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One Life To Live

UPDATE: Michael Lowry to reprise the role of Ross on "OLTL"!

michaelLowry.jpgDaytime Confidential is reporting this morning that Michael Lowry’s return to daytime on One Life to Live, is for the role of Ross! Yup, Ross is the guy who was stranded on an island with Tea and Todd, and last played by DAYS, Shawn Christian.  According to the post, look for Ross to have something to do with Tea’s secret reveal!  Many remember Lowry as Dr. Jake Martin on All My Children from 1997-2000, the role now played by Ricky Paull Goldin.  Stay tuned for more developments on the story.

General Hospital

OLTL Favorite Susan Batten to Guest-Star on General Hospital

A very familiar face to the town of Llanview and the beloved One Life to Live, will be appearing on your screens this week on General Hospital.

Susan Batten (Ex-Luna Moody, OLTL) will make a few guest appearances in scenes with Sasha played by Sofia Mattsson.

According to the latest issue of Soap Opera Digest on newsstand now, Batten will play the role of home shopping-star Flora Gardens!

Batten former boss, Frank Valentini (executive producer, GH) called Susan and said about the role: , “Okay, there’s this character named Flora Gardens.”  To which Susan responded, “Does she have teeth?”   After the two shared a laugh, Susan said “yes’ to the role.

OLTL fans will remember Luna’s torrid relationship with Max Holden (James DePaiva).

The actress/writer/producer reported that she was a ‘still very nervous’ acting on soap again (she last appeared on One Life in 2012), but said once she got into the rhythm of the shooting and delivering the lines it was all good.

So, looking forward to seeing Susan on GH? Comment below. But first, take a moment to stroll down memory lane in this clip from OLTL, when Max proposes to Luna.

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Breaking News

Josh Kelly Joins the Cast of General Hospital

In another casting coup, ABC’s General Hospital is bringing Josh Kelly (Ex-Cutter Wentworth, One Life to Live) to Port Charles.

According to Deadline, who broke the casting news, Kelly will join the ABC daytime drama series later this month as a series regular in a role that is said to impact the lives of Sam (Kelly Monaco), Dante (Dominic Zamprogna), and Britt (Kelly Thiebaud), but being kept secret for now.

Since leaving OLTL, Kelly has appeared in numerous primetime series, including Lifetime’s UnReal, as well as Grey’s Anatomy, Station 19, What/If, Army Wives, Circle of Eight and Hallmark’s Christmas Bells are Ringing, plus in the motion picture franchise of The Transformers.

Photo: JPI

Could it be possible that Kelly is a recast Jason Morgan, if the character will have impact on Sam, Dante, and Britt as the casting news teases, or someone else from their past? Could he be Llanview’s Cutter Wentworth come to Port Charles?

So, what do you think of Josh coming to GH? Who do you think he will play … a new character, a recast? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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Interviews

Erika Slezak Shares Her Remembrances of Jerry verDorn, One Life to Live’s Viki and Clint, and the Times They Shared (EXCLUSIVE)

This week, the soap world has been deeply saddened by the passing of one of its most beloved veterans, Jerry verDorn. The two-time Daytime Emmy-winning star, died on Sunday, May 1st after a battle with cancer. He was 72-years old.  The talented actor leaves daytime TV audiences with two indelible roles and performances that will forever be remembered; that of Ross Marler on Guiding Light, and Clint Buchanan on One Life to Live.

Jerry took over the role of Clint on One Life to Live in 2005 (the part had been previously played by Clint Ritchie), and he would take it on for 8 years – from his time on the ABC television version and one season on Prospect Park’s online version.  Throughout his time in Llanview, Jerry worked with his leading lady, six-time Daytime Emmy-winning icon, Erika Slezak (Viki). Together, they made on-screen magic as the often embattled, but ultimately happy couple of Llanfair.

In a touching conversation, Michael Fairman TV spoke exclusively to Erika Slezak to pay tribute to her former co-star and friend, share her remembrances of their time working together, and to honor Jerry for all that he meant to those who worked with him. Here’s what Erika shared  below.

There has been an outpouring of tributes and remembrances for Jerry, since his passing.  He was just so beloved by all who knew him and worked with him.  Would you say that it was a ‘good day’ when you knew you got to work with Jerry during your time together at One Life to Live?

ERIKA:  I loved working with him.  I always said he was my reward for my many years at One Life to Live.  This was my gift at the end, for the last 8 years.  He was a pleasure.  He was a joy every single day, and if I woke up in the morning, and I knew I had scenes with Jerry, I thought, “Whoopee, I can go to work happy!” His humor was so delightful, and as I said in the statement I released to my fan club, the only image I am going to keep in my mind and in my heart is of Jerry with that lovely, little, impish smile on his face because there was always something going on behind it.  There was always a joke coming or something.  He was a darling man.

Photo: JPI

You are heralded, by many, as the best to ever act in the soap genre. What was your take on Jerry as an actor?  I think people may have originally underestimated him, even though he won two Daytime Emmys.  He was as solid as they come.

ERIKA:   Jerry was a very talented actor.  When he was Clint on ABC’s One Life to Live, he became very strong, and they really wanted him to become more like Asa, and he took that with stride. He said, “Yes, I love that.  I can do that.”  Then, when One Life to Live went to the internet, they really went full out with that and they made him almost a villain. Jerry played it brilliantly, which I was surprised at, because he’s such a nice man!

Photo: JPI

Do you remember when they said they were recasting the role of Clint, and Jerry getting the part?

ERIKA:  Oh yeah.  They were recasting, and they had three people in mind.  I know that Jerry came in to read, and they had put him in Bob Woods’ (Ex-Bo, OLTL) dressing room because I think Bobby wasn’t there, and Jerry was a very close friend of Mark Derwin’s (Ex-Ben, OLTL, Ex-A.C, GL). Mark had said to me, “You have to make them hire Jerry!” and I said, “Honey, I don’t have that kind of power,” and he said, “Yes, you do!  Go and do it!”  So, I went and knocked on the door, and I introduced myself to him, and I said, “Listen, good luck.  We really are rooting for you.  I should tell you this up front: there is one other actor who they’re waiting to audition, but it won’t be for another week, so you won’t hear anything for another week.”  Jerry said, “Thank you, I’m very grateful for you telling me that,” because you know, you leave an audition as an actor, and you don’t hear anything for a week. So, you think, “I blew it.”  I remember that Jerry and I had chatted just for a minute, and I said, “Good luck.  It was so nice to meet you.  I’ve heard so much about you from so many people!”  Then, when he got the job, I was delighted because I thought he was so not Clint Ritchie (Ex-Clint), but the kind of progression of Clint into a businessman and more like his father, like Asa.  On his first day at work, he said to me, “I can’t tell you what a day this is!” and I said, “Oh, I’m delighted you’re happy.”  He said, “Yeah, well it’s good and bad.”  I said, “Why?” and he said, “Beth (Jerry’s wife) and I sold our house, and we bought a new house.”  I said, “Oh, I didn’t know that.”  He said, “Yeah, we’re moving, and when I got the call that I got the job, I told my wife, ‘I’ve got good news and bad news,’ and she said, ‘What’s the good news?’”  He said, “I’ve got the job!  I’m going to be Clint!” and she said, “That’s fantastic!  What could possibly be the bad news?”  He said, “My first day is the day we’re moving.”  So, she had to handle the move all by herself.  I said to him, “You’d better put a sticky note on your dashboard.  Make sure you go to the right house tonight!” That’s because he lived all the way in Sparta, so it was a good distance, a good drive for him from the studio. But, from the day we started working together, I thought, “This is just sheer pleasure.”  It was just joy.  There was no work involved – even when we were fighting, or angry, or whatever the script called for, we would laugh and laugh and laugh.  His sense of humor was so fantastic and so funny, and he always had a twinkle in his eye.

Over the years, anytime I talked with Jerry, or interviewed him, I just came away saying, ‘That is a good man’.  Jerry was always present, and always there.  I know that Bree Williamson (Ex-Jessica, OLTL) and Melissa Archer (Ex-Natalie, OLTL), thought of him as almost like a second father to them.  They were all very close.

ERIKA:  Jerry was very close with them, and he treated them all like his family.  The girls really loved him, and you could see it in their relationships.  Jerry was one of the nicest people I’ve ever met in my life.  Everything about him was good.  He was an awesome human being, and it’s hard to find people like that, who are that good, and that’s why it’s so sad that he died so young.  He was only 72, and he was so looking forward to spending a lot of time with his grandchildren, who he was so excited about and so proud of.

Photo: ABC

What I also remember is that you taped your final scenes at ABC’s version of One Life to Live with Jerry.

ERIKA:  Yes.  It was a bunch of us.  It was Bree and Melissa, and Jerry and I, where Clint had just opened the letter, and he wouldn’t read it, and Viki had to read it to him. It turned out that Jessica was indeed his daughter and not Mitch Laurence’s daughter, which was one of their crazy twists.  Then we had the last scene.  I don’t think there was anyone else involved.  It was very touching because it ended with Clint on his knees saying to Viki, “Will you marry me?” and I couldn’t answer.  I just had this kind of smile and cried, and the girls were happy and hugging, and that was the last scene. Normally, I like to be up first in the day, because I like to be in first and to get out first.  Frank Valentini (Ex-EP, OLTL, now EP, GH) asked me that day, “Would you mind?  I’d like to put you up last.”  I said, “I would be delighted to close out the show.”  It was so much a part of my life, and I really loved it.  I loved going to work.  I was happy, and when you go to work happy, it makes all of the difference in the world.

Photo: ABC

Being that you closed out One Life’s run on ABC with Jerry, did he in any way help you through the sadness of that moment?

ERIKA:  At that time, we thought that within a few weeks, we would be going on to Prospect Park, and when we all said goodbye, it was the day before Thanksgiving.  We shot the last episode in November of 2011, and we all said, “See you in December,” and then of course, the whole thing fell through. Less than a year later, I got a call from the production company in California saying, “We’d like to do this, and we’d really like you to be a part of it,” and I said, “Who else has joined in?”  They said, “We’re trying to nail you down, and then we’ll talk to others,” and I said, “Well, let me know what you come up with, and I’ll let you know,” because it depended so much on who they could get to continue the story.  Thank God, they got Jerry! Then, Melissa Archer came on board, and I think Hillary B. Smith (Ex-Nora, OLTL) and Tuc Watkins (Ex-David).

Photo: JPI

Do you have a favorite scene that you shared with Jerry?  You had so many that I’m wondering if there’s one that stands out?

ERIKA:  I remember a great scene where Viki and Clint were supposed to get married, and then they split up because Viki said, “I don’t want your help.  I don’t want you to buy out The Banner.” Then, he went behind her back and did it, and they had a terrible fight about it, and Viki said, “That’s it,” and gave him back the ring.  No, I don’t have a favorite scene.  I have so many favorite scenes though with Jerry, so it’s hard to pick just one.

Do you think in 2022, Viki would still be married to Clint?

ERIKA:  Oh yes, oh yes, because she always loved Clint.

Phot

Had you communicated with Mark Derwin since Jerry’s passing?

ERIKA:  Yes, I did email him, and he said, “I am just devastated.”  You know, everybody who knew Jerry, loved him, and it was a very hard pill to swallow.

Photo/Courtesy: MSU

Are there any final thoughts you would like to share on Jerry as we remember him?

ERIKA:  In terms of my feelings about Jerry, I can just go on and on and on.  There wasn’t a better person on earth.

Share your thoughts on Erika’s sentiments on Jerry verDorn, and their time as Llanview’s Viki and Clint, and more, in the comment section below.

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Video du Jour

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