It has been a remarkable 29-year run for Debbi Morgan as Dr Angie Hubbard on All My Children. And in two weeks time we, the audience, will not only have to say our farewell to Dr. Angie permanently, but goodbye to the network television run of the series featuring Angie and her friends and loved ones in Pine Valley.
A few months back, Debbi decided to get a new lease on her soap life and signed a contract with The Young and the Restless. While details of her new role are shrouded in secrecy, she will first hit the air in her latest incarnation on October 7th. But for now, over at AMC, Dr. Angie is trying to get her eyesight back, dealing with the cover-up by her husband Jesse, and loss of her baby girl, and handing back the little one she believed to be her own to Maya, the birth mom! And who else could play all this and hit it out of the park time and time again, but Daytime Emmy winner, Morgan?
On-Air On-Soaps recently caught up with Debbi at the final All My Children press junket to get her thoughts on the ending of the 41-year-old soap, Angie’s plight, her new digs, and turning off the lights in P.V.! Here’s our “quickie” chat with Debbbi M.!
How did everyone feel over at All My Children, when you told them you were (in a way) jumping ship to head to the number one soap, The Young and the Restless?
DEBBI: Julie Hanan Carruthers our executive producer; just gave a brunch the other weekend for AMC creator, Agnes Nixon, and Agnes said, “I can’t believe it. How long is your contract for over there?” And I said, “Well, I signed a two year contract over at Y&R Agnes.” And she said, “I’ll be dead by then.” I said, “Please, Agnes. Don’t say that!” And so her daughter to lighten the moment said, “Mom, whatever you have to write for her, you better write for her now.”
Are you now ready to put down Dr. Angie’s stethoscope and put it away, and move on to Genoa City?
DEBBI: I am. As much as Angie has meant to me, as an actress I am definitely ready for another challenge. I will say this; she won’t have any traces of Angie… that is much as I can say about her.
On AMC, poor Angie has suffered so for months! Total Blindness, losing her child, a baby-switch! I mean, if they are going to throw an actress everything but the kitchen sink and make it work, they probably went, “Let’s give it to Morgan! She can handle it!” (Laughs) But that being said, how was navigating through the constant blindness, the pregnancy, the emotions of her situation on a daily basis?
DEBBI: You know what? I am so exhausted with it! I had no idea it would last this long. Well, I got sick last year which is part of the reason since I was gone for three months, and that I think stretched it out some more. But the thing I think that has been the most difficult is that when you act, the eyes are the windows to the world. You express so much with your eyes, and not being able to utilize that has just been torture for me. I went, “Guys! I am so ready for this to be over!” But yet with that being said, it had been some great story to play in combination with losing her child, Ellie and giving up her chance to see so she can have this child, and then in the end she still winds up losing this child anyway. So it had been a great story.
Having made Dr. Angie Hubbard such a identifiable staple of the fabric of Pine Valley and All My Children, what are you feeling as the show is about to air its final few weeks of episodes?
DEBBI: I feel like everybody, there is sadness, and coupled with the sadness is a huge disappointment. We were told we were being taken off the air because of low ratings. And for me, I don’t know anybody, who knows anybody, who knows anybody with a Nielsen Box. We know there are so many loyal fans who watch this show who are just not accounted for. I just can’t believe with all the technology advances that they are making, that we have not come up with a better way to do a ratings system, then the Nielsen Ratings. So it’s a huge disappointment for me to see how terribly saddened our fans are. And it’s like telling them, that they don’t matter! That has bothered me more than anything.
As this part of your soap career comes to end and you look back body at your body of work as Angie, and all the storylines and the enormously popularity of the Jesse and Angie love story, what is your takeaway from it?
DEBBI: I have said this many times, because of this character, I have probably logged more hours than any other African American television performer. And being a woman of color, great parts like this don’t come along, and for that, this role has meant so much to me. To have a job, and to be someplace where I was happy to be, and to get to play so many different things has been unbelievable. It’s like when you do a primetime series it’s usually seeing a character at their career, but in this job in daytime you get to see her characters home life, her career, and the trials and tribulations with her children. There have been so many different avenues I have gotten to go with this Angie and that is what has meant a lot to me.
So even though you will not be staying with AMC with its projected move to the web early next year, and having been one of the genres most powerhouse performers, what do you think about the future of soaps on the Internet and on daytime television?
DEBBI: I think the All My Children move to the web with Prospect Park is going to happen and there will be this huge transition overall in our business to web series. It happened with radio went series migrated to television, and eventually they will start creating more new soaps for the web. And as far as daytime television soap operas, I definitely feel The Young and the Restless and The Bold and the Beautiful will be the last two standing.