Thursday, July 25, 2019

Update on Valerie Harper

There is some sad news in TVland.  Valerie Harper, television's "Rhoda," is near death, according to her longtime husband, Tony Cacciotti.  Four years after she beat lung cancer in 2009, Valerie was diagnosed with a condition known as leptomeningeal carcinomatosis, which occurs when cancer cells spread into the fluid membrane surrounding the brain.  In 2013, Valerie announced that she had terminal brain cancer and was given given thee to six months to live.  However, she battled bravely and beat the odds, even competing on Dancing with the Stars.

In a July 23, 2019 Facebook post, Cacciotti, 78, revealed that doctors had advised him to move his wife of 32 years to hospice care.  He has refused to do so, promising to keep Valerie, 79, as comfortable as possible during the final days of her life.  Here is what Tony Cacciotti wrote: "I have been told by doctors to put Val in Hospice care and I can't (because of our 40 years of shared commitment to each other) and I won't because of the amazing good deeds she has graced us with while she's been here on earth."

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Valerie and her family.

Note: I posted an earlier article on Valerie Harper on July 28, 2011.  Click the link below to read it.

EDITOR'S UPDATE (August 24, 2019) : Valerie Harper turned 80 years old on August 22, 2019.

EDITOR'S UPDATE: Valerie Harper passed away on August 30, 2019 in Los Angeles.

- Joanne

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

You wanted to know . . . What happened to Mark Stewart (Toby on Mannix)?

Gail Fisher with Mark Stewart in 1970

A reader wanted to know what happened to Mark Stewart, the boy who played Toby, Peggy's (Gail Fisher) son on Mannix.  

From 1968 to 1975, Mark Stewart portrayed Toby Fair in 12 episodes of Mannix, the CBS detective series starring Mike Connors.  When the series made its debut in 1967, Joe Mannix, a Los Angeles private investigator, worked for a detective agency called Intertect.  In the second season, Mannix opened his own detective agency, assisted by his secretary, Peggy Fair (Gail Fisher).  Peggy was the widow of a police officer who was killed in the line of duty, while trying to prevent a burglary.

Mark first appeared as Toby on Mannix in a 1968 episode entitled "The Need of a Friend" (Season 2. Episode 9, Air Date: November 23, 1968).  In the episode, Joe Mannix tries to help a man released from prison after serving 7 years.  It was Mannix who helped send him to prison when he was on his first case.

In a Mannix episode entitled "Medal for a Hero" (Season 3, Episode 14, Air Date: January 3, 1970), police uncover evidence indicating that Peggy's late husband and other police officers were on the take.  Young Toby is devasted by the news, but Mannix claims the boy as his client in an effort to clear his father's name in this case.

Below is a photo of Mark Stewart in an episode of Mannix entitled "Merry-Go-Round for Murder."  It aired on April 5, 1969.

According to IMDb, Mark has no TV or film credits after Mannix.  He seems to have ended his acting career when Mannix went off the air.  There is very little information on him online and "Mark Stewart" is a common name.  Perhaps he wants to remain private.  If that's the case, I respect his privacy.  If not, I wonder if anyone can provide TV Banter with some information about Mark.  Even better, I invite Mark to send me an email to share with for my readers.


* Mark played the role of Curtis Bishop in a 1970 episode of the TV drama Bracken's World, starring Leslie Nielsen.  The episode is entitled "Will Freddy's Real Father Stand Up?" (Season 2, Episode 13, Air Date: December 11, 1970).

* Gail Fisher died on December 2, 2000 in Los Angeles.  She was 65 years old at the time of her passing and the cause of her death was kidney failure.  Gail was one of the first African-American women to have a leading role in an American television series.  The only other one I can think of right away is Diahnn Carroll who starred in Julia.  She played Julia Baker, a widoed nurse with a young son (her husband was a soldier who died in Vietnam).  Julia was a comedy and it ran from 1968 to 1971, at the same time Gail Fisher appeared in Mannix.

* Mike Connors passed away on January 26, 2017 at the age of 91.

- Joanne

 EDITOR'S UPDATE:  I was given information that child actor Mark Stewart became singer-songwriter "Stew."  I wrote a follow-up article.  To view the article click on the link below.

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Y&R Report (July 20, 2019): The Latest on The Young and the Restless

Hey Y&R fans, every second Saturday TV Banter discusses the latest happenings and provides commentary on your favourite daytime drama. Note to U.S. readers - SPOILER ALERT: Here in Canada, I watch the show on Global TV which is one episode ahead of CBS.  I will inevitably refer to incidents you haven't seen yet. Read at your own risk.  If you are the curious type, though, you may prefer to discover some things in advance. 

I have been hearing mixed reactions about the return of Michelle Stafford as Phyllis.  Michelle has been criticized for overacting and being too animated.  Nevertheless, that was quite a scene when Phyllis slammed Christine Williams (aka Cricket) after the Cricketmeister announced that she would not seek re-election as District Attorney.  The red-head declared triumphantly, "The Bug has finally been squashed."

It was good to see Eileen Davidson back as Ashley again.  I really enjoyed her scenes in Paris with Jack.  I hope Eileen will continue to make periodic visits.  She's back this summer to help deal with a threat to Jabot.

I'm not sure what's going on with Jack Abbott.  It's seems as if they are auditioning various women to see if they have chemistry with him.  The latest one was Mallory, the woman whose father was in the nursing care facility with Dina.  However, she didn't last long.  Before we got much of a chance to see if she suited Jack. her father died and she decided to leave town.  What do the writers have in mind?  Are they ultimately going to involve him with Lauren or is there someone else being cooked up.  I thought he might start a relationship with Celeste (Eva LaRue), but Celeste is back with wayward hubby Adrian Rosales.  Still, that doesn't rule out that she will eventually become involved with Jack.  That may depend on if Celeste returns to Miami or remains in Genoa City.  It seems more likely that a Jack/Lauren affair is in the works, especially now that Michael is getting himself entangled in Adam's web.  It looks like Michael's going to jeopardize his marriage in order to protect Kevin and bring Adam down.  Now that Christine is not running for the position of District Attorney, Michael will run for office because of Adam.  People will think he is being ambitious and selfish.

Speaking of Michael Baldwin (Christian LeBlanc), what has happened to his hair?  It isn't styled right and it's too long.

Victor Newman has stopped treatment for his blood disease, PNH.  He can't stand not being sharp and in control.  I still think he will opt to have a bone marrow transplant and, of course, Adam will be the most suitable donor.  That will certainly give Adam the upper hand and he will use it to his advantage.


Catherine Bach returns as Chelsea's mother

Catherine Bach will be back as Chelsea's mother, con woman Anita Lawson.  She will make an appearance in Genoa City on Thursday, August 8 (CBS), Wednesday, August 7 (Global TV in Canada).  Expect Anita to cause problems for daughter Chelsea, as usual.  Anita is a master of the art of grifting and she always tries to drag Chelsea into her web of dishonesty and fraud.  There is still a great deal we don't know about Chelsea's life after she left Genoa City and how her mother's part in setting up her marriage to Calvin.  Knowing Anita, there had to have been some kind of scam involved.


If you have any comments on Y&R, please email them to me with "Viewer Forum" in the subject line. I will be happy to publish your comments and reply to them  You do not have to use your real name. 

My email address:

I received an email from Carly in Barrhaven, Ontario.  Here are Carly's comments.

My favourite Adam portrayer is still Michael Muhney, although Mark Grossman is a great "evil" actor.  Traci and Cane together is growing on me.  I am very happy that Michelle Stafford is back.  She suits the Phyllis role perfectly.

Yes, Carly.  I liked Michael Muhney too. I think he and Justin Hartley were fantastic as Adam.  I don't like Mark Grossman as much in the role.  It's not so much Grossman's fault as the writers.  They have made Adam cartoonishly evil.  He always wears black and acts like Snidely Whiplash, ready to tie Princess Victoria Newman to the railroad tracks.

I don't know exactly why, but I couldn't get used to Traci and Cane as a couple.  They seem thrown together for plotline purposes.  The writers had to have a story for Candy Cane without Lily and Mattie and Charlie in it.  Traci was due for a little romance in her life.  Voila!  Put them together.  Unfortunately, the mixture doesn't seem quite right.  Maybe that's why the writers had Traci tell him Cane they were only going to be good friends.  The match-up probably didn't get a positive response from viewers.  It could be that some fans don't like a younger man/older woman romance.  In real life Beth Maitland (Traci) is 61 and Daniel Goddard (Cane) is 47.  On the other hand, Michelle Stafford (Phyllis) is eight years older than Joshua Morrow (Nick) and there didn't seem to be any problem with that.

It's good to see Michelle Stafford back, but I also miss Gina Tognoni.  However only one of them can play Phyllis at a time.  I like them both and they each have a unique style.


Nick and Chelsea are getting very cozy, aren't they?  How do you feel about that, fans?  Do you think they should become a couple again?  Respond to the poll below and let me know.

Do you want Nick and Chelsea to reunite?

Yes, they suit each other. They make a good couple.
No, that ship has sailed. Nick and Chelsea should both find someone new.
Maybe, but not right away. Give it some time.
Please Specify:
Create free online surveys

That's all for now.  I hope you are having a great summer.   Please remember that the next edition of Y&R Report will appear in this space on Saturday, August 3, 2019.  

- Joanne

Monday, July 8, 2019

Whatever happened to Maude's Walter (Billy Macy)?

Bill Macy is best known for his role on Maude, a popular sitcom that aired on CBS from 1972 to 1978.  The show was a spin-off of All in the Family with Beatrice Arthur starring as Edith Bunker's outspoken liberal cousin, Maude Findlay.  For six seasons, Bill portrayed Maude's long-suffering fourth husband, Walter Findlay.

After Maude ended, Bea Arthur starred in another hit comedy series, The Golden Girls, along with Betty White and Rue McClanahan. The Golden Girls ran on NBC from 1985 to 1992.  Bea died of lung cancer.on April 25, 2009 at the age of 86.  Bill, however, is still with us at 97.

Bill was born Wolf Martin Garber in Revere, Massachusetts on May 18, 1922, the son of Mollie (née Friedopfer) and Michael Garber, a manufacturer.  Bill was raised in Brooklyn, New York and attended Samuel J. Tilden High School in Brooklyn's East Flashbush district.  He worked as a taxi driver before pursuing an acting career.  That's probably why he portrayed a cab driver in a 1966 episode of the daytime soap, The Edge of Night.

In 1969, Bill appeared in an episode of the crime drama N.Y.P.D. entitled "The Attacker" (Season 2, Episode 16, Air Date: February 4, 1969).  Then came his big break.  He was cast in two 1972 episodes of All in the Family.  In the first episode, "Archie Sees a Mugging" (Season 2, Episode 18, Air Date: January 29, 1972), he played a uniformed police officer.  In the second episode, entitled "Maude" (Season 2, Episode 24, Air Date: March 11, 1972), he played Walter Findlay for the first time.  In the episode, Archie and Edith Bunker travel to upstate New York to attend the wedding of cousin Maude's daughter, Carol.

Maude was the perfect foil for Archie Bunker and his conservative views.  She espoused liberal causes.  She was a staunch Democrat and a feminist.  When Bea Arthur's Maude was spun off into a CBS series of her own, Bill found himself on a hit show.  The series was created by All in the Family producers Norman Lear and Bud Yorkin.  In an interview for the Archive of American Television (now called An Oral History of Television), Lear recalled how he first discovered Bill Macy in an off-Broadway play.  He couldn't remember the name of the play, but he has never forgotten how Bill was choking on a chicken bone.

Maude and Walter Findlay lived in suburban Tuckahoe, Westchester County, New York, where Walter owned Findlay's Friendly Appliances, a household appliance store.  Also living with the couple were Carol Trainor (Adrienne Barbeau), Maude's divorced daughter from her second marriage, and Carol's son, Philip.  Philip Traynor was played by Brian Morrison for the first five seasons and by Kraig Metzinger for the show's final season.  Conrad Bain, who later starred as Phillip Drummond on Diff'rent Strokes, played Dr. Arthur Harmon, the Findlay's sarcastic Republican neighbour.  Arthur was another foil for Maude.

Below is a 1973 photo of Bill Macy and Beatrice Arthur in a scene from Maude.

According to a May 1979 article by Marilyn Beck, Bill complained that he was cut off from Bea Arthur and the rest of the cast when Maude ended.  In the article, he is quoted as saying, "For six years - for six solid years - we saw each other more than we saw our real families.  Then the show closed and it was like a guillotine - snap, sever.  That was it!  Now go figure that out.  I haven't spoken to Bea since - and I certainly wouldn't be presumptuous enough to call her because I respect her privacy and she is a private person.  And it's not only Bea.  I haven't seen or spoken to Conrad Bain, Adrienne Barbeau - none of the cast - since the end of Maude.

After Maude was cancelled, Bill did some stage work in Seattle, Washington and Long Beach, California and he completed a role in the Steve Martin film, The Jerk, a comedy directed by Carl Reiner.  He also appeared on numerous TV series.  In 1979,  he had a recurring role as Louis Harper in four episodes of Hanging In.  He guest-starred in episodes of Hotel (1983), St. Elsewhere (1994), The Love Boat (1984, 1986),  L.A. Law (two 1986 episodes), The Facts of Life (1988), Highway to Heaven (1985, 1988), Murder, She Wrote (1986, 1989), Matlock (1991), Columbo (1993), Diagnosis Murder (1994), NYPD Blue (1995), Chicago Hope (1996)  Bill had a role in two 1996 episodes of Seinfeld as Herb, one of the residents of Del Boca Vista, the Florida retirement home where Jerry Seinfeld's parents resided.

In the 2000s, Bill appeared in episodes of such shows as Touched by an Angel (2000), LAX (2004),
and ER (2004).  He played an aging gambler in a 2006 episode of Las Vegas and Whiskey Pete in a 2007 episode of My Name Is Earl.  According to IMDb, his last television credit is a 2010 episode of Hawthorne entitled "No Exit" (Season 2, Episode 10, Air Date: August 24,2010), in which he played Mr. Rickles.  He retired from acting in 2011.

Bill Macy has been married twice.  His first wife was Judith Janus, but he has been married to actress Samantha Harper since 1975.  Samantha portrayed Sandy in the 1985 film Torchlight and an occupational therapist in the 1977 drama/fantasy film I Never Promised You a Rose Garden..  She appeared as Mrs. L.W. in a 1980 episode of the sitcom Mork and Mindy entitled "Invasion of the  Snatchers" (Season 2, Episode 25, Air Date: March 20, 1980) and as Lois in a 1986 episode of Hill Street Blues entitled "I Come on My Knees) (Season 7, Episode 5, Air Date: November 6, 1986).

Samantha Harper (undated)

Bill and Samantha co-starred in the 1972 film version of the controversial off-Broadway nude comedy revue, Oh! Calcutta!.  Bill was an original cast member of the long-running revue.

More recent photo of Bill Macy


* Bill's wife, Samantha, appeared in three episodes of Maude, two in 1973 ("Maude and the Medical Profession," and "The Office Party," and one in 1975 ("The Christmas Party.").

* Conrad Bain passed away on January 14, 2013, following a stroke.  He died three weeks before his 90th birthday.

Conrad Bain

* Adrienne Barbeau (born June 11, 1945) is now 74 years old.  In 2013, Adrienne Barbeau made a guest appearance as Alice Noone on Sons of Anarchy, an FX series.  She appeared in the sixth season of the series in an episode called "Sweet and Vaded."  Adrienne has been divorced twice and is a mother of three.

2011 photo of Adrienne Barbeau

EDITOR'S UPDATE:  Bill Macy died on October 17, 2019 at the age of 97.

SOURCES: IMDb; Wikipedia; St. Petersburg Times, "Bill Macy: silence from 'Maude' clan," by Marilyn Beck; information, "Bill Macy Biography, Age, Wife, Movies and TV Shows"

- Joanne

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Y&R Report (July 6, 2019): The Latest on The Young and the Restless

Hey Y&R fans, every second Saturday TV Banter discusses the latest happenings and provides commentary on your favourite daytime drama. Note to U.S. readers - SPOILER ALERT: Here in Canada, I watch the show on Global TV which is one episode ahead of CBS.  I will inevitably refer to incidents you haven't seen yet. Read at your own risk.  If you are the curious type, though, you may prefer to discover some things in advance. 

Chelsea has returned to Genoa City with a new husband, an older Southern gentleman named Calvin.  Calvin didn't stay around long.  He just dropped dead suddenly.  Something is rotten in the state of Wisconsin, I think.  Did he really die of natural causes or was he murdered?

A point I'd like to make is that Chelsea is still legally married to Adam.  She never divorced him.  However, she's not guilty of bigamy because Adam was presumed dead.  Also, Chelsea's relationship with Calvin was weird.  When she was leaving Society with him, she looked back at Nick as if she were pleading for help.  I wonder if she was forced to marry him for some reason.

Adam declared that he will stop at nothing to reunite himself with Chelsea and Connor.  Could he be behind Calvin's untimely death? 

I see big trouble ahead for Kyle and Lola, if they even manage to get married.  Theo is throwing a bachelor party for Kyle and that could be disastrous given Theo's reckless ways.

I enjoyed the 4th of July carnival scenes.  They were great summer fun.


If you have any comments on Y&R, please email them to me with "Viewer Forum" in the subject line. I will be happy to publish your comments and reply to them  You do not have to use your real name. 

My email address:

Here are come email comments from regular Y&R viewer, CC in Etobicoke, Ontario.

Hi Joanne, 

Eric Braeden does not seem to be well these days.  He doesn't move much in any of his scenes, little getting up or sitting down.  When he does walk, it appears to be very gingerly.  Something tells me that the upcoming storyline about his participation in an experimental treatment trial may be a way to write in his upcoming real life treatment for whatever is ailing him.  Given that he wrote about his athletic successes in his book, it wouldn't surprise me if the wear and tear on his body has caught up with him.  Perhaps something like knee replacement is on the horizon for him.

It's a soap opera, so anything goes . . . but funny we didn't meet Lola's mother when Lola was on her death bed.  She does not fit the image I had of a woman who was abandoned by her cheating husband to raise her three children on her own.  Truthfully, Rey looks like he could be older than his mother.

Are Chelsea, her mother and her new husband, Calvin, involved in a new con game?  She and Calvin are definitely not a love match.  Nick is suspicious.  Once Adam gets up to speed on this, maybe Nick and Adam will work together to blow it all up.  

What are your thoughts on this?

Well, CC, I definitely agree with you that Eric Braeden hasn't look well lately, although he's appeared healthier in more recent episodes.  His character is suffering from a rare blood disease and is not supposed to appear healthy.  Eric is a good actor and I think he wants to give a realistic portrayal of Victor Newman's illness.  Now that Victor has been undergoing treatment, he is supposed to look better.

Remember, though, that Eric is 78 years old.  He is not as spry as he once was, he can still pound that punching bag.

Yes, Lola's mother, Celeste, should have been at her side when she had the liver transplant.  I guess the writers somehow overlooked it and they never thought astute viewers like you would pick up on it.

I certainly agree that Eva LaRue looks too young to be Rae's mother.  In the May 25, 2019 edition of Y&R Report (prior to Eva's first appearance on Y&R), here is what I wrote based on photos I had seen of her: "I wonder if they are going to use makeup to age Eva because she appears far too young to be the mother of Rey, Arturo and Lola - especially Rey.  Maybe Celeste was just a teenager when she gave birth to her eldest.  Eva was actually born on December 27, 1966, which makes her 52 years old.  She doesn't look her age."  I have since looked up the age of Jordi Vilasuso, who plays Rey.  Jordi was born on June 15, 1981, which makes him 38 years old.  That means he's only 14 years younger than the woman who portrays his mother.  Was Celeste only 14 when she gave birth to Rae?  I don't think so.

It's not just a matter of Eva's age, though.  As you pointed out, CC, she doesn't fit the image of a woman who was abandoned by her cheating husband and raised three children on her own.  Eva is a California model and looks like one.  She doesn't resemble an impoverished Hispanic woman who struggled to support her family.and endured hard times.  At least, that's the impression her children gave of her.  You wouldn't expect her to be able to afford designer clothes.

Eva LaRue was enormously popular in her longtime role as Maria Santos on All My ChildrenY&R seems to have miscast.her as Celeste.  Yet,  there may be an important reason why she was chosen for the role.  Celeste finds Jack Abbott very attractive.  There may be a romance in the offing for those two.  Since Jack usually dates model types, Eva fits the image in that respect.

As for Calvin, I thought he was trouble with a capital T.  However, he didn't stay around very long.  He suddenly ended up dead.  You are right that he and Chelsea were not a love match.  In fact, Chelsea didn't seem to know him that well at all.  She was surprised and shocked that he wanted to let Adam have custody of Connor.  I also wonder about the whole setup because Chelsea's mother, Anita, was involved and Anita is a conwoman.


Gordon Thomson headed to Y&R

Canadian Gordon Thomson, who has a long history of appearing on soaps, has been cast as a new character on Y&R.  He will play the role of Daryl Tulane, who has a connection to Chelsea.  Gordon is probably best known his portrayal of Adam Carrington on Dynasty from 1982 to 1989.  He also played Artistotle Bennedict White on Ryan's Hope in 1981, and Mason Capwell on Santa Barbara form 1990 to 1993.  In 2000, he appeared as FBI Special Agent Hal Freeman on Passions.  In 2009, he played the part of Walter on Days of Our Lives.

Jessica Collins hints that she may return to Y&R as Avery Bailey Clark

Jessica Collins has teased fans that she has reprised one of her most popular characters and will reveal the details soon.  Naturally that has aroused speculation that she will return to Y&R as lawyer Avery Bailey Clark, the sister of Phyllis Summers.  They way actors have returned to the show lately, that could very well happen.  If it does happen, it will certainly affect the lives of Phyllis and Nick.  Phyllis, now being played by Michelle Stafford again, has not mentioned her sister for a long time.  Nick and Avery were once an item.  They almost got married, but she didn't show up for the ceremony.


Tyler Johnson

Fans, how do you like Theo Vanderway (Tyler Johnson), Summer's new boyfriend?  Do you have a positive or negative impression of him?  Respond to the poll below and let me know.

Are you impressed with Theo Vanderway (Tyler Johnson)?

Yes, he's a good actor. I like him and he adds something to the show.
No, he doesn't impress me at all.
I can take him or leave him.
I need to see more of him before making up my mind.
Please Specify:

That's all for now.  Don't forget that the next edition of Y&R Report will appear in this space on Saturday, July 20, 2019.

- Joanne