on image above to see full size pic!
took three auditions, but Julie Pinson finally
found a home in Salem
Friday afternoon, and Julie Pinson has just
finished taping an episode of SOAP TALK
(see sidebar). The neighborhood is familiar
to her--PORT CHARLES taped here-- so Pinson
suggests a restaurant nearby to chat. Turns
out, it's too late for lunch, so we walk
down Vermont Avenue in the Silverlake district
of L.A. and happen upon a noisy diner, where
there is no air conditioning (it's in the
90s) and the waiter thins he's a comedian.
But easygoing Pinson doesn't care. We sit,
despite the head and the loud '80s music
blaring, to discuss the long road that eventually
lead to Salem.
hit the soap scene in 1997, when PORT CHARLES
debuted to much fanfare. "It was a great
experience, especially the very beginning because
it was a brand new show," she recalls. "We
were in People magazine. We were on the
sides of buses! I remember driving around
L.A. in my piece-of-crap car, and I came to a
stop sign and there's my big old face on the side
of a bus. And it was like, 'Hmmm, what's wrong
with this picture? I'm in a piece-of-s**t car,
and my face is on the side of a bus and in People
magazine.' So, it was a great experience, very
fun. All of us interns started together, and we
bonded right away."
PC stint came to an end when her alter ego was killed
during the "Secrets" murder mystery. Being
the "fifth chair" threw the actress for a
loop. "It was a big surprise: I was shocked,"
she admits. "It was really sad: I didn't want it
to end. I wasn't ready to go. I'd been playing Eve for
five years. I was friends with the character: I liked
her. And I had to stop being her." At the time
of Eve's demise, because of PC's shooting schedule,
Pinson filmed the exit months before it aired. That
put the actress in a delicate situation in terms of
looking for new work.
with her family in 1976.
was difficult because the storylines were taped like three months
in advance at this point, so they killed me and then I was supposed
to be quiet for three months and ABC did not want me to get another
job in that period," she explains. "But at the same time,
they weren't paying me either, so, you know, I still went out and
looked for work."
of the places she auditioned was at DAYS, to play Billie. The actress
had tried out for the role once before, a year after Rinna's 1995
departure. Krista Allen was cast. In 2002, Rinna reclaimed the role.
Finally, two years later, Pinson won the part outright. Looking
back on the process, she feels that she joined the cast at the right
time. "If I had gotten Billie right after PORT CHARLES, I may
not have appreciated it as much or maybe I wouldn't have stayed
very long because I wanted to see what it was like out there,"
she reflects. "I saw it, and I hate it. I don't like to audition
at all. I don't like being out there and since PORT CHARLES, I've
hd work, but it hasn't been a steady job and that's what everybody
wants in this town. So, it was really humbling going out there and
thinking I'm gonna take the world by storm because I did this soap
opera and then I go out there and nobody knows who you are. People
in the night-time world rarely watch soaps, so it was a humbling
experience and I was so ready."
on image above to see larger pic!
because this was her third go-round with the NBC sudser, she
didn't get her hopes up. "I wasn't as excited as in the
past because the last time I auditioned for Billie was right
after PORT CHARLES, and I kind of thought it was in the bag
and then Lisa decided to come back and there goes the job,"
she grins, "So, this time around, I was cautious. What
if they didn't want to have somebody that looked like Lisa?
What if they wanted to go in a totally different way--I wouldn't
have gotten the job." But when she did, she was thrilled.
I felt like this was where I was meant to be, becuase if I
didn't get it this time, then it was never gonna happen,"
she explains. "So, when I finally got the job, it was
just so sweet."
her experience so far has made it worth the wait, she reports.
"My first day, I was running through a jungle, and I
got shot by a dart and then Peter Reckell [Bo] wakes me up
and I got to kiss him," she says. "I'm having the
time of my life. I think this is the best I've ever felt."
she wants it to last, "I'm hoping to be there forever,"
she exclaims. "As long as they'll have me, I would love
to be there. I'm so happy. I think it's just the beginning.
I'm looking forward to the wonderful things they have in store
The Billie Club
similarities between Julie Pinson (Billie) and
Lisa Rinna (ex-Billie) are not lost to the actresses.
get the comparison all the time," Pinson says. "I've
been geting it since I was on PORT CHARLES, and it's flattering."
In fact, Rinna is responsible for Pinson's current hairdo.
first time I went on SOAP TALK, I had long hair and after
the show was over, Lisa took me aside and said, 'I just had
this epiphany. I don't know what it is, but I get this kind
of psychic thing every now and then and I just have one about
you. If you cut your hair short, you're gonna get work again.'
I said, 'But Lisa, if I cut my hair, I'm gonna look just like
you again.' She said, 'I don't care. You need to cut it. You'll
work.' So, I cut my hair and soon after that I got [Y&R]."
has been equally supportive of the role reversal. "I
saw her at the SOAPnet fall lunch party, and it was really
funny because the two of us walked in around the same
time together down the press line," Pinson recalls.
"Harry [Hamlin, Rinna's husband] looked at both of
us and couldn't figure out which one was his wife. And
Lisa was so gracious and said, 'I'm so happy for you,
congratulations. I think it's great, all for the best.'"
The two even cooked up a funny
intro for Pinson's recent SOAP TALK appearance.
played a joke on the audience," Pinson explains. "Lisa
and I switched roles. I sat in her seat as the talk show host
and she came out, pretending to be me!"
for the scans. For more on the Peter Reckell
Group the contributer runs click on the image or the link
The single actress was once engaged to Billy Warlock (ex-AJ,
GENERAL HOSPITAL; ex-Frankie, DAYS)? "We're very friendly.
He's a wonderful guy. I wouldn't have been engaged to him
if I didn't think so."
She's bought herself a pink KitchenAid mixer to celebrate
nabbing the role of Billie? ($50 went to the Susan G. Komen
breast cancer foundation.)
Her favorite show is The Food Network's BAREFOOT CONTESSA
with Ina Garten?