You Have to Be Kicked a Bit to Grow
Soap Opera People Magazine, November 1976
Jean Bergantino Grillo
Article Provided By Wanda
Sharp-eyed viewers of Ryan's Hope may have noticed that Jill Coleridge, that tough, brainy legal-eagle, has undergone some subtle changes since she was first introduced. When the show debuted, Jill was portrayed as being in her early thirties, rather conservative in dress and style, and well in control of her emotions. During the past year, however, Jill has literally let her hair down. She's less-often seen in that severe, pulled-back coif and her new wavy mane conveys a younger, more glamorous woman. Those pin-striped suits are giving way to soft, billowy dresses and, this fall, a rather high-powered love-affair looms with the troubled but exotic Seneca Beaulac.
"The romance was an excuse to get out and get some new clothes," laughs Nancy Addison. "I didn't want to dress that conservative anymore." The low-key costuming was an attempt to detract from Nancy's seductive green-eyes and smashingly youthful good looks but to no avail. A few years shy of thirty, Nancy is hardly the dowager type and her on-camera blossoming reflects that. Off-camera, Nancy is also a woman in transition and in a recent interview she offered some insight into her own personality versus the character she portrays.
"Like Jill, I'm independent and pretty headstrong," Nancy begins, "but where Jill is manipulative and controlled, I'm much more spontaneous. I fly off the handle easily."
Self-examination is no idle pasttime for Nancy. She has tried a variety of self-awareness methods (including EST, which she rejected) and is now undergoing analysis. "I don't believe therapy is a specific cure," she adds, "but a means to helping a person help herself." Nancy admits to having her own personal laundry list of items in need of improvement.
"First, I don't want to be so defensive. I'd like to allow myself to be more intimate with people and not be so judgmental. I tend to make quick decisions about people and I shouldn't. In analysis, I'm looking into myself and seeing my hang-ups so I can better understand myself and better relate to the people around me."
In discussing her determination to improve herself and grow, Nancy once again draws on the character of Jill for comparison.
"Jill is sitting on her emotions," Nancy explains, "I admire her intellect, but emotionally she's disconnected. I, on the other hand, want to open my emotions up....I tend to stay away from groups, for example, because I just can't handle that. I retreat....I'm also so damn hard on myself....so self-critical...but I'm learning who I am and liking that person. I'm much more at peace with myself."
"One needs to be kicked around a bit in order to grow. When something happens, when a big hurt puts you flat on your bottom, you want to just dig a hole and jump in. But you don't. You always come through. I now think I'm fairly strong."
Nancy's acting mettle is equally tough. A daughter of the Big Apple, she was born in Manhattan, attended NYU and studied with two of New York's most prestigious teachers: Stella Adler and Sandford Meisner. Her credits range from Volpone with Morris Carnovsky to months of dinner theaters including The Impossible Years with Tom Ewell. Soap opera fans, however, got their first glimpse of Nancy's acting skills when she played the mentally unstable Kit Vestid on The Guiding Light. She brought genuine energy to the role, but for its juicy histrionics, Nancy found it limited. Jill Coleridge, on the other hand, is growing progressively multi-faceted (like Nancy herself) and the opportunity to play her was one Nancy accepted readily.
"I hadn't wanted to go back to the innocents I had been playing - even the ones who were insane. I wouldn't have taken the role if the character hadn't been so strong and independent."
In fact, Nancy sees all the women on Ryan's Hope as people with more dimension than generally found in day or nighttime television. One immediate difference is that they tend to be more natural looking, lacking the fussy hairdos, and heavy-handed face paint sometimes found in other serials. It's a calculated effect.
"We've never pushed for glamour. There are no false eyelashes on anybody and we all wear regular street make-up instead of theatrical pancake stuff. Too much make-up can be distracting. People end up watching what you have on your face instead of watching you."
Having spent some time prowling around the Ryan's Hope set, watching the cast members arrive and get into character, I can attest to the naturalness of their approach. And, according to Nancy, attaining this unaffected image, especially from the female cast members, was not a difficult feat. "After all," she says without a trace of guile, "all the women on this show are very good looking."
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