Saturday, February 6, 2010

FLASHBACK: Beverlee McKinsey 1994

A Legend Is Back Before the Camera

By Connie Passalacqua
December 5, 1994

What becomes a legend most? In the soap world, a rightful claimant to that status is Beverlee McKinsey, who so stylishly and poignantly played vulnerable villainess Alexandra Spaulding for eight years on CBS' GUIDING LIGHT that her cult of fans freaked out when she abruptly disappeared from the screen in September, 1992.

Like Garbo, McKinsey wanted to be alone, retiring to her home in a seaside town in Southern California. But Thursday, in the casting coup of the soap year, ABC's GENERAL HOSPITAL puts McKinsey back to work - although only for six episodes.

The deep-voiced McKinsey says she took the role of witness Myrna Slaughter because she "needed six days work a year to qualify for my {union} medical insurance. I really don't want to work. I left 'GL' because I was just plain burned out." McKinsey's son, Scott, is a director at GENEARL HOSPITAL, and head writer Claire Labine thought of McKinsey when she created the short-term role of Myrna, a character who provides testimony that could convict Edward Quartermaine (John Ingle) of murder.

"She's quite different from anyone I had ever played before," says McKinsey, whose Iris Cory Wheeler on ANOTHER WORLD and TEXAS in the '70s was much like GUIDING LIGHT's Alexandra in the '80s - an aristocratic witch. "Myrna used to be an actress and a dancer in clubs who wore skimpy costumes and played around a lot with wealthy men," explains McKinsey. "Now she's a poor woman who's down on her luck - she owns a candy store. The last time I played someone poor, I don't remember."

McKinsey says the role "scared me to death at first, it was quite a challenge." But she ultimately changed her mind. "It delighted me to play someone with a sense of humor because we never get that on daytime." Surely not laughing is the management of CBS' GUIDING LIGHT, which is GENERAL HOSPITAL's time slot competitor. Since McKinsey left GUIDING LIGHT two years ago, the soap has been slumping.

McKinsey says she has only watched GUIDING LIGHT once or twice since leaving. "I haven't had time," she says. "I've spent most of my time relaxing. Do you know what's wrong over there?"

Although she says the producers of GENERAL HOSPITAL treated her well, ("everyone seems very efficient"), she notes she wouldn't accept offers to extend the role. "I'm loving my free time. I've always loved to read and I've never had any time to before. I have my little doggie; I've got sunshine and the ocean outside my front door. It's not a bad life."

1 comment:

  1. Beverlee really created a fun, witty character in Myrna. Thanks For These Memories! :)