In the final part of my interview with DAYS OF OUR LIVES Emmy winner Suzanne Rogers, the actress discussed the sudden popularity of her character after 36 years on the show, hopes for Maggie's future, and hard lessons learned.
We Love Soaps: Are you still dancing?
Suzanne Rogers: I don’t go to class. I’ll tell you, I haven’t even been going to the gym lately, I’ve just been walking. Right now with so much work I’m basically just watching what I eat, and study really hard. I have to study hard because I do have dyslexia. So I have to work hard on my scripts.
We Love Soaps: What led to the sudden resurgence of Maggie on the canvas this past year?
Suzanne Rogers: I think we’ve got a producer [Gary Tomlin] who had worked with me years ago as a writer on the show. He had worked with me in New York in "Coco." He was not a writer then. He was working as a singer. But he’s someone who knew my work. He had worked as a writer on the show when I had a story [1980-81], and then he knew me before then. He knew what I had done in musicals. So here we are, full circle, I’m still there, and he’s on as an Executive Producer, and we have a head writer who wrote for me years ago. She remembered my character, and remembered the work I did. They said, “Hey,why doesn’t she has something to do?” All the cards fell into place.
We Love Soaps: I can’t help but notice that since many of the veterans, including Deidre Hall and Drake Hogestyn, were fired, that Maggie has had a lot more airtime. Is there a connection, or is it more what you’re saying?
Suzanne Rogers: I don’t know about anybody else’s dealings. I know for years I didn’t have anything to do. I don’t like to see anybody fired, or let go, downsized, whatever the excuse. But in retrospect, for me at this point in my life, to have storyline, I’m happy. I’m just happy. I’m not saying that I’m glad they’re not here. But if it was either/or, it’s like saying to you, “You can either do this storyline with someone you admire or not to do it. And if you don’t do it, someone else is going to get it.” I’m sure you’d say, “I’d like to do it.” That’s kind of how I feel. I am thrilled I am having more story. I hate that it’s at the expense of certain people being let go. But I certainly am enjoying what I’m doing.
We Love Soaps: And we sure love seeing you! That day that Lucas tore into Maggie in the park, I said, that’s it, Lucas is ruined for me. It’s not excusable to use “hell” when you’re talking to Maggie Horton. You just don’t do that. Why do you think Maggie has endured and been such a fan favorite for so many years? What’s the secret?
Suzanne Rogers: I think I’m kind of the voice of reason. I’m always trying to find the good in people, and try to help the people in peril. So I wish...wouldn’t it be nice if we really had a Maggie in our lives? But I think she’s a part of our relatives, parts of our friends, parts of her are a part of people. That’s what I try to do, I try to find all these different layers. Like right now she’s upset that Phillip is still pursuing Stephanie and Melanie and that bothers her. It bothers her that he’s fooling with people’s lives. If she’s angry with you, you’re going to know it, and that’s why I love Lucas so much. That’s why I can go toe-to-toe with him and knock a drink out of his hand and I still love him because I won’t give up on him. The people I love I will fight like a lioness to protect them.
We Love Soaps: Would you like to see Maggie involved in a love story of her own?
Suzanne Rogers: I’m having so much enjoyment living through my “children” as I call them, all my young actors on the show. Would it take away from what I have to do with them? Maybe. Let me put it this way, it depends on how it would be written.
We Love Soaps: Is there anyone on the show now you could see her having a romance with?
Suzanne Rogers: I’ll tell you who I adore. I absolutely adore John Aniston [Victor]. I really do. I like him a lot.
We Love Soaps: I have said on our We Love Soaps podcast how much I would like a Maggie/Victor pairing, especially given the timing, where each character is at, that it could work.
Suzanne Rogers: How funny! Obviously he has a connection with Vivian [Louise Sorel] because of Phillip. So I’m sure that’s going to be an upsetting thing for Caroline. But you know, these May/December romances, there are a lot of good looking guys on our show. [Laughs] But they’re all kind of paired up at the moment.
We Love Soaps: In 1990, there was almost a hint of interest between Maggie and Emilio. There were a couple of scenes where they danced together, there seemed to be a connection, and then nothing. Was that me, or was there something there?
Suzanne Rogers: Who knows. They try people with different people. Listen, when we were doing scenes with Chloe [Nadia Bjorlin] and Daniel [Shawn Christian], Daniel and I had a lot of scenes together in the hospital. In a lot of them we were yelling at one another. But there were other scenes after things calmed down where I apologized to him. When I went home to visit my sister, I can’t tell you how many people said to me, “We know what’s going to happen! You and Daniel are going to be together!” And I thought, “Where did they get that?” But it’s interesting they are writing their own story in their minds. I thought that was cute. And I love working with him. And [our scenes] were good work. We both really work the same. We work well together. It just shows that when you’re doing good work the audience gets caught up and goes down the road without you. They’ve already written the story.
We Love Soaps: We’ve talked about how the stress that came from being sidelined for younger people’s stories in the early 1980s. Now you sound comfortable with Maggie supporting the younger set.
Suzanne Rogers: Back in the '80s it was different. It was because I felt like I was still part of the young people but they weren’t writing me. It's one thing to come in and say a couple of lines and go out the door. But there’s another thing to sit down and actually have good conversations and good scenes with somebody. That’s the difference. It’s how it was done. I think the writing is so superb right now. I’m thrilled with it. I think the storylines are interesting, exciting, and the twists are there. I said to someone the other day, when I first came on the show, it sparkled. It was like a spark plug. Everybody who was there was just wanting to do good work and excited to be there. And that’s how it is right now, again. The people that are there want to be there. They are so eager. So I’m glad I’m on the roller coaster.
We Love Soaps: You have shared so much with me during this interview and I am truly grateful. Any final words you want our readers to know about you?
Suzanne Rogers: I’m just such a fighter about not giving up. Listen, I’m not perfect. But I want to be the best I can be. So I just constantly am working on myself, and working on the problems. We all have them. So that’s how I feel with the myasthenia, and with the dyslexia. And with the show changing its tune, I just thought, well, this isn’t my time. When a script came in, whether I had two lines, or had ten, I did them like I had a script of 100 pages. I always had to be the professional, and that’s just the way I have to work. I can’t just do anything half-baked. I have to do it all out. I have to come home and feel like I did a good day’s work. Did I want more to do? Yes. Was I hoping that tomorrow would bring another day? Yes. Were there times I thought this is all I’m going to get to do the rest of my life? Yes. So that’s why this was such a gift.
- If you want to read the complete Suzanne Rogers interview, check out Part One, Part Two, Part Three and Part Four.
Damon L. Jacobs is a Marriage Family Therapist practicing in New York City, and the author of "Absolutely Should-less: The Secret to Living the Stress-Free Life You Deserve." He blogs regularly at www.shouldless.com.