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Soap Opera Weekly



Look past closed doors for a
Revealing glimpse behind the scenes

ichard Biggs (Marcus Hunter) takes a seat next to co-star Mary Beth Evans (Kayla) in the Days of Our Lives makeup room and asks: "Craving anything lately MB?

The pregnant Mary Beth Evans smiles and replies: "I've been eating a lot of vegetable soup and radishes. I have been buying bushels of them. I just love them."

"Me too," Biggs retorts with a laugh, "I run home after work and grab them out of the people's gardens."

Wally Kurth (Justin) is oblivious to this banter. He stands at the opposite end of the room admiring his new beard in the mirror and making light of Don Johnson jokes everyone keeps throwing his way.

"Don Johnson's come and gone," says Kurth matter of factly Then he gets back to the matter at hand — inspecting his peach fuzz. "It's not growing in evenly all over. We're going to have to fill in a few spots," he says. "Do you think I need a trim?"

Head makeup artist Carol Brown jumps up, electric razor in hand and ready for action. "He's our sex symbol," she notes. "We love him."

The Days makeup room is packed and the noise level is high. Billy Hufsey (Emilio) paces back and forth intently studying his script. He is wearing jeans and a hospital gown, apparently his wardrobe for the day.

Stephen Nichols (Steve) says a quick hello, then retreats down the hall, never to be seen or heard from again. "He's not feeling well," explains Mary Beth Evans. "Plus, he's got a pretty heavy day."

The flow of traffic into the makeup room makes rush hour look like a day at the beach. Actors come, but rarely go. Most stick around long after their mascara dries to shoot the breeze, run lines and catch up on gossip. "It's my favorite room," admits Rick Hearst (Scott), "Whoever opens the door in the morning is the first one in here, and I'm always around I love to hang out and gab."

Mind you, the actors do have a lounge at their new Burbank complex, but nobody uses it. "It's right down the hall. It's huge but none of the actors want to walk down there. "They're so spoiled," jokes makeup man Keith Cary. In fact, a common complaint among the cast is the location of their green room, "It's too far away," says Kurth. "I usually hang out in makeup."

Mary Beth Evans confesses: "I miss the lobby in our old studio a lot. Everybody used to sit and talk there. We have a lounge here, but it's so far away that nobody goes to it. We usually meet in each other's dressing rooms.

Matthew Ashford (Jack) adds "There's no common gathering ground around here. Back at Sunset Gower (Days's former Hollywood studio) everybody hung out in the makeup room or the lobby. Here space is more confined. The makeup room is too small — and there's no lobby. Things aren't set up in the same say. It's a little hard on the cast."

Two women who don't seem affected by the lack of a community meeting place are Judi Evans (Adrienne) and Melissa Brennan (Jennifer). With the largest dressing room on the studio's lower level, they;re content retreating to their home away from home."Missy and I could have a hole in the wall and I'd be happy," Judi says. "We play Scrabble, listen to music, read magazines."

Missy laughs, "We got this big room because we share it. I actually like this studio better than the old one. It has a commissary, it's closer to home and this dressing room is a lot larger than our old one — we can make a much bigger mess!"

The "mess" includes a floor full of everything from a box of crackers to a hair brush to a banana to a script to a telephone. It has that "lived-in" look. Two adorable teddy bears, gifts from fans, cuddle on a couch. A table boasts a selection of magazines to rival a newsstand's, while the makeup mirror displays pictures of their respective mates: Missy's fiance, actor Scott Reeves, and Judi's husband, shoe importer Robert Eth.

At present, Judi and Missy are engrossed in a Scrabble game. Missy complains she has no vowels' Judi gallantly offers to sell her one for a W. Aside from not having an official Scrabble dictionary, they appear to be blissfully happy.

The rest of the cast live solo in their windowless quarters, many in tiny, identical cubicles to which the actors have added personal touches.

The door to Lisa Howard's (April) room, for example, holds a small replica of a California license plate with the name April on it. Tracy Kolis (Rebecca) has a black--and-white photo of Sylvester Stallone taped to the door."Tracy loves him," says across-the-hall neighbor Ashford. "She makes us all talk like him. I think she has a Sly fetish." Ashford's door carries an ad sent to him by a fan. It reads: "Happy Jack Flea Trap. . .The Last Exterminator Your Home Will Ever Need."

SOW 89: Missy and Judi Evans in front of the dressing room

Judi Evans and Melissa Reeves
outside their dressing rom:
"She's like my college roommate,"
says Judi. "She's my guru."

SOW 89: Missy and Judi inside their dressingroom

Melissa and Judi's dressing room:
Upon changing studios
Judi and Missy have become roommates

SOW 89: Matt watches Missy in makeup

Matt and Missy in the makeup room:
A makeup artist works on Missy,
while Matt watches


Ashford keeps a few personal belongings in his room — a photo of his wife Cristina [sic] and a framed montage of reviews from a play (Guests of the Nation) he did earlier in the year with some of his Days castmates. Wally Kurth hasn't added anything special to his quarters. He's still grieving the loss of his old digs in Hollywood. "I miss my window," he says. "I miss my blanket, too."

Why didn't he bring it with him? "I lost it," he says hesitantly. How? "Well. . .," Wally murmurs, pausing. He seems unsure whether to go on, "It was handmade by my ex-girlfriend's grandmother. She wanted it back, so I had to give it up. I loved Granny's old blanket. Now, I need a quilt."

The ground-floor dressing rooms are reserved for the show's "head honchos" — actors who have earned prime posts with equally prime locations. Actors like Frances Reid (Alice), Macdonald Carey (Tom), John Aniston (Victor), Mary Beth Evans and Stephen Nichols use these rooms, which are larger and have their own private bathrooms.

"The nice rooms are up here," says Aniston, who is just a couple of feet away from the makeup department. "I put my dibs in for this one early. I guess a few perks come with longevity."

Mary Beth Evans recently moved next door to Aniston. She has been enduring a slightly difficult pregnancy and executives have been bending backwards o accommodate her. "My old room was downstairs," she explains. "Now I'm on the ground level and a lot closer to everything. I don't have to climb stairs to go to makeup or wardrobe." But the move means redecorating. "I had pictures of my family in my old room," she says. "Now I have to move everything up here."

Stephen Nichols' quarters are off a private section of the studio, "Stephen's in a dungeon out back," laughs Mary Beth. "We put him there for safe keeping. He likes it there, off by himself. It's very quiet."

Mostly the Days seems quite content with their Burbank facilities, although a few stars do miss some of their favorite Hollywood haunts.

"I wasn't really at the old place long enough to miss it," says Judith Chapman (Angelic [note from me: the 3rd Angelica]) wearing sweat pants with a Mickey Mouse logo and a funky, bright colored sweater, "What I do miss is my favorite juice bar. It was five minutes away from the old place. I miss walking here to get my favorite protein drink. I miss walking to the gym, too."

Melissa Brennan says: "I miss the Shanghai Nosher[t]y [note from me: not sure of the spelling]. It's a great Chinese restaurant across the street from our old studio. I love their scallion pancakes." Judi adds: "I miss their sesame shrimp."

Many are thrilled to have a lunchroom on the premises. "I like going over to the commissary and grabbing the salad bar," says Wally Kurth. "I'm saving a lot of money. Lunch here costs me about $3. Back in Hollywood, I'd spend around $10 going out to eat every day. Plus, now I don't have to battle Sunset Boulevard traffic at lunch hour."

But reviews of the NBC commissary have been mixed. "I think the food is delicious," says Richard Biggs, while Matthew Ashford adds, "It's like cafeteria food. It feels almost like I'm back in high school or college again."

Rick Hearst says: "It's pretty good — I always get baked potato and veggies." And Hunter Tylo (Marina) laughs and says: "I go with the same thing every day — the salad bar. It's the safe choice."

Others simply go to the commissary for the atmosphere. "It's fun going every day and seeing other actors," says Judith Chapman. "It's much more of a campus feeling. I like a place to hang out between classes, so to speak."

The only other adjustment the Days cast has had to make is getting used to NBC tours of the Burbank complex that come by regularly during the day. "It's like being under a magnifying glass," says Matthew Ashford. "People look down the hall at us like they're at the zoo."

Mary Beth Evans adds: "We'd get away easy if it weren't for the tour guides. The fans usually don't even notice us if we walk by, until the tour guide says, "There's Kayla."

Judith Chapman recalls, "I walked by one day and the guide said, `Who watches Days of Our Lives?' No hands went up, but someone shouted, `Young and Restless.' They were at the wrong studio!" she laughs.

Richard Biggs claims he's never noticed by the fans or tour guides. What's his secret? Apparently, he doesn't have one. "I wear sweats and T-shirt to work," he admits. "So nobody every recognizes me. I just look like a regular guy who works on one of the sets."


Janet di Lauro
[I am not sure of the date, it appears some time in the late summer or fall of 1989.
Also, I apologize for the quality of the photos, the copy I am using was from a photo copy of the original article.]


SOW 89: Matt outside his dressing room

Matt outside his dressing room:
On the door is an ad for "Happy Jack Flea Traps"

SOW 89: Matt reclining in his dressing room

Matt inside his dressing room:
Relaxing, talking on the phone, between scenes


SOW 89: Mary Beth Evans in makeup

Mary Beth Evans in the makeup room

SOW 89: Matt, Missy and Billy Hufsey (Emilio)

Matt, Missy, and Billy Hufsey (Emilio):
The trio rehearse a scene;
Emilio is wear a hospital gown.


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