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FLASHBACK: Linda Dano 1984

Linda Dano: Actor As An Author

By Bettelou Peterson
KNT News Services
November 11, 1984

DETROIT - First of all, it's necessary to find out when she says "me" or "I" whether it is Linda Dano or Felicia Gallant speaking.

She was talking about writing "Dreamweaver," a new romance novel from Harlequin. The author's name, "Felicia Gallant," is on the cover in silver letters that dwarf the title. But it was actress Linda Dano leaning across the table.

"The romance between Colt and Mallory, the two lead characters, is about my husband and myself, our romance, the intensity, the passion of it. The whole Beverly Hills show business, Hollywood scene is mine. I come from that background," she said and leaned back to light a cigarette.

Linda Dano or Felicia Gallant? She smiled. "Felicia Gallant, I guess. The book has that point of view. Linda Dano is... sometimes I really don't know. I find I mix the two up."

"I should explain," she added. "I feel that putting something down on paper is a lot like putting on an outfit and going in front of a camera and playing a character. I play Felicia Gallant. I know her intimately. Of course, there's a lot of Linda Dano in her. They're not one in the same. There are differences."

For those who do not frequent daytime television, Linda Dano is an actor (she prefers the unisex designation) in the NBC daytime serial ANOTHER WORLD. She plays Felicia Gallant, an extravagantly successful romance novelist.

In what would seem a partnership made in heaven (and at the bank), Harlequin, one of the most successful publishers of romance novels, signed "Felicia Gallant" to author a genuine romance novel, with the aid of Rebecca Flanders. The result, "Dreamweaver," is on sale, and Dano-Gallant is hard at work on the talk show circuit.

She swept into Detroit the other day exuding the sort of splendidly executed glamour that makes an ordinary person feel rumpled even in the best tailored suit.

The book was a genuine collaboration, said Dano. "It's a matter of throwing ideas on the table and finding out which ones stick. Before I got involved, I went back and read a lot of Rebecca's work. I liked the way she wrote and the fact that she talked about something deeper than just the romance. When we started working, it was important that we bring a certain reality to it."

But romance and glamour are the hooks that catch readers of romance novels and soap opera viewers, daytime and nighttime, says Dano. "It's a throwback to the great movies of the '30s, the Joan Crawford days, and I think we're ready for it.

"I shouldn't say this, but I think the news and the talk shows, there's too much talk. Don't misunderstand me, communicating is vital. But I think, between news and talk shows, we are buried in tragedy. For a lot of us, life in the '80s seems to be temporary.

"Soaps and romance novels are fantasy. We need it. I suppose there's a danger that we could hide from reality too much. But I like to think people who would watch a Felicia Gallant or a Linda Evans (in DYNASTY) and see that she has vulnerability, that she loves intensely, that she dresses for dinner. And perhaps it would inspire someone, when her husband comes home for dinner, she'd put on a little makeup and a little cologne. That could be a little plus in life."

But using a soap opera or romance novel as a substitute for reality is dangerous, she says.

ANOTHER WORLD is Dano's third soap. She started out as a model, then was signed by 20th Century Fox, piled up credits in primetime shows before she switched to soaps in ONE LIFE TO LIVE. She did AS THE WORLD TURNS before joining ANOTHER WORLD in January 1983.

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