Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Woman of Mystery

What brought me to GUIDING LIGHT for the first time? GL had been a fixture in my house since I can remember, but young boys like to rebel, so of course I watched different soaps! I began watching soaps in late 1982 or early '83 when I would go down the street to Bethy McQueen's (no, I did not make that name up!) house to watch THE EDGE OF NIGHT. By the end of 1983, I had also picked up GENERAL HOSPITAL, followed in 1984 by SEARCH FOR TOMORROW, and then ONE LIFE TO LIVE the following year (Dr. Ivan Kipling was terrorizing OLTL when I started watching). EON and SFT were both off the air by the time I picked up SANTA BARBARA in the late 80's. I remember teasing my little sister about the show she watched and its ridiculous characters (which I had never actually seen). "Are Rick and Roxie back together?", I would ask in a mocking tone before settling in to watch my "real soaps." The 90's arrived and I picked up LOVING and ALL MY CHILDREN right before SANTA BARBARA was canceled. In case you can't tell, I've loved soaps for almost my entire life.

"Where does GL come in?", you may be asking yourselves right now. The year is 1993 and the news had just broken that Marcy Walker (ex-Eden, SB) and Marj Dusay (ex-Pamela, SB) were joining GL. I had loved both women on SANTA BARBARA and had been very curious about GL which, at that time, was getting a lot of very good press for it's realistic stories and great cast. So off to Springfield I went and there I've been ever since right up to today when GL is the only soap I watch regularly.

Walker's character, Tangie Hill, never really caught on and was gone within a few years. I'll be presenting some Tangie to you in a future post. Today is all about Marj Dusay's Alexandra Spaulding. There's something about the way that Dusay delivers a line or sweeps across a room that is somehow genuine and surreal at the same time. I've loved Dusay since the 80's when she played Blair's mother Monica Warner on THE FACTS OF LIFE and even back then, she had an uncanny ability to imbue her larger-than-life character with disarming humanity and vulnerability.

Much is made of the fact that Dusay isn't Beverlee McKinsey who originated the role of Alexandra and played the character for eight years. McKinsey is a force to be reckoned with, to be sure, and a really fine actor. I've got plenty of McKinsey up in the archives (with more to come), but I have a special attachment to Dusay because she brought me to GUIDING LIGHT. She's my Alexandra.

Today, I've got several looks at Alexandra. The first is from January of 1997 and it's her reaction to Roger and Amanda's announcement of their engagement.
Best Wishes
clip 1
clip 2

Flash ahead to February, 2003 and Dusay has returned to the show after the Joan Collins fiasco. This a fantastic clip of her going toe to toe with Crystal Chappel's Olivia. Also featured in this clip is Sendhil Ramamurthy as Alexandra's assistant, Lloyd. Ramamurthy has recently gotten quite a bit of exposure as Mohinder on the NBC hit, HEROES.
Woman of Mystery

2004 gave us the revelation that Alexandra was responsible (at least in part) for running drugs into Springfield. Obviously, I'm not a fan of this particular turn of the story, but I'm a huge fan of what Dusay did with it. Fall From Grace shows that Dusay is capable of making Alexandra human and sympathetic even when the show itself isn't interested in that goal. This sequence also contains a lot of really wonderful Alexandra/Buzz scenes.
clip 1 * clip 5

clip 2 * clip 6
clip 3 * clip 7
clip 4 * clip 8 * Harley and Gus' non-wedding should be viewed between clips 6 and 7 and I have that posted here

I wanted to also include a clip that I put up awhile ago that stands out as one of the best moments of 2006. It's from February of this year and it's Alexandra and Olivia on their way to Alan's funeral (He was believed dead at the time.)
What Remains Behind

I've chosen Dusay as the subject of my first spotlight here at GLMP because I have tremendous respect for what she does and because she (along with Marcy Walker) brought me to GUIDING LIGHT. Dusay is a magnificent actor with a range as wide as the Grand Canyon, capable of side-splitting comedy and deeply moving drama. And more than that, she's my Alexandra.


Blogger Misty Row said...

To add to her list of impressive credis, did you catch Marj on CAPITOL? She replaced Carolyn Jones (Morticia Adams, dahlings!) - as the character of Myrna Clegg ... and Dusay was FABULOUS. Besides the Facts of Life stints, CAPITOL is where a lot of us viewers first got our taste of the delicious Marj Dusay.

12:14 PM  
Blogger Misty Row said...

To add to her list of impressive credits, did you happen to catch Marj on the now-defunct soap CAPITOL? She replaced Carolyn Jones (TV's Morticia Addams, dahlings!) as the character of Myrna Clegg, and Marj was simply FABULOUS in the role. So aside from her stints on Facts of Life, a lot of us viewers got our very first taste of the delicious Marj Dusay on CAPITOL back in the 80's.

12:20 PM  
Blogger Lady Tiara said...

she was blair's mother of facts of life?! i had no idea. she was great on capitol, a very lady macbeth sort of character, pulling the political strings through her family. although beverlee mckinsey is a great actress, it's always been dusay as alex for me. she brings a great deal of humanity to the role, which helps to compensate for the often terrible writing for alex. even in the smallest scene, she's really a force to be rekoned with.

10:54 AM  
Blogger Marjfan said...

Thanks so much, Ivn, for doing this! Marj is by far the best of the best! I hope you don't mind that I forwarded this page to her to read and view.

Marj is a class act with an acting style all her own. She's a force to be reckoned with!

Loved the videos! I, too, hated the drug story, but loved seeing Buzz and Alex again. I miss them so much! Marj and Justin are two powerhouses who play off each other so well. I truly hope and pray the PTB will come to their senses soon. I want to see more Marj and more Balex!!


9:17 PM  

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