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Y&R 45 INTERVIEW: Janice Lynde and Jaime Lyn Bauer Reflect On Portraying The Brooks Sisters, Their Storylines, On-Screen Loves, & The Ups and Downs Of Being Soap-Famous!

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

When The Young and the Restless make its unforgettable debut on CBS back on March 26, 1973, daytime audiences would soon be deeply entrenched in the perils, the loves, and the betrayals of two sisters from the wealthy Brooks clan – Leslie and Lorie Brooks.  Played to perfection by Janice Lynde (Leslie) and Jaime Lyn Bauer (Lorie), “sibling rivalry” was given a whole new name.

Leslie was the talented concert pianist, who found it difficult to open up, while her sister Lorie was more out-going and ruthless, determined to never play second fiddle.  These two were seemingly always in love with the same men, and Lorie even drove her sister to a mental breakdown, making Y&R must-see drama.

As part of Y&R’s 45 year anniversary celebration, Lynde and Bauer were asked back to the series to reprise their signature soap roles.  Janice had left the soap in 1977, while Jaime had stayed with the show through 1982, with a few reprisals along the way in 1984 and 2002.  In this candid, touching, and often humorous chat, the two powerhouse actress talk about what it was like being front and center on a new soap opera that took off like a rocket, shared some fond memories and backstage tidbits, reflected of their triumphs and struggles, gave us the real deal on their former leading men, including John McCook (Ex-Lance, Y&R, now Eric, B&B), plus how the late Jeanne Cooper (Katherine) impacted their lives and more.

What a treat it was to walk down memory lane with these two, who were a main part of the reason, we all fell in love with Y&R in the first place.  #YR45 begins for us here with this chat with Janice and Jaime.  

At the beginning of Y&R, you got cast as Leslie and Lorie Brooks.  How did you land the parts in the first place? What happened that led you to Genoa City?

Photo: CBS

JANICE:   I was cast in New York.  John Conboy (original executive producer, Y&R) flew me out on a Saturday, and Sunday morning at 2am, we made a deal.  Bob Fosse kept saying, “No, no.  You can’t do this.  Ask for more money!”  They had already started taping with someone else in the role, but I started on a Monday and taped five shows.  So it was all a whirlwind.

Were you like, “What did I get myself into?” (Laughs)

JANICE:  It’s terrible to admit it, but I had never had seen a soap.  I came up through classical music the opera, and theatre.  I had never watched television that much.  It was my first experience even seeing one, and it was thrilling.

JAIME:   For me, it was kind of wild.  I was coming out of a casting director’s office and it’s my third week in the business! I am walking down the hall and this other casting director says, “Would you come in here and read this? It’s not really anything.”  It was for The Young and the Restless, but he would not admit it was for the show.  So I read for him and I leave, and don’t think anything of it.  Now, I had already been cast to play this android sidekick for Gene Rodenberry’s show.  At that point, Universal had offered me one of the last player contracts, and then Y&R came about and I interviewed with John Conboy.  I had been a model, previously, He wanted me to do a screen test, and then I had a choice between three years on a soap, or seven years at Universal.  So I said to myself, “I will do the three years, because nobody watches the soaps so they would pay me to act and I would learn.”  The first six months of the show I was a wreck.  It was live to tape; you could not make it a mistake.

Courtesy/CBS

JANICE:  I was so awaiting her casting, because John kept teasing me with “You are going to have a sister, and then Leslie will have a breakdown…”

JAIME:   Instead, I was the one having the breakdown … (Laughs)

JANICE:  When Jaime came on the show, she was so gifted and lovely, but she hadn’t done a lot.  I use to take her home!  She would follow me up Laurel Canyon and I would make pasta, and I would say, “I’m going to make pasta, and we are going to rehearse.” That is how we worked out our scenes the first couple of months.

Everyone hated Lorie.  However, she was one of the first soap opera characters to go from ‘throw-something-at-the-TV-hated’ to a beloved heroine!  And along the way, poor Leslie suffered that mental breakdown, thanks to Lorie!

JANICE:  They did the story of her breakdown so well.  I’m very proud of it, because I went into a locked ward in LA and I did research, and I made notes.  The cast of women were extraordinary.

Photo: CBS

Both your characters seemed to have a penchant for falling in love with the same man.  Let’s start with Brad Eliot, played by Tom Hallick.  How was Tom to work with?

JANICE:  He was heaven to work with, easy to work with, and really solid.

JAIME:  He always had his lines down.

Lorie wanted Brad all to herself!

JANICE:  Lorie told Leslie that Brad wanted her, which destroyed me! (Laughs)

JAIME:  Well, of course, everyone wanted me! (Laughs)  Don’t be ridiculous. (Laughs)  Leslie was so insecure that she couldn’t believe the guy wanted her.  She was a child prodigy, but socially inept!  She did not know how beautiful and talented she was, and that she was the true rose.  But you got to give it to Lorie, because she was the second child, and the second child always has the rough times.

Photo: CBS

After Tom Hallick, the two of you worked in romantic storylines with the Prentiss brothers, Lance (John McCook) and Lucas (Tom Ligon).  How were those two to work with?

JANICE:  I worked with John first, and fell in love with John.

JAIME:  He was hard not to love!

JANICE:  At one point, I was in discussions about doing TV specials, and what the format would be like, and then John came on the show.  I did several scenes with him where Lance was running around the world following Leslie at every concert.  John is a great musician and so funny, so we were thinking about doing these specials together.

Courtesy/CBS

JAIME:   I loved both Tom and John and they were so different as people.  I remember a funny scene with Tom.  I am pregnant, and they are taping pencils on the floor because my belly is so big, and I can’t see my mark. Tom is supposed to pull me in his arms and kiss me passionately.  I said to him, “You need to feel my stomach,” and he pulls me to him with this big embrace, and bounces off me, and screams! (Laughs) We had to do the scene over again, obviously. (Laughs)

When you think back to your time on Y&R, what were some of your favorite scenes?

JAIME:  One of the dramatic ones for me was a scene that I did with the actor who played our father, Robert Colbert (Stuart Brooks).  He had started putting Lorie down, and Lorie started responding back.  It got really ugly between us.  I sat down afterwards and people came up to me and went, “Oh, my Gosh. That was brilliant.”  I was sitting on a bench, and I was shaking uncontrollably, and I am like, “Where did that come from? “ One of the funnier scenes, because we were doing live tape, was with John McCook (Ex-Lance, B&B, now Eric B&B).  We were jumping on this bed together, but we had no idea that it was actually two beds, and they separated, and the two of us went down right in the middle of it, and we just had to go with it. The two of us just started laughing and joking.

Photo: CBS

JANICE:  I would say … I did love the story of Leslie being in the mental institution.  I thought it would bring awareness, help some people, and not be such a stigma anymore.  There were so many interesting things within that.

JAIME:  Even though it’s nice doing comedic stuff, and John McCook was very funny, truly for actresses that are more serious, the best parts are playing the complex characters. You have to do the research, you have to think, and you have to study people all of the time. John McCook took me into the control room one day and he ran a tape of something I just had done, and he said, “See that! That was really sexy!”  I said, “What?” He said, “What were you thinking when you did that?”  Of course, I didn’t know.

Wait … but, Lorie was the sexy one!

JAIME:  But you know what I used to do?  I used to go to Hugh Hefner’s on Friday night’s because he had free meals there.  I was watching people on the stairs, and that is how I learned how to play Lorie.  I also knew watched this woman I knew just turn it on a dime with this sexual energy toward either a young man, or a very old man. So between her, and Hefner’s, that is how I developed Lorie.

Can you recall some of the fans reactions you received, or were on the other end of, if people would see you at personal appearances, or, out and about, or, via fan mail? Back then, there was no such thing as social media for everyone to let out their opinions and feelings.

Photo: CBS

JAIME:  I remember driving down Sunset Blvd one night and we were in a convertible, and another convertible is next to us, and they start shouting at me, “Oh, my God!  It’s Lorie! It’s Lorie. We hate you!”  Then they go, “No, no, no. We love hating you!”   There was another time where I was shooting a movie of the week with Leslie Nielsen, and he saved me.  I was sitting in the lobby in a building in Century City waiting to be called to set.  This woman comes up to me in the lobby and she literally puts her hand around my throat.  She must have just watched me on TV in her room upstairs.  Leslie helped me get her off of me.  People hated me, but it was a compliment.  What was so amazing for me as a human being is that I never knew what sexy was?

JANICE:  I don’t buy that for one second! (Laughs)  For me, I had amazing reactions.  I was at a dinner one night and Dean Martin came up to me and said, “You are my favorite actress and singer.”  He then asked me to open for him in his nightclub act, and we became very close friends. Then, in either second or third year of Y&R, because we were all seen internationally there was this incident.  I was in the Sistine Chapel and trying to get away from it all, and needed a vacation.  All of a sudden I this place where you take a vow of silence before you enter it, someone yells, “Leslie!” Then everyone was crowding around me, and then the Vatican guard grabbed me and helped me out of the chapel. But then I was told the Pope wanted to meet me, and we did!   The scariest one was at the Farmer’s Market near CBS and these three women came up to me and said, “What are you doing out?  What can we do for you?  You need care!”  I swear, if they knew where to take me they would have taken me to some mental institution!”

In the mid 70’s, the most compelling story on the soaps was centered around Leslie and Lorie, and the other two Brooks sisters, Chris (Trish Stewart) and Peggy (Pam Peters).  But Jaime, what I want to know is … what did you think of K.T. Stevens (Vanessa) when Vanessa was always wearing that veil over half of her face? (Laughs)  I always wanted to just yank it off of her!  I know Vanessa’s  face was supposedly disfigured from a fire, but I didn’t understand why she was always wearing it! (Laughs)

Photo: CBS

JAIME:  Vanessa was really evil, but K.T. Stevens on her own was so sweet, loving, and supporting. Vanessa killed herself and blamed it on Lorie! Sometimes, I wanted to rip her veil off so bad, too! (Laughs)

Y&R always had the most beautiful cast, along with the exceptional writing, the singing, and the production values that set the bar high after it debuted in 1973.

JAIME:  We were one of the first soaps to also do important topics for the times.  We did storylines on: breast cancer, rape, and mental illness.

Janice, at one point did you decide to leave Y&R?

JANICE:  There was never time to have a vacation, and I was working so hard without a break.  If not for that, I would have stayed a long, long time.  Bill Bell (Y&R co-creator, and head writer) and John Conboy were great to work with, and were great about letting us out to do other projects, but the show was garnering a lot of ratings so the hours just became insane for me.

JAIME:   And remember in those days, daytime shows paid for primetime.  So we were so important to the network that we were not given a break.  I walked illegally, because I thought I just have to escape.  I got on a plane to Hawaii and I stayed at a girlfriend’s house there for two weeks.  I came back to Y&R and had a meeting. I said in my negotiations that I do want all the women to have their own dressing rooms, and this is before AFTRA had any strength at all as a union.

Jaime, what happened when you decided to exit Y&R?

Photo: CBS

JAIME:  I couldn’t take it anymore.  I am nine years in, and the only reason anyone replaced me was when I was on maternity leave and having babies. When I came back I was working five or six days a week, and had kids at home.  At one point, I could not even think of my own name, and I got scared.  I went to them and said, “I need you to put a ceiling on the number of episodes I work a week, unless it’s a big storyline.”   We were just so successful at the time that they couldn’t do it, and so I left.  Then, Bill Bell, God bless him, because I had said to him and John (in tears), “please don’t make me feel guilty’:, did something so unbelievably touching.   What Bill didn’t tell me was that he fired everyone to do with the Brooks’, and in our entire storyline, because I was his favorite character.  I think that was because I was named after his daughter, Lauralee, and he couldn’t envision the show without the character, so he had to change it and make it a whole new show. I will thank him forever for that, because if I had known I would have stayed.   I loved Bill and John, and I would have done anything that I could for them.

There was another tremendous actress when you started at Y&R, the incomparable and iconic, Jeanne Cooper (Katherine).  What was your relationship like with Jeanne?

JAIME:  Jeanne was a second mom to me.  The first play I did was Plaza Suite, and we were in the same play together, and it was a touring company.  I went to the director before we opened on opening night and I said, “I think you made a mistake.  I don’t think I can do this. I don’t think I’m funny.”  He goes, “Nope.  I haven’t made a mistake. You will be just fine.”  Well, I cried for two hours the day of opening night, because I was terrified.  But it was Jeanne Cooper who stood there, and had her arms around me saying, “You’re going to be fine.  You will see.”  My cue came and she is standing there, and she literally shoved me onto the stage.  Jeanne was an amazing, sweet, incredible woman and at a time I was dating her son, so I was over at ber house a lot of the time, so we were tight.

Courtesy/CBS

JANICE:   Jeanne was the cast mom.  It was such a joy, because we were all very collaborative. There were times I was given a script late on one day and had to do a big song and dance the next; like this one in Lance’s apartment, where he dares Leslie to come out of her shell so she can perform at this party. (Laughs)  I said to Jeanne, “How am I going to do this?  There is not even the staircase, or full set to work with up yet.” She said, “I have an event, but I will meet you at midnight.” We got Bob Fosse on speaker phone, because the number was “If You Could See Me Now” from Sweet Charity, and between Jeanne and Bob, and me, running up the stairs and landing on top of the piano, we got it figured out.  But Jeanne would do things like that. She would do anything for the work.  She was a great friend, and a brilliant talent, and had some demons, but she conquered them.

How did it come about that you are returning to Y&R on-air this week as part of their 45th anniversary episodes?

Photo: CBS

JAIME:  I was laying on the beach in Cancun, and I get a call.  I go, “What?  Who? The Young and the Restless? You want me to return for their anniversary? Sure … just let me know. “

JANICE:  I got a call while I was in a ballet class in New York.  I was at the ballet bar, and I get a call from my agent.  So, I thought I should go out in the hall and take this.   I ran out and I said, “Really?”  My agent said, “How do you feel about that?”  I said, “Absolutely, would love to do it.   It’s a reunion!”  But honestly, I didn’t believe it was going to happen, because I had gotten a lot of calls over the past years and decades and we could not work it out, for one reason or the other.  This time we did, and I was so excited to be back.

Did you think Y&R would have lasted this long, from when it began?

JAIME:   I am not surprised at that at all.  It has been number-one overall for a reason. The writing has been quite good.  They still have that great look and that great lightning.

What would you want to say to Y&R as it celebrates its 45th anniversary?

Courtesy/CBS

JANICE:  “You are the tops!  And 45 more …”

JAIME:  “45 more that would be brilliant … than we can actually show up at 90!” (Laughs)

So, what were your favorite memories and storylines of The Brooks sisters? Are you glad Y&R asked Janice and Jaime back for the anniversary episodes?  What did you think about Janice and Jaime recalling the beginning years of Y&R? Share your thoughts via the comment section below!

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Michael (not Fairman)MarieShayModiane Recent comment authors
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su0000
Guest
su0000

That was 1973 — the Brook Sisters..
I wasn’t yet born.
But– I’m looking forward to seeing them it will be interesting and even fun to go that far back..

Celia
Guest
Celia

Same here, SuzieQ…But, I am very familiar with all these characters….my Gran is a great storyteller—I feel as if I had been there 45 years ago watching with her…..looking forward “seeing” them again. LOL.
Aside: through all this, I must give praise to Marla, again….WOW!!!!…. gets better and better.
Dina’s disdain with Ashley is soooo pungent but a revelation at the same time. She resents her daughter because she’s a constant reminder, subconsciously, of what she did to John…..
It would be the greatest twist and sweet irony if Jack were the Pro’s son. HaHa….

Celia
Guest
Celia

PS…or, Jack is the issue of another affair. OOOOUUU-LALA!!!! Are any of Dina’s children John’s, su??

su0000
Guest
su0000

I am the one and only (both sides of family) that ever watched a soap..
ahaa I’m virgin soap family ..

Shay
Guest
Shay

Looks like Traci is going to be the only genuine article Abbott to spring from John’s loins and Dina’s womb, CeeCeeGirl! How ironic is that? From the beginning, this girl was always the awkward, odd child out, constantly paling in comparison to her handsome older brother Jack and glamorous big sis Ashley, and now both are apparently not even real Abbotts…what an identity crisis, eh???

Scott (ATWT Fan)
Guest
Scott (ATWT Fan)

What a wonderful interview, Michael. So happy to see original veterans, such as Janice Lynde and Jaime Lyn Bauer back in Genoa City. What a beautiful way to celebrate The Young and the Restless‘ 45th anniversary! I’m hoping this might lead to more appearances, though, I don’t know if these two are the ones who might be making further appearances past the anniversary. Hearing them speak about their time on the soap, and even Bauer’s words about her asking to leave, were powerful. They helped change the face of daytime during a time when daytime was most powerful.

Patrick
Guest
Patrick

OMG: I feel for Jaime Lyn Bauer… she had two predicaments… CLOSE TO HER HEART. maintain her STAR reign… or go home to her children. this is why I feel for women… who make the sacrifice. for the heck of it…. I wonder how long she coulda woulda shoulda stayed … past her original 9 years. she committed to 6 more years past her 3 year contract. “… We were just so successful at the time that they couldn’t do it, and so I left. ” that’s a lot of tears … heart mind and soul ripped torn and tattered.… Read more »

Shay
Guest
Shay

Jaime Lyn was one of daytime’s most quintessential soap goddesses! So sleek, slim, statuesque and drop-dead gorgeous in all of her designer finery! Her character was of a time and place when women each had their own highly-distinct looks, not the cookie-cutter botoxed features that we see today….how I miss those golden days when the soaps were an endless parade of exquisitely original beauties decked out in the latest and greatest fashions! What a feast for the eyes they were! Welcome back, Lorie Brooks!

Kevin C
Guest
Kevin C

I have yet to read the interview but I am so excited to have them back and wish they were back permanently for I loved Y&R from the beginning till 2006…I started watching again when Sally and Kay returned as headwriter and story consultant…I started to stop watching once Sally and Kay left but decided to stick with it through the 45th anniversary and I haven’t been impressed Mals writing until this past week and not I am interested in where it goes from here…

Kevin C
Guest
Kevin C

I failed to mention that I have the conversation on a cassette tape of when Leslie was asking Lorie to help her unlock the key to her past for Leslie didn’t know what happened to her for losing her memory….such a wonderful and very well acted storyline and oh how I miss those days…

Kevin C
Guest
Kevin C

I just finished reading the interview, LOVED IT and again how I miss these two beautiful ladies on this show…I loved all the storylines with Lorie and Leslie, they were all great…but the two that really come to mind is of course the sister rivalry and the Lorie and Vanessa storyline with Vanessa staging her own death and setting the stage to make it look like Lorie pushing Vanessa over the balcony, CRAZY WONDERFUL storyline…I remember Vanessa yelling, STOP LORIE, STOP and Vanessa KEPT on saying this LOUDLY and Lorie was wondering what on earth was going on with Vanessa… Read more »

diane
Guest
diane

I was 11 when the show started and I would watch it at my sisters house when I was out of school, which was a lot!! I will always remember the Brooks family and Jill’s family. They are Y&R to me.

Michael
Guest
Michael

The show was such a gem in the 70’s and so forward-thinking. I note the ladies mention the lighting – it was so flattering compared to other shows of the time. And the cast was already an attractive group! And Leslie-Lorie-Lance-Lucas – the Alliterative Quadrangle! Easy to poke fun at – but a riveting story, thanks to the actors. Looking forward to seeing this week’s reunion!

Mo
Guest
Mo

Didn’t watch then. I have seen Jamie on Days so I’m familiar with her, but not on Y&R.

Looking forward to seeing them and what brings them to town.

Marilyn
Guest
Marilyn

I was 9 when Y&R started and I remember it vividly still. I was so bummed when the Brooks family was gone that I stopped watching. I started again for a bit when Lily and Daniel were together and Cassie died. Still a great show though not one I regularly watch. What a blast from the past though. Great interview1

vinman
Guest
vinman

GREATNESS @Y/R….LESLIE,LORIE,CHRIS&AMY BROOKS…ALSO MR.&MRS.BROOKS;along with the FOSTER’S and PRENTICE BROTHERS LANCE&LUCAS…mother Vanessa.Brad,Sally and Robert.And the DUCHESS MRS.C…JEANNE COOPER.#@Y&RHAPPY45.

Max
Guest
Max

I was about 15 when they went on the air and was so impressed by the production values. It was the first Hollywood daytime drama I watched. I loved the Brooks family and now I know why they were written out. Thanks for the interview, Michael. I was thrilled when Janice Lynde showed up on my favorite soap One Life To Live. One other thing that I enjoyed on early Y&R was the use of music and songs. If I recall, Leslie’s song was “If A Picture Paints A Thousand Words”, loved when they used the song “Bless The Beasts… Read more »

Kevin C
Guest
Kevin C

Hey Max, you are right on with the music and the song that Leslie sing, a Bread song, IF…and I loved when the played Bless the Beast and the Children…and like you said such good/great memories of the first 20 years of Y&R…

Farhan
Guest
Farhan

It’s so great to have the Brooks sisters back again! I remember their rivalry over men and when Dennis Cole played Lance. Vanessa hated Laurie and I remember when she jumped off the balcony to her death and made it look like Laurie pushed her. A definite jaw dropping moment for that show. I also loved the episodes featuring Leslie’s concerts. Incredible moments. It would be nice to have Y and R revisit some of the history with these old characters again including the Fosters. Its great to have them back and I hope to see more of them in… Read more »

Ron
Guest
Ron

THANK YOU FOR THE INTERVIEW! It was great to read what a couple of the original cast members thought of the show, their characters, and the trend they set for daytime programming. My favorite Brookes family storyline was Jennifer Brookes’ breat cancer– the reaction of Stuart, how each daughter struggled with it, and the beautiful and agonizing depiction given by the actress who played their mother… as Kevin and Max noted in earlier posts, THE MUSIC brought the great acting and the great dialogue together. Also, loved the courtroom scenes regarding Lorie being accused of Vanessa’s death– great drama, especially… Read more »

beacon
Guest
beacon

They should bring Lorie back permanently and give us a new generation of Brooks characters. Surely Lorie has kids?

Mo
Guest
Mo

I didn’t think much of Janice’s acting yesterday. A little blah. Maybe she has been out of practice.

I didn’t know all the history with the Brooks and Jill so it was nice to get to find out. I thought, Jill sure likes wealthy older men and then Billy said it! Yes!

Karen R
Guest
Karen R

I was watching back then, loved the Brooks family and the Fosters. Jill, her mom and brothers. Been watching it throuout the years And it is still my favorite.

Judith
Guest
Judith

I miss the Brooks family.

dmr
Guest
dmr

I am not familiar with the past storyline; and although I found the scene to be funny, I also found it to be awkward. I’m not a “Jill” fan, so I wasn’t too keen on this, but it was funny and “catish.”

Mo
Guest
Mo

I thought it was a bit awkward too. The two sisters sitting at the bar and then Jill. It looked weird.

diane
Guest
diane

I was hoping they would share more of the 45 year old history through flashbacks this week!! I was also hoping to see the Brooks sisters for more then 2 whole minutes!!! The other storylines can wait till next week!

Marie
Guest
Marie

I don’t remember this Leslie. I remember the one with the dark hair and the porcelain complexion. That said, this was a great interview.

Jess Walton still drives me up the wall. I’ve always thought she was a terrible Jill – she’s always so miserable. Being a villain should be fun! At least the other Jill thought it was.

Michael (not Fairman)
Guest
Michael (not Fairman)

That was Victoria Mallory, Marie. She took over the role when Janice Lynde left and played it for four or five years. I liked her a lot; probably one of Y&R’s best recasts.

Days Of Our Lives

Kevin Spirtas Talks ‘After Forever’s’ Digital Special ‘Riley’s Unforgettable School Project’, The Loss of Michael Slade, and a Chance to Reprise DAYS Craig Wesley

The coronavirus pandemic has put to the test many content creators on just how they would keep their projects moving forward in ways they never dreamed of. However, out of that situation has come some of the most compelling, unique series, specials, and features currently streaming for viewers. One of which is Riley’s Unforgettable School Project, brought to you by the team from the six-time Daytime Emmy Award-winning series, After Forever.

Former Days of our Lives star, Kevin Spirtas (Ex-Craig Wesley) has starred in and created the first two seasons of what has become the most honored Emmy-awarded LGBTQ-themed drama series on any platform.  Along with his ‘After Forever’ writing/producing partner, the late Michael Slade (DAYS, OLTL, Passions, Another World), the two also conceptualized and delivered this latest documentary-style offering now on Amazon Prime Video.

What makes Riley’s Unforgettable School Project so noteworthy is not just how they were able to execute the series based on fictional 11-year-old Riley’s virtual school project and utilize its cast, which includes: Spirtas, Cady Huffman, Jamison Stern, Lenny Wolpe, Erin Cherry, Anita Gillette, Christopher J. Hanke, and Finn Douglas, but that it was made while Slade was succumbing to his battle with cancer, and that this special marks the final script from this talented writer.

 

Michael Fairman TV spoke with Spirtas about making the special during Covid-19, how the death of Michael Slade has made a lasting impact on his life, what After Forever has personally meant to him, and how an official third season is still in the works, and … if he would consider a return to Salem and Days of our Lives, should they come a-calling.  Here’s what Kevin had to say about it all.

Photo: AfterForever

I think the entire story of this digital special has become even more meaningful with Michael Slade’s passing. What was the genesis of the concept? You wanted to continue the telling of the story of After Forever … but we are all in the middle of a pandemic?

KEVIN:  Yes and… when we filmed season 2, we had the scripts for season 3 already completed. It was our hope and desire to film them at the same time, back-to-back, so that we would have had all of our cast and crew together, and we could have gotten through it because we’ve always imagined this story being told in a trilogy so to speak – a beginning, middle, and end to Brian (Spirtas) and Jason, (Mitchell Anderson) and Brian’s healing or his steps towards healing through grief.  Schedules turned out that they couldn’t really work out for us to hold all the people and hold all of the sets for that amount of time.  So, we thought, “We’ve got the scripts for season 3 ready.  We’ll come back to it in the following year,” and that was always the intention, and then the pandemic hit.  So, it was shut down immediately that we weren’t going to do anything, but we wanted to stay current, and instead of going back in and telling the third installment of After Forever as a Covid-19 story as well, Michael and I sat down and looked at a way of staying relevant and current with a story within COVID, and there was born the idea to do this documentary style story/special about the characters of After Forever told through the lens of the character of Riley, the 11-year-old boy, who is now being homeschooled during the pandemic. He gets an assignment to do a project about the most unforgettable person he has ever met, and he, of course, chooses his best friend, the late Jason Adams, and he enlists all of Jason’s friends and family to join in.  Michael actually said, “What if we tell a story about Riley being homeschooled?” And, not only is Riley a technical genius at 11-years-old in the story, but Finn Douglas, who plays Riley, is a technical genius.

And didn’t Finn perform and write the song “Forever There” contained within the special?

KEVIN. Yes. He is this incredible musician.  Michael thought, “What would it be like if we asked to have the character of Finn sing a song for Jason?”  I said, “Well, what kind of song would we have him sing?”  Finn could play anything, I’m sure, because he’s self-taught, he plays by ear – guitar, piano, and drums.  Michael said, “What if we ask him to see if he could write a song?” and when we heard this song, we all called each other and we all got on Zoom and went, “Can you believe this song?  Can you believe this came out of this 11-year-old?”  It’s pretty incredible.  Michael did a gorgeous job of weaving the stories in and out and how they just sort of dove-tailed into each other, and then it was framed by Riley opening the project and ending the project.  During the Zoom reading we wanted to hear the song out loud.  We said to Finn, “Would you want to sing the song?”  We all just watched everybody on that Zoom call just fall apart.  It was just so beautiful. He’s an amazing talent.

Where is your character within this?

KEVIN:  I still stand in the center of the story of Jason because my character, Brian, was married to Jason, and it sort of connects us all, and through Riley’s understanding of how we all connect to Jason, is how we are all sort of spread out throughout the story.  Michael jokingly said, “You know, you’re not going to be the star of this special,” and I said, “I don’t think it’s about being the star.  It’s really about the storytelling.”  The beauty of Riley’s Unforgettable School Project is that we get to see moments of each person’s relationship with Jason, which Riley sets out to say, “Answer these three questions: What did you like most about Jason?  What did you like least about Jason? And what’s your favorite memory?”  Those three things, cut back and forth is where we all kind of fit in.  Nobody has more of a story than the next person, and it’s all telling honest portrayals of how they’re dealing with their loss of their good friend, or their child, or partner.

It’s a very inventive idea during Covid-19 to continue it in a way where you weren’t having to go shoot a full season of episodes.

KEVIN:  Well, we couldn’t. I have to say, Allison Vanore, who not only produced this special, but she also stepped up saying, “I’d love to direct this,” and I said, “Yes, please!”  She knows the characters.  She understands the story because she’s been a part of it for the last two seasons.  Allison also has this extraordinary amount of knowledge and expertise with the camera and what was needed for a remote shoot, and to also be able to organize filming 13 people in 2 different countries and 5 different cities… that’s just the technical side of it, but having that in our back pocket, knowing that it was a remote shoot, we had to send the camera, the computer, the ring light, and the microphone to each person’s house.  We had to location scout over Zoom.  We had to do wardrobe over Zoom.  It was all this big puzzle putting it together, and once you look at that board of storytelling and how we were going to do it, it kind of fell into place.  I feel blessed that a) we still had Michael with us, at that point, and b) Allison had the know-how to do this.  We all feel that at least this pandemic didn’t keep us from doing what we love.

Photo: AfterForever

In terms of the contribution of Michael Slade in this special, was it the construction of the story, and how was he able to work and write this during his illness?

KEVIN:  Michael’s contribution to the special was no less than the contribution to season 1 and season 2, and the future of season 3, because the scripts are written.  We did everything on Zoom, and we worked around his schedule of treatment.  We scheduled 2 people per day, and we spread them out over two weeks.  He was very present, and when there would be a day where he would say, “I’m going to be an hour late, let’s just push that call time,” I would ask, “Is this too much right now?  We can shelve it; we can stop it.” He’d then say, “Absolutely not, otherwise cancer will win.”  He was determined to stay focused and to stay active because it took his mind off of what was happening to him.

Photo: AfterForever

It would be lovely moment if you both were to win a Daytime Emmy for this project. 

KEVIN:  It’s our last collaboration together as a team, as I said, season 3 has been scripted, and it is on the calendar to get made.  We are just waiting for the COVID restrictions to lift a little bit and everyone to get vaccinated.  Michael was really hit hard with cancer – to stay healthy was so challenging for him.  Sadly, he didn’t make it to see the final edit of the special, and he died four days before we launched, but he had seen the cuts before that and was very approving of it, and had made some decisions, and offered some suggestions, and if God gives him an Emmy for this, it’s not because he died.  It’s because it’s great work.  It just happens to be that the work that was involved in this particular special was very tricky.  It brought up everything, like life itself to have to deal with.  Here we are dealing with the loss of a colleague, the loss of a friend, someone’s brother, someone’s son, this is life imitating art, imitating art imitating life. I can’t tell you the darkness that I went through just experiencing the need to stay focused on getting everything edited, and everything ready, and everything aligned for a release of this project that we had put into motion.  On top of it, our editor lost his mother just before Michael passed, and Allison’s mom was sick at the time, as well.  It took a lot of heavy deep breaths with Michael’s death, and the pandemic, and the loss has, for me, on a personal level, sent me back to really questioning my spiritual muscle and to help remind me that we have to come out of this better than we went into this.  I had many dark nights of the soul this last year, and December was probably the darkest.  I feel like I’m just kind of coming out of it now with the spring revealing itself.

Photo: AfterForever

It must have been extraordinarily difficult for you to also go to New York during a pandemic and also knowing Michael did not have much time left.

KEVIN:  I will say this: I am grateful that I was able to stay in touch with my heart and my instinct and go out to New York to let that be my remote location.  Yes, maybe there was some risk involved.  I wore my mask; I was Covid-19 negative, and I was determined to be fine.  Once I got to New York, I would visit him very protectively with our masks and our gloves, and I’d sit across the room, and then I’d go back to the house I was at.  It was a gift that I was able to see him at that time.  We had some good talks then about how he was feeling, and I think he was still being optimistic, and then once we got the project in the can there was maybe this psychic letting go. That’s when everything really started to reveal itself as this could be the end.  I did go back to see him when he was in hospice.  I think I was there the last two days that he really was able to really stay coherent.  He would close his eyes and be at peace and quiet for a minute, and he would finish a conversation and sort of close his eyes, not to sleep and not to go away, but I remember watching him going, “Look how peaceful he is,” and then he’d open his eyes and he’d remember that he is in this body that has been given a time limit of life, and he’s on his way out.  I’d watch the fear go back in his eyes.  At one point, he did say, “I’m so scared,” and I just held his hand, and I said, “I’m scared too.  Let’s be scared through this together.”  I don’t know how to navigate grief like that.  We are all going to be in a position at some point where we are going to be on the other side of the hand holding.  The wonderful thing is that we were able to have honest communication about our feelings.  I thanked him for everything that he has done for me and how he believed in my talent and creativity and our partnership.  I will always take that with me.  I waved my finger at him, and I said, “Listen.  Now, we wrote a series about a man talking to his deceased husband.  You’d better talk to me!”  So, we laughed about that.

Photo: AfterForever

You’ve done a lot of things in your career from Broadway to television, and of course, daytime fans know you best as Dr. Craig Wesley on DAYS.  How does the entire After Forever project stack up to you within all that you have done?

KEVIN:  Former DAYS casting director Fran Bascom, sought me out and offered me this 2-day role on Days of Our Lives, and those 2 days turned into 8 years, and unbeknownst to me at the time, the final 3 months of that contract of those 8 years, Michael Slade was brought in to write.  We didn’t cross paths at that point, but years later, when we did cross paths in New York, and then After Forever was born, that was that universal crossing point.  I am most proud of the fact that we were able create something fresh, and real, and personal to ourselves that we didn’t have to cater to any “powers that be” that had their vision and their tinkering, that they thought that it could be better in this way or that way.  Then for After Forever to gain such recognition, within the film festivals, and the Emmys, and then, just after Michael died, we won the GLAAD award for Special Recognition this year.  We don’t even fit into one of their categories!  They found a way to acknowledge this project.  If another Emmy happens again, that might be another one to put up on the shelf for After Forever that would be beautiful, and I couldn’t have done it without Michael.

For the Daytime Emmys this year, what category have you entered Riley’s Unforgettable School Project?

KEVIN:  We are not a series this year, we are a daytime fiction special, and the “Daytime Fiction Special” category is a special class.  It’s anything that’s digital in the construct of less than 40 minutes.  NATAS (National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences) is being bombarded with so much content, they’re trying to find ways to put categories together.

Photo: JPI

So, now, when we last saw Days of Lives’ Dr. Craig Wesley, where was he? (Laughs)

KEVIN: (Laughs) He was in a flash from the past or something in the DOOL app’s Last Blast Reunion series. I had a fun time working with Patrika Darbo (Nancy) and Nadia Bjorlin (Chloe), once again.

So, if they were to want Craig to come back to DAYS, would you be all for it?

KEVIN:  Hell yes!

Photo: JPI

Now, what story would you want to be told involving Craig? 

KEVIN:  When Craig was first on the canvas in Salem, there was a lot of mustache twirling and a lot of hand wringing.  He was always plotting; most of the time with Nancy.  It was kind of this high drama, evil villain storyline being told, but when the writers created an opportunity for us to be on after those first three months by bringing on Chloe without a father, there was something real about it.  It may have been told under the construct of soap opera storytelling, but there was a reality-based story about, “You have a daughter, and we are just now finding out about it?”  Then, finding a cure to her health was another realistic story, and finding out that Craig was her real father.  Anything that’s reality based is what I’m getting to.  I would welcome any job that brings me back and gives me an opportunity to dive into something real.

Photo: JPI

Would you welcome the opportunity to play a gay character on daytime; in a medium where there are very few represented in storylines?

KEVIN:  I’d have no problem with that.  Do you know anybody who is starting that?  Let’s do it!  (Laughs) First of all, there’s nothing to hide anymore.  There’s nothing to pretend you’re not anymore.  I would think that bringing in a storyline that deals with anything outside the norm that we are used to seeing would be interesting.  How many times can you retell a story?  How many times can you set the same story up with another couple?  So, why not be diverse and have a stylized story being told through the lens of a gay person.

Photo: AfterForever

In closing, so many go through life without acknowledging people who had an impact them.  We don’t give pats on the back, often enough, and especially in Hollywood, where people can be very self-involved.  You have already paid tribute to Michael Slade in our discussion, but what gift from him is your personal takeaway?

KEVIN:  The gift that Michael really gave to me is to remember to be kind to myself and to others, and to acknowledge and salute the person who is in front of us, because we don’t know when we will have, or if we will have, another moment to do that.

Now below, check out the trailer for Riley’s Unforgettable School Project.  Then let us know, what do you think of its concept? Kevin’s thoughts on the passing of his collaborator on the project, Michael Slade? And, do you hope DAYS brings back Dr. Craig Wesley? Share your thoughts via the comment section.

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General Hospital

GH’s Kin Shriner Talks on Franco’s Demise, Scott’s Budding Romance with Obrecht, and His Enduring On-Screen Partnership with Genie Francis

One of the most beloved actors in the history of General Hospital, Kin Shriner, currently finds his alter-ego, Scott Baldwin, in a new budding on-screen romance with none other than Liesl Obrecht (Kathleen Gati).

This comes on the heels of Scott learning the devastating news that his son, Franco Baldwin was shot and killed, thus writing-off the ABC daytime drama series, for now, popular actor, Roger Howarth.

Photo: JPI

Throughout his now almost 44-year-run on the ABC daytime drama series, Kin Shriner has brought his unique acting chops that helped mold the character of legal eagle Scott Baldwin into the humorous, at times cutthroat, endearing and many times heartbreaking character we have all come to love.’

 

In a brand new exclusive virtual sit-down interview with Michael Fairman on You Tube’s The Michael Fairman Channel, Shriner opens up about his history with GH and the times he stepped away to take on roles on Texas and As the World Turns, and then back again to the town of Port Charles and GH.

Photo: ABC

As well, Kin reveals his reaction to learning the news that Roger Howarth would be exiting the show as his TV son and how he shot the key emotional scene where Laura (Genie Francis) tells Scott that Franco had died.  Shriner shares that he does not see how when Howarth returns to the show in as a yet-to-be-revealed character, that it would be a stretch if the two were some how related, but that he will miss working with the talented Howarth as a scene-partner.

Photo: JPI

As to the women in Scott’s life, Kin addresses each of them from: Lucy (Lynn Herring), Bobbie (Jackie Zeman), Dominque (Shell Danielson), Laura (Francis), Ava (Maura West) – to which the character could never get that close to – and now Liesl (Gati), and working opposite all the powerhouse actresses who portray them.

Photo: ABC

For fans of General Hospital who have watched the series for decades, Kin also shares memories of working with his late TV parents, Peter Hansen (Lee), Susan Brown (Gail) and his friend and former GH castmate John Reilly (Sean), plus backstage stories with his longtime scene partner, Genie Francis.

Watch the entire conversation with Kin below.

Now let us know, are you all for the Scott and Liesl romance? Will you miss scenes between Scott and Franco?  Would you ever want to see Scott and Laura reunite romantically? Share your thoughts in the comment section.

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Interviews

Y&R’s Newman Kids Talk 48th Anniversary, Storylines, Camaraderie, and Take the Trivia Challenge

On Friday, to celebrate the 48th anniversary of The Young and the Restless (which premiered back on March 26th,1973) Michael Fairman chatted virtually with the actors who comprise the adult Newman family children; Joshua Morrow (Nick), Amelia Heinle (Victoria), Mark Grossman (Adam), Hunter King (Summer) and Melissa Ordway (Abby).

During the conversation, on You Tube’s the Michael Fairman Channel, the actors discussed what it was like coming into the iconic Newman clan when they first debuted, behind-the-scenes moments and laughs they share working with each other, and what it has been like for them to share scenes with their iconic TV father, Eric Braeden (Victor) and for some of the kids, their on-screen mother, Melody Thomas Scott (Nikki).

In addition, each touch upon their current Y&R storyline where:Nick is involved with Phyllis again, Adam is on to Chelsea, Victoria is trying to be in the woman in charge of the company and she finds herself boyfriend-less, Summer has her hands full with the arrival of Tara Locke and Sally Spectra who may all destroy her relationship with Kyle, and Abby wanting to have a baby via surrogacy with the sperm donor being Devon.

Later, Michael plays a round of “Stump the Newman” trivia where the actors are put to the test to see just who knows the history of the Newman clan best. Watch what happens when the mention of the notorious and ill-fated reliquary storyline is brought up!

Joshua, Amelia, Mark, Hunter, and Melissa also express what it has meant to them to be a part of the legacy of The Young and the Restless, and still later Joshua’s daughter, Charlie, even makes a special guest appearance.

Now watch the conversation in full with the Newman kids below. 

Then let us know, what was your favorite moment of the interview? How do you hope their current storylines resolve? What was your favorite and least favorite storyline of all-time for Nick, Victoria, Adam, Abby, and Summer? Share your thoughts in the comment section.

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Y&R’s Joshua Morrow, Amelie Heinle, Mark Grossman, Hunter King and Melissa Ordway chat with Michael Fairman about being a part of and portraying the Newman Children as the show celebrates its 48th anniversary.Leave A Comment

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