August 13th, 2009  |  Leave a comment

The Morgan Fairchild & Friends Interview – The Bold and the Beautiful

morganJudges.jpg

This week on special episodes of The Bold and the Beautiful soap fans are being treated to some unusual suspects!  First, Morgan Fairchild turns up as Beverly Hills socialite Dottie who has a brilliant idea for her charity to stage a dueling fashion show competition between Forrester Creations and Jackie M!  Dottie seeks out her old friend Stephanie Forrester, and well let’s just say… this brilliant idea does not come off without a hitch.

Enter, Melissa Rivers, Alan Thicke and Jim J Bullock. This notorious threesome play the three judges who decide the fate of the fashion showdown.  Alan and Jim have appeared on “B&B” previously, while Melissa is a first-time soap rookie.  With a few long arduous days of tapings, the group really got a taste of what it takes to put on a fashion show, BOLD style.

On-Air On-Soaps first caught up with Morgan Fairchild who talked about her appearance on the show, and her legendary career.  Very outspoken, Morgan gives some insight into the inner-workings of her daytime and primetime experiences.  Then, we chatted one-on-one with Jim, Alan, and Melissa. This hilarious trio tells us about the perils of judging, working on a soap, and makes us laugh.  We bring you Morgan Fairchild and friends!

Listen to the audio:

Play

MICHAEL:

How was your experience at “B&B” during your special week?

MORGAN:

It’s so funny.  I know so many people from this show. John McCook (Eric) was a neighbor, and I used to chat with him when he used to walk his dog.  I played Jenna Wade with Patrick Duffy (Stephen) on Dallas, and I saw Hunter Tylo (Taylor) at my gym, but I did not want to bother her because she was working out hard with a trainer. Lesley-Anne Down (Jackie) and I had done North and South together…all the versions (She laughs).  Jack Wagner (Nick) and I have been seated in a plane across from each other cross country.  He seemed like a nice down to earth guy, and after working with him…I still think so! (She laughs)  I have to say everybody was helpful and nice. The entire cast was here for the fashion show episodes. So we would talk with each other in hair and make-up during all the frenzy of getting made up.

MICHAEL

What is your character Dottie’s (short for Dorothy) objective on the show?

fashionChallenge.jpgMORGAN:

Well Dorothy’s objective is to get this fashion show in place because she thinks it going to be a great sale for her charity.  She wants to do a big charity fundraiser and listen, I live out here in California and we all have seen people in Beverly Hills who are throwing events, and trying to find something new and novel that you can sell tickets on.  So she gets the idea of getting these two acrimonious rivals to do a fashion showdown.  I kept calling it a ‘smackdown’, but they would not go for it.  Basically, she knows that this big face-off will sell tickets, and then I am the recipient of others peoples duplicities.

MICHAEL:

How did it come about that you ended up on “B&B”?

MORGAN:

My agent just called and said, “This is what they wanted to do,” and I thought it sounded like fun.  I knew many people that worked on the show, and I thought it would be fun to do the glam fashion stuff.  “B&B” seems like a show that is always looking for something fun and innovative.  They have been here and a hit for so long, and it’s not because they don’t know what they are doing!

MICHAEL:

How was working in scenes with Susan Flannery (Stephanie)?

morganSusanFlannery.jpgMORGAN:

Oh, just great.  She is such a hoot.  We got along like a house- a- fire and we are both very irreverent.  Susan is a legend in this, and it’s a thrill for me to work with her.  She is a fine actress, and if you are an artist you always want to work with good people. That’s what you live for…a chance to work with really good and talented people.

MICHAEL:

You were on many daytime soap operas in your career: including Search for Tomorrow (Jennifer Pace) and The City (Sydney Chase). Do you see any difference to the soaps?  Or, is it the same to you now as it was to you back then?

MORGAN:

There are a lot of differences. When I stared on “SFT” in 1973, it was half hour show, and it was live to tape.  Unless the set fell in on you, you were not stopping.  I learned a few tricks that the older actors showed me.  You learn more tricks, and that is where it was great for a kid starting out.  I had grown up in the theatre.  This was the first time I got to do television. The older actors back then, and especially in New York… everybody seemed to come from the theatre.  So you were working with seasoned pros. Larry Haines (Stu) was on there… and Mary Stuart (Jo) and had been on forever.  She had been a legend for that time period. John Cunningham (Wade), Michael Nouri, and Kevin Kline were also on. Kevin just got out of Julliard with my sister.  So you are working with really good actors.  So everybody is kind of winging it and learning.  I told John McCook when I was doing “SFT” in New York, I would go into the control room on our lunch break everyday, and I would watch our show. “Y&R” came on just before or after that.  I felt I knew John from playing Lance Prentiss.  Some of the other actors on “SFT” would make fun of me and go, “Why are you watching the show?” I would watch what I did wrong.  I learned so much by doing that.  By the time I did The City things were a bit different in the way they shot.

MICHAEL:

The City was for its time was trying to be innovative with the film look for daytime.

MORGAN:

Well they tried to do that.  They had great ambitions but quickly ran into reality of shooting a location in New York.  The first six weeks were really great, but I just didn’t think they thought it through.  In retrospect, I bitch.jpgwish they would have sat down and talked to me before they did that.  I feel I could have given them some ways to save time and money on that. I think they got a little burned on that, and went back to a traditional soap format.  At “B&B”, they shoot very fast.  To their credit, let me say, The City would shoot everything on my set for four or five scripts at one chunk.  So, I would have 18-25 scenes a day and 70 pages or so of dialog.  It’s very hard.  If you don’t have actors who are serious about it, that’s a killer.  There were a couple of kids on the show I had to take aside and say, “When you work with me, you will show up on time, and you will know your lines.  We are on take 12 for you, and you are going to go home and go straight to bed because you came here straight from the clubs.  And I am going to be here till 10 o’clock at night and so is the crew. They are not going to see their families or their kids, and it’s not fair.”  I have been doing this since I was 10-years-old.  I have no patience for people who don’t take this seriously. I would tell the kids, “I don’t care what you are doing with your private life, but when you work with me you get this done, and we all go home and we can all have a life…not just you! “(She laughs).

MICHAEL:

What did you think of the fashions in the dueling fashion show challenge?

MORGAN:

The girls look great.  I don’t want to spoil the surprise about Lesley-Anne’s outfit.  I was yelling, “Berlin 38”!  Everyone looked gorgeous and is dressed to the gills.  You sit around and admire everyone, and the fashions are lovely.

MICHAEL:

Were you able to keep your concentrate?  The “B&B” tape days when they do a special fashion show are known to be extremely long.

MORGAN:

Well, I sat a lot and then I walked and talked.  On the show, Dottie is in the audience and then I have my speeches.  I remember I forgot one of them because I was so tired I almost lost consciousness… because we had a very long night. (She laughs)

MICHAEL:

Did you pattern Dottie after anybody?

MORGAN:

Not anybody in particular, but I have dealt with people like that in Beverly Hills so many times.  You know they say, “You have got to do this event. If you don’t, children will die!” (She laughs)  They are pushy broads, and it usually works.  Guilt is a wonderful tool.

MICHAEL:

How big is fashion in your life for you? How do you dress normally?

MORGAN:

Two of the outfits I wear on these episodes are mine. They are both Ralph Lauren.  At home, I am such a bum.  I am always running around in my gym clothes.  I run around in Reeboks all the time.

morganRedCarpet.jpgMICHAEL:

Is dressing up for an event such as: a fashion show or an award show, something you like or dread as Morgan?

MORGAN:

I have been doing it for so long.  I have become a lazy bitch in my old age.  It’s not something I am dying to do because it’s work, but you get into it.  First of all, I don’t go to many, because I went to so many for so long.  My boyfriend also does not get into that type of thing.  Sometimes, I go to a friends opening or work related event.  Then you think, “Oh God. What can I get into?”  I sort of buy defensively and pull something together.  For this show, I wore a gold Ralph Lauren suit.   It was hard to find some shoes to wear with it, but I had two-year-old Christian Louboutin shoes that were right.  But at that time, I felt very guilty for spending a lot of money to buy them.  But now I get to wear them on “B&B”.  So, I feel not so guilty.  This is my excuse. (She laughs)

MICHAEL:

On soaps, you have gotten to play and are often typecast as the vixen or the troublemaker.  Why do you think that is?

MORGAN:

I always thought it was my nose.  I have a pointy nose, and it makes everybody think you are a bitch.  They don’t even give you a chance.  I honestly thought I was going to play ingénues my whole life.  Suddenly I get to New York and get on the soaps and it’s instant bitchdom.  I was talking to Don Diamont (Bill), and it’s more fun to play the bad guy because you are always the catalyst.  The way I have always done it is, I throw in a lot of one-liners.  I take a lot of one dimensional bad girl parts and make them fun and kind of jump.  Larry Hagman (JR) did it on Dallas, and Joan Collins (Alexis) did it on Dynasty.  The thing was, none of us were supposed to be the stars of the show, but we are wise-asses, and we would throw it out there.  Those are the characters that jump off the screen.

MICHAEL:

What do you think of the ‘cougar’ storyline on “B&B” between Owen and Jackie?   Even Susan Lucci (Erica) has a ‘cougar’ storyline beginning on “AMC”!

cougarMorgan.jpgMORGAN:

I think older woman/younger guy is great. I think the term ‘cougar’ is demeaning.  No offense to this show.  Just as a woman, I find it demeaning.  What is reciprocal one for a guy… letch? (She laughs)  I think the whole concept of women not being limited to someone older than they are is great.  The way it was before, a woman used to be married to someone at least five years old than she was.  I think that’s great that those set of norms have become passé.  On the other hand, you look at some of these woman and wonder, “What do you talk to him about?  He does not look that bright!”  It’s sort of the same thing you think when you see older guys and dim blondes. “What do they talk about?”

MICHAEL:

You did a very interesting first on television on the old sitcom Roseanne.  How did that come about?

MORGAN:

They called me up in 1992 and they called and offered me this part.  I jumped at it.  My agent said, “Are you sure you want to do this?”  I knew it was groundbreaking, because I was the first lipstick lesbian on a sitcom playing Sandra Bernhardt’s girlfriend.  I thought it was going to be a hoot.  Sandra talks about her new girlfriend through the whole show and the last person anybody was going to expect to walk through that door was Morgan Fairchild. It was fun, and you like to do things that catch people off-guard.  I have been in the business so long that you can keep doing the same stuff forever.  So it’s always fun when they let you do something different.  Another one was playing Chandler’s mom on Friends. When they called and offered me that, a lot of my girlfriends called and said, “You are too young to do that part as the boy’s mother.”  I had played the mother of teenagers before, but never a grown son.  I have this theory; that to stay in this business you have to reintroduce yourself to a new audience every five years.  So, when they offered me the Old Navy gig, I thought that was great.  I told my friends, “You know the target demographic for the clothes is 13-year-old boys. You know what? The network demographic is 13-year-old boys.”  I have little kids in airports doing the Old Navy dance and they don’t know a thing about me from Flamingo Road or Falcon Crest. They know me as the ‘Old Navy lady’.  Friends was the same thing.  You want to place yourself where you are seen with an audience that you want to cultivate.  So, on Friends she was the vixen mom when all he wanted was Donna Reed.  She was very funny and they wrote great material.

morganMain.jpgMICHAEL:

You have had amazing opportunities in your career to work with some of Hollywood’s legends.  What has all of that been like and meant for you?

MORGAN:

I got to work with Bette Davis, Jane Wyman, Eve Arden, Natalie Wood, and Cesar Romero. All the people I had grown up.  I was very lucky to be able to do that when I got out to LA.  You treasure those moments.  The great thing about the old stars is that they were great raconteurs.  They had such good stories, and they would dish.  I mean, you would know who shot who, who was sleeping with who, and where a body was buried under what dam.  It was a hoot.  I actually took the pilot of Hotel because I always have these motives. (She laughs) My motive was, I wanted to work with Bette Davis, but then she had her stroke and she was not able to the series.  However, we became great friends and she kind of adopted me.  It was a hoot.

JIM J BULLOCK

MICHAEL:

Sergei has come back to “B&B”! You play a wedding planner.

jimjbullock.jpgJJB:

Sergei has come back and resurfaced.  How many “ss’ can I put in… ‘Sergei surfaces’! (He laughs)

MICHAEL:

So in this scenario you are a judge for the fashion challenge.  How were the tape days?

JJB:

It was long and fun.  Alan and Melissa and I, we were sitting there on our asses at a table.  How hard was that?  It was a long day, but I think everyone made the most of it. No one acted like the Queen Bee.  So it was good.

MICHAEL:

Sergei takes a bribe on the plane that could sway the outcome of the fashion show!

JJB:

We do get bought on the plane.  But, my subtext for my character was I would have voted for Jackie M anyway, because I go for the glitz.  The other fashion house was more subtle.  So, it made Sergei feel better because he would have voted for Jackie M anyway, even though he was bought out and swayed.

MICHAEL:

How is doing a soap?

planeRide.jpgJJB:

You know, at this point in my career I am so grateful for the work.  Here, there is a family that forms.  You get a place to go everyday and that is so rare in this business.  It’s great to come here and the cast remembered me from my last appearance in 2004!

MICHAEL:

Were you always innately funny?

JJB:

I am just queer.  I don’t mean that in a gay way.  I was peculiar and odd at a young age, and so I made people laugh.  I never set out to be a comic. It just sort of happened.

MICHAEL:

Have you ever really judged anything as a real judge?

JJB:

As a matter of fact, yes.  I was a judge for the Miss Teen USA pageant, somewhere in Louisiana when a hurricane hit in the early 90’s.  It was the only pageant that I knew of that they crowned two queens.  That is because they had to pre-tape it, and they did not want it to leak to the press.  So they gave it to Miss Wyoming and stopped taping, and made her give her back her crown and get back in line!  Then they crowned Miss Missouri.  So when the judges left, no one had known who had won… Miss Wyoming or Miss Missouri… but we found out that night when it aired.

ALAN THICKE

alanthick.jpgMICHAEL

So you have come back for another visit to “B&B” as Rich Ginger!

ALAN:

Yes, occasionally they let me do that here.  Rich is a talk show host.  What he usually does is move other people’s storylines along.  They will come sit on the panel on his talk show and Rich will say, “When last we saw of Brooke Logan and Ridge they were … ,” and then you full in the blanks.  I have been utilitarian till now.  Rich is integrated in this storyline.  Now he seems to be influenced, somewhat.

MICHAEL:

Is he a slimy talk show host?

ALAN:

He has all the potential to be a slime ball and a real sleazy guy. They blackmail him on the plane.  They know his vulnerability and it turns out for a yacht trip, and a free bit of swag, it makes him cast his vote in the right direction.

MICHAEL:

How were the long tape days during the fashion show episodes?

alanJudges.jpgALAN:

We were at the studio all day and night and could have brought us a tent! (He laughs) They treated us well.  I did see the fashion show, and from my perspective I thought they looked great.

MICHAEL:

Have you worked before with Jim and Melissa?

ALAN:

I have known Jim for 25 years from when I started my own talk show in Canada.  Melissa, I last saw when we both played hockey in a charity exposition game.

MICHAEL:

Did you check her?

ALAN:

I did not cross-check her into the boards or anything but…I checked her out! (He laughs)

MELISSA RIVERS

MICHAEL:

How was your experience at “B&B?”

melissaRivers.jpgMELISSA:

It was fun. Normally, I work in such chaotic conditions.  I am used to working live on red carpets with everything swirling around in my ear peace, and watching a monitor, and trying to prep for an interview in ten minutes.  For me, to have that kind of quiet where you have to focus, that is the hardest for me.  I can focus in complete chaos.  But it’s creepy to me when everyone is so quiet!

MICHAEL:

Why do a daytime soap?

MELISSA:

I am one of those people who like to collect experiences.  I have never done any time on a daytime set so that was great.  It’s a new animal for me.  I have always had respect for the genre, and how much dialog these actors can memorize!

MICHAEL:

What’s next for Melissa?

MELISSA:

I love what I do.  I want to keep producing, and hosting, and being a good mom.  I am working on my book that comes out in January.  It’s called, “Life Lessons from the Red Carpet”.

MICHAEL:

I always thought when I am doing the red carpet events and interviewing the stars that I want to poke my eyes with a fork.  One is more gorgeous then the next.  Do you feel that way when you do the red carpet?

MELISSA:

Always!  These people are not human.  You just want to go home and cry or eat…because there is no point. There is no point anymore. (She laughs)

MICHAEL:

Speaking of the red carpet, was their ever a moment that sticks out to you as being a really screwed-up interview?

MELISSA:

Every single time there is a moment where I want the earth to open up and swallow me. My book talks about that, and handling those things.  It’s drawing a metaphor to the fact; that the idea of the red carpet is anytime the focus and the attention is on you.  You don’t have to be on a red carpet.  It’s how to handle yourself in those types of situations.

MICHAEL:

And on “B&B” you are the only one of the judges playing yourself!

judging.jpgMELISSA:

Yes, and that is always a little challenging when they write dialog for me and you have to play yourself.  I would not say it was Emmy time, but it was fun.

MICHAEL:

Did you ever judge anything before?

MELISSA:

I think I did Miss Teen USA one year, and that was kind of fun.  As much as you want to be silly and campy, the contestants take it very, very seriously.  You get wrapped up in the moment, and that’s what makes it so good.

Leave a comment