melissa Claire Egan Interview – The Young and the Restless

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

It’s been a whirlwind week for Chelsea Lawson, and her portrayer, the previously Daytime Emmy nominated, Melissa Claire Egan on The Young and the Restless! Chelsea wandered into the dangerous ponds of Genoa City, almost died, gave birth to her baby (with a rescue and an assist from Adam Newman) and then gave up her baby boy to Billy and Victoria. From the looks of it, it sets Chelsea free to migrate into other stories while building a future bond or battle, and a continued history with Y&R’s favorite couple, Villy!  As many know on yesterday’s episode, Victoria decided she wanted to name the little boy, John, after Billy’s dad, in a truly heartwarming moment.

On-Air On-Soaps spoke to Melissa Claire Egan to get her thoughts on all of Chelsea’s antics, the riveting last few Y&R episodes with her front and center, if there is a romantic future with Adam, and the back-story of her parents!  We recently learned that Jeffrey Bardwell is Chelsea’s bio-dad.  And don’t forget mom, grifter extraordinaire, Anita!   With so many stories yet to play out, the Y&R writers and producers are certainly ready to put it in the more than capable hands of Egan.

Of course, many daytime fans know Melissa best from her work on All My Children as Annie, a woman who became so unglued that she became a resident whack-job.  But once again in the hands of Egan, Annie had so such depth, that you couldn’t at times feel bad for her desperation to hold on to the men she loved, or the future she wanted for herself and her daughter, Emma.  What is most sincere, as you will read, is Melissa’s memories of the show and revealing what she felt about the final episode.  And like most AMC fans, she is still not over the fact that the beloved soap is no longer on the air.  Always delightful and full of spunk, here is our conversation with Melissa!

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/CBS

Chelsea’s world has been unraveling and been very interesting this week.  However, it started last week when she fell into the icy ponds of Genoa City.   Did you like the drama of that?  Many residents of GC have not survived those waters!

MELISSA:

Of course, everyone falls into a pond in Genoa City, and then there is some danger. I think like, eight people have died in there.  So I didn’t know if I would make it! (Laughs) I knew about it when I read the script.  I was kind of intrigued and excited by it, because it was kind of my first catastrophic event to happen on Y&R.  And then when I found out she was going to go into labor, I was really excited about it to see how that was going to turn out.  Plus, I was kind of over being pregnant on the show.

MICHAEL:

You must have been over it, having to dress frumpy, when you are so beautiful in real life.  You probably get really tired of the whole pregnancy get-up!

MELISSA:

You do!  I mean I kind of enjoyed it, but it’s a pain wearing that padding and suit.  I was excited to see what would happen story-wise after Chelsea gave birth and how it would all go down.

MICHAEL:

You have had the opportunity to mix it up with some amazing actors on this show.  Now you can also add Michael Muhney (Adam) to the list.  There must be a potential now for an Adam and Chelsea pairing.  What are your thoughts on Michael and his Y&R alter-ego, Adam?

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

MELISSA:

I love working with Michael.  I heard about him because my mom had watched Y&R before I joined.  So when I told her my character was going to be mixed-up with Adam, she went, “Oh! He is so good, but so bad!” (Laughs)  She told me he was a great character, but an evil one, so I was really excited.  And now knowing Michael, it has been so much fun.  Michael is such a pro.  He makes me look better, for sure.  It has just been fun for both of us to get to know each other’s acting styles and working together.  Everyone seems to think we have good on-screen chemistry, so it’s been awesome.  I think it’s an interesting energy between Chelsea and Adam being the “bad guys” in town.  

MICHAEL:

Adam delivered Chelsea’s baby and then Chelsea gave it up to Billy and Victoria! But is she really going to just let them have the little bundle of joy?

MELISSA:

Chelsea gave the baby up this week, and as of now it looks like she is keeping her word, although you never know.  Adam will be in the equation after all of this.  He has definitely been a support system for her, especially now.  Billy and Victoria now have the baby, and Chelsea is not going to live with them anymore.  She has to decide now what she is going to do with her life … like for her it’s an issue of “Well, what now?”

MICHAEL:

As an actress playing the character, do you think it was hard for her to give up her newborn baby boy? Did Chelsea have some very deep regrets?

MELISSA:

I think it was hard for her.  I mean, I have never had a baby in real life, but I can just imagine if you create this child and carry it for nine months and then go through this tumultuous labor.  I think at this point, she is really trying to be selfless, and do what is best for the baby, which is not to be with her.  She is such a grifter and irresponsible.  At this point, she is doing what is best for her baby boy.

MICHAEL:

At the beginning of the whole pregnancy mess, do you think Chelsea loved or was obsessed with Billy Abbott?  Or, was it all just a con for her?

MELISSA:

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

I think at the time when they met and hooked up, I think Chelsea was probably a bad person.  She was trying to take advantage of him and his money.  He has a way with the ladies.  Billy Abbott makes them want to drug him and take advantage of him. (Laughs) I am sure she had feelings for Billy at the beginning, but now too much has happened.  She knows that she is not going to break up the marriage of Billy and Victoria.  I think she has moved on. I really don’t think at this point she has any interest in breaking up their marriage.  She sees how solid their marriage is and I think she realized, “Alright. They are both good people.  They are in love.  This is not going to happen.”   I say, “Go to Match.com, Chelsea!  (Laughs) Go find someone else to try to date.” (Laughs) I think Billy Miller as Billy Abbott kind of liked this commune-hippie fee to his living lifestyle.  There was kind of a “Big Love” thing going on at the Billy Abbott house. (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

How is working with your dear friend, Billy Miller (Billy)?

MELISSA:

Terrible!  I will tell you the truth later, off the record (Laughs) It’s great.  We are buds from way back, of course, from our days on All My Children, and so we have been hanging out even before I came to Y&R.  Now being here with Billy I get to see him double!

MICHAEL:

Did the two of you talk before you came on board at Y&R, about if you should take the role of Chelsea?

MELISSA:

I did tell him I was going into a meeting at Y&R, but I knew the character would be involved with Billy and Victoria, and involved with Adam.  So I knew how exciting this was going to be, because in my mind they are three of the very best and most popular characters on the show.  We did not really talk about it too extensively because the whole thing happened so quickly.

MICHAEL:

What do you think of Billy and Victoria?  They are clearly one of the fan favorite couples of Y&R.

MELISSA:

They are my favorite couple on the show.  People would tweet me and say, “You better not be breaking up Billy and Victoria.”  I hope I am not, either.  I am glad that the couple persevered and got their baby and all that good stuff.

MICHAEL:

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

Melissa, what has been great to see is how the writers are building anchors for your character, which guarantee longevity for you and Chelsea.  There is your relationship with Billy and Victoria, your child, Adam, your mom Anita and now, your bio-dad has been revealed to be Jeffrey Bardwell, of all people!

MELISSA:

Yes, I agree.  It’s been a lot in a short amount time, but it’s great to have so many people to be intertwined with, if you will.

MICHAEL:

What did you think of the plot point that Jeffrey (Ted Shackelford) was Chelsea’s father?  That was kind of out of left field!

MELISSA:

You know, that came out of nowhere!  I did not know that was going to happen at all. Then, I thought it was really cool.  I knew about Catherine Bach coming on to Y&R as my mother, but I had no idea they were going to go for a “finding my father” storyline, too.  That was kind of put in there in the midst of everything while Chelsea was dealing with her baby.  So it came up and then went away rather quickly.  But I think it will be explored later.  But right now, the show has been so focused on her having the baby, the Billy/Victoria stuff and the Adam stuff.  It’s kind of on the sidelines right now.  I mean, Chelsea had a few busy weeks, there! (Laughs)  You know, falling through the lake, giving birth without having any drugs on board in a cabin, and almost dying.  But who knows?  I am certain they will go back and explore Jeffrey and Chelsea’s relationship at some point.  Right now, she has her hands full … this week! (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Y&R’s executive producer and head writer, Maria Arena Bell, recently told me she thinks that you and Catherine Bach, look like mother and daughter in real life.  Do you think so?

MELISSA:

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

I agree!  My mom jokes that I look nothing like her, and I look my dad.  My mom has blonde hair and is the total opposite of me.  I do wear “Daisy Dukes”, though to bed! (Laughs)  No, I don’t.  I wish I could.  (Laughs)   My real mom keeps joking that Catherine Bach looks more like she could be my mom!  She does.  It’s pretty crazy … the hair… and her skin tone.  Catherine is beautiful.  I have not worn my own “Daisy Dukes” in a while, although I am going to Coachella this weekend, so I might bring them out for that.  We will see.  (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

It’s been “Grifter Central” in the Billy Abbott Home. (Laughs) You must have had fun with Catherine and Billy playing the absurdity of it all.  Were there some laugh riot moments?

MELISSA:

I think Billy and I always like to give each other a hard time.  We like to “Bust each others chops,” if you will.

MICHAEL:

From when you and Billy Miller started as the brother/sister act of Richie and Annie Novack on AMC , to your roles on Y&R, who knew this is how you would eventually interact on screen, and how your lives took you from New York City to Los Angeles.

MELISSA:

Courtesy/ABC

It’s pretty crazy how much has happened to us, and truthfully, I can’t believe it has been so many years now.  It’s amazing the friendships and relationships you make in this crazy business.

MICHAEL:

What has been your favorite Billy Miller scene from your time with him on All My Children, and from your time thus far with him on The Young and the Restless?

MELISSA:

On AMC, I loved when Annie pretended to be shot and “died” and Richie got really scared.  On Y&R, I would have to say, when Chelsea and Billy were flirting at the bar.  I just love flirting with Billy Miller!  It’s so much fun.  Also, when Billy and I are being nasty to each other in scenes.  I have liked that, too!

MICHAEL:

Do you want to see Chelsea mellow out or continue to have a bitchy backbone?  You play the bitchy, crazy, and vulnerable gal so well!

MELISSA:

I really like the bitchy parts (Laughs).  I like that Chelsea has mellowed out a little bit, and she is not as nasty, but I really hope she does not lose her spunk.  She is a fun, bitchy character.  I like that she gives people a hard time and doesn’t care.  It’s fun to play.

MICHAEL:

Adam and Chelsea could really be a pair to be watchful of, if you are a citizen in Genoa City!  Quite the dangerous duo …  would you agree?

MELISSA:

I think so!  I see them causing trouble together in the future, but we shall see!

MICHAEL:

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

I hope there is not another custody battle down the line on Y&R over a child, with the fight instigated by Chelsea to get her baby back from Billy and Victoria.  Enough is enough.  Do you think that could possibly happen?

MELISSA:

I don’t think so.  It seems Chelsea really wants the baby to be in a good place and in a strong family environment, which she certainly doesn’t have right now.  I don’t even think she has a house now.  Thanks to Billy, she is kind of on the street! (Laughs) 

MICHAEL:

How has it been working with Amelia Heinle (Victoria)?

MELISSA:

I love Amelia.  I am very impressed with her and she is awesomeness!  She is so lovely and such a great actress, and she is such a pleasure to work with.  It is especially fun when it’s me, Billy, and Amelia working in scenes together.  There is a lot of goofiness between us, and the best part of a long shoot day, is that the three of us can go have a glass of wine after!

MICHAEL:

Where are you at with All My Children being gone, and the legacy of the show, and putting it behind you?  You were such an integral part of its storytelling in the final years of the soap.  Do you still see many of your AMC pals and stay in touch with them?

MELISSA:

I see Chrishell Stause (Amanda) all the time.  She is my “Bestie”.  I talk with Cameron Mathison (Ryan), but he is New York a lot with Good Morning America, so he is kind of hard to pin down.  I saw Stephanie Gatschet (Madison), Christina Bennett Lind (Bianca), and Jill Larson (Opal) recently at this Yoga-thon.  It was so fun to see all those gals.  Especially in this business, you see them at auditions, or the gym, and all over. Luckily now, we are all in the same town for the most part.

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/ABC

Would you say that Pine Valley’s Annie Novak McDermott Lavery Chandler was one of your favorite roles of your career?

MELISSA:

All My Children changed my life in an amazing way.  I was playing that part from age 24 to Age 28, which are such important years of your life.  It was such an important job for me which took me to New York.  Then I got to have all these experiences in New York, and the benefits of having a great job at that age.  I saw a couple of episodes of All My Children on SOAPnet recently, and I am blonde on it!  So, to look back on that, and go, “Wow! That was six years ago,” and that is kind of insane.

MICHAEL:

What do you think about the final episode of AMC?  Many felt underwhelmed.  It was very upsetting to fans that wanted closure, when the writers had to leave things with a cliffhanger on the belief it was moving to the Internet and continuing on via Prospect Park. 

MELISSA:

I did watch it.  Of course I did.  I loved it because I have loved that show for so long.  I loved All My Children when I was growing up.  I was kind of bummed that they did not use the ending we all taped, which showed us all in the future.  I was kind of sad not to see that, because it tied it all up in a bow.  But, I understand also why they didn’t.  I am so proud of everyone involved, but it was so hard to end a show, when you think it could be possibly moving to the Internet.  It was hard.  It was hard for everyone. I think they did a great job.  I was sad to see it gone.  I am still in shock.  I think it’s such an iconic show, and it makes me very sad that it was the final episode last September.

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

MICHAEL:

And as they say, when one door closes, another opens.  And for you, that was coming over to the number one soap, The Young and the Restless.  So, what would you say in a general sense to viewers to look forward to from Chelsea?  And, right now, what do you want for her?

MELISSA:

The viewers met Chelsea as a schemester and pregnant with child.  She did not have any friends.  And now, you will be able to see her personality.  We can see her finally in some hot clothes, maybe a skirt, and high heels.  She is no longer the beached whale at the bar.  (Laughs)  I would like to see her maybe more vixenish, and not just a baby mamma, but more of a young girl in a new town trying to make her way.  Maybe, since Chelsea did not get Billy the way she wanted to, maybe she will get some lovin’ in her life.  She has had a lot of hardship lately.  I definitely think she needs to get some lovin’!

 

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Dawn HesterMarie GrandeBrenda LeeKelpat coggins Recent comment authors
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Lynn
Lynn

Thanks for the great interview. MCE has already had a memorable soap history. I wish her lots more!

ricardo
ricardo

bravo michael fairman wonderful interview. i love melissa what a great actress. i hope she stays on the young and the restless for a long time. loved melissa as crazy annie on all my children. now all we need is cameron mathison to come to the young and the restless. that would be a dream come true.

Rhonda
Rhonda

“He has a way with the ladies. Billy Abbott makes them want to drug him and take advantage of him. (Laughs)” Wow, just wow.

Cindy
Cindy

I can not believe you did this interview and couldn’t ask one question about JR and Annie or possible crossover to LA for Chelsea. No further comments necessary Fairman.

Karina
Karina

I must say I agree! The chemistry between Jacob Young & Missy Egan was insane. I would have loved for those two to be together at the end of AMC. But since the writers left us fans in the ditch on that one, a Rick/Chelsea cross-over would be blissful!!!!

Leina
Leina

I just read this interview and was also bummed that the question wasn’t asked if she had any thoughts on a cross-over to B and B or Jacob crossing over to Yand R so they may again be paired together..They were on their way to supercouple status before she decided to leave AMC. Their chemistry was like no other. They were acting soulmates. Jacob could surely use her now as a love interest.

Reel Views
Reel Views

MCE definitely has chemistry with Michael Muhney, but I’ve never seen an actor have the ability to play off of other actors so well like MM does. He’s quite the hat trick: Good actor, great personality, and one hot dude.

MCE/MM’s Chadam pairing is something to look forward too, especially with Sharon’s jealousy of Adam’s attention to Chelsea looking on. I expect fireworks coming too.

1loveabcsoaps
1loveabcsoaps

I always liked Annie on All My Children. I think Melissa is gorgeous. She is ALSO the LOOKALIKE of Trista (Rehn) Sutter, the FIRST bachelorette that got married. They look like twins and have the same smile. I wonder if they have ever been told how that they lookalike? In writing this post, I looked up their birthdays to see how close they are in age. Go Trista! You look great! I would never believe that you are NINE year’s older than Melissa (maybe 2 or 3 but NOT nine). Another thing Melissa and Trista have in common is: They BOTH have the same numeral Birthday. Melissa is born September 28th, 1981, and Trista is born October 28th, 1972. Talk about “twin like” faces, numeral (twin birthday’s) almost making their Birthdays in the same month and same year, missing by just one month and one year. Now ‘”that” would of been a coincidence. Still, I cannot believe Trista is nine years older. She has a young face, always did have baby girl looks, just as Melissa does who is gorgeous. They should be put in the magazines as the celebrity lookalikes. Their voices are very simular too. Always a fan of Melissa and her work on AMC. You never got bored with Annie. Great acting, great face, great body. Talented young lady.

TnT 2.0 Forever
TnT 2.0 Forever

Thanks for the interview! MCE is an amazing actress. I am happy for her success and I wish her even greater success in her career.

brandy
brandy

leave shadamam alone.Chadam work good as friends. The ratings are bad enough. She and adam can be friends, with jealous sharon. I also want sharon to be pregnant with adam babt.eery friendship dont have to be romance, just like Michael and phyllis.

Simone
Simone

I am really starting to like the idea of Chelsea and Adam as a couple. I have never really been a fan of Adam, but I love his scenes with Chelsea. I hope that their relationship grows beyond friendship.

Juanita
Juanita

I really love the shirt Chelsea wore on Young and the restless today. Where can you get it. The open shoulder, tye dye look. Loved it.

ToddBlairStarrJack
ToddBlairStarrJack

I am loving the Chelsea/Adam pairing. MCE and MM play very well off each other, Cheldam are my favorite Y&R couple. Please tptb don’t wreck them too much!!

john gavert
john gavert

Y@R fan now for 2 years Think Michael And Melissa are fabulous acting talents.

pat coggins
pat coggins

Is Mellissa pregnant in real life this time around since they haveher pregnant again so soon.

Kel
Kel

I really hate the Adam with Chelsea . I loved loved Adam and Sharon as do sooo many miss Shadam , We can’t forgive Chelsea for giving away her baby just like that!

Brenda Lee
Brenda Lee

I hate Adam had taged up with the penis hungry Sharom. I wished he would get back with Chelsea/ Sharon needs to get her a viberter, she stays too host. I hope chelsea have a little girl and name her hope. If sharon become pregnate I hope she be forgotten and go away. I will not watch the young and the restless no more until they put adam with chelsea.

Marie Grande
Marie Grande

I love the Y&R, watch it during the day and night. I think Adam is gorgeous and a great actor. I hope Adam and Chelsea get back together, although I like Dylan also. I come from Winthrop, MA, it’s like the Y&R in a way. Keep up the great acting Adam.

Dawn Hester
Dawn Hester

I Love Chelsea, favorite actress on show…Everyday I watch to see what Chelsea is wearing (beautiful) and hated Chelsea at first “just proves what agreat actress you are”.

General Hospital

GH’s Eden McCoy Chats on Tackling the Role of Young Carly, Josslyn’s love life, and Her Co-Stars

The rivalry between Carly (Laura Wright) and Nelle (Chloe Lanier) has deep-rooted history in the past, not just the present, as viewers learn today on a special episode of General Hospital.  In it, we go back to the 90s, before Carly stepped foot in Port Charles.  This gave Eden McCoy, who usually plays Carly’s on-screen daughter, Josslyn Jacks, the chance to play a young Carly as fans of the ABC daytime drama series also see that the episode sheds come clues to a story that will play out in the present in the weeks and months to come.

McCoy got the opportunity to work with a different set of players than her normal scene partners in Port Charles in the episode – Cynthia Watros (Nina), James Patrick Stuart (Valentin) and young Willa Rose (young Nelle), who comprise the Benson ‘family’ in the flashbacks.

However, while Eden got the chance to travel back to the 90s, Josslyn is also in the dark in the present to that kiss shared by her best friends, Trina (Sydney Mikala) and Cameron (William Lipton).   If that lip-lock came to light to Joss, will that finally get her to admit she may feel more than friendship with Cam?

Michael Fairman TV chatted with Eden to discuss: the opportunity to play young Carly, having Laura Wright as her on-screen mom, and going to battle on-screen with her good friend, Chloe Lanier, plus if she would like to share more screen-time with Josslyn’s dad, Ingo Rademacher (Jax), and of course, the burning question, who has Josslyn’s heart? Is it Cameron? Find out when you read on as to what Eden shared below.

Photo: JPI

On today’s April 8th episode of GH, we see you portraying a young Carly.  Tell me when and how you found out that you were going to play Carly, and what the experience was like for you taping those scenes?

EDEN:  It was really one of my favorite experiences at GH, hands down.  I think if I had to choose favorite episodes, this would be this one for sure. My other favorites prior to this have been: the fight scene with Nelle, the dance scenes I did, and the fake drunk scenes with William.  Those were all so great.  I found out that I was going to do this episode and play a young Carly from Laura Wright.  I ran into her on set for blocking.  We weren’t even working together that day, and she’s like, “Oh, I’ve been told that you’re going to play a young me in an episode,” and then she literally walked away – because she had to work.  So, I was like, “What?”  It was kind of this thing hanging in the air, and I rushed to tell my mom, because I was so excited.  I didn’t get the script until maybe a month after Laura told me.  I didn’t want to ask more about it before then, because I kind of wanted to be surprised, too. Then, when I got the script and read it, I was completely blown away.  Then, when I got the news that Cynthia Watros was going to play Carly’s mom and that James Patrick Stuart was going to play Carly’s dad, I mean, I just about had a heart attack! Those are two actors that I’ve watched and admired so much and haven’t worked with a lot.  So, it was this perfectly gift-wrapped opportunity to get to know my fellow castmates and dive into a whole other character.  Everyone was so involved in that episode.  Look at the set design, for one thing.  You can totally tell that it transported us into the 90s.  Everyone did an amazing job with that style of architecture ….everybody had been researching it …everybody pretty much except for me as I lived through the 90s!  The wardrobe was one of my favorite things ever, because the 90s, for me, is my favorite era of fashion.  I feel like my own wardrobe is heavily inspired by the 90s.  I have vintage pieces; my favorite jeans are 90s Levis. I watched Friends and obviously was obsessed with it.  The wardrobe team did an amazing job focusing on all of the 90s trends with the cardigans and the clogs and the jelly shoes and all of that.  I have three outfits in the episode, and we literally named them “Monica”, “Rachel”, and “Phoebe” after the women on Friends.  It was so much fun.

Photo: JPI

What’s your take on what happened in the episode; as we learn about Carly’s troubled-past with her adoptive parents, and her past with Nelle?

EDEN:  It starts as a look into a young Carly’s everyday life.  She gets home from a job interview.  She is looking for work, and she gets the job, and Virginia and Carly are talking.  However, the conversation turns into how Carly wants to leave home, and have a very different life than Virginia, but she needs money to do it.  So, she leaves her mom, Virginia, to go find Frank, her dad, who, by the way, is a complete turnoff of a dad.  She thought he was going to have some money, and she could be rich, and get it from him, and move to New York, and see the world because that’s her overall goal.  Carly is a very passionate, goal-driven person as we know, so she goes to see Frank.  It will be a heart-wrenching moment for Carly as a character; and you will see how Nelle factors into this.   All of this in the past shows the internal conflict that Carly has towards Nelle as a person and as a character.  It’s not just that Nelle came into her life and hurt her kids and hurt her family, but it’s because it’s that desperate need for validation that Carly had growing up.  I think, she has had this resentment towards Nelle, because of it.

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How old were you supposed to be in the flashbacks as young Carly?

EDEN:  I was playing like 18-19 years old, and Nelle was around 6.  Willa Rose was such an adorable little actress.  She and James were so cute together, and James was phenomenal.  He just went 110% on this, and it was so, so fun to work against that.  Every take was different.  James was walking at this pace, or he was eating in this scene, and he totally took it to the place that I knew that he would take it.  Same with Cynthia!  Cynthia was amazing.   I’ve watched them together since Cynthia first came on the show as Nina, and I’ve watched James forever, so I totally scored.

Photo: ABC

Has Laura Wright seen your portrayal of Carly yet?

EDEN:  I’m super excited to see what she has to say about it.  Frank Valentini (executive producer, GH) and I were discussing it day-of taping. We were kind of dissecting Laura’s mannerisms so that I could kind of plug them in to my performance. We used when Laura as Carly tucks her hair behind her ear, and Frank was like, “Oh, yeah!  Do that!”  I’ve grown up with Laura, and watching her, and acting against her, and people clearly compare us all the time and are like, “That’s insane.  Do you try to do that on purpose?” It’s like, “No, I’ve just been with her since I was 12, almost every day.”

You realize when working and talking with Laura that she truly gets and understands her art and acting in this genre.  She’s really one of the best there’s ever been in soaps.  She can dissect a scene and understand it from different points of view, etc.

EDEN:  Oh my God, I know.  She’s phenomenal to watch, and I am not immune to that whatsoever.  It hits me every time I see her act.   She’s just been the best teacher.  The comments I get the most are: how much I resemble her looks wise for one, but also acting wise.  So, I’m so excited to see what people have to say following the airing of this episode.

Photo JPI

What do you think about Josslyn’s combative relationship with Nelle?  I loved on today’s episode that we got to see the scenes where Josslyn clocked Nelle again!

EDEN:  I would love to slap Nelle again!  Chloe is one of my closest friends on that set.  Even though we haven’t worked together as much as we used to, we are still very close, and I learned a lot from her.  Scenes with her are always so juicy.

Photo: ABC

Where do you think Josslyn is at this point in her love life?  Is she still really into Dev (Ashton Arbab)? Does she truly loves Cameron, but can’t admit it to herself? 

EDEN:  I think that’s it. With Dev, he was an intriguing character with a very different background than Josslyn.  They say opposites attract, and I think that goes along with this story a little bit.  He’s just something that’s new, and someone who she is intrigued by, and I think that’s realistic.  I know that’s happened to me in my love life before.  I’m not sure where it’s really going to go between Dev and Josslyn.  Then for Cam, I think she doesn’t want to admit the feelings that she has for him to herself because that’s a whole big can of worms. I think she feels that once she admits that it might – not necessarily ruin their friendship – but taint it.  Cam is such a safe place and such a home for Josslyn.  I feel like if she were to admit that to herself, she’d be like, “Oh, no.  I’m going to make this uncomfortable and weird, and I can’t lose Cam as a friend.”  That’s always kind of been where her head is at, but I think as she spends more time with him, her feelings become more and more clear.  You never really know what’s going to happen, and I don’t think she’s set on anything.  Teenagers are just all over the place with feelings, and one day they feel this and one day they don’t.  So, it’s always such fun to play because I know some fans are dying to see Cameron and Josslyn get together that and some people don’t want to see that.  It’s fun to hear everybody out and to hear everyone’s opinions on it.  For me, I just hope it can be something fun to watch.  That’s always the goal.

Photo: ABC

So now Trina has shared a kissed Cam, and Josslyn doesn’t know that yet.  What do you think her reaction is going to be when she finds out? 

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EDEN:  It will be interesting to see how the writers do that when she does find out, because Trina has been a great friend to Josslyn, and Josslyn wants to be a great friend back, and of course, Joss is a great friend to Cam.  These are her two best friends.  She doesn’t really want to be anything but supportive.  I feel there is going to be a lot of internal struggle with that because I think that action is probably going to make her realize, and come to terms with some feelings that she has probably been avoiding, for sure.

Do you think that Josslyn has truly moved on with her life following her last boyfriend, Oscar’s heartbreaking death, so that she can welcome and accept new love into her life?

EDEN:  I think she’s moved on, at least I hope so!  That’s a pain that she’ll take with her for the rest of her life, and an experience that she’ll always have in her back pocket. That’s great as an actor … to have had a deep, influential experience because you can bring that into certain scenes and make them stronger.  Right now, I think she’s just trying to be normal and feel normal things, and that’s where I hope that her story will continue to go.  Life goes on, and we have awesome teenage characters that I’m happy to be a part of and working with.

Photo: ABC

Whenever the fans have seen William Lipton and you together, they have noticed that you get along so well. What can you say about William?

EDEN:   We do get along so well.  William is the best.  He’s really like a sibling.

Would you like to see more scenes between Jax and Josslyn? Don’t you think he should be more involved with his biological daughter’s life?

EDEN:  Yes!  From day one of meeting Ingo five years ago, he just made it so comfortable for me.  We have had a complete connection.  We share so many similar traits.  For instance, we both love the beach and we have a similar drive.  I will say that our relationship outside of the scenes is what makes those scenes what they are and what makes them fun to watch, and why when you’re watching, you feel like, “How is this not real?”  So, that’s why he is one of my all-time favorite scene partners.

Photo: JPI

Your mom was, and is, a big GH fan, right?

EDEN:  Yes, she grew up watching GH in her sorority house, and her two crushes were Sonny (Maurice Benard) and Jax (Ingo Rademacher), and I’m their kid on the show!  I remember when I auditioned for Josslyn.  I was given a fake script with a fake character name on it, so, we didn’t really know what my family tree looked like, or anything.  When my mom saw Maurice and Ingo in person for the first time, and I remember her freaking out.  I can’t even imagine what it was like for her.  My mom was just as excited as me to have this opportunity.

Are you at home quarantining, and taking care of yourself during this COVID-19 pandemic that we all find ourselves facing together? How’s that been going for you?

EDEN:  It’s going good.  I’m not complaining about staying in bed. (Laughs)  No, it’s been fun just trying new things and spending time with the family. You know, I’m usually so busy that it’s nice to have a little down time for a minute, but I naturally like to stay present and connect with people on social media, et

What are the fans saying to you most on social media that they want for Joss? 

EDEN:  I am hearing a lot about Cam.  It’s a big, “Is that going to happen?  Is that not going to happen?  Team Cam/Team Not Cam.”  That’s always fun because I love to have rivalries.  That means that people are invested in the story.  I get a lot of Jax things, like, “Where’s Jax?  We need more Jax and Josslyn,” and I completely agree.  However my dream, (and I think what a lot of people want to see) is Josslyn’s rebellion and gearing away from the goody-two-shoes person she is for a minute.

Photo: JPI

That would be in-line and typical for the daughter of Carly, right?

EDEN:  Yeah, that’s what I’m saying.  When I hear about what Carly had done at my age and in the past, I’m like, “I have that DNA.”   Carly had a very painful upbringing with not a lot of parental supervision and support.  She had no father figure growing up, and Josslyn has had two. That really shapes a person and makes them who they are, but I do feel like with all of the pain the Josslyn has gone through; some kind of off-the-rails moment would be fun to play and will be hopefully in her future.

So, what did you think of Eden’s performance of young Carly on today’s episode of GH? Do you want Josslyn to end up romantically with Cameron or someone else? Do you think Josslyn should display a more rebellious side given that she is Carly’s daughter? Share your thoughts via the comment section below.

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Interviews

B&B’s Katherine Kelly Lang on That ‘Brill’ Kiss, 33 Years as Brooke, Her Co-Stars & International Success

Just when you think Brooke will finally score a moral victory in her vendetta with Thomas Forrester, (who’s manipulations almost destroyed her marriage to his father, Ridge), then she finds herself once again in hot water, and with a secret that in the wrong hands could cause a seismic shift to several relationships – that would he hers and her sister Katie’s – thanks to that ill-timed smooch with Bill!

But what else is new for Brooke? For 33 years, the character has captivated audiences with bold moves, questionable choices, enduring romances and plenty of gusto, all in the more than capable hands of her portrayer, the one and only Katherine Kelly Lang.

This week marks Katherine’s 33rd-year in the role of Brooke Logan Forrester, who along with John McCook (Eric Forrester), are the two original cast members since the very inception of the CBS daytime drama; which debuted back on March 23, 1987.  Now over three decades later, Lang is an international favorite. First, due to the success and broad appeal of B&B in foreign countries, but second, from her own entrepreneurship and hustle.  Always with multiple projects going on at once, Lang and her beau, Dom Zoida recently opened the American version of the Italian clothing and leather store in Beverly Hills, California, Benheart USA.

Michael Fairman TV chatted with Katherine to get the lowdown on: Brooke’s line-up of nemesis’ which seems to be growing! (Yes, you can put Thomas, Quinn and Shauna on that list, for sure.) Plus, what she feels this B&B anniversary is truly about, how she and others in the cast are coping with the ‘stay at home’ orders in California during the coronavirus pandemic, the recent loss of B&B co-creator, Lee Phillip Bell, and those all-time classic Stephanie and Brooke scenes opposite Susan Flannery and more.  Here’s what this BOLD original had to share with all of you.

Photo: JPI

What did you think about Brooke’s whole relationship with Thomas (Matthew Atkinson) and the tit-for-tat between them?  Brooke really stood up to him and his manipulations, and held her ground. Meanwhile, he was going to do everything he could do ruin her and cause so much trouble for Brooke’s marriage to Ridge (Thorsten Kaye).

KATHERINE: This is my feeling: she was so adamant and so trying to convince people about Thomas and that he was so out for himself;  and out for Brooke’s daughter, Hope (Annika Noelle), and very manipulative, and nobody would listen really.  Only a few people like Liam (Scott Clifton) did and her daughter finally agreed with her.  Then at the wedding of Thomas and Zoe (Kiara Barnes), it proved that Brooke was right all along.  I still don’t feel like Brooke got her due as far as what everybody was saying.

No, she didn’t!  No one really said to her in a grand way, “Oh, my God, Brooke!  You were right about Thomas all along.”

KATHERINE:  I know!  Ridge did say, “You were right,” and that’s great.  However, more people should have apologized and acknowledged her, and said, “Oh, we understand now where you were coming from,” and, “Hey!  Good intuition!”

Photo: JPI

That was must have been so frustrating to Brooke!  She knew the truth, and everybody was treating her so badly and painting her to be the bitch.

KATHERINE:  Yup!  They dubbed herthat crazy one” and the bitch.

Was all of this enjoyable to play?

KATHERINE:  It was enjoyable that it finally came out that Thomas is the manipulative person that he is, even though he is so good at it that he almost makes you feel sorry for him.  But he’s like a good sociopathThat’s why they’re so good at what they do.  They’re good at bringing real emotion into every situation and yet being very manipulative.  Kudos go to Matthew Atkinson for playing Thomas, really well.  He’s been great, and he brings something really different on to our show.

Photo: JPI

Brooke and Ridge’s relationship has been severely tested; almost tearing them apart over Ridge previously standing up for his son.  Now Brooke’s recent kiss with Bill (Don Diamont) threatens it, as that kiss was caught on tape, and landed in the wrong hands.  Is Brooke in freak-out mode yet?

KATHERINE:  I definitely think she is, and she wanted to take that kiss back from the second that it happened.  She allowed it to happen.  It’s a little bit of old Brooke resurfacing there.  Right away she was like, “What are we doing?   This is ridiculous.  You’re with Katie, and I’m with Ridge, and we’re both happy.”  Brooke has had underlying feelings for Bill, and she probably always will (and he for Brooke), but we know that’s not where we want things to be.  So, in Brooke’s mind, it’s “let’s forget about that and carry on, and don’t tell anybody.”  Of course, it comes out to some people, and it’s so embarrassing for Brooke.  Like, how does she explain herself?  I mean, at that point she can’t explain what happened … or why she did that.  She has to kind of succumb to it.

Right! And of course, Shauna (Denise Richards) and Quinn (Rena Sofer) want to take her down with this ammo.

KATHERINE:  Of course!  That’s what they live for. (Laughs)

Photo” JPI

Recently, Quinn spiked Brooke’s drink with some booze after they had quite the argument. Fans were on the edge of their seats that Brooke might start drinking again.  What did you think of the plot point?

KATHERINE:  I think it could have been interesting.  I have no idea if they will bring it up again.  That happens sometimes.  They’ll put in a little teaser and not run with it.  However, you never know if it’s going to resurface down the line, especially when Brooke is really down in the dumps for some reason.

I could see her being down in the dumps if she finally had no man in her life! (Laughs)

KATHERINE: (Laughs) That’s probably what she needs … not having a man in her life!

How is working with Rena Sofer and Denise Richards; especially when they are antagonists in scenes with Brooke?  Do you ever have a good laugh while trying to tape those scenes, as well?

KATHERINE: I think there’s a good chemistry between the three of us, and we have that rivalry going on.  So, I think it’s been working, and it’s been entertaining and interesting.  They’re fun to bounce off of.  Usually we are pretty serious when we do those scenes, especially if they’re more verbally combative.  So, we’ll just be really serious and stay in it.  Of course, sometimes things happen, and you laugh, but we sometimes don’t have the luxury to take the time to laugh and enjoy the moment, because we have to try to get the scene done in one take and move on.

Photo: JPI

There were a few months there that Brooke was slapping everybody! There were plenty of bitch-slaps that needed to go around. What did you think of those scenes?

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KATHERINE: I loved it, but then I felt like it was also maybe getting out of hand because it’s not really PC.  Nobody is supposed to hit people or slap people in anyway.  So, it worked more years and years ago in our genre, as times have changed in our world and culture.

Viewers saw this week that Donna (Jennifer Gareis) knows Brooke kissed Bill and that they have to make sure Katie (Heather Tom) does not find out, while others are out to expose Brooke!

KATHERINE:  I would imagine that everybody would want to see how Brooke unravels.  So, just keep watching!

Photo: JPI

Would you welcome another go round at a Brooke and Bill romance?

KATHERINE: Not when Bill’s with Katie and with everything that Katie’s gone through.  I couldn’t see that.  I don’t think it would be right.  That would mean that Brooke is completely selfish, you know?  There are so many other men.  Why does she have to go for her sister’s man?

Photo: JPI

In recent months, we have witnessed scenes where Brooke has been more confrontational and fighting back and not putting up with the shenanigans of others!  We have seen this in particular with Thomas, Shauna, and Quinn.  Did it seem like they ramped that up for Brooke?

KATHERINE:  Yes, because at some point it’s frustrating because nobody was listening to her.  It all started with the whole Thomas thing, and once she started fighting back, she wanted to fight back on everything.  She’s been lied to about a lot of things.  It’s not been fair.

Does Brooke still think Hope is too vulnerable to make wise decisions for herself; even after she stood up for herself at the wedding of Thomas and Zoe?

KATHERINE: Now. I think she feels much better, because there are moments where Hope is very vulnerable, but then she kicks herself in the butt, and stands up for herself and everybody else.  So, Brooke knows that Hope’s strong, but she also knows that she can be vulnerable.  At this moment, she is proving that she can handle things.

Photo: JPI

B&B turned 33-years-old this week as the show continues to remain so popular in the United States, and of course, is the most watched soap in the world. What can you say about still being with the series since its inception, and all that has happened to you in your life and career, because of playing Brooke, plus a nod to the fans?

KATHERINE: It’s been an amazing opportunity for me.  It’s been my life basically! 33 years on The Bold and the Beautiful, and the show has always kicked butt.  I mean, the show has been going strong ever since it started, and it still is going strong.  It’s just been an honor to be on the show, and remain on the show for so long as one of the original characters.  My heart really goes out to the fans, because honestly, so many of them tell me they’ve watched from day one.  We have a history with them raising their families.  Younger people come up and say, “I’ve been watching the show ever since I was little with my mom.”  So, there’s a wide range of different people who watch the show, and I appreciate them so much.  We all appreciate them so much because really, without them, there would be no show.  I just want to say ‘thank you’ to all of the fans.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Photo: JPI

Brooke is one of the most notable characters of all-time in soap operas and you are the actress playing her. That has to be a very good-feeling for you.

KATHERINE: I think there have been a lot of notable characters on soap operas, who have even been on the air a lot longer than me.  Look at Eric Braeden (Victor, Y&R) who just celebrated his 40th, and Melody Thomas Scott (Nikki, Y&R) who also reached a milestone recently.  What I have learned from all of this is; what matters is when you come on a show that your heart is in it 100%, and you come to your job and you try your hardest.  That to me is what matters and makes you an honorable person.  I’m very flattered that I’ve been on The Bold and the Beautiful for as long as I have.

Photo” JPI

When you look back at 33 years of your time on The Bold and the Beautiful, are your scenes with Susan Flannery and those epic moments between Stephanie and Brooke, the ones that still standout to you the most?

KATHERINE: Those scenes with Susan informed and formed the show and the characters for years.  I had a lot of memorable scenes with Susan.  I’m so lucky to have worked so closely with her.  She’s an amazing actress.  I learned so much from her, and just watching her.  I would hang on her every word – how she would talk about the business, how she would talk about acting, directing (because she loved to direct), and producing.  Susan was very knowledgeable, and she was very tough, but very fair, I thought.  I just loved her work ethic.

You and Thorsten Kaye have created your version of Brooke and Ridge. What do you think about working with Thorsten?  Is it fun? Challenging? How would you define it?

KATHERINE:  He’s very fun to work with.  Thorsten is very serious, very prepared all of the time, and he’s watching everything.  He’s got eagle eyes.  He’s just so on top of it and working with people like that makes you raise your bar.  It makes you want to try 110% to be there and put in the work.  Thorsten’s also so funny, and easy to work with, and so charming, and such a dear friend.   I love working with him.  I do think Brooke and Ridge have an interesting relationship even though some people say, “Oh, they should be over,” or whatever they want to say.  I do think they have created a good banter between them, and almost an understanding without having to say anything.  Thorsten’s a delight!

Photo: JPI

What is your takeaway when you travel overseas and internationally to places such as Italy, Dubai, Monaco or Australia where B&B is so widely popular and the reaction you receive from the fans?

KATHERINE:  Just seeing the overseas reactions in different countries and how popular or how loved The Bold and the Beautiful is truly special.  The fans really do love from their hearts.  They feel a part of it, and they are, but just their enthusiasm and their passion and their love, and they give their whole heart to you and to the show.  I just found that really interesting, and like I said earlier, we owe the success of B&B to the fans who love the show so much.

Photo: JPI

You recently were in Greece appearing for a multi-episode arc on the soap 8 Lexeis.  How was that experience?  I know Greek soap star, Andreas Georgiou, also came over to the States and appeared on B&B afterwards, too.

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KATHERINE:  It was an incredible opportunity.  I love working in other countries, and seeing how other people work, and how they make different projects and things.  8 Lexeis is their top TV show on their top network in Greece, so it was really exciting to go there and work on that.  I did 15 episodes in 5 days; something crazy like that.  We worked all morning through late at night every day, but it was fun.  It was amazing to see how creative they are and how they just run with it.  Everything was really chill on the set, but they still moved really fast and got everything done, and they were all so talented and so nice.  Then later, Andreas came over and did some shows here.  He was supposed to come to visit, but then the Coronavirus happened, so he had to postpone his trip, but we’ll see him soon.

Photo: JPI

B&B is on a production break due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Have you stayed in touch with your co-stars during this time?

KATHERINE: A lot of us talk on Instagram all of the time, and then a lot of people have been going live on their as well.  So, we jump into each other’s live videos!  Have you seen Katrina Bowden (Flo) and Kelly Kruger (Mackenzie, Y&R) do their little workouts together? You should check those out! Ashley Jones (Bridget) is always on, and Annika Noelle, and then our Supervising Producer, Casey Kasprzyk, started doing Zoom.  He did a Zoom with some of the B&B people.  So, we’ve all been texting and keeping in touch and making sure that everybody is okay.  I know it’s very hard times and it can be scary for all.   Hopefully, if everybody does what they should be doing, it will flatten the curve and the Coronavirus will be a lot easier to deal with.

Photo: JPI

You are one of the busiest people I know! Recently, you went to Australia, you opened your new store Benheart USA in Beverly Hills, and you appear on B&B in a lead role.  Is there ever a moment when you’re like, “I can’t do one more thing?” or do you like the go-go-go of it all of the time?

KATHERINE: I like the go-go-go, but I felt that I was going too fast and too hard, and I’ve recently been thinking of what I can take out of our lives and our schedule, and then in thinking of that, I couldn’t really think of what I can take out.  Then, this all happened with life coming to a screeching halt, which I find very interesting because life is set up to go so fast.  Nobody can really enjoy anything.  We have to get up early, we have to go to work, we have to make money to pay for this, we’ve got to take care of the family, do this, do that, maybe just try to be motivated to be successful, whatever your dreams are, you’re going after them, etc.  It’s such a driven world all around that I think with having to self-quarantine that this is a chance to take a good look at what is going on in your life.  Now, we have a lot of down time.  We have time to think, go inside ourselves.  It gives you time to be kind, slow down, think of others.  What can you do for others?  What can you do for the world?  It’s been frightening for a lot of people; especially the ones who have gotten sick, or the ones who are scared of getting sick because they are immunocompromised.  But, at the same time, we need to try to not let that anxiety get to us and try to appreciate what we have.  Like, “Why is this happening?  What is this moment trying to tell us?”  I’m always trying to find the silver lining; or what is this trying to tell us in life?

Photo” JPI

B&B and Y&R co-creator Lee Phillip Bell passed away at the end of February, and it was so heartbreaking.  I know you were close with Lee.  What can you share on her passing?

KATHERINE:  It was heartbreaking.  I always think, “Gosh, I wish I saw her one more time before she passed,” but she was around her family, who are so loving, and supportive, and always there for her.  Lee created an amazing life for herself and for her family, and she was a huge part of The Bold and the Beautiful, and of course, I thank her so much because she hired me.  Lee gave me my life, and this time on the show.  She was amazing.  She cared so much about the show and the people on it.  Lee was such a great mom and such a great friend.  It’s been special knowing her and spending all of that time with her that I was able to through the years.  My heart goes out to the Bell family as well.  I know this must be hard for them.

Photo: JPI

Then, it was so sad that Orson Bean died tragically before that.  Have you talked to Alley Mills (Pam)?

KATHERINE: Yes, a bunch of us went over and spent time with Alley and brought her food.  We brought her goodies, and we just hung out.  We just gave her lots of love, spent time, and that was before I had to run off to Australia as well, but she’s really strong.  That was just very tragic.  Two weeks before Orson died, we had seen them both in the play Bad Habits.  It was so, so funny, and they both had all of us who attended laughing so hard, and it was such a pleasure.

Photo: JPI

In closing, what are your hopes for Brooke moving forward into the future?

KATHERINE: I’ve been saying that I hope she’ll spend time by herself and be alone for a while and focus on her family.  I’ve said that for so long, but I don’t know what’s going to work for her! (Laughs)  However, I’m just so curious to see what will happen next for her.

So, what do you think of Brooke’s latest predicament after her kiss with Bill? Do you hope that Ridge and Brooke stay together? What have you thought of the more recent version of a feisty Brooke who fought back when no one believed her about Thomas? And finally, share your congrats to Katherine for 33 years as Brooke and let us know some of your favorite all-time scenes via the comment section below.

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Interviews

Y&R’s Eric Braeden Talks On 40 Years Of Life In Soaps As Victor Newman

Back in February, Eric Braeden added another milestone to his illustrious career – that of portraying the one and only Victor Newman for 40 years on the top-rated daytime drama, The Young and the Restless.  And boy was he celebrated!  First, there was a one-of-a-kind on set celebration at CBS Television City which was quite the star-studded affair.  That was followed by special episodes of Y&R, where Newman Enterprises turned 50 with a gala that also proved emotional with speeches and retrospective clips.

When you talk daytime dramas to anyone, you would be hard-pressed for the general public to not know the name “Victor Newman”- and that is because of the powerhouse performances and nuances that Braeden brings to his soap opera alter-ego.  For it was Y&R co-creator Bill Bell and Braeden who really shaped what viewers have come to know, expect, and love, forty years later.

Those who know Eric understand he can be at times outspoken, has a heart of gold, stands up for what he believes, can bring the drama, the suspense, the tension, the romance and the tears in any given scene when it is called upon, and that throughout the years he has earned the respect from his peers for an impressive job well-done.

Michael Fairman TV caught up with Eric to take a look back at all that had gone down recently in his honor, and to get his thoughts on some major moments in time through over 40 years in Genoa City, and where things are at now.  Check out our special conversation below.

Photo: JPI

When I attended and saw you at your 40th anniversary on set celebration at Y&R last month, I cannot tell you what a special event that was.  I have never seen that for anybody else!  The amount of people who attended, and the love they showed for you, was so special. When you were sitting in that chair on the soundstage and watching and hearing what was being said about you, what was going on in your mind at that point?

ERIC:  Well, first of all, it was the nicest thing that’s ever happened to me in 40 years on that show, and secondly, in moments like that, you try to stay focused on who is giving the speeches, because if I then look around and see all of the people who I have known for so many years, it’s emotional.  There’s a saying in German, “he’s close to the water,” meaning it’s very moving.  I saw my son and my granddaughter there and obviously everyone else, and my old coach and players, and so many others that have been a part of my life.

Photo: JPI

There were some very special guests and speeches.  I loved that Justin Hartley (Ex-Adam, Y&R and now Kevin, This Is Us) came.  I thought that was sweet and cool, and also that ESPN sports personality, Stephen A. Smith was there calling you one of his good friends.  There were so many moments.  You knew who was going to speak, right?

ERIC:  Yes, I did.  We kept it to just family, and in other words, Y&R family, etc.  I want to thank Matt Kane (Publicist, Y&R), who had a lot to do with putting the event together.  I also wanted to thank Tony Morina (executive producer, Y&R). The Y&R art department and David Hoffman (Production Designer) also did a fantastic job with those pictures they had created that was part of a set.  Thinking back on it, again, I would without a doubt say, that the celebration was the most moving moment in 40 years in the business and on that show.

Photo: JPI

A few weeks ago, Y&R and B&B co-creator Lee Phillip Bell passed away.  Obviously the late Bill Bell (co-creator, Y&R) and she were instrumental for you being at Y&R in the first place, and the creation of Victor Newman.  What can you say about Lee? 

ERIC:  We invited Lee to the event, and she apologized and said she was not in a position to attend, and then, shortly thereafter she passed.  In a sense, I’m glad Lee wasn’t there because when I would see her on some occasions, I just am moved to tears.  I would have not been able to really hold it together for long.  Obviously, she was co-responsible for a lot of stuff that happened on Y&R. co-responsible for that show still being number #1, and my heart goes out to her.  I know what I owe them, and she had a lot of influence on the storylines.  Lee was an incredibly smart and bright lady.  Her son, Brad Bell (EP and head writer, B&B) did speak at the 40th event and I appreciated it enormously.

There were a lot of retro clips shown of you show in celebration of your 4oth anniversary from when you started on the show back in 1980 till now.  Did you remember all of those moments?

ERIC:  First of all, they put that together so beautifully.  That was done so extremely well.  When I see it, it comes right back, or in other words it evokes precise memories, but if I weren’t seeing it, it’s all a blur.

Photo: JPI

Y&R brought Meg Bennett (Ex-Julia) and Robert Parucha (Ex-Matt), for the on-screen episodes celebrating Newman Enterprises 50th anniversary.  Was it nice having them back and seeing them, or is it kind of weird, because it can be such a long time in-between since you have all been together?

ERIC:  It is both.  It is very nice to see old colleagues obviously, and very touching, but look, we are in a weird business.  When I saw Meg, you suddenly realize how the show has evolved in many ways.  So, I’m always very grateful to see those who I started out with on the show and of course, doubly grateful to those who are still there.  I think of Melody and Doug Davidson (Paul) for example.  Doug has been there for longer than I have, and what a great job he did emceeing the 40th anniversary event, and as for Melody, that her and my relationship still endues after all of these years is amazing.

Photo: JPI

Let’s talk about those Newman Children.  I thought Joshua Morrow (Nick) gave a hilarious speech and even Mark Grossman (Adam) spoke so sincerely from the heart to you.  You get a sense that the Newmans are a fun group to work with.

ERIC:  I obviously love working with Joshua.  Same for Amelia Heinle (Victoria), I adore her, and Melissa Ordway (Abby).  They all have a great sense of humor, and Mark Grossman, I think is doing a damned good job.  And there is Peter Bergman (Jack).  Peter has been a great nemesis for all of these years.  Of course, Peter was very funny in his speech, and Joshua was very funny, and Ed Scott’s (Producer, B&B) was very good.  Tony Morina also shared a very funny little antidote!

Photo: JPI

What came across loud and clear is what we already knew.  Everyone knows the name “Victor Newman”.  You know when they go, “Victor Newman … Y&R!”  It’s so synonymous, right?  I don’t know what it must be like for you knowing the public has that reaction to you … and you’re that guy.

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ERIC:  I’ll tell you very honestly, I have an ambivalent relationship to that fact.  I deny it on one hand, don’t want to know about it, don’t really want to know about it, and on the other hand, when I hear about it, I say, “Yeah, very happy to hear about it, but is it true?”  I am sort of strange that way.  I have not had a picture of myself or anyone else in my dressing room for these 40 years.  It’s barren, as you know.  I don’t have any pictures hanging up of me; there’s nothing.  Now, I was talking about taking the one picture that David Hoffman had designed beautifully, and I have it on one wall.  I thought, “I’ll be damned,” because the picture includes Melody and some scenes that went on.  I’ve always been funny that way with praise.  Do I like it?  Of course, but …

There’s an uncomfortableness about it, right?

ERIC:  Yes, but I’ve seen too much in this business.  I’ve seen too many extraordinary stars, where you wonder, “Where are they now”?  I take this business with a grain of salt.  I really do.  It’s so easy to succumb to it.   I’ve known many people, including on our show, who used to say, “Well, without me, this thing would go down the drain,” and I said, “Yeah?  No s**t,” and they’re not there anymore.  You have no idea what happens to some actors when they see themselves on the cover of soap magazine.  They go crazy.  I’ve seen it, and the worst thing you can do is to believe in that, and I’ve always been skeptical of that, very skeptical.  Get back to what counts in this business:  do a good job … do the best you can … and where is the money?  I mean really, let’s call a spade a spade, and that’s it.

Photo: JPI

I was just going to say, the one person I so wished was at your 40th celebration was Jeanne Cooper (Ex-Katherine, Y&R).   I wish she could have been there with us, because she would have loved it.  I know she loved you.

ERIC:  She would have spoken, trust me!  She would have said, “Alright, you son of a bitch.  Alright, macho man let’s see what you’ve got!” and then she would grab me by the balls.  The first scene I ever had with her, Jeanne did that.  Absolutely hilarious!  Jeanne and I could not do a scene without laughing.  I’m serious.  We had to pull ourselves together.  She had such a great sense of humor, and we both looked at this, obviously, with an enormous grain of salt, because we’ve been there.  We’d seen it all.

set

Photo: JPI

Through the years, you obviously have been vocal on social media where you will call out things as you see them and as you truly feel, especially through various regime changes, or if there is a noticeable shift away, or focus, from core characters. What are your thoughts on what ultimately makes Y&R, the iconic soap that it is?

ERIC:  Let me put it very simply: the show is based on the comradery and enmity between the Newmans and the Abbotts, and I’ve included on that a go-between, if you will, a Chancellor … Jeanne Cooper.   That was sort of the plan, but the major triangle was sort of the Montagues and the Capulets in Romeo and Juliet.  That is what legendary stories are based on.  It’s family rivalries, and within those rivalries, we tell all kinds of fantastic stories.  It’s father-son, father-daughter, husband-wife, love affairs, disloyalties, ruthless business competition, and it goes on and on.  The scenes with Peter Bergman and me over the years have been legendary, wonderful, and they’re great scenes.  Now, to suddenly bring in whole new characters that no one knows about, which previously happened on our show, you have to ask, “What are you not getting?  You want to reinvent the wheel?”  Go with what is working.  It doesn’t often happen that you have the right cast and the right story.  That is what makes a show successful.  Imagine taking Cosmo Kramer (Michael Richards) out of Seinfeld.  You couldn’t.   It wouldn’t work.  In other words, when you have the right actors and the right storyline, you have a hit.  We’d been number #1 for over 30 years because of it

Photo: JPI

When you get a script, have there been those moments in the 40 years where you will say. “My character would never do this.  I’m not playing it!?”

ERIC:  Of course.  Not that I’m not playing it, but I will make certain adjustments here and there.  I always have, by the way, from the very beginning.  Bill Bell agreed with most of it.  I know my character, and I have and instinctive feel for what is emotionally touching and what is not.  Look, I have always said that I admire writers.  I don’t envy their job.  I really don’t.  I think it is the hardest job in the business, and writing for soaps is even harder.  So, I have great respect.  So therefore, I don’t even want to know who wrote what.  I don’t ever want to be in the position of insulting a writer because I know how difficult it is.  As in everything in this business, it is a cooperative business.  There are very few writer/directors who have earned the right (I’m talking about Martin Scorsese, I’m talking about Ingmar Bergman, I’m taking about a handful) to write and direct their own stuff.  Even they rely on the cooperation of their lead actors.  That’s what is so wonderful about this business in that it’s this precisely cooperative thing.  However, when there are some people who simply don’t listen to those of us who have been around for a while and we know, we really know, then, they’re being foolish.

Photo: JPI

Y&R taped the Newman Enterprises 50th anniversary gala, which was in essence, your on-screen 40th anniversary episodes.  That was another amazing part of this.  I love that they would go to a clip, and one of the characters would say something in speech, and then, they’d go back to a shot of you reacting.  Were you, you, or Victor at that point, because it seemed so genuine and emotional?

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ERIC:  You know, look, one thing sort of blends into the other.  I loved that show by the way.  It was brilliantly done, and they could have easily screwed that up, but they didn’t.  I thought Josh Griffith (head writer, and Co-EP, Y&R) did a hell of a job, and Tony Morina did a wonderful job, they really did.  So, I really can’t say enough about that.

Photo: CBS

When you look back on the enormity of scenes you have performed as Victor Newman; the ones that and you and I always come back to are the scenes between you and Dorothy McGuire as Victor’s mother; and the scenes with you and George Kennedy as Victor’s father.  Do you still consider those your all-time favorites?

ERIC:  I always think about them.  They are my top favorites, plus one other.   No question about it; because the scene with Dorothy McGuire laid the groundwork of what Victor Newman is all about.  That summarized all of his subsequent moments of anger, and upset, and mistrust, and etc.  It was the seminal scene for Victor Newman … period.  One other scene that one of my favorites was the one with Melody, on Christmas Eve where Nikki keeps on bugging Victor to tell her about his past, and he finally does.  It was about that orphanage experience, etc.  Actually, those two scenes early on were responsible for my really wanting to stay and realizing that now I had a chance to play some real emotions, some real feelings, some real conflict.   I remember after Victor told Nikki that story, a moment when I went to my dressing room, I called home, and I said, “Now, I’m going to stay.”  No two ways about that.  I called my wife, and I said, “I’m staying,” because I wasn’t sure if I was going to.  It happened because I had talked to Bill Bell and I said, “Bill, I’m so tired of playing bad guys.  I’ve done it for too many years.  I’m empty.  I’m burnt out.  It’s too dehumanizing.  Let’s imbue this character with a background,” and he did, brilliantly, and that’s the reason I stayed, and that’s the reason I’m here 40 years later, truly.

So, when you were feeding rats to Nick Benedict as Michael Scott, were you ready to leave? (Laughs)

ERIC:  Well, that was a little different story, but I looked at that, and I said, “Are you kidding me?” (Laughs)  Back then, I knew little about what works on soaps … and people still talk about it!  They loved it.

Photo: JPI

The scenes opposite George Kennedy were so emotional … and heavy-duty, too.  It was so sad watching Victor’s father reject him.

ERIC:  It was sad.  It was really, really sad, and George played it wonderfully.  I cannot say enough about that because here is an actor who comes from the outside of our genre.  George lived in Boise. Idaho and he traveled all the way by car to LA with his grandson to do the scenes He wouldn’t take a plane.  George was so damn prepared that we did those scenes in one take!  It’s stunning!  I can’t talk enough about him.  I just so admired and respected him.  George passed away about a year ago, but that’s why I had him in my film, The Man Who Came Back.

Photo: JPI

As a leading man, Victor has had many women in and out of his romantic life for years and of course, his constant, Nikki Newman (Melody Thomas Scott).   You’ve been fortunate to work with so many wonderful actresses such as Eileen Davidson as Ashley.  Which standout to you? 

ERIC:  I have to say obviously Melody, but I have to also say the scenes with Eileen – they meant a lot to me.  I regret that she and I did not have more storylines together.

Photo: CBS

So, the coronavirus is shutting down the world, life in America, and has shut down production on the soaps.  How is everybody dealing with it at the show, and how do you feel it’s being handled?

ERIC:  Well, originally I wanted to continue working, but I said only if everyone was fully supplied with the proper wipes and antiseptics all of the time.  In other words, from the makeup department, from the props department, to someone wiping down all of the handles and all of that, but I completely understand now from a company point of view, they had to shut down because what if you work and someone gets sick because of it… and it goes on and on.  It’s a terrible thing, but I was willing to continue working.  Yes, perhaps stupidly so.  It’s going to be tough when we come back because a lot of work has to be made up, but I understand why we stopped.

What would you say to the fans who have stayed so invested in Victor Newman, and you, even 40 years after your Y&R debut? 

ERIC:  I’ve said it before, and I will happily say it again:  I am deeply grateful to the fans everywhere.  Without them, you and I would not be talking.  That’s really the long and the short of it.  The fans have really everything to do with it.  I’m glad that I am on social media because I am engaged with quite a few people very gladly, and I hear some interesting stories, and some very touching stories.  Y&R has taught me to really not look at that as a sort of nebulous audience.  I put faces behind it because I’ve seen them.  I’ve seen them in the last 30-odd years in public appearances.  I don’t forget them.  I don’t forget what it means to me.  It’s deeply touching.  I’m not at all anesthetized to it, no.  It touches me deeply, and whenever I do a PA, and receive the people’s reactions, I say, “Whoa,” and now I know why I’m in the business.

Courtesy/CBS

In closing, fans have been watching what looks to be another showdown brewing between Victor vs. Adam for control of Newman Enterprises.  Do you think still after all these years; Victor has it in him to out maneuver his black sheep son, as he has done in the past?

ERIC:  Hell, yes.  What do you think?  Bring him on, man.  Bring him on.  Victor’s still full of piss and vinegar.  Okay?  What people don’t know is that I’m a feisty son of a bitch.  I don’t give up.  I fight to the last.  I mean it.

So, what has been your favorite all-time Y&R scenes featuring Eric Braeden? What do you hope happens next for Victor and the Newman clan? What do you think about the sentiments shared throughout our conversation on Eric’s 40th anniversary celebration? Comment below.

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