Transcript of the interview with the original soap opera diva,
AS THE WORLD TURNS
She has played "Lisa" for 35 years and has written
EILEEN: Hi, I love that wonderful introduction.
CJAD: Thank you for being with us on the program.
EILEEN: Well I've looked forward to this Peter. This is going to be fun!
CJAD: We should mention that the lines are now open for those who wish to speak to Eileen Fulton of AS THE WORLD TURNS. Now as I have mentioned several times on this program, I have been watching the show for a long time, so let me see if I get the name right here. It would be Lisa Miller-Hughes-Eldridge-Shea-Coleman-McColl- Mitchell-Grimaldi.
EILEEN: Yes, and almost Hadley at one point.
EILEEN: Uh, huh. She's only had seven husbands and the last marriage, you know, I thought it lasted a day and a half before they killed Eduardo, but I found out in my script I'm going to do very soon, that I mentioned it was three days, so actually it was longer, and yes it was consummated. Everybody wants to know that.
CJAD: Now there is something I want to get off my chest right away and that is, they always talk about the soap opera actresses who are on some of the other shows, for instance, Susan Lucci who is Erica Kane. They always make a big point of the fact that she's been nominated 13 times and hasn't won an Emmy yet.....
EILEEN: Oh she's been nominated 15 times.
CJAD: 15 times, rather, and hasn't won an Emmy yet. She'll get hers one day, but the bigger crime is you haven't been nominated!
EILEEN: I was nominated once several years ago. Listen back in 1971....no maybe it was 73. Before they had what they call the Emmys because they hadn't given it a name yet. I did get a wonderful award. I got it in 73 and 75 for Best Loved Bad Girl. It's really a pretty statue.
CJAD: You've been playing Lisa for a long time. How much of Lisa is you and how much of you is Lisa?
EILEEN: Well, when I first started, I was a real live scheming conniving person. Not I was, I mean my character Lisa was. It was a wonderful character part. This is why I'm an actor. I liked to create something different. I want to live different lives, so I do this in acting. That's the whole joy of it. Creating something new. So she was totally not like Eileen back then. But as the years went on and we changed many different writers, I didn't have very much to do, so I decided to make her dippy. I've had great fun being dippy and now the writers who are here now say "oh, she can really do an awful, bad girl, let's bring back the old bad girl." So they've had me do wonderful things. I have loved every minute of it. Oh, and I will say that when Doug Marland was writing our show he really knew Lisa and gave me some wonderful stuff do to as well.
CJAD: As you say, you started to play the role of Lisa dippy, but as I recall in a just a recent episode of AS THE WORLD TURNS Kathryn Hays who is plays your closest friend on the show, she mentioned the fact that Lisa can be dippy when you want to be but everyone knows you're not.
EILEEN: Yes that's very true. And I'm making her so mad now. We're having the most wonderful fight. Not Kathryn and Eileen, but Lisa and Kim, Oh, we're tearing each other apart. Oh, you've got to stay tuned! There's a great fight scene and Bob walks in on them. You'll love it, don't miss it!
CJAD: I wouldn't miss it for the world (laughter).....There has also been a concern on a lot of the soaps and this is one of the reasons that AS THE WORLD TURNS is such a power soap the way it is, because it keeps with the core actors. It doesn't push the actors and actresses to the side just because they age, just because there is a lack of story line. There is always something to do for the various actors who are on that show. It doesn't spend the entire summer with young hard bodies the way other shows do with beach wear scenes and teeny boppers running around.
EILEEN: Well we do have a lot of pretty bodies running around and that's fine, but I think it's very important when a soap realizes that your audience is interested in all ages and you can have a great storyline for the kids and you can also dovetail that with a storyline of the other people. And I've found that kids are kind of interested in the older storylines too because their thinking, "hmm, when I get to that age what would I do to him or her?" It's an interesting little thing. You've got to have something for everyone.
CJAD: I guess right now you're shooting scenes dealing with the trial?
EILEEN: Oh, yes, everyday.
CJAD: You're suing Dr. John Dixon.....
EILEEN: Oh, for everything he's got and more!
CJAD: I have been watching what's been going on in cyberspace. Some of the on-line forums. People talk about the shows because fans are very rabid there too. We're of the same mind in thinking that somewhere down the road maybe John and Lisa should really get together. They are really two of a kind.
EILEEN: I've often said that, but I don't know if it's going to happen. I think that Bob has been so sweet to Lisa right now. Do you think she might cause a little problem with Bob and Kim? They need to be shaken up, don't you think so?
CJAD: I also read somewhere recently in an article that you were saying, you had more fun playing Lisa....to you playing Lisa was tearing up somebody else's marriage.
EILEEN: Oh it's far more fun because then you have a direct line. You know exactly where you're going. I got so tired of....I'm not complaining, but I got tired being always at the Mona Lisa. Being on the fringe of everybody's storyline, but hey, we all have to do that on a soap opera. We all have to take a back seat now and then. But it seemed like for years I was saying, "oh hello, Lucy are we dining alone tonight?" (laughter) I'm so glad that I'm doing a bit more now and causing a lot of trouble. Actually, I think it's kind of ingenious what they have invented in the storyline. It's to have this one thing, this one event where Eduardo was shot and then unfortunately dies in the hospital and Lisa suing John for malpractice has absolutely split up Oakdale. It has touched every life that we have seen.
CJAD: We have on the line with us Eileen Fulton, one of the stars of AS THE WORLD TURNS. She has just written her memoirs called AS MY WORLD STILL TURNS: THE UNCENSORED MEMOIRS OF AMERICA'S SOAP OPERA QUEEN. It's published by Birch Lane Press. Let's go to the phone lines. Joan hello, you're on the air.
CALLER: Hi Eileen.
EILEEN: Hi there.
CALLER: It's very, very nice to speak to you.
EILEEN: Why thank you, Joan.
CALLER: And I would like to tell you that I like the program very, very, very much.
EILEEN: Good, that's good to hear always!
CALLER: I had a book, a way, way back that I read about you, which has been wonderful.
EILEEN: Was that HOW MY WORLD TURNS? Was that the first one I did?
CALLER: Yes that's right!
EILEEN: Oh, yes. I'm glad you like that. The one that I have now, picks up where that one left off and I talk about some of the things that I mentioned in the older book about the early days on AS THE WORLD TURNS when we were live and then I picked it up with my latest escapades and last two husbands out of the three. I talk about all of them.
CALLER: I'd like to say that the program is very, very good and I'm very pleased and it's been nice to talk with you. I watch it every day!
CJAD: How long have you been watching the show, Joan?
CALLER: Oh, from a way, way back! Years back.
CJAD: Okay, thank you for the call. Suzanne, hi, you're on the air.
CALLER: Hi, Eileen, this is Suzanne. I am watching the show since I am in Canada. We enjoy it very, very much.
EILEEN: Thank you.
CALLER: And my husband became a watcher too. And my Mother!
CALLER: And I would like to wish for all cast a very, very nice summer.
EILEEN: Thank you.
CALLER: And we would like to see a lot of good things happen, so you should forgive John! (laughter)
EILEEN: I don't think I will. Do you think that Lisa is going to be really upset with herself when she finds out that Orlena did it?
CALLER: Well I hope Orlena gets caught.
EILEEN: I hope she does too and I have no idea how it's going to happen, but boy she's can't get away with this. Look at all the people she's done in!
CALLER: She's a manipulating bad mother-in-law.
EILEEN: Oh she is! (laughter)
CALLER: And I hope Damian and Lily will be happy. And you know what I would like?
CALLER: Barbara and Hal should get back together.
EILEEN: But people can't continue to be too happy, now. We can't have that.
CALLER: I am a person who likes the marriage to work out.
EILEEN: Oh, yes that's often the goal but there are all these other obstacles in the way like Lisa coming around.
CJAD: Well if that's the case Suzanne, then which one of Lisa's husbands did you like the best?
CALLER: Well Grant Coleman, I liked him very much.
EILEEN: Oh, Grant Coleman. Oh yes! I remember him well.
CALLER: I remember Bob too!
CJAD: Oh yes.
CALLER: As a matter of fact when I came to this country I didn't speak a word of English and I learned through watching the show and reading some newspapers and that's how I learned my English, not in school.
EILEEN: You speak beautifully. I'm just so intrigued by so many people who have said this throughout the years. How they have learned to speak English from watching the show.
CALLER: This is true, because when I came 38 years ago, I had no time for going to school. I had to go to work right away....
EILEEN: And you learned the conversational English, how you can use it everyday!
CALLER: Thank you very much and have a nice summer all of you.
EILEEN: Thank you
CJAD: Thank you very much Suzanne......one of the things, nowadays, soap opera stars seem to be more revered then they used to be. There was a time when they were looked at as poor second cousins almost of night time and then behind film work, but you're now getting your due, aren't you.
EILEEN: Yes, indeed, we certainly are. And I think that it's probably as people have become.....perhaps it happened a long time ago when the soaps first came on the air. People who watched the shows were generally at home. And who did not were at work and those were the ones who were writing about. They scoffed at us. They made fun of the soap operas. Because they'd never seen it. And the only times they saw it was when they were very sick or in the hospital running a high fever, and who could like anything at that point? I think it's amazing that anyone would even attempt when running a high fever. So we did have a long haul, but you see, with the next generation that came along these people have watched. They grew up watching soap operas so they have a different feeling for it. And the shows are much more sophisticated. But when you look back at old shows on television. The old shows, the reruns. You'll see it has improved nighttime and daytime.
CJAD: What about the division between you and your character. Another thing that people seem to be more aware of is the actor or actress who plays a role. I know growing up watching AS THE WORLD TURNS if someone said to me many, many years ago when I first started watching "Eileen Fulton" I would say, "who's Eileen Fulton?" But now I can say, "oh Eileen Fulton, she plays Lisa."
EILEEN: Well, I have a wonderful press agent, number one. We keep the name out there. It's interesting though how people identify with the character. I write about this in my book. Some of the funny instances I've had with the audience and fans. The first time I was ever recognized was when I was just on the show a few short months and Lisa had just married Bob. I was being awful. I was just running around with Bruce in the bushes and all of that stuff. I was standing in front of Saks Fifth Avenue and this woman in a beautiful pink Chanel suit came up to me and she said, "excuse me, aren't you Lisa?" And I thought, "oh, my first autograph!" I said, "why, yes that's the part I play!" I opened up my bag to get my beautiful new Tiffany pen to sign her a autograph. She said, "oh I hate you!" and she bopped me right there, (laughter). Knocked me across the street, knocked my pen in the gutter. Everybody stood and looked at me like, "oh you horrible sneaky little devil!" They let that woman just walk away!
CJAD: The power of live television.
CJAD: Let's go back to the phones. Barbara, hi, you're on the air.
CALLER: Hi, Lisa.
EILEEN: Hi there Barbara.
CALLER: You naughty girl! Why do you hate so much John Dixon? He's lost! He's a poor guy! Look how he is defending himself! Why don't you trust him!
EILEEN: Oh because he's been just a sleeze ever since I have known him. He was terrible to Kim. He gave away children. He gave away one of her children and he kidnapped another one. Oh, he was just horrible.
CALLER: Oh, boy. I've watch you for twelve years, day by day I tape. When I come home I watch. Right now I am just about to watch your show! Why for heaven sakes do you hate John Dixon that much? You're like Caleb's wife! She's awful. I don't like her.
CJAD: Oh you mean Julie?
EILEEN: Oh Lisa doesn't like Julie any more. Don't you remember. Lisa picked her up and threw her out of Barbara's.
CALLER: I know, but you liked her!
EILEEN: Oh yes, Lisa likes all poor pitiful little people.
CALLER: Why you hate John! Why do you hate Lucinda? She's so wonderful. She's nice.
EILEEN: No she's not!
CALLER: She's a devoted mother. She's good to her new half sister and whatever. Why do you hate them?
CJAD: Barbara I have to let you go.......Bringing the character of Julie Wendall into situation. It's funny that she mentioned that because thought when I first saw Julie show up on the scene that she reminded me in a way of Lisa when she first showed up on the scene.
EILEEN: That's so true. That's why Lisa felt sorry for her and understood her because the child was totally mixed up and just went after everything in the wrong way and for the wrong reasons.
CJAD: Our last caller, Barbara, also mentioned that she's been watching the show for the last twelve years. She was wondering why you had this animosity towards John. I guess that's one of the things that shows the core of that show, because there are feuds that go back a long, long way and maybe sometimes some of the fans who only joined the show in years later aren't aware of that. For instance, there is animosity between Lisa and Ellen.
EILEEN: Yes, oh, terrible animosity. Every now and then, whenever we're in scenes together, Pat Bruder, who plays the part of Ellen, we have the best times, because sometimes, some of the writers who have written some of the scenes for us are not aware of the animosity between Ellen and Lisa, so we put it back in and we just have a grand time glaring at each other. It's absolutely awful! (laughter)
CJAD: Well that's the thing that I find so interesting about it because the two of you can be so nasty with just a look. It doesn't even have to be in the dialogue.
EILEEN: Exactly, I know, that's where we have the fun.
CJAD: It certainly is a great time to watch. Eileen, we are aware of the fact that you are originally from North Carolina, correct.
CJAD: And we can hear your lovely accent every day on the program. Has it ever been explained where Lisa comes from.
EILEEN: Yes, she comes from Southern Illinois. Rockford.
CJAD: So how do we explain the accent?
EILEEN: Well, actually, when I first started on the show, I did not have much of an accent, and you've probably noticed it then most people. We haven't bother to, (explain it), because they really did not when I first started on the show. You see when the years went on and I started doing a lot of nightclub work, and I love singing, I worked with jazz musicians, and it just kind of rubbed off again in a funny way.
CJAD: Let's talk about some of the things you do outside of AS THE WORLD TURNS, because a lot of people aren't aware of that and I guess that's one of the main reasons for the book too. You do a nightclub act.
EILEEN: I do a nightclub act. I do Duke Ellington and all kinds of wonderful things. I've song all over. Everywhere. I have a trio. Piano, bass and drums. And I have three dogs, talking about trios Sarah Bernhardt, the Pekinese, and there's Sir Lawrence Olivier, the Shitzu dog and Simone Sinoret, my little baby Shitzu.
CJAD: Are people surprised when they see you on stage in roles other then what they are familiar with as Lisa?
EILEEN: Well you know, I quit the show three times forever, and I talk about that too. The last time I quit forever in 1983, I went all over the country, and I came to Canada, to do different plays and dinner theatres. PLAZA SUITE was the main one that I did, and GOODBYE CHARLIE was a silly one that I did. When I came out in PLAZA SUITE, the first character in the show, I play three different women....in the first act, Karen, was supposed to fat. Now there's a picture of me in the book as they put on this body fat. You just slip into it and snap it on the shoulders. It's just body fat, and they I put the dress on over it, and it gave me kind of a pudge look. So when I came out on the stage in theatre in the round, I heard the audience gasp, and they said, "oh, she let herself go!" And then in the second act when I came out I was just my slender self and I got a standing ovation! Isn't it just silly! (laughter)
CJAD: Let's go back to the phones. Pat, you're on the air with Eileen Fulton.
CALLER: Hello, I've been watching your program for years and years. And everywhere we go, I tell my husband, "put on my favorite." The only daytime soap, AS THE WORLD TURNS, from the east coast to the west coast.
EILEEN: Oh what a grand promo, how wonderful.
CALLER: I talked to Bob about a year ago. One of your old husbands.
EILEEN: My first husband.
CALLER: Yes, now I've even got my husband watching the program and asking my questions, "what's happening, what's happening?" But they don't want to watch.
EILEEN: Oh, but you know what, they do. They do! It deals with all kinds of problems.
CALLER: Right, and I like to figure out what's going to happen next, and it usually comes out best.
EILEEN: Are you right?
CALLER: Usually, most of the time.
EILEEN: Oh great!
CALLER: And I want to know will Lily go back to Holden?
EILEEN: I have no idea, she's in such trouble in Malta right now.
CALLER: Yeah I know. What a rotten Mother-in-law.
EILEEN: Yes, Claire Bloom is such a wonderful actress.
CALLER: Will Julie and Mike be a number?
EILEEN: I don't know, did she kiss him the other day?
CALLER: Oh yes, oh yes, she wanted to go to bed with him but he's in love.
EILEEN: Yes I know, well, everybody is in love with Mike.
CALLER: Oh yes, he's a gorgeous hunk!......I hope Orlena will get hers and do you think it will be by the summertime?
EILEEN: No, I think this is going to go on for awhile. I really do.
CALLER: Oh my goodness.
EILEEN: No, she's got to cause a lot more trouble. I'm very curious to see how it's going to turn out. I really don't know.
CALLER: Okay, fine, it's very, very nice talking to you.
EILEEN: Well, just continue watching.
CALLER: Okay I will.
CJAD: How far advance to you shoot, Eileen.
EILEEN: We're three weeks ahead.
CJAD: And how far advance do you know beyond that.
EILEEN: I don't even know three weeks at this point. I know overall story but I don't know big things like I was being asked. I really don't know. We have a new producer and I have to talk with him. I haven't had my talk yet.
CJAD: Does that cause problems, because I know the three Proctor and Gamble shows went through a change. I know, for instance, there was a time after Douglas Marland passed away that there was a bit of a slip.
EILEEN: Oh it was a terrible thing. It was just a horrible shock to everybody when that happened. Actually, Peter, I don't think I gave Doug his due in the book. I was so crushed by it that I really couldn't talk about it for a long time. I mention him just...and his wonderful....he was very psychic and he did some very strange and marvellous things that twisted him and everyone's lives on the show. And he wasn't even aware of it. He just wrote about it and it would be our lives. After we had gone through it or before or as we're going through it, which happened to me when I got rid of husband number two.
CJAD: That was....
EILEEN: Danny, the record producer. I talk about that. That was no problem.
CJAD: Yes, you talk about your own personal life. You haven't been married as many times as Lisa has.
EILEEN: Only three. Yes, ten between the two of us (laughter)
CJAD: When I spoke last year to Don Hastings, I asked him about being on the show for so long, was there a period of time when he thought that with the lulls in the show, because it can't be at its peak all the time, if there was a period when he thought he'd want to quit because things were just going so badly with him and his character. He mentioned the whole situation when he was married to Miranda, that he wasn't too crazy about. Was there a period of time...I know you've actually left the show on several occasions, but was there a time when you just thought, "oh I can't do this anymore."
EILEEN: Oh yes, I thought that a lot. The first time when I quit, Lisa had been such a sneak and a devil and she was such fun, and then she suddenly had to be so full of remorse and fell so sorry for herself and I hated slopping around and feeling sorry for myself and it got to be a bore. I was doing WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOLF on Broadway and off-Broadway at the same time I was doing THE FANTASTIKS. So I thought, my plate's full, so I just decided to leave. Just willy-nilly like that. It's just by luck that I came back and that I had the sense to come back. I had no idea of the power at that point.
CJAD: With all the things that has happened in soaps. People always talk about some of the outrageous plot lines that have taken place in the soaps. I guess the one that you're most known for is the phantom fetus.
EILEEN: That was so embarrassing! That was truly my most unfavorite story line. Having to walk around....by the way, we use pillows for pregnancies, you don't have to really be pregnant....they had me stuffed with this little pillow, and I had to walk around and say, "I'm pregnant and I don't know how it happened. I'm so pregnant, how did it happen. I've never been this pregnant." I got so tired saying that for three months! I'd walk around saying, "I'm pregnant and I don't know how it happened!" And this woman from Birmingham, Alabama sent me a letter and enclosed a pamphlet. It was from the Planned Parenthood and she said, "Here Lisa, this is how it happened, now get on with it!"
CJAD: With all the things that happen in soaps, the outrageous plot lines and the things that your character and all the other characters have done, do you ever get the script and go, "you've got to be kidding!"
EILEEN: Yeah, we do that, occasionally. When this has happened and it is really outrageous to one's dignity and protection of the character you have to go in and talk to the producers immediately and work out something and it's always wise to have a solution yourself because if you push it right up until the day we're taping, there's no way to change it.
CJAD: Do they see you as the keeper of Lisa's flame. You've been doing this show for so long now, do they come to you and say, "would Lisa do this or would Lisa not do this?"
EILEEN: Yes I have been asked that, yes. Right now I think they know Lisa pretty well. I'm just delighted with what they are doing because they are reaching back to old stories in a way, bring out why for instance Lisa hates John and her being so upset with Kim and just loving the fact that Bob is being kind to her. He's her only ally.
CJAD: Let's go back to the lines. Lee you're on the air with Eileen Fulton.
CALLER: Hi Eileen! Listen, you brought up earlier the fact of the singing on the show. You have a great voice.
EILEEN: Thank you.
CALLER: I was wondering why AS THE WORLD TURNS is not showing off your talents, your singing talents a little bit more often.
EILEEN: Why don't you write to them please. Write to the producer and say, listen.....
CALLER: ...because I used to enjoy it when you would go up on stage at the Mona Lisa and I forget the other woman who also sang.
EILEEN: Oh, Annie Sward, Lila.
CALLER: Right! She was great. But the actor who plays your son on screen, Scott Holmes, has a terrific voice.
EILEEN: He really does. I think it's logical that Lisa would sing because she owns the club, but some people have a hard time believing that Tom would sing because he's the District Attorney, and I want to know why in the world anyone would feel that way because he has a fabulous voice, and of course he has just done Broadway musical after Broadway musical and he's wonderful. I just wish we could do a little duet sometime, Mother and son, but we're so mad at each other right now I don't know.....it will be awhile before we'll do a duet.
CALLER: I know for awhile Scott Holmes was singing around the holidays, like Christmas and the cast would get together and they would also all chip in.
EILEEN: Yes, yes, but you don't want to upset the storyline and I can appreciate that. If it fits into the story, but I don't think it should ever be featured. I love to sing on the show, but I would be very happy just singing and going ahead with the story. It should be part of the story. It shouldn't be showing off Eileen Fulton because then I'd like to go on the road and show off Eileen Fulton. But I do thank you for saying that.
CALLER: Another question. The actor who plays Holden Snyder. Is he coming back to the show?
EILEEN: I don't know. We never know. I just don't know. I think it's open to him if he wants to. I think it's up to him.
CJAD: Thank you for the call.....One of the other questions that comes up in cyberspace, and I guess we can put this one to rest also is people are wondering if there is any actual animosity between you and the lady who plays Lucinda.
EILEEN: No! Absolutely not! I think Elizabeth Hubbard is a marvellous person. She's a very smart woman and I admire her very much. No, there is no animosity with anyone. We have a fabulous cast. I hate to sound like a goody-two shoes, I really do, but when other people have come on our show from other shows, they say, "my heavens, what a wonderful group of people! Everyone is so kind." And I think, "well, aren't people kind on other shows?" It always stymies me when I hear that.
CJAD: I guess the reason why that first came up is because there are some similarities between the two characters that you play and I guess she kind of has risen to a captain of industry and people thought that maybe that should have happened to you. It would have been far more interesting to see you going head to head with Lucinda as a corporate equal as opposed to always seeing you selling scarves.
EILEEN: Well Lisa does more then sell scarves. She has the restaurant and she does own the newspaper. And she's very, very wealthy. They've just never made....I'm more of the romantic person on the show. So if they write it that way that's fine. I must say again, I love what I'm doing now because it's real.
CJAD: We go to Kelly in Pointe Claire.
CALLER: Did you ever at one time have a son named Chuckie?
EILEEN: Yes, I had little Chuckie and you know what happened to him?
EILEEN: We grew him up over the weekend. I talk about this in the book. It's one of those one of those funny things that happens on daytime live. On a Friday afternoon, I had to walk in and give Chuckie a little glass of orange juice and I said, "well Chuckie, I hope you have a good day at kindergarten." And on Monday I came in.....
CALLER: ...and he was in highschool.
EILEEN: Well, exactly. I said, "have a good day at college." And then we had him have a terrible accident with Tom. Tom was driving the car. And they almost died and we just ground up Chuck right there and killed him, (laughter). The reason we did this was because they wanted to get Lisa and Bob back together and they asked me, "do you have an idea how you ever, because you've been so mean and so awful and so terrible, how could Bob ever love you again? Do you have any ideas Eileen?" I said, "well, if we kill Chuckie, he could feel awfully sorry for her."
CALLER: Was Chuckie Bob's son?
EILEEN: No Chuckie was Michael Shea's son. He was the illegitimate child.
CALLER: Oooh, you were a bad girl!
EILEEN: I was terrible, and I loved every minute of it!
CJAD: Okay, thank you for the call....Now let's see, if I have my chronology right, you married Bob and you divorced Bob....
EILEEN: Yeah, here's the way name goes. Lisa Miller-Hughes- Eldridge-Hughes-Shea-almost Hadley-McColl-Mitchell and now the widow Grimaldi.
CJAD: Oh, I missed a Hughes in there again.
EILEEN: Well, you know, she really didn't marry him but she took the name because she needed a legitimate name for her little illegitimate son, so she asked Nancy and the Hughes family if she could please use Hughes again.
CJAD: Okay, so she divorced Bob....Eldridge you had Scott with, but you didn't know you had Scott.
EILEEN: No I forgot about him, because I had to sell him. (laughter)
CJAD: Okay, now if I'm not mistaken, Michael Shea tried to kill you?
EILEEN: No, Michael Shea tried to take my son, which was his son as well. Oh that was such a wonderful storyline. That was one of my favorite stories. That was Irma Phillips' storyline. I had Chuckie and I wanted to marry the father, Michael Shea, and he wanted nothing to do with Lisa. So then as the little boy got older, we grew him up a little bit, Michael Shea saw him and said, "oh, I want my son!" So he tries to court Lisa and she has nothing to do with him. Then Michael catches my son Tom stealing drugs from his office and said that he was going to report him unless I marry him. So I was blackmailed into marrying him and that's why Lisa married Michael Shea. Then he tries to do all kinds of terrible things....oh I can't say it on the air, but there's a very funny story about what happened on the air with little Chuckie and Michael Shea and a doctor and a needle.
CJAD: Okay, we'll just leave it at that (laughter)
EILEEN: Now did you read that little chapter?
CJAD: No I didn't but I'll have to go and look that one up.
EILEEN: You'll gonna just love it.
CJAD: Okay, then you married Grant Coleman who was a lawyer and you divorced him. And your last three husbands have been murdered.
EILEEN: Oh that's a terrible thought!
CJAD: Whit McColl.
EILEEN: Whit was murdered, yes.
CJAD: And Earl Mitchell.
CJAD: And now Eduardo Grimaldi.
EILEEN: Poor Eduardo. And you know, Michael Shea was murdered so that's four out of seven who have been murdered!
CJAD: You are the original black widow, aren't you?
EILEEN: (laughter) I think she is!
CJAD: Let's go back to the lines. Heather, hi, you're on the air.
CALLER: Hello, I'm your number one fan, along with Tom and Scott. I was wondering, what is going to happen with Tom's daughter Lien? Will she be back in the story?
EILEEN: We talk about her. Has that been shown yet?
CJAD: Yes, it has
EILEEN: Oh, she's going to be alright. You know it was just to get Tom out because Scott Holmes is doing a wonderful musical in Hawaii and so this was just to get him out. So Tom and Margo go to take care and be with Lien. That was the reason. That's the backstage scoop.
CALLER: Well I let you go. I just want you to know I'm your number one fan and you're doing a great job.
EILEEN: Thank you.
CJAD: Sandy, hi, you're on the air.
CALLER: Hi, I'd like to say, Miss Fulton, I have thoroughly enjoyed you throughout the years that I've watched AS THE WORLD TURNS. I think since I've been a little girl and before highschool yet.
EILEEN: Oh, well that's grand!
CALLER: I think you're fantastic and I like the way you sort of pop in and pop out!
EILEEN: Well thank you!
CALLER: I was wondering, how do you like this whole scenario that's going on with John, with you suing John?
EILEEN: It's my favorite storyline. I just love it
CALLER: Do you think this is actually going to go to court?
CALLER: Oh, it will!
EILEEN: Oh definitely. I can tell you that.
CALLER: It's going to be a drag out fight?
EILEEN: It's going to go pretty fast but it's going to be good.
CALLER: Oh, I'm looking forward to it.
EILEEN: It's going to split up the town. It's going to tear everybody apart.
CALLER: You're going to know who's who and who isn't
EILEEN: That's right!
CALLER: Well, let me tell you, I've been following it and it looks very interesting.
EILEEN: Thank you.
CALLER: And I'm sorry that you lost your latest husband.
EILEEN: Oh thank you. So am I. I love Nick Coster.
CALLER: Yes, he is a good actor.
EILEEN: He surely is.
CALLER: Anyways, thank you very much and keep on plugging.
CJAD: Thank you for the call....I have to take this moment to mention that she was talking about the stuff that's going on right now. I have to say that in all the years I have been watching the show, that is some of your finest work that you're doing right now.
EILEEN: Thank you.
CJAD: When you a script like that and you go through rehearsals and you shoot it, can you say to yourself, do you think in the back of your mind, "this could be the Emmy?"
EILEEN: No, no, I've had people say that after they saw it but I don't think about that. When I'm doing....back in the deepest part of my mind is make it real, make it real. That's all I care about.
CJAD: One of the other things. Even my Mother brought this one up. The infamous "Grandma Clause."
EILEEN: I wondered when you were going to ask me that. (laughter) I have it written down on a piece of paper to mention it if you didn't.
EILEEN: It was so important to me. This is when I had, and have a say in Lisa and to keep her going. If it were not for the "Granny Clause" I don't even know if Lisa would be on the show now, because back in the 70s, Lisa was having this hot affair with Michael Shea and they grew Tom up. I went away on vacation and came back and he was going to get married to Carol. And I said, he cannot get married because if he gets married that means that I will be a grandmother. They said, "well yes, of course, a legitimate grandmother." And I said, "well I will not be a grandmother, because you do not write for grandmothers." Grandmothers at that time in the 70s, they took away their love life, they took away the bedroom, they took away everything. Stuck them in the kitchen and that was the end of them. Because they didn't realize that grandparents and older people have a jolly good life, let me put it that way. So I said, "I will not sign my contract," because just as luck would have it, my contract was up and it was in July. And I said, "I will not resign unless I get a clause stating that Tom will not be a father." So they had to put in, because I was serious and I had horrible fights about this. In fact I almost broke my hand slamming it on a desk, but anyway, I got that clause and for many years Tom was not, could not be a father. And when he married Carol, which he did, we called her Sterile Carol, (laughter), and then he married Natalie and she was Naughty Natalie who couldn't do anything. Then finally, I just dropped that clause because I was old enough by then. You see, in the 70s I was just 30- something. I'll be 62 this year, so I'm going to say that right now so you don't have to figure what my age is.
EILEEN: So, I was in my 30s and at that point for the soap opera, too young to be a grandmother, and I was not going to let that happen, because Claire Cassen became a grandmother, and then she became a great grandmother and the woman was only 39, Barbara Berjer was just a young woman. And what did they do? They couldn't handle it so they hit her with a truck! (laughter) And I said, "no, this is not going to happen to me," so I saved Lisa's life by having that, but I do not have that clause anymore. But when Tom and Margo lost their baby, the audience remembered the clause, which I had long since forgotten about and blamed me! This is so odd, because now everybody knows that we are actors playing a part. They blamed me, Eileen Fulton, for the death of this pillow! Isn't that horrible. And I got life threatened. Oh, terrible letters, horrible letters. The producers got them, everybody got them. I had a body guard. I had a driver. The bodyguard had to build an apartment at the bottom of my house, which is saga in itself. My life is far more ruckus then Lisa's ever was. If you think Lisa was something, read my book. What can I say, (laughter)
CJAD: As I mentioned before, you have a lot of actors who go off and do other things. They do nighttime, they do films. There have been a series of actresses and actors who have gone through AS THE WORLD TURNS from Marisa Tomei to Meg Ryan, Julianna Moore just recently. The list goes on and on and on.
EILEEN: Oh it does.
CJAD: Do you often wonder...did you have desires for the big screen yourself.
EILEEN: Of course I did. I was never at the right place at the right time, but yet when I look at it I think I am so lucky to have 35 years on this show. It's just wonderful, because I do have a good contract. I can go out and sing. I can go out and do some other things. I can do nighttime, if I'm at the right place at the right time, I can do a movie. I can do any of this. I just have to do it.
CJAD: When you first stepped on that soundstage at Lisa Miller 35 years ago, how long did you think you would be on that show.
EILEEN: No longer than a year. And when they forced me to sign a seven year contract, I got them down to five. I thought my life was over! I felt nauseated riding through Central Park. I thought, "oh God, I have done myself in. I have sold myself down the river!".......I don't think I have.
CJAD: I don't think the fans will think that either. It really was a pleasure to be able to talk to you this evening.
EILEEN: Oh I'm sorry, I've talked your ear off!
CJAD: Oh, not at all, not at all. I wish we had more time.
EILEEN: I do to. I have really enjoyed it.
CJAD: And for those who need more of the story, there is even much more in the book. And the book is called AS MY WORLD STILL TURNS: THE UNCENSORED MEMOIRS OF AMERICA'S SOAP OPERA QUEEN. It is published by Birch Lane Press. Eileen Fulton is the author. She has been our guest for the last hour and I thank you for being on the program with us.
EILEEN: My pleasure!
CJAD: And continued success.
EILEEN: Thank you so much!
CJAD: We hope to watch Lisa doing both good and dastardly things everyday on AS THE WORLD TURNS
EILEEN: Oh thank you!