The Mike Douglas Show, Summer 1977
Mike Douglas: When you left, what did they do to you, on Another World?
Jacqueline Courtney: Oh, they were wonderful people. I went away on vacation. In July. It's two years now. And I went off not knowing a thing, and I came back and I got a note saying, "Call Paul Rauch (who was the producer) immediately." And I called him and he said, "By the way, we're not renewing your contract. Because we've decided to go ahead with a storyline that I know you really didn't want to do. So we're not going to renew it." I said, "You mean I'm never coming back?" Eleven years of my life went into this show. He said, "No, your replacement's coming in next week."
Mike: That's it? That's really cold, after that many years.
Jacquie: It was pretty awful. It was an awful experience and I don't have fond thoughts of anybody on that show, to tell you the truth.
Mike: But how did they write you out of the show? Were you hit by a mail truck?
Jacquie: No! Alice went away on vacation. Chadwell, that's where it was. Chadwell.
Mike: You must have liked it there because you never came back.
Jacquie: No, they came back with my replacement three weeks later.
Mike: Same name?
Jacquie: Same name. And same hair.
Mike: What do the viewers do when that happens?
Jacquie: I really don't know. I would like to think they don't accept them. [She laughs] It would make me feel very good. Fortunately I went on in just three months to One Life to Live. And it's a much happier situation.
Jacquie: [Discussing the differences in her OLTL character] Not as childlike. Alice was almost neurotically childlike... It was an extension. It was Alice growing up. ... I can't explain what a different atmosphere it is. Another World is a very strange place to work in, which I won't get into. But they were not happy times for most people who worked there.
Mike: George Reinholt, who was your husband, then your lover, then your husband again [they laugh]. He also left Another World. Now how did they write him out?
Jacquie: They killed him. They sent him to Australia.
Mike: What a place to die!
Jacquie: Australia was a big threat in those days. They suddenly started sending people to Australia if you didn't behave properly. And you knew it was going to happen if you went to Australia. And he went off and he was supposedly coming back and his helicopter crashed. And then they fired me two months later.
Mike: We put all the information we could find on your character, Pat Kendall, into a computer and we found the perfect mate. Would you enter, please, sir? [George Reinholt enters] This is daytime TV's most popular actor, George Reinholt... [horseplay among actors] You two do well without a script.... You're currently being seen with her on One Life to Live. And some fans are expecting another wedding. But I understand you have an announcement to make.
George: Yes. Unfortunately I have left the show.
Mike: Why have you left the show?
George: Well, you know, Mike, the last time I was on this show, Jacquie and I... It was around the time of my departure. And my railings against the network began to sound like a soap opera. But you can't stay too long in one arena and one marketplace. I think that you stagnate, and you don't get to work in the big time, as this gentleman has. And regardless of how much big money soap operas are and how much they foot the bill for evening time, we're still sort of looked down on in the business. We're the hack artists. We're not big time. We're not the real glitter and the glamor of it all.
Mike: You were on another show?
George: Yeah. The writing was so rotten I had to leave.
Mike: You don't care if you ever work on soaps again!
George: Listen, you got to call it the way you see it. I really pounded my fists on lots of desks trying to get better writing. What they did with Jacquie's character on Another World was really bad. This woman was supposedly playing a paranoid schizophrenic and she suddenly got better as quickly as though, say, she had a summer cold. You can't report mental aberrations in that way; it's not fair; it's inaccurate reporting. So why fight us? [And on and on] ... We created the biggest success on daytime on Another World, and Courtney and I saved One Life to Live from going off the air. But they're not grateful. They put me in a dressing room with three other men. They negotiate a contract with me that says they will give me a foot in prime time, but then they turn around and say, No, we'd rather pay you off and let you go. And that's what they've done. So they won't develop me as an artist, so why should I stay there?
Mike: How much money does a soap opera person make?
George: A lot.
Mike: How much? Can you tell us?
George: Yeah, I can tell you. Should I? I shouldn't. [The audience encourages him] No, you see it creates the wrong impression, folks. You think that you can be paid off, but you don't do it every day a week. You don't do it five days a week. And now, our union, which is going completely crazy, have gone completely out of their minds [Jacquie starts to say something] No, they have, they have. They have voted to ratify a contract that will allow the network to work us... are you ready?... 11, 12, and 13 hours a day. Because the networks want to go an hour now with the soap operas. [And so on and so on...] But it's not just the 11, 12, or 13 hours, Mike. We have to go home and learn the words....
Mike: The magazines call you the bad boy of the soaps.
George: I am. Because I talk like this. I say what I feel. I'm not afraid to open my mouth. You're right. I may never work again, but you'll know this man was right.
Mike: What do you want to do?
George: I want to do a film. I want to do something big time! The BIG TIME, Mike, do you know what I mean?
Mike: Do you have an agent?
George: No! [laughter] I'm working 16 hours a day, I don't have time to find another job!
Mike: You should be your own agent, ‘cause you talk better than the agents.
George: Yeah, but would I pay myself 10%?
Mike: Do you want to do legit stage work? Would you like to do a play?
George: [Coyly] I would love that! Do you think I could? [laughter]
Donahue, Early 1978
Donahue: Beverlee, what is it with you? Now, are you manipulative or what? ... As Iris, I should say. What is it that Iris does--
Beverlee McKinsey: --To say the least! Well, she's basically crazy. Well, I mean, that's really all I can... I cannot imagine any woman in the world being like Iris. ... She loves her father... too much. [laughs] A little too much. She's rich, she's spoiled, she's paranoid beyond belief. Everyone's doing something to her.
Donahue: Is she married?
Beverlee: Yes, recently. Well, at least for the next two weeks. [laughter] I married about three months ago, and I don't know, it's looking very shaky. I told him yesterday to drink his coffee and go to work, and that's the first sign of, you know... And next week I tell him to just go away.
Audience Member: I wanted to ask Beverlee. It seems your character of Iris is mellowing. She's not so bad.
Beverlee: Oh, yes, and I was so happy. For about three months since I'm married, I've been rather nice. And I liked it. ... But no such luck. In the last 2-3 weeks, ‘cause we're a week ahead of you, she's really getting impossible. And instead of Daddy it's going to be Dennis. She's going to drive — [to Donahue] Dennis is my son— She's really going to drive him up the wall. It's only going to take about a year.
Audience Member: Beverlee, how long in advance do you know the storyline? Do you know if you're going to be written out or killed by a truck?
Beverlee: Yes, you can know it quite a ways in advance if you're interested. [giggles] I don't know past tomorrow. Because I don't want to know! I mean, it's so depressing! "We have a terrific new storyline for you coming up this next year," and I said, "I don't want to hear it." Because we'll just be doing something awful to someone, and that would make me very unhappy, and I love this actor very much and I don't want to hear that. Or he's going to have an affair with someone. I learned that yesterday and it made me VERY angry [laughter]. And so I say, "Don't tell me!" I just read the pages, and learn them, and come to work. "Don't tell me."
Audience Member: Do you ever find it hard to disassociate your life from the character you play?
Beverlee: I never think of myself as Iris. Never. It's impossible! I'm just not like her in any way. She's not happy, you know, she's very unhappy. She doesn't find much fun in her life.
Donahue: Did you sign on for two years? How long have you been on Another World, Beverlee?
Beverlee: Five years. Five years last December. Five years and a lifetime [laughs]. No, I was not meant to last a minute.
Donahue: Was there any time in your association with Another World where you thought, I think they're going to write me out.
Beverlee: I never worry about that for a second. That's a waste of time. Because they will or they won't, and there's nothing we can do about it. But when I came here, they said, you'll be here three months at the most, that's it. And I was prepared for that. And I was not under contract. I had no guarantees of any kind. I just said, "Okay, I'll do it." And then when they said, "Sign," I said, "I don't WANT to sign. I LIKE it this way!" [giggles] But I did sign, and I've been there five years.
Audience Member: When you first came to Another World, you did not play Iris Carrington. Didn't you play Steve Frame's sister?
Beverlee: I played the homeliest lady you have ever seen in your life. For only three days. They put rubber under my eyes... and they put sun spots on my face, darkened my hair. And I [countrified accent] "tawlked like thay-at, and I carried a little handbag with both hands." And I played that six months before they had me as Iris. And no one but that lady [points to audience member] knew it. [laughter]
Beverlee: I do believe you have a point when you say people watch because they would like to do that [be risque]. I know that's why Iris was put into Another World. We had middle class and we had lower middle class, and they said, "We need the upper class because the ladies want to see the clothes, the jewelry, the beauty." They want to look at it.
Donahue: So you're a rich.... ah...
Beverlee: Oh, honey, more money than you can even imagine.
Donahue: So that means a great wardrobe.
Beverlee: Mine's incredible. They had to build a room for mine. [laughter] Feathers and furs and—
Donahue: You must have designers waiting in line to dress you.
Beverlee: No, just the one who's hired to.
Audience Member: Do you get very much hostile-type mail?
Beverlee: No, I don't and that surprises people. I played a villainess on Love is a Many Splendored Thing in 1970. I played Julie Richards. But she was poor, the other side of the tracks. Not like Iris at all. And I think that's the reason... I get letters from ladies who say, "If I had that kind of money, honey, I'd do that too." [laughter] "Listen, you tell him what-for." I don't know. And they also write to me as the actress. They say they know that no one in the world could be like that and therefore I must be an angel. [laughter]
Donahue: What's the worst thing you did?
Beverlee: Let's see if I can give you just a little taste of it. Well, you see my father married a woman my age. And she was poor. And tacky tacky tacky. [laughs] So I hired a gigolo, a rich friend of mine in New York to seduce her. Oh that was Heaven! We had a show where I had this maid who will do anything, a very dear friend of mine, and we had a show where we had her on the roof with a camera. And this other guy trying to seduce my father's wife, and Louise is going to take the pictures. I mean it was outrageous. And I caused her to lose her child, ‘cause I don't want Daddy to have more than— That's going to change very soon. That's a little scoop for you.
Donahue: And, Beverlee, you grew up in?
Beverlee: You're going to die when I say it. I'm such a complete opposite of Iris Carrington, who is now, by the way, Iris Carrington Bancroft. I grew up in a very small town in Oklahoma.
Donahue: How'd you learn to be such a snob?
Beverlee: I copied a few of my friends, that's all [laughter]
Audience Member: How long have you been an actress, and are you married? Beverlee: Yes, I ... I'm married. Honestly, I'm married to a man who rapes ladies on stage. On One Life to Live. [Fellow guest Erika Slezak shows great interest] He just came on three weeks ago. His name is Berkeley Harris, and I don't know the name of his character. I mean, I'm so busy I haven't found out. [to the OLTL guests] Has he raped either one of you?... He eats all the right foods. I'm at home with the potato chips, and he's with the okra or something.
Audience Member: Are you and Rachel good friends in real life? Is it hard to be so rude to her?
Beverlee: Oh, we laugh a lot. The biggest problem we have is to get through those scenes without cracking up. Yes, we are very good friends. It's impossible not to be on a show like this. With the people, you either really dislike them, and I have only one reason ever not to like an actor, and that's because he doesn't do his job properly. And the people who work with me (Mac, Rachel, Louise, my husband), they don't fall into that category. So I'm closer to them than to anyone else.
Audience Member: How much power does the public have in effecting change?
Beverlee: I think our writers did that once. The public went into such an uproar over something they did to the character of Alice, that it was a mistake and he changed it. With my character, the more upset you get the more likely they'll do it like that, because they want you to be upset. [Slezak reveals how viewer outrage made producers abort their plans to have Joe have an affair with Dorian]
Beverlee: You never see anyone [on soaps] watch televison. "What will we do tonight? Someone keep me company. I'm so bored." And I say, " Why don't you turn on Kojak?" [laughter] I don't understand that! They never watch!
Beverlee: [answering a question about an actor's need to be beautiful to be hired] I honestly believe, when you look at our show by the standards of young, blonde, and gorgeous, we are not one of those shows.
Audience Member: Whatever happened to the original Rachel, with the black hair?
Beverlee: She's on All My Children.