Santa Barbara's family share memories of a show that was home for eight years

 By Jeffrey Pearlstein, Soap Opera Weekly, 1993

 Home   Cette page en Français  

After eight years of lust, passion, romance, excitement, and humor, Santa Barbara goes dark, 15 January, but the memories will linger. Santa Barbara's stars off and onscreen, past and present, recall their time on one of daytime's most innovative soap operas.

Bridget Dobson (co-creator)
In all of daytime, there was nothing quite like Santa Barbara. It broke all the rules and took a lot of risks, and I liked that. Santa Barbara certainly had the respect of our colleagues, and I'm very proud of that.

Nicolas Coster (Lionel Lockridge, 1984-1988, 1990, 1991-1993)
Lionel and Augusta were unpredictable, and they had a sense of humor about themselves which was one of the secrets of their success. And Louise (Sorel, Augusta) and I went together like a horse and carriage. It was great working with her ! Lionel was a guy who loved life and loved the adventures of life. There were so many outrageous things my character did that I really enjoyed playing.

Louise Sorel (Augusta Lockridge, 1984-1986, 1989, 1990-1991)
Augusta Lockridge, whom I still love, is my illness. There was always something quite delicious about the way she dealt with things. In the early years, Augusta and Lionel had an interesting relationship, and Nick and I had some wonderful emotional scenes. We had the same temperament in terms of our work - a little too passionate, which got in our way sometimes, but we were very in tune with one another. They've had so many changes on this show, the continuity of the characters hasn't been what it should be. It's unfortunate, because I didn't want a lot of people I cared about to be out of work !

Robin Wright (Kelly Capwell, 1984-1988)
Santa Barbara was my first job, and the experience was just great. Judith (McConnell) was like my mother. We were all so close, and that's an unusual thing to have happen. We were like one big family.

Stephen Meadows (Peter Flint, 1984-1985)
I started working on Santa Barbara at the beginning, and there was a family feeling for the people who started off with the show. Santa Barbara was my first job in this crazy business, and it was like being thrown into the fire. The first three months were complete chaos for everyone, but for the most part it was great learning experience. I feel that some of my best work was from Santa Barbara. I know how many people watch soaps, and it's flattering that people have followed my career, considering I played a bad guy on the show.

Robin Mattson (Gina Lockridge, 1985-1993)
I liked Santa Barbara a lot ! The people are a unique group, and there was a lot of closeness and a lot of support, so it really felt like a family. Gina has been a great part to play and I really enjoyed it. The character was half Lucille Ball / half Joan Collins. She's probably the most versatile broad, as far as the different scenes I've done. It was a nice place to work, and I'm going to miss it !

John Novak (Keith Timmons, 1990-1991)
When I joined the show, daytime was a new genre for me and quite a learning experience. I was really pleased as punch about the character, because he was so wild. When I was submitted for the character of Keith, I started watching Santa Barbara, and was quite intrigued by it all.

Sherilyn Wolter (Elena Nikolas, 1987)
Elena was my most challenging role, and it was really fun to play that wicked a character. During the day I would run rampant as Elena, the, I'd go home and be very sweet. At the end of my stint the producers asked me to stay, but I really felt she had done her thing for the time being. Everyone was personable, and it was a real nice family there. A Martinez (Cruz) was such a doll, and a real sweet person to work with.

Shell Danielson (Laken Lockridge, 1990-1991)
I loved working on Santa Barbara. I feel like I learned a lot from the people I worked with, especially the people who played my parents Nick (Coster) and Louise (Sorel).

Janis Paige (Minx Lockridge, 1990-1993)
I was blown to have working with Louise Sorel and Nicolas Coster. They were very generous and inventive actors, and they were absolutely wonderful for me. I'm terribly fond of the show. Santa Barbara was a pretty show to watch and it's won a lot of Emmy. I've had a wonderful time.

Paul Johansson (Greg Capwell, 1989-1990)
If I had to do a soap opera, I'm glad it was Santa Barbara. They had a reputation and they cared about their actors, so I was very fortunate to get on the show. I loved working with the people I worked with. Jed Allan (C.C.) was really cool, and he was like a surrogate father to me.

Kristen Meadows (Victoria Lane, 1986-1989)
Life on Santa Barbara was just great ! They had one of the nicest, tightest casts I've ever been with, and it felt great to be part of that.

Todd McKee (Ted Capwell, 1984-1989)
Santa Barbara was refreshing because it pushed the limit. There were a lot of talented actors over there, and it was fun to watch them create. Everybody was so talented and so different. I was inexperienced when I got the job, but what a place to start !

Susan Marie Snyder (Laken Lockridge, 1987-1988)
Working on Santa Barbara was fun, and one of the easiest jobs I ever had in my life. I'd come in two or three days and do this fluff, and I was sorry that it ended so abruptly. I felt like they didn't seek the full potential of the character - for whatever reason - but if was a good time for me !

Stella Stevens (Phyllis Blake, 1989-1991)
Santa Barbara was my first experience on daytime, and I enjoyed working on it. I thought Robin (Mattson) and I were cute together, and I enjoyed working with her because it was so natural. People told us we were Lucy and Ethel, and that was the highest compliment. It showed on the screen how much fun we had. But I felt like I was out in the cold for a while, because my character got caught in a changeover of producers and people in power.

Nina Arvesen (Angela Cassidy, 1991-1993)
They've given me a fun part, and I've had enormous fun doing it. We had a wonderful group of people here. I think (executive producer) Paul Rauch has done an incredible job of bringing together the group of people that we had, and it was a joy to come to work every day.

Karen Moncrieff (Cassandra Lockridge, 1990-1992)
The two years I spent on Santa Barbara were a wonderful time for me as far as stretching my limits and forming some of the depths of my potential as an actress. I loved my character, and I think I had the good fortune of being able to speak some of the best lines in daytime. I loved working with Gordon (Thomson) and also made some friends I know I will keep in Eileen Davidson (Kelly) and Michele Val Jean - one of the writers - and that's really nice !

Timothy Gibbs (Dash Nichols, 1990-1992)
I felt doubly blessed to be on Santa Barbara because of the family atmosphere and what I learned from my storyline. The writers really pushed themselves and were serious about the date-rape issue, and it gave me a chance to play something meaty. The actors I worked with were another blessing, most notably Nancy (Lee Grahn). I thought Santa Barbara was innovative, and in some respects at the forefront of its type of programming. I also loved the comedy in the show. I enjoyed being part of that aspect, in a very minor way, later on with Louise (Sorel). I came on the show during the Jill Farren Phelps / John Conboy transition, so I didn't get the pleasure of working with Jill, but John was fantastic to work for. I wish everybody, both in front of and behind the camera, all the luck in the world. I think they're very talented and are going to do well.

Marj Dusay (Pamela Capwell, 1987-1988, 1990)
I always thought Santa Barbara was a very good show and liked the work on it. But when I went in it seemed to be just going to hell in a hand basket. I truly believe they had their problems within the show, and they just more or less hired me to get rid of the character. Pamela was the baby of the Dobsons, and when they had their struggle (with NBC, which resulted in their outster from the series they had created) somebody had to take it over, and by then the character couldn't go anyplace. It evidently was so much politics, and if I had known that it would have helped me feel a lot better. I thought Pamela was going to be a wonderful character, and she might have been had the Dobsons stayed. It felt good to return, because there was something of real substance for me to play, and I was much more comfortable. I liked the way the Dobsons brought Pamela back and where she was coming from. It's a shame the show was canceled and I'm sorry for all my buddies there.

Gordon Thomson (Mason Capwell, 1990-1993)
In a lot of ways, working Santa Barbara has been one of the most wonderful experiences in my life as an actor. I have done some of my most satisfying work there. When Jerry and Bridget Dobson were writing the show, I was the most talkative man in soap opera history, but there was also a lot of dark exploration, which I enjoyed. Every writer has characters through whom they see themselves, and I think Bridget and Jerry saw themselves through Mason. I love what I do for a living, and I was glad to have a job and a fascinating part. Nancy Lee Grahn is a very good actress. She's funny and feisty, and we got along very well. Marj Dusay was a treat to work with, too. The show had a strong group of actors and an extremely nice crew. It will be sad to disband such an intense team of gifted and dedicated people !

Sydney Penny (B.J. Walker, 1992-1993)
Joining Santa Barbara was more than I ever expected it to be. I certainly didn't expect to just walk in here and be plunked down in the middle of every storyline going. I like B.J. very much; she's probably my favorite character (of all the ones) I've ever played. I feel very fortunate I've been given such wonderful stuff to do. Everybody here is so talented, and it's very pleasant to be working with people you like. They don't come here with their own personal agendas and just do their work and leave. We genuinely enjoy being with each other and doing things outside of work. It didn't take long to get used to daytime. One of the major reasons I wanted to check out this medium was the opportunity to work at my craft on a daily basis, and that's exactly what the last seven months have given me the opportunity to do. I love being an actress and being around other people who do the same thing. Everybody welcomed me into the fold, and our working relationship is really perfect. These are friendships that I intend to keep.

John O'Hurley (Stephen Slade, 1989-1990)
As an actor I liked the freedom that I felt on that show, but I look back with mixed emotions. I liked a lot of the work I did, but I'm sad I was caught in that revolving period of indecision. I thought my character was very interesting, and I could explore a lot of the darker sides of him, which I liked. Unfortunately, the show was going through a pattern of not committing to any particular storyline, because I think there were just too many people in the creative kitchen. One of the wonderful things the show had was comedy, but during the interim that I was there I watched all these great comedic characters - and I use the word characters strongly - just disappear, and it was frustrating. One reason a lot of the actors who were there with me at the time went over to Santa Barbara was because of the comedy, but all the wonderful humor, the richness that was singular to Santa Barbara, was just gone. But I've never had a bad experience in daytime. I loved the people I worked with on the show. In fact, many of them remain very close friends. I'm always sad when a show gets cancelled, because it means you've got 20 contract people who are out of jobs, and that's too bad.

Rosalind Allen (Gretchen Richards, 1990)
Out of all of the daytime shows, I thought Santa Barbara was one of the finest. My time on the show was all too short lived, but I liked working there. They were good to me, and I really had a high respect for the actors on the show.

Steve Bond (Mack Blake, 1989-1990)
Santa Barbara was a different experience than General Hospital. It was a much freer experience from a creative standpoint. The day-to-day element, as far as the people and environment, was great. But I felt that Santa Barbara never really delivered to me what they promised, and that was frustrating. At the time the show had two major producer changes and numerous writer changes, so there was no consistency with my character. They enticed me onto the show, and I believe they did have the best of intentions, but it just didn't work out. I thought the work I did with Louise Sorel was interesting, and she did too, but the writers chickened out. The story with Rosalind Allen was interesting, too, but it happened so fast.

Bridgette Wilson (Lisa Castillo, 1992-1993)
I have had a wonderful experience working on Santa Barbara. I felt very fortunate to have worked with so many wonderfully talented people, and being fairly new to the industry I learned a great deal here. I was lucky to not only have worked with them onscreen but to have learned so much from them off-screen as well. I learned so much from people like Kim Zimmer (Jodie) and A (Martinez, Cruz Castillo), who was my all-time favorite. Even though I didn't have a lot of scenes with him, he was always there to talk to me about different things and was very, very supportive. It's been a wonderful experience, and I almost feel like the family is breaking up, because I'm so close to so many people on the show. I'm hoping we'll be able to stay in touch and work together again in the future.

Paula Irvine (Lily Blake, 1991-1993)
It was nice to show that there was some support out there for us. When somebody comes up to you and says, "We really appreciate your work," it makes you feel like it's not going completely unnoticed. We had so much momentum going that it was silly for them to yank us (off the air). I enjoyed working with Robin (Mattson) a lot. She's an immensely talented actress, and was such a joy to work with.

Julie St. Claire (Tawny Richards, 1990)
I loved Tawny, and I enjoyed everybody on the show. I couldn't have worked with a better cast. Allan Miller (Harland Richards) was great, and I loved Rosalind Allen. At a fan-club dinner, when they were introducing the cast and everyone was screaming, I felt really happy to be a part of the show.

Vincent Irizarry (Scott Clark, 1987-1989)
At the time I thought the show was definitely one of the better-written shows on daytime. The people involved with it were really a great group. They were outgoing, friendly, there for you, and they had a sense of humor. I had never seen such a spirited, fun group of people in production.

Signy Coleman (Celeste DiNapoli, 1989-1990)
I can honestly say that working on Santa Barbara was a wonderful experience for me. It was the first solid acting job I was given, and I grew a tremendous amount in the year I worked on the show. Not only that, but that's where I met my husband (Vincent Irizarry, Scott Clark), who gave me my child Siena. Even though Vincent and I are no longer together, I'm extremely grateful because we have a beautiful child. Santa Barbara interwove storylines very well, and it was wonderful to be excited about going to work every day. The show was so good at the time we were working on it, and I was vey disappointed to hear it had been canceled. I wish everyone who was involved in it nothing, but the best of luck !

Jane Rogers (Heather Donnelly, 1988-1989)
It was really well put together. The people there were wonderful, and the coordination of everybody - from props to producers - was great. I was very pleased.

Carrington Garland (Kelly Capwell, 1989-1991)
Santa Barbara was the first soap opera I'd done, and they kept me very busy, but I enjoyed it. It was very fortunate that the audience accepted me - for whatever the reason they did - because I knew that everyone adored Robin Wright (the first Kelly, who was replaced briefly by Kimberly McArthur before Garland stepped in). I had never seen the show before, but I heard she was a fine actress and did some great things. I just went in and did my own thing, and it worked. And I'm thrilled that it did. My working relationship with everyone was very good. It was a very harmonious studio. We were all sensitive to each other and a good time working together.

Nancy Lee Grahn (Julia Wainwright Capwell, 1985-1993)
I loved the character of Julia ! It was a really good character on daytime, because she was very multidimensional. I loved the relationship between Julia and Mason because it was different and very unpredictable. It wasn't a sappy love story, and that's what I liked about it. The cast was terrific. There isn't a bad apple in this group, and it's been very pleasant to be here.

Terry Lester (Mason Capwell, 1989-1990)
Santa Barbara was a different kind of show from all the other daytime shows, but I loved it. At the time, I'd never been happier professionally. I had the best material that I'd ever been asked to do, and I can think of no one in my entire career with whom I enjoyed working more than Nancy Lee Grahn !

Christopher Norris (Laura Asher, 1989-1990)
I had some of the best times I ever had on Santa Barbara, and I was sorry to leave the show. I made a lot of good friends there - Leigh McCloskey, Joe Marinelli, Sharonlee McLean (Annie) and Robin Mattson - and we really felt like we were a team working toward putting out the best possible project that we could. There was a real lack of egos and the effort of everyone from the crew to the writers was very special experience, and not one that you're typically going to find in series work.

Leigh McCloskey (Zack Kelton / Ethan Asher, 1988-1990)
I was working with such tremendously good actors at such enjoyable time. Christopher (Norris) was a top-notch actress, and working with A (Martinez) was such a delight. As I told the producers, I had been a bit wary of having Zack, Eden's gynecologist, be her rapist. I didn't feel it was a very good thing to put out there, but when it was decided that that was how it was going to be, it was actually a challenge and an opportunity to stretch as an actor. When I was playing Zack, Jill Farren Phelps asked me if I wanted to come back as Ethan, and I thought it was very daring of her to bring me back as another character without having me related to Zack as some distant cousin or evil twin. I really have great respect for her.

Joe Marinelli (Bunny Tagliatti, 1989-1990)
Everybody was very friendly and instrumental in a very creative and fun atmosphere. I can't tell you how much fun it was to go to work, and yet I got my dramatic moments, too. Although my story had a lot of comedy involved, I tried to keep it as serious as possible, too. I got some great letters from people who were transvestites who were either married or in relationships, and until they saw Bunny they would never believe that you could be a transvestite and not be gay ! Of course things then changed, because they changed the constitution of the show. They went for an audience they didn't have rather than staying with the audience they had. I always said, "Let Fox pick it up". Then you could have all the fun you want with it. Wouldn't that be great ?

Eileen Davidson (Kelly Capwell, 1991-1993)
Santa Barbara called me because I had a following from The Young and the Restless, and that was very flattering. I felt pretty lucky to be working with such tremendous group of people, who were working very hard and doing some really terrific work. It was challenging and also a lot of fun.

Scott Jaeck (Cain Garver, 1987-1989)
I had a great time while I was on the show, and the only reason I left was that I felt I had other things I wanted to do. I decided to do the show to begin with (because) I thought the character was great and seemed to be unsoaplike. Plus, I didn't have to shave or cut my hair ! The show always had such interesting writing - it never really seemed to take itself too seriously and had such a great sense of humor to it, with great comic characters and strange and bizarre situations, which I think it lost the last couple of years. Santa Barbara was way ahead of its time, and it changed too much from what was its success. It's too bad the network couldn't stay with it. It was a great run while it lasted, and I hope it's not forgotten.

John Considine (Grant Capwell, 1986)
Before I joined Another World (as Reginald Love), I worked on Santa Barbara for a week. I did six episodes as C.C.'s brother Grant, and it was a lot of fun. I always thought it would be a good opportunity to bring some conflict to C.C.'s storyline, but for some reason they never brought the character back. I really liked the show.

Michael Durrell (Alex Nikolas, 1987)
My feelings are a little confused, because the show that was cancelled was not Santa Barbara. It became something else, just an entirely different show. What I remember very fondly is a show that was a family, headed and nurtured and created and supported by a wonderful woman named Jill Farren Phelps (formerly executive producer). It was the Dobsons (Bridget and Jerome, Santa Barbara's creator, and former head writers and executive producers) who actually brought my character in and supported me in the role, but the true genius behind the creation and the nurturing of all of the characters was Jill, who was the one behind the scenes making the show work. She was the one who helped create it, and she was Santa Barbara; I have only great, fond, wonderful memories for a show that left a very special place in my heart. What we had was so warm, wacky and so wonderfully confusing sometimes, but that was the charm of it. The family atmosphere with everyone there was initiated and maintained by Jill, and I missed it from the first day I left the show.

Shirley Anne Field (Pamela Capwell Conrad, 1987)
Pamela Capwell Conrad was a woman who was beautiful, witty, wily and throughly unscrupulous. (She was) a woman with all the infinite charms of an ageless Helen of Troy - capable of launching a thousand ships. That is what enchanted me about the role. However, it was a nightmare when I left. It was a really sticky situation, and unfortunately I was caught in the middle of the politics.

Michelle Nicastro (Sasha Schmidt, 1989-1990)
I remember the show very fondly, and I wouldn't have given up the experience. I never wanted to play a character who was either all good or all bad, because that's not human nature, and it's boring. I wanted to play someone with depth, and even though Sasha had her devilish moments, she still had a heart. Santa Barbara was always a step ahead, and that's what made this show special. It never took itself too seriously, and yet it was sentimental in a good way. I think it's really sad it's not going to be around anymore.

Lenore Kasdorf (Caroline Lockridge, 1986-1987)
The whole contingency for me going back to soaps was that I would be playing this wonderful, flavorful character, but after the Dobsons - who were so behind having me on the show - left, it became boring. (The writers) got very nervous about the interracial romance between Gus (David Fonteno) and Caroline, so they married her off to Lionel (Nicolas Coster), and the next day she was dying of this mysteriously malady. I was extremely disappointed when that whole thing went down.

Jane Sibbett (Jane Wilson / Roxanne, 1986-1987)
I look back at my time on Santa Barbara as wonderful days. I got to play such a fun character – bitch by day / slut by night – and that's every soap actress' dream, to get to play a double role like that. The Dobsons were really good to me. I learned to do good work on that show, and it's really sad that NBC pulled the plug !