World at an End
Facing its cancellation, the fans and cast of NBC’s venerable Another World suffer a bad case of the Bay City blues
On April 12, the day actress Linda Dano learned that NBC had decided to cancel its longest-running soap, the 35-year-old Another World, she was too upset to go to work. Since 1983, Dano, 55, has played flamboyant romance novelist Felicia Gallant on the series. So instead of showing up in Bay City, Ill., AW’s fictional town, Dano stayed home and cleaned her Connecticut house. “I think I was in a state of denial,” she says. “Even though I knew for a long time [cancellation] was coming”—AW is the third-lowest-rated daytime drama—”it felt like I’d been hit by a car.”
She wasn’t the only one in shock. A few days later, on various Web sites, more than 2,000 fans e-mailed their dismay. “They are all talking about it like it’s a death,” says Carolyn Hinsey, executive editor of Soap Opera Digest. “They are devastated. They grew up with these characters.” In addition to longtime regulars such as Tom Eplin and Victoria Wyndham, they included then-unknowns like Ray Liotta (1978-81), Faith Ford (1983-84), Kelsey Grammer (1984-85), Ving Rhames (1986), Anne Heche (a 1991 Daytime Emmy winner), Dharma & Greg’s Thomas Gibson and former Beverly Hills, 90210 costar Gabrielle Carteris.
But the outpouring was too little too late. Floundering in the ratings since the ’80s, AW seemed to lose its identity in the ’90s, borrowing themes from other soaps and shows like ER. Nevertheless, says Carteris, who still relishes her stint as a runaway teen in 1988, “I can’t believe it’s going off the air. I loved it. There was a real sense of family.” Which reminds her: “Oh, my God! How’s Linda doing?”
She’s coping, thanks. Now back at work, Dano says she cried recently as she and Stephen Schnetzer, who has played lawyer Cass Winthrop for 17 years, consoled one other. Both said they wanted to be part of AW’s June 25 finale. “I can’t imagine not getting up and going there every day,” says Dano, who also grieves for the fans. “Like us,” she says, “they will have no place to go.” Actually, some might just go on to AW’s replacement, Passions, making its debut in July. As for Dano, following Felicia’s lead, she’s planning to write her own series of romance novels.
Statue of Limitations
Some guys forget their wives’ birthdays. Not Marty Ingels. The actor-agent, whose wife of 21 years, former Partridge Family mother hen Shirley Jones, turned 65 on March 31, wanted to surprise her by unveiling a bronze statue bearing her likeness—right in the middle of her hometown, Smithton, Pa., 30 miles south of Pittsburgh. “I’m a flamboyant maniac, and Shirley is very special,” explains Ingels, 63.
Smithton’s civic leaders, while they adore Jones, think Ingels is a pain in the neck. “We asked for $10,000 to secure the land [for the statue last year],” says councilwoman Debbie Lori. “He kept saying the check’s in the mail.” (They’ve yet to receive it.) Then he objected to two potential sites: one by the post office, the other near a ball field with a view of a sewage plant. “He’d call us all hours of the day and night,” says Lori. “He called us ‘country bumpkins.’ I’ve lost respect for the gentleman.”
Ingels, who in 1993 pleaded no contest to making hundreds of annoying phone calls to then-client June Allyson, admits that “it’s very easy to misunderstand me. I’m a bit neurotic. But I’m a good person.” Ingels says there may be a spot for the sculpture on the grounds of a Smith-ton brewery once owned by Jones’s family. He has also hired a sculptor. “I said, ‘You go ahead and finish that statue, and if I have to put it in my backyard, I will!’ ”
Eight Is Enough, Says Liz
She left her hometown of London at an early age, moved far away and did very well for herself, so it’s understandable that Liz Taylor would create a stir on one of her rare return visits. At a Dorchester Hotel press conference heralding her April 11 receipt of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts’ Fellowship award (the U.K. version of a Lifetime Achievement Oscar), Taylor fielded questions on everything from Britain’s tough pet quarantine (she’s against it, because she can’t take Sugar, her beloved Maltese, to London) to the conflict in Kosovo (she hopes it doesn’t turn into another Vietnam). She rated Sean Connery and Johnny Depp among the most attractive leading men, and Demi Moore, Julia Roberts and Nastassja Kinski among actresses she admires most. And she sounded almost nostalgic about her near-demise from pneumonia 38 years ago in an upstairs suite at the Dorchester during the filming of Cleopatra. “Reading the tabloids saying, ‘Liz Dead’—that was a strange feeling, because they were the best reviews I ever had.” But it was Taylor’s views on love that had London talking. Asked about the future of her relationship with Rod Steiger, Taylor, who has been down the aisle eight times with seven husbands, was unequivocal. “No way am I ever getting married again. Ever, never, ever again!” But she does recommend the institution “for those who haven’t tried it 200 times.” Her marital advice for today’s young women? “Don’t be such suckers.”
Takeout Next Time?
No matter how good the food, it’s unlikely the Secret Garden restaurant in Moorpark, Calif., will become the next hot place for former teen idols. One night last October, Frankie Avalon, 58, and Frankie Valli, 61, dined there with their wives. Now, Valli’s wife, Randy, 39, is in Superior Court in Ventura, Calif., charged with slapping the restaurant’s owner Sandra “Alex” Sofsky, 44, in the midst of a heated discussion over the Secret Garden’s prices. Mrs. Valli’s lawyers say that Sofsky shook their client so hard her bra strap broke. Perhaps the biggest insult? Sofsky says she didn’t recognize either Frankie.
Jenny Takes the Stand
Add a little crowd noise to the shouting at Michigan’s Oakland County Courthouse and one might have confused one civil trial going on inside with a raucous talk show. Fitting, perhaps, since the target was Jenny Jones, whose show, its producer (Telepictures) and its distributor (“Warner Bros.) are accused in the wrongful-death lawsuit brought by the family of Scott Amedure, a gay man killed in 1995 by fellow guest Jonathan Schmitz. (Amedure revealed he had a crush on Schmitz during the taping.) Amedure family lawyer Geoffrey Fieger called her “either purposefully ignorant or amazingly unknowledgeable” for allowing the stunt. But a steady Jones disagreed. “I care about the guests,” she said. “That’s why people watch.”
Hollywood Lookalikes: Who’s Who Here?
Pardon us for doing a triple take, but Scoop is of the opinion that the actors pictured below bear an uncanny resemblance to one another. Do they see what we see? That all depends on who’s doing the looking.
Stephen Huvane, Hunt’s publicist, half-agrees. “Josh Charles? You think he looks like Helen? My God! I don’t think so.” But he acknowledges Sobieski’s resemblance to a young Hunt. “Once Helen saw a picture [of her] and said, ‘You know, she does look like me.’ But not so much now.”
Sports Night’s Josh Charles
Charles is “flattered” by the comparisons, says his agent Risa Shapiro, who adds, “He’s always being asked if he’s related to Helen Hunt. He knows who Leelee is now, but I had to tell him. He thinks they are both beautiful. He would love to do a movie with them. Wouldn’t that be great?”
Actress Leelee Sobieski
Once, when Hunt was doing a Shakespeare play, Sobieski tried to meet her backstage but was turned away. “Helen’s people thought she was just a fan,” says Sobieski’s flack Craig Schneider, who adds that his client has also been compared to Jodie Foster. But not Charles. “That’s a new one.”
ON THE BLOCK
BRUCE PACKS IT IN
Bruce Willis, separated from wife Demi Moore, is downsizing. The Armageddon star just sold his 7,000-square-foot, five-bedroom Malibu home to Internet entrepreneur Kevin O’Donnell for nearly $6.7 million. The contemporary California-style, which Willis bought around the time he and Moore married in 1987, includes a two-story living room, a projection room, an oceanside pool and 70 feet of beach frontage. The couple, who have three children, still have homes in Manhattan and Hailey, Idaho.
A Fresh Prince Online
“This is a jolly good idea,” declared Prince Andrew, seated at a computer in London’s Café Internet. The Duke of York, 39, was guest of honor at the April 7 launch of the new interactive online magazine Royal Insight (www.royalinsight.gov.uk), an offshoot of the Windsors’ veddy popular two-year-old informational Web site (www.royal.gov.uk). According to Palace aides, replying in Insight to an e-mailer’s query about which royal used the Internet the most, “The Duke of York is the most experienced.” That was news to Andrew. “Oh, really?” he said. Well, sort of. Though the BBC and Financial Times sites are among his favorites, he said, “Surfing the net…is not something I get much chance to do.” Next question, please: “Does the Queen watch TV?” Yes, says Insight, but declines to divulge Her Majesty’s viewing choices.