Susan Haskell

Kelly with Susan
Photo © Heidi Liedberg




November 1998

By Kelly Mongiovi

Susan has been an inspiration to me since I first saw her portrayal of Marty on One Life to Live.  I was completely in awe of her talent. Kelly Mongiovi with Susan Haskell (Photo courtesy Heidi Liedberg) -- Click to enlarge It is because of her that I have come to realize that I want to make a difference in other's life with the work I do, in much of the same way Susan has done for me.  If I accomplish that, it will all be worth it.

I've always loved acting.  I've been acting and singing since childhood.  However, I never thought of pursuing acting as a career until Susan came into my life.

So when the announcement was made that Thorsten Kaye was going to be conducting an acting workshop in Los Angeles on November 7 & 8, I knew instantly that this was something I had to do for myself.  I began on this journey solely to learn from 1 of the 2 greatest actors I know.  However, the events that were to follow exceeded my wildest dreams.

I ended up doing two very different scenes with Thorsten playing the fitting role as a director.  Saying that Thorsten is brilliant at what he does is an understatement.  I can't even begin to express how incredible it was to be working side by side with him, but what I can tell you is surprisingly, I wasn't nervous.  I totally felt at home, both back on stage and in his company.

On Sunday, everyone was given the opportunity to test their acting ability.  I had done a scene early that morning that was pretty emotional for me.  As the morning progressed, others did their scenes.  And I enjoyed every second I was there.

I was sitting in the front row with my back to the door, so I was more that unprepared for what was about to happen next.  Unbeknownst to me, the previous day Heidi had asked Thorsten if it would be possible for Susan to drop by the workshop so I could meet her, and he had told her that he’d see what he could do.  All of a sudden Thorsten says, "Look everyone, it's Susan Haskell."  I was in complete shock.  Holding back the tears and unable to turn around and see the person who had been an inspiration for as long as I can remember, Susan approached me.  For someone who has wanted to say so many things to her in person, I was at a complete loss for words.

She introduced herself and I then presented her with some gifts I had bought for her the night before.  I wanted to get her something special, but at the same time, something she could use.  The first gift she opened was what appeared to be a simple gold heart.  In actuality, however, it was a keychain.  Complete with her name engraved on it.  She seemed to genuinely love it (but she isn't an emmy-winning actress for nothing :-)) and said it was perfect because she could separate her NY keys from her LA keys.

Susan Haskell

Kelly with Susan and Thorsten
Photo © Heidi Liedberg

The second gift was a silver antique flowered jewelry box, which I also had her initials engraved upon.  She said, "It's not like I have a lot of jewelry or anything," looking down at her rings (which I've always LOVED!).  She gave me yet another hug and said "Thank you" and I said, "No, thank you."   She then turns to TK and says, "Look, I got presents!  Did you see this?"  TK then proceeds to reveal the gifts we had given him earlier that morning and she says, "Well, it looks like you got a few of your own."

And just when I thought nothing could be more incredible than having Susan by my side, Thorsten says to Susan, "You’re just in time.  Kelly was just about to do a scene."  My response (literally), "I am?"  Before I knew it, Thorsten wheels me onto the stage and I was performing the emotional scene I had done earlier IN FRONT OF SUSAN!

Afterwards, Susan came up to me and told me what a great job I did and I said, "Thank you.  Coming from you, that means a lot."  We then proceeded to go outside so that everyone could get some pictures with Susan.  My head was spinning.  I couldn't believe that the two actors I admired most in this world were sitting with me, side by side.

Kelly Mongiovi with Susan Haskell and Thorsten Kaye (Photo courtesy Heidi Liedberg) -- Click to enlarge

As Susan was leaving, it suddenly hit me what had just took place.  This was my ultimate dream for so long and now, it was a dream no more, but a reality.  As Thorsten walked Susan to her car, I was so filled with emotion, I began to cry.

When Thorsten was walking back and saw me crying he said, "You better stop that."  I said, "I can't help it."  Still crying while going back into the theater, he says, "You've got to stop that so we can get back to work," and I said, "Well, when you put it that way, OK."

On this weekend, many dreams were realized.  Not only did I learn gain some invaluable experience about acting, I learned a lot about myself as well.  I rediscovered and perhaps realized that my dream of acting professionally might not be such an impossible dream after all.  I also realized something I've always known inside my heart.  Thorsten and Susan not only are as brilliant as it gets when it comes to acting, but they also are two of the most kindhearted people on this earth.  They truly do have hearts of gold and they taught me that angels really do exist.  If my acting goes no further than that weekend (although I was told otherwise :-)), it will be something that will live inside my heart forever.