Eileen Davidson Shares Jeanne Cooper Memories and talks Days of our Lives

Jun 03 2013, 04:01 PM by Aaron Hagey-McKay

Eileen DavidsonPhoto by Getty

I recently got a chance to talk to my favorite addition to the Days of our Lives cast in the past year. Eileen Davidson has been a star on both The Young and the Restless as Ashley Abbott and Days as Kristen DiMera (though at one point she did play five different characters).

In the interview, we talk about the future of the soap opera, some favorite moments with Jeanne Cooper, and having fun on set with Eric Martsolf.


Global: [Currently on Days], we’re dealing with the aftermath of cancelling Brady and Kristen’s wedding. You’ve worked a lot with Eric Martsolf since coming back to Days, and there has been some serious drama but I hear he’s a actually really funny guy. What kind of fun do the two of you get up to when you’re working together?

Eileen Davidson: A lot. We’re laughing a lot. We tend to rehearse the scenes in kind of a broad, farcical way and kind of get it out of our systems so we don’t do it on tape. Because sometimes we start doing it and we can’t stop. We make each other laugh a lot, we have a lot of fun.


Global: Farcical? You mean like in different accents?

Eileen Davidson: We’ll do it in different voices, we’ll do it, I dunno, very Broadway... we kind of feed off each other... It’s fun. It keeps the heaviosity [sic] out of the day, you know?


Global: Every time I speak to the actors on these shows, they keep saying that the production is like a family. But you’re known for your work on both Days and Y&R do you feel like you’re in two different families?

Eileen Davidson: That’s a good questions. Two different families? Yeah, in some respects they’re different families because I was on Y&R for such a long time and had been off of Days for so long and kind of discovered a new family on Days. And I really love the people on Days so much. There’s a real strong camaraderie. They kind of hang out more together in the makeup room, so we’re around each other more. And also there’s so many new people on Y&R that I don’t know that well, so when I do go back it’s kind of different. But in terms of family on Y&R I’d say, you know, obviously, Beth Maitland (Traci Abbott), Peter Bergman (Jack Abbott), Doug Davidson (Paul Williams), Melody [Thomas-Scott] (Nikki Newman), Eric [Braeden] (Victor Newman), you know, the people who’ve been there a long time are definitely family to me, absolutely. It is a different kind of family... I’ve been invited to go to Jeanne’s memorial this Sunday at her house. So I’ll probably see a lot of people there.


Global: Can you share one of your favorite memories of Jeanne Cooper?

Eileen Davidson: There was a church scene. And it was very solemn and during the scene, Jeanne was actually whispering to me stories about CBS and things that have been going on in the 70’s behind the scenes. So she was making me laugh and I had to keep stifling. We had a lot of fun.


Global: How did you deal with it when you heard that she had died?

Eileen Davidson: You know, she’s one of those people. I know she’d been ill off-and-on for the past couple years but she’s just one of those people that it’s just hard for me to fathom her not being around, because when she was there it wasn’t like she was dwindling away. She was there full of a very strong life-force energy, and very much present and knew her stuff and was still Jeanne! So in certain ways I was shocked. Given her age and how ill she’s been I guess not that shocked when you think about it.


Global: You made a brief return to Y&R for the 40th anniversary. Any chance you’ll be starring on both shows in the near future?

Eileen Davidson: Uhh, I haven’t heard anything either, but you never know...


Global: Where do you see soap operas ten years from now?

Eileen Davidson: Obviously ten years ago I would have been able to answer that much better, I probably would have been wrong, but I would have been very secure in the fact that they’d still be on. I would say that, you know, I really don’t know. The fact that they’re able to make them for a lot less money than they used to, and they’re putting out the product they’re still able to put out under these circumstances kind of says they’re going to be hanging around for a while.



When is Days of our Lives on TV? In Canada, Days of our Lives airs weekdays at 1.00 et/pt on Global TV
Where can I watch Days of our Lives online for free? GlobalTV.com/daysofourlives streams full episodes of Days of our Lives online for free - episodes are typically posted the day after the initial on-air broadcast.