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THE TUC WATKINS INTERVIEW – ONE LIFE TO LIVE

TucMain66.jpg

This week on One Life to Live, “David Vickeroshi”, will be on the receiving end of a marriage proposal by a very deceitful Dorian, as PI Rex is hot on their trail. With the “Go Red Ball” just around the corner, David’s story will take front and center stage. Will he finally come to realize he is Asa Buchanan’s son?

I chatted with the one and only Tuc Watkins, star of “One Life to Live” and the primetime series “Desperate Housewives”, about his latest Llanview Buddhist incarnation, and playing the bumbling con man. We also discussed the Daytime Emmys, and working on Wisteria Lane, playing one half of the snarkiest gay neighbors you’d ever want to meet, Bob and Lee.

One of the most talented and innovative performers ever to grace the daytime screen, Tuc’s interview is one of our favorites at “On-Air On-Soaps”.

Listen to the audio:

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MICHAEL:

Tuc, Namaste’! Namaste’!

TUC:

Oh, my goodness, if I had a nickel for every time I heard that word.

MICHAEL:

Are people coming up to you and saying, “Namaste’”?

TUC:

Every now and then I do hear it on the subway. I hear it a lot on airplanes, usually places where you can’t run away. (He laughs)

MICHAEL:

I thought your performances have been just great. Every time you come back to “One Life to Live”, it just adds so much and spruces up the show. This time you are “David Vickeroshi.” What did you think when they told you how they were bringing you back this time?

TucBudah1.jpgTUC:

When I first heard the acorn of the idea, Frank Valentini (executive producer, “OLTL”) called and said, “Do you want to know what you are going to be doing?” I said, “If you want to tell me.” Because the great thing about going back to play David Vickers is it really doesn’t matter what we are going to do. It’s always fun doing it, because it’s all about the means rather than the end. I said, “Sure. What’s it going to be?” He said, “You are going to come back as a Buddhist monk and you are all enlightened.” I said, “All I see is the comedy. So I assume this is going to be comedic?” He said, “Yes.” I thought it was a great idea. When you play a character on and off for fourteen years, sometimes you have to go far a field to keep things fresh. Obviously, this is not something that will stick around for a long time, this transformation. So, it’s been a lot of fun to
explore a character that you
know really well, in a way you
have not seen him before. It’s
really a fish out of water story,
so it’s been a lot of fun.

MICHAEL:

Ron Carlivati (head writer, “OLTL”) and you are brilliant together. Do you ever ad lib your lines, or are those the lines that are written by Ron and the writing team on the page?

TUC:

The great thing about Ron coming on is that is not often that a character, a writer, and an actor, all sort of get it together. Sometimes an actor does not have a handle on what the writer and director is gunning for, and not have the full grasp on something that you are very familiar with. I think Ron appreciated the same characteristics of David that I appreciated. So, we kind of turned up the volume on David. It has been great. You know, I have been through a lot of different writers on the show. I have never really noticed that much difference in the writing, but I really did notice a difference when Ron started. I remember going up to Frank’s office going, “The writing is different and I really do think it had made several strides forward,” and for the first time in a long time, I thought it was really noteworthy. So I said something out loud. Actors like to say a lot of things out loud (He laughs). ‘Namaste’’ takes on a lot of different meanings!

MICHAEL:

So what do you think the meaning of ‘Namaste’’ is?

TUC:

I was told early on the literal meaning of ‘Namaste’ was “I bow to you.” It started out as that, and then it meant “I am hot for you”, and then it also meant, “Thanks for the food.” So, it’s sort of a catch-all, in a way. ((He laughs).

Robin1.jpgMICHAEL:

Is there anytime when you are working with the incomparable Robin Strasser (Dorian), or Erika Slezak (Viki), or any of the actors on the show, when you guys just break up in laughter?

TUC:

Well, we usually get the laughing done at rehearsals in the morning. But, that is also when and where we find stuff. It’s where we tweak what’s there, or punch up a word you might not have punched up, if you had not been rehearsing it with the other actor. We get the ‘funny’ out of the way in the morning or during dress, so when we get to tape we are not wasting anyone’s time.

MICHAEL:

When you first got to work with Robin and Erika, who I think are probably two of the best actresses on the daytime canvas, did you think, “Wow. This is really great?” Did you even know who Erika and Robin were?

TUC:

Well, I first started on “OLTL’ in 1927, so I have known them for a long time. (He laughs) But seriously, I started on the show fourteen years ago, and I never watched soap operas. Some friends of mine in school would plan their course schedule around soaps, but I never quite got it. I mean, I understood that people could become addicted to them. You either get it, or you don’t. And that’s just not one of the things I got. So, when I first started on the show, I did not know who anyone was. But, I did know that they had been there for awhile. I think it’s like starting in a company. You tend to look up to someone who has been around for a number of years and respect them. You figure these people know what they are doing, so I am going to learn from them as opposed to telling them what to do. I remember one of the first days I started working on the show, I was doing a scene with Erika and I was pretending to be her brother. She said, “Can someone please give this kid some light? You can’t even see him!” That’s not something you consider when you are young and starting out. You just want to say your lines and not throw up. When I first met them both, they were the standard to learn from then, and they continue to be.

MICHAEL:

Will David finally find out this time out, that he is really Asa Buchanan’s son?

TUC:

You know, they have been teasing this story for eternity. Talk about dragging out a story! Even by soap terms, it’s taking a long time. I remember when the previous head writer was there and I went back under contract for three years starting in 2003. They told me, “We are going to reveal you are Asa Buchanan’s son.” I thought,” That’s cool, because he is the patriarch of the show, and that means I will be working a lot!” Well, I tell you now, it is going to be revealed, but it is six years later! This is 2009!

MICHAEL:

The only thing that redeems it is you and David come and go from the canvas. So it’s a setup where there are months when you are not on screen.

TUC:

I left contract in 2006, and things have worked out scheduling wise so I can go back. When you have a character like David who is a bumbling con man, it makes sense that he is not always on the canvas. It makes sense that he goes out into the world and tries to pull the wool over other people’s eyes in Bangladesh, or New Delphi, or other cities that I cannot point to on a map. So, when it finally came around, it feels like it has been taking a long time, but fortunately we have been telling other story that has been interesting. The timing is just right to tell it.

TucNora1.jpgMICHAEL:

Does David attend the upcoming, “Go Red Ball”?

TUC:

David does attend the Red Ball, and I will say, something happens at the “Go Red Ball” that changes David’s life.

MICHAEL:

In a good or bad way?

TUC:

A little bit of both. (He laughs)

MICHAEL:

I see that “OLTL” has put you up for one of the two actors in the in-house voting, for the pre-nominations for Supporting Actor for the Daytime Emmys.

TUC:

Oh, I did not know that. I am thrilled!

MICHAEL:

Well, you have been my pick for many years to get an Outstanding Supporting Actor nod at the Emmys, but you never got the chance to compete for the prize. So, what are your thoughts?

TUC:

I think everyone’s an idiot! (He laughs) To tell you the truth, what I get to do on “OLTL” is so much fun, and not traditional to what daytime has carved out for itself. So I understand when they look at a bunch of tapes of people to be considered for Emmys and a nomination. I come on and cross my eyes, and fall down the stairs, and they look at it like, “Is this guy for real?” So, it’s sort of a double-edged sword. I am very lucky that I have been able to play this character that doesn’t really fit in with the rest of the people that inhabit the town of Llanview. But having said that, part of what allows me to do that prevents me from doing terribly dramatic stuff. I know you are supposed to cry on cue on daytime, and I can’t do that. So, anytime I try to play anything dramatic I tend to turn the car in a different direction. I guess it could be said I err on the side of trying to find something that is funny. That’s not always the best choice. In fact, Robin Strasser is always getting on me about that.

TucVickie1.jpgMICHAEL:

But, I think there have been such beautiful, nice, and at times, emotional scenes between David and Viki.

TUC:

If I can have poignant moments, but with a hump and mole with hair coming out of my face, then I am happy doing those poignant moments. They brought me on to be this cool mysterious guy in 1994. I did it for a year, and to tell you the truth, I was pretty unremarkable at it. It wasn’t until one day I woke up and realized, “David Vickers is not a cool mysterious person. He thinks he is a cool mysterious person.” And that s when the David we know today was really born, and that is when I kind of hit my stride with this character. You’ve got to figure out how to play the character among the other people you are with. And it’s not that easy. It took me a year on “OLTL” to figure out what makes David special. Luckily, when I was turning their mysterious cool character into the town buffoon, they supported it rather than say, “You don’t get it. You’re out.” So I have been pretty fortunate.

MICHAEL:

You pull double duty at times, as Bob on “Desperate Housewives”. Will you be continuing on that?

ColorTucKevin1.jpgTUC:

Yes. They signed me and Kevin Rahm (Lee) to a recurring contract this year. On a show like that, it’s always going to be about those five women, as it should be. I mean, it’s called “Desperate Housewives”, but we have gotten a little more involved this year. Kevin has gotten more involved with Teri Hatcher’s (Susan) character, and I started representing Felicity Huffman’s (Lynette) kid, because they decided my character was a lawyer. As it is, it’s also a soap opera, when you boil it down. They just have better lighting and hair styling. So, one day they sent me a script and I went to the table read and head writer Marc Cherry went, “Oh, by the way, you are a lawyer now.” That involved me a bit more. They have our characters in that house between Teri Hatcher and Eva Longoria (Gabrielle), and we are sort of a new color on the canvas. A lot of story is told through us…

MICHAEL:

….they are reactionary instead of propelling story, right?

TUC:

Yes. The end game is how it affects the women on the show. It is a lot of fun to work on that show. It is the funniest set I have ever been on. That’s probably because you go to work on a neighborhood street where it’s mostly sunny, and they have really good snacks, and you just hang out. And any drama that happened on that show, happened a long time ago. And everyone in between takes are playing games and catching ‘rays’.

MICHAEL:

How is working with these powerhouse actresses?

TUC:

They are all very different. I remember Kevin and I started around the same time Dana Delaney (Katherine) started. I thought, “Oh, this poor woman has her work cut out for her because she has such strong archetypes that have been set up and established.” I thought she did an amazing job of finding something new that was also necessary. Kevin and I are in the supporting cast, but all those women on there are all fun in a different way. Eva Longoria takes nothing seriously, in the best of ways. She is always cutting up and laughing. Felicity is knowledgeable and it’s great to talk about acting with her.

DH1.jpgMICHAEL:

You and Kevin play the gay couple on the show. Is there one thing you would like to see them involved in, if you were writing the show?

TUC:

The thing that I like about the way Marc Cherry brought that couple on was, he brought them on as a gay couple, and one of the first lines they say is, “We’re gay. We are life partners.” So there was no dancing around that, and it was not issue-oriented. I think a lot of times when they brought in gay characters, or minority characters in the 70’s or 80’s on television, black or Asians had to explain why they were there! We don’t need that anymore. I thought it was great that we got to go on… everyone knew we were gay… but that wasn’t the story. Why we went there was part of the story, and how we get involved in other peoples lives is the story. We are not this cookie-cutter, great super hero, gay couple, where everything we say is kind and friendly. We are not that couple from “American Beauty”. They were the only normal people on that street, but we are kind of mean!

MICHAEL:

Yeah, I like that they are these ‘snarky’ gay guys. It’s not the issue that they are gay; it’s just the ‘snarky’ guys that live down the street.

TUC:

I describe it as: I am Andy Griffith and Kevin is Barney Fife. Kevin says all the funny lines and I stand behind him and roll my eyes, and that’s what Andy did with Barney.

TucRed1.jpgMICHAEL:

Is there a lot of Tuc in David Vickers on “OLTL”, and in Bob on “Desperate Housewives”?

TUC:

I will tell you this: I am not a method actor. I studied that in school, and I think that’s how most students of acting learn about acting. That’s where you become the character and eat for breakfast what that character ate for breakfast, and you think about how that character was treated when they were a child. That didn’t work for me. I am more of a behaviorist. I am more about how a character behaves in the environment he is in. I would say most of the characters I play, especially in television; you are usually hired to play pretty close to who you are. So, I would say Bob on “Desperate Housewives” is very similar to me, because I am a neatnik in a way, and I maintain a sense of humor. But I am fairly straight laced in what I think. David, on “OLTL”, is also a side of me where I like to cut up. So, it’s two sides of a coin in many ways to me. I would have to say, that both those characters are pretty close to me without being mutually exclusive, if you know what I mean?

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Days Of Our Lives

DAYS Susan Seaforth Hayes Talks On Her Daytime Emmy Nomination For Julie and Doug’s Emotional Storyline

When you think Days of our Lives, what would it be without the legendary Susan Seaforth Hayes (Julie) and her real-life and on-screen husband, Bill Hayes (Doug Williams)?

This past Emmy season, the beloved duo got a chance to shine, when they were put through a ‘heartbreaking’ predicament – Julie’s heart gives out, she is in need of a transplant, and things take a turn for the worse.

What would life be like for Doug without his Julie? How would she say goodbye to him? Fans clearly felt the sentiments overflowing from this real-life duo capturing the essence of their characters in such a raw and realistic way. So much so, that Susan landed a Daytime Emmy nomination in the Outstanding Supporting Actress category for her work.

Already a Lifetime Achievement Award recipient along with her husband, Bill back in 2018, will Susan finally get an award for her acting for her decades of beautiful work on the long-running NBC soap opera? Fans will need to tune-in to CBS on Friday, June 26th to find out with the virtual presentation of the 47th annual Daytime Emmy Awards.  But for now, here is our conversation with Susan.

Photo: NATAS

Congratulations on your Supporting Actress nomination.  You have been racking up a lot of these recently, having been nominated in the same category two years ago, and also receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award along with your husband, Bill Hayes at the 45th annual Daytime Emmys in 2018.

SUSAN:  It’s really nice to be nominated, because I’ve had a few gap years.  I’ve had, what? 25 gap years between the recent nominations.

What scenes did you ultimately chose that landed you the nomination?

SUSAN:  I submitted when Julie dies.  I submitted the farewell montage scenes with Bill Hayes, and they were very moving to us… and we’ll see.  I did not submit anything snappy, or bitchy, or hysterical.  I’ve lost against hysterical every time.  Comedy has never worked.  So, I am going to try the heart and soul of soup opera: not bitchiness, but loss.

Photo: JPI

Can I ask how you got through those scenes with Bill, because it was so touching?  I don’t know how you did it.

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SUSAN:  It was very difficult.  I mean, these are the things that make us so connected to the characters and the show.  This is a place where we can show the public what love means to us, which is everything.

They were beautiful scenes.  Do you remember when you did them, if you felt good about them at the time?

SUSAN:  No… no.  I didn’t know.  Everyone on the set seemed happy.  We are blessed to have feedback from out producers now, and they didn’t say, “I think you can do it better,” and, “Another take,” not that we would have anyway, because there is never time to do another take.

Photo: JPI

How did you find out that you were nominated? 

SUSAN:  One of the producers, Randy Dugan called me, or I wouldn’t have found out for a couple of days,

What are your thoughts on this being a virtual Daytime Emmys ceremony because of COVID-19?  We don’t know anything about will play out yet or what that will look like, but it is back on network TV.

SUSAN:  It’s going to be a wonderful surprise.

So, if they have the shot of the nominees, do you think you’d be dressed in comfortable clothes or more formal?

SUSAN:  Well, I’d certainly wear my best earrings if I were at home, yeah.  If my grandson can arrange us to get on the internet (we have a grandson living on our property, and he’s our live-in techy), we will get dressed up, and sit there, if that’s the way to do it.

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DAYS did very well receiving 22 overall nominations and a lot of your co-stars got nomination as well.

SUSAN:  Yes, an excellent year for nominations for our show.

How many times have you been nominated now? 

SUSAN:  This makes six.

Photo: IMDB

Would it mean a lot to you to get the award?

SUSAN:  The Lifetime Achievement meant a lot.  It wouldn’t be bad to win this year.  I’ll say that.  It would be sweet for the show, since I am now the oldest living cast member of the original family – the original, original.  I’m not the original Julie, but close enough.  So, I think that would be some validation for the longevity of this original storytelling.  People look at the show and say, “Are you part of the DiMera family or the Brady family?”  I say, “I’m part of the Horton family!”

What did your husband Bill say when he found out you were nominated?

SUSAN:  (Yells) Billy, what did you say when you found out I was nominated?

BILL:  Yay!!!

SUSAN:  That’s about right. (Laughs)

Photo: JPI

What a guy!

SUSAN:  I know!  What a guy, what a guy, what a guy!

I was really happy to see your name among the other well-deserving nominees.

SUSAN:  I know you are because I know you care.  Who knows what will happen? It isn’t going to ruin our lives you know, one way or another.  But it was very nice to receive this acknowledgment from my peers.

So, are you glad Susan received a nomination for her work in her emotional storyline? Do you think she should finally receive the Emmy for her performances? Comment below.

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Days Of Our Lives

DAYS Chandler Massey Chats On His Bittersweet Daytime Emmy Nomination

He’s won three Daytime Emmys in the Outstanding Younger Actor in a Drama Series three years in row in 2012, 2013 and 2014, and now Chandler Massey is going for gold for the second time in his career in the Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series which in a field where he is competing with two co-stars from Days of our Lives among others.

Massey has long been a stand out performer, giving nuanced and emotional portrayals in the angst-ridden life of Will Horton and the love of his life, Sonny Kiriakis (Freddie Smith).

Back in February of this year, DAYS fans learned that Chandler and Freddie had taped their last episodes, and since the NBC soap tapes more than 6 months ahead of air, that the two will still be on the air into the fall.  That has made this moment of recognition for Massey all the more poignant.

Michael Fairman TV talked with Chandler to get his reaction to the news that he is once again a Daytime Emmy nominee, and here’s what he had to say about it all.

Photo: JPI

 

I thought it was great that you received another Emmy nomination.  What do you think?

CHANDLER:  Yeah.  I thought it was pretty great too, actually.   I was surprised.  I wasn’t keeping up on when they were announcing the nominations.   I was thrilled that Wally (Kurth) and Paul (Telfer) also got nominated too in the same category.  So, hopefully, DAYS, has a decent shot to take it home.

What did you end up submitting that ultimately landed you the nomination?

CHANDLER:  I went with some scenes that aired on December 16th of last year (I just looked that up), where Will basically breaks up with Sonny when Sonny comes to visit him in prison.  I liked those because they were sort of subtle.  I just found myself drawn in when I watched it, and it wasn’t big or dramatic, but it felt like two real people sharing their pain.  So, that’s why I chose it.

Photo: JPI

I remember those.  Those were heartbreaking because he had to get Sonny to let him go.

CHANDLER:  Yes.  He said he has a new prison boyfriend, and that he’s doing really well in prison, so he doesn’t want to be tied down. (Laughs)

You’ve had Freddie Smith as your scene partner for so much of your run on DAYS.  What did he give you in those scenes that helped you, or even further enabled the performance that you gave?

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CHANDLER:  Freddie always gives everything.  He is a consummate professional, so he really commits every time.  I think it is more that we are just so comfortable with each other that we are not afraid, and that there is no hesitation between the two of us, so we just are able to do the work.  We usually know we are there to listen to, and support each other. in the scenes.

Photo: NATAS

Was your entire submission from the prison scenes or did you include something else?

CHANDLER:  It was just that.  I know I could have included something else, but I like to keep it sort of short because I feel like as a judge, I know within a few minutes.  It’s not that I get bored, but it really only takes a scene or two, and then, you’re like, “this is something special.”  You can recognize it pretty quickly.

So, you have won three Daytime Emmys. This is your first nomination in a few years, right?

CHANDLER:  Yeah, I didn’t get nominated the year before.  I had a gap year… to my family’s great shame. (Laughs)  They were not pleased with me.

Photo: JPI

This is your second nomination in the Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Daytime Drama Series category.

CHANDLER:  Yes. I was nominated in ‘Supporting’ for the first time when I came back to DAYS, and then submitted for “Lead” the next year, didn’t get nominated, and then went back to ‘Supporting’.  I learned my place.  I went back to ‘Supporting’ for this year.  (Laughs)

It’s such a game though, right?  .

CHANDLER:  Yeah, you’ve got to be smart.  I just thought, “What the heck?”  Freddie and I were like, “Maybe there’s a shot that if we pick different categories, we can both get nominated,” but then, after that didn’t work, I said, “Screw that… going back to ‘Supporting”

Now, you’ve been through Emmy night before, and this is obviously going to be a virtual Emmy’s.  Now, if they did a six-shot of all of the nominees, what would you wear?  Would you be dressed up?  Would you be casual?  What would you see yourself doing?

CHANDLER:  That’s a good question. I think maybe… I’ll do a little of both.  I’ll go the middle ground.  I’ll be in my finest bathrobe, a silk bathrobe so it’s casual but also still sort of fancy.

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There you go.  (Laughs)  Is this nomination all the more special for you in that you are no longer working at DAYS? 

CHANDLER:  Oh, totally.  Every year is special, but you know, I’m not on the show anymore, so it’s a nice reminder that the work that I did had an effect on people, and it won’t be forgotten for at least a few more hours.

Photo: JPI

I saw the fan outcry and show of support for you and Freddie, when viewers got wind that you were exiting the series.  It was sad and heartwarming at the same time.  The WilSon fans are so behind you guys.

CHANDLER:  Yeah, if only they knew what horrible people that we were in real life, then they wouldn’t be this way, but thankfully… (Laughs)  Yeah, it’s really nice, but it is sad.  I started in 2009, and that was over 10 years ago, and nothing lasts forever.  I had a really, really great run, and so did Freddie.  I am very satisfied and don’t feel jipped, or like, I was entitled to anything more than I got.

Courtesy/NBC

Obviously, your co-nominees, Wally and Paul you worked with many times.  What can you say about them?

CHANDLER:  I think that both men deserve definitely to get second and third place.  (Laughs)  I have known Wally for a while now.  I love him.  I think his work is phenomenal.  I think he is really, really underrated.  Paul, I don’t know as well, but I think obviously his work speaks for himself.  If only he were physically attractive, I think that would really, really help his career.

Photo: JPI

I know, it’s a shame.

CHANDLER:  Unfortunately, he is kind of schleppy, you know?  (Laughs)

Photo: JPI

Did Freddie reach out to you after you received the nomination?  

CHANDLER:  Oh yes, he sent a text congratulating me, and we talked about it.  It was nice.  I feel like our stories are so intertwined, the scenes we submit are mostly with each other.  So, it’s really kind of a shared accolade.

So, will you be rooting for Chandler to cap off his career on DAYS with an Emmy win on June 26th during the virtual ceremony on CBS? What did you think of the nominated scenes he submitted? Share your thoughts via the comment section below.

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All My Children

Eva LaRue Talks On Her Daytime Emmy Nomination, And Opens Up About The Loss Of John Callahan

For Eva LaRue, the past two months have been some of the most emotionally gut-wrenching and challenging of her life, following the passing of her ex-husband, father of her child, and dearest friend, John Callahan (Ex-Edmund, All My Children). The outpouring of support she has received not only from her former AMC cast mates, but the soap world in general illustrates just how dear Eva is to all of us, and how many people had special memories of their time with John.

While mourning the loss of Callahan along with their daughter, Kaya, there was some heartwarming and re-affirming news that any actress would love to hear. Eva was nominated for a Daytime Emmy in the Outstanding Guest Performer in a Drama Series for her work as Celeste Rosales on CBS’ The Young and the Restless, and she is great company as her former AMC co-star Michael E. Knight (Ex-Tad) is also nominated along with her for his work on General Hospital.

The coronavirus pandemic has hit our country and world hard, but through it All My Children virtual reunions emerged as fans were engaged by the content, transported to happier times that brought them back to familiar faces in Pine Valley in which Eva participated along with her good friends, Kelly Ripa, Mark Consuelos and so many more, thanks to the EW. com weeklong event which concluded on Friday.

Michael Fairman TV talked with Eva in this very candid, at times heartbreaking, and open conversation where she shares details into the final days of her beloved John, her last moments with him, and how she tried to plan a memorial in his honor during the COVID-19 pandemic.

For so many of us, 2020 has certainly seen more lows then highs, but in the end for Eva, to receive a nomination now (an award she was last nominated for back in 1997 as Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for her work as Dr Maria Santos on All My Children) couldn’t have come at a better time. Here now is our conversation with Eva.

Photo: JPI

I’ve been thinking so much about you.  I’m glad we could do this, and in the midst of the tragedy of losing John Callahan, and then receiving a Daytime Emmy nomination.  What was your reaction when you learned you were nominated in a category with none other than your former AMC castmate and good friend, Michael E. Knight (Ex-Tad, AMC, now Martin, GH)?

EVA:  Oh, I know!  He’s the first person I texted!  I was like, “Congratulations, Michael!  Did you ever in a million years think that you and I would be in the same category of anything?”  Then I said, “And when you win this, can I just borrow it for the weekend just to dress it up and take pictures with it… just want to borrow it, just babysit the trophy for a weekend, please?” (Laughs)

Photo: JPI

What did you end up submitting that landed you the nomination for your role as Celeste on Y&R?

EVA: I submitted a scene with Peter Bergman (Jack, Y&R), who I have been friends for 30 years, if not more, and in all that time we had never worked together.  I met him when I was married to John O’Hurley (Ex- Dr. James Grainger) because John was over at The Young and the Restless at the time.  I went to a Christmas party with John to Peter and Mariellen’s house, and do you know who else was there?  Lisa Rinna (Ex-Billie, Days), and it was before she had gotten Days of Our Lives. She was dating Peter Barton (Ex-Scott Grainger, Y&R) at the time. We both ended up on soaps at the same time.  So, I submitted a scene with Peter, who is amazing, warm and open and such a great actor. Then I submitted a scene with my on-screen daughter Sasha Calle (Lola, Y&R) – I love that girl, and another one with Michelle Stafford (Phyllis, Y&R) who has also been my great friend for a couple of decades. The other scene I put on my reel was with me and Jordi Vilasuso (Rey, Y&R) who I also adore.  He is awesome and such a sweetheart.  I only had two months worth of material to draw upon.  So, I just submitted the scenes that I liked the best, and they all were within story, and all made sense.

Photo: Getty Images

Where is Celeste supposed to be now?

EVA:  She went back to Florida, and that was that. I would never say never to anything, but it was always supposed to be a short stint, and it was great.

So not only is it you and Michael E. Knight, but Jeffery Vincent Parise, Chrishell Stause, and Elissa Kapneck. This Guest Performer category is loaded!

EVA:  I know! I know and love, Chrishell (Ex-Amanda) because we worked together on All My Children, too, right before I left, and she is a doll.  She just might be the sweetest, kindest, girl on the planet.  She literally might be the sweetest person who ever lived!  I don’t know the other two nominees personally.  So, I’m excited for them too.  It’s such a diverse category.  It’s just really fun to be nominated with all of them.

Photo: Hallmark Channel

You were nominated before, though, for your work as Maria on All My Chldren during the emotional baby switch storyline; working opposite Susan Lucci (Ex-Erica) for a lot in it.

EVA:  Yes.  I was nominated for Best Supporting Actress for All My Children, and I was nominated for Best Original Song.  I wrote a song when Maria came ‘back from the dead’ to All My Children, with a producer friend of mine from Miami Sound Machine.

Photo: Live with Kelly Ryan

So, you’ve been doing all of these All My Children virtual reunions, which is so interesting that in this pandemic, people are looking for content, and they dip back into these beloved shows.  Was it fun doing the EW.com Santos Family reunion with everybody?

EVA:  Oh yeah, it was really, really fun.  I only saw in the big picture everybody else’s photo who was a part of it, and the people who I actually do hang out with the most, and see the most, and talk to the most, are Kelly Ripa (Ex-Hayley), Mark Consuelos (Ex-Mateo), and Sydney Penny (Ex-Julia).  I don’t see Sydney as much, but I do see her probably once every two years at least, but Sarah Michelle Geller (ExKendall) I see all the time and talk to all the time.  Kelly, Mark, and Sarah are the ones who walked me through that first week when John Callahan passed.  They literally were on the phone with me, the three of them, almost every day, but I got beautiful outreach, from what seemed like everyone.  This is when no matter how many years have passed since you have been in daytime, that the daytime family as a group – there used to be fifteen shows, now there are four – and people have bounced around and they are on other shows- – but the entire soap opera community reached out,   I cannot even tell you how much that meant to me.  It was overwhelming, and it was really, spectacularly beautiful.

Photo: JPI

I hope it was some solace to you knowing how much people loved John, and also that they love and care so deeply for you.

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EVA:  I mean, people who did not even work with John reached out.  Every soap was represented by getting a hold of me, sending a text or a phone call, or if they didn’t have my personal information, they tweeted, or whatever it was… literally from every reach of soapdom.  It was amazing.

And your relationship with John was amazing with all of the ups and downs you went through; that you remained such dear friends.

EVA:  We remained really great friends all the way.

Photo: JPI

I so remember when the two of you first got together and it was this storybook real life soap couple romance.  John was always so sweet to me.  I was so, so sad, and you know, my heart just broke for you.

EVA:  I think it was just such a shock.  I don’t think anybody, and even Kaya were talking about it, because she graduated this week, and her dad is not here.  We’re not having a graduation, because of COVID-19, which sucks on top of it, but we were just kind of talking through the feelings of it.  She said, “You know what’s weird?  I guess I never pictured dad getting old, and I always wondered why, and now I know.”  When I would get on John about his heart or his health, he used to always say, ‘Oh, don’t worry Evala, (he always called me “Evala”).  I’m going to be here.  I’m going to be here a long time.  I’m fine.  I’m going to be here to walk Kaya down the aisle and see her kids and all that.  Stop worrying,” Every time he said it to me, something in my gut said, “I don’t think he is.  I don’t think he is,” but I always just dismissed that.  But never in my wildest dreams did I think John wouldn’t make it to her high school graduation.  He was only 66.

Photo: JPI

I had heard you ended up running to Palm Springs to be near John.  I can’t even imagine what that must have been like.

EVA:  The only good thing about this pandemic is that we had been shut down for only two weeks at that point.  Kaya and I got in the car.  John had some heart procedures the day before, on a Thursday.  I called him in the morning before he went in for the procedure.  I said, “Call me as soon as you get out of there.  Call me as soon as you come-to again, and you’re good,” and he said, “Okay, I will.”  I said, “I’m going to send Kaya out to you on Friday for the weekend, just so you have somebody to hang out and watch you, and I might come out too,” And then, I said, “Maybe, I’ll come down too in case you are feeling weak, just to watch out for you for the weekend.”   So, he called me after the procedure.   I said, “I cannot believe they sent you home! You just had some major heart stuff done.”  He said, “Oh no, they said I’m fine.  It was just run-of-the-mill heart stuff, angiogram…”  I was like, “Are you sure?”  He said, “Yeah, I’m fine.  I’m just tired.  I’m going to go to sleep.”  I said, “Do you want me to send Kaya out tonight?” and he was like, “No, no, no.  Send her tomorrow.”  So, in the morning, I called him at 9:00am.  No answer.  I texted him.  He always texted me like Johnny on the spot, and then texts me immediately back.  So, I call him again at 10.  Nothing.  His best friend calls me about a half-hour later, “Hey, I talked to John at about 8:00 this morning.  He said he was feeling really, really shitty and was going to go back to the hospital, and then, I texted him again at like 8:30 to just tell him something, and he hasn’t texted me back, and he always texts me immediately back.”  I said, “Oh my, God, I’ve been trying to get a hold of him for two hours; he hasn’t texted me back,”   I said, “You know what, I’ll call you back.”  So, I called his friend who lives down the street from John, and I said, “Go to his house, please right this second, knock on the door, jump the fence, knock on his bedroom, he might be asleep, I don’t know.”  So, he gets there, nobody is answering.  I said, “Break into the house please.  So, he did, and John was collapsed in the bathroom.  They called the paramedics, and as soon as they called me back and said, “John is unresponsive in the bathroom,” Kaya and I threw everything in the car, and what usually takes us two and a half hours without traffic, we made it down there from Los Angeles in an hour and forty-five minutes.

Photo: JPI

I don’t know how you made it down there in one piece. Thank, God!

EVA:  I drove so fast, like literally broke all land speed records and thank God because we got there just in time.  He was in emergency.  He hadn’t been put up in ICU yet, where we wouldn’t have been able to see him.  They weren’t going to let us in the hospital.  Thank God the person answering the door was an All My Children fan.  She was the one saying, “Sorry, no one is allowed in the hospital, no one can come in,” and I was like, “No, no, no, my ex-husband just came in.”  She said, “Was it Edmund?” and I said, “Yes, it was Edmund!”  She said, “Okay, follow me.”  Thank God for All My Children.  Thank God.  So, we followed this woman secretly, and we get to spend a half-hour with him in Emergency.  He was already on life-support, totally unresponsive, but we got to play John his favorite music, we got to just sit there and hold his hand and talk to him, and tell him how much we loved him.  Sarah Michelle Gellar called right when we were in the hospital in Emergency, and she said, “Put the phone by his ear,” so I put the phone by his ear, and she talked to John too, and she told him how much she loved him.  She used to always call him “GP”, which was short of grandpa, because she came on the show when she was 15, and she didn’t have a dad, and John acted like a dad to her – but she used to always call him “grandpa”, and he hated “grandpa”, so he was like, “You can call me “GP”, but not grandpa,” so she always called him GP.  I just put the phone by John’s ear, and what was crazy is that when she talked to him, his feet started twitching.  He started moving his feet.  Then, when Kaya was talking to him about Yankee season, he started moving his feet.  We were kind of hopeful that something was changing for the better.  We had about a half-hour with him, and then, they took him up to ICU, and then, we knew we couldn’t see him again.  They called us later that night that he had passed.

Photo: JPI

I am just so thankful that you got to see John one last time.

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EVA:  I thank God every day that we got to say goodbye, because if we hadn’t gotten there in time to say goodbye, I just don’t know.

It’s very rare that a couple after a divorce, who have a child, and went from romance to dear friends, end up maintaining that relationship so many years later in their lives.  I know so many people who were together at one point in their lives, for years, and they don’t even talk to each other now.

EVA:  Well, you know, like any divorce, the first four years afterwards were super contentious but then, by year five, we kind of had this major breakthrough, and from then on, he was one of my closest friends, and one of the things we always kept alive for each other was we loved to  dance together. We fell in love, I think, dancing because originally our characters on AMC met at this country-western bar, and we had to take country line dancing lessons on the show.  They hired a choreographer for us so that during those scenes where we were falling in love, we would actually be able to do a two-step! So, we went out and practiced at Denim and Diamonds, which was a big country-western place in New York City at the time.  We used to go out with a whole group of us.  It was me, and Teresa Blake (Ex-Gloria) and Kelly Ripa, and her boyfriend at the time, Winsor Harmon (Ex-Del), sometimes Walt Willey (Ex-Jack); we just had a whole crew of us who would go out country dancing.  John and I also loved singing together.  He had the most amazing gravely kind of rockstar voice, but his real talent was harmonizing.  He could harmonize to anything.  So, when he would come over, we would sit in the kitchen and sing, and sing, and sing until the late hours because that’s what we loved to do, and that’s what he loved to do.  That’s one of my favorite last memories of us.  He was just over the month before, and Kaya’s bedroom is near the kitchen, so she came out and was like, “Can you two shut up?”  It was like two in the morning and we were still singing in the kitchen. (Laughs)  John was my dear friend and my confidant.

Photo: ABC

Were you able to have some kind of service during this stay-at-home pandemic we are all dealing with, in order to mourn the loss of John?

EVA:  It’s been so crazy.  We couldn’t even have a funeral.  That’s what made it all the more heartbreaking.  There were less than twenty of us, and we just got on a Zoom call and memorialized John.   I thought we were going to do a big Zoom memorial, but it seemed so overwhelming and so impersonal, it just was rubbing us wrong in every way.  Every way we were looking at it, we were like, “Oh my, God, we just can’t.”  We wanted to invite everybody he had ever worked with, and we were like, “No, we want to do that when everything can open back up again, and invite every person, and have a party” because John was always the life of every party.  Maybe we can do that in the fall or next year.  I kept trying to write something for the small memorial we did do for three days.  I kept coming back to this one song, because John was always the consummate bartender, too.  I sang a song that Bette Midler sang on the very last episode of Johnny Carson.  It was “One for My Baby (and One More for the Road)” and it’s about a bartender who has got a big personality and a lot to say.   I changed some of the words around a bit just to reflect who John was, and so, I ended up singing for it instead of speaking.  We always talked about that last episode of Carson; how stunningly emotional it was when Bette sang that song to kind of sing Johnny off for of all of his years on the air.  So, that’s what I did and because we loved to sing together, it just made sense.

Photo: HutchinsPhoto

I do think you touched upon something, earlier, too.  I don’t think any other genre would have that kind of unbridled camaraderie.  It’s such a family, like you said.  I don’t think you would find that quite like this; certainly in show business. 

EVA:  I really don’t think you can. Even though there is always a good amount of competition in the soaps as well; between the soaps it’s like they are any sports team, but there is always a level of respect, love, and familial connection within the community.  I think that is why they have stood the test of time.  I really do think that is what hooks our audience, that is what keeps them there after all of these years, even though unfortunately the genre is antiquated looking, there is something about it that is nostalgic, familial, and comfortable for people.

Photo: JPI

Every time I talk about All My Children, why do you think everybody go ga-ga for it, when it’s been off the air for several years now?

EVA:  It speaks to people’s childhoods.  It speaks to how we grew up.  You can’t undo nostalgia.  You can’t.  It’s in the way we grew up, the things we loved, the things that we scheduled our lives around, the people we fell in love with on the shows that we watched, who we cared about and loved their storylines. I grew up watching All My Children, General Hospital, and Days of Our Lives.

It must have been a spectacular moment for you when you realized you were actually in Pine Valley and a member of the cast of All My Children then?

EVA:  It was amazing.  I was a fan when I got the show.  I was a straight up fan.  I fangirled walking through that dressing room hallway for the first time! I was trying to keep it in check, but you know … (Laughs)

Photo: JPI

So, in closing, you would say, “Thrilled to be nominated”?

EVA:  Yes.  So fun.  It has really been a rollercoaster of a couple of months here.  That nomination was literally the bright, shining spot in all of this.

So, happy to hear Eva is in the running for a Daytime Emmy? Were you moved by Eva’s sentiments she shared on her relationship with the late John Callahan? Do you miss Pine Valley’s Dr. Maria Santos? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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