Susan Haskell

She's So Excited

Soap Opera Update



"I vividly remember doing a scene with her by Megan's gravesite, and I remember thinking that Susan is going to be very big. I was just in awe; she has such a talent. She's bright, gifted, kind, thoughtful and trustworthy. She is 100% a lady." - Wortham Krimmer (Andrew) <br><br>

ONE LIFE TO LIVE'S Susan Haskell (Marty) had no idea why Soap Opera Update wanted to interview her. After all, she's not exactly frontburner, nor has she been since her Daytime Emmy Award-winning turn as rape victim Marty Saybrooke in 1994. Then it was a different story. You couldn't get enough of her. Every publication clamored for her time and attention. Now it seems as if she's fallen prey to that wretched Emmy curse; you know, the one where actors disappear into the woodwork after running on stage to pick up that coveted statuette.

"It seems to be that way," the beautiful actress smiles. "It bothers me that I'm not working as much as I'd like to be (on OLTL). I'm frustrated, which has just got to be obvious, coming from the story that I did and doing what I'm doing now. For a while you understand that things ebb and flow, and then after a while it gets to the point where it's like, 'I don't really understand it.' Marty's a powerful character. They just have to find some way to use it. I think it's there; I think everything's all there. It just has to be played."

Haskell has come to grips with the fact that she may never be afforded the wonderful opportunity and storyline that began with Marty's insensitivity to the homophobia permeating throughout Llanview, culminating in her rape by Todd and the fraternity boys and her need to cope with the repercussions of that fateful night. "I felt that was just a wonderful thing that happened," she says. "Sometimes you just get frustrated for your character in a weird way, so I'm just going to see what happens."

On ONE LIFE TO LIVE, that is. As far as the outside world, there's a lot happening. Besides the rewards of being the national spokesperson for I Am Worth It, an organization which handles Toronto's women shelters (the actress hails from Canada), Haskell has three acting assignments on the shelf. Surprisingly - especially to the youthful star - she plays wives in all of them.

"I did an ABC Afterschool Special called 'Fast Forward,' which airs September 14," she excitedly begins the new list on her resumé. "It's about drinking. I end up marrying a man, and it shows how alcoholism affects our marriage. Gerald McRaney (MAJOR DAD) is in it. Then there's Danielle Steele's miniseries called ZOYA. Melissa Gilbert is the star of it, and it basically spans from her early childhood in Russia to when she's in her 70's in the United States. I marry her son...and it's not a happy marriage either. That airs on NBC in the fall."

And the piece de resistance? A feature film. A major feature film.

"I got a part in 'Mrs. Winterbourne,'" she beams. "Richard Benjamin is directing the comedy, Ricki Lake is the star, and Shirley MacLaine is also in it. Brendan Fraser plays my husband...and I'm pregnant in it!"

When asked to choose three words that best describe her, Haskell responds: "Blessed, Happy, Excited." The fourth word might have been Lucky. After all, it isn't every daytime performer (and character) that can chalk up so many years on one show as she has without another family member in town. To that end, the actress has the rare distinction of sharing the screen at one time or another with practically every performer on the Llanview cast list - from the mysterious and sensitive Suede (played by the exited David Ledingham) to the menacing and brooding Todd (Roger Howarth) to the torn and patient Andrew (Wortham Krimmer). Now, Haskell is in the throes of a hot romance with new-hunk-in-town Dylan, played by fan fave Christopher Douglas. It's quite different being paired with someone who's known more for his smoldering good looks, Haskell doesn't mind.

"He is good-looking, isn't he?" she confirms. "People like us, I think, but they're still kind of under-developed. I don't think our characters have had a chance to do anything that really works with just the two of them. The gang storyline is important, I think it's a strong story, and I'm sure people find it interesting, but it's not about the two of them. Fans are excited about Dylan, and they want to see what happens with the two of us and that kind of love story."

Daytime fans were quick to get over the fact that GENERAL HOSPITAL's Luke raped Laura, DAYS OF OUR LIVES' Jack raped his one-time wife Kayla, and ANOTHER WORLD's Jake had his way with Marley, but it bothers Haskell immensely that Todd Manning has become somewhat of a hero in the eyes of many. And scenes where Marty gives Todd her shoulder to cry on - remember her condolences when Blair lost the baby? - turn her stomach.

"I fight against that, and so does Roger Howarth," she emphasizes, "But 'people' have different feelings on that subject, shall we say. As 'they' put it, Marty is sorry; Marty should take the high road. I think that's fine; I think she is. I think she's living in the same town with this man, and dealing with a lot, and that's taking her on the high road. But I think that sometimes they push it, and I just know from dealing with people who have been in this situation, I don't think that's realistic. But then you kind of have to let it go and say, 'Okay, it's a soap opera.'"

And what about the fact that Luke wound up marrying Laura, Jack found love with Jennifer, and Jake walked down the aisle with Paulina? There have been rumors of a Todd/Marty romance somewhere along the way. "I told them they'd have to get a different actress (if that were to happen)," Haskell says point blank. "I think that's disgusting, to put it mildly. There's no point...unless they absolutely made her brain-damaged. I'm sure they could find a way to do it, but the way the situation is now, I think it would be appalling."

Which is exactly how she feels about the Hollywood game of stars jumping in and out of each other's beds. While marriage and parenthood are certainly on her mind - not at this time, however - she plans on beating the odds and rising above the fray. And to whom does she hold as an example? Well, despite rumors of love affairs with her co-stars, Meryl Streep gets her vote.

"I like her because from whatever I've read - and you never know; I don't know the woman personally - she seems to have her private life private, which I admire," Haskell explains. "From what I understand, she has four children, one husband, (is not part of the Hollywood scene) and does her job and gets great scripts. Ultimately, that would be the ideal. That's what life's all about. It's disappointing, I must admit, in this whole movie, TV kind of thing, where people's private lives are pretty messed up. That's why I admire people like that. That, to me, is success!"