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THE MICHAEL FAIRMAN INTERVIEW – THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS

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Many “On-Air On-Soaps” fans have emailed me and written to me, asking, “When I am going to do an interview with Michael Fairman, who plays Katherine’s new beau Murphy, on “The Young and the Restless”? Also, many fans have asked me, “Are you related to “Y&R’s” Michael Fairman?” Well, in an interview that has been almost 40 years in the making, the two ‘soap opera’ Michael Fairman’s finally meet up face to face in this very profound interview. There is more to this story and our connection than meets the eye. Read the transcript below for all the details and what’s coming up on “Y&R” and more! Without further adieu, Fairman interviews Fairman!

Listen to the audio:

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MICHAEL:

So you and I share a very interesting past and connection. You changed your last name to Fairman, and actually called my parents when I was growing up to ask permission.
Tell me in your own words what happened?

Y&R FAIRMAN:

I became Michael Fairman officially in Milwaukee, Wisconsin around 1967. I looked through the phone book and wanted to find a “Fairman” to see if it was alright to use the name. I happened to call Michael Fairman’s dad. I said, “Mr. Fairman you are not going to believe this conversation, but my name is ‘so and so’, and I would like to change my name to Michael Fairman, and I would like your permission to be a Fairman.” Well, I guess it turned out he had a son named Michael Fairman.

MICHAEL:

It was interesting. I was 9-years-old at the time. I was sitting at the dinner table with my parents and the phone rang. I knew this man called and asked my dad if he could change his name to Fairman. My dad goes, “Sure!” Little did he realize I was going to go into show business on my own, let alone end up in soap operas! And now, every time people would see your name on a soap or episodic shows, they would ask me if I was on that particular show, and I would say, “No.”

fairman-fairman.jpgY&R FAIRMAN:

…And the real Michael Fairman went into show business, and he can’t use his name now after all these years! I feel bad. How am I going to make retribution?

MICHAEL:

You have done soaps such as “Ryan’s Hope” and “General Hospital” and now “Y&R”. Let’s start with “Ryan’s Hope”. How did that come about?

Y&R FAIRMAN:

I was on a soap opera called “Love of Life” where I played the power behind the Mayor. He was a nefarious guy. Paul Mayer and Claire Labine wrote that soap opera. When they were doing that soap opera they were creating a new soap called “Ryan’s Hope”. One day Claire called me in her office and said, “How would you like to be on a new soap with a new character called, “Nick Szabo”? He was Hungarian Mafioso, and Julie Barr (Ex- Brooke, “AMC” and Ex- Reenie, “RH”) was my daughter. The whole concept of my character was that he would be in continual conflict with the Ryan’s, especially Frank Ryan. I would be his nemesis, and then Julia Barr, as my daughter, would have my character, Nick, wrapped around her finger.

MICHAEL:

How was working with Daytime Emmy winner Julia Barr?

Y&R FAIRMAN:

Julia was wonderful. It was a very interesting concept for soaps at the time. The Ryan’s were working-class people and they had a bar in Manhattan. Then, they had the Mafioso story, which was me, and then there were the doctors, and the newspaperman, Jack Fenelli. So it was real people, not the pretty boys and girls that they have usually on soaps.

NickSzabo.jpgMICHAEL:

What happened to Nick?

Y&R FAIRMAN:

He went away to Las Vegas, never to return after the first year. I was going to be a staple on the show, but an executive took over ABC Daytime and decided he did not want a Mafioso storyline, so I was let go.

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MICHAEL:

Interesting, since now there is Mafioso galore over at “GH”! Now onto “Y&R,” and your audition with thee Jeanne Cooper (Katherine): How did it come about?

Y&R FAIRMAN:

I was asked, “Do you want to audition for a soap?” I said, “Why not?” And I looked Jeannie up on IMDB on the website. I had never seen her on “Y&R”, sorry to say, and she had just won an Emmy! I knew she was Corbin Bernsen’s mom. I had worked with him several times on LA LAW, so I decided to audition. When I got there Jeanne was so warm and accommodating, and so accessible. This was beyond. We were at the edge of the table, and on the three other sides of the table were the executives and the casting directors, and we just had a ball. My agent had said, “There has to be chemistry.” So we made chemistry. I did not hear anything for a couple days, and I got a call saying the chemistry was great, and that they liked me. When I came into work the first day, they all said kind things, and it worked out. As I work with Jeanne, she continually tells me how good we get along. It’s like a match made in heaven.

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MICHAEL:

You knew Michelle Stafford (Phyllis), though, and got the low down on Jeanne from her, right?

Y&R FAIRMAN:

I talked to Michelle Stafford and she said, “Oh, you are going to love working with Jeanne Cooper.” Michelle Stafford and I go back to before she got “Y&R”. We were in acting class together. Michelle is a dynamite actress. We all thought she would do really well in feature films, but she has done very well in soaps, which she loves. She told me everyone loves working with Jeanne.

MICHAEL:

So, what do you think is at the core of Murphy, on “Y&R”?

Y&R FAIRMAN:

What was in the script is: he was married and his wife died, and he was kind of lonely. So he would go down to the diner and visit Marge, Pearl, and Joe Jr. He is a low maintenance guy who eeks out a living by running a bait and tackle shop. He lives in his trailer. He lets life go by day-by-day, enjoying it and enjoying fishing, and he’s not really very ambitious. Murphy is enjoying his golden years, and once he meets Marge, or who he thinks is Marge, he becomes very protective, and his purpose becomes more active. Life takes on another dimension for him with Marge. Then when Marge turns into Katherine, he finds qualities in Katherine that are attractive to him in a different way. There is a scene where he says, “You could shoot the breeze with Marge, but you could really talk to Katherine.” Katherine is a much more dimensional person than Marge. He liked Marge to pal around with, but I think he could have a real relationship with Katherine.

another-michael.jpgMICHAEL:

Does Murphy feel she is unattainable or does she intimidate him, since Katherine is, after all, “The Duchess”?

Y&R FAIRMAN:

Murphy is not intimated by it. But he doesn’t really feel he can fit in. I am a little reluctant to think that I could fit in, although I still care about her. But, as far as taken into her life, I don’t think realistically, he could fit in, and I think it would be awkward for him.

MICHAEL:

Are we finally going to have some DNA testing?!

Y&R FAIRMAN:

She is going to have the DNA. Her  memory has been coming back in bits and pieces, and I believe she is Katherine. Now we have the ring that she pawned, and the pawnbroker has figured out it was Katherine who turned over the ring, and that’s a big plus.

MICHAEL:

How did Murphy feel about Marge?

Y&R FAIRMAN:

He already determined Marge was dead, and it was sad for him. The fact that here is Katherine, sort of mitigates that.

MICHAEL:

Will we soon find out about the DNA results?

Y&R FAIRMAN:

The DNA test results will come soon and she will know she is Katherine. We are already playing a scene where I know she has to go back to Genoa City. It’s kind of bittersweet. She says I can fit in, and I say, “Probably not.” Things will happen that will put things off for a while, in terms of their separation.

MICHAEL:

They will be separated?

Y&R FAIRMAN:

They will and they won’t.

cooperjoes.jpgMICHAEL:

Tell me about working with Jeanne?

Y&R FAIRMAN:

She is very improvisational. In fact, she will be talking to me and I don’t know she is doing the script. It’s such a reality in terms of the character, and we are able to improvise. It’s just that circumstance where two actors are so comfortable with each other and their characters can say or do most anything and it works. In a short time we have reached a level of comfortableness. And she has said, and I have said to her a number of times, “God, I really love working with you.” (and she goes) “And I really love working with you,” and we do. We enjoy it, and we high five each other after every scene. We are the fastest in our scenes of anyone on the set, and we get through our scenes in record time.

MICHAEL:

What about your idea to do a play with Jeanne?

Y&R FAIRMAN:

There is a possibility of doing a play. I had an idea since we play cards on the show, why don’t we look at the play, “The Gin Game”. It won the Pulitzer Prize in the late 70’s. Mary Tyler Moore and Dick Van Dyke, Jessica Tandy and Hume Cronyn, and Charles Durning and Julie Harris performed it. So I approached the idea to Jeanne and she wanted to read it. So this week I am bringing the play for her to read, and if she can make the time, maybe we could do it ourselves.

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MICHAEL:

If you were writing the show, what would you love to see happen in the Murphy/Katherine storyline?

Y&R FAIRMAN:

Since I am her protector and care about her, and probably even in love with her, it would be great if she then says, “Why don’t you come to Genoa City and take part in my business? I will give you a job or I will give you a position.” Murphy could then be her eyes and ears, and he agrees to do that. Everyone else thinks he is after her money. They all get kind of nasty with him and they try to prove she is insane for trying to do that. So now he has to protect her.

MICHAEL:

So he would kill for her?

Y&R FAIRMAN:

Well, he’s already said that.

MICHAEL:

He knows he is in love with her?

Y&R FAIRMAN:

I have a line where he says, “I am really going to miss you.” He knows. He is not easily open with his emotions, but you know it’s there. I think if push came to shove, he would tell her in a certain circumstance.

MICHAEL:

What do you think Katherine feels for Murphy?

Y&R FAIRMAN:

I think she cares about him very much. I think she is almost there on that. I don’t think a man has treated her the way Murphy has, or given her the kind of care that he has. From the first time when he thought she was Marge, and now as Katherine, it has just intensified. He does not care she is a billionaire; it has no affect on him. It’s about the person for him, and I hope it stays that way.

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MICHAEL:

What are some scenes or moments you have loved thus far, that you did on “Y&R”?

Y&R FAIRMAN:

There was one time when Katherine went to the mansion, and she recognized the picture of (Victor) Newman and her daughter, and at that moment Murphy realized she was Katherine and that Marge was dead. That was kind of a rich scene for both of us. Because I was equally affected by Marge’s death, and now here is someone I was assuming was Marge is now someone totally different. Another one was on Christmas Eve. The carolers came and they gave me a sprig of mistletoe. She said, “Are you going to stand there or are you going to hang it up?” I go, “Ok. I will hang it up.” Then she went under it and I kissed her. That was the first kiss. I have kissed her subsequently.

MICHAEL:

Is she a good kisser?

Y&R FAIRMAN:

Well, it’s not intense yet. (He laughs)

MICHAEL:

Do you watch your performances back after you have taped them?

Y&R FAIRMAN:

I prefer not to for this reason: I have in my mind what I have done, and how it actually played out. If I need critique, I have people who will critique for me. But for myself, I don’t like to watch it in order to correct it. I feel so good about doing this, that I don’t want to see things that destroy that. I don’t want that. I have such a great time that doing that would affect me. The feedback I am getting on the show from executive producer, Paul Rauch, and supervising producer, Anthony Morina, and from Jeanne Cooper, is all complimentary. Since it’s an ongoing role, I don’t like that to interfere with my process for the role.

MICHAEL:

Now on “GH” you played another bad guy! Who did you work with the most over in Port Charles?

Y&R FAIRMAN

I worked mostly with Maurice Benard (Sonny) and Vanessa Marcil (Ex-Brenda). They are both great and terrific actors. I was Sonny’s mentor and a bad guy, and he killed me. I was Jewish mafia this time. I was named Harry Singer.

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WithSlezak-2.jpgMICHAEL:

I was with Erika Slezak at ABC Super Soap weekend this past November, and she asked me if I was related to the Michael Fairman that was in the Milwaukee Repertory Theatre with her. I of course, said, “No, that’s the other Michael Fairman”. How was working with Erika?

Y&R FAIRMAN:

Erika and I met in Milwaukee in 1965, and we were part of that company for four seasons. She and I were leading actors of the Milwaukee Repertory. Erika was wonderful! We did plays like, “Hedda Gabbler” and “Skin of our Teeth”. She left and went back to New York and eventually, “One Life to Live”.

MICHAEL:

OK, now let’s do a few comparisons. Born?

Y&R FAIRMAN:

Bronx, 1934

MICHAEL:

Milwaukee 1961… Favorite color?

Y&R FAIRMAN:

Blue…

MICHAEL:

…Blue… Zodiac sign?

Y&R FAIRMAN:

Pisces

MICHAEL:

Capricorn… Hobbies?

Y&R FAIRMAN:

Photography, working out…

MICHAEL:

…. Working out and music. Married?

Y&R FAIRMAN:

Married and have a child from this marriage who is 14, and a son who is in New York who is 42.

MICHAEL:

I am single, single and single with no children, maybe a dog soon…Favorite actor?

Y&R FAIRMAN:

Marlon Brandon, and I love Spencer Tracy!

MICHAEL:

Robert DeNiro… Favorite Actress?

Y&R FAIRMAN:

Cate Blanchett..

MICHAEL:

Current crop of actors: who do you enjoy?

Y&R FAIRMAN:

I loved Johnny Depp in “Finding Neverland”. It was amazing, as are many things he has done…”Edward Scissorhands” and “Gilbert Grape”. I like European actors, too, like Christian Bale and Clive Owen, who is also just super.

HillStreetb.jpgMICHAEL:

When you were on the nighttime hit series, “Hill Street Blues”, that’s when I got a lot of phone calls asking me if I was on the show!

Y&R FAIRMAN:

I had a run on there. I played an interesting character: this smarmy councilman who was this nasty guy who put the screws to Captain Furillo. He abused his power, and one night when he was drunk he killed someone, and that was the end of him. Throughout my career, I have played hard, tough, no-nonsense guys. On, “Cagney and Lacey”, I was inspector of police and they used to call me, “The pig”!

MICHAEL:

Does that come easy?

Y&R FAIRMAN:

Yeah. (He laughs) Nasty is fun… the nastier the better. A character who is bad does not think he is bad. The less you play bad, the less you are. But I like Murphy on “Y&R”. He is tough, compassionate, and not a pushover. He was tough on Marge.

MICHAEL:

Did you always know you wanted to go into acting?

Y&R FAIRMAN:

No. Entertainment was the furthest thing from my mind. It was not until I was in the Air Force that I was interested in acting. I was over in Japan, and someone talked me into being in a theater group, but not as an actor. I wanted to get involved because I had a lot of time on my hands. I liked carpentry and I would build scenery for them on the Air Force base just outside of Tokyo. They talked me into being in a play. I was in three or four plays. I loved being on the stage, and loved what happened after getting all the accolades, and the work was fun for me. I got out of the Air Force, and at that point I went back to NYU. I did not find that was very helpful for me. So I studied with Lee Strasburg, and I did not find that helpful. Then, I studied with Uta Hagen, which was helpful. Then, I went to do Shakespeare in Oregon. I did Shakespeare for four seasons, and became adept at classical plays. Then in 1961, I continued to study with Uta Hagen and then worked professionally. I was not finding a whole lot of work in New York, so my wife, who was an actress at that time, and I both got accepted at the Milwaukee Rep.

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MICHAEL:

So, is that when you decided to change your name?

Y&R FAIRMAN:

It was a little bit before that, because my name was being misspelled in a derogatory way, and it was an ethnic sounding name. So I thought it would be limiting for me. I wanted to keep the MF initials so I found Michael Fairman and I thought it sounded nice. My name was ‘Fuchs’ and my first name was Milton. I used to get kidded as a child because Milton Berle was big at the time and he was known as “Uncle Milty”, and I was called that and I did not like either name. So I changed it to Michael Fuchs. When I started working in Oregon, they would misspell my name in the programs. So I said, “Enough of this”. So when I got to Milwaukee, I legally changed it to Michael Fairman. Milton Fuchs no longer exists.

fairman-headshot.jpgMICHAEL:

Well, I think Michael Fairman sounds ethnic, and I have lived it with since I was born! (He laughs)…In closing Mr. Fairman, if we were to tease fans of “Y&R”, what can we say is on the horizon for Murphy and Katherine?

Y&R FAIRMAN:

A complication of the plot! Here is what I can say: all may seem well with Katherine, and she may be going on the path towards Genoa City and her life. All may seem light and happy, and she is going back to renew her relationships with her old life… but that might not be… and look for Murphy on a white horse.

Interviews

B&B’s Scott Clifton and Don Diamont Talk on the Plight of Liam & Bill and Their Cover-Up of Vinny’s Death

If you are watching current episodes of The Bold and the Beautiful then you know that Scott Clifton (Liam) and his on-screen father, Don Diamont (Bill Spencer) have been spending plenty of time together in scenes in very dramatic and intense fashion.

In story, Liam is guilt-ridden over running down Vinny Carter (Joe LoCicero) by accident when he was driving Bill’s car.  Since the moment that Vinny was killed, Bill leapt into action, destroying any evidence tying the two to the scene of the crime and continually demanding that Liam let this go and move on with his life, or the implications for the both of them could certainly be a long jail sentence, or worse.

Photo: JPI

Now as Liam is finally making headway in a reconciliation with Hope (remember his last secret – sleeping with Steffy – was quite the doozy), this new secret of what he has done, and hiding, could up the stakes even more and take him away from his family for good … or would Hope (Annika Noelle) after finding out what Liam did be the nail in his coffin that ends their relationship once and for all and kicks him to the curb?

Courtesy/CBS

Both, Scott Clifton and Don Diamont chatted virtually with Michael Fairman exclusively for You Tube’s Michael Fairman Channel to offer up for viewers and fans of The Bold and the Beautiful: an inside look at what goes on when they tape their scenes, how they see their characters motivations, and they serve up a preview of what may lie ahead in this tangled web that Bill and Liam have unfortunately weaved.

Photo: JPI

Check out the humorous, candid, and enlightening conversation with two of the leads and mainstays of this CBS Daytime drama series below.

Then let us know; how do you think Liam and Bill can get out of the mess they find themselves in? Will Liam crumble and spill the beans? Will everyone in town get on to them and figure out the secret they have been keeping? Share your thoughts and theories via the comment section after taking a look at the virtual conversation.

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Days Of Our Lives

Kevin Spirtas Talks ‘After Forever’s’ Digital Special ‘Riley’s Unforgettable School Project’, The Loss of Michael Slade, and a Chance to Reprise DAYS Craig Wesley

The coronavirus pandemic has put to the test many content creators on just how they would keep their projects moving forward in ways they never dreamed of. However, out of that situation has come some of the most compelling, unique series, specials, and features currently streaming for viewers. One of which is Riley’s Unforgettable School Project, brought to you by the team from the six-time Daytime Emmy Award-winning series, After Forever.

Former Days of our Lives star, Kevin Spirtas (Ex-Craig Wesley) has starred in and created the first two seasons of what has become the most honored Emmy-awarded LGBTQ-themed drama series on any platform.  Along with his ‘After Forever’ writing/producing partner, the late Michael Slade (DAYS, OLTL, Passions, Another World), the two also conceptualized and delivered this latest documentary-style offering now on Amazon Prime Video.

What makes Riley’s Unforgettable School Project so noteworthy is not just how they were able to execute the series based on fictional 11-year-old Riley’s virtual school project and utilize its cast, which includes: Spirtas, Cady Huffman, Jamison Stern, Lenny Wolpe, Erin Cherry, Anita Gillette, Christopher J. Hanke, and Finn Douglas, but that it was made while Slade was succumbing to his battle with cancer, and that this special marks the final script from this talented writer.

 

Michael Fairman TV spoke with Spirtas about making the special during Covid-19, how the death of Michael Slade has made a lasting impact on his life, what After Forever has personally meant to him, and how an official third season is still in the works, and … if he would consider a return to Salem and Days of our Lives, should they come a-calling.  Here’s what Kevin had to say about it all.

Photo: AfterForever

I think the entire story of this digital special has become even more meaningful with Michael Slade’s passing. What was the genesis of the concept? You wanted to continue the telling of the story of After Forever … but we are all in the middle of a pandemic?

KEVIN:  Yes and… when we filmed season 2, we had the scripts for season 3 already completed. It was our hope and desire to film them at the same time, back-to-back, so that we would have had all of our cast and crew together, and we could have gotten through it because we’ve always imagined this story being told in a trilogy so to speak – a beginning, middle, and end to Brian (Spirtas) and Jason, (Mitchell Anderson) and Brian’s healing or his steps towards healing through grief.  Schedules turned out that they couldn’t really work out for us to hold all the people and hold all of the sets for that amount of time.  So, we thought, “We’ve got the scripts for season 3 ready.  We’ll come back to it in the following year,” and that was always the intention, and then the pandemic hit.  So, it was shut down immediately that we weren’t going to do anything, but we wanted to stay current, and instead of going back in and telling the third installment of After Forever as a Covid-19 story as well, Michael and I sat down and looked at a way of staying relevant and current with a story within COVID, and there was born the idea to do this documentary style story/special about the characters of After Forever told through the lens of the character of Riley, the 11-year-old boy, who is now being homeschooled during the pandemic. He gets an assignment to do a project about the most unforgettable person he has ever met, and he, of course, chooses his best friend, the late Jason Adams, and he enlists all of Jason’s friends and family to join in.  Michael actually said, “What if we tell a story about Riley being homeschooled?” And, not only is Riley a technical genius at 11-years-old in the story, but Finn Douglas, who plays Riley, is a technical genius.

And didn’t Finn perform and write the song “Forever There” contained within the special?

KEVIN. Yes. He is this incredible musician.  Michael thought, “What would it be like if we asked to have the character of Finn sing a song for Jason?”  I said, “Well, what kind of song would we have him sing?”  Finn could play anything, I’m sure, because he’s self-taught, he plays by ear – guitar, piano, and drums.  Michael said, “What if we ask him to see if he could write a song?” and when we heard this song, we all called each other and we all got on Zoom and went, “Can you believe this song?  Can you believe this came out of this 11-year-old?”  It’s pretty incredible.  Michael did a gorgeous job of weaving the stories in and out and how they just sort of dove-tailed into each other, and then it was framed by Riley opening the project and ending the project.  During the Zoom reading we wanted to hear the song out loud.  We said to Finn, “Would you want to sing the song?”  We all just watched everybody on that Zoom call just fall apart.  It was just so beautiful. He’s an amazing talent.

Where is your character within this?

KEVIN:  I still stand in the center of the story of Jason because my character, Brian, was married to Jason, and it sort of connects us all, and through Riley’s understanding of how we all connect to Jason, is how we are all sort of spread out throughout the story.  Michael jokingly said, “You know, you’re not going to be the star of this special,” and I said, “I don’t think it’s about being the star.  It’s really about the storytelling.”  The beauty of Riley’s Unforgettable School Project is that we get to see moments of each person’s relationship with Jason, which Riley sets out to say, “Answer these three questions: What did you like most about Jason?  What did you like least about Jason? And what’s your favorite memory?”  Those three things, cut back and forth is where we all kind of fit in.  Nobody has more of a story than the next person, and it’s all telling honest portrayals of how they’re dealing with their loss of their good friend, or their child, or partner.

It’s a very inventive idea during Covid-19 to continue it in a way where you weren’t having to go shoot a full season of episodes.

KEVIN:  Well, we couldn’t. I have to say, Allison Vanore, who not only produced this special, but she also stepped up saying, “I’d love to direct this,” and I said, “Yes, please!”  She knows the characters.  She understands the story because she’s been a part of it for the last two seasons.  Allison also has this extraordinary amount of knowledge and expertise with the camera and what was needed for a remote shoot, and to also be able to organize filming 13 people in 2 different countries and 5 different cities… that’s just the technical side of it, but having that in our back pocket, knowing that it was a remote shoot, we had to send the camera, the computer, the ring light, and the microphone to each person’s house.  We had to location scout over Zoom.  We had to do wardrobe over Zoom.  It was all this big puzzle putting it together, and once you look at that board of storytelling and how we were going to do it, it kind of fell into place.  I feel blessed that a) we still had Michael with us, at that point, and b) Allison had the know-how to do this.  We all feel that at least this pandemic didn’t keep us from doing what we love.

Photo: AfterForever

In terms of the contribution of Michael Slade in this special, was it the construction of the story, and how was he able to work and write this during his illness?

KEVIN:  Michael’s contribution to the special was no less than the contribution to season 1 and season 2, and the future of season 3, because the scripts are written.  We did everything on Zoom, and we worked around his schedule of treatment.  We scheduled 2 people per day, and we spread them out over two weeks.  He was very present, and when there would be a day where he would say, “I’m going to be an hour late, let’s just push that call time,” I would ask, “Is this too much right now?  We can shelve it; we can stop it.” He’d then say, “Absolutely not, otherwise cancer will win.”  He was determined to stay focused and to stay active because it took his mind off of what was happening to him.

Photo: AfterForever

It would be lovely moment if you both were to win a Daytime Emmy for this project. 

KEVIN:  It’s our last collaboration together as a team, as I said, season 3 has been scripted, and it is on the calendar to get made.  We are just waiting for the COVID restrictions to lift a little bit and everyone to get vaccinated.  Michael was really hit hard with cancer – to stay healthy was so challenging for him.  Sadly, he didn’t make it to see the final edit of the special, and he died four days before we launched, but he had seen the cuts before that and was very approving of it, and had made some decisions, and offered some suggestions, and if God gives him an Emmy for this, it’s not because he died.  It’s because it’s great work.  It just happens to be that the work that was involved in this particular special was very tricky.  It brought up everything, like life itself to have to deal with.  Here we are dealing with the loss of a colleague, the loss of a friend, someone’s brother, someone’s son, this is life imitating art, imitating art imitating life. I can’t tell you the darkness that I went through just experiencing the need to stay focused on getting everything edited, and everything ready, and everything aligned for a release of this project that we had put into motion.  On top of it, our editor lost his mother just before Michael passed, and Allison’s mom was sick at the time, as well.  It took a lot of heavy deep breaths with Michael’s death, and the pandemic, and the loss has, for me, on a personal level, sent me back to really questioning my spiritual muscle and to help remind me that we have to come out of this better than we went into this.  I had many dark nights of the soul this last year, and December was probably the darkest.  I feel like I’m just kind of coming out of it now with the spring revealing itself.

Photo: AfterForever

It must have been extraordinarily difficult for you to also go to New York during a pandemic and also knowing Michael did not have much time left.

KEVIN:  I will say this: I am grateful that I was able to stay in touch with my heart and my instinct and go out to New York to let that be my remote location.  Yes, maybe there was some risk involved.  I wore my mask; I was Covid-19 negative, and I was determined to be fine.  Once I got to New York, I would visit him very protectively with our masks and our gloves, and I’d sit across the room, and then I’d go back to the house I was at.  It was a gift that I was able to see him at that time.  We had some good talks then about how he was feeling, and I think he was still being optimistic, and then once we got the project in the can there was maybe this psychic letting go. That’s when everything really started to reveal itself as this could be the end.  I did go back to see him when he was in hospice.  I think I was there the last two days that he really was able to really stay coherent.  He would close his eyes and be at peace and quiet for a minute, and he would finish a conversation and sort of close his eyes, not to sleep and not to go away, but I remember watching him going, “Look how peaceful he is,” and then he’d open his eyes and he’d remember that he is in this body that has been given a time limit of life, and he’s on his way out.  I’d watch the fear go back in his eyes.  At one point, he did say, “I’m so scared,” and I just held his hand, and I said, “I’m scared too.  Let’s be scared through this together.”  I don’t know how to navigate grief like that.  We are all going to be in a position at some point where we are going to be on the other side of the hand holding.  The wonderful thing is that we were able to have honest communication about our feelings.  I thanked him for everything that he has done for me and how he believed in my talent and creativity and our partnership.  I will always take that with me.  I waved my finger at him, and I said, “Listen.  Now, we wrote a series about a man talking to his deceased husband.  You’d better talk to me!”  So, we laughed about that.

Photo: AfterForever

You’ve done a lot of things in your career from Broadway to television, and of course, daytime fans know you best as Dr. Craig Wesley on DAYS.  How does the entire After Forever project stack up to you within all that you have done?

KEVIN:  Former DAYS casting director Fran Bascom, sought me out and offered me this 2-day role on Days of Our Lives, and those 2 days turned into 8 years, and unbeknownst to me at the time, the final 3 months of that contract of those 8 years, Michael Slade was brought in to write.  We didn’t cross paths at that point, but years later, when we did cross paths in New York, and then After Forever was born, that was that universal crossing point.  I am most proud of the fact that we were able create something fresh, and real, and personal to ourselves that we didn’t have to cater to any “powers that be” that had their vision and their tinkering, that they thought that it could be better in this way or that way.  Then for After Forever to gain such recognition, within the film festivals, and the Emmys, and then, just after Michael died, we won the GLAAD award for Special Recognition this year.  We don’t even fit into one of their categories!  They found a way to acknowledge this project.  If another Emmy happens again, that might be another one to put up on the shelf for After Forever that would be beautiful, and I couldn’t have done it without Michael.

For the Daytime Emmys this year, what category have you entered Riley’s Unforgettable School Project?

KEVIN:  We are not a series this year, we are a daytime fiction special, and the “Daytime Fiction Special” category is a special class.  It’s anything that’s digital in the construct of less than 40 minutes.  NATAS (National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences) is being bombarded with so much content, they’re trying to find ways to put categories together.

Photo: JPI

So, now, when we last saw Days of Lives’ Dr. Craig Wesley, where was he? (Laughs)

KEVIN: (Laughs) He was in a flash from the past or something in the DOOL app’s Last Blast Reunion series. I had a fun time working with Patrika Darbo (Nancy) and Nadia Bjorlin (Chloe), once again.

So, if they were to want Craig to come back to DAYS, would you be all for it?

KEVIN:  Hell yes!

Photo: JPI

Now, what story would you want to be told involving Craig? 

KEVIN:  When Craig was first on the canvas in Salem, there was a lot of mustache twirling and a lot of hand wringing.  He was always plotting; most of the time with Nancy.  It was kind of this high drama, evil villain storyline being told, but when the writers created an opportunity for us to be on after those first three months by bringing on Chloe without a father, there was something real about it.  It may have been told under the construct of soap opera storytelling, but there was a reality-based story about, “You have a daughter, and we are just now finding out about it?”  Then, finding a cure to her health was another realistic story, and finding out that Craig was her real father.  Anything that’s reality based is what I’m getting to.  I would welcome any job that brings me back and gives me an opportunity to dive into something real.

Photo: JPI

Would you welcome the opportunity to play a gay character on daytime; in a medium where there are very few represented in storylines?

KEVIN:  I’d have no problem with that.  Do you know anybody who is starting that?  Let’s do it!  (Laughs) First of all, there’s nothing to hide anymore.  There’s nothing to pretend you’re not anymore.  I would think that bringing in a storyline that deals with anything outside the norm that we are used to seeing would be interesting.  How many times can you retell a story?  How many times can you set the same story up with another couple?  So, why not be diverse and have a stylized story being told through the lens of a gay person.

Photo: AfterForever

In closing, so many go through life without acknowledging people who had an impact them.  We don’t give pats on the back, often enough, and especially in Hollywood, where people can be very self-involved.  You have already paid tribute to Michael Slade in our discussion, but what gift from him is your personal takeaway?

KEVIN:  The gift that Michael really gave to me is to remember to be kind to myself and to others, and to acknowledge and salute the person who is in front of us, because we don’t know when we will have, or if we will have, another moment to do that.

Now below, check out the trailer for Riley’s Unforgettable School Project.  Then let us know, what do you think of its concept? Kevin’s thoughts on the passing of his collaborator on the project, Michael Slade? And, do you hope DAYS brings back Dr. Craig Wesley? Share your thoughts via the comment section.

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General Hospital

GH’s Kin Shriner Talks on Franco’s Demise, Scott’s Budding Romance with Obrecht, and His Enduring On-Screen Partnership with Genie Francis

One of the most beloved actors in the history of General Hospital, Kin Shriner, currently finds his alter-ego, Scott Baldwin, in a new budding on-screen romance with none other than Liesl Obrecht (Kathleen Gati).

This comes on the heels of Scott learning the devastating news that his son, Franco Baldwin was shot and killed, thus writing-off the ABC daytime drama series, for now, popular actor, Roger Howarth.

Photo: JPI

Throughout his now almost 44-year-run on the ABC daytime drama series, Kin Shriner has brought his unique acting chops that helped mold the character of legal eagle Scott Baldwin into the humorous, at times cutthroat, endearing and many times heartbreaking character we have all come to love.’

 

In a brand new exclusive virtual sit-down interview with Michael Fairman on You Tube’s The Michael Fairman Channel, Shriner opens up about his history with GH and the times he stepped away to take on roles on Texas and As the World Turns, and then back again to the town of Port Charles and GH.

Photo: ABC

As well, Kin reveals his reaction to learning the news that Roger Howarth would be exiting the show as his TV son and how he shot the key emotional scene where Laura (Genie Francis) tells Scott that Franco had died.  Shriner shares that he does not see how when Howarth returns to the show in as a yet-to-be-revealed character, that it would be a stretch if the two were some how related, but that he will miss working with the talented Howarth as a scene-partner.

Photo: JPI

As to the women in Scott’s life, Kin addresses each of them from: Lucy (Lynn Herring), Bobbie (Jackie Zeman), Dominque (Shell Danielson), Laura (Francis), Ava (Maura West) – to which the character could never get that close to – and now Liesl (Gati), and working opposite all the powerhouse actresses who portray them.

Photo: ABC

For fans of General Hospital who have watched the series for decades, Kin also shares memories of working with his late TV parents, Peter Hansen (Lee), Susan Brown (Gail) and his friend and former GH castmate John Reilly (Sean), plus backstage stories with his longtime scene partner, Genie Francis.

Watch the entire conversation with Kin below.

Now let us know, are you all for the Scott and Liesl romance? Will you miss scenes between Scott and Franco?  Would you ever want to see Scott and Laura reunite romantically? Share your thoughts in the comment section.

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Y&R’s Joshua Morrow, Amelie Heinle, Mark Grossman, Hunter King and Melissa Ordway chat with Michael Fairman about being a part of and portraying the Newman Children as the show celebrates its 48th anniversary.Leave A Comment

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