Jump to content
Key Links: Announcements | Support Desk

Ryan's Hope Discussion Thread


Recommended Posts

  • Replies 2.2k
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

Posted Images

  • Members
Back to Kate, I wish she had touched more on her time at RH (but that's just the soap fan in me) - but how she told how Claire Labine kept her on the show after divulging her unwed pregnancy and even writing it into Mary's story was great. Knowing how much agony she was going through by putting the baby up for adoption and still putting her heart and soul into Mary's excitement about bringing baby Ryan home...I don't know how she did it. Incredible.

Yes Kate did marvelous under such difficult circumstances of having to interact with a baby after giving up her own. While it was great that Claire saw that Kate didn't lose her job, I was disappointed that Mary also being pregnant was her idea, I never read that it was Claire's idea and all these years I thought it was the idea of some heartless ABC executive. I guess it is the show business mentality that regular folks don't have (Claire saying how great Mary also being pregnant would be for the show). Maybe some producer who didn't have a strong friendship with an actor, yes, but putting a close friend in that storyline to benefit the show seems cold.

Edited by safe
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

I think she very well might have been. There were several birth stories to play out over the 13 1/2 year run of RH, but really not all that many. Nancy Addison never had children of her own IRL but played out two births as Jill. Siobhan and Maggie were others who gave birth on the show but I don't believe the actresses were pregnant IRL at that time.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

Anyone know when Ryan's Bar Online was removed? I would swear it was still up a couple months ago.

I would have copied and transferred over some of the articles, interviews, and photos like I did before the Soapnet boards folded.

Edited by safe
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

I found some webpage captures from Ryan's Bar Online.



Ilene Kristen Has a Real-Life Secret Romance

TV Dawn to Dusk Magazine, June 1978

by Stephen Schaefer

Ilene Kristen, the blonde and bewitching Delia of the ABC-TV daytime serial, Ryan's Hope, sits cuddled in a chair by the fireplace. Although the fire is authentic, the burning logs are not. A gas jet keeps the flame burning. However, the flame burning in her heart for her love is well-hidden. She refuses to discuss her fiery love today, but enthusiastically touches on almost everything else.

"We've been doing the voice-overs for several days now, " she explains, referring to a short film (30 minutes) she's been integrally involved with for the past couple of months, called After The War. If you consider it unlikely that the dizzy Delia of daytime television is an inquisitive and demanding producer by night, then you don't know Ilene.

Pensive would hardly ever be the word to describe the beauteous whirlwind. For Ilene, who has been working professionally since she was 14 - an even dozen years now, the word has always been: Go! Studying as a dancer, Ilene made her television debut dancing, hoofed her way up through the chorus to a Broadway debut in the original cast of Grease and for the past two years has been winning fans and attention acting the part of the wacky Delia. But the dance for Ilene goes on - if no longer in a literal way, then figuratively as she dances from one project to another - giving all her love and attention to each. Her friends wonder how she does it. Could it be that Ilene's pushing herself too much?

"I haven't been really sick in a long time," Ilene says proudly, knocking on wood. "I try to take care of myself but it's not easy doing the weekly series, the short film and the off-Broadway work." Not easy is an understatement. Ilene's co-directing a workshop production of a "white version of the Broadway poetry-and-song success, For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Not Enuf. The show is called Street Venus and in addition to her directing chores, Ilene's one of the three women in the presentation. She's happy about being cast as the dumb starlet in an Off-Broadway production of a new play by Nick Kazan, son of the famed director/writer Eliz Kazan.

She's still hoping to find a new home for her Jean Renoir cinema - the offbeat and excellent theater she's backed for the showing of rare and independent films in New York City. "Landlord troubles" are the way she describes the need to vacate her Sheridan Square premises.

On Ryan's Hope, she's signed for another year with the commitment by ABC to showcase her talents in an approved made-for-TV film. "They offered me a pilot but pilots may never be shown," she reasons. "I feel I have something to offer on night-time television that as far as I'm concerned nobody else is filling." Fighting to get concessions from the network isn't easy so it's not only a measure of Ilene's bargaining ability but the affirmation by the network of her potential that they've agreed to give her a film.

As to Delia, "I'm blind right now, but it's not real. Ilene squints her eyes and looks straight ahead. "It's difficult concentrating for these scenes. Delia's trying to prevent her husband from discovering she miscarried before they were married." Does she feel Delia's crazy? "No, not crazy; she just has a way of dealing with everything that makes for more trouble than solutions."

Asked whether she feels starring in a soap opera has given her a "soap opera life," Ilene laughs and shakes her head. "Not really. My life's crazy, but not all coffee cups and tears."

Ilene's enthusiasm shows again when she talks of her experiences out in California where she went for a vacation. Los Angeles for the Brooklyn-born, Manhattan-raised trouper is a very different place than the East coast. Films, she concedes, are her big ambition.

Still single, Ilene's great love right now remains a forbidden subject. About romance, she offers that love isn't always what we think it is when we're kids. Other than that observation, she's close-mouthed about her secret romance.

A phone call interrupts and Ilene jumps and answers the phone. It's bad news concerning a basement fire in her parents' building. Both her parnets are living in Florida, but their Manhattan brownstone, which is a scant few blocks from Ilene's apartment is under her supervision.

Getting ready to head to the editing room for more work on her film - the deadline for submission of the film for consideration is near. Ilene seems not so much the perpetual motion machine as a lovely lady with the ability to channel her energy meaningfully into her life's interests.

"I'm interested in taking chances," she has said. "I enjoy everything that I'm into."

And you realize that for Ilene, the joy precludes ever running herself into the ground, or a sickbed. The actress knows what she loves and knows herself. Together, it's an unbeatable combination.

Her hidden love must be some special kind of guy to hold this vital woman's attention. Whoever he is, we congratulate him on his lady-friend - the bewitching Ilene.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

Ilene Kristen More and More of Her Dreams Are Coming True

Soap Opera Digest, July 1978

by Francine L. Trevens

When the roof fell in, literally, on the theater Ilene Kristen had worked so hard to establish in New York’s Sheridan Square, Ilene pulled out of the project. She didn’t need the roof to hit her to know it was a losing proposition. Ilene, who plays Delia on Ryan’s Hope has tremendous energy and ambition. Sometimes it seems there would be no way for all her dreams to be fulfilled - except that, the more you get to know Ilene, the more you realize how many of her dreams HAVE been realized. She’s always wanted to be an actress, and, of course, has been since teenage. Sure, her first show “Henry, Sweet Henry” was a big flop, but then, she’s been in some great successes since, like “Grease.”

That’s where she met John Travolta, who remains such a good pal that they had a big reunion when he was in New York filming “Saturday Night Fever” with ex-daytime actress Karen Gorney. Ilene thinks the world of John, and says, “it’s not amazing what’s happening to him, but it’s all wonderful. That’s show business and at least he deserves it. He used TV to his best advantage. We’ll see what happens to him after this.”

We’ll also see what happens to Ilene, because there sure has been a lot happening these last few months!

For example, there was Ilene’s giving up the theater when a new location couldn’t be found to keep her Jean Renior movie theater project going.

There was Ilene’s moving into a new apartment in the same neighborhood where her family had lived when she was a kid.

“I couldn’t leave this area, it’s important to me,” Ilene said of her neighborhood. Lots of people unfamiliar with New York don’t realize that neighborhoods do exist in the city, making it like lots of small towns combined into one huge metropolis.

“I moved into my new apartment earlier this year and I’m still decorating it. It never ends. I go antiquing, still hitting the same places as before.”

Ilene moved just two blocks away from her former apartment which was a one bedroom duplex. Her new place is larger than the old, and more convenient.

“I wanted to stay within a ten block radius - there was no question of that!” said Ilene of her househunting.

This was Ilene’s year for the stage, too. She has done more plays in the first few months of this year than many actresses do in New York in a lifetime.

She had agreed to do a poetry reading of Dana Foley’s very personal poems. While she was rehearsing that reading, which graudally developed into a full scale production, she heard that a new script by Nicholas Kazan, Elia Kazan’s son, was being done at another off-off Broadway theater.

“Thought I should at least try out for it,” she said, having read the script and found it very funny.

Sure enough, she got the part of the dipsy, dumb blond Southern actress who is sent into a nest of nuts who plan to bomb their own community unless their demands are met. And what demands - a write up in “People,” a job with a public utility corporation, two pizzas, and no bussing in perpetuity.

It was a crazy, frenetic play and Ilene was an absolute show stopper as the sexy blond.

“I got reviewed in the Times,” Ilene told me with great enthusiam. “It’s the first time I was reviewed in the New York Times. My name’s been in the paper before, but my work was never reviewed there.”

The review said she was “sexy and instantly seductive.” The whole audience can attest to that. She was also very funny and totally different from the Delia we’ve all come to know on TV.

Her work in “Street Venus,” the poetry production, was different, too. It showed her as vulnerable and young and part of the confused young generation.

Ilene herself, however is not confused. As the years progress and her experiences expand, she gets more and more certain of herself.

This last year she ended one romance and began another. It was not easy for her, breaking up with her Joey, the song writing partner of her musical moments, but it was a step she knew she was ready to make.

Starting her own movie theater wasn’t easy, either. She worked hard and long to get her Jean Renoir operating, and had so many difficulties with it.

She was beginning to build up an audience on the lower east side where she had a theater rented on Second Avenue. Turned out that theater was operated by an unsavory element, so she moved out and into the former playhouse on Seventh Avenue South. That’s where the roof fell in just a few weeks after she had a gala party for the American Film Festival.

Tht party was attended by many film celebrities including Al Pacino, who became friendly with her that night.

Still, it was a thrill and surprise when Pacino and Robert De Niro together attended a performance of “Street Venus” to see her. “It was just very nice having the two of them there together,” she said of that occasion.

She did the poetry because, “I liked the stuff and I liked the people.”

Liking people gets her into many a situation, including the W.P.A. Kazan play. “I thought it was hysterical and I love Nick Kazan.”

The play WAS hysterical, and there’s talk of moving it to another theater. Ilene hopes so, because she enjoyed all the people who she worked with on the show and feels Kazan’s play deserves more of an audience.

During the time she was doing all three shows - Ryan’s Hope, by day, the Kazan in the evenings and the poetry on weekend nights at 11 P.M., she contracted a virus which she could not shake off, since there was no time to rest.

She finally had to miss one performance of the poetry reading, which disturbed her, but with laryngitis and exhaustion leaving her without energy and voiceless, there was no alternative.

We’ve often read stories of ailing actors who go on stage and perform as if nothing is the matter. “Well, it’s true!” Ilene said to me.

I knew it was, because I attended her performances when her voice on the telephone and in my living room, while we had herb tea, was a croaking whisper. Yet on stage it was strong and seductive, and on Ryan’s Hope the usual Delia.

Ilene loves working on stage, and is delighted that so many scripts have come her way this year. “People are starting to hand me plays, it’s exactly what I wanted to have happen,” she said of another one of her dreams coming true.

Threre are many places she’d like to work, not just Broadway, but fine off-off Broadway theaters as well.

“I’d like to work at the Actor’s Studio, for example, even just a reading,” she remarked when she invited me to attend another reading, but at new Dramatists.

Ilene was playing a motorcycle girl whose face was destroyed with acid. “She’s supposed to wear a motorcycle helmet all the time,” she said, “I don’t know if we’ll do the reading that way, but it would be fun!”

Ilene continues her interest in small antique pocketbooks which used to hang on the brick walls of her former apartment. She loves shawls and was wearing them and displaying them long before they became a popular fashion.

Petite and very thin, with well formed arms and thights, Ilene could easily dress wrong for her type, but she had an instinct for unusual, dramatic clothes which do the most for her exotic beauty.

Asked how she managed to get through the period when she had the virus and was working three shows, she remarked, “You do what you have to do.”

“The other day I saw the Ryan’s Hope show that I did the same day I had laryngitis and you can’t tell there’s anything wrong with me!” she seemed quite surprised.

People in the theater love seeing her act. In fact, Leonard Melfi just wrote a new play for her called “The Flower Girl.” Ilene and fellow actors did a reading for the New Jersey State Council on the Arts in April. Only time will tell what will become of that play.

I aksed if she’d be going back into the movie theater business and she said, “I doubt it, there’s no place cheap enough to move into. Besides, I prefer the acting.”

She was far from sorry she had the experience of being a movie theater producer, however.

“The theater gave me a lot of confidence,” she said, “I know now I can attempt anything I set my mind to doing.”

It’s difficult for us to realize Ilene used to have those same doubts about success that most of us face, that she used to hestitate to tackle new projects, for fear she would not be able to complete them properly.

No longer does she feel that way.

This is a multi-talented girl whose co-workers admire her for her dedication to her work, her constant need to try new things in her profession, and her unwillingness to settle for second best in anything.

Ilene’s also special in that she is eager to help others in her profession. She has a warm, kindly attitude towards newcomers to the field, and is eager to advise and assist them.

She has tremendous enthusiasm and it is contagious. Working with her on a project makes you feel all gung ho, because that’s generally her attitude. Even in the midst of the worse adversity, she tends to find something humorous to say, something to laugh at and make you feel better.

She plays Delia to perfection - but the real Ilene Kristen is as giving and honest as Delia is taking and deceitful. One thing they share - they are both fascinating, complex and very lovely to look at ladies!

Randall Edwards:

Sex on the Soaps

People Magazine, June 16, 1980

"Delia is self-centered, dipsy, dumb and sexy," says Randall Edwards, 25, who plays the compulsive meddler who has bed and wed both Ryan brothers on ABC's Ryan's Hope. "It's wonderful to be so selfish and get paid for it."

Of course, the role requires certain sacrifices, and not just because one recent plot line had Randall kidnapped by an amorous gorilla. When she won the role 15 months ago, Edwards moved from Santa Monica to New York on two weeks' notice, had her hair dyed a brassier blonde in curls, rises at 4:30 a.m. for a workday that can run until 7:30 p.m. "I never eat lunch," moans Edwards. "It's hard to enjoy that pace."

But Randall isn't seriously complaining about her first major TV role, which plucked her from a secretary's life in

L.A. - even though her move meant leaving her California boyfriend. "We fell in love" says Edwards. "I'm not dating here." Consequently, actor George Loros, 36, flies to New York when he can, and Edwards returns to L.A. every two months. Her one-bedroom fourth-floor walkup still looks temporary. Her few plants are all cacti (she forgets to water others) and cardboard boxes double for end tables.

Born in Atlanta, Randall grew up in Cape Cod with her artist mother after her parents divorced when she was 10. Her father, a Washington D.C. solar engineer, remembers scolding Randall to "turn off that drivel" whenever she watched the soaps as a child. He now lugs a portable TV to work to watch her in Ryan's Hope. An A student, Randall finsihed high school in three years, then graduated from the California Institute of the Arts in 1976.

After a summer with a Colorado stock company, she worked as a Cape Cod waitress to buy a used van for $1100. She and a girlfriend drove it to Hollywood, but the van wound up in pictures before she did - a student film-maker blew it up for a movie. About her career she says, "I knew something would happen sooner or later." It did. She failed an audtion for General Hospital, but her tape was sent to the casting directors of Ryan's Hope. On her bathroom mirror is an ego-boosting fortune cookie that remains her own best exhortation: "Nobody does it better than you do."

Edited by safe
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

Cajun Spice

TV Guide, October 17, 1987

Mary Alice Kellogg

This week watch for a trap to be sprung on ABC's Ryan's Hope, and, as you might guess, devious Delia (Ilene Kristen, above) is at the heart of it. But part of the trap involves a woman who just might rival Delia as a schemer: welcome Nancy Don Louis (Maria Pitillo) to town. Ms. Nancy is a sexy and slightly shady woman from New Orleans who plans to drop a small bombshell to further Delia's plot to keep Ben and Lizzie apart. But at what price? Nancy is sure to have a few tricks up her Southern sleeves.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

Sorry, if any of these are repeats.

Nancy Addison:
I Really Think That Women Are Stronger

Afternoon TV Magazine, September 1978
by Amanda Smith

On Ryan's Hope, Nancy Addison plays the part of lawyer Jill Coleridge, intelligent, well-educated, attractive, wealthy, and strong - strong enough to be a single parent. Nancy feels deeply about the character she has created and what sort of statements she has been able to make with it. "A soap is national; it goes to all kinds of people, people who are not exposed to city life. I wanted to show that there is another way. There's another way for women to deal with their lives. There are other choices. Being a single parent on the show - I don't think that's terrific. I certainly think it's much better for children to have both their parents. But I want poeple to know that it's possible to do the other thing. It's okay. You don't have to stay in an unhappy situation 'cause you think that you'll die without a man, or a man will die without a woman."

"There are more single parents today than before. I know an awful lot of women who are hitting that age where they can't have children any more. They're coming to thirty-five and they can't have babies and they're thinking, 'I might like to adopt a child. I don't necessarily need a husband - I'm making a good living and I have a home and I can provide.' So that's a choice. I don't know that that necessarily would be my choice: But I know that there are women who feel that way, and that's okay."

Personally Nancy says, "I think a family's important and being committed to somebody's important. I think that's a good thing. And I think roots are important. And having a firm foundation."

We're seated in her cozy apartment on Manhatten's West Side, an apartment filled with wonderful antiques and curiositites. There's a round oak clawfoot dining table, a huge oak sideboard, and a four-poster bed. Tapestries hang from the walls, and an odd, box-shaped sculpture of a proper-looking, church-going lady with her hat on, sits by the little fireplace; Nancy's nicknamed her Ms. O'Dell after a housekeeper her family once had. Malcolm and Henry, Nancy's mixed-breeds-but-mostly-poodle dogs play at our feet.


didn't want to do a cliched soap part. " Nancy says, "I was in a great transition period when I got this part. I'd become a part of the National Organization for Women. I chose to do this show," she tells me, because of the possibility of developing a feminist character.

Ironically, she didn't audition for the part of Jill but for the part of her sister Faith. "I read her strong, feminist. That's how I saw her - young New York doctor, intern. I thought, 'Boy, she's got to be smart and she's got to be talented and she's got to have something special because women don't get into internships or into medical school that easily - the percentage is ridiculous.' So I read this character as being very strong. The following week I heard I got the part. I said, 'Oh terrific, it's going to be nice playing the doctor,' and my agent said, 'Doctor? What do you mean? You're playing the lawyer.'"

Nancy herself is a feminist--not a radical feminist, she emphasizes, although she has several friends who are. "I really believe in this human sort of liberation that's happening. I think men are having a very difficult time now - very difficult - with the woman's movement and they're getting spun around quickly and they don't know where to turn or where to fall."

Nancy narrates an incident that happened to her a couple of weeks earlier. "A friend and I were in a restaurant and in a very intense conversation. Two men about forty-five sat down at the table next to us and harassed us throughout the entire meal. They were high, and they wanted to be with us. The people at the two tables on the other side of us couldn't believe it. My friend has this very Irish wit and she tried to laugh it off. I finally said to them, "Do you understand - first we try to deal with you with a sense of humor, then we try to be nice, and now I'm telling you that we are having dinner and enjoying this conversation and you're intruding on that." My girlfriend has much more tolerance than I have. If it hadn't been for her, I would have stood up and physically done something because I have a violent temper when I get goaded like that. Finally we just picked up and left. But that offends my entire being when something like that happens. Would I sit in a restaurant and harass two men who were sitting next to me? Never in my wildest dreams."

"In the European culture, I'm convinced now, they do something very bright. Their resturants and their socializing structure is set up in a way that everybody talks to everybody. When traveling through Europe, and you're sharing a table with a group of strangers, you all sit together and enjoy the music. And nobody harasses anybody, and if you want to talk, you all talk. It's not that come-on that we do in this country. I went to Europe with a friend of mine, and it was nothing that two young men sat at a table next to us and started a nice conversation - not two drunks who were practically old enough to be our father."

"Those things really bother me. I think a deep respect for humanity--that's all we need for each other. We're equals. We're men and women, and there are biological differences. But I really think that women are stronger, because we deal with our emotions constantly where men have not been able to do that, so we're strong when it comes to a tough thing. You get a guy into an emotional situation and he doesn't know where to throw himself, or in a business situation where everything is coming down on him and the emotions are going and he doesn't know what do do with it. Women have been allowed to cry. We've been allowed to yell, scream, let all the fury go and we can handle these things. It's a big problem - it all has to do with communication. If it's dishonest, it's what I call the inner monologue. And what's the inner monologue inside each of their heads? The unspoken word or thought that should be spoken?"

"Some women like being put upon, and some women like playing the child that needs her masculine protector there to take care of her. That's fine for her. But I think she's missing out on an awful lot. You just can't blame people for being like that - you know that that comes from conditioning, certainly. But I also think that one has a mind and an intellect and one has to learn how to use that. It has to be cultivated. I do think soaps are very educational in that sense. We did a whole series on abortion, and we didn't make a commitment one way or another but what we did was show the pros and cons of both, which I thought was very good."

Ryan's Hope isn't the first soap Nancy's done. Afer her upbringing in New Jersey, college in Boston and New York, stage training with Sella Adler and Sanford Meisner, she worked for three years on Guiding Light and then about eight months later, took the role of Jill on Ryan's Hope.

"Ryan's Hope is a very different kind of show. It's much looser. It's much more creative, it's much more energetic. We are losing some people unfortunately and it will change. I hope it changes in a good way. I don't think it'll ever change in a better way, because I think the original cast was super, especially because we all started it together and that means a lot--a sense of family and making something grow and work."

One of the advantages of her working situation on Ryan's Hope is that it allows her certain freedoms. For instance, when she landed the leading female role playing opposite James Coburn in CBS's mini-series The Dain Curse, which was broadcast in mid-April, arrangements were made for her to be free enough to get to shooting locations on Shelter Island and in Easton, Pennsylvania.

Understandably Nancy was excited about the project. "Like all Dashiell Hammett works, it's a mystery-detective story. James Coburn plays the detective, Hamilton Nash. I play the young girl, Gabrielle Leggett, who thinks she's carrying a family curse which makes her commit murders. She is also a morphine addict. There's an element of a love story in it. It's the most exciting thing I've done so far in my career. It was like magic."

Nancy's changed a good deal in the nine years she's been acting. "When I was on Guiding Light, they could have told me to jump out the window and I probably would have done it for the job. Not that extreme, really, but I allowed myself to be manipulated. I will no longer let myself be manipulated in this business. I just won't."

Why the change? "I just feel more confident about who I am and what I have to offer as a person and as an actress. And I know that I habe to come first. If I don't respect myself and take care of myself, nobody else is going to do that. I'm the one who's out there. It's my whole being that's out there on the line, and I've got to like what I see, and I've got to respect it."

"You have to take it while you can. Be who you are. Make a statement. And the only statement you can make is you - who you are."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

Nancy Addison Altman: Hooray for Hollywood

TV Guide, December 5, 1987

Mary Alice Kellogg

This week we'll say goodbye to one of daytime's most durable actresses, when Nancy Addison Altman (below), who plays attorney Jillian Ryan, tapes her last scenes for ABC's Ryan's Hope. On the show, Jillian will go to Australia to see her mother, leaving the proverbial soap door open should she decide to return. Altman has been on Ryan's Hope since its premiere in July 1975 and is off to try her luck in Hollywood. Her last show, set to air next month, promises to be a three-hankie farewell.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

For Michael Hawkins,

Suddenly - Happy Days

Soap Opera People Magazine, September 1976

by Ellen Alden

Michael Hawkins was feeling good. Make that great. "The best, the happiest. I used to be introspective. Moody. A grouch. Now I feel good. I'm easier to live with. My wife and my son see it. I feel as if I'm on the verge of marvelous things!"

What happened? "Well", said Michael, grinning, "my analyst would probably say this is the result of two years in therapy. The writers on Ryan's Hope might say it's because Frank Ryan is feeling good - he's having a big success in politics - and it's rubbing off on me. I have a different explanation. I think I feel this way because a few months ago I had a breakthrough in my singing lessons. Sounds crazy, huh? But as a kid, I was a singer. I played the Captain in a fourth grade production of H.M.S. Pinafore, and from then on I knew I was going to be a performer. Specifically a singer. That was what got applause for me. That was what made me happy. Later, something went wrong with the singing. I got involved in acting, and I loved it. I still love it. But something was missing, something vital. I've spent 15 years and more than $6,000 on singing lessons, trying to be a singer again. When I made it - when I suddenly could do it again - I knew I had finally gotten back in touch with something. I absolutely must have. And now that I've got it - I just walk around - well, singing!"

A few months ago, Michael Hawkins was not feeling good. Not only was his long-lost singing technique eluding him, but he was in trouble with his acting.

"I was trying to do too much," he explains. "I was in a Broadway show every night, and working on the soap every day. I just couldn't do my best work. I was in pretty hot water at Ryan's Hope. Money was tight, my wife, Mary Jo, and I needed a vacation but we didn't feel we could go. I was really uptight. And now, the difference - it's like magic. I tend to believe in magic, at least a little. Things like astrology. My analyst keeps reminding me that the way I feel now isn't due to magic. I've struggled and striven to achieve the kind of technique I have now in acting and singing. If I'm doing good work on Ryan's Hope again, and I am, if I'm putting together a terrific nightclub act, singing, and I am, it's because my hard work is finally paying off. I've earned my happiness. I have to try to remember that."

Michael Hawkins was born Tom Slater in Shaker Heights, Ohio, and grew up in Texas and Tennessee, where his father worked in textile manufacturing. "I never got along with my father," Mike remembers. "A few years back, after his death, I even changed my name to emphasize the difference between us. I think the big problem was that we never had any interests in common at all. I was a complete mystery to him."

His parents were equally mysterious to Mike. "When I was five, they presented me with a baby brother. I couldn't understand it. Somewhere inside I'm still reeling at the idea that, even thought they had me, they wanted more!" Michael ended up with three younger brothers, a fact which molded his life and character. "Older brothers tend to become leaders. I certainly did. I was always pushing my way to the head of things. One reason I like the role of Frank Ryan so much is that he's also an older brother, head-of-the-family type."

By the time he got to college, Carnegie Institute of Technology, where he studied drama, Mike was seizing leadership roles outside of the family as well. "Please, his professors would beg of his classmates, "do the assignments yourselves - don't just follow him!" It was more a form of showing-off than anything else, Mike thinks now, but then he was struggling hard for an identity, a role in which to feel secure.

He graduated with a powerful ambition, a passion for Shakespeare, and a still-raw talent. "I played a lot of Shakespeare, including some leads, on nothing but guts and adrenaline. I didn't know what I was doing. But at least I was acting." He certainly was. He appeared in three soap operas, as Paul Stewart on As The World Turns, Mark Elliott on Love Is a Many Splendored Thing, and Steve Haskins on Search For Tomorrow, he played Malcolm in a New York Shakespeare Festival version of Macbeth which toured slum schools and streets, forcing the actors to dodge beebees and stones when the audience disapproved of them. And when he played in a Greenwich Village production of the anti-Vietnam War satire, MacBird, he got something more than applause.

One night an attractive young woman came to the show to see Cleavon Little, a former classmate of hers at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. For some reason she found herself watching Mike instead of Cleavon. "I am going to marry that guy," she announced to her friends at intermission, and after the curtain she went backstage and wrangled an introduction out of Cleavon. Michael was equally impressed. "Well, when a woman makes it clear she's interested in you, how can you not hit it off?"

Eight months later they were married. (Mike was Michael Hawkins by then, but Mary Jo took his original last name, and now works as an agent as Mary Jo Slater). Their son Christian is now six, and appearing in his first play, in school. "I'm so proud of him," Mike says. "I'm a kind of cheerleading father, and I really enjoy helping him learn his lines and seeing him do well. Not that I want him to become an actor. Mary Jo and I have agreed he can be anything he wants to be, as long as it's a lawyer or an architect."

He's laughing as he says it. He laughs a good deal these days, out of sheer high spirits. There are such good things happening. For one thing, he is about to realize the dream of every Shakespearean actor; next fall, he will play Hamlet at the National Arts Theater in Manhatten - and as if that isn't enough, the entire play will be performed by members of the Ryan's Hope cast! Among others, Emmy-winner Helen Gallagher will play Gertrude, Kate Mulgrew will be Ophelia, Michael Levin will play Claudius, and Bernie Barrow, who is Father Johnny Ryan by day, will transform himself into the ghost of Hamlet's father by night. This idea for the production was Mike's as was the casting. "I didn't ask anyone to read for parts," he says, shocked at the mere idea. "There's no question about these people's abilities. You just can't do soap without being or becoming an absolute top professional, and the Ryan's Hope people are the best I've ever worked with."

He paused, shakes his head in wonder over the turn his life as taken, and says. "You know, the one thing a television actor misses is the applause. The give and take with a real, life audience. The other night I was feeling too good to stay home - I just had to get out and do something - so I went to a play, and I did the applauding for other actors. And that felt wonderful too!"

The struggle seems to be over. Michael Hawkins is a happy man.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

Andrew Robinson:

"I've Gained More From Failure Than From Success!"

TV By Day Magazine, August 1977

by Francine L. Trevens

Article Provided By Wanda

"When I started on Ryan's Hope I wasn't very good," Andy Robinson admitted quite bluntly. "Listen, I still haven't licked it, but I'm getting better. It's the hardest thing I've ever done; I couldn't conquer it."

We were in the kitchen of his sprawling New York apartment, and he was busily pouring apple juice for his three-and-a-half year-old daughter, Rachel. Our original topic of discussion had been a recent disappointment in his professional life - the closing of the Off-Broadway version of Gogol, produced by Joe Papp and starring Andy Robinson.

"You learn from your failures - at least I do," said Andy. "When things go right, you don't sit down and analyze them. But when something goes wrong, I sit and analyze and consider and get introspective. In personal life or professional, not succeeding teaches you more."

Before joining the cast of Ryan's Hope, Andy, who plays Frank Ryan, lived in Hollywood, where he scored well in Dirty Harry and did a raft of TV shows.

"When I saw Dirty Harry I said to myself, 'Robinson, you really did it. You pulled that off!' I was proud of my work and expected great things to come of it. It didn't take long to see what was coming of it!"

Andy was offered all the psycho and sickie roles in the TV and movie world. But he didn't want to be typecast; he didn't want to be boxed in that way. From what had seemed his biggest success to date had come not an opening of his possibilities, but a closing in. And from there came a sense of frustration that had Andy re-examining his life.

"I loved my house in California, my garden, the beach - but I wasn't happy," he confessed about his state of mind just before he returned to New York. "Working - that's what it's all about. When I went to Hollywood I thought, 'Oh boy, I'm going to be rich and famous. I've got it made.' It didn't work out that way, though!"

Not that he didn't have work - he did so many TV shows it's difficult to name them all. It's just that there'd be months between shows, months when he wasn't using his considerable acting talents. He did some live theater there; so did his wife. But it was not enough.

He was told Joe Papp had this script of Gogol and wanted him to come East to do the show in a showcase production, and he said he was willing any time. Then the producers of Ryan's Hope came out to California to ask him to play Frank on their show.

"I thought, 'A soap? Do I really want to do a soap?'" His nose crinkled, indicating his initial reaction. "Finally, I was talked into it. I'm not sorry. It's tougher than it looks -- and I am working."

Finding an apartment was hard for the Robinsons. They arrived in the city at Thanksgiving, when no one is moving unless they have to. It was cold, bleak; especially in the hotel where they were lodged while awaiting an apartment.

"I'm a native New Yorker, and the thought of coming back to a dark apartment got to me. I was used to light and space," he gestured to the wide white walls, wide-windowed rooms radiating around us. Through the windows is a spectacular view of the pond area of Central Park. He admitted that was part of what sold him on the apartment they are renting. In the central hall there is a playhouse. A large dog and fat cat greet you at the door. The cat is Charlie, and according to Andy's daughter, eats too much.

"My daughter Rachel - while I probably love her more than anything on earth - can be very trying to all of us," Andy remarked as his daughter made another demand on him. "All of us" includes Andy's wife Irene, a French actress who has had to start her career over again in New York, and her two sons from a previous marriage.

Andy's father died when he was about three, and for years he felt responsible for his father's death.

"You know, at one time or another every kid wishes his folks dead. So I spent most of my life feeling guilty and responsible for everything that went wrong, and as a result I felt I should right all the wrongs. I thought I had driven my dad out of our lives, though the fact was that he had died in the war. That sort of thing pops up in psychoanalysis, or when things go wrong and I'm in an introspective mood - and that's pretty often. I mean, there's never a day that something doesn't go wrong, but you have to learn to cut through all the bad times. Then there are also the wonderful moments when you have a mystical revelation but I'm not talking about those times when I talk about finding happiness for yourself. You have to realize you are only responsible for yourself."

This is Andy's second marriage, and discussing how he felt after his divorce was much on that same level. "I blamed myself for everything. I overreacted and thought myself a total loser in terms of loving someone on a personal basis."

He realizes now how useless all that self-imposed guilt is, but he also realizes that it was through examining such guilts and observing his reactions to them that he worked his way back to an understanding of himself and where he really stands in terms of his own picture of success.

"I realized when I was in Hollywood that Robert Redford's features are arranged more pleasantly than mine and that I was not the matinee idol type!" Andy laughed.

This revelation made him more of an actor and more of a person. The kind of person who can treasure hunting for shells on the beach with his daguther. The kind of person who feels that all life is important. He and Rachel recalled the seagull with the wounded wing they helped. Then Andy rememberd running along the beach one day and finding "an incredibly huge animal - at first I thought it was a whale, but it turned out to be a dolphin that had washed up. It was still alive. It had the most beautiful eyes and skin so creamy and silky feeling. I grabbed him and struggled to get him back into his depth. I helped it through the strong surf and it took off."

He was not being poetic or symbolic but his words conjured up thoughts of Andy himself, and his career. His success in Papp's Lafayette Street Theatre in Subject to Fits, which led to his "discovery" and his going out to California; his success in Dirty Harry, which led to the disappointment of being offered only disturbed people and baddies to play. And here he was, away from the beach and the sunshine he loved, but back in his native world where he could better serve his career.

"I'll probably be back and forth betwen New York and California for the rest of my life," he said realistically. For if there is one thing he has learned from his successes and his failures, it's that life is fluid; an actor cannot plant roots forever and stay put. He goes where the work and opportunities are. He goes where he can be happy and make a happy life for his family. "I've gained more from failure than from success," he maintains.

In additional to acting, Andy has served the theater as a director with a special troupe called La Mama Plexus. He has also written plays of his own, including Spring Voices which was produced in New York. But he didn't direct that one. "An author only knows what he puts in a play - someone else comes along and sees things the author didn't know he wrote."

In the same way, it is hard to know what our lives will lead to us. On opening night of his play years ago Stacy Keach tried to fix Andy up with "a nice girl" but the chemistry wasn't right. "We all went to a party and that's where I met Irene. We've been together since." The arranged date may have been a failure - but it led to a successful marriage. No wonder Andy believes failures and disappointments can work to your good.

At this point in his life, his world is as full of promise as his apartment was full of sunshine. Let's hope it stays that way for a long, long time.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Community Activity

    1. 10,098

      Guiding Light discussion thread

    2. 83

      B&B September 2021 Discussion Thread

    3. 10,098

      Guiding Light discussion thread

    4. 8,209

      AMC Tribute Thread

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy