June 5, 1971
Denise Alexander had experienced remarkable success as an actress. NBC put her under contract at age 10, and she proceeded to perform in about 5,000 radio shows, several TV productions, a Broadway play and a movie. Then she lost interest.
Denise, who stars in the role of Susan Martin on the Screen Gems presentation, DAYS OF OUR LIVES, each weekday on NBC-TV, credits the dramatic serial with reviving that interest.
"I'd be an actress a relatively long time when I enrolled as a student at the University of Southern California," recalls the wide-eyed brunette. "I began enjoying campus life, and I guess the enchantment of show business gradually wore off."
She later transferred to U.C.L.A., and soon graduated with an English major and art minor. "After school, I did some summer stock," says Denise, "and that's when I realized how my feelings had changed. So I decided I'd see what I could find out about me, and just do things I thought were interesting."
She returned to school for some post-graduate language courses because "I thought I might like to some day do state department work." During the next 30 months she did some decoration, sold real estate ("matching people up with houses was fun") and filled her days with various activities she enjoyed.
Then about four years ago, the late Ted Corday, who was producer of DAYS, called Denise to ask if she'd be interested in a running part on the show. He knew of her acting abilities from past roles.
"I was between school semesters at the time, so I thought I'd give it a try," says Denise. "Now I'm thankful I did."
The actress says it's fun doing the serial. "We laugh a lot on DAYS," she says, "partly because many of the pressures of the profession are off. The barriers of fear, frustration and insecurity that you so often find on other sets don't exist, because no one is worried about not having a place to go to work the next day."
Denise claims that this element of security has had a great positive effect on the working atmosphere of the show. "People relax and you see the best come out in them," she says. "It shows in their performance, and that's one reason we have such a great cast."
So now Denise Alexander has the best of two worlds - she's happy, as well as professionally successful. And she's grateful to a daytime television serial that prompted her "comeback."