In a new interview, the Emmy-nominated Jill Larson (Opal) discusses her past, present, and future with All My Children. While her past includes 20 years worth of story twists and turns, Larson's future is much more bleak. Since the actress doesn't have a contract with AMC -- she was downgraded to recurring in 2006 -- it's possible that AMC fans will never again see Opal.
Twenty years ago, ABC contacted Jill Larson and offered her the opportunity to play the role of Opal Gardner. The actress had just come off a stint as bomb-happy Ursula Blackwell on One Life to Live, and Larson wasn't sure that she wanted to head back to daytime. With a laugh, Larson recalls that a friend urged her to look at the AMC job "as a two-year prison term."
Over the next 17 years, Larson's kooky on-screen alter ego butted heads with her ofttimes stubborn husband, Palmer Cortlandt; battled her own personal prejudices on homosexuality; and reconnected with a biracial son that she'd all but forgotten. Now, as All My Children prepares to move west, the show may be leaving Opal behind.
"Regarding the move to L.A., I can't say anything because I don't have anything to say," Larson says in an interview with Advocate.com. "I am no longer on contract, and I am not being offered a package at this point. So, I don't know what the status of the recurring characters will be."
Larson suspects that ABC may be trying to cut its operating costs by transitioning many of its long-time, but underused, veterans from contracts to recurring status.
"It seems to me there has been a trend toward trying to put more of us on recurring in recent years," Larson notes. "My main concern is that everything that can possibly be done is being done to save the integrity of the show through a transition like this."
Larson explains why she initially objected to being the so-called token bigot in All My Children's first major gay storyline in 1995, and responds to questions about her own sexual orientation.
In the end, Larson's original reluctance to joining All My Children is nothing but a memory. The actress, who in 1991 and 1993 earned Outstanding Supporting Actress nominations at the Daytime Emmys, says she would really like to continue working on the ABC soap after it relocates to Los Angeles.
"I would love to [move with the show] to Los Angeles. I would love a chance to spend an extended period in L.A. with a job. So who knows? There are so many details to straighten out if this would even happen, and I truly haven't had a definitive conversation yet," Larson states. "But knowing about how they are looking at recurring characters, I don't know if it will be possible. We shall see."
Photo Credit: ABC