TV Squad Soap Report: Two of daytime's all-time best
I remember vividly watching Another World when Beverlee McKinsey was front and center. She was a dynamic actress, a real scene stealer. She commanded your attention as the spoiled, grown daughter of millionaire scion MacKenzie Cory, Iris, on Another World. Her voice saying, "Daddy," is embedded in my memory.
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Later on, as socialite Alexandra Spaulding on Guiding Light, she was equally arresting. I remember once interviewing Michelle Forbes when she smiled and told me what an amazing actress Beverlee was; a real dream to play scenes with. At the time, Michelle was just starting out, and she appreciated what Ms. McKinsey brought to every scene they shared.
As both Iris and Alex, Beverlee was marvelous. She had a way of playing evil that was subtle and strong, but never hysterical or outrageous. Her stellar work on Another World prompted NBC to create a spin-off called Texas. She was the reason for the show -- the first 60-minute soap ever -- and the received star billing. She played the same character on Texas, but she was missing the antagonists like Rachel and Mac that made Iris sizzle. Despite what you might have read elsewhere, Texas had nothing to do with Dallas. It was inspired by the stories on AW; not in reaction to the Ewings on CBS.
Eventually, Beverlee moved on the Guiding Light where she made magic once again. McKinsey was like the Meryl Streep of daytime, she was that good. When I read that she was gone, I felt a great sadness. I'm not alone in my high regard for this lady. Others have shared their feelings, too.
Robin Strasser, I'm happy to report, is vibrant and bright and still tearing it up in daytime. She was the original bitch on Another World, Rachel Davis, a character that was the original model for Erica Kane on All My Children. Agnes Nixon created Erica after writing Rachel on AW. Strasser was radiant as the scheming seductress on AW, but after five years, she moved on to try Broadway.
After a stint on AMC, she found a new, permanent home at One Life to Live where she assumed the role of Dorian. To this day, she is the greatest Dorian of them all. She's the centerpiece of the Cramer women -- Blair, Addie, Starr and her foster daughter Langston -- the one who makes all the mischief and stirs the pot.
To appreciate Robin Strasser, I would tell you just tune in to One Life one afternoon and see her in action. On a recent episode, she was a virago on display. Furious and ferocious to learn that 16-year-old Langston was pregnant (she was lying) after letting her boyfriend make love to her (he didn't), Dorian let loose. She was outraged that they would have unprotected sex (they were lying to protect Cole and Starr who really did have unprotected sex) and that Langston would be so foolish to allow Markko to make love to her. The power and brio of Strasser's performance was a thing to behold. Her Dorian is a force with which you don't mess!
The soaps have had its share of mumbling, bumbling bimbos and hot boys who couldn't act their way out of a paper bag. However, in Beverlee McKinsey and Robin Stasser, the medium has also had a touch of splendid brilliance. Ms. McKinsey is gone and will never be forgotten. Ms. Strasser is here and now and someone to be appreciated and admired.