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Work in Progress

(Soap Opera Weekly 97)


Sitting over lunch in the ABC commissary, Julie Pinson (Eve) very bluntly descripes her first few months' work on PC: "I sucked," she says with a hearty laugh. "Wendy Riche (executive producer) and all the producers and directors had a lot of patience with us and let us find our characters. In the first three weeks, they could very easily have recast. Instead, they gave me the chance to grow into Eve, and I think she's turned into something great."

She credits co-star Kin Shriner (Scott) for her rapid improvement. "He taught me about making the character my own. After we'd wrap up at the end of the day, sometimes we'd talk, and he'd tell me what I was doing wrong or right. He really took me under his wing and taught me a lot about acting," she says.

Pinson says Shriner's feedback helped her to improve her acting.

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Pinson claims that performing is in her blood. "My mother was a professional opera singer. I remember being little and watching her onstage. I was fascinated with the costumes and the makeup, and I wanted to be just like Mom." She got hooked on acting when she played Heidi in her Northern California forth grade class. "I remember all the adulation at the curtain call. My family was the loudest in the whole auditorium. I thought, 'If I do this, I'll get my family and everybody else to like me.'"

Pinson is very close to her parents; in fact, she calls herself a "typical daddy's little girl," which made it even more devastating at age 15 when her folks split up. Instead of confronting her feelings, she suffered the consequences of suppressing them. "I was in denial, and nobody recognized the signs," she explains. "I was going 'I's cool, it's cool,' and in the meantime, it was affecting me in very negative ways. I wanted to seem adult and be cool and understanding with the attitude, 'Listen, Mom and Dad, I want you to be happy, so don't worry about me.' It idnd't hit me until I was 20 or 21 when I started going, 'Dammit, why did they have to do that?'"

In retrospect, Pinson wishes she'd been more vocal about her feelings so that counseling might have been sought. "I'm a big believeer in therapy," she says. "it's helped me through some hard times. In situations like that, parents need to talk to the kids. The kids may say, 'It's cool, don't worry about it.' Unhuh," she says, shaking her head adamantly. "it will hit them eventually."

Shortly after high school, Pinson left the Bay area to work for Club Med. "It was a blast," she says, "I really learned how to be an adult, traveling by myself, not speaking the language in some places and having to fend for myself. I learned to speak a lot of languages, though, because every week there were 5oo new guests, many from Italy, Germany, France and Mexico.

"The biggest drawback was the long hours. It's a French company, so they don't have the labor laws we have in the States. Because you have to be with the guests all the time, you can't be crabby, have a bad day or be sick because there's nobody to cover for you. For the most part I just remember the good things now. After two years of that kind of schedule, I was ready to have three jobs when I moved to L.A. I was so programmed to work."

Pinson took an apartment in L.A. with her best friend, but her fear of rejection and her aversion to asking her parents for money kept her from pursuing her acting dreams. Instead, she worked for a temp agency and as a movie stand-in for a friend who was director of photograhpy. Her one line in The Mambo Kings got cut but earner her a Screen Actors Guild card, enabling her to work in the field. But she still struggled with her fears.

"Things weren't going too well," shares Pinson. "I called my dad in tears and said, 'I think I'm goingto give it up. I'm goin to get a job being a receptionist or go back to school. It's hard to live from paycheck to paycheck.' He said, 'You have always landed on your feet. You always will land on your feet. Don't give up. You will make it no matter what because that's who you are.'"