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Tracey E. Bregman Dishes & Looks Back On 35 Years As Y&R’s Lauren: The Hair, The Catfights, The Leading Men!

Photo Credit: HutchinsPhoto.com

Photo Credit: CBS Monty Brinton

Last week, Tracey E. Bregman (Lauren Fenmore Baldwin) celebrated her 35-year milestone with The Young and the Restless, with an on set celebration in her honor.  Bregman, who has taken Lauren from bitchy bad girl, to wife and mother, to shrewd business women, and everything in between over three decades, is a beloved staple of the CBS Daytime drama series, and with her cast.

On-Air On-Soaps chatted with the Tracey to have her reflect back on those years featuring: big hairdos, catfights (yup, those Sheila Carter furniture slingers, hair-pullers, and steak knife accessory ones!), love stories, corporate backstabbing, and her on-screen love stories, especially the one that has stood the test of time between Michael (Christian LeBlanc) and Lauren.  One of the sexiest, effervescent, fun, and entertaining gals we know; what fun it was to take a quick trip down memory lane, and to gain some insight from Bregman herself on 35 years of life in Genoa City. 

Let’s talk historical Lauren! Starting with your big hair in that 35th anniversary clip package that went viral and was posted all over social media!  What are your thoughts when you see your vintage Lauren “dos”?

Courtesy/CBS

TRACEY:  I think it’s hilarious!  I always go, “How did I look in the mirror and think that looked good?” (Laughs)  But, you look at it back at that time.  Lisa Hartman (Ciji, Knots Landing) was wearing her hair the same way.  We all had this big hair! Quite frankly, I went to a dance class yesterday and my hair dried naturally and all curly, and I have this big hair today.  So, I am rivaling my 80’s hair!  I am like, “Oh, my God!  What happened?   I look like I stuck my finger in a light socket and it went poof! “(Laughs)

Lauren was such a vixen and troublemaker back in the day!  What do you think of those years now as you reflect back on them in 2018?

TRACEY:  Those were the years of being the femme fatale and the storylines were outrageous.  Somebody sent me the interviews the cast did for the 40th anniversary of Y&R, and I guess I was talking about Mary Williams and Paul’s centerfold! (Laughs) It was all so much fun.

Courtesy/CBS

Is there any character on daytime that has had more catfights than Lauren? 

TRACEY:  No, I don’t think so.  I said in my speech that I think I rival all the guys in the amount of fight scenes.

Lauren’s endless catfights with Sheila should be a compilation reel in any television academy hall of fame or archive!  Do you have one that stands out to you among the rest?

Photo Credit: JPI Studios/Courtesy Y&R

TRACEY:  I think it’s ironic, because it’s so crazy, but I would say the chemistry lab fight scene with Kimberlin Brow was right at the top of my list.  I was in bugle beads and heels and just slid across every table top!  And to think, I am the least physical person.  I remember, I had to slap Michael Damian and ten takes later I couldn’t do it.  My kids will tell you … all I would ever to do them is pinch their arm (laughs) that is like the worst thing I could do to anybody.  So for me, to then have to do all these fight scenes just goes against my grain.

So, what did you do when you read in the script, or you were told, “OK Tracey … here comes another catfight?” (Laughs)

TRACEY:  I was like “Oh, God.  It’s just not my favorite thing to do it all!”  However, Kimberlin and I had a trust between us when we had to get physical.  We were able to go farther and farther the more times we did catfights together.

Photo Credit: CBSCourtesy/CBS

And back in the day, Lauren got away with fat-shaming Traci Abbott (Beth Maitland).  I don’t think that would fly in the world today, and there would be immense blowback on social media for that!

TRACEY:  Oh, my God!   I was almost tarred and feathered back then.  Now, I would be toast.  I was toast for Lauren’s one kiss in the park with Cane (Daniel Goddard) … can you imagine?

With the cast, crew, and members of you family all in attendance at the celebration in honor of your 35th anniversary with Y&R, what were you most touched by during the festivities?

Photo Credit: HutchinsPhoto.com

TRACEY:   I was so touched by everything – the people that were there, the people that spoke, the people that posted things across social media and what they said to me.   It was one of those extraordinary things where you kind of get a glimpse as to what people really think and you don’t always get to hear that, or know it.  I got the opportunity to have a whole day of it.  It was just so moving to me, and yes, it was celebrating 35 years on Y&R, and in fact, I opened my speech by saying, “I can’t believe I have been anywhere for 35 years!” It was hard for me to believe, but to hear people’s thoughts about me was such a gift.   It was such an extraordinary day filled with it, and that was really nice.

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Did you ever think from your soap beginning as Donna Craig on DAYS that you would end up in a role for 35 years on another daytime drama? 

Photo Credit: HutchinsPhoto.com

TRACEY:  I was hired in January 35 years ago on Y&R, and I thought this will be a great January to summer gig, period.  Never thought anything more, ever!

Let’s talk about your Y&R leading men!  You and Christian LeBlanc have created this enduring couple as Lauren and Michael.  Would you say, through your experiences working with Christian, that you have grown as an actor?

TRACEY:  Oh, how can you not grow working with someone like Christian?  The thing that I appreciate so much in our working relationship – and we talk about it a lot is – as actors you are at home and you do your homework. Then, when you come to the set you come to the table with what you have done at home.  What I love about how Christian and I work together is that we take all of that, and we throw it all out on the table and then we put the puzzle together.  It’s this collaboration.  It literally is us throwing up all the puzzles pieces and then putting together the puzzle.  There are times it’s almost impossible to try and act opposite Christian, because he is so good that I just want to watch him.  I want to be like a viewer!  Christian is so giving as a person and as an actor, and so funny.  The thing that he and I both spoke about in our speeches is how we love to dance together, and that we are true partners.  I said that, “He makes Lauren fall in love with Michael Baldwin on every single episode.”

Photo Credit: CBS

Then of course, there was Danny Romalotti and Lauren!  What was it like working with Michael Damian?

TRACEY:  Michael was so adorable, and we each tried to make our hair bigger than the others! (Laughs)  He was so much fun, great, and really amazing to me during the whole singing storyline, which was different for me.  Michael was always so helpful, and fun, and yet, we were learning 30 pages of dialog a night, and on top of that then he and I were at Capitol Records recording till all hours of the night.  It was a lot of work, and we had so much fun doing it together, which made is so special.

And of course, Lauren and Paul!  Tell me about working with the one and only. Doug Davidson.

Photo: CBS

TRACEY:  They used to call Doug and me, “The Instigators”. (Laughs)  He was the fair-haired boy who would make me laugh, and then everybody would be screaming at me, because I was laughing at him.  As you know, Doug is hilarious, and absolutely no one would be upset with him, and everybody would be yelling at me! (Laughs) “You need to concentrate” they would yell on set.  I go, “Oh, my God.  I was just standing here minding my business, and he just said the funniest thing I ever heard in my entire life!” (Laughs)  Doug was an extraordinary partner, and such a good actor.  I got really lucky, and as I said in my speech, “I won the co-star lottery!”

Everybody always tells me when working on Y&R that all roads to what is going on at the show lead to Tracey Bregman,  and that you the “411” on everything happening on set and behind the scene.  Is that true? (Laughs)

Photo Credit: HutchinsPhoto.com

TRACEY:  It’s true!  (Laughs)  They call me “411”.  This happened because I listen, and I take notes.  I am interested in things my cast members may want to know.   I also keep things to myself until somebody asks, but I will get a phone call from a cast member and I always answer the phone by saying, “What do you need?” (Laughs)

Currently on the air shows, there are problems going on with Lauren’s company where Chelsea (Melissa Claire Egan) is seemingly embezzling from right from under her. What do you think of that storyline which seems “au currant”?

TRACEY:  I will tell you what I love about what Mal Young (EP and head writer, Y&R) has been writing.  He is writing about very current topics.  I love the partnership with the character of Phyllis; played by the adorable Gina Tognoni.  I love that we are these powerful business women that don’t resort to being bitchy, or underhanded.  We do things in an up-and-up way, but no one is going to get anything over us.  I love that he is writing us that strong, and that smart.

Photo: Monty Brinton/CBS

I even liked when Tracey brought former flame Eric Forrester (John McCook) to Genoa City to help her business dealings with Jack Abbott (Peter Bergman) and Jabot.  She was showing that she was no dummy in the world of corporate takeovers.

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TRACEY:  They make Lauren laser sharp.  Christian and I sort of early on had this thing with our characters that some men might be intimated by a powerful woman, but when he sees her taking over and being this powerhouse, it is like a turn-on for him. The same goes for Lauren when she sees Michael in court being this strong powerhouse attorney.  It’s a turn-on for her.  You have these two powerful entities, who are together as a couple, which could cause some friction, but it is what ignites us.  It makes us even prouder and hotter for each other.

Daniel Hall has been written out as of now, as your grown up on-screen son, Scott Grainger.  How do you feel that storyline played out? 

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

TRACEY:   I wish they had written more of the family dynamic.  It’s a very interesting relationship between Lauren and Scott.  She had wanted to spend her whole life with him, but she hid him away to protect him for his whole life. There has to be repercussions from that, and I don’t think we ever saw that. So, I wish there would have been a deeper storyline.  And yes, of course, Scott would need to have a love story, but a lot of us are the way we are because we have a lot of pain, and we have a lot of blocks in our own life, because of our childhood, parenting, etc.  I would love to have seen that explored more.

Would you like to have Kimberlin Brown come over to Y&R, or you go back to B&B for a visit, since Sheila returned last year to the canvas causing trouble for the Forresters?  Everyone wanted to see her mix it up with Lauren and Scott given the history.  Aren’t you also the record-holder for the amount of crossovers to another show on the soaps, and on TV, period?

Courtesy/CBS

TRACEY:  Right!  Exactly!  It would be amazing as long as I don’t get duct taped to something. (Laughs)  That was my only beef with the Sheila story.  Lauren went from this ultra strong character that when they brought on this other strong character it was sort of  “Victimize Lauren” time, and I always had a problem with it.  So, if they were to do it I would hope, and I would be open to doing it, but doing it by showing that two strong women could go at it.  I loved the story we did a few years back with Christian and Marco Dapper as Carmine, which was ultimately about; how far would you go protect your family?  I think you have seen Lauren in protection mode; where she was protecting her family. She killed Sarah Smythe, and she killed what she thought was Phyllis, but it was Sheila pretending to be Phyllis. In that story, Lauren was torn between her best friend Phyllis, and the fake Phyllis. She has to make a split second decision to kill the right one.  These moments and stories illustrated that Lauren is a very strong woman.

Courtesy/CBS

Was the Carmine affair with Marco Dapper, one of Lauren’s top Y&R trysts of all-time?

TRACEY:  The other affairs she was having were when she was married to Scott Grainger, and she was having affairs with Paul, and she almost did not marry Scott.

Maybe you should also consider being the continuity director at Y&R in addition to acting on the show! (Laughs)

TRACEY:   I am not sure I would remember everything to be honest! (Laughs) People tell me stories from the past on Y&R, and I am like “Oh, right!” Sometimes I am sent old scenes, and I am watching them, and I am going, “I wonder what I do next?” (Laughs)

Photo Credit HutchinsPhoto.com

What would you like to say to your fans, who have supported you through the years, and who have continually invested in Lauren? They always want the best for her, and they love her when she is a little naughty, they love her when she is flirtatious, and they love her when she is a goof wife. 

TRACEY:  I would say to the audience how much I have appreciated them – that they have watched all of these years and made Y&R number one for 29 years in a row – and that they are the reason we are number one.  In addition, how much I appreciate all the support for all these years, and that how amazing that we have all grown up together!

So, what has been your favorite Lauren Fenmore Baldwin moment in Tracey E. Bregman’s 35 years on Y&R? Who has been your favorite all-tine leading man for Lauren? Would you like to see Kimberlin Brown’s Sheila Carter terrorize Lauren one more time? Send your congrats to Tracey on her Y&R milestone below, and more via the comment section below!

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k/kaySoaphoundCeliaDeeRon Recent comment authors
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Jimh
Jimh

She looks like a young Nikki Newman in that picture with Danny…liked her on Days as Donna Temple Craig!!!!!!!

Satan
Satan

She’s been on Y&R for 35 years??

Don’t even watch that show, but I still remember when she was Donna Craig on Days of Our Lives. She disappeared from Salem shortly before her dad went out to get the mail and was never heard from again.

Jimh
Jimh

She left town to live with Don’s mom-Grandma Craig…that was when Days started their mass firings and some actors quit!!!

ADAM
ADAM

Congrats on 35 years that is awesome! I love Lauren, but more love to Tracey E. Bregman, she is just awesome all the way. I wished they give her a storyline soon, she deserves it. I know her turn is coming soon. Right now it’s about the Ashley/Jack and the mystery with Chelsea Lawson. Bottom line SHE ROCKS! and she is one of my favorites on the show!

Jamesj75
Jamesj75

Mr. Fairman thanks so much for including the picture featuring Marco Dapper! And, oh yeah, thanks for the interview of Tracey E. Bregman. 🙂

Soaphound
Soaphound

Hello, James. I wish they hadn’t trashed the Carmine character; Marco had gotten really good by the time of the affair and I had great fun imagining being Lauren (well, an unmarried Lauren maybe) in those boudoir scenes. And I’ve always loved Tracey; I get the same silly look of glee when Lauren is on that I get when Traci is.

Jamesj75
Jamesj75

I’m with you 100%, Soaphound! Take care, Friend.

Vasilis
Vasilis

Love Lauren! Brad Bell bring her back for a visit to Sheila!

Maca
Maca

I used to love when Lauren sang she was so good with Danny !

James R. Poissant
James R. Poissant

I have said quite a few times in this forum that Tracey is the most beautiful lady in all of television along with Kimberlin. This interview was so good and it was very nice to read about her feelings on the old storylines she had along with what she’s doing now. Lauren has always been an exciting character to me and I’m so glad Tracey chose to play her for all these years. TRACEY FOREVER!!!

Carol
Carol

I fondly remember all of these periods……but, the Danny Romalotti years will always be my favorite. I would love to see him return.

soapqueenforever
soapqueenforever

I agree with you Carol. The Traci, Danny, Lauren storyline is what got me hooked on Y&R to begin with. Not to mention the wonderful cat fight the two of them had over Brad while he was in the hospital. I believe the fight took place in the hospital and two nurses had to break it up. Ah, the good old days!!! Now if we could only see more of the love story of Michael and Lauren, I would be extremely happy. The chemistry between Ms. Bregman and Mr. Leblanc, to md is one of the best in daytime. The perfect soap opera couple. I would rather see more of their romantic side, than listening to Hilary whine about a pregnancy that might not even be yet. She is chalking her recent crazy spells up to her “pregnancy”. If she is like this now and she is not sure if she is or she isn’t, if and when it actually happens, she will need a straight jacket when her pregnancy hormones really do kick in. Happy viewing, and thanks for listening.

Soaphound
Soaphound

Oh, soapqueenforever, can you imagine the memories Tracey and others of many years on the show must have? The halcyon days of soaps, the great sets and costumes, working with Jeanne Cooper and other greats. What an amazing legacy Tracey is part of and I, for my part, am very grateful to these talented, dedicated artists.

Michael
Michael

What a great article! Congrats Tracey on 35 wonderful and fun filled years on Y&R!

Celia
Celia

Lauren Fenmore has not changed in 35 years…..amazing!!
I am so envious. LOL.

damien
damien

love lauren!
she is y n r royalty!
i think they have a tour bus with her picture on it in nyc if im not mistaken!
top 3 wishes for lauren on her 35th anniversary:
1. with all the Fenmore business affairs taking place , time to bring back an updated Fenmores store set on the ground floor of Jabot like the good ol days
2. Her and Paul need scenes together, maybe even all together with their loves Michael and Christine
3. BRING BACK Carmine and Sheila!… with no Graham, genoa city really needs a villian.

Celia
Celia

Carmine…oh, WOW, damien…..he and Lauren sizzled!!!!!

Ron
Ron

Great ideas here. And I’d like to add one more: bring back Danny Romalotti (and Gina!) and see how it all goes between Lauren and best buddy, Phyllis.

Celia
Celia

HaHa, Ron….good one. ….neither Lauren nor Phyllis has a pristine past. Bad girls, both of them.
Most of Lauren’s shenanigans are before my time….but, my Gran gave me Y&R classes , LOL, on all characters and storylines….she’s been watching since its inception.
Lauren was a meanie….especially to Tracy, always ‘picking’ on her about her weight. Suddenly, they have become the symbols of virtue and all that is righteous in the world.
And, Phyllis? What she did to Danny was dedpicable. I wish Patty Weaver would return….she had the most melodic, beautifully warm, silver-toned voice….loved her singing.
This feels like deja-vu…..did I write these same words before?

Marie-Claire
Marie-Claire

Thanks to Michael and Tracey for this great interview. I love Tracey Bregman and am a huge Lauren fan. She is the one who got me addicted to YR.
I loved a lot of the Lauren stories, Lauren & Paul were my first favorite couple but I’m a huge Likey fan right now. They have great chemistry and I don’t understand they never are on and MY doesn’t take advantage of their great chemistry.
And Lauren is underused, she rarely is on. I love Phyllis and I love her friendship with Lauren and she works for Lauren. But in the Chelsea story hacking Fenmore’s, I don’t mind Phyllis being involved but she shouldn’t be the major player, that should be Lauren. Even Il should be brought back in this story, she’s the Lauren sister and in control of Fenmore’s with Lauren. And Fenmore’s needs a set, they need to give back her office to Lauren and even the boutique.
They need to bring back the Lauren children. Scott was brought back for Sharon and the Newmans, it was a big failure. Tracey is right the relationship with his mother should be explored more, there is a huge story there. And Fen should be brought back in that, it should have jealousy of Scott towards Fen who grew around Lauren.
And they should bring back Joanna, the Lauren mom for a visit. I don’t understand why they didn’t take this opportunity when Fenmore’s was in trouble the last year, she could give her some advice.
The Baldwin/Fisher dynamic was great but Mal Young totally erased this family. Gloria, being so loyal to Jack is ridiculous, he treated her like dirty after the John death.

There is a lot of other things I could say but Lauren is an iconic character, she shouldn’t be ignored or get so little.

Ron
Ron

Lauren should be on full contract. Beef up her storyline with Michael; they’ve been reduced to part-time-part-time players! I too miss Lauren’s mom– it would be a pleasant treat for the loyal fans.

Timmm
Timmm

EVERY woman out there can only hope and pray, what a beautiful mature women! I used go between her and Michelle Stafford but the gold medal has to go to Tracey!

Celia
Celia

LOL, Timmmy….I was being facetious….not envious, not one bit. Tracey is a beautiful woman…..but no woman is immune to aging. LOL.
Michelle Stafford is natural….she looks beautiful, naturally. I hope to keep my face and body as natural as she in twenty years or so…..
I am not averse to plastic surgery….I may change my mind when I start seeing a few wrinkles?
Never say never.

Mo
Mo

Congratulations Tracey!!! I’ve enjoyed watching you on Y&R. Just wish Lauren were on more!!!!

Dee
Dee

Michael and Lauren I have loved them since 2004. So many great stories and memories of this couple! Excellent actors and this is the perfect match! To bad mal Young is not using them to their potential. Nope he has to give us a double dose of Victoria constantly but My Likey I never see..always working those two. Guess they dont have sex or a life outside of work with Mal writing..I constantly ask the soap Gods to give us a writer is fair and balanced and not just for their favs..oh Well i dont miss YR but I sure do miss Lauren and Michael..Thank you for this wonderful interview Michael Fairman

k/kay
k/kay

Every ep has their favorites they don’t happen to be in his radar and a certain vet has less air time since MY took over but yet he was all over Twitter bitching about Sally . It took ten years of destruction and the idiots could not give Kay and Sally ten moths to try o put it back together. It takes times to rebuild

Interviews

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

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

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

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

Was all of this enjoyable to play?

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

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

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

Photo” JPI

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

Photo” JPI

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

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

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

Photo” JPI

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

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

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Interviews

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

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

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

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

There’s an uncomfortableness about it, right?

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

set

Photo: JPI

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

Photo: CBS

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

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

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

Photo: JPI

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

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

Photo: CBS

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

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

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

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

Courtesy/CBS

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

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

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

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General Hospital

General Hospital’s Johnny Wactor Talks ‘Being Brando Corbin’

This week on General Hospital, viewers saw that Sonny Corinthos (Maurice Benard) has set Port Charles newcomer Brando Corbin (Johnny Wactor) up with a mechanics garage for a place of business, that has left Brando concerned, but also thankful.

Brando came onto the scene when he saved Carly (Laura Wright) from gunfire. The once believed-to-be-dead son of Gladys Corbin (Bonnie Burroughs), has a checkered past, but has been trying to remain on the straight and narrow.  Sonny had previously put into motion protection for teenaged Dev (Ashton Arbab), that he will continue to be passed off as the biological son of Brando to keep him safe.  That, along with a back-story that includes: the Iraqi War, prison time, drug use, PTSD, familial issues, mob wars, and more, has loaded the deck for actor Johnny Wactor to show his acting chops and more within the daytime drama arena.

Since making his debut in the recurring role of Brando back in January of this year, in a short amount of time, Wactor has already displayed that he has solid leading man, and soap anti-hero potential, something that always serves one well amidst the romance, intrigue, and suspense of the genre’s storytelling.

Michael Fairman TV chatted with Johnny to get his thoughts on becoming part of the iconic GH and where he hopes Brando’s journey goes from here.  Check out what he had to say below.

Photo: ABC

What do you think about your character’s name being “Brando”? Did GH tell you where the idea for the name came from?

JOHNNY:  Oh, I love it.   No, they didn’t tell me why, but I assume it was in some relation to Marlon Brando; when back in the day he was in a leather jacket … because I come onto the scene wearing a leather jacket as a badass!

What’s your experience been like coming onto a show like GH?  Previously, I know you’ve done a lot of primetime roles and series.  Were you shocked at the pace of shooting a daytime drama?

JOHNNY:  Oh, yeah.  I was made aware of the pace beforehand by my manager, as well as my buddy, Mark Grossman (Adam Newman) who works on The Young and the Restless.  He’s kicking ass over there.  In this genre, you get one rehearsal and one take pretty much, and then, they move on.  It’s definitely been a learning curve, and I’m still getting used to that at times where I’m just like, “Ah, I want one more take!”  I can get a bit obsessive and I’m a perfectionist.  It definitely has been challenging, but I enjoy it.  It’s fun to work at a fast pace.  It’s a lot like working in the theatre.

In story, Johnny is pretending to be Dev’s father.  Did you know that would be part of Brando’s story when you took on this gig?

JOHNNY:  I did not.   I didn’t know that until I read the first script that they sent me.  I’m like, “I also have a son?”   It was a lot to take in, but that’s where the imagination comes in.

What’s great for you, I would think, is that you’re getting to play in scenes with Maurice Benard and Laura Wright and major players who are a part of that core group.  What’s it been like working with them?

JOHNNY:  It’s been a Godsend, really.  Being my first time on a daytime show, for one, anytime you come onto a new project and one that’s been going on for some time, and you’re a newcomer, there’s always that concern like, “What will this set be like?  Is it like a familial atmosphere?  Am I going to be welcomed?”  They’ve made it super easy.  I’m just so lucky that I have people who have so much experience on this show and just daytime shows in general, where they’ve kind of taken me under their wings and are super helpful.  Anytime I have questions, they’re patient.  I’m sure I annoy them sometimes, but they don’t let on to it.   I’m grateful that they’ve sort of “teamed” me up with them to kind of ease me onto the show.

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The fans are seeing a spark between Brando and Carly.  Is Brando into Carly?

JOHNNY:  I’d like to say that he rescued her because she was a beautiful blonde, but that’s not what that was and why he did it … even though I’m not denying that she’s a beautiful blonde.  I think there’s something there, but how far Brando pursues that, I don’t know!  Sonny sets Brando up with the garage and a pretty sweet deal at that.  So, does Brando want to screw this up?  However, not everyone makes logical, levelheaded decisions.  We’ll see.  I’m not ruling it out as something that could possibly happen.

How are you playing Brando right now? Is he a good guy … or, are there secret ulterior motives going down that the audience may not know about, yet?

JOHNNY:  In my opinion, he is a guy who has got a good heart.  I don’t think he is infallible.  I think he is someone who is determined to be on the mend and make up for his decisions and his past, because he is someone who has made poor decisions.  I don’t think you can rule him as a good person who will never make a mistake, or won’t get into trouble, or won’t make some bad decisions.  “Does he have ulterior motives?”  Maybe, but I think that if he does, they might be a little unconscious.  I think he is a genuine good guy.

Photo: ABC

Are the fans swooning over you on social media now that you’ve made your GH debut?  When you get the, “Oh, he’s hot,” do you take those compliments well, or, is it uncomfortable for you, and you deflect that?

JOHNNY:  It’s always flattering to get those compliments.  I think when I was younger, like 22, first getting into this business; I was definitely pining for those compliments and put more weight into it.  I will say; it’s always good to have someone say something positive about you.  I will take, “Hey, he’s good-looking.”  I love the comments.  It’s great.

So, what would you love to see happen with Brando?  Is there anything that you’re seeing with your character that you wish you could do …or get to have the opportunity to be able to drive the direction in which he goes in?

JOHNNY:  That’s a great question.  I love when the writers put Brando on the scene and planted some seeds early on when he was revealing a little of his background to Carly.  He reveals he has PTSD and spent time in prison.  Brando also has got issues with drug addiction.  I would love for those to kind of resurface somehow.  Maybe Brando has a relapse and gets back on the sauce, or drugs, or maybe has some kind of other issues with PTSD, because those are the real things in the world that people deal.

Photo: ABC

What’s great about it is that they kind of loaded you up with a back-story that they can fill in, so that as a viewer, you ultimately root for the guy

JOHNNY:  Absolutely.  Yeah, nobody wants to root for the guy who has everything and just has the perfect life.  We’ve all made mistakes.  So, alright, he’s trying to get back on the horse and make a good life for himself.

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Did you get any pointers from GH vet Steve Burton (Jason), who you have also shared several scenes with since coming to GH?

JOHNNY:  The most pointers I’ve gotten from Steve are about preparation for the scenes.  Every time we have scenes together, he’s just always willing to work with you, and make sure that you’re prepared, and he’s prepared, and the scene is going to be the best that it can be.  Also, he’s been really invaluable with giving me more of a crash course on the background of these characters.  This show has been on for decades and it’s tough to get caught up in the short amount of time between when you find out you have the job, and you start filming, to really know who everybody is.  So, he explained to me who Jason is on the show and who the Corinthos family is and what they represent … these are dangerous guys!

Photo: ABC

Take me through what happened when you learned you got the part of Brando, and were joining the cast of General Hospital?

JOHNNY:  I was at my apartment.  I think it was probably two days after I went in for the producer’s session.  They brought in 4 or 5 guys to read in front of the producers, (at least that I saw) and I felt strong about my reading.  Then, I just kind of tried to forget about it after I left so I wouldn’t get all into my head about whether I got the part, or not.  Then the next day, I didn’t get a phone call.  So, I’m like, “Man, really?  I thought that might have been it.”   But the next day, I was with my girlfriend at the time and my agency was calling.  My manager was on the phone as well, and they shared with me that I got the part, and it was exciting.  It was a relief and an affirmation.  It’s always exciting when you book a job and then to book a major recurring role on a show with a character whose name is “Brando Corbin”, needless to say, was really cool.

Photo: ABC

I think it’s very apparent that you have the “It” factor.  You already have a shown a strong presence on the show and have a very bright future ahead of you.   I have seen a lot of actors come and go, and who launch their careers on daytime over the years, and I think you are going to be one to watch for quite some time to come.

JOHNNY:  First of all, thank you so much for saying that.  That’s really kind of you.  It’s really high praise.  Coming from someone who knows that show and who is a fan of it that means I passed the test!  Thank you, Michael!  I really appreciate that affirmation.  It’s good to get validation from someone whose opinion really matters.

Photo; ABC

Could you see a love interest for Brando coming up in the future?

JOHNNY:  I could definitely see a love interest for him coming up.  Maybe multiple love interests!  Who knows?

I think there are a lot of single ladies in Port Charles.

JOHNNY:  Yeah!  But, why do they have to be single?

Right! Or, they could be married!

JOHNNY:  It’s Port Charles!

Photo: ABC

So, have you been enjoying Johnny’s performances as Brando Corbin thus far?  Who do you hope he becomes involved with romantically on GH? Do you want to know more about his back-story and see what happens next now that Sonny has set him up with a garage? Comment below.

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Knots Landing favorites: Joan Van Ark (Valene), Michele Lee (Karen) and Donna Mills (Abby)  chat with Michael Fairman in honor of Knots Landing’s 40th anniversary. Leave A Comment

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