What a delicious surprise! Rumors were flying throughout the soap worid when Audrey Landers came to New York and then stopped by the One Life to Live studios. What in the world was up? That's what everyone wanted to know. Well, now we know! Audrey was in town to finalize a deal with the daytime soap-and what a deal! The role of Charlotte Hesser was created specifically for Audrey-she even had a hand in developing the character. It is quite an honor to be given that sort of freedom and attention by any production, let alone a daytime drama.
Audrey is well aware of,how rarely an actor is allowed input in the formation of his or her character. It's not something she takes lightly, although Audrey laughs when she admits that her well-known character Afton on Dallas was also created with her in mind. Be that as it may, the decision to return to daytime was evidently painless-for a couple of reasons. “I don't know if you know this, but I got married two years ago and I was living in Los Angeles and he was here. We've had this commuter marriage going and its been pretty difficult, we didn't see each other very much at all. I missed him and I really wanted to find some work that I liked and move to New York,” explains Audrey in a most straight-forward way. “So, I put a call out that I was going to be living and working in New York. One Life to Live contacted me and they created this character. It's really a wonderful way to be on a daytime show because it's a luxury that you don't often have. To come to contract with [the character you want] and them asking, 'How long would you like to stay on the show?' It's just a wonderful luxury.”
Although Audrey is pleased with both her latest character and the happy proximity to her husband, she does say that some people in the business put down her decision. Actually, that's not too surprising - daytime has a long history of being not quite 'real work' by many people in the business. Audrey takes a different stand. “I think that poeple who aren't involved in daytime don't realize the kind of schedule you're on ... it can be a real challenge to do a daytime drama,” she insists.
Understandably, Audrey is still quite excited about what lies in store for Charlotte. Fans can expect to see her for about four more months. (Although Audrey says, “You never know, maybe longer.”) Describing Charlotte seems to be an easy task for Audrey. “She's' smart, she's sexy. She knows how to get what she wants. She doesn't usually have to wait very long because she relies on herself. She goes after what she wants and part of what she wants is to be involved in the family business. She doesn't like the fact that her brother has so much responsibility. She's strong and she's bright and she can do as much as he does,” says Audrey.
Undoubtedly, there are similarities between Afton on Dallas and Charlotte on OLTL. Audrey describes Afton as being “opportunistic and never dumb. But, of course, she fell in love and that couldn't last.” Is that a warning that Charlotte's mischief-making will come to an end as soon as she finds true love? Well, don't look,for that to happen anytime soon. Says Audrey, “Let's just say Charlotte's going to fall in love, but I don't know how nice she's going to get!”
Audrey's own love story is as responsible for getting her to return to New York as anything else. Sheinsists that she never made a conscious decision not to marry an actor, but that it just turned out that way. Her husband, Donald Berkowitz, sells coated paper and Audrey's mother introduced the two of them. “Isn't that corny?!” laughs Audrey. It could be that the hardest part of the marriage falls to Donald-watching his wife's love scenes. “The first time he saw me, he went out of his mind, he couldn't handle it. Now, seven years later, he's a little bit better about it,” smiles Audrey.
She goes on to tell an amusing story about one love scene that really threw her husband for a loop. It seems that another role had been created just for her-and, boy, was it a sexy one! “I was very proud of it. My husband was in New York, so it aired first there (Audrey was in Los Angeles). I was waiting by the phone for him to tell me how wonderful it was. He didn't call. I called him up and he said, 'I don't want to talk to you.' And he hung up. I think he's gotten a little better. He always says, 'As long as it's not as sexy as that Midnight Caller. . . ' ”