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Y&R's Doug Davidson Interview: His Daytime Emmy Nomination & The Loss Of Jeanne Cooper!

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

The Young and the Restless, Doug Davidson (Paul Williams) has had a thrilling and yet heartbreaking first two weeks of May.  First, Doug landed his fourth nomination for a Daytime Emmy for his gut-wrenching performance as a father who comes to the realization that he, for all intent and purposes, shot and killed his psycho-son Ricky!  The story, as we all came to learn, was much more complex than on the surface.  Doug played it to the hilt!  Now his performance has been deemed one of the front-runners in the Outstanding Lead Actor race, and it could finally give him the long elusive Emmy gold!

But last week, Doug lost his dear friend and cast mate, Jeanne Cooper (Katherine Chancellor) who passed away on Wednesday after a battle with an undisclosed illness.  On-Air On-Soaps chatted with Doug just a few days after the news of Jeanne’s death saddened the soap world, and its many fans.

In an often times emotional, heartfelt, and honest conversation, Doug shared his thoughts on the magnitude of the loss of Jeanne for him, and the Y&R family, but also shared his joy on getting the opportunity to be nominated by his peers for daytime television’s biggest prize in this his 35th year playing Genoa City’s P.I., Williams.  Here is what Doug had to say about losing a legend and a friend, the Daytime Emmy voting process and changes he would like to see made, and how he came to choose the all-important episode for Emmy competition.

Doug, I wanted to start by personally letting you know, that of the many times I spoke to Jeanne Cooper, she would always tell me about how much she loved “Doug Davidson”.  I think Jeanne would want me to remind you of that now, and so I am, as I know you and many are grieving and feeling her loss.

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

DOUG:  It was mutual.  It is like loss of a national treasure.  The more I read about just what our every day viewers said, it reminds me that when I was a young heartthrob and would tour the country on the weekends, the number one question from the young girls in my audience was, “What is Mrs. Chancellor really like?”   I also thought, not only is that a testament to her, but sort of a lesson to the powers-that-be that you don’t have to be one to enjoy watching one.  So when they think young people just like to watch young people, or a certain ethnic group only wants to watch a certain ethnic group, there are those characters that are so universal and all you have to be is to be human.  Katherine Chancellor, through Jeanne’s performance, was one of those.

On a happier note, I was thrilled that you received a Daytime Emmy nomination for some of your best work.  Were you surprised that you scored an Outstanding Lead Actor nomination?  Or, did you think it was a lock because your story and reel were so strong going into the competition?

DOUG:  I think because the rules are so specific in getting the nomination that many factors have to be in your favor.  One of the most important ones, since you only submit one episode of your work, is selecting an episode with challenging work.  So because of the Ricky story, I certainly felt I had an episode that might fit those criteria.

What episode did you actually submit that landed you the nomination?  The episode after Paul shot Ricky?

Courtesy/CBS

DOUG:  If you recall, there was the attempted talk-down in the bathroom.  The actual shooting was a montage.  Then the next day it continues with the shooting; then at the crime scene with an interrogation from a cop and Ronan.  Then he leaves, and it ends with Paul talking to Isabella in Los Angeles.  And, the show after that has Paul turning himself into his daughter Heather.  He is questioned by Ronan.  Avery, his lawyer, is present with Paul in the interrogation room.  After reliving the sequence of events, Tricia Cast (as Nina) comes in.  And, because she is so familiar to Paul’s inner circle, he then loses the stiff upper lip and breaks down.  So, that is the episode that I submitted.  It seemed to have the greatest span of emotions.  There was a transition from the shock of learning that the knife had disappeared to suddenly Paul is a suspect.  It had the biggest range, I felt.  Then I ran it by our publicist, Jimmy Freeman, and associate producer Matt Olsen, and Judy Blye Wilson, our casting director, just to get some opinions.

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You were a judge on the blue-ribbon panel for the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series category.  What can you say in general about the field, or the voting system?

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

DOUG:  In terms of generalities, it’s becoming harder and harder.  Personally, it’s hard to find an entire episode that is all about your character, and that you have 10-15 minutes of airtime.  The shows are moving quicker, and scenes are much shorter.  It’s the style of today’s television.  So I am certainly not faulting the writers, but we might choose to change some of the rules, so you can put a composite of scenes together from different episodes where you can show a body of work over a year.  I like the idea, but then some people say, “Well, then you are cherry-picking your best scenes.”   But you kind of do that anyway, don’t you?  You are not so much a slave to the way an episode is constructed, or a story arc.  It handcuffs you.  I am going to use someone like Michelle Stafford (Phyllis, Y&R) as an example, because I am so familiar with her.  Day in and day out she brings it to the table.  I think she is arguably one of the best actors in the genre.  Then, she has to specifically find an entire episode that illustrates her obvious talents.  I am not talking about actors being allowed to do editing within a scene.   But if you grab this scene and that scene in it’s entirety, that you can put together 7-10 minutes of work with black in between them, you are then able to use your entire year.  I could have assembled an entire story arc with the Ricky storyline, and I probably would have felt a bit better about that, because it shows the entire span of the story.  The category breakdown is another odd aspect to it.   What are you judging when you say “Outstanding Actor”?  If it’s your story, I consider you the lead actor.  There are other characters over the span of the year that had more airtime than I did.  But this was pretty much Paul’s story, and Peter Porte (Ex-Ricky) would have been a supporting actor in it.

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

Peter Porte was wonderful in the story with you.  I thought he would land a Supporting Actor nomination!

DOUG:  He was great!  I was actually kind of shocked that he did not get a nomination. And there again, the minute he had a bone with some meat on it, he tore it up!

Who was most thrilled for you when they learned you had been nominated again this year?

DOUG:  I guess, my immediate cast mates are always thrilled, but I would say the surprise happy one was Max Ehrich, the young man who plays Fen.  He was truly really excited.  I expect the people closest to me to be excited, and I certainly was.  There is an anticipation that comes from never having won one.  And the longer it goes; it becomes a ying and yang thing, (Laughs) where you go, “Oh, my!  I have been stepping up to the plate for 35 years now.”   This month on May 19th it will mark 35 years for me on The Young and the Restless.

Jeanne Cooper would have loved to be here to celebrate your 35 years on the number one soap!

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DOUG:  You know, yesterday I remembered a couple of early episodes of Jeanne’s.  And, the collaboration between Jeanne and Bill Bell (Y&R creator) was pretty amazing.  The Bell’s, from all outward appearances, were the All-American family.  So for him to understand the complexities of somebody like Jeanne Cooper, and write such a full beautiful character like Kay Chancellor, and this was back in the mid-70’s, I just think was the mark of a true artist.  A true artist to me is someone who doesn’t necessarily have a history of living all those things, but certainly can recognize them, and share them in his narrative. Wow!  I am sure Bill and Jeanne are catching up in heaven.

Jeanne would also often tell me how you have grown as an actor, and how you’ve come such a long way and worked so hard, and how proud of you she was.

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

DOUG:  I really appreciate you saying this … so much.  Jeanne and I went out to lunch the day I signed my first long-term contract at Hamburger Hamlet on Sunset Blvd!  She always seemed to appear at major events in my life.  When my daughter was born, it was an arduous labor.  My wife did it without any drugs.   I think it went on for 36 hours or so over Christmas evening, and it went on through to the 27th of December.  After I came out of the operating room, besides my mother, Jeanne was the next person I saw.  I don’t know how she found out, but there she was with a baby gift and flowers.  She did it for my son, as well.   It is just like she had a sixth sense of what was going on.  Anytime you had a problem, or an issue, and it wasn’t just me, it was anybody that approached her.  You are going to get the same thing from Daniel Goddard (Cane, Y&R) and Greg Rikaart (Kevin, Y&R).  She was just such a solid, caring, supportive person with no judgment at all.  She was truly a Zen master!

She was truly an amazing woman. There was no one like her!

DOUG: Jeanne had a glow around her every time you saw her.  I remember when Corbin Bernsen posted something a few weeks ago on facebook, and at that point I didn’t even know she was in the hospital.  So I read this, and I was truly devastated.  I could not believe it was that serious.  I also truly had no idea what was going on.  It was out of the blue, so it was so impactful for me.  When I went to see Jeanne later during her recuperation, I told her that I knew I loved her, but when I read that and the thought of losing her, I told her (in tears), and “I guess I loved you more than I thought.”  That once again reminds me to love the people around you, and tell them all you can.  I was lucky enough that I got the opportunity, and if I hadn’t had the most recent opportunity, I knew how loving and caring she was.  Just an incredible, incredible, human being.

Will you be present on Daytime Emmy night?

Courtesy/HeraldSunAU

DOUG: Yes I will be there, but I may be on Xanax! (Laughs)

I might need a Xanax for Emmy night, too!  I can’t take this anymore, Doug!

DOUG: (Laughs) With this event of losing Jeanne, it reminds me once again that there are more important things than accolades and awards.  I hope that I am big enough to be happy whatever the outcome!  But I will be there.  The amazing support of our viewership through thick and thin with my character has been truly amazing.  If I am here it is in large part because of them.

So, would you like to see Doug Davidson win the Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series award at the 40th annual Daytime Emmys on June 16th? What did you think of his nominated episode? And, what do you think about the sentiments Doug shared on the loss of his dear friend and long time cast mate, Jeanne Cooper? Let us know your thoughts below!

 

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Shelley Carlson
Shelley Carlson

Thank you Doug for yourintrospective thoughts and comments about Jeanne Cooper. Each new additional comment made by a castmate, deepens our love and respect for all of you. I was one who was watching from day one and when you came to the show. When you made it to Missouri, I waited in line for chance to speak with you and get that autographed photo! So, I m hoping that this will be your year at the Emmy’s, for so many reasons.

Vonda
Vonda

Doug I feel Jeanne is going to bring this one home to you! She is going to be your date in spirit and be the driving force that hands you the emmy this year! It’s been a long time coming! Much love sent your way!

Brenda Durham
Brenda Durham

Doug always has beern my favorite on Y&R. So glad he gets more airtime. He is an excellent actor and seems to be such a really nice person out of character as well as when he is “Paul.” He’s easy on the eyes too.

Dinah
Dinah

I love Doug Davidson

Pat Elder
Pat Elder

I think Doug’s comments were very moving; & I think the episode he was nominated for was very emotional. Good luck Doug. My heart is saddened by Jeanne’s loss.

Michael
Michael

What an awesome interview! I’m so cheering Doug on at the Emmy’s. He richly deserves it!

margie dalton
margie dalton

Beautiful interview I pray Doug does win Ms Cooper will be shining on her dear friend. She would want this. Heartbroken more so on Mothers day missing my Ma & Corbin’s Mom. Wish they both had more time here. My genuine sympathy to her children & Y&R friends.

Mary
Mary

Doug Davidson has always been my favorite actor and Paul my favorite character. I have watched the show for forty years so I have seen Doug do amazing work. I really hope he wins this year.

Jean
Jean

I love Paul/Doug & his personality comes through the t.v. He is a nice guy & very handsome. His acting is great & believable.
My birthday is June 16 & I will get my gift of seeing him win!

Yasmeen Khan
Yasmeen Khan

I am so sad I will definitely miss Mrs.Chancellor and Genie Cooper.

It will not be the same but I will always watch MY Y and R…

Lve.

Alan
Alan

DD is the male Susan Lucci in the sense that he is a great performer that is underrated. He will get it . Its his time. YR is going to sweep the emmys this year. With JC gone they have an Angel on their shoulders that will be their luck and ace in the hole.

I have talked to DD before on a Blog talk podcast, and his love for JC and her back according to her book is like a Mother and Son relationship. DD as Paul Williams is the reason I started watching YR as a kid. I even pattern myself after his character to certain extents.

DD is one of the last classic heros of Daytime. They don’t make them like him anymore. My fingers are crossed for him to win. Its his time and I also want to hear a Heartfelt tribute to his acting mentor JCooper in the speech which will be epic. Godbless YR/Doug Davidson and Jeanie Cooper. Mike my heart to you for our Loss for JC and the rest of the fans. Thank you for putting up your skype interview. You did not have to, but it eases the heavy hearts of the fans/family of JC.

Debbie Ashley
Debbie Ashley

Wow! I just want to say, Paul Williams, Doug Davidson, you are a true and genuine man, there is no acting in you. Like Jeanne, you are ReaL all the way through! I watched you play the role of Paul so many years of my Life, I can’t count them all!
It was an honor and privelege to know that you have such amazing kindness, good-heartedness for the people. You were always there for all your friends and loved ones all through the scenes. You were always rescuing people and giving us an awesome feeling. Lik “Oh good! Paul knows now!” “He’s figuring it out! YES!!!” “Watch out bad person! Yer gonna be taken down now for sure!” It was like he was always there right when you needed him, but never actually expected him to show up at that time. I love feeling that way. I love Happy Endings. And Paul brought us many Happy Endings over the years! I am so heartbroken of his loss of Jeanne, but I am sure that she is not done helping him from the other side! I believe that, when you help someone on earth, and they pass away before you do, they continue helping you right here on earth, there in Heaven. Thanks, Doug for the Awesome work that you continue to pour your heart with time and time again! You deserve that Emmy yes! God Bless you!

Jewell
Jewell

I want him to win.. I talk to him on Twitter, He is such a sweetheart..I’m so happy he got to see Jeane before she passed, He has said she is like a mom to him and I have read that she wanted to adopt him..:-) So thankful he had that opportunity..

Gillian
Gillian

He is so sweet. One of the few actors, like Daniel Goddard, who follow their fans on twitter. Class act

Michele
Michele

I think Doug is wonderful. Been watching him for years. Truly a wonderful actor and person.

Michele
Michele

Jeanne of course is wonderful too!!! Have cried a bit everyday. She is so very special and will be missed by so many. In fact, the more I hear about her (like stores like Doug’s), the sadder I become, and/or the more I appreciate her as a person, and not just as an actress.

heidi
heidi

Another great interview Michael!!! Doug sounds like a good guy! He is very talented and those episodes were very strong and very well done by Doug! I am hoping for Jason Thompson to win… but I would be very happy to see Doug win as well! I wish him the best of luck and will continue enjoying watching him as Paul Williams.

Debbie Admussen
Debbie Admussen

Doug is long overdue for his Emmy win. He is the nicest actor I have met in person from the Young and the Restless as well. Just a stand up guy, with a killer sense of humor, Doug is one in a million. His acting talents are superb and he is very handsome! No wonder he and Jeanne got along so well….they were two peas in a pod. Sorry for your loss of Jeanne Doug, but glad you had all those years of close friendship with a national treasure.

Wendy
Wendy

When Doug says, “I loved you more than I thought” to Jeanne when he visited her recently, that really is the essence of how much Doug always loved Jeanne. Doug is very open in this interview and always comes ‘across’ as being a very caring individual. Viewers of Y&R discerning as they are, see that in his diligence to his acting on the show.
I am cheering Doug on this year for a win in the Daytime Emmy Lead Actor Category. He so deserves the win. Best of Luck to you, Doug!

Dee O'Meara
Dee O'Meara

Dougie, you so deserve the nom.and award
I know Jeanne is watching and is so happy & proud of you. I love you dearly & wish the best for you. Good luck dear.

Dom
Dom

What a great man. I really hope he wins, he’s such a wonderful actor and gave spectacular performances last year. Love his stories about Jeanne, shows that he is a man with a kind heart and no ego.

Connie
Connie

We are all behind you, pulling for you. And praying for all during this sad time. I agree, I imagine Jeanne is going to be up there, pulling her strings for your win. Best wishes!

kalamaty
kalamaty

Good lord; if Doug Davidson doesn’t finally win they’re going to have to put ME on Xanax! Congratulations to him; I’ll be rooting him – and Y&R – on from my living room. Thanks for a great interview, Doug and Michael.

teresa boyette
teresa boyette

its ab time paul is nominated ive been waiting for this since he started if they make him leave i will never ever waych y/ r again i remember bk in the 70s/80s when him / nikki were a thing / april /then came heather the child he didnt know he had / i know that jeanna would b proud of u bc she took u under her wing / now she san shine like the moon / stars watching over u doug

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