Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Michael Strahan Leaving Live with Kelly and Michael in May

I started watching Live with Regis and Kathie Lee about 26 years ago. Back in the VCR day, if I was going to miss it, I would tape it. When Kathie Lee announced she was leaving, there were lots of auditions for her seat. Kelly Ripa was definitely the best though. She was very funny and had a great rapport with Regis. It was sad when Regis left the show. After auditioning many co-hosts, Michael Strahan, a former football player, took over. To be honest, I wasn't initially thrilled with the choice of Michael replacing 'Uncle Regis'. However, Michael has grown on me. I thought him and Kelly were pretty good together. Some reports say Michael and Kelly have not gotten along very well for a while.
Over the years, the show itself has been pretty drama free. Well, that changed last week thanks to ABC. After last Tuesday's show, Kelly was told that Michael was leaving for a full-time position at Good Morning America starting in September. She was told just minutes before the official announcement was released. After working together for four years, Kelly was pretty upset that she hadn't been told by Michael himself sooner. She was completely blindsided. She took a sick day along with her previously scheduled vacation and was not on the show until today, a week later.
Kelly and Michael were all smiles and holding hands when they appeared on today's show. Kelly stood off to the side by herself and addressed what had happened. Basically, she was taken by surprise and needed time to think things over. She felt she deserved that time after being with ABC for 26 years. This was an issue with respect in the workplace. Apparently she has received an apology and been assured that Live is a priority. Here's the link to the airing. The show carried on as normal and I thought things were back to normal. Wrong!
A statement was just released saying Michael's last day has moved up dramatically. His last air date is May 13! Enough time for May sweeps, a send off and new co-host auditions.
As for my two cents, I'm fine with Michael leaving. However Kelly should have been told before everyone else. Kelly does a fantastic job and will continue doing so no matter who her co-host is.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

General Hospital's New Nurse Amy

General Hospital is getting a new nurse and guess what her name is? Amy! Yeah, funny since long time viewers of GH will remember another nurse named Amy, Amy Vining played by Shell Kepler. Amy was Laura Spencer's sister. Apparently new nurse Amy is a nod to the original as she resembles and will act similarly to the original Amy. She will be spunky and a gossiper, just like Amy Vining. She will be played by Risa Dorken and is set to air on May 4, 2016.
Amy Vining last appeared in September of 2002. Sadly Shell Kepler passed away on February 1, 2008 due to kidney failure. Shell lived in Portland, Oregon and was a writer and entrepreneur with a fashion line called Lacy Afternoon that was sold on the Home Shopping Network.

More Shell Kepler

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

General Hospital Nurses Ball 2016 Dates

I just read on the Soap Opera Digest website that the General Hospital Nurses' Ball for 2016 will be May 24 - 26! It will be the 12th Nurses' Ball. It is definitely my favorite time of year on General Hospital. In case you are not familiar with it, the characters put on performances to raise money for AIDS research. Some of the performances are pretty elaborate with lots of singing and dancing.There's also a lot of humor.
Some past performances:
A few times Ned, played by Wally Kurth, has performed as his alter ego Eddie Maine. In real life Wally is a singer. Characters, including Alan and Emily, performed as Wizard of Oz characters. Lucy Coe usually hosts it. She is always hilarious and has tons of outfit changes. Richard Simmons was on a year or two ago. He was pretty funny. One year Robin was onstage upset and Jason as Steve Burton came in and whisked her away. There was a Magic Milo performance. Frisco sang a few years ago. That was sooo awesome! Rick Springfield has sang. Mac was a ventriloquist. Lots of memorable performances!!!

UPDATE - 4/6/16 - Great news! - Lynn Herring is coming back to General Hospital for the 2016 Nurses' Ball! On top of that, Kimberly McCullough will also be back! Both essential to the Nurses' Ball. More General Hospital

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Sarah Michelle Gellar Foodstirs Baking Kits

I was watching the Meredith Vieira Show today and Sarah Michelle Gellar was on as a guest. People typically know Sarah from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. However, longtime soap opera fans typically know Sarah as All My Children's Kendall.
In October 2015, Sarah co-founded a food website called Foodstirs. It's a website that sells baking kits and is geared towards kids with the idea of providing healthy, easy baking recipes with all of the needed ingredients to help connect parents and kids. I think it's a great idea. I have fond memories of baking box brownies with my grandmother when I was a kid. The kits sold at Foodstirs are much healthier than the box brownies we used to make. The majority of the box brownies sold in stores today are full of preservatives and are definitely not healthy. Foodstirs sells a box brownie mix that has no bleached flours, no artificial preservatives, no artificial colors or flavors, and non-gmo ingredients.
Prices aren't too bad considering the co-owner is a popular soap opera star. The brownie mix sells for $7.95. Shipping is free with orders over $30.
There is a monthly baking mix subscription service in which you can buy the brownie mix for $6.95.
A Baker's Club membership is also available. Each month you receive a different custom themed baking kit.
The plans are as follows:

1 month for $19.99, 23% SAVINGS, free shipping
3 months for $19.50, 24% SAVINGS, free shipping
6 months for $19.00, 26% SAVINGS, free shipping
12 months for $18.50, 28% SAVINGS, free shipping

All plans automatically renew at the monthly rate. Cancel anytime.

More Sarah Michelle Gellar

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Where is Brandon Routh of One Life to Live

I turned on the new television show DC Legends of Tomorrow and was surprised to see Brandon Routh. One Life To Live fans remember him as Seth Anderson, Natalie's boyfriend, from May 23, 2001 until April 17, 2002. He went on to play Superman in Superman Returns. He plays Ray Palmer/The Atom in DC Legends of Tomorrow, which airs on the CW Thursdays at 8:30pm EST.
In 2007, Brandon married Courtney Ford. They have a son, Leo James, born August 10, 2012.

More One Life To Live

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

- 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

- 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.