Marie Masters, who debuted on ATWT in 1968, has decades of history as strong Stewart matriarch (and one-time alcoholic homewrecker), Susan. Digest recently caught up with the actress, who talked about what she’ll miss most about her Oakdale alter and her plans now that the show has wrapped up production.Soap Opera Digest: Clearly, a lot has changed since when you started back in the sixties!
Marie Masters: When Marnie [Schulenburg, Alison] came on the show and she was the porn film star and Kelley [Menighan Hensley, Emily] was sleeping with guys in motels, I can’t tell you how great it was to do that [laughs]! Our society has gotten so crazy and really on the edge of everything I grew up to believe was just not moral. I grew up in a whole different time! I’ve seen a lot of changes, especially on television. I used to live next door to a CBS censor. That was his job. He was one of the guys who said, “No woman can grab a doorknob after a man has handled it. If a couple has sex, one person must have a foot on the floor.” Married people couldn’t be in the same bed. There used to be moral clauses in contracts!
Digest: What will you miss most about playing Susan?
Masters: I will miss Susan’s difference from me. She’s as different from me as a person could get. I sat down with Kathy [Hays, Kim] and Colleen [Zenk, Barbara] and we were just talking about what we’re going to miss and we said, “My alter ego!” I’m going to miss my other life. We had houses, children, parents, husbands, relatives, jobs, wardrobes. It’s literally decades! I know it sounds crazy but it’s one of the totally unique things about a totally unique show, that we created these characters and that whole life will be gone. I hate to tell you how much it meant to us. The fantasy life, forget about the real life.
Digest: Are there any fun little factoids about Susan you are aware of that longtime viewers might not know?
Masters: You know, at one point, Anthony [Herrera, ex-James] played Susan’s boyfriend? Anthony had a job for a year as Susan’s boyfriend and then they hired him a few years later as this whole other character. He didn’t start as James. Crazy, huh?
Digest: Are you worried about staying in touch with your Oakdale family?
Masters: Anybody I want to see, I’ll see. The kids will probably be moving on. That’ll make me sad but there’s always the telephone and the Internet. Don [Hastings, Bob] and I went out to dinner after the cast wrap party and he said, “We gotta stay in touch. You gotta come out to the country!” So we’re gonna do that. I know I’ll see Kathy and Eileen [Fulton, Lisa] and Colleen. We’ll just hang.
Digest: What are your plans for the future?
Masters: I’m writing a couple of things. Really, that’s about all I’m doing right now. There will be some plays next year I’ll work on. I have a book proposal I have to write some chapters for and I’m starting a screenplay and I haven’t done that in a long time so I have some research to do!