Tuesday, January 13, 2009


In the past, we've profiled Courtney Sherman and Peter Simon, P&G actors who have also written for our shows.

The above photo is of two more double-threats, Gillian Spencer and Fran Myers.

Gillian Spencer played Robin Lang Holden Fletcher on Guiding Light from 1964 to 1967. During that time, Robin's marriage to Paul was constantly under stress due to the hostile attitude of his teenage son, Johnny. When a pregnant Robin fell off a chair while cleaning Johnny's room and suffered a miscarriage, she blamed her stepson. A contrite Johnny genuinely tried to make amends, but grieving Robin rebuked his overtures. Paul took his son's side (and he had a point -- it's not like Johnny knocked Robin over. So his room was messy. He's a teen-ager. A teen-ager with a messy room is hardly a deliberate murder attempt) and Paul's marriage to Robin suffered. When Paul renewed his platonic friendship with one-time love Sara, Robin was gripped with jealousy. Deeply depressed, she thew herself in front of a car and was killed instantly.

Feeling alienated from his family, Johnny fell in love with a classmate, Peggy, played by Fran Meyers from 1965 to 1977. The young actress took her character from lovestruck teen to dedicated nurse to the first woman that supervillain Roger Thorpe ever loved. Peggy's marriage to Roger ended when she learned of his long-ago tryst with Rita and Roger's role in helping her cover up a crime.

But Thorpe wasn't the only Roger in Fran Myers' life. In 1970, actor Roger Newman joined the cast of GL as Ken. He and Fran married and, in 1976, had a son, John. In 1983, Fran Myers began writing scripts for Another World. She has also written for OLTL and DOOL. Roger made the switch to writing as well, collaborating with his wife on writing staffs for AW and OLTL, and working on his own at GL and Passions. Their son, John, joined the family business in 2003 when he began writing scripts for DOOL. He has also released an album as Johnnie Newman, and can be heard here.

While Fran was still on GL, dressing-roommate Charita Bauer (Bert) raved, "She and I have become great friends. She's one of the really close friends I've made in the world, even though she's younger than my own son!"

Similarly, after finishing up her stint as Robin on GL, Gillian Spencer went on to originate the role of Viki on OLTL (1968-1970), play Jennifer, Barbara's mother, on As The World Turns from 1972 to 1975, and Nina's mother Daisy on AMC from 1980 to 1989 (with periodic subsequent guest appearances). The year she left Pine Valley, Spencer switched to the other side of the AMC production staff, becoming a script-writer. She has also written scripts for ATWT, Another World, DOOL, GL, OLTL and GH.

1 comment:

Soapluvva said...

I was working as an engineering assistant at the CBS Broadcast Center in NYC during the summer of 1974 between my junior and senior years of college. I used to spend every lunch hour in the control rooms of "Love of Life" and "As the World Turns" watching either the dress rehearsals or the air shows. Gillian Spencer passed through the Studio 42 control room (ATWT) on a number of occasions, and I used to wave and smile at her.

Incidentally, I was one of the original viewers of "One Life to Live" for Episode #1 on July 15, 1968, and I loved Gillian's performances as Viki. I remember the day when OLTL first introduced the Niki Smith story. It was about one month into the show, as I recall, when Viki opened up her desk drawer at The Banner, and found a note, written in a childish scrawl, saying, "I'm going to get you, Icky Viki!"

Please check out my keyboard renditions of some of the classic soap opera themes of Charlie Paul and Eddie Layton on Soapluvva's Channel on YouTube -- www.youtube.com/soapluvva

Regards from NYC!