Walk the Red Carpet and Hang Out in the Press Room at the 31st Annual Daytime Emmy Awards
“It’s warm, and passionate, and loyal, and fabulous, and crowded with fans.” That’s what Daytime Diva, Emmy winner Susan Lucci (Erica, AMC), proclaimed as she headed down the red carpet to Daytime’s biggest party of the year, the 31st Annual Daytime Emmy Awards at Radio City Music Hall in the heart of little old New York. The most loyal fans in the universe belong to daytime. They must be, as some of them waited over two hours in the heat and humidity on the sidewalks of New York just to get a glimpse of their favorite bad boys and wicked women.
Rosslyn trekked all the way from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada where she watches the NBC daytime line-up. This was her first visit to the Big Apple and she couldn’t believe her luck, standing less than 50 feet from the red carpet. Her passion is Passions “cuz, it’s far out and crazy!” More than that she thinks Luis is hot and thinks his relationship with Sheridan is even hotter.
Two women, from Texas were walking down the red carpet and having the time of their lives. Alice Nolan won Mayor Bloomberg’s contest about New York soaps and brought her daughter, Tiffany Jehorek to help her celebrate with all their favorite stars. You might say mother and daughter are extreme soap fans, but hang on a minute, they have a long and tangled history with daytime’s longest running soap, Guiding Light. The day GL premiered on CBS radio in 1937 is the day Nolan’s great-grandmother, Lucy Smith, began what became a family legacy. She faithfully listened to “her stories” with Nolan everyday after Nolan came home from school. They followed the show to television. Eventually, Nolan got her daughter hooked. Tiffany Jehorek never met Lucy, but she watched with her homebound great-grandmother, Moline, who thought of all these people as her friends. Guiding Light was the highlight of her day. The entire family shared in the everyday triumphs and tragedies, the tiny miracles in the town of Springfield. “They had something we had in common, grandmothers, mothers, and daughters.” Winning this contest now allowed Nolan and Jehorek to meet Don Hastings, Bradley Cole, Helen Wagner and see stars from their other show, As the World Turns, but didn’t have the courage to talk to them. Today, Jehorek’s two daughters watch Guiding Light. That makes six generations in one family devoted to daytime drama. Nolan and Jehorek represent thousands of soap fans from all over North America. They were the lucky ones, the rest; they just watched the red carpet arrivals from the sidelines.
“This is the longest red carpet I’ve ever seen. I don’t know where it ends. I know it started at the coffee shop down the street and for all I know it could end at Tavern on the Green.” That’s what Lorenzo Lamas, The Bold and the Beautiful’s newest hunk had to say about his first brush with the Daytime Emmys. He can’t wait to get to work everyday with Ridge (Ronn Moss) and Massimo (Joseph Mascolo) and Sam, portrayed by Sydney Penny, who recently returned to daytime and plays Lamas’ daughter on B&B. Penny loves the soaps, “It’s like coming back to family,” she enthused.
Matthew Ashford (Jack, DOOL) and Melissa Reeves (Jennifer, DOOL) braved the long walk, she in a gorgeous long white satin dress, with just a speck of color, and in her hair, a lavender flower. Ashford is thrilled to be back in daytime, too. The road back to Days has been mysterious and unusual for Ashford. First a stint on One Life to Live as the dire Professor Havers. Afer being killed off OLTL, Ashford relates that “three to four weeks ago myself and eight other actors kinda came slipping in the back door of NBC. Totally surprised everyone.” “They had us onstage with lights and cameras and we knew something was going to happen. We had no idea,” Reeves said. “There was no press there. Everyone thought the show about to be cancelled. Wrong!” Ashford explained, “It was the best secret, total surprise. Hats off to the writers.”
SoapTalk’s Ty Treadway (Troy, OLTL) had his arm firmly around his gorgeous wife. He absolutely misses everyone on One Life to Live, “but when I go east coast to One Life, I have this beautiful thing on the west coast, and I gotta choose my wife.”
A trio of young All My Children stars braved the lights and cameras as they made their way to the auditorium. Tanisha Lynn (Danielle) and Michael B. Jordan (Reggie) seem more like brother and sister than two people who are bound to fall in love on the show. Very funny and cute. Lynn on their characters, “Reggie and I will be spending a lot more time together” “Is that a good thing or a bad thing?” Jordan joked. Then he generously and graciously introduced AMC’s newest cast member, Jeff Branson (Jonathan). Mum’s the word as to storyline, but rumor has it that Ryan Lavery’s (played by Cameron Mathison) got a brother. Speaking of Mathison, backstage he wouldn’t give it up for the press, but he didn’t deny the rumors either. By the way, stud muffin that he is, Mathison was wearing one of the hottest suits of the night – a great black and white pinstripe with a black shirt and tie. Talk about to die for!!!
Laura and Amy come in every year from Long Island just to see the show with eight of their closest friends. Before they enter the theatre, they all like to hang out around the red carpet, just to get into the spirit of the night. General Hospital is their religion and Sonny’s the guy they’d like to pray with at the altar. All of them have been watching the show for 20 years. “I love Luke,” said Amy. “But only with Laura.” Amy believes that charisma is Skye’s middle name. Why? She gets to make out with Jax! As Ingo Rademacher (Jax) approached, it was almost impossible to hear anything. The fan decibel went out into and beyond the stratosphere.
Grant Aleksander (Phillip, GL), best actor nominee, had all the cool and calm of a seasoned pro and talked about his favorite storyline, “I don’t think I ever had a better story than the first one I started with. And strangely enough, the circumstance I found myself in was as challenging as anything. So, 20 years apart I probably have the two best things that I’ve had to play. I didn’t know it at the time. Today, this year, it required me to work really hard again, which I hadn’t done in a long time. I got slapped in the face and it was fun.”
Emmy night was truly a family affair for best actress nominee, Nancy Lee Grahn (Alexis, GH). “I’m so happy to be here with my family, Mom, two sisters, my nephew, and of course, my daughter.”
When Susan Lucci (Erica, AMC) was asked what her hopes for inside were, she responded, “Two words, Eden Riegel.” Some time later Ms. Riegel, nominee for best younger actress for her role as Bianca on AMC, finally made her way down the red carpet, a bit overwhelmed by all the fans. She looked smashing in a long beige dress pulled at the waist and looking every bit as beautiful and glamorous as her on-camera Mom, Susan Lucci. Her favorite Bianca moment, “Probably the first lesbian kiss on daytime.” She flashed a big smile and disappeared in a blaze of lights.
Riegel isn’t the only one that thinks highly of the lesbian kiss. It was voted as the most memorable moment of 2003 by Soapdom’s members. Check out the kiss here!
In the Press Room…
Backstage the winners proudly held their Emmy’s and gamely responded to questions from the press. The last stop before they could go out and party.
When asked if Zander Smith would ever return to General Hospital, Younger Actor winner, Chad Brannon cut it short, “Oh, I’m dead, baby.” Then he joked that nobody noticed his big toe move in the body bag, so who knows.
But seriously, Brannon has got a new mission. Literally! He’s heading back to college and hopes to pursue a degree in the ministry. Still, he’s got the acting bug and continues to chase that dream as well.
No one was more surprised than Jennifer Finnegan when she won her 3rd Emmy – in a row – as Bridget on The Bold and the Beautiful. Three wins is a record in the category of Outstanding Younger Actress. “I have a major guilt complex,” she confided. “This is too much.” With two primetime series on her plate, Crossing Jordan and the new sitcom, Crazy For You, Finnegan is crazed and hasn’t been able to keep up with B&B, but, “I program B&B on my boyfriend, TIVO,” she admitted. “He’s so faithful!”
Best Supporting Actor winner, Rick Hearst had his entire family with him, “Which was the greatest thing in the world.” His father never really understood what he did. Not long before his dad passed away, Rick invited him to the set of Y&R, his soap home before General Hospital. The two men formed a bond. The more he talked about his Dad, the more choked up he got. But it didn’t stop him from talking, something he loves to do. When the subject of where he was going to display his Emmy came up, Rick, the parent took a back seat to Rick, the actor. “I have no idea where I’m gonna put this, ‘cuz, I’m gonna have to move the kid’s toys!” he joked.
As Cady McClain (Rosanna, ATWT) headed up to stage to collect her best supporting actress statuette, she was terrified, “Omigod, I have to speak. Don’t trip. Hug your friend, who’s been with you, try not to swear.” She really wanted to shout out to Mimi’s a bar in New Orleans of which she is a part owner. Ahh, but it doesn’t’ matter, they’re all getting drunk, anyway! This week she starts filming an episode of Law & Order SVU. “I have the greatest life. I couldn’t possibly ask for anything more.” Her simply elegant red dress was bought at a store called Language, so she assumes Language made it.
Four of the Lifetime Achievement Honorees, Ray MacDonnell (Joe, AMC), Jeanne Cooper (Katherine, Y&R), John Clark (Mickey, DOOL), and Rachel Ames (Audrey, GH) were giddy with excitement when they finally made it to the pressroom. Jeanne Cooper on herself and her fellow honorees: “I like who we are and what we became. I think we’ve all lived long enough and well enough,” then she took a beat and as if it had been written in a script, Rachel Ames chimed in and together they declared, “to deserve this!”
Jeffrey Byron, who accepted the same award on behalf of his exquisite mother, Anna Lee (Lila GH), had a great deal to say about this dazzling woman who got her job on General Hospital at the tender age of 65. Known as the British Bombshell and decorated by General Patton during World War II, Ms. Lee had a long and illustrious Hollywood career before she arrived on the steps of General Hospital. “She wasn’t cheated. She had 91 years. This is so ironic that she died and this is the week she receives the award. She was not an only an inspiration to the elderly and disabled, but to children, to everyone. Of her 25 years on GH, 22 were spent in a wheelchair. She loved her job. This work in daytime lengthened my mother’s life by 25 years. It gave her a reason to live and a place to go.”
Several generations removed, Michelle Stafford, now 2-time winner of the Best Actress Emmy, was beaming, “It’s cool. It’s awesome. I’d like to think I’m a superb actress, but it’s luck of the draw.” On Phyllis, Stafford said: “The character is just a freak of nature. I can really twist it and turn it. That’s what I love about the character. She’s just a victim of her own demons.”
But it was Anthony Geary’s (Luke, GH) win that brought the most applause from the ladies and gentlemen of the press. Unlike Stafford’s effervescence, Geary was quiet, almost introspective, “I’m stunned!” He really thought it was Maurice Bernard (Sonny) who would carry home the much-coveted award. Unquestionably, Benard carries the show, and Geary understands that better than most, as he spent many years in the same position. But he had some interesting things to say about Luke, his alter ego since 1978, “I like Luke’s humor, and his darkness, and his edge, and that he’s amoral, but he isn’t always a thrill to play. I’d love to take him darker.” But that won’t be happening in the near future. Geary is about to leave Luke and General Hospital behind for a while and take a much-needed vacation. You’ll have to look hard to find the man who’s about to lose himself somewhere in Europe for 17 weeks. By the time he returns to General Hospital, Luke Spencer and his fans will be in for some radical changes. Stay tuned!
As the evening finally came to an end, a long line at the elevator prompted a group of people to take the stairs; Tony Geary was one of those people. Unlike almost everyone else, Geary was alone. No PR person, no manager, no entourage. Just Geary and his Emmy hustling down the seven filghts of steps with everyone else. At the bottom of the stairs, there he was holding the door for us all. Midnight was fast approaching and lots of fans were still hunkered down at Radio City’s stage door. Geary took time for each of them. Then, he headed down the street, again on his own, when people who hadn’t been to the Emmy’s spotted this most happy fella. “Hey look! It’s Luke on General Hospital!” They pulled out their cameras and he gladly took picture after picture. Gracefully, he extricated himself and headed off with his Emmy into the night…
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