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Y&R’s Peter Bergman Talks On Dina’s Death & How It Will Impact Jack, His Final Scenes With Marla Adams & Taping During COVID-19

Photo: CBS

The Abbott family is reeling from the death of their mother, Dina Mergeron, who passed away from complications from Alzheimer’s disease at the end of last Friday’s episode; signaling the end of an era for Dina’s portrayer, Marla Adams.  In a pivotal and heart-breaking scene, Dina shares one last goodbye with her children: Traci (Beth Maitland), Ashley (Eileen Davidson) and of course, Jack (Peter Bergman).

Today, the drama continues as the Abbott’s grieve Dina’s death and its aftermath while they remember the life of their flawed mother. This puts Jack at the epicenter of the family, and like it, or not, the new head of the clan.  What does the future hold for him now?

Michael Fairman TV chatted with three-time Daytime Emmy winner, Peter Bergman, who has embodied Jack for over 30 years on the top-rated CBS Daytime drama, to get his thoughts on: how Y&R needed to handle Dina’s death within the confines of the coronavirus pandemic and its safety protocols, what he felt about playing those final scenes with Marla Adams and the significance of the ‘teardrop of love’, and a preview of what fans can expect in the coming days as the impact of Dina’s death will be felt by the Abbott children and extended family.

 

An actor’s actor, you can always expect a conversation with Peter to be forthright, candid and enlightening, and this one was no different.  Here’s what one of the genre’s absolute best had to share about the significance of this story and more.

How has it been returning to Y&R during the pandemic?  I bet you never thought in all of your years in daytime, that you would be doing your scenes socially-distanced, sitting or standing, so far apart from your castmates.

Courtesy/CBD

PETER:  Just getting back to work felt great, loved that.  I wasn’t involved really in romantic scenes at this point, so that I didn’t have to do.  So, all in all, I was very happy to be back, and socially-distancing didn’t really bother me at all, and then Dina died.  Doing that from six feet away was just awful.  You saw the limits at a time where not any of us could be within six feet of each other; where you would usually hold a hand, stroke a brow, and talk softly.  So, I think the writers did what they needed to do to make it work for Dina’s exit.  We are in the middle of COVID, in case anybody forgot, and so you have to ask, ‘Does America really want to watch an elderly woman die in the middle of the Abbott living room or anywhere else?’  So, we had to have Dina’s exit without looking at a dead body, out of respect for the times we are living in.  We had to do a strong, powerful, pivotal scene with our hands tied behind our backs.

Courtesy/CBS

It’s so interesting that you say that because that’s how I felt watching it, knowing what it would have been like, if Jack, Ashley and Traci would have been with Dina at her bedside, up till the end, for instance.  But all of that said, Peter, I got so choked up in your last moments with Marla.  Jack is just sitting there and Dina is telling him how much she loved him and you’re doing the thing that only Peter Bergman can do as the tears well-up in your eyes.  As we have talked about previously, my mom died from complications from Alzheimer’s, so these are always tough types of scenes for me to watch.  I am sure it was also for those in the audience, who have lost a loved one to this disease, many of whom reached out to me on social media following its airing.

PETER:  It’s got to be tough for you to watch.  I get that.

Photo: Ed McGowan/Plain Joe Studios

Yes, so I felt for Jack and Dina in the moment as a son and his mother.  But what did you think about how the scene was written, and what Dina was saying to Jack and his sisters as her final goodbyes to her children and their reactions to it?

PETER:  As written, something in this necklace triggers something in Dina that brings her out of a stupor, brings her out of the murk, the fog for a brief instant to tell the people who she cares the most about that she loves them in slightly different ways.  I have, with everything in me, a struggle to always add in there, “I have a complicated relationship with my mother.”  I’ve added that line in there so many times over the years, you have no idea.  It was a complicated relationship because by the time she dies, there is no kind of straightening that out, there is no kind of Jack looking for answers. The depth of what Ashley is feeling, what Traci is feeling, what Jack is feeling, were kind of lost because of the way we had to do it. The writers had to do it, so I’m not blaming anyone, but because of the way we had to do it, there was no, “Wow, why isn’t Ashley crying?  Why is she just so stoic that this isn’t touching her at all?” because she can’t go there. Traci feeling like she found her place in the family simply by Dina saying, “You’re the beating heart of this family,” and Jack, who is doing the right thing, “She should leave peacefully, she should leave feeling loved, we should all be here, we should give her nothing but love,” damn, this is complicated.  You couldn’t have any of those things.  .  Hopefully, some of that slid in there and we wedged some of those complexities into it, but it was hard to write a complex scene with the situation as it was.  We needed to get it done it one day.  We did not need to drag this out.  Again, were it not COVID time, sure, let’s drag it out.  Let’s spend some time on this.  People die.  Let’s watch the family process a death.

Photo: CBS

I just think of what it all means for Jack moving forward.  Dina basically tells him, “You’re in charge of the family. Look after the family.” That’s kind of where it’s been going for Jack this whole time.  I don’t know if that’s what Jack wanted, but that’s where he is ending up.

PETER:  Right!  That’s where he ends up, and you know, this has been a long time coming.  Dad dies, and it is pretty clear that he’s got to step up, and his mom comes into town, and she’s not just his mother.  She’s Ashley’s mother; she’s Traci’s mother, we’ve got to look out for her and give her the dignity and things like that.  Now, there is just no getting around it.  Jack is the head of the family.  That’s the way it fell.  Twenty-five years ago, was Jack ready to be head of anything?  Absolutely not, but I think enough has happened to Jack now: enough heartache, enough growth, enough introspection, enough losing people, that Jack might just be ready for this job.

Courtesy/CBS

When Marla Adams came back to Y&R 2017, and they started telling the Alzheimer’s storyline, it brought up such abandonment issues for Jack and rightfully so, about how a mother could just leave her family and children,  Throughout all that,  you did such poignant work.

PETER:  I wanted that to be in there at the very end.  One of the powerful parts in this whole thing is that Jack wanted to scream at Dina every bit as much as he wanted to hug her.  That was there for quite a while, and Jack had to kind of come to terms with, “Hey, you’ve been leaning on this excuse for quite a time.  She’s here.  She can’t do you any harm.  She feels bad about what happened.  What do you want, Jack?”

Photo: CBS

One of the highlights of this storyline was when Y&R explored the history and relationship between the siblings, Jack, Ashley and Traci.  We saw their younger versions as the show flash-backed to when Dina left John and the Abbott family.

PETER:  Between the writers and Peter Bergman, we built this story that the night that Dina left, Dad was upstairs with the girls, they were weeping inconsolably, there was no fixing it, there was no telling them that everything was going to be all right.  He didn’t want to lie to them and say she will be right back, he told them, “She’s not coming back,” and he comes downstairs, and Jack is fourteen-years-old, and a little confused, but decided to say to his dad, “Hey, can I help?”  He looks across the room, and his dad is weeping, first time he had ever seen that.  His father is weeping, and he said, “Jack, you’re going to have to help me with the girls.  I can’t do all of this,” and it changed Jack’s life forever.  Jack was a parent to Ashley for a good part of their relationship.  So, all of this stuff with Jack’s identity, all of the fighting with Ashley, all of the Jabot madness is Ashley finally getting to say, “I don’t need a father!  You’re not my father.  Stop talking to me like you’re going to fix things for me!  I’m sick of it.”  All done by Dina … all truly caused by Dina.

Courtesy/CBD

In my interview with Marla, she told me that at the end of her last scene, you and many others came back to the set to pay tribute to her.

PETER:  We did.  The show had arranged it, and Tony Morina, the executive producer, stepped out on the soundstage with a microphone, and Marla sat on the sofa in the Abbott living room. Tony began telling a lovely, lovely story about how far back his relationship with her goes because Marla and Tony wife’s, Sally Sussman (Ex- head writer, Y&R), also had a long-standing relationship.  Tony was just so grand and gracious in saying that there are some people who, if they weren’t an actor, they’d be this or that or the other thing, but that Marla was born to be an actress.  That’s what she is, and it was so generous.  I think she got three and a half years that she didn’t expect to get out of this.  It was supposed to be a six-month storyline, and four years later, she was still there, and it was a good thing for her, and a unique story turn for the rest of us.  It really was.  It was a powerful thing, and now the Abbott family has a new shape.  There are three adults there: Ashley has established her independence, she is not around as much, she is back and forth between Paris, and Genoa City, Traci is trying to be as supportive and kind as she can be, but essentially, Jack is in the big house by himself.

Yep!  Well, now we’ve got to find Jack a good woman.

PETER:  Yes, or a bad woman.

… Or a bad woman!  I’ll take him in a relationship with someone to stir things up.  I also hear coming up, there will be the reading of Dina’s will.  Is there anything you can tease about that?

PETER:  There is a will read, yes.  No one knows what to expect, and Dina … in the end… comes through for almost everybody…

Courtesy/CBS

Well … that ought to be good.

PETER:  Yep… really comes through for almost everybody, and you know, the Abbott children are wealthier, and all three of them are alone, and in no small thanks to Dina for that.  These are three adults who have been very unlucky in love.  Of course, this is the next challenge.  I don’t mean to assume that I have any idea of what you went through in losing your mom, but there is a point at which you also have to let go and say, “Okay, now it is just me, and what do I want to do with this life?  I’ve used this as a reason not to move forward for a good while.  What am I going to do now?”  I think the next turn in the Jack Abbott story comes pretty organically.  Dina’s death frees Jack to be just as alone as he has ever been.

No matter what Jack does, including the bad things, you always see the inner-pain that is very palpable within him, as you have portrayed him.

PETER:  Yes, but he really has grown in the last 30 years.  Jack is hungry for more right now, and he couldn’t really be that way with Mom in the house.  He didn’t have time for that.  Now he has all of the time in the world.  So, we’ll see what he does with that.

Courtesy/CBD

I understand there is a funeral for Dina, but it will be off-camera?  I guess, because of COVID, it is better that way.

PETER:  That’s true and it’s off camera, that’s correct.  What’s important at most of these things isn’t what happens at the gravesite, it is what happens at the reception afterwards, and that is also a fun turn.  So, they all agree as a family they are going to do it at Society, and they kind of close the joint and make it their own little party, and someone shows up who isn’t expected, and it throws a really, really different vibe into the whole thing, and everybody has to adapt.  It’s actually fun, what it turns into.  It turns into a memory fest with crazy stories of Dina.

Courtesy/CBS

Do you have a favorite moment, or memory, of a scene you played with Marla?

PETER:  I think I had a day where Jack tried to get through to her and tell her, “Do you realize the damage you did?  Do you realize?” and she wasn’t able to take it in, and he went to Traci, and he said, “I want to shake her.  I want to yell at her… and I want to protect her.”  I thought there was something just so rich about that.  That was my favorite moment, my favorite part of it, when Jack finally said, “She’s going, man.  We’ve got to get this conversation done now.  We’ve got to talk this through,” and he was too late.   She was too far along with Alzheimer’s.  She wasn’t up to it.  She couldn’t do it.

Photo: JPI

And now here is Jack; and his parents are both gone.  There is no Jerry Douglas or Marla Adams on the show as both John and Dina have passed on within the history of The Young and the Restless.

PETER:  Again, you were generous enough to share your own personal experience, but isn’t it amazing?  Wow, you’re the grownup now.  Isn’t it amazing?  That’s what the Abbott’s are going through: just what you went through.  There is no older generation to turn to for anything.  We are the older generation.  It’s powerful stuff, and I’m really, really grateful for anytime that Ashley, Jack, and Traci are together talking about those things, talking about, “Wow, okay, that just happened… where do we go from here?”  It’s going to be really interesting.  If you asked me, “Over the last 30 years that you’ve played Jack Abbott, have there been many times where you’ve thought, ‘I’ve got no idea where this is going!’”  I would say, “Yeah, right now.”  I’ve got no idea where we are going with this.

Courtesy/CBS

There has been much speculation that the “teardrop of love” necklace will lead Jack to a new romance, or some new adventure in his life.  They spent a lot of time mentioning it in short order, that it would seem it’s not just to bring Dina some closure.  What are your thoughts on it?

PETER:  I think it has legs.  I think you’re going to hear about it again. There is something in there, and I don’t know if it’s the teardrop’s magic charm or that its history is not what it was, or it gets stolen.  I don’t know, but I think we have spent enough time saying ‘teardrop of love’, that there could be a story there.

In Dina’s final moments where Jack brings her the ‘teardrop of love’, wasn’t it symbolic to her because it was her acknowledgement of having her family back together and with her at all times? There is a back-story to that piece of jewelry as well.

PETER:  The point of the necklace is, “This was when I was truly happy, when I had this necklace, when it is all back together,” and maybe we are to know something more about the teardrop…?  I don’t know.  So, this was a gift to her before Jack was born.  She wore it home from the hospital when she brought him home, but we don’t know exactly what year she got it, and we don’t know exactly what year she lost it.  It was stolen, and it was on the black market for a while, and Victor (Eric Braeden) was looking into it.  It was clear that it was very important to Dina.  So, Jack, against his own wishes, said, “No, I’ve got to do the right thing.  I’ve got to try to trace this thing down.  It clearly means something to her.  Maybe she is trying to tell us something.  God only knows.”  So, he did the right thing, not because, “I want to make Mommy happy,” but because he forced himself to do the right thing, to find the damn necklace, and to see what this is about.  Then, we saw the affect it had when he gave it to her.

Photo: CBS

It’s always good to chat and check-in with you during these key and historical moments in the life of the character of Jack Abbott.  There have been many throughout your time on Y&R, and it will be interesting to see where this goes from here.

PETER:  It will be, and I’m telling you, this is a real moment.  Normally, we just go from one story into the next, into the next, and this one has been hanging for so long that, “Okay, now that it is over, wow, what is going to happen to Jack?”  I’m just as curious as everybody else.

So, what do you think will happen next for Jack?  Did you reach for the hankies in Peter’s final scenes with Marla Adams?  Share your thoughts via the comment section below.

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Patti LeBlancAprilViolet LemmPatrickGiovanna Saponare Recent comment authors
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Timmm
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Timmm

They did a nice job. GH’s story with Mike was much better but I am glad that Y&R didnt try and copy it. They did their own thing. It just wasnt nearly as powerful. It is weird that on Y&R they dont ever get close to each other. We as viewers know why BUT over at GH they do a much better job of being socially distant BUT letting the actors get closer and actually touching each other when someone needs a hug or a kiss. Like Peter said, its tough and sad to lose his onscreen mother and no… Read more »

Momo
Guest
Momo

It was odd with them not being able to be around Dina. I understood why, but still sad. I’m sorry to see Dina and Marla go.

It will be interesting to see what is next for the family. I’m over the Teardrop of Love so I hope we have seen the end of it.

I also hope they don’t put Jack with Lauren.

Damien
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Damien

I really hope when things get back to normal each Abbott child is able to have a dream or a vision of Dina and the audience gets the final real emotional goodbye that was stolen from the actors and audience So sad that there is no longer a matriach or patriach original longstanding elder in genoa city. Days has Maggie, Victor, Doug and Julie. B n b Eric and Pam, Y n r…nobody. Shame. Cant say Jack getting a love is a priority anymore. At this point I’d rather see him have flings like Kate on Days.If its true Grace… Read more »

Patrice Johnson
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Patrice Johnson

I thought Dina on Y and R’s final scenes were superb. I am not sure how old she is but she is definitely a wonderful actress. She carried herself with such elegance and grace. I am amazed at how she was able to memorize all of her lines. She will be a character I will remember for years to come. She is and will continue to be the backbone of the Abbott Family.

Lindsay
Guest
Lindsay

YR & Bold is the ONLY shows doing social distancing. Other soaps and primetime shows are doing everything as they normally would (including love scenes). They are just being careful with testing. YR & Bold feels impersonal now. It’s hard to connect to their stories now. About to tune out.

Violet Lemm
Guest
Violet Lemm

Lindsey
Yes. I agree. Hardly do we see two people together except for Devon and Elena because they are a couple in real life. The rest are keeping their distance from each other. I think they do a pretty good job though and we can live without the love scenes for awhile. I guess that’s why they gave Thomas on B&B his very own Hope to snuggle with, ugh!

Giovanna Saponare
Guest
Giovanna Saponare

Jack needs to hook up with Gloria now that she’s back. They’re delicious together.

Patrick
Guest
Patrick

Illustrious career…. mind bending … stratosphere

I’ve always held’ Peter Bergman’ Dr. Cliff Warner AND Nina Cortlandt, AMC

WON OVER

Just Jack had…. red ? REAL’ly ?

celebratory curtain call – Jack Abbott AND Beth Chamberlain, ex-GL Beth

COME ON

Y&R

let this be

heart soar

Patrick
Guest
Patrick

I can’t help but remark: how Marla Adams… unabashedly share’ how she and Beth Maitland are like soul sisters… and how she shares that Beth Maitland is the best actress on the show

that’s heart to heart

i’d ring it up

happy dance to these two ladies

Violet Lemm
Guest
Violet Lemm

Hang in there Jack, there is plenty of Hope in your future!

April
Guest
April

I am really upset seeing older actors out. Dina Mergeron could have easily been the town matriarch like Kay was.

Patti LeBlanc
Guest
Patti LeBlanc

I watched this episode with tears. Both my parents suffered from Alzheimer’s. My mother was not unlike Dina. A morning of clarity just before she died. I commend the writers, producers and others for portraying this like it really can be for those who suffer from Alzheimer’s or other diseases. People often have that moment of peace right before their death. Accurate portrayal.

Interviews

B&B’s Kimberlin Brown and Tanner Novlan Talk on Sheila’s Motherly Love for Finn and the Next Move Against Steffy & the Forresters

The Bold and the Beautiful’s mother/son duo of Kimberlin Brown (Sheila Carter) and Tanner Novlan (Finn) chatted with Michael Fairman during a virtual interview for the Michael Fairman Channel; about the return of soap super-villain Sheila to the CBS daytime drama series, and its impact on newlyweds Steffy (Jacqueline MacInnes Wood) and Finn, and their newborn son, Hayes.

When daytime fans learned that Brown was returning to B&B, they were very excited to see back on-screen as one of the greats, who’s character has caused so much trouble for the residents in both Genoa City 0n The Young and the Restless and in Los Angeles on The Bold and the Beautiful with her various crimes, deceptions, and plots over the years.

Photo: JPI

However, this time, viewers learned that Sheila is the biological mother of good doctor, Finn and her entrance into the story (at the wedding reception for Finn and Steffy) threw disruption into the lives of the Forresters and for her the son she never-got-to-know that she gave up at birth.

During this entertaining and candid conversation, Kimberlin and Tanner reveal many behind-the-scenes tidbits including: what went down during the  taping of the scenes where Finn learns Sheila is his mother as she steps out of the shadows, the confrontation at the wedding when the Forresters learned this shocking bit of intel, how Sheila plans to continue to manipulate and weave her way into her grandson and son’s life, and how she sees her vendetta with Steffy as an off-shoot of her vendetta with her grandmother, the late Stephanie Forrester (Susan Flannery).

Photo: JPI

In addition, Tanner weighs-in on Finn’s apparent ignorance of Paris’ (Diamond White) growing attraction to him, how that might trigger a Sheila/Paris partnership, or the possibility that Sheila does the unthinkable and somehow gets Steffy hooked back on opioids, or makes it looks like she has. There were many theories bantered about, and the actors share their speculative thoughts.

Photo: JPI

Now below, check out the interview with Kimberlin and Tanner.   For more celebrity interviews make sure to subscribe and check out the Michael Fairman Channel here.

Then let us know, what possible plot do you think Sheila might concoct to get revenge on Steffy and the Forresters? Let us know your favorite part of our conversation with Kimberlin and Tanner via the comment section.

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Days Of Our Lives

Ron Carlivati Talks on the Creation, Scenes & Cast of ‘Days of our Lives: Beyond Salem’

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Days Of Our Lives

‘Days of our Lives: Beyond Salem’ Stars Talk the ‘Making of’ the Limited-Series & the Moments They Loved

Five of the cast members from Days of our Lives limited-series on Peacock, Days of our Lives: Beyond Salem, chatted with Michael Fairman as a wrap-up following the conclusion of the streaming of all five episodes.

Joining Michael in a special conversation on You Tube’s Michael Fairman Channel are: Eileen Davidson (Kristen/Sister Mary Moira), Charles Shaughnessy (Shane/Drew), Peter Porte (Kyle/Dimitri), Zach Tinker (Sonny) and Rob Scott Wilson (Ben).

During the conversation, the actors share stories of the making of the series, and give insight and behind the scenes tidbits on their scenes including: how Eileen and Lisa Rinna (Billie) played recreated the ‘Amsterdam’ showdown from their time together on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, but as their Days’ characters of Billie and Kristen, how Peter learned to do the Tango from Dancing with the Stars Louis Van Amstel and Lisa Rinna, plus the drag show scenes where Zach became “Sonny Delight”, and more.

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The interview is filled with many laughs, and candid moments that fans of the limited series will enjoy, especially the intel offered up by the cast.

Days of our Lives: Beyond Salem continues to stream on Peacock! Make sure to check it out if you haven’t, or rewatch it a second, or third time if you want to see more series like this in the future.

Below check out the interview with Eileen, Peter, Charles, Zach and Rob and make sure to subscribe to the Michael Fairman Channel for more celebrity conversations.

Now, share your favorite moments from Days of our Lives: Beyond Salem, and this video interview, via the comment section here.

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DAYS head writer, Ron Carlivati talks with Michael Fairman on the creation and the making of the limited-series “Days of our Lives: Beyond Salem” currently streaming on Peacock. Leave A Comment

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