Another World's ANNA STUART
May 03, 1999

SODhost: Welcome to the Soap Opera Digest AW Mystery Chat! Today's Mystery Guest is Anna Stuart! Ladies and Gentlemen! Anna Stuart! Welcome!
Anna Stuart: Hi to all of our beloved, passionate, passionately distressed fans! We appreciate all of your letters, all of your cards, all of your picketing of NBC, all of your sentiments having to do with the loss of your show, of our show. Can't say enough about the support that you have shown us.

aine75 asks: Hi Anna! Enjoy your work in the show! Why did Donna hide her ability to walk? Did she just see who killed Grant, or did she kill him to protect her girls!
Anna Stuart: You know, I don't really know the answer to that question! I purposely have not asked. Every time I read a script, I am surprised by what it says. When they told me Donna was going to walk, I thought she was going to get physical therapy. I was totally surprised when she got up and walked across the room and pulled a flask out of a drawer and did a toast! I didn't even know she had a flask! I didn't know she drank in her bedroom!

anit_bubble asks: What was the real reason for Donna's paralysis..and can it or will it come back?
Anna Stuart: You mean before we go off the air? I don't think so! If it does, I'll just stand up and walk anyway. The cause of the paralysis? She did indeed have an injury but I think in terms of the psychological trauma, let's get real: when you look at what she's been through this past year with her husband dying and her daughter getting hit by the car she was driving… I think it was probably hysterical paralysis. I myself got hysterically blind once; I just couldn't see out of one eye for about six months, and then it [the eyesight] came back.

LMicheleG asks: Hi Anna! I loved the Donna/Matt relationship. What are your feelings on the storyline? :-)
Anna Stuart: I loved the Donna/Matt relationship too. I'm glad someone is in there with me! I thought it was just wonderful. I thought it was such a good opportunity for humor and helped me be some kind of a role model for women in America who had the same dilemma in terms of aging and having fears surrounding that, and who happened to be involved with a young man, which made it all the more poignant. I thought that was a wonderful story and I'm sorry they didn't choose to develop it further. I think it was safer to do the same old, same old of getting back with the ex-husband, but I think it would have been much more interesting to go on with the Matt/Donna relationship a little longer.

nik_elaine asks: Anna, you are pure magic with Jensen, do you enjoy working with her?
Anna Stuart: Oh God, yes, beyond description. We have a very telepathic connection with one another. We have a deep, deep affection and respect for one another, for our personal selves, for our work, and for each other's personal space, because on off days one of us or the other will come in and say, "I feel needy today," and the other will say, "well, I can't be here for you until this afternoon!" But yes, I love working with her. I will miss her dearly.

jaboz99 asks: donna, you were so funny when you got caught out of your chair
Anna Stuart: Oh, yeah! That was great! I wanted to be even sillier with it but they wouldn't let me! That day, I had a bowl of ice cream. I have gone for years without sugar, but this day, I got vanilla with chocolate chunks, Oreo chunks, all of this incredible stuff and I said to the prop man, Eddie, "Please don't do this to me!" But of course, we kept having to go back and do pick-ups, so I was totally porking on this ice cream and blamed it all on Eddie! So I gained a *lot* of inches on my hips that day. :-)

Tigrelilee asks: Anna, I missed you at the luncheon. I don't have a CLUE how. How was the luncheon for you?
Anna Stuart: I don't know, I didn't get to eat anything. How was it for you? Just kidding. Gosh, it was very emotional. I actually got more emotional than I expected to. The second we got the word [about cancellation] I started letting go, but to feel the response of all the fans holding on to us at the luncheon was so lovely, and it was extra strong this year of course, because you guys don't want to let go. You don't want to let go of us, and we don't want to let go of you. It's like we're all struggling on the Titanic going, "Oh no, we're going to go down!" But it was just wonderful; I thought it was wonderful this year, and I'm sorry I missed you too.

MkRossM asks: Hi Anna!! I have been a MAJOR fan of AW since 1971. And, I have watched you since you were on "The Doctors". I wish they would have let you sing more.
Anna Stuart: Oh, thank you so much. I do too, but you know, that kept changing with producers: the first producer that decided to do it got fired and then the second producer got fired and then I got into a wheelchair and all this other stuff so my life changed. They could have had me keep singing, but they didn't want to spend the money because they had to have a pianist and they had to have someone rehearsing with me and it was more money than they wanted to spend. Budget, budget, budget!

MushyT asks: Does Donna know who killed Grant
Anna Stuart: I think she does. That's just my crystal ball-ness. I don't ask anything, I'm not going to learn it until everybody else does. But I'd say she does.

jobber_1999 asks: With all that Donna has been through - from the tyrant father, losing Michael over and over, her daughters problems etc. ,etc., how does she stay so strong?
Anna Stuart: Let's see. I have to take that question back to my personal self even though I haven't had that kind of loss. You just put one foot in front of the other, just like everyone. They always say that God wouldn't hand it to us if we weren't strong enough to do it. We just have to keep breathing and a new day always dawns, and somehow, it's better, or it's bearable. That's the way I look at it.

mshuggy98 asks: how have your experiences with the different actresses been? I have watched from Anne Heche till now?
Anna Stuart: They've all been very different. I of course was finding my character as well with Ellen Wheeler finding her two characters in the beginning. And Ellen and I had a magical working relationship. We didn't have as much of a personal relationship then; we do now. I love working with Ellen; she is a consummate professional and a joy to work with. Anne was also a joy to work with. She and I developed a very, very strong friendship that we have maintained since her departure from the show. So it was very difficult for me when she left. And when Jensen came, it took awhile for us to find each other, because Jensen was much more mature when she came in than Ellen or Anne were. They had been much younger, so I couldn't mother Jensen, I couldn't cluck around her. So it took us a while for us to find our relationship, but once we did, we just loved it.

mardi_ks asks: Donna doesnt look like she eats ice cream on a regular basis. What do you do to stay so gorgeous?
Anna Stuart: Oh, whoever you are, bless your heart. Oh God... well, thank you, I don't do anything special. I don't drink, I don't smoke, I don't drink sodas, I eat a healthy diet, but that's a lifestyle for me; it's not like I'm on a diet. I work out, but it's a lifestyle. It was passed down to me by my mother from my grandmother. It's just kind of a family thing. And I got good genes, I guess. And I don't sleep well at night! Maybe that's the secret! Try staying up all night -- see what happens! But you can't eat chocolate chip ice cream while you're doing it!

jobber_1999 asks: Good afternoon Anna. Thanks for coming! What does the cast hear of the rumours of ABC picking up AW?
Anna Stuart: I haven't heard any rumors of anything. Well, I've heard rumors of everything, actually. There's always talk of it, but I haven't heard anything significant that I would jump up and down about.

LMicheleG asks: Anna, if you could take one thing with you from the AW set, what would it be?
Anna Stuart: There is a brown suede chair in Grant's house; it was Spencer's house, I guess. It has a brown suede ottoman too. I spilled a Caesar salad on that one day, and I thought they were going to kill me. I always say, "That's my chair," and of course, they're not going to give it to me, but I'd love to have that. I love suede.

Will_miss_AW asks: Hi anna i'd like to know if you have any pets?
Anna Stuart: Do I have pets! Oy vey! I have three dogs and two cats. The dogs are two lab retrievers and a basset hound. And the cats, one is a bluepoint Himalayan and the other is called chinchilla, which is like the one in the Fancy Feast commercial.

NKracala asks: Anna, Donna sort of calmed down in the "man department" lately. If she were to be re-energized, who would she want to have a fling with?
Anna Stuart: Donna didn't calm down, the writers calmed down! If she got reenergized, look out! Oh my Gosh! I'd like to have a fling with Matthew!

lucky_spencer_123 asks: hey Anna i love u and i want to marry u i think your the best im glad your character can walk now
Anna Stuart: Thank you! First of all, are you straight? You don't have to answer :-) That's lovely, I haven't had many people ask me to marry them, so I appreciate that.

Irishhouse asks: Is there anything else that we can do?
Anna Stuart: I think tenacity is a major factor in any successful coup. It's a major factor in a career and a life and an illness; tenacity is a big, powerful tool.

Anna Stuart: ABSOLUTELY, I love working with both of them. I love working with both of them. Tommy is like somebody who got shot out of a cannonball. He may come in dragging, he may be goofing around, but when that light goes on, he is there. Again, he's a consummate professional. He's always there.

lucky_spencer_123 asks: HI ANNA SORRY BABE
Anna Stuart: LOL

casualshoe asks: if you can, tell us one special memory that you will always remember from working on AW?
Anna Stuart: They ask me that all the time! There are so many memories. There are SO MANY... Oh, I don't even know where to start. When Ellen and Tommy said they were going to get married [in real life], and they both were to leave the show, the last day that they were there, I said goodbye to Ellen, and as she walked across the studio, I felt like I was losing my daughter. I wept, I wept. I'm a sucker for weddings anyway, I'm just a real mush for that sort of thing, and it was such a poignant moment, I don't even know where it came from. Normally it would just have been a bit of sentiment, but this was like DEEP WEEP. I don't know if I ever told her that.

cindio77 asks: I remember when your father tortured you psychologically. Was that an interesting story for you?
Anna Stuart: Very, very interesting. You've got to remember that that transferred into Philece Sampler [who played the role in my absence] but it was very interesting, and I wish I could have had more insight into it, you know, looking back at it now, if I were to play it again, it's like the man who played Hamlet when he was in his 20s and when he's in his 40s he says, "let me play it again; now I understand it."

tanya_bradley_dbl1998 asks: AW deals with a lot of problems that happen in real life, it will be hard to see the show go off of the air. Do you think that the show has had some stories that have dealt with real life problems?
Anna Stuart: Absolutely. Absolutely! I mean, obviously they take dramatic license, obviously some of them are bigger than life, but they all have strains... I mean, if we were really dealing with real life, we'd be looking at an Andy Warhol movie where you watch someone sleep for six hours, but oh yes! How could you ask me such a question! :-) I mean, I think my thing with Matthew, the menopause scare that I had, is about as real as you can get on that level. The writers asked me if I was willing to do the story because a lot of actresses might not be willing to admit that they were old enough to be experiencing menopause, but I felt just the opposite. I said I would love to do it, to take some of the fear out of it.

ImCreamRose asks: Anna, two years ago my mom found out that she had cancer. While spending a few weeks with her, she got me hooked on AW, I loved it, we would call each other and talk about all of the charachters. She sent me an 8 page history of AW typewritten, front and back. I loved that time with her now that she is gone. What would you like people to remember most about Donna, when its all over?
Anna Stuart: That she did love her family, fiercely. And she loved. She had lots of judgements and lots of restrictions about her, but there was a bigness in her that she allowed to happen. Matt brought that out in her, Jake brought that out in her, but there was a tiger there. I think she is a truly good person.

mardi_ks asks: Do you feel Donna's true love was Michael?
Anna Stuart: Absolutely.

LMicheleG asks: I must compliment you on Donna's scenes after Michael died. Were those scenes difficult?
Anna Stuart: Very. Yes, because I brought them home with me, I mean the whole time, that whole month that that was going on, I was just a total emotional wreck.

Mic_Irv_74 asks: Anna, If you had the chance to make a movie of your life who would you want to play your part and would you use any actors from the show?
Anna Stuart: No! Nobody is that neurotic! Who would I want to play my life... I'd have to get a combination of people: I think I would take maybe Lucille Ball and Ava Gardner and Carol Burnett and Vivian Leigh and wrap them all into one person. :-)

tanya_bradley_dbl1998 asks: Are you going to be at the Emmys
Anna Stuart: No. I don't think it's appropriate. I think we probably all feel that way, this year.

DiamondGrl07 asks: Out of all your leading men which one was the best kisser?
Anna Stuart: The truth? The absolute truth: we had a very short storyline together, Geoff Pierson. He came in and played Roger somebody or other, he was a record producer, and he was just the greatest kisser! A great kisser and I went, "Whoa!" I wasn't really attracted to him as a person, but we had a few kisses where I thought, "Let's rethink this!" :-) He was a very attractive guy, but not my type.

Pooka71 asks: Did you develop a lot of extra upper body muscles wheeling around in the chair?
Anna Stuart: Well, I'd like to think that I did! I kept saying, I'm doing my tricep exercises, folks! Every time I wheeled around I always said, "This is doing my arms, this is doing my arms." Every movement my body makes, I say, "This is exercising." Everything I do is in the name of exercise.

Arl541 asks: Has Charles started taping yet
Anna Stuart: Not to my knowledge. Unless he's here this week; I'm not in until tomorrow, so I don't know.

Anna Stuart: Well, I'm hoping to take the tin cups that they are donating to each and every one of us and stick it out and hope that someone will put a piece of paper in it that says, "I want you for a job!" I'm going to look for work; what would you do? I'm not wealthy enough to retire for the rest of my life and even if I were, it's not my style. I've got way too far to go for that; I'd go crazy. Well, I probably wouldn't go crazy, but I'd hurt somebody. :-)

BarryT60 asks: Hey Anna - It's the petrolium by-products guy from the luncheon. Thanks for signing my book - the kids loved it! Now - should - if - when - AW gets picked up by another network - what would you like for Donna to explore? I personally miss the old stereotypically rich-bitch attitude Donna can personify. Great comedic touches..
Anna Stuart: Well, first of all, if we do get picked up by another network, let's hope that they can still gather a cast! Because the second they said "you guys are off the air," people were making phone calls, renting apartments, selling apartments, making plans to California, going to networks for other jobs. I'm meeting with somebody tomorrow about a new job, you know. They'd have to work pretty fast. So on that note, to actually answer your question, I would like to explore Donna's strength and savvy in a more productive way, meaning for her not to be such a pain in the neck and be such a helpless, stupid female. I'd like to find out that she's a real sharp cookie, to have Donna learn something and actually not be so much of a buffoon as she has been. Could I be projecting? :-) I mean, after all, we are our characters.

cbean_est asks: So, which one do you miss most, David [Forsyth, ex-John] or Kale [Browne, ex-Michael]? By the way you are great...
Anna Stuart: I don't miss either one of them at all! Just kidding. I miss them both equally and we both had a good friendship and we continue to have a good friendship and it was a different friendship on many levels for both of us.

AWDonnaB asks: If you had your druthers & couldn't continue on AW, what current TV show would you choose? Day or Night?
Anna Stuart: Chicago Hope, or ER. And not as a patient. :-)

casualshoe asks: How would you like the story to end for Donna, any interesting ideas?
Anna Stuart: I can't help but wonder, "HOW ARE THEY GOING TO END THIS?" I want to move to Europe, you know... I'll tell you how I wish the show would end: for it to be like ET, and for us all to go up in a space ship. Wouldn't that be great? [Or like] Cocoon, to have us all go up in a space ship. That would be magical. It is Another World!

LMicheleG asks: Do you think that Donna and Nick would have made a good match? I think so!
Anna Stuart: No, I don't, and I say that because Nick is too young. And I don't mean age-wise so much as Nick is just too young! My humble opinion... I mean, he has great pecs, don't get me wrong! I've never turned down great pecs! :-)

gravelpit9 asks: what ever happened to your big beautiful home that you shared with Michael? Your don't live there anymore.
Anna Stuart: I think Cass is renting it! That's what somebody said to me the other day. I said, "Cass is living in my house? Get him out!" Donna moved in with Vicky, which was annoying to me; I haven't liked that part. Donna should move back home, but I guess, yeah, Cass is living in it.

heidrebx2 asks: Anna, How do you feel about the efforts that are being made to Save AW, by the fans?
Anna Stuart: I think it's amazing, I think it's wonderful, it's sort of beyond anything that we could have expected. You know, as opposed to, "Oh we feel so bad, what a shame, goodbye," they're going, "NO! Growl!" It's great!

DiamondGrl07 asks: Did you feel that Mat was to young for you?
Anna Stuart: No. I mean, Donna felt that Matt was too young in age, but Matt Crane has a maturity about him and a settledness about him and a way about him that kind of can go anywhere.

Mic_Irv_74 asks: Anna, If you could be anyone in the past or present ,male or female who woyld it be and why?
Anna Stuart: I don't want to go too far back in the past... I don't want to be anybody but myself, I've got to be truthful. I mean, let's really look at it. I've done it before on my bad days and thought, "Oh, I wish I was Nancy Campbell, she's so pretty..." but you just try to have someone take something away from you that is yours and only yours, and you'll see how quickly that you'll love those love handles. You'll think, I worked for those love handles, I've eaten a lot of ice cream for those love handles, and I look at my wrinkles and my personality flaws and I moan and think, "Oh, I wish I could be this person or that person," but I came here to be me and God help me, I'm going to go out me. Maybe one of the reasons I became an actress was to not be me ALL the time...

A_GREAT_WOMAN_101 asks: Well I am curious why Donna is back and forth on her feelings about her daughters?
Anna Stuart: Could you be a little more specific?

Will_miss_AW asks: What was your favorite love story on AW?
Anna Stuart: I loved all my love stories. I loved my love story with Michael, loved it, loved it. I loved the one with Matthew. I mean, I'm a romantic, an incurable, hopeless romantic, personally. And I loved my stuff with Charles [Keating, Carl]! We all forget that I was with Charles for all those years. I loved that; we had a wonderful time together.

kozmokramerrules asks: I do not believe that Grant is really dead what do you think?
Anna Stuart: Oh, I would love it if he weren't really dead! I would love it! I can't really see them being able to get Mark Pinter back to do one of those Hannibal Lecter things, I can't see that, but I think it would be great if he weren't dead! It makes perfect sense if he weren't dead. That would be a real surprise because there's been no indication to the audience that they're going to do that with him, as far as I know.

jobber_1999 asks: Do you stay in touch with any former cast members? Anne Heche?
Anna Stuart: Yes, Anne, Kale, David, Charles. Those are my main people.

Anna Stuart: What I was trying to find out was "back and forth" meaning to be loyal to one or loyal to the other, that's what I was trying to clarify. It makes sense that she would be back and forth just because it's such a difficult decision, anyway, in terms of "Who am I going to be there to help?" I have so much guilt about Marley, so much guilt about not telling her that I was her mother because I was such a wimp, so afraid of my father. And then I have all this guilt going because I wasn't there to raise Victoria, and you know, I want to be there for her. So the back and forth-ness is perfectly logical to me, you know, that she would feel that way.

Annabanana36 asks: I thought the whole sequence after the deaths of Michael and Shane were terrific. Were they hard to do...especially to be so angry with your daughter?
Anna Stuart: Well, that was part of what propelled it, you know, was the anger at my daughter. And it was because I was looking for somebody to blame, anybody, anything to help me get out of pain. Yes, they were very difficult to do emotionally. They were very emotional.

AWDonnaB asks: You don't appear to have bad days. And, you appear to be able to make *whatever* is written for you credible. How do you do it? How did you play Donna who had run down Marley, for example?
Anna Stuart: I sort of developed a code for myself years ago, years and years ago, and that is, whatever they gave me, that I would do everything in my power to make that work, to make that written word believable, so that when I looked at a script and thought it was ridiculous, then as soon as those words would come out of my mouth, I would say, how can I make it work, how can I make it believable. That's the challenge. The difficult part is to see how to make it work. So I gave that to myself, I gave it to myself that this is how I was going to do it. And that's pretty much how I try to do it. Seems to be working! Thanks!

Mic_Irv_74 asks: Anna, what is you relationship like with Victoria Wyndham [Rachel]?
Anna Stuart: It's very good! It's very good. We don't work together very often, and we've had differences of opinion sometimes, but I'm pretty easy: the things that I feel passionately and feisty about are things like my animals and stuff like that, you know, not so much things that would make me fight with other people. It's not worth it, you know. I spent too many years in relationships fighting. So I would say in a nutshell, to make a long story longer, great. I have a lot of admiration for her. She's a very gifted woman; she's got a lot of ability.

nob3 asks: You are one of my favorites on AW and before that I thought you were terrific on The Doctors. Any chance we could see you and Liz Hubbard on The Doctors, Revisited?
Anna Stuart: Oh, wouldn't that be a hoot! I would like to work with Liz Hubbard [ex-Lucinda, ATWT; ex-Althea, The Doctors] now, boy, would I like to duke it out with her! She's so outrageous!

bcb1939 asks: Anna, are you all having a party to celebrate 35 years?
Anna Stuart: Yes, we are. Procter & Gamble is giving us a party, a very small, small, small, party. Where we're not allowed to bring any guests or anything like that. I don't know if the studio itself is going to give us a party or not, I can't really say.

casualshoe asks: Would you consider working for any other soap opera?
Anna Stuart: You want to give them my number? Absolutely! I'm a worker. I like to work, I want to work, I don't want to be the same character my whole life. The fact of the matter is, they typecast everybody in this business so I'll probably be playing the same character with a different last name. But I like working and doing soaps, I like the family atmosphere, I like the challenge of making it work. We're not always lucky enough to have the scripts that we want and all that kind of stuff, so...

mardi_ks asks: Is there anyone you have not worked with on the show that you would like some scenes with?
Anna Stuart: I would like to have worked a lot more with Linda Dano [Felicia]. I would like to have worked more with Stephen Schnetzer [Cass], with Lisa Peluso [Lila]. I'll tell you the truth: I would like to work with just about everybody because whether an actor is young or old or good or not so good, I find that I can always find out something about my work, so it's purely a selfish thing. And there's never been a personality problem where I didn't want to work with someone; that's never happened to me in all my years in the business. So it's really the more the merrier, as far as I'm concerned.

backstreet_gal_2002 asks: Anna, what's your favorite food?
Anna Stuart: Sugar! And I abused myself mightily with it for years. I sort of exhausted my quota of it by the time I was 35. I went over my quota, but yes, I'm a sugar junkie and I love it and I just don't eat it very much anymore at all. But I do like a salad; I love really healthy things as much as the junky stuff. Don't like fried foods; not a fried food person anyway.

MushyT asks: Why didn't Donna say that she saw who killed Grant when Marley was being charged.
Anna Stuart: Why? You oughta be ashamed of yourself! You should watch the show! I didn't want them to accuse her! I was protecting her! I don't mean to be a smart aleck; but Donna said that because she tried to keep them out of the line of fire. She was willing to go to jail; she was willing to do it.

cindio77 asks: I cant tell you how much I'm going to miss this show. You have been a delight. Are you glad to be out of the wheel chair, finally?
Anna Stuart: Oh yes! Oh my gosh, yes!

AWDonnaB asks: Have you asked Anne to think of you as she's writing & working on that side of some projects?
Anna Stuart: Um, I haven't, but I absolutely will. She has written a project that she is going to be directing in about three weeks, and she's working on something else right now, and if I'd known at the time that the show was going to be cancelled, I would have put a word in. Whether she could have is another issue... But I won't hesitate to do that, within reason of course, because the hierarchy in Hollywood, even for smaller parts, gets so stiff.

kittykat_ak84 asks: whats tom eplin like
Anna Stuart: Get the cast album to The Sound of Music... Play "How Do You Solve a problem like Maria, how to catch a cloud and pin it down, How to find a word that means Maria…" He is a consummate professional, he is a bundle of energy, he is completely certifiable and I love him.

Tigrelilee asks: Have you learned anything about yourself through Donna?
Anna Stuart: Constantly. I constantly learn things about myself and learn things about Donna through me. It's a tradeoff.... and I discover things about Donna and apply it to my own life and sometimes we squabble, as good friends do. :-)

AWDonnaB asks: Any chance that Donna will tell off Etta Mae anytime soon?
Anna Stuart: You know they haven't set it up that way. They haven't set it up so there's that type of a conflict. It would be a little too gratuitous at this point.. IMHO... I don't think it would work. There's mild competitive stuff... but nothing juicy enough for us to duke it out.

Annabanana36 asks: I've noticed that the cast seems to have such admiration for one another...I imagine the last few scenes will be killers>
Anna Stuart: Yeah... Yeah... I agree.. I can't improve on that one.

Arl541 asks: I have been watching AW since day one and just love your character. You are one of the best.

heidrebx2 asks: Anna, Thank you for the many, many years of entertainment, I wish you the best in your future endeavors, and hope to see you around for a long time to come.
Anna Stuart: Thank you!
SODhost: Thank you Anna for doing this chat with us today
Anna Stuart: Well, it was fun, this was the first time I've ever done this... Might've done a real short one once, but this was fun!
SODhost: Good night everyone!