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The Robin Strasser Interview – One Life to Live

Courtesy/ABC

Photo Credit: Sue Coflin/Max Photos

When One Life to Live’s revival became a reality, thanks to the continued efforts of Prospect Park, one name on the wish list for long-time fans of the series that they wanted to see on the definitive cast list was the one, thee only, Robin Strasser!  As Dorian Cramer Lord, she could be the villainess supreme, the ultimate catalyst, or the loving head of the Cramer women and clan, who would fight to the ends of the earth for her family and her girls!  Of course, Robin’s scenes with Erika Slezak (Viki) are a staple of the series and life in Llanview, and what many fans clamor to see!  From what we can tell, when One Life to Live starts anew on April 29th on Hulu, HuluPlus and iTunes, the long-running feud between these two powerhouse characters and actresses is set to re-ignite!

On-Air On-Soaps chatted with Robin to get caught up on: how she is feeling after a battle with pneumonia, getting the opportunity to play one of the most iconic characters ever on soaps again, her sadness on the original cancellation of One Life by ABC, and the gung-ho style of Prospect Park now as they ready the audience to see the premiere episode of the new online version.  We also clarify directly from Robin, what went down behind-the-scenes when she left One Life six months earlier than the final ABC episode, and if she was indeed set for one final return. You will find out the answer.

Now with all that behind her, and a brand new start, Robin relates she is thrilled to be sharing scenes again with Tuc Watkins (David), who plays Dorian’s on and off again loving lothario, and the rest of the cast.  One thing is for sure, this Daytime Emmy winner always give direct, forthright, engaging interviews with her own brand of spunk and humor, because as Robin does when playing the part of Dorian, she does everything to the fullest, with passion, heart and deep respect for the profession of acting.  We are thrilled to bring you this conversation with one of daytime’s greatest!

MICHAEL:

First I have to say Robin, I am glad that you are a part of the One Life to Live reboot.  I have missed you!  And I, like millions of fans, have missed seeing Dorian right in the mix of everything in Llanview!

Photo Credit: Chapman Baehler

ROBIN:

It’s good that the show is back, period.  It’s good, and they are very smart, savvy people and they are going to do everything they can to ensure it’s a success.  I am going to do everything I can to help, and about the best thing I can do is play the heck out of one of the best parts ever in daytime, as far as I’m concerned.  I am so lucky to play it, and very grateful.

MICHAEL:

How was it finally getting back to work and setting foot on the set as Dorian?

ROBIN:

I went back to work about four weeks ago, even though I was dragging a bit with post-pneumonia stuff.  But gosh, it felt amazing, scary, and thrilling, all at the same time!

MICHAEL:

I know from our interview we did together on the On-Air On-Soaps Podcast when we both heard the news that One Life to Live was being canceled by ABC, that you were just devastated, as we all were.  Then you heard, Prospect Park was picking up the show and moving it online shortly after its final episodes on ABC.  But then that did not move forward, so many people believed One Life was dead in the water!  But, all of a sudden it came around again!  What did you think when you first heard the news that it was coming back again via Prospect Park’s efforts, after all the twists and turns?

Courtesy/ABC

ROBIN:

When it was canceled, we thought we got picked up and would continue making new episodes for the internet once we were off the air on ABC, and that turned out not to be true.  Then, in my experience, it was kind of a journey through the dessert with diminishing expectations that it ever would happen.  When someone would reply, “Well, you never know, there is still a chance,” that inner mechanism, that I will speak for myself, protects me which goes, “OK, don’t count on something happening that probably won’t, or that might not.  Just don’t even get invested in that hope.”   And it wasn’t until the beginning of January that I heard from Prospect Park with an actual phone call, and then three, maybe four more times.  (Laughs)   It was one of those experiences where it is happening and it’s real, but you are kind of pinching yourself … that what you are hoping might happen … is happening.  That was really cool!  I couldn’t have been any happier if the Easter bunny had showed up.  And I mean that with the greatest respect to Easter bunnies, and tooth fairies, and Santa Claus. (Laughs)  I want to believe in magic, and a part of me is a proud adult who does believe in magic! (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Fans noticed you were not part of, or at the February One Life to Live cast photo shoot in Sleepy Hollow, New York.  Were you MIA because you were feeling ill?

ROBIN:

I was supposed to be at the cast photo shoot, but when they called to say the car was on its way to get me, I was coughing non-stop.   I could not get out a ‘hello”.   That is why I was not there.  I actually had bags of clothing and jewelry ready.  Being who I am, and having some wonderful generous contacts in the fashion business, I wasn’t going to show up empty-handed.  So there I am coughing, and not going.

Courtesy/ABC

MICHAEL:

What it was like going back to work again, after what I believe was a year and half or so since you filmed your last episode of ABC’s One Life to Live?   Is there truth that after Dorian’s then final exit that they tried to get you back for the final episodes?

ROBIN:

Michael, it was a year and half for me!  I was let-go in late June/early July 2011 and not called back to duty.  That was weird during the six month that the show was still on the air on ABC.  I also, during that time, was very sick.  Emotional and physical health are so tightly wound together for me.  I know it’s a gift in terms of being an actor, that you feel things deeply, or you empathize what it would be like if such and such were going to happen.  During the six-month period I was hospitalized twice, and in fact at one point in the fall I got a call from OLTL’s former executive producer, Frank Valentini saying, “Would I make an appearance on the show again, because it would give a chance for Prospect Park to see my work?”  I said, “I have been on an IV for 14 days, I am way too sick.  Especially, if I am letting Prospect Park get a look at what I am capable of doing.”   I didn’t even try to go in.  Moving past that, when the show went off the air, it really felt like, “This was it.”   This is not only that loss; but I really did think at that point it would segue into the Prospect Park’s One Life to Live.  Everyone dealt with it the way they did.  I was never alone in either my feeling of loss, or my feeling of hope.  

MICHAEL:

You must have had people running up to you on the street sharing their loss over losing One Life with you!

ROBIN:

Courtesy/ABC

First of all, people on the street, their nerve-endings were so available that I have never been more approached and talked to, and was never more willing to stop and talk to people.  A few times I would have to say, “You know, we are standing in the middle of traffic.  We better move!”  People would be talking about their sense of loss and their grief.  I am not exaggerating.  I was two blocks away from my house when somebody told me that General Hospital had killed Starr’s baby, Hope!  A stranger on the street told me that, and I fell into her arms sobbing!  Anybody who observed us would have thought we were talking about a real baby’s death.  But you know what, it kind of was!  I never felt alone, or that I was isolated in that desire to at least have some closure, or a celebration, or whatever for the show.  Then it was so cool, and it just turned.  You saw Prospect Park’s recommitment to the revitalization of One Life to Live.  But, I can tell you it’s one classy big commitment.  It’s not, “Let’s test it, and put a foot in the water and do a baby-step”  No, no. This is big and full throttle!  I am happy!

MICHAEL:

So getting back to stepping into Dorian’s shoes again after a year and half away from her, did it feel at all old hat, but in the best of ways?

ROBIN:

Courtesy/ABC

It’s never old hat!  The day acting is old hat for me, even a part that I have played over a span of 30 years, that is when I will hang my tap shoes up.  So it’s not old hat.  It’s put on a new hat, and sashay in and put on a new costume!  Bring what you are supposed to bring to it to make the situation and the story worth telling, because you have a part in telling story, and helping to create those situations.  I adore Dorian, because she is at best a catalyst, and at worse a mean old cat!  (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Dorian is one of the best characters ever, on any soap or scripted television series!

ROBIN:

Well, she must be!  Now I am being funny, but as powerful as she is, Erika Slezak alone couldn’t have brought me back! (Laughs)  I love her and am grateful for her, and I will always be proud to have her respect, but … (laughs)

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/ABC

Erika Slezak, and so many others in the cast, have always told me when you come to the set you bring it every single time, you are fabulous, and always at the top of your game!

ROBIN:

It’s either a fault or a virtue of mine, but every day for me on the set is opening night.

MICHAEL:

So what was it like getting to see the cast again for the first time in One Life’s new Connecticut studios?  Had you seen any of them over the past year or so?

ROBIN:

No, I had not seen the cast in awhile.  But the fact that we were all together had the familiarity of a comfort of returning home.  The challenge was, quite frankly, my fear. That I would not be able to live up to, either Prospect Park’s expectations, the audience’s expectations, or my own heavily-weighted expectations.  I am not a gentle taskmaster on myself.  I am not going to lie to you; it’s there all the time for me.  I wouldn’t dare not bring my “A-game”.  Actually, I would be fearful if I didn’t feel fear and awe of anybody being interested in seeing me do anything! (Laughs)

Courtesy/ABC

MICHAEL:

What can you tease that is coming up for Dorian when One Life to Live premieres on April 29th?

ROBIN:

In my heart, and head to, I am not big on that.  I come from the old school, which is “Stay tuned”.  I don’t think you should be telling the audience what is going to happen!  I don’t know if I would agree to that policy to have teasers being released ahead of time.  I know there are people wiser than me out there titillating and teasing, but for myself as the actor in it, not only do I not want to tell the audience, I don’t want anyone telling me.  I don’t want know where it’s going.

MICHAEL:

Have you watched the teaser promos for One Life to Live?  There are some great classic scenes from Viki and Dorian’s feud!

ROBIN:

Photo Credit: Sue Coflin/Max Photos

No. It does not support my work as an actor, and I am harsh and self-critical.  And truthfully, I just need to be in the situation, and just be in the character not concerned about how it’s being broadcast, and to how many people, etc.

MICHAEL:

How was it to work with your on-screen niece, Kassie DePaiva (Blair Cramer) again?  The Cramer women are back! (Laughs)

ROBIN:

Yes, it is wonderful.  I have done scenes with Kassie and Erika, and it’s so terrific, and with Tuc, of course.  It’s been great.  I think the audience won’t be disappointed in the least.  It’s so important this launch, and it really is a “launch”.  This rocket is going places that it has never gone before, and it is awesome.  This was supposed to be dead and it’s risen!  I really think that Prospect Park, judging by all the real estate and square footage that they have rented out in Connecticut, looks to be like they are starting a network!  It’s Hollywood soundstage size!  Really, it’s huge!

Courtesy/ABC

MICHAEL:

Finally, you and Tuc Watkins have such great chemistry!  The two of you must giggle and have some fun playing the antics, motivations, and love between David and Dorian?

ROBIN:

How not?  That you can’t fake!  What you see between us is absolutely true!  Tuc is very spontaneous, and we happen to have that understanding and admiration, and similar synchronicity that makes it very enjoyable.  Everyone says Dorian has chemistry with Viki and Nora, David and everyone … it’s good.

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Jewell
Guest
Jewell

What I want to know Is Robin wearing a wig for the show or she actually got her hair cut like that, I absolutely love it. Looks cute on her.

susan M.
Guest
susan M.

I like her new hair-do also. Hope it isn’t a wig because she looks great ! It suits her well!

Jim
Guest
Jim

Robin, welcome home.

Edna Barefoot
Guest
Edna Barefoot

I love Robin. She is 2nd to Erika for me. I can hardly wait to see them fighting & Dorian & David. They are wonderful together. READY!!!!! Thank you Michael love your interviews.

susan M.
Guest
susan M.

I feel the same. I totally agree with you!

Char
Guest
Char

Wow, its really incredible to hear that even the actors, Robin in this case, shared the grief of a fictional character’s death, Hope. OLTL creates this huge group of people who are like a bunch of kids all sitting together and being read a book, sharing the experience. The one who is reading is also moved by the events in the book. That’s kind of how I see it.

MEG
Guest
MEG

SO GLAD THEYRE BACK, LOVED ROBINS HAIR TOO,AND I WON’T FORGIVE GH FOR KILLING HOPE AND BABY VICTOR.I CAN HARDLY WAITE ,I’M SO GRATEFUL TO PP AND FX. 10:30 AM 29 TH OF APRIL CAN’T COME SOON ENOUGH,

Tracey
Guest
Tracey

Thank you Ms. Strasser for your candor. You are a classy lady too!

heidi
Guest
heidi

She’s fabulous and I can’t wait to see her again as Dorian! I hope she has her fabulous wardrobe recreated again! Dorian and Viki and Dorian and David are the best duos!!!

susan M.
Guest
susan M.

I have always liked Robin Strasser as Dorian. She has spunk & she pulls no punches , she tells it like it is! Robin & Erika are the best! Especially when they are in one their famous cat fights! Which I enjoy watching..And there are times they are really close.
Happy to see her back & feeling better & back on OLTL!!! It wouldn’t be the same without
Dorian another core character to OLTL + Erika too! They are the famous duo’s together!

CTwildheart
Guest
CTwildheart

So happy to hear she has recovered and is working in “Llanview” (aka: Stamford).
Hopefully, PP will pretend everything that happened in ‘port charles’ never really did…

Jody
Guest
Jody

Hello Robin. I DO Hope that You are Well and that You Do Not Get Any More Health Problems. I thought that you were going to Die when You got Pneumonia. Jody

emtk
Guest
emtk

I just can’t wait for OLTL to return!!

Doe
Guest
Doe

Glad to see that Robin’s as feisty as ever. She really holds a higher standard than some of her peers. She doesn’t want to divulge what is coming up or any other secrets until it airs. She is truly a great actress and look forward to see her with David Vickers. Should be fun!…………………….

Cheryl
Guest
Cheryl

I’m a longtime fan of OLTL. Have been a fan of Robin Strasser’s since her days on AW. She brings jet fuel to every scene and makes it more exhilarating with her presence. I am glad Prospect Park was SMART enough to bring her back. OLTL fans missed her, especially since she didn’t return the last six months of show while it was on the network. Dorian is an integral part of OLTL. Prospect Park recognized that void – I am going to pause to APPLAUD those responsible for bringing Strasser ‘s Dorian back to the fans. This gesture along… Read more »

MissyLady
Guest
MissyLady

I have always loved Robin Strasser!

Killing off Hope, Cole and Tea’s baby by Victor made absolutely no sense at all. In my mind, Cole in fear of going back to prison thought Starr died, so he rescued his little girl and fled for safety with his parents; while TnT’s baby boy was born alive.

MARY EMBREUS
Guest
MARY EMBREUS

agreed !! gh shouldn’t have killed off these kids !! we need a new generation for coming years when the show ages the kids. (^^^)

Christy
Guest
Christy

this will be fun! I started “catching up” on shows from when I had the cable turned off (to save money!) … so I’m at July 2008, Dorian and Viki had a car accident, they both see familiar faces that have passed on… Mel, Ben, Asa… even Erin Torpley showed up to play Viki’s grand daughter Megan (Jessica’s daughter) and even the head lady, Agnes Nixon was on the show. and of course Tuc Watkins!

Nancy
Guest
Nancy

I have never been so thankful and excited for 1 more week. She and Vicki are the best and I can hardly wait to laugh my butt off. Great show that was my favorite along with AMC for over 40 years through thick and thin.

louisa
Guest
louisa

I ADORE her!

Joanne M
Guest
Joanne M

Robin, WE LOVE U and we got your back. Nobody is worried about your craft out here in computer land. I too like your hair. I watched all the ABC soaps, but OLTL grew to be my favorite. I fell in love with all the great characters created. The Buchannan cowboys in the upper mid-west was brilliant writting. Who doesn’t love a cowboy! I adore Ericka and Robin together. I too cried and was very upset about the death of Hope. Char your post is perfect. I am so excited for April 29th to arrrive. It feels like a big… Read more »

Mary
Guest
Mary

I can’t wait for Monday to watch One Life to Live again! I missed Robin so much and everyone from the show! I can’t wait to see how much trouble Vicki and you will get into again!

susan M.
Guest
susan M.

Wow! It is so close to seeing OLTL again.. I e-mailed Hulu and they said since
Hulu is on demand you don’t have to watch a show at a specfic time. You can
view it any time you want. But for now I will be tuning in to OLTL on 4/29 at 12:00pm. In case I can’t see it at it’s regular time. I will watc it later. I can’t wait
to see also Dorian & Viki and their famous cat fights !

Debbie Harris
Guest
Debbie Harris

So Glad that Robin Strasser is a part of the new OLTL!! Missed Dorian at the end of ABC OLTL! So looking forward to seeing OLTL on Monday!!

Beacon
Guest
Beacon

“I was two blocks away from my house when somebody told me that General Hospital had killed Starr’s baby, Hope! A stranger on the street told me that, and I fell into her arms sobbing! Anybody who observed us would have thought we were talking about a real baby’s death. ”

LMFAO> HILARIOUS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

MARY EMBREUS
Guest
MARY EMBREUS

agreed!! that’s how we the fans feel when anyone dies .we cry

Llanviewer717
Guest
Llanviewer717

I am so thrilled that Robin is back home where she belongs. No one brings Dorian Lord to life like Robin Strasser.

It’s this coming Monday!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Barbara t loves One life to live
Guest
Barbara t loves One life to live

I can’t wait, and you are right about Robin, she is the greatest, I love her as Dorian.

Robert
Guest
Robert

So happy to see you back Robin, looking forward to the show on Monday!

Shirley Miller
Guest
Shirley Miller

Hi Michael: First, let me thank you for doing such a great job on following up on our Soaps … particularly AMC and OLTL. You have kept these soaps and actors in the public’s eye and PP never had a chance to forget them!!!! I am so very happy that Robin/Dorian is returning as I love the scenes between her and Erika/Viki. I have watched these 2 soaps from the beginning, and the tension and excitement these 2 characters have always created made my day every time they were on together. It’s amazing to know what good friends they are… Read more »

General Hospital

GH’s Finola Hughes, Marcus Coloma & Josh Swickard Talk On 15,000th Episode Milestone

The juggernaut that is ABC’s General Hospital, is marking yet another accomplishment in its storied 59-year-history.  The iconic soap opera is set to air on Wednesday, June 22nd (unless preempted), its 15,000th episode.

As part of the celebration, General Hospital’s Finola Hughes (Anna Devane), Marcus Coloma (Nikolas Cassadine) and Josh Swickard (Chase), who all appear in the standalone episode, chat with Michael Fairman to mark the occasion.

During the conversation now on You Tube’s Michael Fairman Channel, Finola and Marcus, and later Josh, who logged on later while at Disneyland, discuss: their beginnings on GH from landing their respective roles, who in the cast perhaps most intimated them, at first, and what it has meant to be part of the legacy of General Hospital.  In addition, Finola, Marcus, and Josh reveal some of their more challenging storylines, and more.

Photo: ABC

Later, the trio each gives us a tease of what’s to come now that Nikolas has slept with Esme (Avery Pohl), what lies ahead for Anna and her love-interest Valentin (James Patrick Stuart), and Josh talks on working with his on-screen love-interest, Amanda Setton (Brook Lynn Quartermaine).

Watch for a special appearance by GH’s Maurice Benard (Sonny Corinthos) within the interview, as we do a deep-dive of being part of the ensemble cast.

We also take a moment to send out our condolences to Kristina (Felicia) and Jack Wagner (Ex-Frisco) on the passing of their son, Harrison, and how you can donate to the scholarship fund in his honor.

Check out our GH 15K interview with Finola, Marcus, and Josh below, and make sure to ‘subscribe’ to the Michael Fairman Channel for more upcoming features, interviews, and upcoming Daytime Emmy red carpet coverage.

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Interviews

Sean Kanan Talks On The New Season of His Streaming Series ‘Studio City’ and The Life and Times of B&B’s Deacon Sharpe

The second season of the Emmy-Award winning, digital streaming series, Studio City is now available on Amazon Prime. The six latest episodes bring us back into the series of an aging actor, Sam Stevens, played by soap vet, Sean Kanan, who is one of the stars of the soap opera, Hearts on Fire, in the role of Dr. Pierce Hartley.

Throughout Studio City, viewers go on the journey of Sam’s foibles through life off-camera juxtaposed with his life on-screen. A sundry of delicious characters enhances the premise of the series portrayed by the likes of: Carolyn Hennesy, Anna Maria Horsford, Justin Torkildsen, Lilly Melgar, Tristan Rogers and more, all names familiar to soap fans.

While Sean is busy promoting the latest season of Studio City, and his book Way of the Cobra, he is also continuing to appear on The Bold and the Beautiful as bad boy – trying to straighten out his life after years in prison – Deacon Sharpe.  Since his return last year, Sean has been mixing it up in stories with the likes of Kimberlin Brown (Sheila) and Katherine Kelly Lang (Brooke).

 

In this chat with Michael Fairman TV, Sean weighs-in on: what could be next for B&B’s Deacon, the struggles and the joys of continuing his streaming series, and the homage Studio City is to the soap genre and much more. Check out what he had to share below.

Courtesy/StudioCity

How challenging was it to shoot this season of Studio City?

SEAN:  When we do this thing on a shoestring, everything needs to fall into place in order for it to happen properly.  We know that everybody involved with the show was going to potentially get other projects, or do other things   One of the biggest issues we have, is that a lot of times, we didn’t know what locations we had because Studio City is the real world, and then it’s the show within a show (Hearts on Fire).  So, with the show within a show, those actors aren’t in the ‘real world’. For instance, Tristan Rogers (Doc), is only in the ‘real word’, so, if we have a location that isn’t for the ‘real world’, we can’t shoot Tristan because he doesn’t exist there.  We would have to literally decide what we were writing (sometimes the night before) based on the locations we could get.  It was just an enormous challenge.

Sarah Brown (Laurie) was not a part of the newest six episodes as well as some others cast members. Will she and others be back at some point?

SEAN:  Sarah was directing a podcast, and we kind of had to look at who was available to us, and what stories we needed to tie-up, and hopefully we are going to wind up doing another five episodes to finish up this season.  Then, hopefully we are able to get the actors who weren’t able to do the first six to come back and do the second five.

What I liked about the new six episodes is that I thought you built-in some really solid scenes for the actors.  How did you feel about the outcome?

SEAN:  We make the best show that we can make with the resources and time that we have.  I was glad that we got to develop the story a little more with Delilah (Juliet Vega), Sam’s would-be-daughter.  We always try to do something that’s socially responsive, and diversity is certainly and important issue in Hollywood, without a doubt, but I also think that you need to see the comedic side of everything.  I thought there was some really funny stuff about that with Sam doing the podcast and the scene with Anna Maria Horsford (Jolene) and Will Roberts (Dennis), where she comes in, and she’s like, “The production is too white.”  I thought that was some funny stuff there.  I loved the monologue my wife, Michele, wrote for Carolyn Hennesy (Gloria) about the soaps – that thing about how all of the soaps are dead, and Carolyn just railed in support of the soaps, about the soaps being this dependable thing.  For a lot of people, soaps are their point of emotional contact.

Photo: StudioCity

I talk to fans all of the time and for many times soaps are their lifeline.  Your character, Sam, lands a part in action-adventure film and screws that all up while on set. Where did that plot point come from?

SEAN: It came from a couple different places.  I think that there is not a male actor alive, who some part of him doesn’t harken back to when he was a little boy and doesn’t want to be an action star.  I think the funny thing about it is, of course, Sam is right on the precipice of being over the hill for it, and he’s not going to let that stop him.  Natalie Burn (Shelby Brock) is a legit action star.  She’s a terrific martial artist.  Our director, Timothy Woodward Jr. has done some action movies.  So, we sort of said, “Okay, we’ve set this thing up where Sam wants to get this film.  Let’s give him the film and have him struggle abysmally.”  Marching orders for Studio City are always to keep as much mishigas on Sam’s shoulders as we can.  You never want to see the lead of your show succeeding wildly because that diffuses all of the conflict.  I do think I’ve had some really great dramatic stuff.  I really liked the scenes that I had with Delilah in the sixth episode, and I loved the stuff with Tristan, and I loved the stuff with Lilly Melgar (Becky).  I thought it was really funny.  Lilly killed it and so did Justin Torkildsen (Jacob).  I thought Justin was great.

Courtesy/StudioCity

I thought when you utilized on-camera testimonials from the cast and the EP, that was really a hilarious piece to add to the story.

SEAN:  That was great.  I’d love to take credit for that, but it was Tim’s idea, and it was a really great idea from a production standpoint, because you can do one of two things.  You can either do a whole show where you’re using those, or you can chop them up and use them throughout different shows. From a production standpoint, we had to build some things into the show to insert those when we needed.

Courtesy/StudioCity

You also cast celebrity publicist, Anthony Turk, as a network executive in the series.

SEAN:  Yes. Way back when I created Studio City, there was a part for a publicist, and I had talked to Anthony about doing it.  We had eliminated the publicist part until Lilly became the publicist; which ended up in a completely different plot point.  I always knew I wanted to put Anthony in the series, because I think he’s a good actor. I was like, “You know, I didn’t write this part for you, but I think you can do it,” and I was really happy with how he did it.

 

Courtesy/StudioCity

I also liked the scene with Anna Maria Horsford’s Jolene where she tells Sam to keep his mouth shut while he is working on set. 

SEAN:  She is so fabulous.  I love that woman.  She is such a talent, and I was so happy when she got nominated for a Daytime Emmy last year.  I have such an affection for everybody on our show, because they really put their heart and soul in it, and it just means so much that they show up, and they support, and they do great work.

What I noticed is that the way Timothy Woodward Jr. captures you as an actor.  There is so much going on in the reaction in your eyes of what is happening to Sam.  He realizes the, “Oh, my God,” of each situation as he realizes what he just stepped into, or he finds the humor in it, or when he lets out his frustration, as he did with his daughter in the sixth episode.

SEAN:  That was one of my favorite scenes.  I wrote that one.   It was great because it’s my real-life stepdaughter, and I thought she really stepped up, and I was so proud of her.

For the first time in the realignment by the television academies, Studio City will now be competing at the Primetime Emmys instead of the Daytime Emmys, if the series receives nominations.  How do you feel about that?

SEAN: We are really excited to be competing with the big dogs now at the Primetime Emmys, and rather than being intimidated by it, we are saying, “This is the universe opening up and saying, ‘this is what you need to do,’ and so let’s embrace it.”  It’s going to be exciting.  In my 35 years in the business, I’ve never been to the Primetime Emmys.  So, we shall see.

Photo: StudioCity

Justin Torkildsen’s role greatly expanded this season.  In story, do you see Jacob attempting to thwart his Aunt Gloria and take control of Hearts on Fire as the EP? 

SEAN:  I don’t know if the goal is for him to take over for Gloria.  It certainly was a lot of fun to see what happened when he got just a little taste of power.  He’s got his own agenda, and I also love that he wants the love from his Aunt Gloria.  He’s not just a young guy trying to ascend the power ladder of the show.  He really does want his aunt to be proud of him and to love him, and she’s a tough nut to crack.

There was scene after the network executive tells Gloria, “You’re out, if you don’t fix the show.”  Doesn’t Jacob gloat in it for a minute?  Doesn’t he want payback for how she treats him?

SEAN:  I don’t know if he does.  I think he certainly does like to see when Gloria gets her little comeuppances, but when push comes to shove, I think he’s really got her back, I do.  Justin is so naturally funny.  He’s a great guy to have on set.  He’s got a great attitude, and he’s a very good actor.  I was really struck by a moment in season one where he’s coming up the stairs, and he had this abject fear of interrupting Gloria, and Justin didn’t have any lines.  He just played it beautifully with no dialogue.  I was like, “We’ve got to give Justin more to do,” and for me, it was nostalgic to work with him again because the very first scene I had on The Bold and the Beautiful was with Justin.

Photo: JPI

What can you say about Carolyn Hennesy; who often is the quintessential scene-stealer in Studio City when she appears on-screen?  Does she go with the script or ad-lib parts of the dialog?

SEAN:  She’s a gorgeous, red-haired, flaming beast.  She definitely did some wonderful ad-libbing to elevate what was on the page, and she made it her own, and that’s one of the things that I love the most about her.  I love that I can write a 20-page scene and give it to, for example, Tristan Rogers, 20 minutes before and know that he’s going to nail it.  That’s one of the things that I love about working with Daytime actors.   Say what you want, but when the chips are down, and your back is against the wall, a Daytime actor is going to be the one who can take the dialogue, digest it quickly, and give you a good performance.  With the way that we are run and gun in our style of shooting, you have to move really quickly.  I’ve worked on a lot of films, and with people who are recognizable in the business, and sometimes they get overwhelmed when they have more than a couple of pages in a day … and you know what we do in Daytime.

Courtesy/StudioCity

When you were writing the new season with Michele and Tim, was it laid out pretty definitively, or did it evolve?

SEAN:  We laid out some large arcs.  We knew the storyline that we wanted to do with Natalie and with Will.  Natalie, actually joined us as a co-executive producer.  She is Ukrainian and has family there.  So, she had a lot going on.  I just feel like she really stepped up.  She really helped the production both as an actress and as a Co-EP, and we were very fortunate to have her, and have her at a time when it would be completely understandable when her ability to even act would have been compromised, yet alone have the facility to Co-EP.  In addition, we knew we wanted to deepen the relationship between Sam and Delilah.  We had a different idea with what we wanted to do with Doc, and we wound up doing something another way than what we had originally discussed.  Sometimes, you have to make these decisions that are sort of production-based and you have to alter storyline.  Of course, we knew we wanted to continue to create the storyline that like a lot of soaps, Hearts on Fire was potentially on the chopping block.  At the same time, we really wanted to illustrate that the soaps are full of people who are talented, gifted actors, who love what they do, they work really hard, and they don’t always get the respect that they deserve.

Courtesy/StudioCity

It looks like Doc might be having a change of heart?  Will he begin chemo to save his life?

SEAN:  That’s what we are thinking, and we are hoping to bring Patrika Darbo back in, and finding out where she’s been and having some really nice scenes between, she and Doc.  I think things are going to develop between Dennis, who is the producer, and my character, Sam, and we are going to learn that all has not been revealed of who Dennis really is.

Courtesy/StudioCity

What did you think when you saw your performances in the latest six of Studio City?

SEAN:  I’m always super critical of myself.  I like the stuff with the podcast because I thought it was really organic, and I thought it was funny.  I loved the stuff with Lilly.  I always see things that I could fix and do better, but I also saw stuff that I liked, and I really liked a lot of what was going on with Juliet.  We had another take where Sam really breaks down, and unfortunately, we had a sound problem with that one, and we couldn’t use it.  That was really crushing to me, but again, you make the show that you can make. Michele and I always joke and say, “Making a 50-million-dollar movie is easy.  You want to really produce something?  Produce it when you have no money.”

Photo: JPI

What did your wife, Michele, say about how she thought the latest season of Studio City turned out? 

SEAN:  I do have to say that Michelle really stepped up this season of Studio City.  She ran the show.  She is an executive producer, but she was also the supervising producer, in charge, responsible for crewing up.  She amazes me to no end.  I couldn’t be prouder of her, and I’m so honored that she and I were able to both win out at the Daytime Emmys.  We have very different skillsets, which is great.  There are not a lot of areas where we overlap, but we compliment, and that’s why I love working with her.

Photo: JPI

You are also busy with The Bold and the Beautiful.  How has this most recent return been for you as Deacon Sharpe?

SEAN:  Oh, my God, it’s been fantastic.  The Bold and the Beautiful consistently ranks as one of the best professional experiences that I have ever had.  I love the people I work with.  I love the creative freedom that I have on the show.  I love what they write for me.  It’s just great.  Listen, I’ve done four Daytime shows, and by far and away, this has been the best experience.   It’s a great role.  I’m the only guy who has ever played Deacon, so I’m fiercely protective of the character.  I know I’m coming into a really big storyline right now, which is very exciting.  I can’t say anything about it yet, but I’m going to be working with a character who I haven’t worked with very much before, which is very exciting.

Photo: JPI

What did you think about Kimberlin Brown receiving an Outstanding Supporting Actress Daytime Emmy nomination? I believe you are in some of her submitted scenes.

SEAN:  I think it’s incredibly well-deserved. She just brought so much to it, and I’m just honored that I was able to be a part of what she did.

People are saying you’re going to get all wrapped-up in the Li (Naomi Matsuda) Sheila, and Finn (Tanner Novlan) storyline.

SEAN:  Well, I guess I already am to a certain extent.  I like to think that in his infinite wisdom, Brad Bell (head writer and executive producer, B&B) knew that Kimberlin and I would find humor in an eccentric relationship; rather than just being two kinds of ‘baddies’.  Deacon is not nearly as bad as Sheila, but rather than be two people with somewhat aligned wants and needs, I think hopefully Brad was like, “I think they’re going to come up with something interesting,” and I think we did.   The fight that Deacon had with Ridge (Thorsten Kaye), that is not something that you see on Daytime all the time.  That was really exciting and fun.

Photo: JPI

I love that Deacon’s home-away-from-home is the supply closet!

SEAN:  I was teasing Brad.  I said, “If I get a raise, do I get a Swiffer?”  I love it.  In terms of Sheila and Deacon, I didn’t know if we were going to wind up in the sack together or not, and I thought, you know, if that happens, that would be interesting, too.  By my calculations, Deacon has now been out of jail for how long, and he has not gotten any action.  No action for a guy who just got out of prison for 5 years.  So, I don’t know what’s going on in that broom closet. (Laughs)

What was it like working with Katherine Kelly Lang during the whole ‘New Year’s Eve drunken night with Brooke’ story?

SEAN:  You know, Kelly and I really were able to capture lightening in a bottle many years ago, and I think it was wonderful.  I always wondered, what was going to happen all this time later if we worked together again?  Are we going to be able to come up with something great?  I love working with her.  Poor Kelly, just broke her ankle, which is terrible, but she is a champ.

Photo: JPI

Do you think there is still chemistry between Brooke and Deacon?

SEAN:  Yeah, I do.  I try to create chemistry with anyone I work with, men or women, but don’t we do that in life?  We always want to be interesting and sexy with anyone we talk to.  Ultimately, what we are trying to do on some level, is we are always seducing as human beings.  That’s where I come from as an actor.  You’ve got a goal.  You’ve got a series of actions that you use to get the goal.  You usually fail a couple times in the scene, so you change the actions, and you try to overcome the obstacles.

Right, and seduce people …

SEAN: … And seduce.  Deacon is a very adept seducer.  I think a lot of it was from being a conman.  I think now, Deacon is finding that he can be seductive by being authentic.  I think that’s new to him.  I think ultimately, when you’re authentic, that’s a way more powerful brand of seduction than something that is some sort of a manufactured, fabricated, external seduction.

Photo: JPI

So, what would say in a tease of what’s coming up for Deacon on B&B?

SEAN:  All I can say is that I’ve been told that I’ll have an exciting story coming up, and I’m looking forward to it.  I always like when I get the ball, and you never know what another actor is going to bring out of you.  Whenever I work with someone who I haven’t worked with, I hope that they are going to allow me to tap into a part of myself that maybe I haven’t demonstrated before.  That’s what I look for, and that’s what keeps me enthused in this job.  We do have to give the same information a lot in Daytime.  That’s just the nature of the beast.  The challenge is, “How do I do this in a way that is not only interesting for the audience but allows me to stay engaged as an actor?”  If you start getting apathetic as an actor, you start doing bad work, and I can’t do that.

Have you checked out the latest six episodes of Studio City? What do you hope happens next for Deacon on The Bold and the Beautiful? Share your thoughts and theories in the comment section below.

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General Hospital

General Hospital’s Nancy Lee Grahn Chats On Her Daytime Emmy-Nominated Performance and Its Significance

When the nominations were revealed for the 49th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards, General Hospital mainstay, Nancy Lee Grahn (Alexis Davis), was recognized for her stunning work in the Alexis-centric standalone episode which honored her 25th anniversary with the ABC daytime drama series.

Grahn, is already a two-time Daytime Emmy winner.  She won back in 1989 in a tie for Outstanding Supporting Actress for her work as Julia Wainwright on Santa Barbara along with All My Children’s Debbi Morgan, and again received the honors in that category in 2012 for her work on General Hospital.

Now. she is vying for the gold in 2022 in the Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series category against other formidable actresses including: B&B’s Kimberlin Brown, DAYS Stacy Haiduk, Y&R’s Melissa Ordway, and her GH castmate, Kelly Thiebaud.

Michael Fairman TV caught up with Nancy to talk about her decision to enter the Emmy race this year, her powerful and moving scenes, why this nomination is significant and important to her, and her take on some very important social issues of our time.

Always candid, insightful, combined with great humor and wit, here’s what Nancy had to share below, and make sure to check out GH this week when sparks fly between Alexis and Gregory (Gregory Harrison). Will he turn out to be the new beau in Alexis’ life? Stay tuned.

Courtesy/ABC

Congratulations on the Emmy nomination.  How do you feel about being in the running again, especially with the material from your 25th anniversary episode?

NANCY:  You know, I don’t submit myself if I don’t think I have something, and I didn’t last year.  This year, I had the one show, and the first reason I submitted myself was I had the episode that was worthy of the competition. These judges have to sit, and watch this stuff, and very often, it’s hard to watch soap opera scenes.  It really is, unless you’re in it.  It’s a different kind of material that most primetime people aren’t used to watching.  So, it’s tricky business.  I don’t want to put them through anything too awful. I don’t want to torture them and I’ve judged before. It can be a bit tedious. So, for me to submit myself, I thought, it has to be something that isn’t going to torture another human being. The second thing is, older women get marginalized the older they get, and they get diminished very often, and every time we get nominated, it means something different to me.  This time, to me, I want it to somehow be symbolic, or a shoutout to women who are still producing, who have been doing their job for a long time and are still doing it good enough, and that it’s still worthy of respect and recognition.

When we were at the GH Convention back in March, I played the scene on-stage for the fans in attendance of when Alexis goes over to the corner of Kevin’s office and heals her younger self.  You saw the reaction just from the fans.  It’s such a beautiful moment within the story.  What did you think about how the standalone episode was crafted?

NANCY:  It was a different experience for me because GH co-head writers Chris Van Etten and Dan O’Connor, and script writer, Scott Sickles gave it the attention, but even more to that, they allowed me to participate in the creation of it.  They allowed the director, Phideaux Xavier, to participate.  We all sat in a room.  They said, “You know what?  Make it how you’re comfortable with it.”  There were so many people who gave it time and effort, and Phideaux gets a lot of credit because he came up with a lot of ideas.  So, the little girl in the therapy room wasn’t initially a part of it.  That was Phideaux’s idea, and they let us alter things, and they allowed me to write some words that meant something to me with the character.  Our producers, Michelle Henry and M.K Weir, who I both adore, were also a part of this.

Courtesy/ABC

That is great to hear that you were involved in the collaborative process of the creation of the episode.

NANCY:  We read through the whole script, and we worked it like you would on primetime. We went through it like, “Does this moment work?  Does that moment work?  Does this make sense?  Does that make sense?”  We never do that in soaps.  We don’t get to that.  So, it was a gift to me.  It really was. Chris and Dan, and Scott and Phideaux, and the two producers, generosity in gifting me that experience and making sure that it was to everybody’s liking, was really very special to me, and it meant a lot.

Did you come up with the key lines which summarized Alexis as a person and her journey: “I’m Alexis Davis, and I’m a fighter, and an idealist and an advocate?”

NANCY:  No. They designed it, but we were allowed to enhance and contribute creatively to it, and, we don’t normally have the time to do that.  They don’t have the time to – and you can’t allow people to do that with every episode, to be creatively participating, because it would turn into madness with everybody.

Then, when it came down to choosing the scenes from your anniversary episode to include for your Emmy submission, was that a challenging process of which moments to go with?

NANCY:  I just told a little story with it with the time that I had, and so, I edited it with a friend of mine.  I did a sort of pre-edit on it, I’m good at that, and handed the timeline to our editor, who nicely put it together. It took very little effort.

In my humble opinion, I think that episode featured one of your all-time best performances.

NANCY: Thank you. There was a nice effort from everybody, from the lighting to everybody else, and all the effort Phideaux put into it.  He worked so hard on that!  It was fun for us.  It was like the old days where you really got to work something out.

Photo: ABC

It truly harkened back to everything we knew up to that point about Alexis and her past as well, and included a montage of scenes over the years.

NANCY:  I think it was M.K. who put that together, but when you’re working at the pace we’re working now, to have to sit and put together a montage of twenty-five years, that’s not an easy feat.  Nobody has time for that anymore, but they did it, and like I said, it was really, really appreciated.  My only thought with it is that I wanted it to be relatable to other people.  I didn’t want it to just be some, you know, self-indulgent Alexis episode. I knew that by bringing in the little girl and talking about people being hurt in their childhood and how that makes somebody feel that it was probably relatable to many people, and so it became meaningful to other people and not just me.

Do you think you’ll attend the Daytime Emmys? I know the last time you won you were not present.

NANCY:  Yeah, I’m planning on it.  I mean, barring anything happening! (Laughs)

Does it feel nice to be recognized by your peers?

NANCY:  Of course, it does.  It always does, and way too often, women who are still producing well in their jobs, don’t get the respect and the acknowledgment for it.  So, that’s why I’m saying, this is no small thing, and that I want other women to know that I know that, and that I wish for them the same thing.

What was the reaction of your daughter, Kate and your fiancé, Richard, when you told them you were Emmy-nominated?

NANCY:  Richie goes, “What is this?  Your 18th nomination?” (Laughs). You know what I mean?  It was just kind of like, “Yeah, sure, why wouldn’t you be?” It wasn’t like, “Oh, my God!”  It was like they kind of expected that.  That was nice!  I’m glad they feel that way.  I’m glad they weren’t surprised.  They were like, “Sure!  Of course, you would be.  Why wouldn’t you be?”  I said, “You know, it doesn’t always work like that!”

Photo: JPI

Now comes the part of having to find a dress and all that goes with it for the red carpet.  Do you enjoy that part?

NANCY:  No, I hate that part.  That is my… oh ‘boohoo’, you know?  I mean, I have to find something to wear.  Also, the older you get, that becomes so much less important, and the more makeup, and the more hair, and the more foofy, the more ridiculous I look. I start looking like Whatever Happened to Baby Jane.  You’ve just got to keep it simple.

You were talking about women and ageism.  Do you not feel that also exists for men?

NANCY:  It exists for men, but it’s not at all on the same par as women.  I mean, men still get paid more than women, and men still are valued more than women.  I mean, there are exceptions, but if you look in any place of employment, even the soaps, you will typically find the men making more money than the women, and the older the women get, the less they get.  Life’s not fair right now.  It’s fairer than it was, but still the equality game is not won yet.

Photo: JPI

I know how much all of this means to you in terms of equality for women, and people being run out of their jobs because of their age.

NANCY:  It’s just a reality.  It’s not something that I’m hopeless about, but I have a story to tell.  I’ll tell it when the time is right.  It’s life!  It happens in every field everywhere.  When my mom was 70, she was still producing the exact same way she was producing when she was 30, and she got run out, and was replaced by a man who was 40 or something, and there was no particular reason for it.  It was just, “You’re done.  We decided you’re done,” but like I said, it happens everywhere, in every line of work, and that’s why I just wanted to give a shout-out, when you still, after 36 years, can be recognized or shown respect or acknowledgment for what your do.  It’s a very big deal that I am appreciative of and grateful for.

So, rooting for Nancy to win the Outstanding Supporting Actress prize? Happy she was nominated for her work in the the milestone episode devoted to Alexis? Share your thoughts in the comment section below, and to tune-in to the 49th annual Daytime Emmy Awards on CBS and streaming on Paramount+ on Friday night, June 24th.

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Cameron Mathison talks with Michael Fairman on taking on the role of GH’s Drew Cain, the latest developments in Port Charles for Drew. his busy career outside of soaps and the loss of his mother and his public battle with cancer.Leave A Comment
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