Saturday, April 20, 2013

Secret Storms General Hospital Actresses Mannix von Zerneck Hatfield

In my blog post from 4/4/13, I mentioned how the actress, Danielle von Zerneck, who used to play Lou Swenson on General Hospital back in the early 80's, had recently been reunited with her long lost sister. It is a really amazing adoption story!
Danielle's mother, Julie Mannix, also an actress who appeared on General Hospital in 1972 as Heather Turner, became pregnant at a young age by a married 23 year old named Frank von Zerneck. Julie refused to sign papers to have an abortion, so her mother put her in a mental institution. After the baby girl was born, Julie gave her up for adoption. She ended up marrying Frank and becoming an actress. Frank became a television producer. Julie and Frank had two more children, Danielle and Frank Jr, who is also an actor.
Meanwhile, the baby girl was adopted and named Kathy. Kathy's adopted mother died from cancer when she was six. Her adopted father remarried. They ended up divorcing, but not before Kathy's step sister told her she was adopted.
Years later, after she was married and had children of her own, Kathy looked into finding information about her birth parents. Using information from paper work she had received years before, she turned to Google and started searching. After only fifteen minutes of searching, Kathy found her birth family! She not only found her mother, but also had the added bonus of finding her birth father Frank, sister Danielle and brother Frank. Her grandfather, Julie's father, was Daniel Pratt Mannix IV who wrote The Fox and the Hound, which later became a classic Disney movie.
Super amazing story to find each other after all those years!
Here's a link to Julie and Kathy's appearance on The Katie Show, which is where I first heard about their adoption reunion story.
Julie and Kathy co-authored a book called Secret Storms: A Mother and Daughter, Lost then Found detailing their journeys.

I was fortunate enough to be able to interview Julie and Kathy!!! Very exciting!! Below are their responses to my questions:


- What inspired you both to write this book?

While exchanging long emails and phone calls detailing the stories of our lives to each other, one of us, one day mused, “Hey, wouldn’t this make a great book?”
The letters we wrote would one day turn into chapters. All we were doing was telling each other our stories, in an attempt to show each other who we were and what we’d done in all the years we’d been apart.


- How long did it take to write the book?

We actively worked on it for almost four years.


- Did either of you encounter any challenges in writing the book?

Yes, we did. In fact, this is why writing the book took as long as it did. Often, the past, especially if it’s painful, is better left behind. But writing this book forced us to face sometimes very uncomfortable feelings. Doing so together, however, ended up being cathartic and healing.


- What were your favorite parts in the book to write?

We both loved writing the ending. Writing our epilogues made us feel like we’d come full circle and contributed to our sense of fulfillment in the relationship we’ve built together.


- In getting to know each other, are there any common interests you've discovered that you both share?

When we traveled to Paris together two years ago, we both realized something very essential that we have in common. Though we are both planners and like to know where we’re going in life, we both appreciate the here and the now above all else. We got lost often in Paris and in doing so found so much magic. It seems to be our way, who we’ve become. Our lives are not what we thought they’d be, but they’re magical nonetheless.


- If your book was ever turned into a movie, which actresses would you want to play you?

In our wildest dreams, it would be Meryl Streep as Julie and Mamie Gummer, Streep’s daughter, as Kathy.


- Besides Amazon.com, are there any other places your book is available for purchase?

Secret Storms is available at Barnes and Noble bookstores and on their website, as well as Amazon.com. The E-Book is available on Kindle, iTunes, KoboBooks and Copia (the Nook is forthcoming.) By the end of May 2013, the audio book will be available on Audible and Amazon.


- Is there a list of websites and social media links where readers can connect with you?

Twitter: @SecretStorms
Facebook: facebook.com/SecretStorms
www.secretstorms.com


Julie:
- What advice would you give to someone who’s looking for a child they gave up for adoption?

Kathy’s adoption was completely closed and for over 40 years I remained in the dark about her, despite all my efforts to find her. I left a letter for her with Catholic Charities just in case she decided to look for me, since she had more legal options than I did. The hardest thing was simply not knowing whether she was okay. Every day I thought about her, every day I prayed that she would find me. I never gave up hope. That’s the only advice I have, to not give up hope. Because anything is possible.


- In getting to know Kathy, are there any similarities between her and your other children?

Oh, yes. Kathy’s voice is very similar to Danielle’s. They have the same tilt of the head when they listen intently, they gesture the same way with their hands. They are both very passionate women. Interestingly, Kathy’s youngest daughter, Kathryn, looks very much like my son, Francis, her uncle. They have the same eyes, the same features. In fact, Kathy is so much like all of us, in one way or another, that if a stranger were to see us all in a group together, it would be impossible to pick out the sibling who was a stranger for 40 years.


- Your author page on your website says you "had running roles in three soap operas".
Your IMDB page lists General Hospital, portraying Heather Turner in 1972.
What was that character about & how long were you on the show?

I played Heather Turner on “General Hospital” for about six months. She was a husband-stealer, as sweet as pie on the outside, but as devious as they come. She was fun to play.


- What were the other soap operas you were on?

I was on “The Doctors”, then for two years on “The Secret Storm” where I played Wendy Porter, who gave her father a heart attack by having an affair with her mother’s ex-lover. After that, I was on “The Best of Everything”, based on the best-selling book by Rona Jaffe, playing April Morrison. It wasn’t until we moved to California that I started appearing in “General Hospital” in the 70s.


"The Best of Everything" with Julie, second from left, Patty McCormack, Rochelle Oliver and Kathy Glass


Kathy:
- What advice would you give to someone who’s looking for their birth parents?

First and foremost, don’t have any expectations. If you are to have a relationship, it must develop naturally and can’t be forced into existence. Just because you’re related by blood doesn’t mean your relationship will last. Trust must be earned over time and it cannot happen overnight.


- Your mother, father, sister and brother are all in the television/movie industry. Have you done any acting, or ever felt drawn to that type of work?

When I was very young, my family called me the “camera hog.” I was certainly always looking for ways to get more and more attention. It was something in my nature that craved it. Recently, as I was looking through school transcripts, it struck me that almost all of my electives were Theatre Arts, despite the fact that I was a business major.

Something changed in me, however, when I learned a handful of details about my actress birth mother. I soon began to instinctively associate acting with rejection, with being given up. From that point on I actively stayed away from and hid what may or may not have been artistic potential.


- Your mother and sister were both on soap operas. Are you a soap opera fan?

I certainly was in the 1980’s. I watched “General Hospital” and “All My Children” religiously.


- To General Hospital fans, your sister Danielle played a pretty memorable role, especially since she played opposite John Stamos.
Before you found out she was your sister, had you ever watched her on General Hospital?

For a long time, many people I knew would tell me that I looked just like Genie Francis. I would find out later that the same was always said of my sister, Danielle.

As for watching Danielle on “General Hospital”, yes. In fact, I used to schedule my college classes around that show and watched her every single day, completely oblivious to the fact that I was watching my sister.


Danielle (Lou Swenson), with John Stamos (Blackie Parrish), on "General Hospital"


Julie and Kathy, thank you very much for taking the time to answer my questions!!!


I also have a copy of Secret Storms that I am giving away to one lucky reader!!!

To enter, use the form below. Good Luck!!
Contest ends at 12:00am 05/20/2013.


a Rafflecopter giveaway


Buy It Now:

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Danielle von Zerneck Lou Swenson General Hospital

A few days ago, I had Katie Couric's show on while I was resting trying to get rid of a headache. It was a show about adoption. I wasn't really paying too much attention until I heard one of the guests say that her long lost sister used to be on General Hospital. The guests name was Kathy Hatfield. She had been given up for adoption in 1964. She ended up discovering she was adopted and found her birth parents after searching online for information. It turns out her birth mother's name was Julie Mannix von Zerneck. She was also married to Kathy's birth father Frank. Kathy also learned she had a brother and a sister, Frank and Danielle. It turns out Kathy's long lost sister Danielle von Zerneck used to play Lou on General Hospital!!! Yeah, remember Lou Swenson, she played Blackie's (played by John Stamos) love interest. She was killed and Blackie was sent to jail for her murder. Really weird, but a very interesting and amazing story.
Kathy and her mother Julie co-wrote a book about their story. It's called Secret Storms: A Mother and Daughter, Lost then Found and is available at Amazon.com. It sounds like a good read and has good reviews.
Danielle is now in the film industry and has produced a wide range of films and series. She's also on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/DvZF. Kathy and her mother can also be followed on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/SecretStorms.


Friday, January 25, 2013

Jack Wagner Returns General Hospital

Just read that Jack Wagner will be back on General Hospital as Frisco Jones starting February 4!!!! Here's the link: http://www.wcvb.com/news/entertainment/Jack-Wagner-returning-to-General-Hospital/-/9848582/18279746/-/i9op31/-/index.html. Not too many details other than his start date. So awesome though. I had a HUGE crush on him back in the day.
I was just reading an article in the January 28, 2013 issue of Soap Opera Digest where he said GH has called, but "there's nothing in ink or anything like that. I know it would be pretty special to work with Kristina, my ex-wife, again so we'll see what happens. I know it's around the corner here and if I go back, it would only be for a very short story arc. But I might do it just to honor that show and what it's meant to my career and the fans and to Kristina's career."
Can't wait!!!
Now if Frank & Ron could land John Stamos as Blackie...


More Jack Wagner


Thursday, January 17, 2013

Prospect Park Reboot One Live to Live All My Children

It looks like One Life to Live and All My Children may actually be rising from the dead in true soap opera fashion! Prospect Park, the company that was going to continue those shows after their ABC finales is currently casting characters. One Life to Live actors/actresses reprising their roles for the reboot so far include Jerry verDorn as Clint, Robin Strasser as Dorian, Erika Slezak as Viki, and Robert Woods as Bo. Casting calls are out for Matthew and Destiny. There's also a casting call out for a Caucasian, 30's character named Billy. Alison Goodman has been named casting director for the reboots. She was previously casting director at GUIDING LIGHT, SUITS and THIRD WATCH. So awesome that there's finally good news for soap opera fans! More good news includes Days of Our Lives has been renewed through September 2014. General Hospital is really good these days, thanks to Frank Valentini & Ron Carlivati honoring GH's history and bringing back legacy characters such as Lucy, AJ, Anna, Duke, Robert Scorpio, Kin Shriner, Genie Francis. It's so funny watching Lucy calling John McBain a vampire named Caleb, the character Michael Easton played on Port Charles. It's really amazing how that is even possible. Michael, the original actor, played Caleb the vampire on Port Charles, went to One Live to Live and played John McBain, then crossed over to GH to continue playing John. Lucy, who was on Port Charles & GH, comes back to GH and finds all these characters/actors who used to be vampires on Port Charles and that's who she thinks they still are. Not just John McBain, but Kelly Monaco who played Livvie and Ian Buchanan who played Joshua Temple. That whole circle, with all original actors no less, is just unbelievable, and such a payoff for fans of all those shows. Only in soap operas is that possible. Think about that. It's crazy how that's even possible. GH is going to be so awesome for the Nurse's Ball and 50th anniversary shows. Lucy's back, Kin as Scottie, Genie as Laura and Jon Lindstrom as Kevin Collins, who was also on Port Charles, are all signed up to come back with even more to come. AWESOME! I can't wait!

Monday, September 17, 2012

John Ingle Dies Sean Kanan Returns General Hospital

Sad news for General Hospital fans: John Ingle passed away yesterday at the age of 84. He last aired a few days ago in very emotional scenes with Patrick and Emma. I'm so glad he was able to return for those scenes.
John was a recast Edward Quartermaine, taking over for David Lewis. Recasts are sometimes hard to accept, but John was a great Edward recast. I really hope GH does a great tribute to John. GH won't be the same without Edward though, but it's a role that just shouldn't be recast.
John's wife just passed away in February. They had five daughters, nine grandchildren and three great-children. RIP John Ingle...you will be greatly missed.
In other GH news, Sean Kanan is returning to General Hospital! Yeah, I was surprised at that news. It's being kept top secret what role he will be playing. A few possibilities include: AJ - who was murdered, but this is a soap; a new character; a recast Jason or another recast character. My vote would be for either AJ or Jason in order to keep the Quartermaine's alive. Whatever role Sean will be playing, his addition will be a good start to filling the hole that will be left when Steve Burton leaves. His first air date will be October 29.


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Steve Burton Quits General Hospital

I really can't believe Steve Burton is leaving General Hospital. That is going to leave such a huge whole in the show. I wonder how they are going to fill it. He's on every day which is a bit much, but he's a character with a lot of history. According the the September 17, 2012 issue of Soap Opera Digest, Steve has been on General Hospital for 21 years. He is relocating his family to Nashville, Tennessee. The same place Scott and Melissa Reeves live. Nashville is a really nice place. I went there on vacation eight years ago. It's a great place for country music fans. Steve and Scott both play in a band called Port Chuck, so it's a good networking place for them. Hopefully after some time off, Steve can come back to GH once in a while. More General Hospital

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Woodstock Music Festival

Music Festivals Infographic
Infographic Provided by EquipSupply
While browsing tv channels this afternoon, I stumbled upon Woodstock airing on VH1. I've never seen the movie, but it is on my to watch someday movie list. It's a 4 hour movie, so it's pretty long. I was only able to watch the first 20 minutes, but it's definitely a movie that makes me nostalgic for my youth: tie dye, hanging out with interesting people, the relaxed scent of patchouli & marijuana wafting through the air. A simpler time, back before I had a mortgage, kids and stress. If I'd been around for Woodstock, I would have gone. It was a huge part of American music history.
Woodstock was a pretty primitive festival compared to the festivals nowadays. Today there are tons of vendors with event supplies and concession machines. You can buy all sorts of bad for you food, souvenirs, get tattoos, etc. All of that kind of detracts from the music itself.
Back in 1999, there was an attempt at remaking Woodstock in Rome, NY which is about an hour west of where I live. Up until a little over a year ago, I worked in Rome. When the Rome Woodstock was going on, I was on my way home from a work trip and passed by all the vehicles heading to the festival on the NYS Thruway. It just wasn't the same though. Times have changed and people are different now. A big fight broke out at the end of the Rome Woodstock, and there was even a fire. I think there is a Woodstock reunion every year at the site of the original Woodstock. That would be an event I would like to go to. I'm sure the crowd and atmosphere there would be more reminiscent of the original Woodstock. The original Woodstock didn't have vendors, angry people, fighting, or fires. It just had music, peace and love, and that was all it needed.