Su­san Brown (Gail) Trib­ute

GEN­ERAL HOSPI­TAL le­gacy play­ers paint a pic­ture of the beloved ac­tress who brought Gail to life

ABC Soaps In Depth - - Contents -

Su­san Brown hasn’t been seen in Port Charles since 2004, but in the wake of her Au­gust 31 pass­ing, it’s clear that the beauty who brought Gail Bald­win to life is still cher­ished by her GEN­ERAL HOSPI­TAL fam­ily. In fact, Kin Shriner (Scott), Les­lie Charleson (Mon­ica) and Jack­lyn Ze­man (Bob­bie) can still re­call their first ex­pe­ri­ences with the late ac­tress. “In 1977, Gail came to Green­wich Vil­lage to get young Scotty, be­cause she wanted to re­unite him with Lee,” Shriner says. “So Su­san was the first per­son I worked with on GH, and it was cer­tainly the best way to come onto a soap. She kind of shep­herded me right through the whole thing.”

Brown had joined GH ear­lier that year — armed with 20 years of TV ex­pe­ri­ence — and along with the late Peter Hansen’s Lee, the Bald­wins would be­come an im­por­tant Port Charles fam­ily in the ’80s. Gail was also Mon­ica’s fos­ter mom, which meant Brown got to wel­come Charleson to the fold when she as­sumed her role from

Patsy Rahn… dur­ing a strike… on the morn­ing Elvis died! “It was a night­mare of a day,” Charleson re­calls. “No­body re­ally liked me, and it was not a com­fort­able sit­u­a­tion, but Su­san was kind and gra­cious — as she al­ways was! — and she got me through it.

“I just adored her,” she con­tin­ues. “And those scenes we had when Mon­ica slept with Gail’s hus­band were some of the most fun I’ve ever had act­ing­wise. Work­ing with some­one who chal­lenges you only makes you bet­ter — and that’s what she did.”

While Ze­man re­mem­bers be­ing awed by Brown’s leg­endary beauty, it was the voice that got her. “She had a very calm­ing, low, em­brac­ing voice that made you feel good,” she re­flects. “She was one of those peo­ple who just made you feel warm and fuzzy.”

“She was one of those peo­ple who just made you feel warm

and fuzzy.”

Lovely In­side And Out

It turns out, much of Gail’s sen­si­bil­ity came from Brown. “Su­san brought her class and style right to the show,” Shriner shares. “She played a psy­chi­a­trist, and she cer­tainly knew how to talk to peo­ple and was very good with

them. She was un­der­stand­ing and loved laugh­ing. She’d come out of New York and soaps and com­mer­cials, so she had this great, wry hu­mor.”

But Brown’s laughs were never at any one else’s ex­pense. “You couldn’t get any dirt out of her,” Charleson says. “She was fiercely loyal. She was gen­er­ous. She al­ways had a smile and a nice thing to say. She had im­pec­ca­ble taste. And ev­ery­thing she wore never wrin­kled. I mean that!

“Su­san could also make a very se­ri­ous mo­ment funny,” she adds. Once, Brown caught her co-star with her shirt on back­wards. “We were back­stage [about to go on], and I re­mem­ber her try­ing to get my arms up in the air so she could turn that damn thing around. I kept say­ing, ‘I’m go­ing to die right here!’ But she talked me off the ledge.”

Chimes in Ze­man: “You can’t al­ways count on peo­ple who are such free spir­its to give you the right line or cue, but they’re a lot of fun on set, so they get away with it. But Su­san al­ways hit her mark, al­ways knew her line, al­ways looked beau­ti­ful. She

was sheer per­fec­tion.”

The Host­ess With The Most

Even Brown’s din­ner par­ties were leg­endary. “I man­aged to shoe­horn in on a few of those, and it was a great time,” Shriner raves. “Su­san had a lot of friends — ac­tors, ac­tresses and writ­ers of her age — and she did a lot of so­cial­iz­ing!”

In fact, her dress­ing room was a hub dur­ing GH’s hey­day. “Su­san al­ways had the door open,” Shriner re­calls. “There were a lot of laughs! And I looked for­ward to any time I had scenes with her and Peter. I knew we were go­ing to have a hell of a lunch. Su­san and Peter loved to eat!”

While Gail was writ­ten off in ’85, Brown re­curred in the ’90s and even brought her char­ac­ter to the spin-off PORT CHARLES be­fore ap­pear­ing on GH one last time in 2004. But whether she was on the show or not, her GH fam­ily lunches con­tin­ued. “On Sun­days, there were usu­ally four or five of us go­ing to lunch, and Su­san was al­ways dolled up — even when we picked her up to go to DuPar’s,” Shriner chuck­les be­fore not­ing that most of their fa­vorite eater­ies, in­clud­ing that diner, have since closed.

“Ev­ery­thing in L.A. even­tu­ally dis­ap­pears and now, Su­san’s dis­ap­peared,” he con­cludes wist­fully. “She and Peter are up there in soap heaven, do­ing some Lee/Gail scenes with­out me… but she’ll be locked in my mem­ory for the rest of my life.”

“Su­san just loved be­ing on GH. When all of us got on PC,” says Shriner, with Brown and Hansen, “it was like we had an­other hur­rah.”

“I fol­lowed Su­san around ev­ery­where,” re­calls Charleson, with Brown and Denise Alexan­der (ex-Les­ley).

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.