… Another paycheck. And I write that with much heartfelt appreciation. I may have never dreamed of recurring on a soap opera as a nameless minister fulfilling a utilitarian role when I was a kid, but I sensed getting work as an actor was going to be tough. Certainly everyone told me it would be. That’s where these quick guest spots on soaps help keep the actor afloat. (Too bad they’re slowly being killed off to make room for cheap shows that don’t use actors.)
And so I filmed my 15th, 16th and 17th episodes of The Bold and the Beautiful – my 5th, 6th and 7th episodes as the obliging minister. And I loved it. Well, most of it. Unfortunately, I had made the mistake of assuming my shoes from Wardrobe were just new and a little stiff. I hadn’t realized they were actually a 1/2 size too small. Not good for a role where one stands… All. Freaking. Day.
By mid-day I was walking like an 18th century Han Chinese girl. But production was trying to shoot three episodes in one day so I didn’t feel like disrupting the flow. It’s part of my nature not to make waves when I’m a guest in someone else’s house — especially the Forrester’s.
I wandered onto the set and took in all the pretty people with their great hair, jawlines and steady acting work. At one point I had a surreal conversation with one of the younger regulars when he found out I had a second career as a voiceover artist. “I’d like to get in to that field, man. But it’s hard to break into, right?”
“Not as hard as landing a series regular role on a soap,” I responded with a twinkle.
Ah, sweet bird of youth…
The time interval between my appearances on B&B is long enough for most cast members not to remember me. And in the soap world, many of the cast have come and gone over the years. Though, interestingly, two actors who did remember me are also two who have been there since the beginning of the show in 1987; Susan Flannery and John McCook.
Susan’s television career goes back to “Burke’s Law” in 1963 and encompasses many Emmys and a Golden Globe for “The Towering Inferno.” Funny side note; The Golden Globe was for the “most promising newcomer” category even though she had been around for a decade at that point and was a regular on “Days of our Lives!”
What many may not know about Susan is that she was instrumental in getting residuals for soap actors when the shows are broadcast outside of America. And her “actor’s advocate” role carries onto the set of B&B, and half of why I wanted to write this post.
Susan Flannery is an authentic Mama Bear (not like that other, grudge holding Alaskin kind who mangle linear logic). She speaks her mind when she thinks an actor on set is not getting their due coverage or if the cast is not being given full direction.
Sometimes she may grill the powers that be a tad unfairly, but the intention behind it is a great one; speaking up for actors who may not have the courage or job security to do so for themselves. And though, after almost 50 years in the business, she has earned the right to retire to her dressing room when done with her coverage, she still shows up off camera to give her fellow actors their cue lines.
Right before we were about to take the picture above, the stage lights were killed for a set change. But a quick request from the B&B Matron and the lights came right back up. I felt ashamed I was still wearing size 11 shoes.
The other reason I wanted to write yet another B&B post was because of John McCook. I love this guy! He is the warmest, friendliest actor’s actor. A genuinely kind man. In between takes he floats about the set bringing humor to whomever he’s talking with.
In a scene where I had most of the dialogue and was silently working on keeping the lines in my head, John came up to me and said, “You have the hardest part in this scene. I know we’re all goofing around and you’re trying to concentrate. I always feel for actors like you who come in here for a day having to do that. I get it.”
Warm, funny and a class act. If you have a little extra time, just surf through his television credits on IMDB. I’d bet money he’s been on at least one of your favorite shows in the 80’s.
Ten hours later I was released from my evil shoes and holy wardrobe. If the changing face of television and tightening of budgets eventually claim B&B , I will be thankful to have played on the periphery of the most popular soap on television (according to Guinness).
If they survive and call on me again, I’ll be more than happy to be their nameless fill-in-the-blank. Not just for the mortgage help, but also for the opportunity to play with those truly bold and beautiful actors.