Watch out, fans — Debra Jo Rupp takes time away from her gig on THAT ’70s SHOW to pop into Pine Valley as an insane drunk this week on ALL MY CHILDREN.
“ALL MY CHILDREN was my very first job, other than commercials, and it was a terrifying experience,” Rupp shares of playing Sheila, a topless waitress in 1980. “I had never done television. I had done commercials, but that doesn’t count; you are holding up cereal and talking about it. I had to work with Susan Lucci (Erica), Fra Heflin (ex-Mona) and Hugh Franklin (ex-Charles Tyler). He had a really bad hearing problem. He just looked at you, and if you paused, he came in with his lines! Fra Heflin pulled me aside and said, ‘Don’t ever pause.’ Oh, my God, the pressure!”
The experience was a bit different this time. “I’m a huge ABC soap fan,” she admits. “I brought my camera and took pictures. I worked with Cameron Mathison (Ryan), Aiden (Turner, Aidan) and Erin (Connie Fletcher). They are the prettiest people you’ve ever seen in your life and just sweet and adorable.”
Rupp was also surprised to see how much Pine Valley had changed. “Apparently, in 1980 when I started, that was luxurious compared to what they do now,” reflects Rupp. “We didn’t even run through it! I was horrified. I’m backstage waiting to enter with Aiden, and I went, ‘Oh, my God! How do you do this?’ He looks at me and goes, ‘You’re like a veteran. You’re a pro.’ I said, ‘Oh, I haven’t done this. This is insane!’ I have huge admiration for what they do now — even the occasional clunker people.”
Luckily for her, Rupp got some helpful advice from the other actors, including Mathison, whom Rupp also watches on I WANNA BE A SOAP STAR. “I read a lot about how kind Cameron Mathison is and how he takes care of people, and I understand now. He totally took care of me,” she raves. “He was a sweetheart. And I have a lovely picture with him!”