Constance McCashin, Knots Landing
As promised, I've been snoopin' for the poop on Constance McCashin's MIA status from CBS' Knots Landing Reunion: Together Again special. Word is, McCashin — who played Laura Avery Sumner in eight out of Knots Landing's 14 seasons — has retired from showbiz to do volunteer work with mentally challenged people. (Among other activities, she sits on the advisory board of the National Down Syndrome Society.) Allegedly, McCashin doesn't want the folks she works with to become confused by seeing her on TV. She just might also still harbor resentment toward Knots, since it's well known that both she and Julie Harris were casualties of budget cuts.

Since she declined to participate in this Knots reunion or in 1997's Knots Landing: Back to the Cul-de-Sac movie, I guess I shouldn't be surprised that TVGuide.com's messages to McCashin have gone unanswered. (Sniff, sniff.) But why was her face blurred out during that vintage Knots clip?

"According to SAG and AFTRA guild rules, actors control their images," the reunion's producer, Gary Tellalian, wrote in a posting on KnotsLanding.net. "Therefore, we have to get permission to use these actors in TV specials. They can be seen in [SoapNet's Knots] reruns and on DVDs because the shows are presented intact. But when you cut up the original shows and rearrange them in a new show, the actors must give permission and must be paid. Sometimes, like Constance, they flat out refuse. Other times the actors want too much money for use of their clips and we refuse." (That's Tellalian's classy way of letting us know McCashin didn't try to cash in, like other absent Knots players may have done.)

"Constance's absence did create a series of problems, in that we couldn't show any clips of Richard and Laura or Greg and Laura, both major story lines," Tellalian added. "The TV blur [was] a hard decision. [William Devane's favorite memory was] the scene [in which Greg Sumner is crying while] watching Laura's [farewell] tape. He's terrific in that scene, really heartbreaking. The only way for me to show this scene was through delicate, tricky editing to remove Constance. We didn't have to. We could have removed the scene entirely. But that moment is one of the most memorable of the series."