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Y&R’s Jess Walton Dishes On Her 30-Year Milestone As Genoa City’s Jill!

Photo Credit: HutchinsPhoto.com

Photo credit: JPI Studios

August has been a month of celebration for The Young and the Restless enduring star, Jess Walton.  The two-time Daytime Emmy-winning actress has played the one and only Jill for now 30 years in Genoa City.  Not an easy milestone to reach, or feat in the world of soap operas.

On Friday, August 18th, at a gathering in her honor: cast, crew, CBS and Sony executives, and Y&R creatives came together to praise and thank Jess Walton for her outstanding performances and efforts as a legacy member of the number-one daytime drama series.  From Y&R’s executive producer and now head writer Mal Young, to Sony’s Steve Kent and Jason Clodfelter, to Walton’s cast mates, Peter Bergman (Jack), Kate Linder (Esther), and Melody Thomas Scott (Nikki), everyone shared fond memories, and their love for Jess, and her one-of-a-kind brilliance, that has made Jill a character soap fans have either loved to love, or loved to hate for over three decades.

When it was her turn to speak, Walton noted those along the way who helped her and meant so much to her with some touching and humorous stories including those of her longtime scene partner, the late Jeanne Cooper (Katherine). In a surprise for Walton, Y&R producer, Jimmy Freeman put together a clip package of memorable Jill moments through the years illustrating the series love for Jess. 

On-Air On-Soaps sat down with Jess following the tribute in her honor to get her thoughts on the 30-year celebration, and her fantastic series run.  To kick things off though, here is what a few of her co-stars had to say about Jess on her big day.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Peter Bergman (Jack): “People always ask who my favorite person to work with is, and I always say Jess Walton, because I have so much fun history with the character of Jill, and our scenes just play themselves.”

Sharon Case (Sharon):  “Jess is amazing.  I have watched her work over the years.  My favorite storyline with Jess was with Jerry Douglas as John Abbott, when they were having a custody battle over baby Billy!  That was just so well-written, and performed so well that it was one of my all-time favorite storylines on Y&R.  Jess is a really powerful actress, and she is so talented that she can play anything. 

JESS WALTON INTERVEW

Jess, you mentioned when you got up to address those in attendance, and to make your speech that it’s hard for you to speak publicly.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

JESS:   Yes.  I don’t like public speaking.  I hate it!  It was harder than I expected and I didn’t know where to begin, because I had so many ideas in my head and so many memories. When I got up there to speak, I thought I couldn’t possibly fit all of this in; people are waiting for their lunch. (Laughs)  So, I just did a hodgepodge of memories.  I remember one of them was Ed Scott (Ex-EP, Y&R) running down the stage to me a million times at the beginning.  I then remember going to Bill Bell (Creator, Y&R) and saying, “Do I have to cry when it says in the script to cry during a speech, because it would always make me freeze up?”   Bill said, “No. You don’t.”    I went to Ed Scott and told him that, and then Ed said, “I’m going to kill him” (Laughs) Ed did not want me to have permission not to cry, because Ed loved seeing the actors cry. (Laughs)

When you watched the stroll down memory lanes in the clip package that was shown featuring those memorable Jill moments, what was your reaction?

Photo Credit: CBS

JESS:   I loved seeing me when I was younger.  I loved the Jeanne Cooper scenes, and I know it would have been magnificent if she was here with us for this, but I know she is watching. Jeanne shaped me so much, and she was such a strong person, that she made me strong.

I don’t know if you are aware, but so many over the years have told me how phenomenal they think you are as an actress, and many out there, who are your peers,  revere you as one of the penultimate actresses of the genre. 

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

JESS:  I can’t believe that, and I have never felt that!  That’s amazing to me and makes me feel very humbled, because all of that makes me uncomfortable, but I am very proud that people think that.  It’s funny, one of the great things and gifts on being with this show is that you could be really mediocre one day, absolutely feel bad about your performance the next day, and then do a kick-ass job on Thursday. So, you always have another chance. It used to be if you were a guest star on a weekly primetime show, if you blew it during your one shot that was it.  I remember when I felt that.  I would want to kill myself for the next month! (Laughs) Now, the crew and the cameramen at Y&R have seen me be good, bad, and indifferent.  I don’t have to prove a thing to them.  They know what I can do.  You can always do your best work when you feel comfortable, and I feel comfortable when working in front of them. 

In your 30 years, which were the storylines you disliked, or you thought were real stinkers for your character, Jill?

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

JESS:   I didn’t like when they sent Jill off into the witness protection program with Bobby played by John Enos. I did not like that; to leave to be the nanny to their baby?  Jill hated Brittany Hodges (Lauren Woodland), who was the mother of the baby, and Jill had worked all her life to be an executive at Jabot.  So when Jill says, “I will just go off with you two and be your nursemaid”, I thought, perhaps, that wasn’t the easiest scene to play.  A similar thing happened when I was in scenes with Michael Nouri (Ex-Elliot Hampton), and his character came in to steal Jabot.  Jill was supposed to run off with him and leave all of her family, friends, and everything she worked for behind.  That was another one where I went, “I don’t think so!” (Laughs)

On the flipside, what has been some of your favorite storylines?

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

JESS:  I particularly liked when Jill has both John Abbott (Jerry Douglas) and Rex Sterling (Quinn Redeker) on a string, but they did not know about each other.  I thought that was hilarious, because Jill always had to back herself out of a corner, and it was really a lot of fun.  There was also the storyline with David Kimball played by Michael Corbett.  It wasn’t that long, like maybe two years of the 30 years, but Michael is one of my dearest friends to this day. 

You replaced Brenda Dickson in the role.  What do you recall about that time, and coming on to Y&R as the new Jill?

Courtesy/CBS

JESS:  I did not know much about The Young and the Restless at all, but Nicolas Walker (Ex-Trey Clegg, Capitol) who was my co-star on Capitol, had been on the show for a little bit.  He had come over for a day and filled me in on the story. Nicholas would run lines with me and play Jeanne Cooper’s part as Katherine.  He truly filled me in on a tremendous amount of stuff! 

In closing, you know live in Oregon.  However, when all is said and done, do you want to continue coming back to Y&R, and being part of the fabric of the show?

JESS:  Oh sure, yeah.  I wouldn’t want to do it day in and day out anymore, but I like to come down in chunks.  It has been an amazing run for me on Y&R, and yes, I would like to keep coming back.

Share your congratulations to Jess Walton for her 30 years as Jill Foster Abbott Atkinson in the comment section below.  Then let us know what has been your favorite Jill scene over the three decades, and let us know your thoughts in subjects shared in our conversation with Jess.

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Daianavickie jean spiarsJoy TewMarita LilleySara Ouzts Recent comment authors
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Mateo
Guest
Mateo

Jess Walton is always a breath of fresh air. I love her gritty determination that she shows in each and every scene, be they big or small. Her storylines always true and most often are performed with precision and pure talent. Congrats on 30 years Ms. Walton, I am grateful for each and every one!

Brenda klyce
Guest
Brenda klyce

Jess/Jill thanks for all the tears, the laughter, the love and the tension you so eloquently portray when you come to the show….I’ve watched the Y&R since the beginning and you are one of my favorite charActers. I live in a small southern time and am widowed .. Watching the show I can live vicariously and get a piece of the star lifestyle I would never get without you and the show I really have been enjoying the private pictures of Oregon and you dog. That’s all I have when I come home now and they are just like your… Read more »

diane
Guest
diane

I always loved to hate Jill..lol

Ray
Guest
Ray

Two words: Class act!

JK
Guest
JK

CONGRATULATIONS TO A REAL CLASSY LADY AND WONDERFUL ACTRESS. FROM THE TIME I STARTED WATCHING ,YOUR SCENES WITH JEANNE COOPER WERE AWESOME……TODAY YOU ARE A BREATH OF FRESH AIR AND I HOPE YOU WILL RETURN OFTEN…. THANKS FOR SOME OF THE BEST SOAP MOMENTS EVER.

Paul
Guest
Paul

The show needs Jill but not as a baby sitter for Billy or Cane but as the tremendous talent the actress brings to the character. She could fly in and take down Hilary in one clean swoop, put Victor in his place and even Cane.
I miss the character and the actress

Celia
Guest
Celia

Love you, Jess. You are Queen….the epitome of grace, and in-your-face, savoir faire acting.
Wishing you the best of the best in life……and more Jill, please!!

Lew S.
Guest
Lew S.

Totally miss her on a day to day basis. The show isn’t the same without her. Yes, a class act!

James R. Poissant
Guest
James R. Poissant

I love watching Jess own her scenes. She can really give a powerhouse performance when she has to rise above it.

Helen
Guest
Helen

Jess is the total package! I enjoy every scene she is part of and sincerely hope her presence continues. Living a short distance from Jess, it would be neat to pass her on a sidewalk or spot her out shopping ~~ but alas, no such luck. She deserves privacy and peace and I believe she has found that in OR.

soapqueenforever
Guest
soapqueenforever

I have always loved Jill. She has always been my favorite character. I loved the cat fights she had with Katherine. Classic soap opera at its best. Also the scenes with Jill and Esther have always been priceless. I am hoping we can see more of this class act in upcoming shows. Especially now, that her bbeloved Cane got himself into such a mess. Here’s to hopefully seeing more of the wonderfulness that is Jess Walton in future episodes. And on a side note, and I know what I am about to say has nothing to do with the abovementioned… Read more »

Kevin C
Guest
Kevin C

Soapqueen, I am loving Wyatt and Katie together, wonderful paring and YES, for sure they have chemistry…

Judith
Guest
Judith

I still miss the dynamics between Jeanne Cooper and Jess. What great characters they played. Hopefully Jess can turn up from time to time on Y&R. It always makes me feel good when she’s on. Miss the old days of Y&R.

Celia
Guest
Celia

Yeeeessss, Judith!!!!! Everything you said!!

jaybird369
Guest
jaybird369

CONGRATULATIONS on 30 years…and here’s to MANY MORE!!!!! CHEERS!!!!!

Timmm
Guest
Timmm

See, this is the problem, Jess only wants to come in and work in chunks. NO! Y&R needs that character full time! Jess has earned the right to do what she wants in her life BUT when a production calls for Jill to be front and center, you have to be there. Imagine if Tome Brady only wanted to play 5 or 6 games a year! Its time for Jess to walk away. I love and respect her but they made a mistake not recasting Kathrine and they shouldnt do the same with Jill. Its about the show, not one… Read more »

Scott (ATWT Fan)
Guest
Scott (ATWT Fan)

Recasting Katherine Chancellor in anything but a short-term stint, a-la Michael Learned’s tenure, would be a major mistake and insult. As for recasting Jill, it’d be a daunting task, but it would be done. Though, I’d rather see Jess Walton continue her portrayal, even if it is in chunks. But more consistent chunks, than pieces here and pieces there, much like Traci Abbott.

Soaphound
Guest
Soaphound

Amen to that, Timm. Can you imagine the memories Jess Walton must have after 30 years? The scenes with Jeanne Cooper alone must make her proud. I wish we had more flashback scenes of their best tender and/or explosive moments. Not more of this insane Charlie & Mattie takeover!

Tomas Torquemada
Guest
Tomas Torquemada

Everyone deserves a happy retirement. She clearly enjoys hers.

She’s needed. She’s a great actress. But – and I hate saying this – either they retire the character or they recast.

Mo
Guest
Mo

Congratulations! Can’t wait for you to return to Y&R.

damien
Guest
damien

still waiting for tricia cast to return as nina and reignite the jill vs nina feud!
after katherine , nina was jill s second arch nemesis…now that cane s single and broke and a snake maybe he can cozy up to nina?! this could amp up the chancellor war again!
the newmans are tired, give the chancellors some love
…give lily and cane a break, they re better apart. bring back redaric as tyler who had real chemistry with cristell.this jordan characters not cutting it. his lame history with chelsea who is also lame without adams pointless

Barbara from Atlanta
Guest
Barbara from Atlanta

I like Walton and congratulations on the milestone. That being said, Walton has barely been on screen for the past 5 years (averaging about 10 shows a year) that I’m having a hard time with the significance of the event. Mal Young has been with the show for less than 2 years. Anyone else wonder exactly what “memories” Mal Young shared about his time working with Walton on Y&R?? I bet Walton hasn’t been on the show for a total of 30 episodes since Young has been employed there. I like Walton and hope that she is enjoying her (clearly… Read more »

janet
Guest
janet

I do not watch Y&R .Can’t stand eric B, But I loved Jill on Capitol. She was great with Nickolas. She is a very talented actress.

Ann
Guest
Ann

Congratulations Jess – I have enjoyed your portrayal of Jill Abbott over the years – especially your scenes with Jeanne Cooper (Katherine Chancellor).

Ann
Guest
Ann

I have also enjoyed the smartalic comments that use to go back and forth between Jill and Jack Abbott when she was married to John Abbott

Gia
Guest
Gia

I miss seeing Jess Walton, Excellent actress.

Jerry
Guest
Jerry

She’s amazing and always has been!

Sara Ouzts
Guest
Sara Ouzts

We love Jill…she is such a professional!

Marita Lilley
Guest
Marita Lilley

I doubt that there is an actress who could fill Jess Waltons’ shoes as Jill! She was/is inimitable in that role!

Joy Tew
Guest
Joy Tew

I have watched Y&R since Jess was a manicurist on the show. Jess is one of the greatest actress and miss her a lot. Wish she was on more often. Love that she shares with us on face book. A beautiful lady!

vickie jean spiars
Guest
vickie jean spiars

My favorite schene was the time Kathryn and Jill’s mom was dying and didn’t know at the time about Jill’s mother whom was actually Kathryn Chancellor. When the time they told Jill, I thought she was going to have a heart attack or just have a moment without words but she was just Jill and said you got to be kidding me. But it was true and Jill’s mom whom raised her all those years wanted Jill to know, because, sorry, can’t remember Jill’s mom at this moment but she like and loved Kathryn and wanted Jill to know and… Read more »

Daiana
Guest
Daiana

Congratulations you are a focal point on Y&R and your bubbly personally can always be felt!! Well deserved !!!

Interviews

Eileen Davidson, Judith Chapman and Kim Waltrip Talk Plans & Launch Campaign To Make ‘Dial Emme For Murder’ into a Series

Two-time Daytime Emmy winner, and soap opera favorite Eileen Davidson (Ashley, Y&R and Ex-Kristen/Susan, Days) is bringing one of her soap opera mystery novels to life with a proposed six-part series for the soapy and hilarious mystery, Dial Emme For Murder.

Joining Eileen in the cast will be none other than Judith Chapman (Gloria, Y&R) , Knots Landing favorite, Donna Mills (Ex-Abby), and primetime TV and film actress, Nancy Valen.  More cast members will be announced in the future.

Photo: JPI

In Dial Emme for Murder, Davidson plays actress Emmanuelle “Emme” Peterson, a successful soap star who finds herself smack dab in the middle of a  whodunit.

Now, in conjunction with the Palm Springs Women in Film and Television (PSWIFT), and its president and director/producer, Kim Waltrip, Davidson is launching a fundraising campaign to get the series made.

Photo: EDavidson

In an exclusive interview on the Michael Fairman Channel, Eileen, Judith and Kim exclusive reveal key Intel on the project, campaign and working together.  The proposed series has also launched its official website here.

About PSWIFT:  PSWIFT (Palm Springs Women in Film & Television) is a non-profit organization, founded in 2001 dedicated to promoting our members, both men and women in the Entertainment, New Media Creative arts community. In 2020 Palm Springs Women in Film & Television created and launched a Filmmakers’ Lab to teach members how to make a film, by making a film, hands-on.

PSWIFT is currently seeking donations through their non-profit – which are 100% tax-deductible – to fund the Filmmakers’ Lab’s next venture Dial Emme for Murder.  You can find out more on the different perks and packages if you donate to the project here.

Watch the interview with Michael, Eileen, Judith, and Kim below.

Then let us know, if you think Dial Emme for Murder featuring powerhouse actress, Eileen Davidson, Judith Chapman and Donna Mills, will be a must-see for you via the comment section.

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General Hospital

GH’s Maurice Benard Chats On Mia St. John’s Powerful Interview on ‘State of Mind’, Winning the Daytime Emmy & Sonny’s Future If Carly & Jason Get Hitched

Since the launch of Maurice Benard’s You Tube series, State of Mind, he has welcomed numerous guests who have opened up and shared their struggles with different aspects of mental health.  But this Sunday, July 11th, Maurice will share for the first time his powerful and emotional sit-down interview with Mia St. John; one that he reveals was one of the most moving of his series thus far.

With Maurice being a huge boxing enthusiast throughout his life, having St. John, who is a boxer, herself, on as a guest was, of course, special. However, as soap fans know, Mia is also the former wife of the late Kristoff St. John (Ex-Neil Winters, Y&R) and they shared a son, Julian.  Both men died, tragically. Julian, suffered from a long-history of mental illness, and his death was ruled a suicide, and Kristoff was consumed with grief following his son’s death which ultimately set him on a downward spiral.  Kristoff’s death was ruled accidental caused by hypertrophic heart disease; which was exacerbated by alcohol use.  In the conversation with Benard, Mia opens about her own personal struggle with addiction and how she coped with these two devastating losses. (See an exclusive preview clip below within this interview)

It’s also been a whirlwind year for Maurice. He just took home his third Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series during the 48th annual Daytime Emmy Awards for his moving portrayal as GH’s Sonny Corinthos, as he goes through all the stages of a child watching his father, Mike Corbin (played by Emmy-winner Max Gail) slip away due to the ravages of Alzheimer’s Disease.  Since the Emmy broadcast was pre-taped due to Covid restrictions, except for revealing who the winners actually were, Benard shares what went down when his name was called watching the show from home with his family.

 

And … things are heating up on General Hospital!  For months, Benard has been playing an amnesiac Sonny aka “Mike” who has become taken with deceitful Nina (Cynthia Watros), who knows he is alive and well and living in Nixon Falls, but fails to tell her nemesis Carly (Laura Wright), or anyone else in Port Charles.  With everyone believing Sonny is dead after his showdown with Julian Jerome, Carly and Jason (Steve Burton) find themselves having to save Sonny’s territory and go up against the five families.  So, what are the besties deciding to do? Get married! And as viewers saw, Carly recently removed her wedding rings to Sonny.  So, now the question on GH fans inquiry minds is; will Sonny get his memory back in time, and stop Jason and Carly from tying the knot?

Benard weighs-in on what the future may hold for Sonny, the difficulties he faced during the Covid-19 lockdown with his mental health, his conversation with Mia, and much more.  Here’s what Maurice shared.

Courtesy/StateofMind

Having Mia St. John on as your guest on the upcoming episode of State of Mind was quite emotional for you. What can you preview? 

MAURICE:  I can say that during last ten minutes, there’s a lot of spiritual stuff going on.  I felt it.  She’s very tough.  You can tell that she doesn’t want to hurt anymore, and with me, I don’t know for sure, but I think she felt safe and protected.  We got into Julian and Kristoff and what happened.  I’m pretty sure I asked her and said, “I’d like to get into something.  You could say ‘no’ to me.  It’s fine,” and she told me the whole story.  Michael, I know you were friends with Kristoff, you’re going to really be moved because I was extremely moved.  It really, really hit me hard, because of what I’ve just been through during the pandemic. I just felt the need to be there for her.  I mean, I have that in me anyway, but with her, I did because it seemed like a lot for someone to go through.  I didn’t know Kristoff.  I met him once, and we talked for a bit.  He seemed like a great guy.  I knew he was a great actor because I watched his work.  I do know that everybody seemed to love him, but through State of Mind, it seemed like I got to know him a little better through Mia.  I was looking in her eyes, and taking it all in, and she was telling me everything.

Throughout your series, you seemed to have become more comfortable in the role of the interviewer.  It’s quite the switch isn’t it from always being on the other end as the interviewee.

MAURICE:  Yeah, I’ve gotten better.  You know what it is with me, and somebody said it, I’ve got a curiosity that I love to hear people’s stories, and I have a way to make people comfortable.

Photo: KSJIG

Does it help you in listening to what other people have gone through in dealing with your own struggles with mental illness?

MAURICE:  Yeah, I’ve said it before.  It’s like therapy for me.  After Mia, I was drained, but in a good way.  In the beginning of doing “State of Mind’, I was just learning.  I wish I was more well-rounded in my intelligence.  I barely graduated out of high school, but as far as what it is with me, if I know something like acting or mental health, I really completely know it.  I’m into it.

How did the interview with Mia come about?  Did you ask her to come on State of Mind?

MAURICE:  I know who is involved with mental health.  I know who would be interesting to interview, and then I reach out, and I have people coming who are not in the soap world.  I have a WWE person; I have a TV critic, etc.  So, I asked her, and Mia said ‘yes’, and then we did the interview.  I’m a huge boxing fan.  So, to be able to talk to her about boxing and things that happened to her right before her fights, I was just really fascinated.

That is right in your wheelhouse!

MAURICE:  Way up my alley!  If I could have more boxers on, I would love that.  I love sports, but boxing is my one sport, so I was like a kid in a candy store talking to Mia.

How do you feel Mia is doing as she has been very open about her battle with alcoholism?

MAURICE: Any time you’ve been through that much, I think it’s a daily struggle for anyone. In addition, there is a really great organization she works with that I hope people will check out as she is trying to help others.

In terms of all of your State of Mind’s, did this one impact you in a different way?

MAURICE:  The good thing for me about State of Mind is that I learn from each person about things that I didn’t know.  For instance, coming up I have: Linsey Godfrey (Ex-Sarah, DAYS) who got hit by a car.  I mean, you could read about it, but when you’re talking to someone, things come out.  That’s what I love about doing this show.  Jason Thompson (Billy, Y&R) didn’t know anything about mental illness, personally, but he talked about mental illness more than anyone!  I said to him on the episode, “For somebody who doesn’t know anything about mental illness or didn’t have someone with it, you talk more about it,” because he had a curiosity on the subject.  Mia’s was a little more because of the boxing and how deep we went with her talking about death.  In an upcoming episode with Ken Shriner (Scott, GH), he teaches me a lot about death.  When your parents die at 16, I don’t know how you could keep going.  He taught me how.  It was beautiful.

Photo: NATAS/CBS

Let’s go back to a few weeks ago on June 25th and you win the Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series.  How did you find out you took home the gold?

MAURICE:  I was at my place in LA with my son, Joshua and my wife, Paula and we were watching the show.  When they called my name, I was very moved to watch my wife and my son get so excited, it really was sweet.  I liked my speech even though people had a problem with it, which is fine.  It’s always great if Max Gail wins or I get a win, because it’s the Alzheimer’s storyline that gets the attention.  And as I told you already, my dad has Alzheimer’s so it makes it even more personal.

And as you know, my mom had Alzheimer’s and died.  That’s why what you and Max did together on-screen together felt so real and raw and touched so many people – especially those who have a loved one going through this now, or that has passed.

MAURICE:  Yeah, it’s tough. I truly believe with this Emmy win, that it is the Alzheimer’s that really pushed it over the edge because it was a real story, greatly written, everybody deals with it, including you, including me, and you just can’t help but have a feeling about it.  You know, if I have a reel that shows me as Sonny yelling at people, beating people up, it’s not going to give you the impact.

Photo: NATAS

Was it weird coming to the stage and doing a pre-taped Emmy acceptance speech knowing that everybody else that was nominated had to do one too?

MAURICE:  Well, thank, God I didn’t have to do it in front of actors; I probably wouldn’t have been able to do it.  It’s weird, right?  I knew I had to adjust.  When I’ve won before, it’s in front of a lot of people, or semi-in front in a lot of people.  So, with this year, your energy is different.  So, you can’t act in a speech like that, because then it would seem kind of over the top, maybe.  So, I just made a speech that I thought would work for what I was doing; which is kind of acting because I didn’t want to come out and say, “Oh, my God!  I can’t believe it!”  So, I said, “Okay, I’ll thank the actors, I’ll thank Frank, and I’ll make it about Alzheimer’s.”

Photo: GFrancisTwitter

I know some fans on social media jumped on the comment you made within the speech about ‘being the star of the show’ and you did tweet out that you went to Genie Francis (Laura, GH) to make sure there were no ruffled feathers there.

MAURICE:  I went to Genie because I thought, I don’t want her to take what I said personally, and she’s like, “What are you talking about?”  Sometimes I respond to a negative comment on Twitter with an emoji which can incite people.  So, I decided, “I’m not going to do that anymore. No more responding.”  Like I always say, you want to be loved and you want to be hated.  You just want to be loved a little more. So, I stopped with the child’s play.  I’m cool with it.

It seemed that things got twisted up, because you had related in the speech, that Frank Valentini (executive producer, GH) came over to you and said you have to do the storyline, because you are the star of the show, when you were overcome in the screen-test with Max Gail. 

MAURICE:  Sometimes people love to change the narrative.  If you watch everything … they say what I said, but they don’t say that I also said ‘Alzheimer’s’ was the star, but I’ll take the hit.

Courtesy/ABC

I recently posted a clip of my interview with Cynthia Watros from the red carpet at the Daytime Emmys saying how she is so thrilled and honored to work with you.  How is it working with Cynthia?

MAURICE:  Let me tell you about Cynthia, and this is just my experience because I don’t know her that well.  We hadn’t worked together before. First of all, we tend to overlook, because of her character and the story, or whatnot, is that she is a real actress.  Let’s not forget that, I know she did Lost, and I didn’t watch her on another soap.  I know from working with her.  She can act She makes adjustments, and she listens, and I’m really happy to be working with her.  She is just stuck in a circumstance that is not her fault, but you know what, like I said today I think on Twitter to somebody, ‘but wait’.  I’ve been working this last month doing some scenes with her, and when you see that, there’s a little bit of magic in there!  I’m not saying it’s the greatest thing in the world, I’m just saying there’s a little magic!

Photo: ABC

Have you liked being “Mike “and not having Sonny’s memory because it opened up the story?

MAURICE:  I know people think this story is my idea, like I needed a break or something.  It has nothing to do with me needing a break.  They came to me and said they were going to do this story.  I said, “Let’s do this!”  I’ve been enjoying this.  It’s a different energy.  The energy that Sonny has is dark.  It’s like in third gear.  Mike is like in first gear, calm, relaxed, happy.

You’re just realizing that now?

MAURICE:  (Laughs) Well, I guess until you’ve gone somewhere else you really don’t know.  Often times, when I do movies and other projects, it’s often the same kind of energy that Sonny has. I’ve never played a character like “Mike” where it’s a whole other feeling!

Courtesy/ABC

Is it more challenging to play a character like Mike?

MAURICE:  No, easier!  Sonny can be difficult to play.  But guess what?  The audience – at least my fans – they don’t care how happy I am or whatever, they are screaming “Go back to fricken Sonny!”  I like that in a way, but I didn’t know that it was going to be this vocal from people.  It’s not that they hate Mike, they just want Sonny, and Cynthia is put in a tough situation because of her history in that character.

So, now everyone saw last week that Jason and Carly have decided they have to get married for the sake of the business with Sonny believed-to-be-dead.  What did you think when you heard that they were going in that direction with the story?

MAURICE:  Well, I was the last one to know.  I didn’t know they were going to get married until I heard about it in the makeup room.  I think the first thing I thought of was … we are all going to be having some great scenes coming up, like, “Alright.  Let’s rock and roll!  Let’s do it!  I’ll get into this character of Sonny when called upon.”  It might be and dark and the whole thing, but once I’m in there, I’m fine.

Courtesy/ABC

It would seem if Carly and Jason do actually get married, it’s not going to be an easy road to reconciliation for Carly and Sonny down the line.

MAURICE:  No.  I would say not.  The thing about Sonny is that it’s what Sonny does best, or what I do playing him best, is betrayal.  So, for him, this is not a good thing.  I would assume he’s just going to go, “What the…” and all hell is going to break loose.

Sonny’s body washed ashore and he was very much alive, while the search and rescue mission quickly became a recovery.  Once again, law enforcement in Port Charles isn’t very good! (Laughs)

MAURICE:  So, there you go.  It’s going to be a bigger fight.  It’s going to be a great fight when Sonny does return.

Photo: ABC

Fans are predicting that Jason and Carly are going to be at the altar, and Sonny is going to walk in alive and well with his memory back to the nuptials!

MAURICE:  Well, however it goes, I would say, just let them just watch the fireworks as they unfold.

But you’re enjoying this story?

MAURICE:  I’m cool, man.  I will say this, I’m glad that I have been given this last month playing Mike, and the Nixon Falls story.   I don’t know how much more we have ahead.  I just know that what we’ve taped has been really cool, and I’m glad that they gave me that.

Photo: ABC

I know that the coronavirus pandemic and its isolation was rough for you.  What can you share, and how did you find your way out of a downward spiral?

MAURICE:  Yeah, Covid was just one of those things where I was hit with a lot of different things all at once, which was …  GH shutting down production, my book tour not being in New York (although the book ended up probably doing better because of the pandemic, which was interesting) … my mom and dad moved out …  and I thought it was the end of the world.  We all did at some point, and it all hit me with a rush of anxiety that I had never felt before in my entire life, and it was four months of terror … way too long. I was shaking like a leaf, not sleeping, it was tough.  What I tell people is that when you go through these things, it will pass.  I know, for me, four months was too long, but it did pass.  You’re better because of it.  You can take one of either two roads.  You can get worse, and you can say, “I’m a victim, I’m a victim,” or you can take the other road and say, “I’m stronger now.  Look at what I’ve been through,” and then, look at what happens … a year and a half later, look at what my life is.  I have a pond here at home, and I used to run around this pond crying my eyes out, every morning crying, like I couldn’t do it anymore, and a year later, I walk around the pond like it’s the greatest thing in the world, but that’s what this is, this mental health.  You can think you can’t go on, but then it rewards you with a better life.

Photo: Noah Harmon

I was going to say, that’s pretty profound.  When you were going through the four months, did you think you were going to come out of it okay?

MAURICE:  No,   I’m going to be honest.  I finally got on Lexapro after three months.  If Lexapro didn’t work, I can’t say positively what would have happened.  It gradually made me feel better.  Like I have said, if GH had called me a month before, I wouldn’t have been able to finish the storyline.  It would have been the end.  I wouldn’t have been able to go back to work, because I was in that state of mind.  So, they called at the right time.  I went back to work and I was on Lexapro.  The thing about Lexapro is – and we always tell people to get professional help. There are a lot of people like me, and I’ve got to say, first you get professional help because you’re on the brink of whatever.  So the first five days of taking Lexapro, you feel worse than you did just before you started taking it, and that is scary because you’re like, “I can’t take this.  This is horrible,” and then I stayed on it.  It got gradually better, and just a month and a half ago or so, I weaned myself off.

How are you feeling now?

MAURICE:  Oh, let me tell you, the day that I weaned off, was a Thursday, and I wasn’t going to take it, and I was on my bed, and I felt the greatest I felt maybe, ever.  Now, I’m not saying people should go off it, whatever, because I was on it for like 8 months or something, but it saved my life like lithium for my bipolar disorder, and that’s an amazing thing that these pills could do.  What happened with me with the pandemic is that I had never really taken anything for anxiety.  I had only taken lithium, and I’d been on lithium for 30 years, but for anxiety, I never wanted to take anything, but if you’re bad, if you’re like (you know those gears I’ve been talking about) in 4th and I was like in 5th gear, you’d better get some help, man, because you can’t get off it on your own.

Photo: State of Mind

I want to conclude checking in on your dad, Humberto.  When did you learn he had Alzheimer’s, and how is he doing now?  

MAURICE: It’s been a while since I found out.  I didn’t really want to talk about it, and then I did something in People magazine with the book, and I asked him if I could talk about it, and he said “yeah”.  So, it gave me the green light, and that was maybe 10 months ago.  He’s actually doing good.  It’s slowly kind of happening but that is how the disease works.  This has been a really great conversation, man!

So, what do you think will happen with Sonny aka “Mike”? Will he return to Port Charles before Carly and Jason tie the knot?  Have you been watching Maurice’s State of Mind series, and has it helped you with any of your mental health issues or concerns? Were you happy that Maurice took home the gold this year for his portrayal in the Alzheimer’s storyline? Share your thoughts via the comment section below.

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Interviews

B&B’s Jacqueline MacInnes Wood Shares Her Emotions & Reactions On Her Second Daytime Emmy Win for Lead Actress

Last Friday night on CBS broadcast of the 48th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards, The Bold and the Beautiful’s Jacqueline MacInnes Wood (Steffy Forrester) took home the gold in the hotly contested Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series category.  This marks Jacqui’s second win.

MacInnes Wood’s performance in Steffy’s opioid addiction storyline, that aired in 2020, was the ticket to victory for the talented young actress and new mom to her second son, Lenix.

As viewers saw, the Emmy telecast was pre-recorded including all the nominees taping acceptances speeches ahead of air; with the winner being revealed for the very first time on the broadcast.

 

Michael Fairman TV caught up with Jacqui post-Emmys, to find out how she felt about her speech, her emotions at having her name called for the second time in her career, and how she felt Steffy’s addiction storyline resonated with so many people at home, and obviously, the Emmy voters.  Here’s what she had to say …

Photo: NATAS/CBS

What was it like for you to do have to pre-tape your acceptance speech?  Yours, actually came off very in-the-moment, because you kind of stumbled over a word, but it seemed like you were very excited.

JACQUELINE:  Yeah!  I was very excited.  Of course, it is strange to do it that way.  I am very grateful that I was up to my nose in The Bold and the Beautiful scenes and dialogues in the week and the days before, that whole week.  I wasn’t sitting around going, “I’m going to rehearse this in the mirror.”  I just wanted it to be very heartfelt and real.  I wanted to make sure it wasn’t like last time – I truly was not expecting it the first time I won.  I think that this time I wanted to be mindful of who to thank and talk about the story, which was so important to bring up opioid addiction, and I really wanted to thank Brad Bell (executive producer and executive producer, B&B) for giving me this story, and allowing me to tell it, because it was such an important message to tell.  Even though this year’s Daytime Emmys were shot differently, I was still nervous. I was so excited to get on a stage. Last year, we were on a Zoom, so it was nice to be able to do this on a stage again.

So where were you on Emmy night?  Were you watching the broadcast at home?  

JACQUELINE:  I was at home, and I was with my friends and my family.  To be honest, it was such a fun way to do it.  Even though it was so wild the way that we shot it – they do this on RuPaul’s Drag Race.  Sometimes they’ll do it live, but everyone has their acceptance speech.  I was just happy during the Emmy taping day to be dressed up, wearing high heels, and to be with my cast, Then, I got to celebrate watching it with my friends and family.  It was so cool to find out in that moment, then afterwards we ended up going out.  We went to Ronn Moss’ (Ex-Ridge, B&B) house for a party, where Ronn was performing, and it was great to be with some of the cast and have everybody together.  So, we danced the night away, and it was so much fun.  I wouldn’t have had it any other way.  Of course, if we had been able to be at the Daytime Emmys that way would have been great, but it was nice to be able to go, “Okay, I can celebrate in my casual clothes, and dance, and not be uncomfortable.”

Photo: JMW Instagram

Were your children, Rise and newborn Lenix, with you watching when their mom won her second Daytime Emmy?

JACQUELINE:  My children were with me, and we celebrated together, and of course they don’t really understand what is going on, but they just saw all of us jumping around.  I probably scared my 4-month-old.  My mom ended up watching them.  Then, we all went out.  So, it was a good night.

Photo: HutchinsPhoto.com

Did you have an inkling that you were a frontrunner to take home the gold as Lead Actress for your work in Steffy’s opioid addiction storyline?

JACQUELINE:  Were there times when I thought I could win?  I wasn’t sure, but I knew what we did was very special.  The first time I won, I was very proud of myself knowing I had to do all of these long scenes, but I was not expecting to win.  This time, I thought there was a possibility, and I wouldn’t say that it’s all because of me.  I know it’s cliché, but honestly those days when we were filming, you could just feel the energy.  Everyone brought it.  We do film so quickly, and some performances are great, and some of them aren’t, whether it’s because you don’t sleep that night, you don’t know your dialogue that well, you don’t understand why your character is doing a certain thing, but you’re trying to figure it out.  When we were filming these scenes, I thought it was just such an important story to tell, and I felt like everyone gave it 110%.  I looked at everyone, and I knew we were all connected, and even though it was such a heavy storyline, there was something so magical those days and those weeks of filming.  I was so proud of everyone, and it wasn’t something that was like, “Here I am forcing myself to cry,” I was like, “I am just going to be in this scene and really tell this story that millions of people have gone through.” When I watched back those scenes after they initially aired, it was not only about the cast, but it was just how the audio had been added, how the directing was done (since we had to be six feet away from each other because of Covid-19 protocols) which made it all come to life.

Did you think when you came into this medium that you wind up being a two-time Daytime Emmy-winner?  Was it something that you aspired to have?

JACQUELINE:  I think yes and no.  I can’t sit there and say, “No, I didn’t.”  I have goals for myself, and you want to manifest some things, so I wanted to visualize that one day.  I’m in this industry, and I want to do the work, and I eventually wanted to have the Emmy one day, absolutely.  I’d be lying if I said, “I just want to go with the flow, and if I get an award, great.”  No.  I definitely thought about it and said, “Okay, this is something that I do want one day. I didn’t think I’d have two!  I just wanted an award, one day.  So, I think that’s amazing in itself, but I am very honored.

Courtesy/CBS

So, during the Lead Actress nominee package during the Daytime Emmy broadcast, they showed the gut-wrenching clips of yours, where Steffy admits in front of Ridge, Liam and Finn, “I’m addicted.  I’m addicted.  I have a problem.”  Do you remember performing those scenes?

JACQUELINE:  You know, you remember it sometimes as if you’re out of your body. In that moment, I remember being so in my body, but in a good way.  To say those words, to finally realize how heavy – even in talking to you right now – my body feels heavy.  I felt the weight of what Steffy was finally admitting. It broke Steffy, and it broke me.  I’ve never been in that position, but I did my research, and I looked up people who have suffered from addiction and the families, and to look over at Thorsten Kaye (Ridge) and see the heartbreak in his eyes, in Ridge’s eyes, to see what Steffy was doing to other people – she realizes in that moment, “Oh, my God. I am addicted.”  Looking back at those scenes, there is just so much truth in them, and for so many people who have been there.  It just breaks my heart that people have to go through this every day.  People sent me messages from all over the place, it was amazing.  I couldn’t believe the number of direct messages they sent me on my Instagram.  It was pretty incredible.

Courtesy/CBS

Your performance just felt so raw and real, which is why I think it registered with people who have been in that situation, and for the peer vote for the Emmy.  Whenever I talk to other actors about what they look for in judging other performers work, they always say they look for the truth. They don’t want to see a false note delivered in a performance.

JACQUELINE:  Absolutely.  For sure.  That’s why I’m so proud of everyone in the scenes because they all gave that.  It wasn’t like you look over at a cast member and went, “Oh, what’s my line?”  We were there.  It just gave me goosebumps.  It isn’t just my award.  It was everybody’s award.  When you get to really feel like you’re really alive in these scenes, living in those scenes, it’s such an incredible feeling. After this win, I am just riding the wave right now and really just enjoying it.

Photo: MFTV Inc.

Well, I’ll finish on this last question: How do you rate our Emmy photo together this year? (Laughs) We have well-documented our issues taking a decent photo together; usually because we break up laughing trying to take one.

JACQUELINE: (Laughs) I mean, okay … I am happy that we had those LED bars of light.  We have to have LED lighting around us 24/7.  So, I’ll give it a 9.5 rating   Moving forward, we need indoor, 3-4 LED lights, and we’ll be good.  Now that I have two Emmys, I’m going to be asking for that lighting moving forward … now that I’ve turned into a diva. (Laughs)

Share your congratulations to Jacqui via the comment section below … and let us know your thoughts on her winning her second Daytime Emmy – this time for Steffy’s powerful opioid addiction storyline.  But first, check out our red carpet interview with more with the eventual Lead Actress Emmy winner.

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GH’s Kelly Thiebaud (Britt) chats with Michael Fairman about Britt being on the run with Jason, their burgeoning romance, working with Steve Burton and her other co-star and Britt’s diagnosis of Huntington’s Disease. .Leave A Comment

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