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Wow, an actress getting pregnant and giving up her baby for adoption all within the public eye, I mean, could you IMAGINE that happening today??

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“I have to tell you something funny. I was in an acting class for a few months, and Robert Vaughn, Jack Nicholson, Sally Kellerman, Robert Blake, Sheree North, Ann Francis, Barrie Chase, and Leonard Nimoy were all in that class! Nicholson and Kellerman had never acted before. Blake had been a child star, but was then in the dumperoos.”

What an impressive group of pupils! I didn't know that Robert Vaughn was a kid actor. And I'm totally stealing "dumperoos" from here on out. :P

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This is about an RH actor, although not really about his time on RH. I hope it's ok to put here.

Sam Behrens/Stan Birnbaum (Adam): 10 Questions (1983)

Soap Opera Digest 1983

By Toby Goldstein

Back in the winter, when the Susan Moore murder investigation was in full swing, the irreverent character of lawyer Jake Meyer made a brief appearance on “General Hospital”. Apparently people liked what they saw in Jake, and the actor who plays him, New York- born Sam Behrens, because Jake has now become a regular member of the GH cast. Previous, Sam appeared as Dr. Adam Cohen on “Ryan's Hope” and has many theatrical productions to his credit. Sam visited out office recently, and turned out to be an engaging, outspoken conversationalist.

TG: So how does a kid from Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, decide to become an actor?

SB: I don't think there was any one day I decided it. I just found out that it was what I liked doing. Actually, I think I wanted to be star first. I didn't even know I wanted to become an actor until later on.

TG: What did your family think about your decision to pursue acting?

SB: They thought it fit with my general personality (dead pause) – considering what I'd been - I was always sort of the black sheep. You known, the kid who never really did well in school. All the teachers were frustrated because they all liked me, and I was also very intelligent, I never applied myself to my schoolwork, so acting fit for them.

But they were always supportive. And they're thrilled I get recognized in the streets.

TG: When you played the character of Vince Fontaine in “Grease” on Broadway, did you model him on anybody from your neighborhood or someone you knew?

SB: Vince Fontaine was an older, washed-up disc jockey, who went after the young teen-age girls when he went to make these appearances at dances.. He was the star to these teen-agers and he knew it. He'd wear leopard jackets and was very cool. I really modeled him after the generation who went before me, but I didn't know anybody like him.

TG: After your role on “Ryan's Hope” ended, you moved to California. Do you think moving to Los Angeles is the next logical steps for most New York actors?

SB: No, it doesn't have to be. There are actors who never do it and they survive quite well. If you want to do movies, it helps. I guess that I wanted to be involved in primetime TV – or let me put it this way – it looked like that was where I would be most sellable and I could meet the most people.

TG: You've been married since April, but you're in Los Angeles and your wife, Dale Kristien, is here on Broadway in the lead of “Showboat”. How are you dealing with three thousand miles of distance between you, just as you begin your marriage?

SB: There are disadvantages, of course. But also, it has it's advantages. Everytime we see each other it's like a honeymoon. And it's good that it's happening now. When your an actor, you have to expect to not be home sometimes, right? So we can adjust to it now rather than being together for two years and suddenly one of us having to go on tour somewhere.

Mostly we live on the telephone. And with the money we spend on the phone, we could pay for flights! When I do one show and I have the rest of the week off, I come out here.

TG: Even though you're fairly new as the character of Jake Meyer on “General Hospital" what are your perceptions of him?

SB: He's generally a good-hearted fellow who likes to fight for the rights of people. He's more the people's lawyer as opposed to the establishment lawyer. And he gets what he wants, I suppose. And I think he's about to fall in love...

TG: I was just going to ask you where you'd like to see Jake go on the show, in what direction?

SB: I guess one of the things they're trying is setting up Rose and Jake. And Loanne and I couldn't be happier because we like each other and work well together. So that would be fine. I'd love to have a court battle with someone, go to court against someone like Scotty or Lee Baldwin. That's what I had thought would originally happen with Jake during the murder trial.

TG: Both Dr. Adam Cohen on “Ryan's Hope” and Jake Meyer on “General Hospital” are Jewish characters, and to be perfectly honest, there aren't a whole lot of Jews on soap operas. Aside from the fact that you are Jewish, do you feel that there is a particular approach you can take as an actor playing these roles?

SB: I think Jake is perhaps the only Jew on a soap right now. [Ed. Note. The character of Ringo on “Search for Tomorrow” portrayed by Larry Fleishman was supposedly concievedas a Jewish role – Ringo's last name is Alman – but somewhere along the line the character's ethnic origin was blurred.] I like the fact that he is not like the other characters. Because there are no expectations of him, except to bargain well on some deals (This is said laughing folks. We're allowed to make these ethnic “cracks” among ourselves.) But what I would like - if my work contributes anything to anybody – is to reveal something about humaity. And since Jake is an offbeat character, he has a good chance of expressing different feelings.

TG: Why do you think they picked you for the part?

SB: It's sort of cosmic – both characters seemed to be written for me. My wife knew it when she read the breakdown (character description). And she said,” You are getting this role.” She just knew it. And what's hysterical to me is that when I went to L.A., my agent recommended that I change my name. My name was Stan Brinbaum during “Ryan's Hope”. They made a big point of my changing so I wouldn't get typed ethnically. But the first role I landed was Jewish attorney.

TG: How do you feel about changing your name from Stanley Birnbaum to Sam Behrens?

SB: It was a bit easier this time. I say this time because it's not the first time. I had changed my name earlier, when I was a kid, all for the wrong reasons. What I was really trying to do was change me – to “John Smith”. In fact, I changed it back when I realized what I was doing and saw the idiocy of it.

This time it was really for professional reason, and I changed it to a name that at least I could accept, Sam, from Stan, because Sam is the only name I can answer to without going, Who's he? I always had a connections with Sam – my parents were going to name me Sam but they thought I would kill them later in life! And Behrens is from the German pronunciation of Birnbaum. Beh-ren-baum. But my old friends gave me a lot of flack. They saw me going out to California and selling out and changing my name, wearing sweat clothes instead of Khaki pants and a sport coat. I'm lost as far as they are concerned.

The End

Edited by safe

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As with the Sam Behrens interview, this is also about an RH actor when she was in another project. There could have been a slight reference to it on RH - perhaps someone here might know more if this was true...

(March 17, 2010 was the most recent time this episode aired.)

Soapnet forum message

Rose's line "...that Marilyn Monroe movie on TV last week..."

"During the previous showing, some posters who had seen the original run recalled that the Catherine Hicks (Faith #3) movie, "Marilyn: The Untold Story" was shown around this time in 1980 and they thought the line was referring to that film. No way of knowing, of course, but the timing was right, and it was an ABC movie, and received a great deal of press, and, in particular, press touting that the title role was being played by a former soap opera actress.

New information was added this current run, when Wanda and Bridget told us that Michael Fairman (formerly Nick Szabo/currently Richie) had a small role in Marilyn. He could have been talking about the film when he was at the RH studio filming his scenes."


[TV GUIDE - Sept.27 - Oct. 3, 1980

Daring to Play a Legend

Ambition, empathy and a touch of mysticism led Catherine Hicks to the role of Marilyn Monroe.

By Dwight Whitney

How do you play a legend? How do you play Marilyn Monroe? How do you connect with a character who is already so much a part of American consciousness that everyone has his own private idea of what she was like? The answer is you don't. You leave the “real” Marilyn to the individual, and reach deep down inside yourself and come up with a new character, the Marilyn Monroe part of you.

You, in this case, is Cathy Hicks, 28, actress. She is sitting in a darkened Sunset Strip restaurant talking about what it is like to be asked to do the impossible thing. “I know the character so well, I've played her before. I didn't want anyone to not do her right.” Hicks is saying. “ I identified strongly with that failed part of Marilyn, the part that says I will make it to the top of the mountain and then I will no longer be lonely. Well, she made it to the top and she was alone again. What I admire was that she was like a prize fighter and never gave up.”

Even though shooting has finished on Lawrence Schiller's three-hour movie, “Marilyn: The Untold Story” [ABC, Sept. 28] Cathy is still wearing her young-Marilyn hairdo. Bobbed, parted on the left, with a barrette. It is still bleached Marilyn-blonde. “I'll let it go back to it's natural state one day soon,” she says confidently.

She is still very much in the part. If you squint your eyes, you half believe she is Marilyn at 28. She means it that way. She has just emerged from a exhausting 10-week shoot, in which she was in virtually every shot. It takes a person a while to come down out of the clouds.

“A star has to have an image. When you don't have one, you make one up. Marilyn wanted to see herself as The Most Popular Girl in the Class. Unfortunately, her real image turned out to be The Sex Object That Every Woman Is Supposed to Want to Be. And it made her miserable.”

Cathy spears a single bite of salad and waves it into the air. “No matter how hard she worked, she still only got to play the Dumb Blonde roles. She was our first sacrifice, a reflection of our own inability to understand what's happening to a fellow human being."

So who is this Cathy Hicks? She didn't mean to get into acting, she says, much less into acting Marilyn Monroe. It just happened. The only child of a well-to-do- Scottsdale, Ariz. businessman, she is too young to have seen many Marilyn movies. Her ideas of high drama was leading cheers as Gerard High. Then she went to Notre Dame, where she majored in English Literature, a good safe subject. It was, until her life took an unexpected mystical turn.

I was walking by the stage door of the the theater at St. Mary's College. Don't ask me to explain it. It was as if a voice spoke to me. I didn't know the actors or the play. I only knew I wanted to belong inside those walls. I knew I had to learn to move across the stage.”

Despite, this St. Joan-like assist from inner voices, her career did not immediately take off. She was committed to being an English major. “I could take acting classes, but I had no time in my schedule to appear in productions” she recalls. “It was enough for me to be on stage during classes. When I graduated, if my acting teacher hadn't said, “ Well, Cathy, what are you going to do now?” I might be some place teaching right now. But that convinced me that I had to get further training in acting. I became obsessed with the idea. Finally, I got a scholarship to Cornell, and I couldn't wait to get cast. I didn't know my left foot from my right. I was a klutz on stage, but I was so happy to be there it didn't matter.”

Her high energy helped ultimately to get her some heavy parts at Cornell. Stella in ”A Streetcar Named Desire”, Cherie in “Bus Stop”(Marilyn played that one in the movie), Natasha in “The Lower Depths” and Maggie – read Marilyn – in Arthur Miller's “After the Fall”. “ I really came to know her [Marilyn] then, “ she muses. “ I felt a positively maternal feelings toward the character.”

Thus it was no surprise that less than a year later she was successfully auditioning for the Broadway play “ Tribute” starring Jack Lemmon. “ Me and every other ingénue in New York.” “ Scared? Sure. But I was heavy into soap opera [Faith on Ryan's Hope] so I was accustomed to cold readings. Once I got the part Jack was nice and helpful, none of that star stuff. He taught me comedic timing, 'Don't take a pause before the punch line, Cath,' he'd say, 'it's funnier that way'.

She almost didn't audition for Marilyn. She'd had an unhappy experience with The Bad News Bears and was generally disenchanted with Hollywood. I told my agent why should I stay here?' “Well, “ he shrugged, “there's always 'Marilyn' "...

"So, there I was in Larry Schiller's office with these other blondes”. I thought no way I'm going to get this. I went into a lawyer's office across the hall to change. “Do I look OK?” I asked him. 'Sure' he said. Well, I must have, I read for the director and Larry, and I didn't have one butterfly. It was effortless, like riding a wave. My little voice inside said, 'don't worry, you'll get the part.' And I did.”

“We did her test in a single take, “ Schiller explained later. “I figured if she could hold the scene 7 minutes, she could hold a three-hour film.” Norman Mailer, who wrote the book, “Marilyn” on which Schiller's film is based, was impressed, too.

“The girl's terrific, “ he said a few weeks ago. “It's not easy to play Marilyn without having it come out parody. She caught her moves. I could believe the character was at once was ambitious and timid and on the make. Of course, not everyone's going to love Cathy Hicks. People's expectations are too high. Most actresses wouldn't touch it.”

Hicks has also made conquests on the set. The crew delights in her bawdy sense of humor. Whitey Snyder, the real Marilyn's longtime make-up man gets this weird feeling that Marilyn has been reincarnated. Hicks shares with Schiller, who took over directing special sequences halfway through the film, the compulsive love of the material to put everything out of her life for the duration. With Jason Miller, the actor and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright (“That Champion Season”) who plays Arthur Miller, she shares a lot of talk about Marilyn and her men, although their views are not necessarily the same.

“Marilyn was a caricature of sensuality, no subtlety at all,” Miller says. “ It was some sort of magic that the camera bestowed.”

Hicks bristles. She believes Marilyn was basically misunderstood and she plays her that way. “We all have our own deficiencies to overcome. We all make or break each other. “ she says.

Hicks is unmarried and up until recently a confirmed New Yorker. To her Los Angeles was a dessert outpost where you came to work. Sometimes it was satisfying, as in “Marilyn”. Today, she is feeling more like a permanent resident, she has an apartment in Beverly Hills.

At the moment there is no permanent man in her life. She likes to play the guitar and dine at small out-of-the-way French restaurants. She will go sailing if someone asks.

One part of her wants to experience, as she once put it, “the existential pain” of acting, but there is another part of her that wants stardom and all the trappings. It has an inner conflict that has special meaning for the young actress playing the role of Marilyn Monroe.


This Weeks Movies by Judith Crist

The surprise satisfaction this week comes from Marilyn: the Untold Story, a TV biography of Marilyn Monroe that retells everything. But thanks to Darlene Young's intelligent screenplay, Lawrence Schiller's lavish and non-exploitive production and, above all, Catherine Hicks' breathtaking (and breathless) portrait of the actress, it provides a clear view of her dichotomous personalty and charisma. The film is frank up to a point: the only reference to her last involvement is a one-line”Did Mr. Kennedy call?”

Edited by safe

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Thanks so much for all these interviews. I never knew they did an in-joke on RH about the Marilyn TV-movie.

The interview with Michael Levin, he really gives an insight into the life of an actor, especially one who is humbled by circumstance. Is it me or did soap magazine interviews seem much more in-depth in this period.

“I have to tell you something funny. I was in an acting class for a few months, and Robert Vaughn, Jack Nicholson, Sally Kellerman, Robert Blake, Sheree North, Ann Francis, Barrie Chase, and Leonard Nimoy were all in that class! Nicholson and Kellerman had never acted before. Blake had been a child star, but was then in the dumperoos.”

What an impressive group of pupils! I didn't know that Robert Vaughn was a kid actor. And I'm totally stealing "dumperoos" from here on out. :P

He means Robert Blake, who was in Our Gang, then some other stuff, and his career was a huge non-starter up until In Cold Blood and later Baretta.

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Ohhh, gotcha, that makes sense. I was imagining little Robert Vaughn with that receding hairline and humorless expression. :lol:

And I totally agree about the in-depth, intelligent feel, the level of sophistication of these interviews. More like what you'd expect from interviews with film stars in the "better" magazines. It's been forever since I've picked up a SOD, but those interviews grew very featurey, a lot of tongue-in-cheek and actors trying way too hard to sound way too cool and just coming across as tools, the younger men in particular. These were real New York actors.

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The soap magazines today have a very strong contempt for the intelligence of the people who read them. The only thing which sort of comes close to the old interview style is the interviews on sites like WLS, even if they can veer into "How did your inner child feel about the time Angelina accidentally sat on her cat."

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LOL, I do enjoy those WLS interviews but they do take a noticeable turn where you feel like Dr. Should-less is pushing the interviewees' shoulders back onto a brown tufted leather sofa.

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My mind went reeling back to childhood memories of hearing Larry Haines' voice in commercials. I can't remember any specific ad, but I certainly do remeber that voice, never made the connection until now. I'm pretty sure he did a department or toy store ad around Christmas.

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Thanks Sean! So was Ryan with Chaz at the end? I remember some kind of cringeworthy scenes from a late St. Patrick's Day episode when Ryan was throwing pots and pans in the kitchen and someone said, "She's just like her mother" (which I thought was odd as Mary never did anything like that). I can't remember who she was with at that time.

By the end of 1988, Chaz and Ryan had broken up, and Chaz was pursuing a relationship with Nancy Don Lewis. During the show's last week, Ryan and Chaz reunited, and Nancy Don ultimately decided to follow Ben Shelby to Australia.

Do you think it's true what some say that the Dubujaks were a burden to the show? Someone once told me that the Dubjuak sister or daughter was the worst character ever on the show. I think you'd have to work hard to beat Kim for that honor though.

I'm only familiar with the show's post-1982 run from tapes I got on the SoapNet board (most of which have been posted by someone else on YouTube), but I loathed the Dubujaks. From roughly early 1984 to mid-1985, they took over the show to a much greater degree than the Kirklands ever did.

Max Dubujak (played by Daniel Pilon from 1983-1987 and briefly in 1988) was the easiest to bear, but the writing for the character was very inconsistent. Smith wrote him as someone who was undoubtedly a bad guy before Taggart and King came in and reformed him via his romance with Siobhan only for them to later revert his character back to the way he was originally conceived.

But yes, his daughter, Jacqueline (Gerit Quealy), was awful. Easily worse than Kimbo, IMO. Utterly pointless and nothing but a shrew.

The other Dubujaks -- Max's ex-wife Gabrielle (Susan Scannell) and his mother Chantal (Marisa Pavan) -- were also a waste of time, and their storyline (with Max and Siobhan) really dominated the show in mid-1985. Scannell played out a storyline in which her character had been locked up in a French sanatarium for years against her will. It turned out that Max and Gabrielle had gotten into an argument during which she hit her head. He thought she was dead; Chantal ushered her away and locked her up against her will for 20 years. Chantal later hired a double to impersonate her and secure the money that had been left to her in Max's father's will, only for the real Gabrielle to escape and wreak havoc. [unrelated fact: I believe Pavan was the only actor on contract to receive special billing -- she was always listed at the end of the credits with 'and' before her name.]

I wonder why Falken Smith did a bad job on here, as she did well elsewhere. Then again she wasn't that popular at GL either.

The biggest problem with her tenure was the way she mistreated the show's core characters, either completely rewriting their personalities or putting them on the backburner.

Jill, Frank, and Roger really suffered as characters. Jill and Frank as a couple became unbearable. Frank constantly tried to hook up with Maggie, Jill's half-sister, while Jill frequently flirted with Max. They would then endlessly yell at each other about one another's perceived infidelity. When Taggart and King came onboard, they backburnered the two for a few months before giving Jill amnesia.

Smith reverted Roger to an alcoholic and had him attempt to rape Maggie. He then also attacked Frank with a two-by-four.

Maeve and Johnny were both heavily backburnered. For most of Smith's tenure, Ryan's simply didn't exist; it was bombed by the mob in January 1984 and didn't reopen until Thanksgiving. Pat basically served no other purpose than to have someone for Frank and Siobhan to confide in. Seneca and Bob served similar purposes, and both simply disappeared.

What did you think of Dave Greenberg? Did they ever show Ida Greenberg or was she gone by that time?

Dave wasn't bad, though I didn't find him particularly interesting as a lead character. I never totally bought his relationship with Maggie (the writing for her was also very schizo under Smith), and there wasn't much passion in his relationship with Katie Thompson, either.

Norma Greenberg (played by Teri Keane) did appear on the show in June 1985, as both she and her husband Saul (Sam Gray) returned for Dave and Maggie's wedding. They stuck around long enough to see Katie admit her love for Dave at a party celebrating a production Dave and Katie put together.

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I'm a big fan of the late Pat Falken Smith, but her tenure on RYAN'S HOPE helped to kill the show. Her talents were simply not suited for the show...she would have been a better fit for ONE LIFE at the time, or perhaps she could have been the one to put some real spark into LOVING to make it a contender.

No doubt she was under a mandate from ABC to GH the show, but her efforts were taken too far to the extreme. There was simply no heart to the show under her...the blowing up of Ryan's Bar has to be one of the most unforgivable acts ever in daytime drama.

I personally could never stand Max Dubujak...in fact, I never have cared for Daniel Pilon in any of the roles I've seen him in, from DALLAS to RYAN'S to his take as Alan Spaulding on GUIDING LIGHT. When Marg Helgenberger left and was replaced by the dull Carell Meyers (one of the worst recasts in history), the whole Dubujak saga became even more unbearable.

I was pissed when Max made his final return in the show's final days to blow himself and Joe up, robbing viewers of seeing Joe and Soibhan have a happy ending...although we know a little thing like dying never really kept Joe from staying alive!

Edited by Sedrick

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Thanks Sean, for all that info. I really appreciate it. I haven't quite gotten the, for lack of a better word, courage to watch most of the post-1982 episodes yet. I know I should, but I was already becoming so annoyed by the changes in the show in 1980 and 1981, I can't imagine what would have happened later on.

Was Marisa Pavan someone famous to get such special billing? Odd.

I don't think Teri Keane played Norma in Norma's original run, did she?

Was Lem's still around later on?

I personally could never stand Max Dubujak...in fact, I never have cared for Daniel Pilon in any of the roles I've seen him in, from DALLAS to RYAN'S to his take as Alan Spaulding on GUIDING LIGHT.

Pilon and Joel Fabiani are two of those actors who just seem so dull all the time.

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Marisa Pavan was an MGM actress from the 50's and the sister of the late Pier Angeli,another 50's actress. Guess she still expected star treatment.

Ruth Jaroslow also played Norma.

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