[quote] Marj's son was dying of AIDS when she joined GL. You could see her a bit haggard shortly thereafter, totally understandable.
I think he died in 1994, but yes, that would have been about six months to a year after his passing. From a 1995 LA Times article:
When Marj Dusay took on the coveted role of Alexandra Spaulding on “Guiding Light,” she faced the daunting task of replacing Beverlee McKinsey, an actress many thought as irreplaceable. Notably, Dusay’s portrayal, which gives new meaning to, “It is just an honor being nominated,” earned her a Daytime Emmy nomination for outstanding lead actress this year. Following in McKinsey’s shadow, Dusay says, “I’ve always felt once you’re doing a part, it is yours anyway. If you let the psychology of it say it’s not, you’re doomed. I couldn’t work if I let her ghost follow me around.
“It was still nice,” she adds, ‘when I started getting letters from her fans saying they love me now, too.” Getting a nomination, says Dusay, “was a wonderful surprise since I didn’t have a big long-term story. I’ve just set up an excursion with the wardrobe department to find something to wear [to the May 19 awards ceremony]. I never wear formal clothing--mainly khakis and jeans--so, unless I go like that, we need to find something.”
The reels she submitted to the Emmy committee include the episodes when Alexandra tried to dupe Holly Lindsey (Maureen Garrett) into believing she had seduced Roger Thorpe (Michael Zaslow), and the episode that takes place on an airplane when Alexandra’s brother, Alan Spaulding (Ron Raines), told her that he was not really dying. Alexandra, in turn, nearly killed him for tricker her before both end up hysterically laughing.
“I don’t think they planned the scene that way,” says Dusay, “but we shuffled it around. It showed her joy that he was to live as well as their reversion to childhood.”
When we noted that because of the incredible chemistry she shares with Raines, it is a shame they cannot be lovers, she says with a laugh, “That’s what my Aunt Tilly says. She wants it to turn out that we are not really related. It could happen, you know. Our father Brandon had a checkered past.”
“The chemistry keeps it tenuous,” she continues. “There’s always something just under the surface in all familial relationships--a fascination and a curiosity. It’s the one candy bar you can’t have. For characters like Alexandra and Alan, that’s reason enough to want it in some way.”
Dusay’s castmate Maeve Kinkead (who plays Vanessa Chamberlain) was also nominated in the same category, but Dusay is undaunted.
“Maeve called me and e talked about it,” she says. “I just love her story and respect her and her work so much that it’s no problem. I’ve judged these; it’s all subjective--from the scenes picked to the attitudes of the judges on any given day. It is not a mathematical equation. “I’m not competitive in that I want to work, but I don’t want to take something away from someone else. I know how hard this job is.”
Soon after the awards, Dusay will look forward to the opening of “Ciao Yu,” a movie she made on the streets of New York City that is set to open in June.
It’s being put out by the same people who did “The Wedding Banquet” and “Eat, Drink, Man, Woman,” Dusay explains.
“The two stars are from Taiwan,” she adds, “Daniel J. Travanti [Frank Furillo on “Hill Street Blues”] and Spence Andrews [“General Hospital,” 1979] and I are the American actors. “The actress, who plays Travanti’s longtime love and nightclub singer, adds, “Yes, I do my own singing.”
When she is away from the studio, Dusay spends her spare time playing grandma to her granddaughter Deena. Sadly, Dusay lost her son, Randall, to AIDS last year and two months ago her daughter (Deena’s mother), Deborah, had brain surgery and is now recovering.
Says Dusay: “There have been some rough times of late, but I’m reminded every day to spend whatever time I have with my family. I’m blesses to have spent time with these beautiful human beings.”