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The Sean Kanan Interview – The Bold and the Beautiful

Courtesy/B&B

Courtesy/B&B

Who doesn’t love seeing badass Deacon Sharpe back on The Bold and the Beautiful? Soap survivor Sean Kanan (Deacon) has been able to navigate his daytime career through the good times and the bad, always landing on his feet! After being killed-off of General Hospital as AJ Quartermaine, which didn’t sit well with many fans of the ABC soap opera, B&B was like coming home.  And this time, when Deacon arrived back in the world of the Forresters, the Logans, and the Spencers, it was the mighty Quinn (Rena Sofer) who he first encountered.  Imagine that!  Two people that are for all intent and purposes cut from the same cloth … with some clear differences.

Now as Deacon and Quinn have schemed and maneuvered for the love and attentions of Brooke (Katherine Kelly Lang) and Bill (Don Diamont), respectively, and both seemingly have lost those two for good, where else do you turn … but to each other! Feeling jilted, recently the two shared some passionate moments! And the kicker, Quinn’s son Wyatt (Darin Brooks) is now married to Deacon’s daughter Hope (Kim Matula), and the young duo are expecting their first child! Will it be Grandpa Deacon and Grandma Quinn?

On-Air On-Soaps sat down with Sean Kanan to get his take and insights on: returning to the CBS soap opera, working with long time pal Rena Sofer, what he thinks of Deacon as a dad, and what story he would like to explore.  In addition, while B&B co-star Katherine Kelly Lang is currently a celebrity contestant on Dancing with the Stars Italy, Kanan who also appeared on the show a few years back, weighs-in on just how grueling the ballroom dance floor routines and experience can be!  But, what all his fans want to know is if Sean is happy where he is now, after his big return to GH came to quite a disappointing end.  So, here is what the always charming, always funny, and always intriguing, Mr. Kanan had to share.

MICHAEL:

So to reset the stage, all of a sudden things change at General Hospital, and you are back on The Bold and the Beautiful as Deacon.  Would you say for the most part there was an open door policy that if you were available again. and the time was right, you could return to B&B?

SEAN: 

Courtesy/ABC

I’ve always kept in touch with (B&B executive producer and head writer) Brad Bell. Brad is not only a terrific boss, but he is a great guy.  We would communicate from time to time, and at some point we had a conversation where he said, “If it looks like you’re going to be free and no longer doing General Hospital, let me know.”  I said, “I will.  I don’t know when that is going to be,” but I kept that in the back of my head.  When I had the discussions over at ABC with General Hospital, and they wanted to kill off the character of AJ, I called up Brad immediately and put the ball in motion pretty quick, and here I am.

MICHAEL:

And on your first episodes back this time, Deacon bumps into Quinn (Rena Sofer)! And of course, the two of you have worked together previously, so it has been a treat for soap aficionados!

SEAN: 

Rena and I met in 1993, and we met when we were both working on General Hospital.  Then, Rena was one of three lead actresses in my film “March”.

MICHAEL:

What do you think of Rena’s performance in the role of Quinn? And what do you think about the composition of the relationship between Quinn and Deacon … two people who have certainly entertained and executed, shall we say,  not so nice things on others to get what they want?

SEAN:

Photo Credit: HutchinsPhoto.com

I think it’s a terrific part for Rena.  I think there are a lot of similarities between Deacon and Quinn.  They are both survivors, and they are certainly not above scheming and a little bit of larceny to get what they need.  I think they both care a tremendous amount about their children, and they have been persona non grata for a very long time.  They are very much operating on the fringes of B&B society which is the Forresters, the Logans, and the Spencers.  They kind of orbit around that, but what is interesting is that Quinn is a beautiful and attractive woman, but at the beginning, although Deacon never misses an opportunity to appreciate a beautiful woman … he needed a place to stay! (Laughs)  The minute he realized he had something she needed, which was his relationship with Hope, he parlayed that to get a place to stay. Once he was there, I think he was also smart enough not to pursue her.  She obviously has a mercurial personality, and if she gets pissed off, she is going to throw him on the street!  I always joke that Deacon has a very expensive wardrobe, and wears a very expensive watch, but he doesn’t have pot to piss in! (Laughs)  He has no money.  Then there is the other secondary layer; that this woman could possibly be extremely dangerous.  He is like, “What am I getting myself into … and who am I sleeping down the hall from?”  It’s like you better be real careful what you do, or this chick might end up taking out a sword with your name on it! (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

It seems like Quinn is one very formidable opponent for Deacon, but as we have seen where there is opposition there ends up being attraction!

SEAN:

Courtesy/CBS

Absolutely!  However, Deacon is not a guy that shows fear easily. He has been in prison and had been around the block.  He was being cautious.  That being said, there relationship of pursuing common interests certainly has brought them closer!  We all wind up sleeping with each other on The Bold and the Beautiful!  I remember the time they put me with John McCook (Eric).  It was ugly, but damn it, we made it work! (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Thus far, what has been your favorite scene with Rena?  I am assuming given the nature of your characters; you might have some good laughs on set?

SEAN:

We laugh a lot. We also fight like a brother and a sister, and in her case, a really sexy sister!  We butt heads in a loving fun way, and not in an antagonistic way.  Rena always makes interesting choices. We have a long history together, and that history builds a safety net of “let’s try some new stuff.”  We take what’s on the script which is usually terrific, and we may tweak it a little here and there, and put our own signature on it, and make it the best it can be.  We did this one scene where I ad-libbed and I called her “crazy pants”! (Laughs)  Sometimes I listen as Deacon to Quinn, and it’s such bat-crazy logic she uses, and such overkill about smothering her son.  As a character I felt obliged to go, “Did you hear yourself? You sound INSANE!”  That is sometimes the stuff that drives the scenes.

MICHAEL:

So, Deacon came back on to the canvas and set his sights on Brooke (Katherine Kelly Lang).  Did Deacon really love Brooke?

SEAN:

Courtesy/Global

Yes!  I think Deacon really loved Brooke.  There is a line that Deacon has that I think is true.  He says, “Any man that has ever been with Brooke Logan still carries a torch for her.”   That is kind of the spell she casts over the men she has been with, and a couple years in prison is a longtime to think about things.  I think what is a fundamental flaw of Deacon’s life is that he has never had a sense of family.  He has had this mother who was a stripper in Vegas, and he had this abusive stepfather.  I think that the concept of having some semblance of a nuclear family anchored by Hope is extremely attractive to him.  I think he is a guy that gets caught up in the romance of that.  I think part of pursuing Brooke was creating a family with her.  Deacon thinks if he does that, it can be the springboard to fix everything else that is wrong …  if he can just fix that part of his life that was never there for him a child, psychologically.  That is my guess, anyway.  And that doesn’t work out!  Brooke wasn’t interested in that, or if she was momentarily interested in that, she then decided what she had with Bill was where she wanted to go.

MICHAEL:

Is Deacon truly OK with that?

SEAN:

Courtesy/CBS

I think Deacon has a big ego.  I think he covers, and he doesn’t show his vulnerability a lot.  I also think prison has taught him to be patient, and that life is not a sprint, it’s a marathon.

MICHAEL:

I would love to find out just who Deacon’s bio-dad is! That would be a great story to tell!

SEAN:

This is the story; again and again I have said I would love to tell.  I think it would be very interesting to find out who his parents are, and they could be anybody!  He could be related to anybody.   He could have brothers and sisters he doesn’t know about.  I think it would be hilarious if Steve Burton (Dylan, Y&R) and I were brothers… and there was a cross-over story! (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

How was working with Katherine Kelly Lang (Brooke)?  She is now off the canvas for a bit hitting the ballroom dance floor on Dancing with the Stars Italy!

SEAN:

Courtesy/PureDWTS

I wish her luck on Dancing with the Stars!  It’s such an amazing experience to live over there in Italy … and over there like that!  It’s great when you are being whisked around and whined and dined, although the flip side of that is you’re training your ass off.  Thank God, Katherine is a triathlete.  I am sure she will do every well, because it’s physically daunting.

MICHAEL:

And now another former B&B and GH castmate of yours, Antonio Sabato Jr., is trying to stay in the ballroom dance competition on the American version of Dancing with the Stars!

SEAN:

It’s funny; Antonio and I both have a background in Martial Arts.  You would think Martial Arts would help you in dancing, but it doesn’t really, because Martial Arts tends to be in some respects more rigid than dance does, and some of the basic stances are counter-intuitive to dancing.   So, I thought this was going to really help me, but it didn’t.  Antonio is also a gymnast.  How is Antonio doing?  I have not seen him on “Dancing” yet.

MICHAEL:

The first week was rough on him. They made him dance first of all the celebrities’ right out of the gate. Antonio has gotten some harsh criticism from the judges and has had some challenges with executing some of the moves, but he is still in the competition.

SEAN:

Photo: CBurkeTwitter

The hardest part of this is: the men have to lead, and my teacher was 48th in the world, and I had to lead!  So I am having to learn the dance, and the choreography, and then lead her because she can’t lead.  But with all do respect to the women out there, the reality is two-fold!  Most little girls at some point or another, study some sort of dance, and they either study ballet, or dance, or the basics, and not all of them.  I am not trying to make generalizations, but that generalization does hold weight!  But then you have some guy like Maxim Chmerkovskiy who is phenomenal dancer, who if you are missing a step or are slow, he can literally pull you and move you around, and if you are the guy, you are … SOL man! (Laughs)  Not to digress, but the most fun part of being on Dancing with the Stars Italy was; we would wrap the show at 1AM in Rome and go out clubbing. I was on the show like four or five years ago, and I remember everyone had just watched the live show.  Then we would all show up at a club and people would go nuts!   It wasn’t for the celebrities, but more for the professional dance teachers!  We would go out there and they would make a schmuck like me look like I knew what I was doing.  (Laughs)  It was so much fun; we would dance till five in the morning.

MICHAEL:

Was there a moment when you were in the middle of Dancing with the Stars Italy that you said to yourself, “What have I gotten myself into?” (Laughs)

SEAN:

Here is what was really hard: My Italian when I did the show was not great, and my Italian now is much better. The other thing is; not to take anything away from Ronn Moss (Ex-Ridge, B&B), but he used am ear piece.  So they were feeding him what the Italian meant.  I had to listen to the judges, and had tremendous difficulty in understanding what they were saying, and I had to learn how to dance in Italian.  Now that wasn’t so bad, because I could understand that, but when they would ask a question on the live show, and a lot of it is that you are appealing to the home audience.  I had to do it in Italian.  It was very difficult and a tremendous disadvantage to me to not be able to speak English, but even so I lost after 9 weeks.

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/B&B

Back to B&B, as for your on-screen daughter Kim Matula (Hope), where does Deacon sit with her current choice to be with Liam (Scott Clifton) or Wyatt (Darin Brooks)?

SEAN:

I think Deacon likes Wyatt. They cracked a bottle of scotch together and in a lot of respects they are cut from a similar cloth. Deacon sees that Wyatt has pulled himself up from his boot straps.  I think that also, Deacon recognizes Liam is a good guy.   He wants what makes his daughter happy, and Liam is a guy who follows his heart.  Deacon wants either one of those two guys to take care of her.  I also think that Wyatt had the diamond, and he is a hustler, and things like that are not lost upon Deacon.

MICHAEL:

Do you think Deacon has changed from being such a “hustler”?

SEAN:

I think Deacon has refined his game.  He’s smoother than he used to be, but at his core he’s a guy who is always looking for the angle. You know, it’s funny. I have been a guy in my own life that has been blessed with tremendous opportunities in my life.  I don’t know what it is like to grow up without certain advantages.  The only thing I could equate it to is coming out to Hollywood as young guy and making a lot of mistakes, and trying to see where the water is flowing and do what I could.  I had a safety net with my family, and I knew I had my college education, whereas a guy like Deacon had none of that.  I can’t be very judgmental of this character, because I don’t know what it is like to walk in his footsteps.  He’s a guy just doing what he has to do.

MICHAEL:

Hope finds herself pregnant! What does dad Deacon think of it?

SEAN:

Photo Credit: HutchinsPhoto.com

She’s married.  I don’t think he can’t go anymore, “This is my little girl!”  It’s like, “Look, I have made a lot of mistakes.  I have been in jail and around the block, and if you are willing to overlook that, and see me as the man I am today, I am not going to see you as this idealized fantasy of how you should be in my head as a daughter. This is your life. I am going to accept you as you are.”  I think Deacon is incredibly proud of her. He’s “Team Hope” and supportive of that.  He is like, “You’re happy and in love with Wyatt, I will support that. If it winds up being Liam that makes you happy, then I will support that.”

MICHAEL:

Is there someone that you have not mixed it up with on-screen at B&B this time that you would like to have story with sometime in the future?

SEAN:

I had a fun energy with Heather Tom (Katie).  For some reason, Katie has this visceral dislike of Deacon!  I don’t know where it comes from, other than the fact that Deacon had been in prison, and that’s not the most palatable thing for a woman. I get that. Deacon also tries to assert his sexuality when he can with women, and he certainly likes younger gals and older gals.  Katie is also Brooke’s sister, so she is also privy to a lot of stuff!  I think there is something interesting there, and not a romantic interesting, but I think there is an interesting give and take that I like. Heather is a terrific actress.  I would love to work with Jacob Young (Rick) too!  I have always loved working with John McCook (Eric)!  The more I watch Karla Mosley who plays Maya, she looks like this pretty little deer with those big eyes going, ”Who me?” And the character is a total bitch! (Laughs)  I love that! (Laughs)  I think Deacon and Maya would be so unlikely, but so great!   In story, I also would really be interested in seeing Deacon pull off some coup where he is able to form a financial power base and really go after Bill (Don Diamont) and do a hostile takeover of Bill’s company.

MICHAEL:

Since another one of your talent is stand-up comedy and improv, do you ever improv your lines at B&B?

SEAN:

The new thing I do when there is a last line, or ending moment in a script, is that I will ad-lib a line knowing that probably they will keep it twenty percent of the time.  Sometimes, something is a little racy that pushes the boundaries of what we are allowed to say, but I will say it so that they will have it in the editing room, and they will keep it sometimes.

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/GH Pinterest

B&B has been very successful in its format with being a half hour soap compared to the other American daytime dramas.  Do you think that it helps the overall vibe when being a working actor here?

SEAN:

Having come from Y&R and GH, where between them there are 60 contract actors, you are always fighting for real estate, and you are competing with four or five other guys that are in your bracket.  I am so happy to be here.  I know I started over at GH, but I have always felt like it was home here at B&B.  It’s not just the actors, it’s the crew and it’s kind of like a family owned business with the Bells, and it’s a smaller cast. I think it just creates a little less corporate of a place. You don’t get more corporate than GH, and that show has clearly a different business paradigm, which had to stress the hell out of the executives, because they were getting breathed on all the time by ABC/Disney to keep the show alive. There is such gravitas to every single thing, and then have that trickle down from the top, it’s stressful.  The Bold and the Beautiful has such a huge presence internationally, and so I don’t feel like you are in intimate danger of being taken off the air.

MICHAEL:

It seems like you feel that you are appreciated here at The Bold and the Beautiful!

SEAN:

So appreciated!  The way this organization treats their actors, I have never encountered in my entire acting career, and I have worked with every major studio and network. B&B is fantastic, and not just for going on great trips overseas, but the day to day, in and out, of how people act here.  There is a civility and respect here that we all try to show each other.  It creates a great environment.

MICHAEL:

Now that you have been back for awhile, what are your fans saying to you on Twitter and social media?  Do they tell you they want more of Quinn and Deacon?  What feedback are you getting?

SEAN:

Courtesy/CBS

I think people like Quinn and Deacon together in whatever capacity that is.  It is a compliment that people like what we are doing together, which means there will then be more of it, usually. The fans are happy I’m back, which is really nice.  I am back this time and I am back on contract, which is different, so that hopefully I will be sticking around for quite awhile.  I think it allows me to invest a little more, and of course any job I have I am going to invest him, but when you are not on contract you’re always keeping an eye out, and thinking, “What am I going to do next if this winds up ending? “ It allows you to breathe a little and to start looking a couple miles down the road.  At this part of my life, there are a lot of things I want to do, but at B&B we have plenty of tine off per year.  So being at B&B allows me to think to myself: “If I am going to be here for awhile which I like at this point in my life, God willing if they want to keep me, I would like to stay here for awhile.”   I am not looking for something else.  If something else comes, and it fits into the schedule, that’s great.  But when I was 25, you are always looking for … when is that call from Spielberg?  And you know what?  I am really happy here. It has given me an amazing life. I have a career in Italy too.  It really doesn’t get a whole lot better.

 

 

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dmrLiaRobinTimmmNat9 Recent comment authors
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B&B Fan
Guest
B&B Fan

I love Deacon & Quinn together.

jaybird369
Guest
jaybird369

Oh, yes…me, too!!!!!

harry
Guest
harry

Michael Fairman, I don’t know you, but I love you. Thank you for this wonderful review. It helps alleviate the pain I feel abou tAJ’s unfair, unfortunate and horrible demise from this dark world that is GH.
I don’t know Deacon either but would like to think, based on your description of him, that he is the Phoenix (rhymes with Deacon) rising from the ashes that was once AJ.
I love Heather Tom and could see Kate with Deacon–easily.
I am happy to hear Sean is doing so well and is with people who appreciate what a gem he is.

harry
Guest
harry

Forgive me–I seem to have gotten carried away. Deacon doesn’t rhyme with Phoenix. At its best, it is a case of assonance–the first syllable of the word is something with which I am well versed on.

louisa
Guest
louisa

Love him. The GH insight was interesting. I still can’t believe they killed off AJ. So disappointed in GH.

jaybird369
Guest
jaybird369

AWESOME INTERVIEW!!!!! As usual, Sean Kanan TRULY ROCKS!!!!! Thanks for the AWESOME INTERVIEW, Mr. Fairman!!!!!!

Peace.

Silo
Guest
Silo

Thank you! As horrible as that SL was, KKL and SK had AMAZING chemistry. I am currently rooting for BRILL. But ultimately, I just want Brooke to be happy, FAR AWAY from Ridge! Even Deacon would be better than Ridge.

sarah
Guest
sarah

I wish they would bring back Adrienne frantz because amber and deacon had crazy chemistry I know they had a really sucky storyline with them on Y&R but on B&B they were amazing

elm51
Guest
elm51

what a down to earth interview!! sean seems so happy & content now that is on b&b – i am happy for him as he certainly deserves it………………

brenda
Guest
brenda

I’m still pissed at GH for killing off AJ. Stupid move. That being said I love Deacon and am glad he is back on BB. Too many newbies on GH.

janet
Guest
janet

This was a great interview. I am very happy to hear he is happy. Funny a lot of people mentioned are actors the GH iic were not smart enough to keep. Heather Thom is a very talented actress ,and I am sure after he has his fun with Quinn, they would be terrific on screen. I hope BB ‘S ratings stay up, with what he says about the writing and the actors are happy. Great. I was really sorry ,but not really surprised at AJ’s death the show “s being written by six grade mean girls .I expect nothing more.

Scott (ATWT Fan)
Guest
Scott (ATWT Fan)

B&B definitely are handling Sean and Deacon better than GH ever did with his return as AJ; GH obviously wanted him to reprise AJ to make up for the loss of Jason, and once they knew they could get Jason back, then AJ was expendable. I am liking Deacon the most this time around, despite always hating the character, so I hope his return to B&B is long worth the while.

k/kay
Guest
k/kay

Always loved SK as bad boy Deacon but Brad forgot I guess that Deacon is a alcoholic. Like we forgot Brooke is a grandmother and we forgot that Ridge was happily married to Taylor and had three kids.

MBmomof3
Guest
MBmomof3

The interview I’ve been waiting for! I miss Sean Kanan’s AJ so much. He is just as awesome as Deacon Sharpe. I’m not a regular B&B viewer, but I’m watching it more now because of Sean Kanan. I love his chemistry with Rena Sofer’s Quinn. Brilliant casting on B&B’s part. Deacon makes Hope tolerable (to a point). lol. GH…you can’t see the talent you have because you’re always looking for the next big thing. Letting SK go and killing AJ was unforgivable for this viewer. Even worse were RC’s constant digs at the actor and character. I had been a… Read more »

knighthawk
Guest
knighthawk

I love Deacon but I really want him to be a good dad for Hope. I think Deacon and Katie would be interesting. There were a couple of scenes with them and the dialogue crackled, there was chemistry. It would be fun if Katie and Bill were still together and Deacon came between them, because Don Diamont and Sean make great adversaries.

Nat9
Guest
Nat9

Katie and Ridge are better together.

Timmm
Guest
Timmm

I met Sean before and he was one of the nicest guys ever! At the time he was on Y&R and I asked him if he would ever consider going back to GH and play AJ again. He said never say never. Well, he ended back at GH after he was done at Y&R and GH screwed him royally! Not only did they lose a great actor, they killed off ANOTHER Q!

Robin
Guest
Robin

Micheal:
Another excellent interview. You asked the questions I would have 🙂 I too would love to see Amber back and where’s “Little D”? Ready too to bring back Jack Wagner (Nick) and Bridget ( hmmm she and Deacon had a past too) so many interesting options. You rock as always. And I do know you! Xo

Lia
Guest
Lia

I’m glad he’s back where he and his work are appreciated. B&B is a great show, because it’s written well. The acting is top notch, and I too love that their international fans adore the show just as much as we do. I miss Sean on GH because I love AJ Quartermaine, but the team over there never appreciated the character, so he’s lost to us. Thank God Brad Bell loves Sean and Deacon. Lol I don’t want him with Quinn however. I would like to see Deacon mix it up with bad girl Alison.

dmr
Guest
dmr

Such a wasted opportunity for General Hospital to bring back a good, kind, loving AJ and to resurrect the Quartermain Family. I’ve always loved Sean Kanan as AJ Quartermaine-thought Billy Warlock was awful in the role. I hate what the writers have done to AJ over the years. I was beginning to like AJ and Elizabeth together, too. Best of luck to Sean. He’s very handsome and very talented.

Interviews

Y&R’s Brytni Sarpy Talks On Her Emotional Week of Scenes & The Fallout From Elena and Devon’s Break-Up

Talk about self-sabotage! Over the last few weeks, fans of CBS’ The Young and the Restless have seen how one decision, or moment in time, can have an effect on several residents of Genoa City, such as the case with Elena Dawson (Brytni Sarpy), after she had sex with her colleague Dr. Nate Hastings (Sean Dominic) … at the clinic they work at!

It all starts unraveling for Elena when her fears get the best of her thinking that the current-love-of-her-life, Devon (Bryton James) will fall for the sister of his late wife, Hilary, in the form of Amanda Sinclair (Mishael Morgan).  And thus sets the stage for a potential quadrangle, and perhaps … some baby drama?

Since coming to Y&R from General Hospital, actress Brytni Sarpy has been developing the character of Elena and playing her for all she is worth and then some in recent heavy-duty heart-tugging scenes where viewers saw Elena confess to Devon that she cheated on him with his cousin, Nate! Then later, she gets kicked to the curb by the man she loves, leaving her wondering, “What did I just do … and why?”

 

Well, Michael Fairman TV has some of the answers as we chatted with Brytni to get the lowdown and the insight on these pivotal moments in Elevon’s love story, and if there is even a future for them, or is it on ice for good? Plus, Brytni opens up about falling for her co-star and recent Daytime Emmy winner, Bryton James, and taping what would normally look like a red-hot passionate sex scene on the soaps with Sean Dominic, but having to do it under strict CDC Covid-19 protocols. Here’s what Ms. Sarpy had to say about it all!

Courtesy/CBS

You’ve got this big storyline unfolding now on Y&R.  Did you know when they brought on Sean Dominic that they were going to bust up  Elena and Devon?

BRYTNI:  Yes and no.  When Sean was first brought in, there had been another actor playing his role, so technically his character has already been on-screen.  So, I didn’t necessarily think it was going to cause any type of conflict, or a love triangle, or anything like that.  However, I think that there were little hints about it along the way in the writing, and our characters similarities in both being doctors.  The writers are pretty tight-lipped, so I only know things two or three weeks in advance.

Were you playing that Elena had this attraction to Nate for a while now?

BRYTNI:  There was a point where I decided to play it, and that is when I felt that it was in the material. It was when things got a little crazier with Amanda coming around and Elena being at the height of her insecurity about that, and her really choosing to only confide in Nate.  I think that kind of relationship and comfortability that she was finding and that dynamic of being at the clinic with Nate, and establishing that with him, she was not having with Devon.

Courtesy/CBS

Right, and so do you think once Elena knew Amanda was interested in Nate, she subconsciously stepped up her own interest in him?

BRYTNI:  No, I think around this time she was hoping for Amanda to date Nate, and she was asking a lot of questions and things to egg on that whole relationship.  I think in her subconscious she really felt like, “Oh good, if I can put these two together, then my fears about this woman who looks exactly like my boyfriend’s dead wife… that resolves that.”  I think for Elena it was just kind of putting them together.  It wasn’t about Nate.  It was about someone to occupy Amanda so that Elena’s insecurities didn’t have to come out and she didn’t have to worry about Devon, or anything with those two being together.

But didn’t Elena have a nightmare/dream about Amanda and Devon having sex?  Wasn’t she freaked out about Amanda being Hilary’s sister?

BRYTNI:  This was when she had already jumped down the rabbit hole of being insecure about what was going on about Amanda and Devon and how much time they were spending together and hoping that he didn’t fall back into those feelings he had for Hilary that he had just gotten through.  For Elena, I think it was a lot of PTSD; for her.  She felt the first half of their relationship was trying to get over Hilary.  Once it finally turned to a point where Amanda was spending a lot of time with Devon. and she had started only confiding in Nate and not Devon about how she felt, that’s when I think those insecure feelings came up, and her talking about it so much manifested into her dreams, and she set herself up for her own trauma.

Courtesy/CBS

So, you have to do this sex scene amidst Covid-19 protocols with Sean Dominic.  How was filming that scene with Sean because Nate looks at Elena, she looks at him, signaling they want to have sex right now, right there at the clinic, and then it cuts out.  Was it awkward filming it?

BRYTNI:  Yes, it was certainly awkward because his double was Bryton, so it’s hard to play that you’re cheating on a character with the actor who plays the character that you’re cheating on. (Laughs)

We are going to give you the Emmy right there for that!  (Laughs)

BRYTNI:  Right! (Laughs) Then in some of the scenes we are looking into each other’s eyes, and we appear to be close, but of course we are not that way.  So, I am staring up at a mannequin that it is at Sean’s eye-level, and he is staring down at a mannequin that is at mine.  It is not easy to try to sell that energy that is between two people in such an electric, heated moment, so it was definitely challenging.

Do you buy Elena’s rationale that they were on a euphoric high from saving Jared’s life at the clinic, as the impetus that leads her and Nate to have sex?

BRYTNI:  I don’t think she really understands what happened.  I think she is trying to put it together.  Right after it happens, she goes into that whole monologue about how, “I’m not blaming you, but this happened, and we were just coming down from a high.”  I think it’s just her trying to figure out why her emotions brought her to this place because I think this is one of the few times in someone like Elena’s life when she has acted without thinking or without forethought to the consequences.  I think she has just been exhausted with trying to battle her emotions, trying to be a doctor with a residency in a hospital, and then also trying to do as much work as she is doing at a clinic.  Then, coming off of an emotionally-charged partnership with Devon after seeing what he was going through with the ghost of Hilary for so long, and going back into this after finally having a calm and peaceful few months, it rocked the whole boat again.

Courtesy/CBS

Viewers have seen what played out over the last week and half, a lot of scenes were you as Elena are called upon to do a lot of breaking down, and crying.  So, how are those scenes to perform? Do you like those types of scenes, or are you like, “Oh, God! These are so soapy!”

BRYTNI:  For me, personally playing that, I think with all the tears and all of that, it’s been exhausting, because there are certainly levels of reality to this where I have to go for it to not be me just trying to emote on-screen, but actually feel the depths of what my character would be going through.  It’s a lot.  I’ve had a few migraines after work sometimes, but I do enjoy it.  I enjoy getting those emotions out.  I think that because of what I’ve established with her character for a little over a year, I’ve been building up Elena, and more importantly, building up her relationship with Devon.  I think to understand her actions, it had to come from a really solid place.  I don’t think she is ill-intended in any of her emotions.  I think she really cares about and wants to protect her partner, Devon throughout all of this, and then she finds herself unprotected and vulnerable in making decisions that inevitably do the complete opposite.  So, I think at the end of it, she really is disappointed in herself and also, she has just created this entire disruption of her life in the matter of a moment, and I think there is a lot of mourning, and there is a lot of guilt.  I just don’t think that it is intentional of her character to do something like what she did.  I think that for me to make it what it was… something that my character would do or did … it had to come from a real place that didn’t sit well with her, and it just happened, and she feels guilt-ridden.  It’s as serious as a character attempting to murder someone, or any other kind of character who would go to the extremes of who they are in their characteristics.

Courtesy/CBS

For you, since you are romantically-involved with Bryton James in real life, does that make it harder or easier to play?

BRYTNI:  I’d say both.  It makes it harder because it’s more real, but it also makes it easier because it’s more real.  These are situations that could at some point come up or have come up, and to put yourself in those positions, and to have him look at me the way that he does and to jeopardize something that real, to go to that place, is a dark place to have to portray.

… And then Devon throws her out! 

BRYTNI:  He does.

Devon tells her to leave the penthouse and he tells her to pack her stuff and go.

BRYTNI:  Rightfully so.

Courtesy/CBS

Doesn’t Elena deserve that reaction for her actions?

BRYTNI:  I think so.  She made a mistake, and she has to learn from it.  I think if there is any potential for these two to ever reconcile, there has to be space given, and there has to be understanding.  You can’t just pretend like everything is normal even though she is sorry.  Sorry isn’t a reason why and sorry isn’t proactive.  She has to fix the issue.

They brought Jared (Michael Maclane) back to be the catalyst that was ended up being the spark that ignited Nate and Elena’s passionate moment together at the clinic. What did you think of that plot point?

BRYTNI:  The point was actually, that it was a patient who they had invested in and cared about, and she was able to do something for this kid and save his life with someone who she has been leaning on, someone who she has had a shared connection with, someone who shares her perspective, and helped her through situations with Devon, and who has seen her ugly side and her insecure side, and it was a bonding moment, I guess, that they were able to save a kid’s life who they both knew added another layer to their relationship that caused things to go grey.

Coming up, it appears that Amanda is going to be instigating a lot of stuff, and Nate is going to still have feelings for Elena.

BRYTNI:  Yeah, I mean, it’s not over.  Now that the cat has been let out of the bag, they still have residual feelings.  I think Nate is starting to make it very clear why he went the direction he went.  I think he has more of an understanding of where his feelings lie and that they are with Elena.  I think with Amanda, maybe a part of her ego just got bruised, and maybe she wants to unearth the truth of all of this because she was kind of caught in the middle of it.

When you and Bryton are together in real life, are you rehearsing all of these scenes and playing all of the other characters in them?

BRYTNI:  Typically, we run lines together.  I have voices for everyone.  I have a Nate voice.  (Laughs)  I have an Amanda voice; I have a Lily (Christel Khalil) voice.

Photo: Sonja Fleming/CBS

You are in one of those interesting situations where you are with the person in real-life and in story.  I have talked to Bryton about this, but what was the moment when you knew it clicked with him? 

BRYTNI:  We certainly liked each other since day one just as people.  He was a great scene partner to do a screen-test with, very giving, just really professional, but just a down-to-earth nice guy. Then, just moving forward from that and working with him as my scene partner on Y&R, I think it was during our first group scene, it was the opening of Society, and we did a tribute to Neil Winters (Kristoff St. John), and that was the first time I had spent long hours on a Y&R set.  You’re with the whole group all day because you’re doing group scenes.  We just discovered and learned that we are both really goofy, and we were just laughing and talking about stories.  I think we found that we had a lot more in common than we would have realized… very similar pop-cultural references, and upbringings, and all of that.  From there, we’ve just gotten along really well, and it progressed.

Photo: Sonja Fleming/CBS

Back in late June,  there was this viral video of you jumping up and down when Bryon’s name was called as the winner of the Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series during the 47th annual Daytime Emmys telecast.  What do you remember of that night with him?  You seemed more excited than he was!

BRYTNI:  Yeah!  I was really excited for him.  The year before – well, I didn’t know that it was our first date –  but,  I guess it was our first date at the 46th Daytime Emmys, because I honestly thought that Matt Kane (publicist, Y&R) had asked me if I wanted to go along, and apparently, Bryton had asked if he could invite me.  So, we spent that time together, and he was nominated that year as well and lost.  Cut to this year where Bryton is a person who I have actually worked with and have seen how he works, and after Kristoff’s passing, and just seeing the amount of work that Y&R put into it, and the time that they spent on those episodes, and how beautiful they came out, everyone deserved an Emmy for that.  It was really beautiful work, and it was really touching, and it was really true and honest.  I really thought Bryton deserved it.  I think he was just as happy.  He’s just more reserved than I am.

What do you want to see happen for Elena moving-forward?  Do you want to see more of her extended family pop up so she is a character who has more ties to Genoa City?

BRYTNI:  I do, I do.  A lot of the characters never know who their father is.  I’d love to know who that is. (Laughs)  Like when I played Valerie on General Hospital, she didn’t know who her father was either.  Things like that are interesting to play.  I’d love to start closing those little holes about her because that helps me.  It helps me to create more dimensions in her character and to make firmer choices, and give her somewhere to go, and it gives more richness in her story.  I would love to also cement her to the Y&R canvas if she has any relation to anyone else there.

Courtesy/CBS

There have been rumors that Elena will become pregnant.  What would you say to that?

BRYTNI:  What do I think of that?  I don’t know.  It could happen.  Crazier things have happened on soaps.  Will it be the classic, “Whodunit?”

You mean, who could be the baby daddy?

BRYTNI:  (Laughs) Yes, that would be interesting, and yes, I’ve seen those rumors, too.

Do you think Elena will fight and claw her way back to Devon, or do you think she is going to let it be? 

BRYTNI:  I think even from the scenes that aired this past week, you can see the extent of how sorry she is.  She is laying it all out there, in a puddle of tears, exactly how she feels even though she is not able to really understand why she did what she did, her sorrow is there.  I don’t think there is really much more for her to do as far as pleading to get him back until he is ready, if he ever is ready.  I think her respecting his wishes in the situation is probably the best thing that she can do at this point.

Photo: IG

Meanwhile, if you have any more romantic scenes with Sean Dominic, Bryton will step in, so you will still be in scenes with him, even if Elena and Devon aren’t together. 

BRYTNI:  (Laughs) Yes, that’s true!

So, are you rooting for Devon and Elena to get back together quickly?  Do you think she may end up in a relationship with Nate? What have you thought of Brytni’s performances in this storyline? Comment below, but first watch Devon tell Elena to move out!

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Interviews

Y&R’s Peter Bergman Talks On Dina’s Death & How It Will Impact Jack, His Final Scenes With Marla Adams & Taping During COVID-19

The Abbott family is reeling from the death of their mother, Dina Mergeron, who passed away from complications from Alzheimer’s disease at the end of last Friday’s episode; signaling the end of an era for Dina’s portrayer, Marla Adams.  In a pivotal and heart-breaking scene, Dina shares one last goodbye with her children: Traci (Beth Maitland), Ashley (Eileen Davidson) and of course, Jack (Peter Bergman).

Today, the drama continues as the Abbott’s grieve Dina’s death and its aftermath while they remember the life of their flawed mother. This puts Jack at the epicenter of the family, and like it, or not, the new head of the clan.  What does the future hold for him now?

Michael Fairman TV chatted with three-time Daytime Emmy winner, Peter Bergman, who has embodied Jack for over 30 years on the top-rated CBS Daytime drama, to get his thoughts on: how Y&R needed to handle Dina’s death within the confines of the coronavirus pandemic and its safety protocols, what he felt about playing those final scenes with Marla Adams and the significance of the ‘teardrop of love’, and a preview of what fans can expect in the coming days as the impact of Dina’s death will be felt by the Abbott children and extended family.

 

An actor’s actor, you can always expect a conversation with Peter to be forthright, candid and enlightening, and this one was no different.  Here’s what one of the genre’s absolute best had to share about the significance of this story and more.

How has it been returning to Y&R during the pandemic?  I bet you never thought in all of your years in daytime, that you would be doing your scenes socially-distanced, sitting or standing, so far apart from your castmates.

Courtesy/CBD

PETER:  Just getting back to work felt great, loved that.  I wasn’t involved really in romantic scenes at this point, so that I didn’t have to do.  So, all in all, I was very happy to be back, and socially-distancing didn’t really bother me at all, and then Dina died.  Doing that from six feet away was just awful.  You saw the limits at a time where not any of us could be within six feet of each other; where you would usually hold a hand, stroke a brow, and talk softly.  So, I think the writers did what they needed to do to make it work for Dina’s exit.  We are in the middle of COVID, in case anybody forgot, and so you have to ask, ‘Does America really want to watch an elderly woman die in the middle of the Abbott living room or anywhere else?’  So, we had to have Dina’s exit without looking at a dead body, out of respect for the times we are living in.  We had to do a strong, powerful, pivotal scene with our hands tied behind our backs.

Courtesy/CBS

It’s so interesting that you say that because that’s how I felt watching it, knowing what it would have been like, if Jack, Ashley and Traci would have been with Dina at her bedside, up till the end, for instance.  But all of that said, Peter, I got so choked up in your last moments with Marla.  Jack is just sitting there and Dina is telling him how much she loved him and you’re doing the thing that only Peter Bergman can do as the tears well-up in your eyes.  As we have talked about previously, my mom died from complications from Alzheimer’s, so these are always tough types of scenes for me to watch.  I am sure it was also for those in the audience, who have lost a loved one to this disease, many of whom reached out to me on social media following its airing.

PETER:  It’s got to be tough for you to watch.  I get that.

Photo: Ed McGowan/Plain Joe Studios

Yes, so I felt for Jack and Dina in the moment as a son and his mother.  But what did you think about how the scene was written, and what Dina was saying to Jack and his sisters as her final goodbyes to her children and their reactions to it?

PETER:  As written, something in this necklace triggers something in Dina that brings her out of a stupor, brings her out of the murk, the fog for a brief instant to tell the people who she cares the most about that she loves them in slightly different ways.  I have, with everything in me, a struggle to always add in there, “I have a complicated relationship with my mother.”  I’ve added that line in there so many times over the years, you have no idea.  It was a complicated relationship because by the time she dies, there is no kind of straightening that out, there is no kind of Jack looking for answers. The depth of what Ashley is feeling, what Traci is feeling, what Jack is feeling, were kind of lost because of the way we had to do it. The writers had to do it, so I’m not blaming anyone, but because of the way we had to do it, there was no, “Wow, why isn’t Ashley crying?  Why is she just so stoic that this isn’t touching her at all?” because she can’t go there. Traci feeling like she found her place in the family simply by Dina saying, “You’re the beating heart of this family,” and Jack, who is doing the right thing, “She should leave peacefully, she should leave feeling loved, we should all be here, we should give her nothing but love,” damn, this is complicated.  You couldn’t have any of those things.  .  Hopefully, some of that slid in there and we wedged some of those complexities into it, but it was hard to write a complex scene with the situation as it was.  We needed to get it done it one day.  We did not need to drag this out.  Again, were it not COVID time, sure, let’s drag it out.  Let’s spend some time on this.  People die.  Let’s watch the family process a death.

Photo: CBS

I just think of what it all means for Jack moving forward.  Dina basically tells him, “You’re in charge of the family. Look after the family.” That’s kind of where it’s been going for Jack this whole time.  I don’t know if that’s what Jack wanted, but that’s where he is ending up.

PETER:  Right!  That’s where he ends up, and you know, this has been a long time coming.  Dad dies, and it is pretty clear that he’s got to step up, and his mom comes into town, and she’s not just his mother.  She’s Ashley’s mother; she’s Traci’s mother, we’ve got to look out for her and give her the dignity and things like that.  Now, there is just no getting around it.  Jack is the head of the family.  That’s the way it fell.  Twenty-five years ago, was Jack ready to be head of anything?  Absolutely not, but I think enough has happened to Jack now: enough heartache, enough growth, enough introspection, enough losing people, that Jack might just be ready for this job.

Courtesy/CBS

When Marla Adams came back to Y&R 2017, and they started telling the Alzheimer’s storyline, it brought up such abandonment issues for Jack and rightfully so, about how a mother could just leave her family and children,  Throughout all that,  you did such poignant work.

PETER:  I wanted that to be in there at the very end.  One of the powerful parts in this whole thing is that Jack wanted to scream at Dina every bit as much as he wanted to hug her.  That was there for quite a while, and Jack had to kind of come to terms with, “Hey, you’ve been leaning on this excuse for quite a time.  She’s here.  She can’t do you any harm.  She feels bad about what happened.  What do you want, Jack?”

Photo: CBS

One of the highlights of this storyline was when Y&R explored the history and relationship between the siblings, Jack, Ashley and Traci.  We saw their younger versions as the show flash-backed to when Dina left John and the Abbott family.

PETER:  Between the writers and Peter Bergman, we built this story that the night that Dina left, Dad was upstairs with the girls, they were weeping inconsolably, there was no fixing it, there was no telling them that everything was going to be all right.  He didn’t want to lie to them and say she will be right back, he told them, “She’s not coming back,” and he comes downstairs, and Jack is fourteen-years-old, and a little confused, but decided to say to his dad, “Hey, can I help?”  He looks across the room, and his dad is weeping, first time he had ever seen that.  His father is weeping, and he said, “Jack, you’re going to have to help me with the girls.  I can’t do all of this,” and it changed Jack’s life forever.  Jack was a parent to Ashley for a good part of their relationship.  So, all of this stuff with Jack’s identity, all of the fighting with Ashley, all of the Jabot madness is Ashley finally getting to say, “I don’t need a father!  You’re not my father.  Stop talking to me like you’re going to fix things for me!  I’m sick of it.”  All done by Dina … all truly caused by Dina.

Courtesy/CBD

In my interview with Marla, she told me that at the end of her last scene, you and many others came back to the set to pay tribute to her.

PETER:  We did.  The show had arranged it, and Tony Morina, the executive producer, stepped out on the soundstage with a microphone, and Marla sat on the sofa in the Abbott living room. Tony began telling a lovely, lovely story about how far back his relationship with her goes because Marla and Tony wife’s, Sally Sussman (Ex- head writer, Y&R), also had a long-standing relationship.  Tony was just so grand and gracious in saying that there are some people who, if they weren’t an actor, they’d be this or that or the other thing, but that Marla was born to be an actress.  That’s what she is, and it was so generous.  I think she got three and a half years that she didn’t expect to get out of this.  It was supposed to be a six-month storyline, and four years later, she was still there, and it was a good thing for her, and a unique story turn for the rest of us.  It really was.  It was a powerful thing, and now the Abbott family has a new shape.  There are three adults there: Ashley has established her independence, she is not around as much, she is back and forth between Paris, and Genoa City, Traci is trying to be as supportive and kind as she can be, but essentially, Jack is in the big house by himself.

Yep!  Well, now we’ve got to find Jack a good woman.

PETER:  Yes, or a bad woman.

… Or a bad woman!  I’ll take him in a relationship with someone to stir things up.  I also hear coming up, there will be the reading of Dina’s will.  Is there anything you can tease about that?

PETER:  There is a will read, yes.  No one knows what to expect, and Dina … in the end… comes through for almost everybody…

Courtesy/CBS

Well … that ought to be good.

PETER:  Yep… really comes through for almost everybody, and you know, the Abbott children are wealthier, and all three of them are alone, and in no small thanks to Dina for that.  These are three adults who have been very unlucky in love.  Of course, this is the next challenge.  I don’t mean to assume that I have any idea of what you went through in losing your mom, but there is a point at which you also have to let go and say, “Okay, now it is just me, and what do I want to do with this life?  I’ve used this as a reason not to move forward for a good while.  What am I going to do now?”  I think the next turn in the Jack Abbott story comes pretty organically.  Dina’s death frees Jack to be just as alone as he has ever been.

No matter what Jack does, including the bad things, you always see the inner-pain that is very palpable within him, as you have portrayed him.

PETER:  Yes, but he really has grown in the last 30 years.  Jack is hungry for more right now, and he couldn’t really be that way with Mom in the house.  He didn’t have time for that.  Now he has all of the time in the world.  So, we’ll see what he does with that.

Courtesy/CBD

I understand there is a funeral for Dina, but it will be off-camera?  I guess, because of COVID, it is better that way.

PETER:  That’s true and it’s off camera, that’s correct.  What’s important at most of these things isn’t what happens at the gravesite, it is what happens at the reception afterwards, and that is also a fun turn.  So, they all agree as a family they are going to do it at Society, and they kind of close the joint and make it their own little party, and someone shows up who isn’t expected, and it throws a really, really different vibe into the whole thing, and everybody has to adapt.  It’s actually fun, what it turns into.  It turns into a memory fest with crazy stories of Dina.

Courtesy/CBS

Do you have a favorite moment, or memory, of a scene you played with Marla?

PETER:  I think I had a day where Jack tried to get through to her and tell her, “Do you realize the damage you did?  Do you realize?” and she wasn’t able to take it in, and he went to Traci, and he said, “I want to shake her.  I want to yell at her… and I want to protect her.”  I thought there was something just so rich about that.  That was my favorite moment, my favorite part of it, when Jack finally said, “She’s going, man.  We’ve got to get this conversation done now.  We’ve got to talk this through,” and he was too late.   She was too far along with Alzheimer’s.  She wasn’t up to it.  She couldn’t do it.

Photo: JPI

And now here is Jack; and his parents are both gone.  There is no Jerry Douglas or Marla Adams on the show as both John and Dina have passed on within the history of The Young and the Restless.

PETER:  Again, you were generous enough to share your own personal experience, but isn’t it amazing?  Wow, you’re the grownup now.  Isn’t it amazing?  That’s what the Abbott’s are going through: just what you went through.  There is no older generation to turn to for anything.  We are the older generation.  It’s powerful stuff, and I’m really, really grateful for anytime that Ashley, Jack, and Traci are together talking about those things, talking about, “Wow, okay, that just happened… where do we go from here?”  It’s going to be really interesting.  If you asked me, “Over the last 30 years that you’ve played Jack Abbott, have there been many times where you’ve thought, ‘I’ve got no idea where this is going!’”  I would say, “Yeah, right now.”  I’ve got no idea where we are going with this.

Courtesy/CBS

There has been much speculation that the “teardrop of love” necklace will lead Jack to a new romance, or some new adventure in his life.  They spent a lot of time mentioning it in short order, that it would seem it’s not just to bring Dina some closure.  What are your thoughts on it?

PETER:  I think it has legs.  I think you’re going to hear about it again. There is something in there, and I don’t know if it’s the teardrop’s magic charm or that its history is not what it was, or it gets stolen.  I don’t know, but I think we have spent enough time saying ‘teardrop of love’, that there could be a story there.

In Dina’s final moments where Jack brings her the ‘teardrop of love’, wasn’t it symbolic to her because it was her acknowledgement of having her family back together and with her at all times? There is a back-story to that piece of jewelry as well.

PETER:  The point of the necklace is, “This was when I was truly happy, when I had this necklace, when it is all back together,” and maybe we are to know something more about the teardrop…?  I don’t know.  So, this was a gift to her before Jack was born.  She wore it home from the hospital when she brought him home, but we don’t know exactly what year she got it, and we don’t know exactly what year she lost it.  It was stolen, and it was on the black market for a while, and Victor (Eric Braeden) was looking into it.  It was clear that it was very important to Dina.  So, Jack, against his own wishes, said, “No, I’ve got to do the right thing.  I’ve got to try to trace this thing down.  It clearly means something to her.  Maybe she is trying to tell us something.  God only knows.”  So, he did the right thing, not because, “I want to make Mommy happy,” but because he forced himself to do the right thing, to find the damn necklace, and to see what this is about.  Then, we saw the affect it had when he gave it to her.

Photo: CBS

It’s always good to chat and check-in with you during these key and historical moments in the life of the character of Jack Abbott.  There have been many throughout your time on Y&R, and it will be interesting to see where this goes from here.

PETER:  It will be, and I’m telling you, this is a real moment.  Normally, we just go from one story into the next, into the next, and this one has been hanging for so long that, “Okay, now that it is over, wow, what is going to happen to Jack?”  I’m just as curious as everybody else.

So, what do you think will happen next for Jack?  Did you reach for the hankies in Peter’s final scenes with Marla Adams?  Share your thoughts via the comment section below.

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Interviews

Marla Adams Talks Her Final Scenes As Dina Mergeron, The Alzheimer’s Storyline, and Her Touching Farewell

Today on The Young and the Restless marks the end of the enduring run of Marla Adams in the role of Dina Mergeron. In story, Dina passes away from complications from Alzheimer’s disease. It’s a storyline that started four years ago when the CBS Daytime drama brought back the character and Adams; and one that has deeply affected many in the viewing audience who have also had their own personal experience of losing a loved one to this dreadful disease.

If you have not seen today’s episode yet, you may not want to read any further, but needless to say, make sure you have the hankies ready for Dina’s final moments with her children and how she leaves this earth, which will be remembered for quite some time to come.

Marla originated the role of the rich and spoiled Abbott matriarch back in 1983 and portrayed the role on and off for what amounts to five decades. Her classic scenes with Jerry Douglas (Ex-John), Eileen Davidson (Ashley) and so many more from the iconic soap, always made for great and complex stories.

 

With this her final airdate on Y&R, it also puts an exclamation point for Marla on an incredible daytime career having also appeared on: The Bold and the Beautiful. Capitol, Days of our Lives, Generations and The Secret Storm

Michael Fairman TV chatted with Adams in this very special conversation where she shared with us how it was to play these heartbreaking last scenes, the importance of the ‘teardrop of love’ necklace to the story, how Y&R gave her the most overwhelming and beautiful send-off, and her ‘thank you’s’ to all of you, who have been her extended family and are sad to see her go. She is one-of-a-kind …and now, here’s Marla.

Photo: Getty

Marla, I am so glad we have the opportunity to chat in this full-circle moment as you have brought the character of Dina to a close.

MARLA:  It’s such a joy to talk to you.  It seems like yesterday and an eternity as well.   I thought of you so much, and I remember talking to you specifically with all of the different interviews over the years, when I was at the studio.  But I will always remember the interview you did with me and Beth Maitland (Traci), my darling soul sister, and you talked to me about your mother who has since passed on from Alzheimer’s.  I’ll never forget what you had to say all those months ago

Photo: HallmarkChannel

Yes, and when as audience members we watch these stories unfold with characters we have loved, or watched on our screens for years, and there is a death, we feel connected to them as well.  And in this case, as a child who has lost a parent to Alzheimer’s, like many in the audience, you ask yourself first, “Can I watch this?” It hits very close to home, but I’m sure when people watch today’s episode of Y&R and see Dina pass away, they will be extraordinarily moved.

MARLA:  Oh, my gosh.  Wait until you people see Friday’s show.  I know they will be moved.  They should be!  I’ve got friends who I’ve already said to, “Get your Kleenex box out.”  It’s so beautiful what happens at the end of the episode.

Courtesy/CBD

How did you feel about playing Dina’s final scenes?

MARLA:  It was wonderful because it showed her lifetime of sorrow and regret, and what was so wonderful was the fact that the hero of the whole thing is the kindness and respect that she really did have for her whole family.  They had the most beautiful sendoff for me.  They sent me a limo!  I went to the studio, and dear Patti Denney (Make-up artist, Y&R) was there, of course with all kinds of makeup and everything else, and she looked like she was entering the ER room for Covid-19, because of all the safety protocols we must have.  It was unbelievable, the kindness that was served to me.  After we finished taping my final scenes, I came back to the soundstage and they totally surprised me.  Dear Tony Morina (executive producer, Y&R) and Sally Sussman (Ex-head writer, Y&R) were there, and Tony spoke about me, and so did my Y&R extended family and on-screen children: Peter Bergman (Jack), and Beth Maitland, and Eileen Davidson, and much of it was put on tape (see excerpts in video below).  Afterwards, Tony gave me beautiful flowers.  I was driven back home after this, and I felt really special, and it was just amazing to me. I had written Josh Griffith (Current head-writer and co-executive producer, Y&R) a ‘thank you’ for writing the show with his wonderful people, but I never heard back, but when I walked in my apartment, the phone was ringing.  Guess who?  It’s Josh!  He said, “I waited until I knew you would be home to thank you,” and I felt so lovey-doved up, I couldn’t believe it.  I want to read something to you that I received in the wonderful flowers that came the next day from CBS Daytime executive Margot Wain and others.  The flowers were so big that they didn’t fit on the bar!  The card read: “Thank you for bringing the amazing force that is Abbott matriarch, Dina Mergeron to countless fans of The Young and the Restless.  Your vast contribution to Y&R and CBS for more than five decades is unparalleled.  We are forever grateful for all you’ve brought to Y&R as both a consummate professional and a cherished co-worker.  All our best wishes.”  I was just so touched by the sentiments.

Photo: CBS

I also want to share something with you.  When it was revealed in the promo that came out last week that this would be your last show, I received so many notifications on social media, saying, “Oh, my God!  We love Marla!  You have to interview her!”  You are loved by the Y&R fans.  I hope you know that!  They’re sad to see you go, because you’re a legacy character to them, and soap fans have deep connections to characters that have been on their favorite soaps for decades.

MARLA:  Five decades!  My God!  I’m eighty-freaking-two.  I can’t believe it.

Courtesy/CBS

In story, Jack was on a mission to get the ‘teardrop of love’ necklace back to Dina before she died, hoping that she would have one last moment of lucidity and would recall it and it would hopefully make her happy.   He moves heaven on earth to get it, and does, and brings it to her and viewers saw her reaction. 

MARLA:  The necklace had never been anywhere before in story except recently, but I said to myself that I would play it ‘quietly and graciously’, because it made for such a beautiful moment for Dina with her children.

Courtesy/CBS

For Dina, the necklace was a symbol of remaining connected to her family and her children, even when she was not with them all of those years.  In your final scenes, Dina had these moments to say goodbye to each of your children.  Do you remember looking at Eileen, Traci, and Peter taping those highly emotional beats?

MARLA:  Yes, they were so there for me.  They are an extended family that is so precious to me, and playing this iconic character has been, too.  I remember when Sally Sussman told me a few years ago, “ I’m going to bring you back on The Young and the Restless, but you’ve got Alzheimer’s,” and I said, ‘What!?  You’re bringing me back so you can kill me off?’ and she said, “Oh no, it’ll be about a year.”  That dissolved into four years, and now five decades had passed and I was still on Y&R.  I am beyond grateful.

Courtesy/CBD

As an actress, was it hard to play Dina’s final moments when she goes to the light to join her beloved, John?

MARLA:  It was heart-wrenching for me.  In the story, Dina died when she went outside and to the front door of the Abbott home.  They did not tell me before-hand, and that’s why it was so wonderful.  I hope they came in for a closeup of that because I had no makeup on, it was beautiful, and then, Dina said, “Oh, John.”  I’ve done everything from movies, to daytime, to nighttime, to Broadway, but that was the iconic moment for me, to do this gig with wonderful, wonderful actors and friends, and to do this particular storyline.

Photo: CBS

It was 1983 when you first appeared on Y&R.  And through the years, Dina did not do such great things! She had an affair with Brent Davis who was the biological father of Ashley that caused such a rift between mother and daughter for years.  She abandoned the Abbott children and walked out on them and her marriage to John, and that’s just for starters! Dina was a complicated character. Did you love the fact that she could be very selfish at times?

MARLA:  You think?  That’s why I loved her.  Of course!  I can be very selfish, too.  You have to be selfish if you’re an actor, good God. (Laughs).

Courtesy/CBS

It was great that The Young and the Restless brought you back four years ago so that through the telling of the Alzheimer’s storyline that Dina was able to somewhat repair her relationships with her children.  Obviously, over the last many months the audience could not witness the more day to day progression and toll the disease took on Dina and her family in its final stages, but unfortunately with the way COVID-19 has affected shooting daytime soap operas, and all of our lives, including safety protocols, I am sure plans had to be altered,

MARLA:  Of course.  As an actress, this was the most important role of my life, and to have her final moments spread out in one day really is because of all of the fans who have been writing in and wanting to see Dina again,

Photo: CBS

People were rooting for you to win the Daytime Emmy back in 2018 when you were nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series. That must be a nice moment to carry with you from playing Dina’s final storyline.

MARLA:  Yes, and I should have won!  Eric Braeden (Victor, Y&R) was furious. (Laughs)  He said, “What do you mean, darling, you should have won!  Goddammit!” He’s a wonderful man and a good friend.  He came to pick me up several times to go to the studio for my last few shows, and that’s the kind of mensch he is. So, I feel just so blessed and I feel great love and loss.  I would like Dina to come back as a ghost, but I have no idea, if that will happen or not. But if the fans would be interested in seeing Dina as a ghost … make sure to write in to the show and tell them!

Courtesy/CBS

Speaking of the fans that have followed you for decades on Y&R, what would you want to say to them now that Dina has passed on?

MARLA:  Thank you, from the bottom of my heart for all of the love, the support, and the chance to play Dina out… and I’m thankful that you cared, and loved her, up till the end.

So what did you think about Dina’s final moments on today’s Y&R? Will you miss Marla Adams?  Share your thoughts via the comment section below.  But first check out the special behind the scenes tribute for Marla, followed by The Michael Fairman Channel’s interview with Marla and Beth Maitland from Y&R’s 45th anniversary celebration referred to during the above conversation.

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