February 15, 2013

Longtime ‘As the World Turns’ star spends some time in Myrtle Beach

A longtime soap star is eager to enjoy this weekend in the Carolinas, where her world started turning almost 80 years ago.

A longtime soap star is eager to enjoy this weekend in the Carolinas, where her world started turning almost 80 years ago.

Eileen Fulton, who played the scandalous character Lisa for more than five decades on CBS’ “As the World Turns” until the series went off the air in 2010, will attend fundraisers with Liz Black, the reigning Miss Clarendon 2013, in Florence for the Children’s Miracle Network and in Manning for the American Red Cross.

Speaking Tuesday by phone from home in New York, before flying to Myrtle Beach to begin a long weekend with visits across the Pee Dee and to Camden, Fulton had fun looking back at what became her own chapter in daytime drama.

Fulton, whose books include “How My World Turns,” from 1970, “As My World Still Turns: The Uncensored Memoirs of America’s Soap Opera Queen” (1995), and “Soap Opera” (1999), said when she was born in Ashville, N.C., her father was a Methodist preacher.

“We lived all over the western part of North Carolina, especially the mountains,” she said.

Question | How did you see daytime soaps help pave the road for the success of other types of dramas, such as nighttime hits “Dallas” and “Dynasty”?

Answer | Everybody wants a good story. People love stories, and the thing now is we are in kind of a jam with all of these reality shows.

Q. | When you began in the TV business, had you any inclination this one job on “As the World Turns” would last so long?

A. | Heavens, no; I even refused to sign a seven-year contract. I said, “I’m not going to be here this long.” ... But it’s been a good run, and I also realize that it was very important because it opened the door to other things. I was able to do nightclub work and to write and do all these creative things I love to do.

Q. | Any special lessons learned from other colleagues in the industry that always remained close to your heart and your everyday carriage?

A. | Little things, like from Myrna Loy. Years ago, we met at a luncheon. She said, “Eileen, when they tell you to act, just act naturally.” ... And she said, in front of cameras, do not put food in your mouth, because that’s a picture they will use. ... She said, when they say just chat with each other ... just kind of smile and nod ... and don’t do anything but look pretty.”

Q. | What do you miss the most from the work routine and everyday gang from “As the World Turns” and all the chapters it filled in your life?

A. | I miss my friends, especially all the people in the wardrobe department, in hair and makeup. I miss the people who were always there and the kids in the office. Those people meant a lot.

Q. | What special connection has grown with the Black family, your hosts who live in Manning and who will welcome you at their home near Myrtle Beach to start this weekend?

A. | I feel like I’ve known them forever. When I met them, I realized that Stephanie Black and I, at different times, had been counselors at Camp Tekoa, in the Blue Ridge Mountains. ... And I look forward to seeing Liz Black, who’s doing so many interesting and good things ... and working with the Children’s Miracle Network. I’m also interested in her work about anti-bullying. .. And of course, I’m doing some networking for the Red Cross. I’ve always been impressed through the years, whenever there’s a fire or flood or something bad, the Red Cross is always there.

Q. | Anything capture your interest the most on the tube nowadays?

A. | I watch the news; that’s what I like, and I think these programs on the national networks ... are wonderful things; you have the opera, ballet and fabulous things. ... And I read; that’s my joy because the characters you look for are the way you want them to look.

Q. | Any other soaps carve a slot in your life for you to be a regular viewer?

A. | No, and I can say that because I was so busy. ... Honestly, I didn’t have a chance to look at other soaps. I met some other good actors who happened to be on soaps.

Q. | What other projects will fill your calendar this year?

A. | I’m getting ready to do a movie in April ... and working to get a nightclub act together, and I want to do some writing on the side.

Q. | With the 137th Westminster Dog Show taking place in the Big Apple this week, what other special parts of your life take front and center stage?

A. | I have two dogs, Pekingeses. They are adorable. Their names are Ella Fitzgerald and Rosemary Clooney. They’re twins, and they’re 8 years old.

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