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