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Hillary B. Smith interview


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Some interesting stuff in here. I guess she's said it before but it was new to me. She screen-tested for Becky Lee Abbott in 1979. She also said she wanted to stay at ATWT in 1989, and just take a break, but the new producer, Laurie Caso, said that wasn't possible, which is why they recast with Ellen Dolan.

http://www.welovesoaps.net/2010/06/hillary.html

http://www.welovesoaps.net/2010/06/hillary2.html

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HBS was a soap fan? Quick: someone start a "Which current soap should HBS EP/HW" thread 'fore it's too late. ;-P

Far be it from me to criticize one of my "mentor," Douglas Marland's, best stories on ATWT, but as genuine as everyone's performances were during the initial "Adam story," I must be honest: part of me never bought Margo cheating on Tom, no matter how estranged they were; just as part of me never bought Tom cheating on Margo (and especially with Emily). Tom and Margo were like our (meaning, the younger generations') Chris and Nancy. Can you imagine Chris and Nancy cheating on each other? Neither can I. Like Chris and Nancy, Tom and Margo were two unique, genuine human beings who were simply "better together." Writers never needed to trot out the standard soap-couple cliches for them, b/c they could generate interest without them.

Furthermore, Margo is probably daytime's most successful heroine because, 1) she hasn't been saddled with a lot of the "baggage" - multiple husbands, multiple children, multiple personalities - that many of soaps' other female characters have been saddled with; and 2) each performer who has played the role - Margaret Colin, HBS, Ellen Dolan (we'll just forget Glynnis O'Connor, even though I don't think she was given a fair chance) - has brought individual qualities to the role w/o changing Margo's basic character, or rendering her unrecognizable to the audience (and believe me, as much as production regimes have assailed Margo in the past, that's no small feat).

Nora, on the other hand...*sighs*

Great interview!

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Interestingly, I thought Margo had her best rapport with Hal Munson, not Tom Hughes. I remember when Scott Holmes assumed the role of Tom, everything but the kitchen sink was thrown in to make the audience think that Tom and Margo should re-unite. But I felt far more chemistry with Margo and Hal. Speaking of which, I've never heard Hillary mention the subject of Ben's death. Has she ever commented on it in an interview?

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I always had a soft spot for Hal/Margo, although by the time I started watching they were just friends. Ellen and Ben had more friendship chemistry but I thought HBS and Ben had a sort of couple chemistry too. I think that HBS and Gregg Marx had great chemistry but with Scott Holmes, while I still believed Margo loved Tom, it also felt a bit more like settling and trying to stay with what she thought was the right thing.

I do think some of the Tom/Margo split was extremely plot-driven, Barbara's obsession with Tom and then Tom's stuff with that boring doctor who had been with hot Casey, but Margo cheating on him kind of made sense to me, perhaps because Margo had a history of being involved in adulterous relationships anyway.

I always had a harder time believing Tom would cheat. One of the reasons I hated the Tom/Emily stuff was for that reason, and because Tom ended up looking like a callous, barking hypocrite.

It's interesting though to think of just how much of a wide span of the character Hillary covered. Margo went from being the wisecracking heroine to the tortured soul to the settled mother and wife. Ellen Dolan was the first Margo I ever saw and she is in many ways my favorite Margo but Hillary really grows on me and she has such a natural chemistry with her co-stars. I guess it helps that she wasn't stuck playing Margo during the not so great later years of the character.

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Interestingly, I thought Margo had her best rapport with Hal Munson, not Tom Hughes. I remember when Scott Holmes assumed the role of Tom, everything but the kitchen sink was thrown in to make the audience think that Tom and Margo should re-unite. But I felt far more chemistry with Margo and Hal.

ITA! I cringed when Scott Holmes first came on the show, because it was just really jarring. IIRC, Gregg Marx left the show after he got the Emmy. The undisputable chemistry Marx had with HBS made the Margo's miscarriage story (Nov '86) all the more riveting (I think Marx left the show soon after that). Even though Tom the character was off the canvas for months before the introduction of Holmes, it was still jarring. Concurrently, Marland had already planted the seed of Margo and Hal's relationship, very gradually, way back during the Doug Cummings story. HBS and BH also had great chemistry to start with. That said, Holmes has grown on me over the years. All the same, HBS and Gregg Marx were memorable as Margo and Tom, and they definitely benefitted from some of Marland's best stories during his early tenure at ATWT.

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LoyaltoAMC, I also heard that there was bad blood between CZP and HBS. I think HBS is the one who mentioned it in an interview. She never mentioned the cause, but said it worked out well, because this was when Barbara and Margo really hated each other on the show. I used to LOVE the clashes between these two characters.

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I always had a harder time believing Tom would cheat. One of the reasons I hated the Tom/Emily stuff was for that reason, and because Tom ended up looking like a callous, barking hypocrite.

Ironically, though, Tom had cheated on "Sterile Carol" with Natalie, who would become his next wife. So, it isn't entirely out of his character, just as it wasn't entirely out of Margo's, since she had been James Stenbeck's mistress. It's just that when they actually fell in love with each other, what they had, IMO, was too real and solid to be susceptible to garden-variety adultery. They would encounter their share of "storms," of course, but if each had found what they'd been looking for in past relationships w/o much success, then...why cheat?

IMO, there were only three couples in soaps who I felt were "adultery-proof." One was AMC's Greg and Jenny; another was GUIDING LIGHT's Quint and Nola (and believe me, when they said Quint had cheated on Nola, no one bought it); and the third were Tom and Margo.

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LoyaltoAMC, I also heard that there was bad blood between CZP and HBS. I think HBS is the one who mentioned it in an interview. She never mentioned the cause, but said it worked out well, because this was when Barbara and Margo really hated each other on the show. I used to LOVE the clashes between these two characters.

Mind you, I'm only speculating; but from various things I've read and heard over the years, it seems to me many people at WT found CZP's off-set relationship with Mark Pinter (ex-Brian McColl), which occurred around the same time, to be nothing short of "obnoxious" and "distasteful." Was HBS someone who didn't condone the affair (yeah, I said it, it was an affair, folks)? Who knows? But I am curious to know the reactions of those who were there and have heard about the Pinters' recent separation. ;-)

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Anyone know the story of what went down between Hillary and Colleen Zenk Pinter? Wasn't there some major falling out when they were on ATWT together?

I think it had to do with HBS being a prankster....making fun/teasing of her co-workers..ie...CZP! CZP didnt like that...I dont recall the whole story.

From what I've seen, Hillary is my favourite Margo.

Mine too!!

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I think if I'd seen Carol and Natalie I would have taken that into account. I just knew Tom more from his later years, and for stories like when he didn't give into temptation with Dawn Wheeler. There was something distasteful about the Emily/Tom story, for so many reasons, I could sit here all night and I would not be able to list all of them.

I haven't seen enough of Margaret Colin to judge but she has such a fire inside her, she's a perfect match for Justin Deas and also for Larry Brygmann. She is the one I most believe as John's daughter.

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I think if I'd seen Carol and Natalie I would have taken that into account. I just knew Tom more from his later years, and for stories like when he didn't give into temptation with Dawn Wheeler.

Truth is, there are three (adult) Tom Hugheses: "old Tom," who was SORAS'ed entirely too early in the '70's and "lived" until 1980 or so; "hippie Tom," who was slightly younger (thanks to Justin Deas) and less conventional; and "Scott Holmes Tom," who is often a mix of the two. When Deas became Tom, because he was younger than previous Toms, his pre-1980's history, save for his stint in Vietnam, was essentially erased.

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