When Andrea Evans sticks the key into the door of her one-bedroom apartment on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, the boys inside begin to stir with excitement. It’s no surprise. As One Life to Live’s Tina Clayton, the soap siren who once made love to a bartender in a meat freezer, Evans provokes plenty of male attention onscreen and off. All right, the boys in this case are her faithful bichon frise pooches, Uff da and Grompit. But Andrea, 28, has made a point: She’s got animal magnetism.
As daytime’s answer to Alexis Carrington, Evans doesn’t wear dresses as fancy as Joan Collins’, but she certainly wears fewer clothes than any other actress in the afternoon soaps. For one recent shower scene, even the ABC censor visited the set. “I thought the scene was very sexy,” insists Evans. “People were coming up to me for weeks after that scene and saying, ‘Were you naked in there?’ and I’d say, ‘Well, do you wear clothes in the shower?’ ” Despite her sass, in Evans’ case the answer is affirmative: She wore a body stocking for the scene.
With Evans, ABC’s One Life to Live has undressed for success, now ranking a strong third in the competitive daytime soap ratings. “She makes a tremendous difference to our show,” says producer Paul Rauch. “Her ability makes her go beyond the ordinary viper. In large part, she’s responsible for the show’s recent success.”
Evans sees herself as “a tigress,” which is in marked contrast to the “scared doe” one reporter called her four years ago. At that time the University of Illinois theater graduate was making news by marrying her older (30ish) One Life co-star, Wayne Massey. The Valentine’s Day ceremony took place in Evans’ hometown, Downers Grove, Ill., and was attended by her mother, Audrey, a piano teacher at Chicago’s American Conservatory of Music, and her father, Robert, a semi-retired apartment building manager. “I was very young then,” says the strawberry blonde. “I depended upon Wayne quite a bit. He took more control of things and I was like a scared doe. Now I’m on my own. The scared doe doesn’t exist anymore.”
Having played Tina Clayton since 1978, Evans left One Life in December 1981 with Massey, and the couple moved to Nashville. While Massey pursued a career as a singer (he now duets with his new wife, country crooner Charly McClain), Evans took it easy for a year. Then she landed the role of Patty on CBS’ The Young and the Restless, which is filmed in Los Angeles. “I don’t think it’s possible to run a marriage across the country,” says Evans, and hers didn’t travel well. The couple divorced last year.
Evans returned to One Life last January. “I’m more confident,” she explains. “I’m able to have fun with the character and have fun with myself.”
Like Tina, she’s also shrewder than she was in an earlier incarnation. In the tradition of her trade, Evans likes to shave four years off her past and give her age as 24. She insists that there is a typo in her college records. While in college she entered and lost the Miss Illinois pageant back home. “I’m not against beauty pageants,” she says now, “but I’m torn because I tend to be feministic in a lot of ways. Is feministic a word?” Savvy about cross-promotion as well as self-promotion, Evans recently signed with the Elite agency as a model. On the subject of romance, she is circumspect. Her current man is a publicity-shy L.A. producer. Though her marriage couldn’t withstand long distance, this relationship “gets a lot of help from GTE Sprint, People Express and MCI,” says Evans.
The steadiest males in her life are still Grompit (a nonsense word used by her father) and Uff da (a Norwegian expletive). The dogs even accompany Evans to work. “They sit in the makeup room under a sign that says, ‘Permanently reserved for the Evans boys.’ Bob Woods [a One Life co-star] said that if he’s ever reincarnated, he wants to come back as one of my dogs. Of course he said that after he found out they sleep with me.” Arf, arf.