Can Santa Barbara survive without Eden ?

 By Rosemary Rossi, Soap Opera Update, 1991

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Marcy Walker carries a very big stick. You know, just like those trapeze artists do. The wire is thin, the ground is a long way down, the crowd gasps. But thankfully that stick helps with the balance. And balance is one thing that Marcy certainly knows how to do.

1990. A big year for Marcy. Lots of changes. Things to adapt to. Perfecting motherhood. Excuse me, "adjusting" to motherhood. Contemplating the mortality of her role as Eden Castillo, princess of heroines on Santa Barbara. Exploring other acting ventures to the dismay of others. Yet all the while not missing a step on the balancing wire.

She's not the same Marcy Walker. Her vision is clearer, the focus is sharper. "I think that I've become more sure about what I want and what I need. I've gotten my finger closer to knowing what it is that I want for my future. Before, I had an idea of what I would like to do or what would make me happy, but it was very general. And now I seem to be able to zone in on exactly what it is that I need as a person to make me happy."

Balance. Having priorities. Knowing that there are certain things that you must do to create an even balance in your life. Her family is one of them. They've given her a sense of peace. Having son Taylor and husband Stephen. "We have a good-natured, really pleasant existence. Working, as an individual, also has been very financial to me. It's given me a lot of perspective."

But with the return of old friends comes new challenges. The one definite thing that Marcy can see right away is that now that the Dobsons are back, almost everybody on the show has a story. "They're all motivated - the characters are motivated towards a end. Which is interesting because I haven't really felt that in awhile. That's really positive." No matter what the writers have to say about it, the future of Eden and Cruz depends on the future of Marcy Walker and A Martinez. And vice versa. A's contract is up in June, Marcy's in August. While both performers have sent out strong signals about leaving, no one will know for sure until the last minute.

Last year Marcy was in a CBS pilot called Bar Girls. She never expected that it would be picked up, though of course it would have been nice. But in terms of nighttime television and getting out there, the networks develop 52 or 55 hours television and they only buy five. It's always a gamble. "You can take it under your wing and realize that yours may not be one of them. Who knows what it's going to be like ? Indeed, my particular project was riddled with problems. It was unfortunate that it didn't turn out as well as it could have. Things happen."

Unfortunately lots of things happened. Before she left to do the pilot, a storyline centering on Eden and Cruz was developed. With her absence, there was a void. "Things" had to be changed. Word has it that this caused some major rifts. What the audience doesn't know is that this option to do outside projects was in her contract all along (as with A Martinez's). Producers knew it. Writers knew it. No ill-intention was meant on her part. Only her contractual right to stretch her wings every now and then.

"I'm trying to be as honest as I can with you about this whole "deal" thing. I know sometimes that if my pilot had gotten picked up last year, I wouldn't have gotten kicked in the teeth as much - only because it would have been so quick. It would have been like ripping a band-aid off. But because that didn't happen, it all turned weird. It's like, "you think you can leave ! Look what you've done !" Hopefully this year when I go away to do a project, it won't be met with such trepidation as it was last year. What's funny is that the audience has been so supportive."

While Marcy's deal for outside projects is with CBS, A's got a development deal with NBC. "It's because of the opportunities that we've had here that we were granted these other opportunities. NBC, New World, CBS, everybody is very well aware that Santa Barbara is in the business of keeping people who give them a great deal on the air. So it was to their benefit to keep us here. I had a different situation than A in a way, because I had two networks that sort of allied together to keep me working for both of them for a year. That, to me, means there's interest. It's wonderful to be wanted. Yet at the same time there are a lot of biased people who are in the business of the soap opera media who feel, God forbid somebody should go off and do a movie of the week or a pilot, that they're being a traitor to their show. In terms of doing another project, it's like buying a new dress. It's not like you're going away for a year. I believe that you can keep everybody happy. They're businesspeople; they enter into these contracts very aware of what the windows are with opportunities."

Going away to do another project doesn't mean that Marcy Walker is not happy, because she's been very happy. She states and reinstates that she has been treated by the show for the past six years with generosity and that she has benefited greatly from the support of the audience. "The viewers have made me feel appreciated and that what I do is something special. It's merely me going off and seeing if I could do other things, carving out a new pathway to see if perhaps, in time, I'll get to spend a little more time with my son. Prepare in the future in some way. This show has been a real spiritual experience. I got to meet people I feel I've know my whole life. I got to work with A, who is one of the greatest people I've know in my life. I think we've benefited both of us, from getting to know each other as the years have gone by, I wouldn't trade it for anything."

But Marcy Walker doesn't just think about right now. She dreams much further down the line. She wants to do several things in her lifetime. Of course any actress would love to be in the position where she could go from project to project and do some interesting roles. But Marcy's dreams don't stop there. She thinks about having another baby someday when Taylor gets older. Maybe a beach in Tahiti without the pressures of returning phone calls or the stress of a Los Angeles freeway.

With so much happening to and around her right now, Marcy keeps that even head. The balance. "I'm as happy as clam now. I don't expect anything more than what I have. If anything else comes, it'll be a nice treat."