Home Forums Daytime TV An Open Letter to the Fans and Historians of “One Life to Live” from Ellen Holly

An Open Letter to the Fans and Historians of “One Life to Live” from Ellen Holly

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  • eastwest
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    #420679

    I didn’t eve bother trying to come up w/an original title, b/c I think it would have done a disservice. This was an excellent read and if she was as good of an actress as she is a writer, I would killed to see some of that early stuff from that show. Appreciated what the current team has/is doing w/diversity, but when you hear of that story, it is sorta chilling and soapy (the interracial triangle and the reveal of Carla and Sadie being mother/daughter).

    It is sad how things turned out for her.

    A great read and I think everyone should do it if they have the time. You won’t be sorry.

    http://www.blackstarimploding.com/BSI.html 

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    Boidiva02
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    #420681

    I won’t pretend that I was able to read the entire thing, but from what I read, I am APPALLED at what I assume to be an accurate representation of events.  It sickens me to think that Agnes Nixon would have been so complacent in the unjust treatment of Ellen and Lillian.  

     

    My only hope is that Agnes was not “in the know” of this treatment, or if she was, regrets deeply that she played a role in this unequal treatment.   Perhaps, with time she has learned better.    But still, that does not undo the clear miscarriage of justice given to these two actresses.   It is also sad to note that after they left, OLTL had very few black characters on the canvas, and almost none in lead roles.     The Gannon Family that came on in the 1980’s and 1990’s were never more than supporting players at best; and vanished quickly thereafter.  

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    BTN
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    #420682

    Very interesting letter! Obviously she goes back to the comments of Erika Slezak the most because they really make her case so clearly! A show that Agnes Nixon created to be socially relevent had wiped out its black characters while she was consultant! Lots of soap operas in the 80’s to follow Dynasty and Dallas created ultra rich white businesspeople characters and Slezak would day made the show about the “haves” rather than poor or minority people! The statistic about OLTL viewership among african americans is interesting. The shows above it had stories with black characters but not OLTL which had a history but not a present! Then you have the statement about Bell and Victorial Rowell. Very interesting and Nixon should just reveal all of her side!

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    Boidiva02
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    #420683

    The statement about Victoria Rowell makes me think… She clearly was treated like a star, which I think may be partly why she was treated so poorly after Bill Bell wasn’t running the show anymore.  It also makes me think about Debbi Morgan, who made her career at ABC Daytime, clearly she didn’t experience this same systematic discrimination.  But, I am curious about how she was treated, if she ever felt slighted because of her race.   Other than Rowell, Debbi Morgan is the only other African-American soap opera superstar.

     

    It’s odd because Agnes was very proud of the Angie/Jessie story on “AMC”, but could the same woman that helped make that storyline so fascinating really have played a role in the clear cut discrimination of Ellen Holly?  

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    DS0816
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    #420684

    Ellen Holly, born Jan. 16, 1931, in New York City, N.Y. was clear in her book (which I bought in 2000 or 2001): Agnes Nixon was involved in Holly’s maligned years and exit from One Life to Live. Plenty.

    Her TV mother Lillian Hayman (1922–1994) won the 1968 Tony for best featured actress in a musical for Hallelujah, Baby! It was the year’s Tony winner for best musical, and it also won best actress for Leslie Uggams who, if I’m correct, is the first to win a leading-actress statue from the American Theater Wing’s Tony Awards.

    I started watching soaps, regularly, in the mid-1980s. Holly was in her final two years on OLTL. In fact, it was 1984. Al Freeman Jr., the first African-American to win a Daytime Emmy for drama series acting (1979 lead actor), was her screen [ex-]husband Ed Hall to her Carla. There was a trio simmering at the time, and the other woman involved was being played by Phylicia Ayers-Allen, who would later take the surname Rashad, and who bolted from One Life upon getting cast as Bill Cosby’s wife in his upcoming NBC comedy series The Cosby Show.

    For anyone wanting to see Ellen Holly’s acting from a daytime drama, and knowing those OLTL late-1960s eppys are gone, I suggest checking out these below YouTube clips of her guest stint for a couple story arcs on early-1990s Guiding Light. She played Judge Frances Collier. It was Judge Collier who made Harley Cooper [Beth Ehlers] realize she needed to answer a particular calling. That can be seen in the first clip. And in the next two, Judge Collierwho would become Senator Collier after she replaced Ross Marler [Jerry ver Dorn], who opted not to be seated in the U.S. Senate despite winning his 1992 electionpresided at the impromptu courthouse wedding of Harley and A.C. Mallet [Mark Derwin]. The first clip is, apparently, from August 1991. The next two aired in September 1993.

    I will say this: Though I don’t know the answer, and it goes back nearly 20 years, I suspect Judge Collier became Senator Collier in part from the real-life historic election of 1992. Given that GL was also situated in Illinois, the 1992 elections saw the first-ever election won by an African-American female with Carol Moseley Braun. Braun, born in 1947, is the firstand, thus far, onlyAfrican-American female member in the history of the United States Senate. (If that was indeed inspiration: Good work, back then, from GL!) 

    First clip (begin at 5:42): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=71Iudsu9LNQ&feature=related
    Second clip (up to 5:20): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DXTs5s2aMqA&feature=plcp&context=C300d6baUDOEgsToPDskL5kiljoXDT9T4ItJe5Y860
    Third clip (all): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q7SXqjIihX0&feature=related

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    Fishbiscuit
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    #420685

    Very interesting stuff.

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    Pavel Romanov
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    #420686

    She brings up Victoria Rowell? But why doesn’t she mention Debbi Morgan? Probably because it damages her thesis.And I think she takes that Slezak quote way out of context.

    Anyways a very informative and interesting read. I’ve always assumed Agnes wasn’t much of a businesswoman and let other people make decisions.

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    Fishbiscuit
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    #420687

    You are right. Debbi Morgan kills her argument.  

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    syrus80
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    #420688

    Erika was merely stating how Paul Rauch saw Llanview at the time.

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    Boidiva02
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    #420689

    You are right. Debbi Morgan kills her argument.  

    Not Neccesairly, perhaps Ellen was discriminated against simply because of the time frame she started working, late 1960’s, perhaps by the time Debbie Morgan came around, atitudes had changed and she had a very different expierence?   Perhaps Ellen Holly was simply unlucky because of the era she was apart of?  

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    BTN
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    #420690

    Holly’s contract began in the 60’s and Morgan’s in the 80’s and it was different shows and one had more attention because of the fame of Susan Lucci.  

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    Fishbiscuit
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    #420691

    [quote=”FishBiscuit”]

    You are right. Debbi Morgan kills her argument.  

    Not Neccesairly, perhaps Ellen was discriminated against simply because of the time frame she started working, late 1960’s, perhaps by the time Debbie Morgan came around, atitudes had changed and she had a very different expierence?   Perhaps Ellen Holly was simply unlucky because of the era she was apart of?  [/quote]

    What about Al Freeman Jr.? Holly’s co-star and love interest and an Emmy winner in ’79.  He joined the show 2-3 years after her and seems to have a much different experience than her.   

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    Boidiva02
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    #420692

    [quote=”Boidiva02″][quote=”FishBiscuit”]

    You are right. Debbi Morgan kills her argument.  

    Not Neccesairly, perhaps Ellen was discriminated against simply because of the time frame she started working, late 1960’s, perhaps by the time Debbie Morgan came around, atitudes had changed and she had a very different expierence?   Perhaps Ellen Holly was simply unlucky because of the era she was apart of?  [/quote]

    What about Al Freeman Jr.? Holly’s co-star and love interest and an Emmy winner in ’79.  He joined the show 2-3 years after her and seems to have a much different experience than her.   [/quote]

    Perhaps it was because he was a man? maybe they were harder on Ellen as a woman? I don’t know, really, I’m just guessing.

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    BTN
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    #420693

    A lot of what she said was based on her skin color. She implied she was not black enough to be the black character after a while but also not white so she was outcast.

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    Boidiva02
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    #420694

    Yeah, you’re right… It just seems to me that since Agnes has employed other African-American actors over the years, none of whom have mentioned this sort of racist behavior being directed at them, but maybe skin color wasn’t the only reason Ellen was discriminated against.

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