A few moments with the delightful Constance Towers

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Constance Towers (Helena, General Hospital)Star of stage, screen, and television, Constance Towers hails from the beautiful state of Montana. As a child, Towers sang on the radio and planned on becoming an opera singer. Eventually heading to New York with her family, Towers was a student at the Juilliard School of Music and the American Academy of the Dramatic Arts. Towers has done numerous musicals both on and off Broadway. They include Guys and Dolls, Anya, Carousel, The Sound of Music, and The King and I. She's had some impressive co-stars, including John Wayne, William Holden, and Yul Brynner. Towers has guest starred on a number of prime time television shows including L.A. Law, Designing Women, and Frazier. Towers is no stranger to daytime television. She's remembered for her past roles on such soaps as Love is a Many Splendored Thing, The Young and the Restless, and Capital. These days, Towers is known and loved for her portrayal of the devious Helena Cassadine on General Hospital. Soapdom caught up with Towers recently. The result? A very interesting conversation with the lovely and engaging actress.

SOAPDOM: Have you ever done any writing, producing, or directing?

CONSTANCE TOWERS: I haven't done any writing but I was an associate-producer of a Broadway show called The Edge of Darkness. The play was presented by the New York Broadway Alliance. We received a rave review in the New York Times but it didn't attract an audience. I am a co-producer of a play called Altman which we are doing backer showings at the moment. Hopefully it will play off Broadway.

SOAPDOM: Can you talk a little bit about Nothin' Like a Dame?

TOWERS: Nothin' Like A Dame was an onstage performance by five women and a moderator talking about the brilliant composer Richard Rodgers and singing his music. Marni Nixon, who sang the voice of Deborah Kerr in the movie, The King and I, Nancy Dussault, Karen Morrow, and Patricia Morison. We all had known Richard Rodgers and had many personal stories to relate. It was a very special evening. There is talk we may do it in Palm Springs and other venues.

SOAPDOM: Can you tell us anything about your pilot, Two Bottle Beer?

TOWERS: Two Bottle Beer was a pilot for television. It was such a cute script with a fabulous cast. It was created by Mike Binder. It was a sit-com about a group of young, out of work people living in Detroit. The lead was living with his parents and his father was a laid off automobile worker who sold his home to his son. I was a wealthy lady who hired one of the young men to work in my house as a housekeeper. You can imagine the funny situations that developed out of that relationship. We were all praying it would sell. Only a few do.

SOAPDOM: Were you ever or are you now a viewer of daytime television? Were you familiar with General Hospital before you took on the role of Helena? You've taken Helena and made her your own. Did you have any reservations being recast in a role created by Elizabeth Taylor in the early 1980's? Did you ever see Elizabeth Taylor's version of Helena?

TOWERS: Quite frankly, I just don't have time to watch TV in the afternoon, but I do watch when I can. I am always so impressed by the quality of daytime acting when I do watch. I was not acquainted with GH before I accepted the role of Helena. I wish I could have seen Elizabeth Taylor in the role. She is fabulous and must have been incredible as Helena. So much time had elapsed when I took on the role, at least twenty years, so I didn't worry about comparisons.

SOAPDOM: It was so great to have you back on General Hospital, even for a short time. I noticed Helena's wardrobe this time around consisted mainly of a hospital gown. Did you miss wearing all the usual fancy Helena clothing?

Constance Towers with publicist supremo, Tommy GarrettTOWERS: Yes! However, there was a scene this time when Helena arrived at the hospital and was dressed to the nines. That was fun. The hospital gown was not bad and actually frees you as an actor. The gown isn't distracting. It doesn't compete.

SOAPDOM: I always enjoy your work opposite Nancy Lee Grahn. Your characters have such great banter and sarcasm between them. Tell us something you enjoy about working with Nancy.

TOWERS: Nancy Lee Grahn is a joy to work with. We're very good friends and very comfortable working together. We've found wonderful character traits that make the relationship fun and real. Helena supposedly murdered Alexis' mother in a jealous rage because the mother had given birth to Nancy's character Alexis (Natasha to Helena) and Helena raised her, despising her every inch of the way. But they have a certain respect for one another, maybe even a strange kind of love. We've found a lot of humor to play, which makes it fun.

SOAPDOM: What about Tony Geary - Helena and Luke have an interesting vibe surrounding them. What stands out to you about your years working with Tony?

TOWERS: Tony Geary is a dream actor. He is a consummate actor and he makes every scene come alive. He has a delicious sense of humor and is wonderful to work with.

SOAPDOM: Do you have any thoughts on the return of Jonathan Jackson as Lucky?

TOWERS: I worked with Jonathan when I first joined GH and he's very special and a lovely actor. I loved Greg Vaughan and enjoyed working with him. Jonathan is so established as Lucky so I'm sure his return will be a boost to the show. They may even consider bringing Laura back. Wouldn't that be terrific?

SOAPDOM: Are you comfortable watching your own work? If so, do you generally watch as a critic?

TOWERS: I hate to watch myself in movies or on TV. When my family went to see A Perfect Murder they tried to get me to go and I just couldn't bear to go and sit in a seat and agonize over my performance. There is always something in my performance I wish I could change and it's too late. When I see myself on the screen, I want to immediately untie the knot on top of my head and tie it tighter. It's painful.

SOAPDOM: Do you consider yourself a perfectionist?

TOWERS: Yes I am a perfectionist. They kid me at the studio because I'm never satisfied with my work. They say I go home and beat myself up with wire hangers.

SOAPDOM: Have you ever experienced "stage fright?"

TOWERS: I always have stage fright before I go on stage. Once I'm on stage and feel the warmth of the audience I'm fine, but before I go on it's agony. They say you should never lose that. When you become complacent or too comfortable your performance loses excitement.

SOAPDOM: I read your tips for throwing a Halloween party in Canyon News. Do you like to cook? If so, what are some of your favorite things you make for your family and friends?

TOWERS: I love to cook. I have taught my wonderful housekeeper, Teresa to cook a healthy diet and that's how I cook. I never use butter, only olive or grape oil. We use nonfat yogurt instead of cream. One of my favorite recipes is for scallops with a chervil sauce. Also steamed salmon with a wonderful dill sauce with shallots. We make breakfast muffins with applesauce instead of oil and they're deliciously light and fluffy. You should come for dinner. It's delicious and healthy.

Dinner at Constance Towers' house - that sounds lovely. Thanks so much to Constance Towers for taking the time to talk with Soapdom. For more on the actress, visit http://www.garrettandiconspr.com/constancetowers/