Hillary B. Smith has been one in demand actress in recent months! First, she finished up almost 20 years as Nora Hanen Gannon Buchanan on One Life to Live, and then gave a tour de force performances as the real scene stealer in season 3 of the hit web soap, Venice! And just as soap fans were saying their goodbyes to Nora on One Life, came the news that she was snatched up by The Bold and the Beautiful to play Hope Logan’s sex therapist, Dr. Stacy Barton!
We chatted with Hillary, for this “quickie interview” on the silver carpet at the recent 25th anniversary party of The Bold and the Beautiful, whose special anniversary show airs today on CBS. We got the Daytime Emmy winner’s thoughts on her whirlwind soap life, the heart-tugging final moments between Bo and Nora as One Life signed off the air, and if Dr. Stacy will be any good at her job!
Why did you decide to join The Bold and the Beautiful?
HILLARY: It was because I have always wanted to work with the Bell family. I have great respect for the Bell family and when Brad called, I went, “Yes, I would like to go and play.” It’s a half hour soap which I think is the way to do it now. I really like the business model that they function under. I think its brilliant and I had a lot of friends out in California and I said to my husband, “It is time for a new adventure.” I did not even know what the character was and I didn’t care!
They put the official press announcement out that you were coming to B&B, just as One Life was ending!
HILLARY: It was funny. They had called just before the show was ending. I got the call that Friday morning; on January 13th that the deal is done. And I was like,”OK, here we go.” It was a very sad day January 13th, and a very happy day. It was like the old adage, “when one door closes, another opens”. I don’t know though, as it all seemed so bizarre and so surreal.
The final scenes with you and Bob Woods (Bo) were so touching for long time viewers of One Life to Live. When after the birth of their grandson, Drew, Nora and Bo had that exchange at the doorway! We all needed hankies!
HILLARY: Oh, “I love you, Red” and “I love you Bo Buchanan”. So beautiful. I got my chance to say goodbye on screen as Nora and Bo, and to Bob Woods. Listen, I was on The Doctors when it ended. I remember looking around at Jada Rowland (Carolee) and David O’Brien (Steve), and Jim Pritchett (Matt). And Jada said, “I cannot even believe they are not dealing with us at the end of the show.” And I went, “Well, that’s what is wrong. They are not dealing with the vets … with the people that the audience wanted to watch!” And so this time with OLTL, it was interesting to be on the other end of that, and being one of the vets, and knowing, I got my goodbye with Bob. It meant so much to me.
What do you think of what is going on over at General Hospital?
HILLARY: I can only speak to the past on General Hospital, and that is nothing against the actors at all, they are wonderful. I just don’t like a story where the bad guys are the good guys. I just don’t think that is good soap. Good soap to me was you knew who to root for, and you knew who to root against, and you could love to root against, but it was always very clear. And, I always thought soap operas had a moral obligation to do that … to make it clear. When our then executive producer, Linda Gottlieb came to me at One Life to Live and said, “You are going to defend the rapists and get them off.” That is when I went to her and said, “Can you just do me a favor? Could you just make Nora find out that her clients were guilty before they got the innocent verdict, so it’s bittersweet and she does not revel in it?” And then they took off with that, and I think that made much more sense.
So your new character of Dr. Stacy Barton’s first patient that we see her treating is Hope Logan, and already the young gal is pill-popping! Is Stacy any good at her job? (Laughs)
HILLARY: Stacy is a good therapist. Sometimes things happen like that without doctor acknowledgement. It is very well-written in the sense that you think the story is going in one direction and then they back off, and it goes in another direction. It does take you by surprise and I appreciate it. The story is dealing with taking drugs while staying in the parameters of society and functioning, which is what people do. I love Kim Matula (Hope). She is really phenomenal. To pull off what she is doing, and how she is doing it, and knowing the person she is off camera, this is really good.
Who should Dr. Stacy have her eye on in the men department on B&B?
HILLARY: I have so marked my men! John McCook (Eric) … to die for! Winsor Harmon (Thorne) …. I am all over that one and Scott Clifton (Liam) …. I am just going to swoop in and take him. I am going to mother him to death. I love him. There are a lot of yummy yummies, like Don Diamont (Bill). Oh that’s a good one. Then Heather Tom (Katie) and I can go it. But, you know what? You put me up against Heather Tom and I would look at her and then go, “OK, you can have him!”
After reading the interview, let us know your thoughts about Hillary’s comments!