Man, do we miss her! Susan Flannery, who last year walked away from her 25-year role as Stephanie Forrester on The Bold and the Beautiful, is once again back in the Daytime Emmy race after four wins and three zillion nominations. TV Guide Magazine spoke with the Outstanding Lead Actress contender about her latest shot at the gold and how she's faring outside the showbiz spotlight.
Flannery: Thank you. I very much appreciate the congratulations. [Laughs] But you know me! I think it's much more wonderful that they finally nominated Katherine. I'm always the first to gripe about it when it doesn't happen.
TV Guide Magazine: How did you get the news?
Flannery: I was in bed [on nomination morning] listening to BBC World on my iPhone and I kept hearing that little buzz that says people are sending you emails. [Laughs] I figured it was Johns Hopkins telling me I've got dementia! So I just ignored it. Then a while later [exec producer] Brad Bell called and said, "I've tried desperately to wait until 7 a.m. to call you. You've been nominated!" The first thing out of my mouth was: "What about Katherine?" It's so funny. I was so excited about Katherine, I forgot to ask who else had been nominated in my category. About an hour later I saw the list and went, "Oh, my God! Peggy McCay!" I called her right away and congratulated her. What a capper for a career. She's been acting since the 1950s. It's just fabulous! Only in daytime can women really find a place after a certain age, and even then it's tricky. Last year when Erika Slezak was nominated again after many years, I called her and said "Congratulations. So they know you're not dead!"
TV Guide Magazine: You and Katherine both submitted the same episode — Stephanie dying with Brooke by her side. You never gave interviews at the end of your run on B&B so finally here's my chance to ask: How did you feel about the way your exit was written?
Flannery: I loved it. Toward the end, someone at the show told me Stephanie was going to die in, like, three weeks and I went up to Brad's office and said, "You're gonna have Brooke there with her at the end, right?" He looked up and gave me this great big grin and said, "Yes, that's who it is." I said, "Fabulous!" I think it worked out really well.
TV Guide Magazine: Didn't you think it was awfully heartless of Stephanie to tell her children she was going off to die in private and that they'd never see her again? It was so friggin' mean.
Flannery: I know it was. Everyone was so stunned but I thought it was a very interesting and original way to handle a character's departure, and I really admired Brad so much for that. He did it all beautifully and stayed true to Stephanie. It was so her! He didn't take the easy way out. When Brad told me she would make the rounds and tell all the important people in her life that she was going to be dead soon, I was very happy. [Laughs] I didn't want to have to lay there in some hospital bed while everyone else on the show, one by one, pulls up and chair and says, "Okay, I'm doing my Emmy reel now."
TV Guide Magazine: Do you ever miss the show?
TV Guide Magazine: Not ever?
TV Guide Magazine: How about acting itself?
Flannery: [Laughs] Nope. I really only think about that part of my life when somebody calls me. I don't mean to be unkind or anything. I had a great run and a wonderful time, but there's a time to go. And when you go it's over. You don't look back. My friend Joanna Johnson [B&B's Karen] was so worried that I was going to lose my mind if I stopped working. [Laughs] But I lost that a long, long time ago, so what the hell? She said, "You have too much energy! What will you do with it?" But it's all been fine.
TV Guide Magazine: What the hell do you do all day?
Flannery: Don't ask me. I mean, you can ask me. But I can't account for it! I remember, when I was a kid, how people who'd gone into retirement would say, "I've never been busier. I don't know how I used to find time to have a job!" And I thought that was crazy. [Laughs] But it's true! Somehow your days just fill up. I kind of credit my [decision to quit] to the way the B&B production schedule changed three or four years ago. Suddenly, instead of just having a couple of weeks off at Christmas we had these long stretches of dark weeks and I really loved it. I was always thinking, "Gee, I could get used to this." But, as I said, it was also time to go. I had a great career and you can't ask for more.
TV Guide Magazine: Well, actually we can. You will show up at the Emmys so we can see you again, right?
Flannery: Yes I will be there — just to watch Katherine win!