20151229

THE COLBYS

In 1985, the producers of 'The Colbys' "airlifted (38-year-old Stephanie Beacham) out of England" to Hollywood so they "could look each other over". At stake, the part of Charlton Heston's on-screen wife. Stephanie, who was trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, made her acting debut in Liverpool in 1964. "Zonk!" Stephanie said 2 days after the meeting, "I had been through wardrobe; I had been through hair, and I was before the cameras." Of costumes, Stephanie made known, "If Nolan (Miller) has designed something, there is just no problem. He is wonderful. But he can't design for everybody so a lot of my things (on 'The Colbys') are bought. They'll take 20 outfits out from the shop and I will select 9 of them. I really am the wrong man for the job as far as that's concerned." 

In one scene on 'The Colbys': 

Sable: Perfection! If you find it in marriages or people, you let me know. I have been looking for it all my life. And I know where you can find it! There (pointing at a portrait)! In art. You see that world in there? That is perfect. It needs nothing. It asks for nothing. No one could spoil it or change it or touch it.  

Stephanie believed she was hired to play Sable Scott because "they (the other actresses) all wanted too much money." It was reported Stephanie was paid $20,000 per episode. Stephanie told Gareth McLean of 'The Guardian' in 2003, "Working on 'Dynasty' and 'The Colbys' was hard work - too hard to be actual fun. The hours on the set, the amount of poking at your face, the costume fitting: it was all exhausting. But the life that it afforded you was amazing. Not just the pay, but the invitations, darling! There was nobody that you wanted to meet that you couldn't. The kudos was incredible." 

From the outset, Ricardo Montalb├ín cautioned, "I think this show would stand on its own merit or collapse on its own fault." Maxwell Caulfield noted, "Sometimes they can make a weak script and make it into something interesting. I see Ricardo, who plays the same part, manage to keep it going every week." Ricardo reasoned, "Usually you get a script with a beginning, middle and end but in this case (on 'The Colbys') every night is opening night because you never know what's coming up. You open your script and say: 'I do what?' But it's very exciting. I'm never had this experience as an actor before and I'm having a wonderful time." 

Stephanie also mentioned to 'The Guardian', "I purchased the ring cushion from Fallon and Jeff's wedding from the props boys - I thought they would have given me it for free, but I had to pay 75 bucks for it - and I sold that at a charity auction. For $75,000 (£44,500). In Hong Kong. How good is that? How amazing is that?" Emma Samms who was discovered by the ABC Talent Development Program took over the part of Fallon Colby when Pamela Sue Martin decided not to renew her contract. John James told Luaine Lee of 'KNT News Service', "If I hadn't had that (the development program) I probably wouldn't be talking with you today (back in 1987). I was waiting for a Broadway play in New York. If it hadn't been for them, I'd probably still be waiting. It is an opportunity for young actors to be seen. It's a lot harder today (in 1987) and I think that people don't remember that there is no studio system to help the actor. Anytime anyone can say, 'Hey, we'll move you out to California, give you something to live on - not much, but something - and give you the opportunity to audition for a lot of shows', well, that's great." 

Emma told 'People' magazine at the time, "My life has always worked out for the best." She later elaborated of her meeting with Esther Shapiro to Fred Robbins of 'King Features Syndicate', "Halfway through that meeting Esther looked at me and said, 'You could be Fallon'. It was very spontaneous, it just sort of happened. The next day there was a firm offer from the Spelling Company, and the day after that we signed a contract." The meeting with Esther came about after Emma guest starred in an episode of 'Hotel'. She explained to Scott Hays of 'Orange Coast' magazine, "I then had a meeting with Esther Shapiro for a non-specific role, and it was during that meeting that she had the idea of using me to play Fallon." 

Back in 1986, Emma told reporter David Walstad, "Long ago, I realized adaptability is extremely important. Regardless of the occupation, if put to the test, there is always something new and different a person can do. That has certainly been the case with me. My parents were both quite strict. They taught us self-discipline and independence. They taught us to always be polite. And they taught us that drugs and excessive drinking were not to be tolerated. To this day (in 1986), I avoid people who use drugs and drink heavily." 

Emma was 10 when her 9-year-old brother Jamie died. She recounted, "He died of aplastic anemia. At that age, it was difficult for me to understand everything that was going on, but I saw what the death of a child does to a family. It had a bigger impact on me than anything else in my life." Of the formation of Starlight Foundation, Emma continued, "Years later (in 1979), when 'Arabian Adventure' opened in London, there was a benefit premiere for a children's hospital, and I met a little boy, named Shawn, who was suffering from a brain tumor. We chatted and I visited him the next day in the hospital. We stayed in touch, and after I moved to California, I brought Shawn and his mom over for 10 days so he could visit Disneyland and go for a helicopter ride. That visit was 5 years ago (in 1981), just before Shawn died, but I never forgot the tremendous satisfaction I got out of being able to give him and his mother something special during that very difficult time." 

In 1993, Stephanie spoke to Patricia Brennan of 'The Washington Post', "I feel I have 2 different lives running at the same time. One is European, one is here in Los Angeles. I'm definitely based in 2 worlds. It is coming to me more and more in frustration that I'm going to have to turn myself into a grown-up. I've always just been employed. I've always just been very opportunist, just doing whatever's been offered and whatever I want to. Now I'm having to be interested in making things happen. 

"It really will be a lot up to me to change my attitude. I've always thought I'm very lucky considering that my main task is bringing up my children. That has been the main satisfaction and joy in my life. I wanted to make sure that Mom's completely financially independent - that was the thing that got me going: I realized that I needed lots of money. That formed my determination, became my bravery, my independence. It's been quite a challenge." 

Looking back at the time, Stephanie told Patricia, "I think I've carved a very nice niche for myself playing neurotic bitches, baddies, but I can't rest on my laurels. Now (back in 1993) I have the next half of my life to carve. There's quite a lot more inside me, and I would like to represent middle-aged women . . .  Sometimes the examination of one person's experience can illuminate all of us . . . I'm very fascinated by the stages of a woman's life." It was understood Stephanie could only hear 70% in her left ear and "deaf in her right ear". Hence on screen, Stephanie preferred to be directed standing on the right side of another actor, "Listening to a lot of people is a muddle because I don't have 3-dimensional hearing. I don't hear in stereo. But aren't I lucky it wasn't both?"

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