Interview

ICYMI: Beth Maitland (Traci) Looks Back At Her Favorite Y&R Moments

Most Memorable Scene? “It was a scene in a lonely hallway with poor Traci. It must have been like ’86, ’87 in there somewhere. In the story, Traci got pregnant with Tim’s baby. She caught him in bed with his ex-wife. She used her key to his front door, came in and caught them in bed. ‘Oh, Traci. It’s not what you think,’ but it certainly was. She rushed out, collapsed in his hallway and slid down the wall crying.”

Best Thing About Playing Traci: “The one thing that is unique about playing Traci is the fan outreach. In a parking lot recently, this woman came running up to me and said, ‘Oh, my God! I love Traci! You mean so much to me. I’m so excited to see you and get to thank you in person.’ And I said, ‘Do you have your phone? Let’s take a picture.’ But the point is, I don’t know if I would have that same reaction if it wasn’t for playing Traci. For anything else, even if I was in nighttime or film or whatever, I just think there’s something so special about the magic that this unusual character has to tell her flawed, very human, very relatable, very real story to an audience full of very flawed, very real, very human people.”

Best Thing About Playing An Abbott: “All of it! I am a little bit of a snob, along with Peter [Bergman, Jack], about being an Abbott. Peter has a thing. He looks around and he says, ‘I love it when my Abbotts are here.’ And it makes everyone laugh. But it’s true. I am a little smug, honestly, that when we’re all together we are all at our best. It’s all the individual players coming together as one, like a real family with our ups and our downs and our personal lives and our desire and willingness at the end of the day to be Abbotts. It defines us.”

Best Line Of Dialogue? “Early on, when Traci and Lauren didn’t like each other, she invited Traci to a pool party, knowing she’d be too embarrassed to show up in a bathing suit. But Traci did come, wearing a sun dress, and Lauren made little cutting remarks to her. There was a band at the party and Traci got up and belted out ‘Still In The Game’ by Steve Winwood. Everyone cheered and applauded, which made Lauren so angry because Traci was getting all of the attention. While Lauren was stewing, Traci walked by and said, ‘It’s your party, Lauren, you can cry if you want to.’ ”

All-Time Favorite Storyline? “It was also the most challenging storyline as well: the death of Colleen. On a personal best as an actor, that would have to be the most challenging, the most difficult. I think I cried for 30 episodes straight. I am very proud of that work and sort of feel like that probably was the best work of my career.”

Best Thing About Working With Tracey E. Bregman (Lauren)? “That we have fun together. I would say Tracey is in the top 10 friends of my life. She has been to me one of the best friends of my life. Through thick, through thin, through happy times, through awful times, through babies and juice boxes and runny-nosed kids, through ex-husbands, Tracey and I have been friends. We can laugh together, we can cry together, we can dish, we can commiserate. She is honest and true and she is a wonderful friend to me. Again, I couldn’t be more grateful that girl is in my life.”

Best Thing About Working With Jason Thompson (Billy)? “This is going to take some explaining — I have a total mommy crush on him. What that means in my world is, it’s not like a cougar thing, it’s not some weird romantic thing. It’s about if I had a son, I would want him to be Jason Thompson. He is a good father, he is a good husband, he is a wonderful actor, he’s a giving friend. He is dreamy!”

Favorite Thing About Working With Jerry Douglas (ex-John)? “It’s an odd one. Jerry took over being our father personally and professionally, as you might expect. There was a period of time where Eileen Davidson [Ashley] and I were angry with each other and we did not speak to each other off of the set. We exchanged our lines as loving sisters and then we marched away to our dressing rooms. We did not speak for a time and Jerry didn’t like it that we weren’t getting along. We were sitting around shooting an Abbott breakfast scene and Eileen said something cheeky and I, as Beth, made some nasty snide remark. Jerry turned to me, put his hand on my wrist and said, ‘Mind your business.’ He was so much our father that I felt like I had been scolded by my dad and I was going to be grounded or something, so I shut up. Jerry was such a patriarch on and off screen.”

Most Fun Storyline? “The 1940s film noir scenes that took place over the earlier part of this year. I loved everything about that; the sassy dialogue, the attitude, the hair and makeup, the clothes and the funny hat. I was raised on movies of the ’30s and ’40s and I’ve always dreamed of being in one. For this little shining moment, I got to go be in a ’40s movie and it was so much fun.”

Best Thing About The Y&R Cast? “We all rise to the occasion. Everyone learns their lines, everyone’s there on time, everyone is professional and eager and 100 percent in. We work like a well-oiled machine together.”

Favorite Moment About Your Daytime Emmy Win? “I remember the funniest. It was after the Emmys and in those days they were held at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel. As we were making our way to the other banquet room where the private party would be, a girl came up to me in the same exact jacket I was wearing and said, ‘Oh, I was so excited that we’re both wearing the same outfit. In fact, somebody asked me if I was you and congratulated me for winning the Emmy.’ I asked, ‘Where’d you get yours?’ And she said somewhere in the Midwest in some store I didn’t know. I got mine on Melrose Avenue at some fancy boutique and thought, ‘No one in the world will have an outfit like this!’ ”

Favorite Thing About Working With Peter Bergman (Jack)? “Peter will always be upping the stakes. He will always be raising the bar and I’ve been the happy recipient of his active love for as long as he’s been on the show. Peter has been my advocate, my friend, my confidant, my therapist and he has been my fan. Most people protect their position and save their favors for themselves and Peter is as generous a person as I know in sharing those with me. He has been so supportive of me and so many others. Eileen would tell you the same thing. I’m sure Michael Mealor [Kyle] would tell you the same thing. It is a tremendous gift to be loved by Peter Bergman and I’m so grateful that I am.”

Best Thing About Working With Eileen Davidson? “Eileen and I have known each other since I was 24 and she, I think, was 23. We briefly had a falling out but our relationship is deep and rich and lovely and supportive and amazing. Every year, the actress who won Best Actress hosts a luncheon for the nominees in that category in the following year. I was one of the nominees in the Best Supporting Actress category, and Eileen said to me, ‘I’m thinking about opening up the luncheon because I’m hosting this year. I would like to include the Best Supporting Actress nominees as well.’ And so it doubled in fun and was an amazing celebration. We had a wonderful time. Eileen knew I was nominated for the first time in 34 years and made this happen. What a gift, right?”

Best Thing About Working With Younger Actors? “I feel like I’m everybody’s Aunt Traci and I hope that never changes. Working with the younger actors keeps everyone fresh and keeps our finger on the pulse of basically our business that I care about so much. I was an acting teacher for 18 years, I was the vice president of an acting school and I taught directing and acting on and off over those years. So young people already inspire me and complete me in developing my craft. Giving back means so much to me, that I can share some of my experiences and my perspective and my techniques and things I’ve learned that work for me and don’t. But when you work with a person on the set, not in a class, they bring their energy and vitality and a level of freshness that I think reminds us that we have to strive every day. They’re great. They’re amazing. I love Hunter [King, Summer]. She is so adorable and so much fun. And Michael has brought such a lovely, new element to the Abbott family. Just can’t say enough good about that young man. He’s a reader, he is a podcast listener, he is always stuffing things into his mind. What a great kid. All of them that I have worked with continue to just bring me delight. And that’s why I always want to be everybody’s Aunt Traci.”

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