Eleanor the new vamp of Santa Barbara

 By Alena Prime, TÚlÚ Star, 1991

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She is one of the very last heroins of Santa Barbara; she is also one of the most ravishing and the most mysterious one in a role of vamp with a sturdy personality ! In the episodes we currently watch, she acts as an ex-agent of the FBI and made herself hired by Cruz (A Martinez). "My character names Elena Nikolas, explains the actress. To preserve her anonymity, she makes her called Eleanor Norris. She is in fact the illegitimate daughter of C.C. Capwell, and holds her real identity secret in order to be able to move with complete freedom in the family and to create dissension there. And she does not abstain from it !" When the role was proposed to her, Sherilyn Wo1ter was enthusiastic. "The proposal fell one cannot better. For three years, I had interpreted a finical character in another soap. By reading the scenario, I immediately knew that the role would be appropriate to me. While knowing that there would have disadvantages..."

Among them, mail. Like all stars, Sherilyn receives whole bags of it. With this difference that the envelopes which are addressed to her do not contain only kindnesses. "Among the letters of insults, there was once a totally white page. Not a word written on it. But one had slipped a desiccated rosepink, dreadful. This admirer may not have wanted good things for me", jokes Sherilyn. Often, in the letters, the televiewers ask her to be nicer, and sometimes even threaten her of reprisals. "It is very surprising to see that the public can mix reality and fiction. The actor is hated because its character is hateful."

Sometimes, this mail can become frankly strange. The actress received one day a letter signed by a prisoner locked up in sadly famous "corridor of death", these enfilades of cells reserved for convicts to the capital punishment. "He seemed to had seen a photo of me signed by a certain photographer whom I did not know. And the prisoner explained me that this photographer had elements bringing some new evidences of his innocence. He thus asked me to put him in contact with him. I never knew if it was a made up story. I could never know either if this photographer had existed. The prisoner never took action pursuant. If he had done it, perhaps I would have begun more thorough research."

"My mother was a demanding professor as regards of discipline. When she surprised a pupil smoking in hiding-place, she punished him severly. Then, it is naturally against me that the high-school pupils were avenged. And mom was at least so much strict with me. When I made a silly thing, she did not miss me. Perhaps is it for this reason I remained a long time a self-contained teenager." The situation nevertheless had advantages. Initially, Sherilyn made good studies. Then, it is by wanting to express herself that she was registered to courses of dictum and dramatic art. At the time, she lived with her mother in Sacramento. "My parents separated when I was 3 (Sherilyn was born in Virginia, in 1959). Mom chose Sacramento by chance. She looked on a card, located there an area with soft climate, and a town where she could find a job."

Chance makes things well. Sacramento is not very distant from Hollywood. And when, at 20, Sherilyn decides to launch out herself in a career of actress, it is in the capital of cinema that she settles. "The most difficult was to find an agent, remembers she. I was registered to a course of comedy, and finally my professor found one for me. But it was a very small artistic agency which did not served me very much."

First blow of destiny : her boyfriend of the time, assistant-director, asks her to bring on the stage a scenario forgotten at their home. By seeing her, the director stops his work to exclaim : "Who are you ? You are exactly the one I'm looking for !" "I did not believe my ears of that, is still wondering Sherilyn. Of course, it was only a very small role. But it allowed me to begin."

Indeed, she quickly obtains a role in a TV show entitled B.J. and the Bears which lasted several seasons. Then, she is hired for a daytime soap, until the day the producers of Santa Barbara call her. "One of the writers of the soap for which I worked had been just engaged for Santa Barbara. He recommended me for a role that he had especially written for me." It will be Eleanor-Elena. By listening to her, the life of Sherilyn Wolter is made of these small winks of the destiny which can upset an existence. The way she met her companion Sam Hennings, is also droll. At the time, She was playing in General Hospital, a monument of American television. In holiday for two days, Sherilyn had thus legitimately deserted the stage. The day before her return, she however made a turn by her lodge, in order to do there a personal phone call. By pushing the gate, she had the surprise to discover a jolly fellow (1,87 meter) carrying a police officer uniform.

"I do not know which one of us was the most astonished. Of course, Sam did not know that the lodge was reserved to me. And me, I did not understand what he did there. I called the assistant-director to ask him for accounts. He then explained me that Sam having only two days of shooting, and me being absent these two same days, my lodge had been attributed to him. Nobody expected me to come there to phone." Sherilyn, angry, finds the process excessive : for an actor, a lodge is like a small home. All its personal things are stored there, and one does obviously not want to see an unknown person in there ! Even if this was not his fault, Sam felt guilty.

Despite all their complicity, there is a passion that the two actors do not share : alpinism. Because Sherilyn is a fan of climbing. "Not a long time ago, I climbed with two friends at the top of the mount Whitney, the climax of the United States, at 4418 meters of altitude. It was an exciting experiment. Up there, oxygen becomes rare, but the view is impregnable. The impression of victory is such as one really wants to plant a flag and to write above : "Sherilyn climbed here in 1991." I felt the same sensation the day when I jumped for the first time with a parachute." Because the young woman does not hesitate to take risks. "I do not know very well why I dared. Undoubtedly because I had been injured in my selflove by boys who always told me of it as a sport reserved to men. Then I had to tell them something like : "Eh ! Wait a little... Do you believe that I will be afraid because I am a woman ? I want to go there too." Obviously, once in the sky, no more question of going into reverse... The first part of the descent, in free fall, is terrifying. But then, everything happened well. But my mother begged me to never do it again."

Sherilyn remained near to her mother (who always lives in Sacramento) as well as her father, with whom she resumed more-subsidiary links. She only saw him again at 18. But since, they meet regularly. "As a child, I suppose that I reproached him a little to have separated from my mother, explains the young woman, even if it was not entirely his fault. I believe that I did not accepted that he remarie and has a child with another woman." (Sherilyn has a half-brother, Randy.) "As a teenager, continues she, I did not want to hear speaking about him anymore. It should be said that I was in full ungrateful age. As an adult, I saw the things in a different way. I remember that one day, I simply phoned him to ask him if I could spend the weekend with him. He accepted. The ice was broken."

Mr. Wolter is a gentleman, very distinguished, with white hair. He is a psychologist. Sherilyn does not hesitate to entrust her problems to him... which, lately, accumulate. She was proposed a role in The Bold and the Beautiful, an offer which finally did not come to anything. At the same time, she broke her ankle and had to be plastered. Lastly, she learned that her 12 year old dog was victim of a brain tumour. In spite of her strong personality, Sherilyn suffered a lot from it. "To lose a 12 year old companion, it is like seeing disappearing a member of the family." She was used as a nurse with the animal, taking care of her every night. "She made me sullen", sighs she. To attenuate the sorrow caused by this long death-throes, Sam offers her a puppy named Travis, the name of the character he plays in the film Shout (starring John Travolta). "That came from a good intention, recognizes Sherilyn. Unfortunately, that especially complicated my life. The puppy ran and piddled all the time, by choosing the corners of the house the most difficult to clean. With the foot in plaster, and my old dog to looked after, I did not need of this little daemon which did not miss one foolishness. But I was happy to have it when my dog passed away." At the time, Sherilyn did not work. What left her time to repair the damages. "When we plays, we are far from home from the morning to the evening, and days are long. The only possible occupation, it is to think of our character. And frankly, I ask for myself until where will go Eleanor..."