John and Sandy Gabriel
Soap Opera Digest, May 1978
by Geri Jefferson
Article Provided By Wanda
He is tall and handsome. She is a dark-haired sensuous beauty. He has spent months trying to convince a woman to marry him. She has spent months trying to convince a man to stay married to her. He is mildly abrasive but generally has a heart of - if not gold, at least - silver. She is totally abrasive, extremely obnoxious and has a heart filled with dollar signs. He is debonair, she is totally tactless.
He is Seneca Beaulac on Ryan's Hope. She is Edna Thornton on All My Children.
And they are Mr. and Mrs. John Gabriel.
Soap Opera Digest was recently invited to visit the the Gabriel family in their handsomely decorated New York City apartment.
Although Mom and Dad weren't quite ready to meet their public when we arrived - their beautiful emissaries were on hand to perform the honors.
Melissa - age seven and Ondy - age four quickly ushered us into the living room while Grandma Betty (Sandy's mom) and Aunt Betty (John's sister) stayed in the kitchen.
When John came to greet us, looking as handsome as ever, it was easy to see who daddy's two favorite girls are. They had a grand time, all the while John portrayed the loving, gently discipling parent the children obviously adored.
While waiting for Sandy, John and I talked about his career.
"The time Ryan's Hope came up I was in California working on The Mary Tyler Moore Show in the role of Andy Rivers."
John was also hosting his own talk-variety show called Good Company as well as doing guest shots on many nighttime shows.
At the time John and Sandy met, John was working out of an agent's office packaging stage shows, taking them to various military bases and performing for the troops. It just so happened that Sandy was looking for an agent and happened to go to the particular office John was working out of - a year later - wedding bells.
For almost ten years, Sandy decided to "keep her talent under wraps," as John puts it "and put the time in on the children. She wanted to give them a very secure base."
However, now that both children are in school, Sandy feels able to pursue a career and John has been extremely supportive.
It was John who first approached Ryan's Hope on Sandy's behalf. They wrote a story for her (remember Jack's physical therapist?) and Sandy did so well, she was kept on for five more shows.
After Ryan's Hope, the part on All My Children came up and Sandy was cast. With the role of Edna Thornton, Sandy's acting has really begun to show itself.
Sandy and I talked about the role she portrays and I asked if Edna was a difficult character.
"Not at all. I can see why she is the way she is and I can see a lot of facets of her personality in friends that I have, not to quite the degree that she has, but it's there."
Sandy's mother helps out a great deal and has really provided the freedom Sandy feels she needs in order to work. Her mother spends a great deal of time at the Gabriel home caring for the children while Sandy and John are away.
Sandy has no real desire to venture into the world of nighttime saying that she'd "like to do a soap forever." Sandy feels nighttime would take more from her than she is "willing to give at the moment."
For Sandy and John, their lives are perfect the way things are, and they have no desire to change any part of it.
These two working parents seem to have everything under control. Says Sandy, "It may not be perfect for a lot of people, but it's perfect for us. We want to be together and we want to be with the kids and this is a way for us to act and not be separated. Yes, we're very lucky."
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