Linda Dano On DAYS Visit

Linda Dano (ex-Felicia, ANOTHER WORLD; ex-Rae, ABC) wants to make something clear about her short-term stint as DAYS’s Vivian. “It’s interesting because a lot of people on the Internet reached out to me and said, ‘They’ll never be another Vivian; I don’t know why you’re playing it,’ which for me, being in the business forever, was a bit shocking,” she admits. “I know Louise [Sorel, ex-Vivian]. We’ve been friends over the years. She’s even been to my house. When they called and said, ‘Would you play the character of Vivian?’ I didn’t take it as I was taking over a character. I took it as a two-week fill-in for her. It would be like someone playing Felicia and it’s not me. And I hope the fans of DAYS won’t feel that way about it. I want them to think about it as a friend doing a friend a favor.”

Once she agreed to come on board, Dano realized how happy she was to be back in the mix. “I have had a love affair for 35 years in daytime,” she points out. “It’s my family. And it’s not just my family on ANOTHER WORLD or ABC, you become friends with people that aren’t on your show and it becomes one huge family and that family understands each other. We know the labor it takes to pull off an hour show. We know how difficult it can be and how tired you can get. And it becomes a safe haven, if you will, for actors because we’re part of this giant family. For me, it was, ‘I’m going to go to California. I’m going to see some friends of mine who I haven’t seen in a long time. I’m going to have fun.’ I have a lot of friends on DAYS. I spoke to Deidre [Hall, Marlena] before I even left for California. I just spoke to her yesterday, in fact.”

Since she had some time before she began filming, Dano says she went into diet mode. “Before I went to California, I was at a certain weight because, hello, it’s the Covid,” she explains. “Everyone is home and eating everything they ever dreamed of eating. Who’s going to see you? Nobody. So when I got the job and agreed to it, I went back on my protein diet and I lost 12 pounds or something like that. That was great because I’m still at that weight. I really love being the weight I am now. I love Big Macs, fries, candy. I love all of it! It’s really an effort for me to behave myself. Getting the job made me lose the weight, so thank you, DAYS. It was the motivation I needed. Even at my age, I’m still vain enough to want to look a certain way.”

Once the actress got to the set, Dano felt immediately welcomed into the DAYS family. “It was a glorious time,” she reports. “I walked in there like I had been there all my life. They couldn’t have been more wonderful to me. They couldn’t do more for me. I would finish a scene, and a couple of the crew guys would stop me and say, ‘Linda, that was so good.’ And that went on every single day. And the hair and the makeup and the laughing? It was a glorious time. It really, truly was. It was reaffirming. I’m 77 years old. Who gets a call at 77, ‘Listen, would you like to have a job for a couple of weeks?’ When [Executive Producer] Ken Corday called me on the phone to welcome me, which I thought was incredibly sweet, I said, ‘The Ken Corday?’ I couldn’t believe he was calling me. And I said, ‘I hope I can do this. I spoke to Ron [Carlivati, head writer]. He’s walked me through it and it sounds like a lot of fun, and I’ll do the best I can but understand that I will never try to be Louise Sorel because I don’t work like that. I can’t do that. So if I can bring a little of my own Linda Dano flavor to it and do that kind of work, that would be fantastic.’ And he said, ‘Absolutely. That’s why we’re casting you.’ So I sort of had free rein before I even came. That was really wonderful.”

While traveling across the country, Dano realized the enormity of the task ahead of her. “I remember on the plane, I had the script out and I was running lines in my head and I’m thinking, ‘Geez, I hope I can do this. I haven’t done daytime in a while,’ ” she relays. “And first day, I did 12 scenes, something like that, and I got back to the hotel at 1 in the afternoon because I was the morning session, and I thought, ‘Whoa, I have two weeks of this? I hope it doesn’t kill me! I’m an old broad now. This is hard.’ And it was hard, until I got my feet wet and then it started to be truly fun. Everyone made it easy for me. I hate to gush about this crew because of my loyalty to ANOTHER WORLD, but the ANOTHER WORLD crew would be so proud of this crew; they’re all like-minded. They just do whatever they can do to make your job easier. They’re just great.”

She did have a bit of a hiccup on day one in her scenes with Ivan G’Vera (Ivan). “It was tough because first of all, in the script, it’s spelled I-v-a-n, and I see that as Eye-vin,” she explains. “I get there. I’ve read all the scripts. I’ve tried to learn every word, and every sentence had his name in it. I get there and they correct me when I’m on the floor: ‘No, no, Linda, it’s Eee-von.’ Oh, crap! Now I had to go and get my head to change every one of those Eee-vons. That first day was a nightmare because of that. But he was very sweet. We did the whole week together and then I worked with other people.”

All in all, the experience was a great one, Dano raves. “It was like going home again,” she shares. “I don’t have ANOTHER WORLD to go to; it’s been put to bed. All we have are our memories of that show. But being back with friends and new friends and that crew, it was really fun. When I stopped shaking, it really got fun.”