To attract large audiences, CBS signed bankable prime-time talents in May 1982 to star in its 2-part, 4-hour Warner Bros. Television production of 'Bare Essence'. The mini-series took viewers on a journey into the multi-million dollar world of the perfume industry.

Chicago Tribune: Do you resent being treated like a common stud, a slab of prime beefcake, a male sex symbol to be primped and packaged for the American TV viewing public?

Bruce Boxleitner : "Are you kidding? This is what I've been waiting for my entire career."

Jay Bernstein: "It's the times that are dictating the trend. People need heroes today (in 1982). They don't want to worry about rent and car payments, inflation, taxes and wars. They don't want problems; they want fantasy, escape and John Wayne-type heroes who are always on the side of good."

Set against the backdrop of wealth, power and romance, Genie Francis played a 20-year-old penniless daughter of a Hollywood movie producer who had lost his fortune. She decided to go to New York and work for the company which had backed her father's film, 'The Wolfman of Tucson'. Genie elaborated, "She’s very, very ambitious. She's a young girl putting her own life together, standing on her own two feet and becoming a woman.

"She falls in love and ends up having to choose between men, while climbing to success from being just a beach bum. I love the role, because the character undergoes a tremendous visual change. I start out wearing hardly any make-up, straight hair and really messy clothes. Then, I go on to become very glamorous, and there's a good flow emotionally as well."

Genie reportedly continued doing volunteer work with autistic children while filming 'Bare Essence'. One critic remarked, "(Genie) lent a certain degree of dignity and humanity to her role of Tyger Hayes in 'Bare Essence.'" 'Bare Essence' was filmed between late May and early July 1982 and went on air in October 1982. Walter Grauman directed from a screenplay by Robert Hamilton based on the novel by Meredith Rich.

"You can really devote yourself to the part 100% and not lose yourself in it, knowing it's only a temporary situation," Genie made the comment at the time. "It's a little more dangerous to get involved heavily in a character you're going to live with for 5 years (namely Laura on 'General Hospital' 1976-1981). With a soap opera, you go totally moment by moment, because you never know what tomorrow might bring … but this way, I had a definite point to aim for. In basketball, the object is to drop the ball in the hoop. This time, I knew where the hoop was."

The 'Bare Essence' script was ready by December 1981. "It's full of intrigue and sex and all that kind of good stuff," Donna Mills told fans. "Next week (back in July 1982) in Hollywood, I will be in bed. All week in bed. 'Knots Landing' is on a hiatus and I am in a mini-series at CBS 'Bare Essence', with Lee Grant and Linda Evans. Two brothers are in the perfume business. I'm the mistress of one of them. His wife discovers us in bed. They took away violence and left lust, lust, lust.

"Who was it who said, 'There's a little bit of bed in every good little girl?' My mail indicates some girls model themselves after me. I try to wind up the good guy. Barbara is the mistress of a businessman, and he talks her into spying and stealing a secret perfume formula. I like that in the end she has grown and become much stronger. These kinds of shows are really morality lessons because the bad people never win. People can see that they never get their way or triumph."

'Bare Essence' was not "Masterpiece Theater". Donna confessed, "'Bare Essence' is so much fun for me because it's so glamorous. 'Knots Landing' isn't (in 1982). It's so middle class. I love the glamor aspect, the beautiful clothes." Jennifer O’Neill told the Associated Press, "I'd seen the mini-series and I thought it had more of an international flavor than any existing series … I think people are interested in relationships. I love these kind of series. You can sit down after a day's work and be swept away by the romanticism. At the same time there are plenty of conflicts within the family. I find them entertaining and something I wanted to do."

Fred Rothenberg of the Associated Press observed, "Only Lee Grant, as the insecere stepmother, manages to pull daggers and venom out of her role." In 1966, Lee won an Emmy Award for her performance on 'Peyton Place' and in 1975, Lee won an Oscar playing a nymphomaniac mother in the movie, 'Shampoo.' Lee told the press, "The character I portray is described as being 'absolutely driven and ruthlessly compulsive'. She is also calculating, and that's always fun to play. She is immaculately gowned, coiffed and made up. The clothes she wears were specially designed by Nolan Miller, and that's the icing on the cake. No dowdy mom, this one!"

Back in 1971, Lee told Joyce Haber of the 'Sarasota Journal', "When I'm not working, I sleep all morning. I do my reading at night – of 'Time' and 'Newsweek' and books. And I watch TV and accomplish the fruitful things." During the McCarthy era, Lee Grant was blacklisted for 12 years (between 1954 and 1966) because she would not testify against her then-husband, the playwright Arnold Manoff.

Lee mentioned, "I happened to marry a man who had been named by the House Un-American Activities Committee. That's all it took. In those days (the McCarthy era) hundreds of people were put on the blacklist – or the graylist – for all kinds of reasons. For some of them, being a Democrat was enough. Fortunately the blacklist didn't extend to the theater. I taught some acting classes."

Lee also made known, "I'm superstitious, you see. I'm an agnostic, you see. What superstitious people do is surround themselves with so many things that they can say, 'This is faith'. I don't like to examine it. It's just done its work for me. It's not firm stuff." In 1970, Lee told Frances Taylor, "I feel chiefly that I'm fortunate to be an actress. I don't have to rely on my body or consider the years, that tragic mirror trap that no one can escape.

"I have tried to build a tremendous area so I can play a woman of any age. I feel that in 5 years I won’t be harnessed to my body. I will have enough places to go to work." On reflection, "When you've had a bad marriage or a bad affair, sometimes you can replace it with something else. But Broadway to me is the syndrome. It's like in my divorce settlement he got New York and I got Los Angeles."

Part One of 'Bare Essence' was up against the movies 'Hopscotch' with Walter Matthau and 'Coal Miner's Daughter' based on Loretta Lynn's autobiography. The mini-series attracted 19.7% of the American homes with TV sets. Part Two did better with a rating of 22.4. In the weekly TV series shown in 1983, producer Chuck McLain allowed Luis Estevez, his 20 seamstresses and fitters a fashion budget of over $100,000 for 11 episodes, "Sometimes we were dressing as many as 50 extras, plus 14 principals and 5 fashion models, for one scene. And some of those scenes just ended up on the cutting room floor."

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