Elizabeth Hendrickson reflects on her Y&R exit and Port Charles journey.
Soap Opera Digest: So, we are going to start back at the beginning of your daytime career, which was ALL MY CHILDREN [where she played Frankie, then Frankie’s twin, Maggie]. On your very first day there you worked with Susan Lucci [ex-erica] — not intimidating or anything!
Elizabeth Hendrickson: No, not at all! I remember being utterly petrified. Not only was it my first day with Susan Lucci, but she ran [Frankie] over with a car! I just remember getting to set — I had only had one acting job before that, so this really was my first experience, especially, like, in a studio and shooting the way that soaps shoot — [and] I remember not having my script and everyone else always had their scripts and I just remember standing there being like, “Oh, God, I’m doing all of this wrong!” Like, “This is all wrong and I’m with the most popular, iconic actress in daytime and I look like an idiot!” Of course, Susan was lovely and amazing and gracious. I really fell in love with the medium on that day because I really never thought that was something I was interested in doing. I never watched soap operas; it was never my thing. I knew of Susan Lucci, because who didn’t, but I didn’t grow up watching soaps. I was more of a game show kind of kid when I was home sick. I would watch, like, THE PRICE IS RIGHT and SUPERMARKET SWEEP and things like that. Digest: After ALL MY CHILDREN, you landed on YOUNG AND RESTLESS and you spent many years in the role of Chloe, racking up a zillion Emmy nominations along the way, not to mention. What stands out to you when you look back on your Y&R run?
Hendrickson: My Y&R run really came as a surprise to me .... I was testing a bunch and so close to all of these, like, great prime-time gigs for like pilots and things like that and then all of a sudden, the writers’ strike happened and the business came to, like, a screeching halt. I just tried to keep myself as busy as possible. I had signed on to doing a one-act [play] and Greg Rikaart [ex-kevin, Y&R] played my love interest and Barbara Bloom, who [was] the head of CBS Daytime, was there and the next thing I know, I had a meeting. I was really only supposed to be there for a few episodes [but] I realized that first week it was almost the same feeling that I had when I was on ALL MY CHILDREN, that I really did love the medium and I loved being able to create a character. I’ve been really lucky that I get handed these characters that kind of have these blank pages, if you will. They really have never been contract [roles]. Even Margaux is not a contract player [so] they’re kind of just constantly developing the character as it goes.
Digest: How did you feel about Chloe’s exit?
Hendrickson: I mean, to be honest, I
really did not like that exit. It was not only a surprise to me, but I didn’t really love the way that .... I didn’t mind leaving, but then when they brought her back to do this kind of pretending that she was dead, ghost, soapy stuff, and then to kind of take Greg along with me, just didn’t feel right. I’m being completely honest. It was definitely not my favorite exit, but at least she wasn’t killed! It wasn’t some awful death or anything like that, but it definitely wasn’t my favorite good-bye.
Digest: At least you got to cross attending your own funeral off your soap opera bucket list that I imagine you have.
Hendrickson: You almost took the words right out of my mouth! I remember when I was shooting, I was like, “Well, now I’ve done every soap cliché in the book!”
Digest: That story did put you in such close proximity with Eric Braeden [Victor, Y&R]; I feel like you also have this “working with legends” thing going on.
Hendrickson: I know! You know, I really realized that, especially right now because I’m working so much with Maurice [Benard, Sonny] and Laura [Wright, Carly] .... I was working with Laura a couple weeks ago and we were in the cemetery and she’s, like, going after me and I’m just, like, watching her. I’m like, “Oh, God, wait, no, I’m acting. Act!” Even though I said I didn’t watch soap operas way back when, I mean, I’ve been in daytime for 10-plus years now, obviously I do watch and GENERAL HOSPITAL, I’ve always loved the actors so much. I think the actors are incredible on the show. Whenever I’m watching Emmy reels, I’m always just drooling over Laura and even Maurice. And then when you get to work with them, it’s kind of like you end up in an out-of-body experience. Digest: Someone you did work with a lot is Billy Miller [Drew; ex-billy, Y&R], when you two were at YOUNG AND RESTLESS. Is it easier to share scenes with him because it’s familiar, even
though the character is new to you?
Hendrickson: I would almost say it’s harder because you just so want to make it different. I think that this whole memory thing has been kind of, like, overshadowing the chemistry that he and I share together because she really hasn’t had many great moments. She’s pretty annoying! I’m just like, “Gosh, she’s not doing herself any favors. Not trying to make friends here!” I don’t really know what’s going on with that storyline and where that’s really gonna go, but I hope for us to have some scenes with maybe a little levity and bring back some new, fresh stuff that we can do with each other. Yes, it is comfortable because I’ve known him for so many years and it’s always so great, especially when you’re new on a show, to have a friendly face and you know what to expect when you get to work, you trust them, he’s always got your back, so all of that makes it all so much easier.
Digest: You’ve gotten to work with so many amazing people in the cast. Is there anybody you haven’t worked with that you’re looking forward to crossing paths with?
Hendrickson: Yeah, I’ve always loved Nancy Lee Grahn [Alexis] so much. I would love to work with her. And I really, really, really want to work with Finola [Hughes, Anna]. I got to work with her on ALL MY CHILDREN and she was like my idol back then. I just loved everything about her. I just thought she was like the coolest chick ever. I still feel that way about her, but when I was younger, I was like, “Oh, my God, this is what I wanna be when I grow up!” She’s just so rad and she’s got the coolest clothes. I’ll never get the accent, but she’s got the accent, she’s gorgeous and she’s such a fabulous actress and she’s such an awesome person. I’d love to work with her. I would love to work with Michelle [Stafford, Nina; ex-phyllis, Y&R] again. I worked with her a lot when I was on Y&R the first couple years; my character worked for her and I got to work with her a lot and I learned a lot from her. Digest: I know that before you got to GH, you used to watch it in the makeup room at ALL MY CHILDREN, and I know that you were a Sonny fan. Explain what it’s like to actually be working with Maurice. Hendrickson: Oh, my gosh, it is like the best thing in the world. I don’t know if this is a compliment or not, but I’m always so impressed with the people who have been doing it for a long time [who] show up to work like it’s still their first day. I really get that with Maurice, and Laura, but Maurice has this really cool thing that he does where you really never know .... I mean, yes, he plays the mobster, like, so well, but he has this thing where he really locks in with you like, right in the eyes. When I work with him I don’t feel like — I don’t want to say I don’t feel like I’m acting, [but] everything else kind of like falls away. He really shows up for his actors and he’s an extremely supportive co-star. He really cares about what you bring to the table and he loves a good fight, but he also loves the vulnerability. I love how vulnerable he gets, like when he was crying about his father; he just has this really great sensitivity to him that I think shows up in his work. As an actor, it just gives you so much more to work with. I show up to work and I think these scenes are going to be played a certain way and then all of a sudden something just happens that we didn’t expect to happen. Sometimes when you do daytime those little moments get lost because we move so quickly and we don’t have a lot of rehearsal time, but when I work with him, those little, like, magic moments get to happen. We just had one the other day, which is really great. We have really big scenes. I’ve actually worked with him a lot this week. It just gets really juicy and fun.
Miller Time: “It is comfortable because I’ve known him for so many years,” Hendrickson notes of working with Billy Miller (Drew), who was one of her Y&R leading men during his stint as Billy.
Grave Robber: As Y&R’S Chloe, Hendrickson (pictured with Greg Rikaart as Kevin) got to attend her own funeral.
Top Man: Hendrickson describes sharing scenes with Maurice Benard (Sonny) as “the best thing in the world.”