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Performer of the Week, 1996-2002

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The ScorpioFiles, 1999-2005

2003- Performers of the Week- Finola Hughes and Vincent Irizarry (SOD 10/14/2003): A lack of feeling had never been David and Anna's problem. If anything, they had too much feeling; from the beginning, their relationship had been a veritable force field of nearly explosive emotion. This created bumps in their road, to be sure, but it also ensured that they cared enough, were invested enough, to traverse that road together.
     Then, in May, their beloved baby girl, Leora, died, The loss left her parents with a grief so pronounced, a loneliness so tactile, that the only thing they could feel was nothing. Which is why on 9/11, Anna told David that it, their life together, was over.
     At first David refused to accept Anna's decision spotlighting Irizarry's talent for communicating David's signature: a dogged but misguided faith in his ability to make others bend to his will. "We can rebuild, starting right now, at this very minute," he pleaded. But Anna would not be swayed. To rebuild, she pointed out, "you have to have reserves and I don't...David, I am empty." Hughes, as elegant, nuanced and fascinating to watch on her last day in the role of Anna as she was on her first- was exceptionally effective here when David angrily accused Anna of giving up. "No one fights harder then I do," she corrected him, her tone betraying the heft lurking behind her simple words. "when there's something to win". And that's when he knew: Anna was leaving; he could not stop her; he could not will her heart to heal.
     It was a quiet end to a stormy romance. But credit Hughes and Irizarry with making us feel so much precisely when their characters could not.

2002- Performer of the Week- Vincent Irizarry (SOD 10/22/2002): Vincent Irizarry has been pitch-perfect throughout the fallout from David's various crimes against Maria. But he was especially outstanding on 9/16, as David learned that his estranged wife was not pregnant with his child- and she intended to ban him from its life.
    The episode began with the moment of discovery. Eyes watering, hands shaking and breath shallow, Irizarry gave us full access to the awe that David felt as he sat mesmerized by Anna's sonogram. His joy was so pure, you could almost forget that Anna has good reason to consider her morality-deficient husband to be a threat to their unborn child.
    David's next destination was Anna's doorstep, where he begged her to take him back- to let the baby be a new beginning for them. And when she refused, he snapped. His demeanor became violent; he lunged at Anna, snatched away the signed power of attorney that she intended to use to divorce him and barked, "That baby inside of you is mine! You got that? That's mine!" So much for the warm fuzzies.
    In less than 60 minutes, Irizarry metamorphosed David from docile to demented with such fluiditythat we could almost see his head spinning. It's amazing what fatherhood will do to some people.

2001- Robin's Reunion with Anna [with video captures]

Memorable Moments- Family Reunion (SOU 7/31/2001)  Heartbreaking:  It was one of the most awaited reunions on daytime television.  How would it play out?  When GHís Robin Scorpio saw her mother Anna was alive and living in AMCís Pine Valley, all anyone could think of what would happen next.
    Robin didnít know that her mother was alive and on the other side of the door when she showed up at Wildwind looking for Edmund, who had seen Robin in Paris and asked her questions about her mother.  This brought Robin back to America to find out why he was so curious about her mom.
    Upon seeing Anna for the first time in years (Robin thought she was dead), the two women fell into each otherís arms.  The tears were flowing, not only from the actors, but from the viewers as well!  After the explanation of why Anna hadnít told her she was alive, Robin filled her mother in on her life, including that she was HIV positive and how she came to have the virus through her love for Stone.
    The performances by Finola Hughes and Kimberly McCullough were top notch, and you immediately knew these two had shared many memories together.  What disappointed us the most was that Robinís visit was so short.  Yes, Anna thought she would be in danger.  So how about bringing her back when the danger is over!

amc_hot_hughes.jpg (10213 bytes)2000- Applause, Applause (Gabrielle Winkel, SOW 1/25/2000): We love Finola Hughes when her Alex is in control, but love her even more when she's falling apart, which she did this week on All My Children. We never know what will set her off, but chances are good that whenever she is in David's presence, things are about to get weird.
    Hughes carefully made sure Alex began cracking up just a little bit more each day. She began reacting negatively to clocks and all references to New Year's Eve. Her body would stiffen up. She'd grab her head to try to stop thinking, or worse, remembering. Then her speeck woud get a little jittery. She'd get testy, and finally start throwing things, like the vase of flowers she sent hurtling across the room when David left the lodge.
    Hughes showed every nuanced step as Alex unraveled, until she lost her altogether. Then, after a few hours alone, she began to regain control. Alex is an intelligent woman, smart enough to know to leave a situation- in this case, the Crystal Ball- when she is about to lose it. But that night David wouldn't let her alone, which resulted in her biggest moment of acting out. In a state of confusion of time and place, she pushed him down the stairs at Wildwind. Hughes is divine whether happy or sad, sane or mad.

1998- Michael Nader (SOD 2/10/98): "Since actors usually learn about their storylines at least two weeks ahead of time, it's probable that Michael Nader knew, even as he was taping the recent scenes at the Marick mausoleum, that his Dimitri would soon be walking down the long road to redemption. Given that advance knowledge, nobody would have blamed him if he had toned down things a little, made Dimitri a little more likable, just to pave the way for the character's future. But instead, Nader took the opposite tack, unleashing the sort of go-for-broke fury and fray that actors are usually reluctant to release unless they're certain their character are about to be killed off.
    From the outset of the Crystal Ball, Nader gave Dimitri a nervous edge; he shifted his weight from one foot to the other, kept glancing this way and that, waiting for the ambush that would prove Edmund's peace offering was fraudulent. A startling range of storyline twists- attempted murder, lightening, ghosts, near death- followed, but nothing was more shocking or memorable than Nader's grinning face in the scenes where Dimitri, unaware that crushing humiliation was lurking just around the corner, bragged about his duplicity.
    Animated, proud and pleased as punch, Nader clearly revealed in Dimitri's enormous hubris; he enjoyed stripping Dimitri of all his honor and decency. And while that drastic acting choice will hobble the character on his journey to redemption, we're not worried. If anyone can pull off Dimitri's imprending aobut-face, it's Michael Nader."

1997- Applause, Applause (Gabrielle Winkel, SOW 11/18/97): "Some might call All My Children's Dimitri a control freak; others, a ruthless businessman. But one thing is certain. Michael Nader is far more entertaining and compelling now that Dimitri is out for himself than when he was Erica's devoted husband. Dimitri has been out of control since he lost Erica months ago. He stole Gloria from tad. He stole WRCW from Adam (for about a minute). He stole Maddie from his brother, Edmund. The week of Oct. 20, when he realized Maddie is not his daughter, Nader was his most scary and creepy. Like a trapped animal, he panicked, and immediately contacted Andy, the lab technician in Center City. After all but killing him, Dimitri terrorized Andy into admitting Skye was behind the change in the results. Then Dimitri went after her.
    The terror in Skye's face spoke volumes. Nader so convincingly portrayed Dimitri's venom and rage that he sent chills up my spine. His body language conveyed the depth of the anger the character was feeling.
    AMC was right on target when it developed Dimitri's dark side. Nader's brooding looks and raspy voice have always given Dimitri that evel edge. Nader, though, wisely keeps Dimitri's obsessiveness sufficiently in check to make it believable. He makes sure we can understand why Dimitri does what he does, even though his behavior is often cruel and inappropriate. AMC's Adam is also ruthless, but he is motivated by a desire for power and money. Nader's Dimitri is driven by pure emotion, and that is why he is such a fascinating character to watch."

Michael Nader (SOD 8/12/97): "It could have been a thankless task. The writers at All My Children had to take the heat off the beloved Erica Kane after fans and critics alike began lambasting her for the controversial kidnapping of little Sonya. With Erica in danger of derailing, someone else had to be put- literally- in the path of the oncoming train.
    Michael Nader, who for a long while has played the complicated but certainly not despicable Dimitri, was an odd choice to put on the tracks. After all, he is a leading man. 
    But Nader has been surprisingly effective as a meanie, and nothing short of brillant taking an already complex character and making him even more compelling.
    Nader let us feel Dimitri pain. He feels betrayed by Erica, and every move he makes in Pine Valley these days is a nasty and vindictive one. Dimitri is going full steam ahead after Gloria- even after being warned by her fiance, Tad, to stay away. Dimitri also caused the beloved Joe Martin to have a heart attack. Boo! Hiss! The malicious Marick has a vendetta against Erica that won't quit. And he pulled off the almost-impossible: He made us feel sorry for Erica. And so soon after the baby-swiping.
    Nader came to daytime something of an enigma. Well-known for being Joan Collin's man-toy on Dynasty, he previously had a none-too-memorable stint on ATWT. So when Nader was cast as teh smoky and sexy Dimitri, a few people wondered if he was being cast more for his name recognition and good looks than for his acting ability. No one need wonder anymore."

John Callahan (SOD 4/8/97): "In the long and winding aftermath of Maria and Dimitri's infidelity, John Callahan emerged as All My Children's unsung hero, the believable voice of reason whose reactions mirror those of the audience. Always a strong leading man, Callahan has recently shown a depth of feeling we hadn't expected from his stalwart character, Edmund Grey.
   Fatherhood pierced Edmund's carefully cultivated shell, and the pain of losing and then regaining adoptive son Sam exposed a surprising vulnerability no less intense than Maria's. When Dimitri and Maria's indescretion came to light, Callahan and his real-life bride, Eva LaRue Callahan (Maria), conveyed a true sense of anguish as their characters broke apart and then managed to overcome this highly unlikely plot twist. The simplity of Callahan's performance when Edmund told a tearful Maria, 'I want to start over.' made his forgiveness that much more moving. 'Do you really think you could learn to love me again?" she asked. 'Baby, I never stopped,' he replied. No one makes more of this kind of meat-and-potatoes dramatic scene than Callahan.
   If there's any justice, this savvy reporter will be the one who figures out the truth about Erica's baby-snatching and Skye's test-tampering. After all, if anybody deserves all the news that's fit to print, it's Edmund."

Susan Lucci and Eva LaRue Callahan (SOD 7/29/97): "It was the confrontation AMC fans had looked forward to for weeks: The moment that Erica Kane finally came to her senses and returned little Sonya to the baby's unsuspecting mother, Maria Santos Grey. And what a glorious face-off it was! Susan Lucci and Eva LaRue Callahan were in perfect sync as they tiptoed around the forbidden subject of Maria's lost "son". "You never believed your baby was dead," noted Erica. "And you were right. Your baby is coming home tonight... This is your baby, Maria. My little girl belongs to you."
    At this point, we were almost as speechless as Maria. Lucci conveys Erica's sassy qualities so effortlessly, it's always a jolt to see the character's raw humanity. Erica was genuinely grieving for a baby she'd come to love, and we felt sorry for her, in spite of the fact that her actions were unforgivable. 
    LaRue Callahan held back until the moment the Marick birthmark was revealed on Sonya's back. Then disbelief turned to tears of rejoicing. "Oh, my little angel," she sobbed. "I love you so much. You don't know how much Mama missed you. I never gave up on you." True to the character, she also offered a quick prayer of thanksgiving. Maria cried; Erica cried; we cried.
    This classic showdown between two of daytime's most charismatic actresses reminded us anew of AMC's strengths: fine acting, truthful writing and plenty of heart.

John Callahan and Michael E. Knight (SOD 12/16/97): "When a storyline's as harrowing and heartbreaking as the whole Maddie saga has been on AMC, a little humor can go a long, long way. Unfortunately, there aren't a whole lot of actors who can turn on the waterworks in one scene, then play for laughs in the next. Luckily, as the hunt for Maddie led Tad and Edmund to Budapest, AMC had two aces in the hole: Michael E. Knight and John Callahan. 
    Events leading up to the characters' arrival in Hungary were understandably tense; both actors conveyed their desperation through furrowed brows, tersely spoken words, the fidgeting and nervous tics (Callahan rubbing his jaw, for instance) that betray anyone who's got a lot to do and very littel time to do it. But when Tad and Edmund ran into some very strict customs officials and had to dress up as women to make it out of the airport, both they and their real-life alter egos were able to stop on a dime and segue from misery to mirth. Knight instantly summoned up his Tad-the-Cad-circa-1983 charm to schmooze a patrolman; Callahan gamely folowed suit, jaw set but eyes sparkling, as if Edmund were focusing on the undeniable gravity of the situation but found it funny nevertheless.
    Cross-dressing is a tried-and-true daytime device, one usually played for laughs. What made Callahan and Knight's performances special, though, was that Edmund and Tad' desperation always shone though the pancake makeup. Despite the heels, wigs and scarves, they were never anything but men on a mission.

1996- Eva LaRue (SOD 8/27/96): "Generally speaking, we applaud understated performances on soaps. But there are times when raw emotions must be expressed, as Eva LaRue demonstrated in her heartbreaking farewell scenes with baby Sam on AMC.
   As Maria begged Edmund to flee the country with their adopted son, her words were anguished and to the point: "This baby is my whole life. Don't kill me! Don't take my baby!" LaRue made Maria's pain so real, we felt it, too. Never mind that Edmund's arguements against running- the Greys would become fugitives, Sam would suffer more if the separation were delayed- made perfect sense. Her husband's calm pleadings only increased Maria's tearful determination to keep her baby.
   LaRue and Callahan's (Edmund) faced a huge acting challenge in their extended airport confrontation, expressing sorrow and torment while handling a wiggly, real-life baby. All of the agony Maria had experienced in two years of waiting for a child was touchingly conveyed on LaRue's grief-stricken face. How could Maria's dream come true and then be destroyed?
   Tehis actress's fine work didn't end at the airport. She and Michael Nader pulled off the eyebrow-raising storyline twist of Maria and Dimitri sleeping together to block out the hopelessness they felt. (Marick had caught Erica "in bed" with Jonathon that night.) Throughout this emotion-packed story, LaRue delivered a performance worthy of her character's pain.