Three Personal Assistants Reveal What
It's Like Working for a Soap Star
Soap Opera Digest, December 15, 1987
by Kathy Henderson
Article Provided By Wanda
(Edited for Brevity and Relevance)
Working for a soap star sounds like a great job. You get to travel, hobnob with other celebrities, and bask in the reflected glamour of your boss. To find out how exciting it really is to be an actor's personal assistant, we talked with three of them: Brad Burns, chauffer/bodyguard for Eileen Fulton; B.J. Rogers, assistant to Leslie Charleson and Susan Fitton, secretary to Ana Alicia.
Celebrities, it seems, often need help with the everyday chores most of us do for ourselves. Brad Burns, for example, drives Eileen to the supermarket and drug store as well as to the studio. Susan Fitton picks up Ana-Alicia's relatives at the airport and takes the actresses's German Sherherds to the vet and B.J. pays Leslie's bills and buys all her clothes. "I don't consider myself Leslie's secretary," says Rogers, "it's more like I'm a friend who helps her get everything done."
"I suppose I spend more time with Eileen than anyone else in the world," says Brad, thirty-four, noting that their commute from suburban Connecticut into Manhattan totals about three hours a day. "We talk about everything - my life, her life, the show. She knows about all my girlfriends,and I know a lot about her family."
"Eileen is really easy going and doesn't mind signing autographs or talking to her fans," he says. "She and the other veterans, like Helen Wagner love it because they know the fans are what makes them. Some of the younger actors are very stuffy - they come out of the studio with their noses down and sunglasses up and walk away as fast and they can."...........
Susan Fitton's contract with Ana-Alicia is more indirect - she answers two hundred or more fan letters a month. "We try to make the answers as personalized as possible," she says. "A lot of people have written six or seven times." Susan works from a studio adjoining Ana-Alicia's home, and her duties are the most secretarial of the three assistants, including setting up appointments, answering mail, and screening calls. "Only Ana-Alicia's family has her personal phone number" she notes.
When she arrived for her job interview a year and a half ago, Susan wasn't nervous because she had never of heard of her respective boss. "I watched Dynasty so I asked around, 'Is she like an Alexis or Fallon?' When I met her, I still didn't know who she was until I watched the show (Falcon Crest). Then I realized how popular she is."
Ana-Alicia hired Fitton, now twenty-five, fresh out of UCLA, even after her confession that she couldn't take shorthand. "I'd always been interested in entertainment, but I didn't really know how to get into it," Susan says. And yet, she insists, "I don't consider myself star-struck at all. I don't think 'Oh, my gosh, I'm working for a celebrity.' I've met a few of the other FC actors, but that doesn't really interest me. This is just a nice, normal job.".......
Without revealing their salaries, all three assistants say they are pleased with what they earn. B.J. is paid by the hour; Susan and Brad by the week. Susan's perks include movie screenings, tickets to pro tennis matches, and a generous Christmas bonus. Brad recently built an apartment for himself in Eileen's house and sleeps there when she has an early call. Brad confesses, "I kind of like being around these people, the celebrity-types. It's fun. And it's never boring."
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