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ICYMI Tracey E. Bregman Interview

What’s the best thing about playing Lauren? “First of all, you get to wear some great fashion, plus I’ve had some remarkable, wonderful storylines and I got really lucky to win the co-star lottery every time.”

What was the best thing about playing a bad girl, which Lauren was at first? “Well that was just so much fun, and, when I wasn’t saying hurtful things to Beth Maitland’s character [Traci], I really loved finding the joy and the juice in that. No bad girl thinks she’s bad, but I think Lauren was aware of her manipulations for a long time and there was some power that she felt from that. It was never, ‘I don’t know why I’m like this’; she knew what she was doing. What made it fun playing a bad character is finding the truth in that as to why that character can feel that way.”

What was the best thing about working with Beth? “We became instant besties. It was like Camp Genoa City because we were really young and we were working crazy hours back then. It was, like, 12-to-15 hour days and then we’d learn 20-to-40 pages of dialogue a day, and we were working four and five days a week. Then we were recording music at night, so it was just an immersive experience. Of course, Beth is so incredible and we had so much fun together for a solid two years. I had to say such awful things to Beth [in scenes], and she will graciously tell you that I cried about it because it was so hard for me. Some of it was a lot of fun, but when it was really personal, I could barely get those words out of my mouth. And Beth is such a pro.”

What was the best thing about working with Michael Damian (Danny)? “He is just the sweetest, kindest, most fun guy. Beth and I were talking recently about him and we said no matter what he’s done in his life, he has not changed one iota from the nice guy I met in 1983. He’s adorable and I’ve been there at the premieres of the movies he’s directed and a lot of other wonderful things and he always takes time to talk to me.”

What was the best thing about working with Doug Davidson (Paul)? “Well, first of all, it’s really what’s the best/worst thing about working with Doug? He’s one of the funniest humans on earth and when I could detect a glint in his eye, I’d be done. Doug makes me laugh like nobody’s business. We also never knew what was going to happen on tape. It didn’t matter how many times we rehearsed, we never knew what was going to come out of our mouths and how a scene would go, so there was this sort of like a crackling excitement from that.”

What was the best thing about working with Kimberlin Brown (Sheila)? “Kimberlin and I had so many physical fights and we really trusted each other. I was always in heels or bugle beads and I was sliding all over the place, while she was in tennis shoes or boots, so she was able to hold on to me and keep me from falling. Let me tell you, Kimberlin is an extraordinary Sheila. She played that character for all it’s worth and did an incredible job.”

What was the best thing about the famous baby-switch story, which introduced Sheila? “It gave us a lot of interesting story to play, that’s for sure. It was built around my [real-life] pregnancy, so I got to work all the way up to a few days before I delivered. It was a wild story — and long. In those days, soaps took their time with stories and they could last up to a year or more. Just when you thought there was going to be progress [with Lauren’s story] with Sheila’s mother, Molly, revealing the truth, she had a stroke and couldn’t communicate. Now, this was the problem with working with Doug. I had all these scenes with this wonderful actress [Marilyn Alex] who played Molly, and because the character had a stroke, something happened to her head. I guess the way they put her head thing on, Doug said, ‘She looks like a Q-tip.’ That was the last time I could make eye contact with this poor actress. But the story slowly unfolded and the audience became really invested in the story. It was beautifully constructed.”

What do you consider the best plot twist? “When Lauren’s father, Neil Fenmore, died. I didn’t see that coming and I was shocked. I was so part of the whole music thing and it was a huge departure overnight, but it turned out to be great and took Lauren into a whole other direction.”

What was Lauren’s best wedding? “Well, the one with Michael was so much fun because there was also a lot of other stuff going on. The only scary part about the wedding is that I had to deliver my monologue at five minutes to 1:00 and then they were pulling the plug — no pressure! Other than that it was a really fun wedding. I remember being nervous, like I was actually getting married. At this point, I was married in real life, so I don’t know why I was so nervous about this one. It was kind of funny. Oh, and you know who helped run lines with me that day? Bill Hayes [Doug, DAYS]. He sat with me in my dressing room while everyone else was doing their scenes and ran the vows with me until I felt comfortable. That’s such a great memory to have with him.”

What’s the best thing about working with Christian J. LeBlanc (Michael)? “He’s an extraordinary man and an amazing actor. He’s intelligent and intelligently funny. There isn’t a day that I go into work and don’t belly-laugh. We have a similar sense of humor and we’re silly, and that’s like a drug to me. Going into an environment where you are full-on laughing every single day is pretty extraordinary.”

What was your best Daytime Emmy moment? “That I got to win [for Outstanding Ingenue] the same year as my best friend, Beth [for Outstanding Supporting Actress].”

What’s the best thing about working at Y&R? “I would have to say everyone there is 100 percent committed to making the best show. After all of these years, every single person I work with today has the same work ethic and that’s what makes going to work so much fun.”

Who is Lauren’s best friend? “Phyllis. What I like about them is they can disapprove of what each other does and they can even not like each other for periods of time, but they love each other and at the end of the day they’ll show up for each other.”

What’s the best thing about working with Michelle Stafford (Phyllis)? “First of all, we’re very close in real life, so to be able to bring our friendship onto the screen really fills in all the spaces for Lauren and Phyllis. It’s a lot of fun to work with people that you love and adore. She’s an incredible actress so you have to bring your A game. What I love about working with her is that I can read a scene one way, and inevitably she will always surprise me.”

What’s the best thing about playing Lauren as a mom? “Having the cutest TV sons, Daniel [Hall, ex-Scott] and Zach [Tinker, Fen; Sonny, DAYS]. There was an instant rapport and comfort with both of them, but I don’t really get to play Lauren as a mom a lot.”

What was your best storyline? “I really loved the story of Michael and Lauren coming together over Kevin and how we then had to walk away from each other for Kevin. I thought that was beautifully done, and then getting Kevin well and Michael proposing. Christian and I had a huge hand in that. Everyone thought it was a horrible idea to put us together, but we knew it could work. Until then, we just played sex in every scene that we were in because we really wanted to work together. [Then-Head Writer] Jack Smith was ‘No, no, no!’ and we were like, ‘Yes, yes, yes!’ until we wore him down and he wrote us the most beautiful love story.”

What was your best location shoot? “That would be Lake Como, Italy when I was on BOLD AND BEAUTIFUL. For Y&R, I only went to San Francisco, Griffith Park, Tahoe and the CBS parking lot. All of Italy is in love with BOLD AND BEAUTIFUL, so there were crowds and craziness wherever we went. The minute the sun went down we all got to play.”

What was the best thing about working on B&B? “It was really an amazing experience because when I was there, those were the days when we would come in, block our scenes and then break for lunch, so the cast and crew all spent a lot of time together going to lunch. We would talk and laugh and get to know each other across tables. It was almost like doing summer stock.”

What was the best thing about working with Darlene Conley (ex-Sally)? “That was when I got to play some comedic moments and working with Darlene will do that. Talk about never knowing what’s going to come out of someone’s mouth. I could have one line because she could talk for an entire page or she could have a monologue and she’ll say one line of it and stop. She was so brilliant and fun and funny and very interesting. She was larger than life and I’m so glad I got to spend the time with her.”

What was the best thing about working Susan Flannery (ex-Stephanie)? “That it was so much fun because we were very good friends off camera as well. Whenever we were on location shoots in Italy or in New York for the [Daytime] Emmys, Susan was always the ringleader on what activities we were doing. She’d be like, ‘Okay, we’re going here, and we’re doing this, we’re doing that’, and you didn’t dare tell her that you were too tired.”

What’s the best thing about working with John McCook (Eric)? “Like Doug, John would make me laugh so hard before every scene. He is just hilarious, and so sweet and loving. We just really had a great time working together.”