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Interview with Days of Our Lives' Christie Clark
What do you remember about your audition?
It was at Sunset Gower. I was eleven years old. I auditioned about three different times. One, there was a ton of girls. The next time there was about ten, and the last time there was maybe five. It was upstairs at Sunset Gower Studios in the producer’s office for the final one. I think there were about four people in there. Possibly Ken Corday. And the producers of the day. Al Rabin was there. That was in 86.
Did you audition with any of the actors?
I think Drake. If it didn’t happen that way, I planted it in my head. It was so long ago. It’s amazing what you forget. I think it was Drake, and it was so exciting. You had to sign in at the security desk, and straight ahead was the make-up room. That’s the beehive of activity, and all the actors were in there. And then we went up two flights of stairs, and we were just above the make-up room in the producers area. I remember the makeup of that studio very well. And I just had a feeling that I was going to get it. You kind of get a gut feeling. Sometimes you’re not always right, and that’s heartbreaking, but I liked that character a great deal and just had a feeling it was going to work. And it did! Thank God! I remember getting the phone call. We lived in Orange County, and when it’s down to five people, you’re waiting for a “yay” or “nay.” There was a big jumping party in my kitchen.
Did you know anything about the character going into it?
I watched a couple of episodes having auditioned for it at three different opportunities. I had a little time to kind of figure it out. My mom watched General Hospital at the time, and I remember thinking that I wanted to do a Walt Disney movie, a soap opera, and a Steven Spielberg film. So I haven’t done the Steven Spielberg yet, but there’s still time. So that was always on my bucket list because my mom was so into General Hospital, as was everybody. Those were the Luke and Laura days. So it was kind of a big deal to audition for one. So my mom wasn’t watching Days then, but we started tuning in. Andrea Barber was still on, and I got to see her playing the part. She was leaving, but I got to see the character interacting with Deidre and Drake. I knew a little. I did a little bit of homework.
You’re one of the few people in soaps who has been apart of a show as a child and continued to be a part of it as an adult. How was working on the show different for you at each stage in your life?
It was terribly exciting when I was 11. I was just thrilled to bits like I was going to Disneyland every time I went to work. You get to act and get hair and make-up and go to school on the set. It was just thrilling. Then in my teenage years it was kind of cool, but it was much more fun to go hang out with my friends. There’s always that thrill, though. Because I’ve had so many ins and outs, I always appreciate it when I come back.
When I was in my twenties, we just had so much fun storyline. It was exciting. We were front and center with Austin/Carrie/Lucas/Sami thing. But then I did get burned out. That’s when I left to go travel and see the world a little bit instead of just living in my little soap opera bubble. I wanted to venture out and study Shakespeare and just have some fun. I had been working so long, and felt I deserved a good sabbatical, and then I met my husband.
I came back in my thirties for a brief bit. I think it was too brief. It would have been fun to stick around, but I was living in San Francisco at the time, so it was kind of difficult. Then we started having babies, and I feel like I’m just coming up for air finally. My eldest is going to be nice, so including the pregnancy that’s 10 years of mama stuff. My youngest is 3, and they’re all at the same school so I have time to actually floss my teeth and exercise and take care of myself. I feel like I just came out of a war zone. It’s obviously been awesome but a big blur.
For my forties, I guess I was there briefly. It was really exciting to go back the last time. I feel like there’s so many core characters right now. It was so fun to see Mary Beth and Stephen and Kristian and Missy and Judi Evans and Wally and Charles Shaughnessy and Dee. Sadly I didn’t get to see Drake. Drake is my man. He was just so sweet to me when I was a little girl. He was the one I had the most scenes with. Dee was there, and she was awesome, but she left not too much later, so Drake has been my guardian angel. Anyway. Forties were cool, but I think there should be more.
Your first story was Carrie dealing with Roman’s new face. She was not happy about the new Roman.
It was hard to be mean to Drake because he was so nice and awesome in real life. I thought he was just the best. I didn’t want to be mean to him. I remember when I first kind of took his hand and let him know that I liked him. I think it was when Marlena was in a coma. I remember talking to Marlena, and I was crying and he was just listening behind me, and then we hugged it out. I remember that scene vividly.
There’s an interview with you from around that time where you mention that you got yourself to cry by reminding yourself that you would lose your job if you didn’t.
That is funny. I usually used something sad about a dog or a cat. But I think that was my first real crying scene. I remember that I put enough pressure on myself that it just came out. So I guess putting that pressure on myself about losing my job worked. I didn’t continue doing that. I love it when somebody moves me in a movie or TV show, and I cry with them. I’ve just always thought that that’s a good actor if you can feel connected and cry with people. I remember thinking to myself as a kid that I really wanted to do a good job.
You know, you pick up on certain things when you watch, like if someone is holding a grocery bad and it’s empty. Or if someone has a suit case and it’s just flying around like there’s nothing in it. I want you to be able to believe it, so I always asked the prop guys to fill my grocery bag full of stuff that looks heavy. I just remember noticing that stuff when I would watch TV as a kid. Someone would be sleeping so beautifully, and I think that’s not real! I remember noticing those things, so when I’d do a sleeping scene…you know, sleeping just isn’t always that pretty. I think I even wrote things like that down in my acting journal when I was little. I used to keep a Carrie journal of all the stuff that happened to her, mostly the dramatic stuff, so that I could go back and refresh my memory.
Do you still have that?
Yeah. I do.
You should tweet a picture of a page out of it.
I think it’d be embarrassing. It’s probably “Julio doesn’t like me.”
So the next wave of story for you was Marlena dying and Roman being a single dad. What do you remember about that time period?
I love that house. I always come down from those stairs, and I’d always sit on that center sofa for a chat. And we had the little twins, Sami and Eric. I was with them a lot. Those were blissful Carrie/Sami times. I was a nice sister to her. I don’t know what happened in the teenage years. She just got a little envious I guess. Those were blissful times, though.
Roman was trying to date other people. Amy Yasbeck was one of those actresses, and she was awesome. I love her. I got to see her at the 50th anniversary party. She is spectacular. Genie Francis came in, and I told you my mom loved her on GH, so that was a huge deal to work with her. She was so beautiful and kind, and everything you would imagine she would be. She was a good teacher as far as acting. She would just do it subtly, and I was definitely paying attention to her. I just remember that as the blissful, fun times. I was liking Roman at the time. We were getting along. Those were easy peasy days.
Carrie had a little crush on Frankie and then a little thing with Julio.
I looked up to Missy Reeves a great deal. Jennifer and Frankie were a couple, and I just always loved how Missy dealt with everybody on set. She was just so kind and considerate and really lovely to the crew, the cast, and everybody around her. I was really taking note of her professionalism and just how she was such a kind person. I looked up to her a great deal. And Billy Warlock…let’s just say I don’t think I was pretending I had a crush on him, I think I actually did. He’s adorable. I loved Carrie having that little crush.
When I was trying to research this time period for Carrie, I kept coming across mentions of Carrie cooking things for Diana. It kind of stood out because it was the only thing Carrie was doing several appearances in a short amount of time.
Now that you say it, I think she was trying to be helpful. I think I might have cooked with Caroline some at that upstairs part of the Brady Fish Market. And I was always helping with the twins.
Carrie was a relatively early kidnapping victim of Stefano’s.
Yes! I remember Patch, Roman, and Shane were trying to find me, and I had some stuff with Kayla. We were on an island somewhere in an underground bunker. To me it felt like we were in a Star Wars bunker. It was very space-y. There was a sliding, metal door. It was pretty crazy. I thought that was a very exciting, different storyline for me to play rather than just playing house with siblings.
Somehow I have always missed this little tidbit, but Carrie was arrested and put on probation for five years on a cocaine charge.
Yes! It was crack or something! That was one of my favorite storylines. That was the first time I had a storyline with people my age. Sarah Horton was on the show at that point. She was my best friend, but she was always getting me into trouble. A star named Chad came to film a movie in Salem, and we were hired to be extras. He coaxed us into staying after the filming was done. He started doing whatever it was with cocaine. Sarah joined him. I did not. And then we lit the set on fire and got in massive trouble. Carrie was being led astray by Sarah Horton, and Chad was a little intoxicating, so they were just doing what he said. That was my first big storyline on my own without my parents or aunts and uncles.
You left not too long after that.
That’s right. And then about a year later, Tracey Middendorf came in.
Did you watch at all while you were off the show?
A little bit jus to see what was happening. I was just finishing my senior year of high school, so I was more in to what was happening in my own dramatic life. But I would tune in because it had been such a big part of my life up until that point.
Is it weird to tune in and see someone else playing your character?
Yes. For sure. I’d be watching her and thinking about how I would have done it. I’d be almost mimicking her words. She was great. I’ve seen her in a lot of stuff. She’s a really good actress.
You came back after she’d had the role for about a year, and the Carrie and Austin relationship was starting. That was your first real romance on the show.
Yes. I mean, Julio was kind of a thing and I had little crushes along the way, but I hadn’t had the major kissing scenes like I would with Austin. When I came in, I think they were just getting started. Patrick was gorgeous and so much fun. We became instant friends. We are very similar in a lot of ways, so we just clicked. He had kind of a different work ethic, and he really wanted to make it successful. He was just a hard worker, so I learned from him. He was taking lots of different classes at the time, and combining lots of things. He pumped me up in a new and different and exciting way. I think I’ve carried that on now because of him. Just trying to always learn and grow and get excited about what you’re doing.
One of my first vivid memories of watching the show is Carrie having the acid thrown in her face.
That was good. That was really something to walk into. I had only been back for a little while. We had a front and center storyline, and I loved the boxing stuff. And Austin was into his music and from the wrong side of the tracks. When they told me about the acid in my face, I remember thinking “What?! I’ve never heard of that sort of thing.” It was a really good storyline to go from Face of the 90s to slightly disfigured. I remember having to get that scar put on every day. And it hurt like hell to rip it off. There was a good amount of crying and pushing Austin away. Aside from that, I just remember that I was way into it as far as just connecting with Carrie. There was a lot going on, and it was really well written, I think.
That ended up leading into the quad with Carrie/Austin/Sami/Lucas. Did you have any idea at the time that that would take off the way it did?
I definitely didn’t think it was going to last that long. I was really excited, though. Sami had the little crush on Austin and didn’t know he was Carrie’s boyfriend. She went after him anyway, so there was that sister tension. Lucas was cute and charming and funny. It was just a good foursome. Billie and Bo and Hope were involved a little as well. It felt good at that time. Their was excitement in the air at the show at that time. It was just gold back then. When I first joined the show in 96 through the mid nineties, it was just good stuff.
That period of time in the 90s started all of Carrie’s wedding drama.
Yeah. I don’t know which one is which anymore. Sami was always in a wedding dress. I was always in a wedding dress. I don’t even know when we finally got married. They all mesh together.
Carrie officially married Austin after she punched Sami in the face.
Well, I do remember that. I remember at one point being like, “So this story is still going on? How many weddings can we have?” But I guess it was bringing in some viewers, so there we go. People still ask me about that punch quite a bit. That was funny. Ali and I were both taking kickboxing. We were way into knowing how to punch. I was excited about that.
Not too long after that, the flirtation with Mike started. What did you think about that shift?
I was ready for a change. At that time, the only thing that annoyed me was that you would have to say the same thing over and over again in case someone hadn’t watch an episode earlier in the week. There was a lot of repeating back then, so I was excited to have something new to say. It had been several years of the Sami/Austin thing and, like, four weddings at that time so it was all kind of merging into the same thing. I was thrilled to have some new stuff. They used to spread stuff out for a long, long, long, long time. Now it goes so quick, you kind of have to keep up with the show to see things happen. I think that’s good. I think maybe if the stretched some things out a little longer that’d be okay, though. Things move a little too quickly now, but it was so stretched out before. If they met somewhere in the middle, that would be awesome.
But I was thrilled. Roark Critchlow is a super fantastic man. He’s really in tune with his work and very thoughtful. We really hit it off. I think I’ve gotten along with all my male costars pretty well. And I’ve stayed friends with all of them. I was excited to be doing something new. We were working at the hospital, so that was a change of scenery. I like to hop around Salem. I don’t like to just be in the same spot. I like variety. And working with different people is great. I had a scene just recently with my cousin Stephanie who I’d never had a scene with. I don’t know about you, but I’m super close with my cousins. I have about 30 of them, and they’re like my best friends, so I loved that. And I loved working with Mary Beth and Deidre. Shake it up, you know?
In that same time period, Josh Taylor took over the role of Roman. He was the third Roman you had worked with. How do you keep up that father/daughter dynamic through all of the changing faces?
You just have to live in the disbelief world a little bit. Kidnapped by Stefano, arrested for cocaine, lighting stuff on fire, four different weddings for Austin and Sami and Carrie in two years…you just have to dig deep in make believe. I knew Josh Taylor because he was on as Chris Kositchek in 86 with Shannon Tweed. I knew him and thought he was great, and that’s just what we had to do. I always feel like Drake is my real Roman. That’s ingrained in my heart. But I love Josh, and I love Wayne. Thank God they’re all fantastic men to work with. You’ve just got to do what’s on the page.
Carrie started working more with Mike as she was helping him run to become the new Chief of Staff.
I enjoyed that storyline because it was new. There was crazy Ali, and we were working with Patrika Darbo and Kevin Spirtas. It’s just fun to shuffle around and work with different people, and feed off their energy. I enjoyed working with them very much. Lisa Linde, who played Ali, and I became really good friends outside the studio. I just like it when it moves a little bit. I remember enjoying that.
I didn’t like how Carrie and Mike had the bed flying around. But you can’t always get what you want. I guess it was that stellar of a lovemaking session. And then I think I was out of there shortly after that. I got on a white horse and rode off into the sunset. Then I was off on my European travels about two months after, so it was a very exciting time for me.
When you left that time, did you think you’d be back?
I thought it was a possibility. I had already come in and out.
Part of your return in 2005 involved attending a Rolling Stones concert.
Oh yeah! That was incredibly thrilling. That was some of our first episodes back. It was their 40th anniversary and Days’ 40th anniversary. It was a really cool thing to do, especially to go with all these people I’d worked with but hadn’t seen in a long time. It was at the Anaheim Stadium in Orange County. Martin Scorsese was there doing his Rolling Stones documentary. It was super cool.
What was that return like for you?
I was ready to work. I had been traveling and living in London and just having a ball. But I needed to get back to work. I was super pumped up to get back to Carrie who I knew very well and to see where Austin and Carrie were and what Sami was up to. It was so much fun to come back to Salem and dive right back into being in that world. It’s such a trip to set foot back on that stage at somewhere like the Brady Pub, and suddenly you’re that person again. It’s really weird.
The story was that Sami blackmailed Lexie into telling Carrie that she and Austin couldn’t have healthy children…
So I married Lucas. What a little diva. Oh my god, I guess I was very keen to have a baby. That was an interesting story. I think it was a good one. It was obviously rehashing what we had done for a long time. It was a different take on it, though and that’s always good. We’d been away from work for a while and were super excited to come back. I remember feeling like Carrie was a bit of a bitch, but Lucas is really cute, so….
That led to an eventual affair with Austin.
I think EJ caught us on the roof, and then we shortly departed Salem. We had that little wedding, and they always have cake on the set for weddings, so that was fun.
You also had a cake fight around that time.
It was a blue and white cake, and Ali and I both like making that stuff look real. There was blue and white icing all over. It was fun.
You must have to do those kinds of scenes in one take. There’s not really a do-over once the cake is destroyed. How do you get through scenes like that without laughing?
That’s difficult, and I have issues in that department. If I start laughing, then I can’t stop, and that’s an issue. I’ll tell you, I did the same thing that I did as a kid and had to cry. I just reminded myself that if I started laughing and messed everything up, I was going to piss a lot of the crew off. Everyone wants to get out of there. It can make you laugh because you’re not supposed to, but if you do, you’re going to have a lot of people mad at you.
And then you were gone again.
There’s been a lot of coming and going. A lot of weddings and a lot of coming and going.
Did you think you’d return that time?
I did. I felt like I had just grown as an actress. I had been studying Shakespeare and was still taking classes. I felt like i was in my golden age, so I feel like they kind of missed a good time there. Plus that was before kids. As long as the show is on, there’s always a possibility.
Your next returns were pop-up visits. One was a phone call to Sami and then you came back for Alice’s funeral. What are some of your memories of working with Frances Reid and MacDonald Carey?
I remember working with both of them. There were so open and kind and willing to teach and guide. I just remember thinking, “I’m going to listen to every word.” They were so professional on set. Frances was very funny. MacDonald Carey tried to hook me up with one of his neighbors. He was a very cute boy. I had a good amount of scenes with them.
You also had a brief little reunion with Roark Critchlow during that visit.
There was a scene during that time. That was great. I had a scene with Mike and a scene with Lucas. There was no Austin that time.
You had a little bit with Sami, too, talking about how Anna had just gotten away with kidnapping her baby.
It’s amazing how Leann and I have missed each other through the years. I remember working with her in 86. I think we had four episodes together. I always thought that that was such an interesting story to get into.
And then you were back for real in 2011.
It was a reset. I think they’ve had a couple of those recently. But that’s okay. I think they’re going to get it right this time. There was an excitement in the air with Sarah Brown coming and Matthew Ashford and Pat and Drake and Deidre. It just felt like something good was about to happen. And I think they started well. I think some people didn’t like certain things, and certain things got changed on a dime. But I remember being thrilled working with Patrick again, and I just think they didn’t know how to write for his character. I loved working with Kate Mansi. We are still very close friends. And it was exciting to have scenes with Caroline and Bo. I just love diving into the Brady family. Or even the Hortons because I kind of grew up with them, too.
Were you surprised to hear from Days again for this most recent visit?
It came out of the blue, so it was a nice thing to get. I’ve truly been in diaper duty land. We finally have all of the kids out of diapers. I’ve just been in Mommy land for a long time. I feel like I kind of know what the demographic wants: a little love in the afternoon. To escape. If the show is still on, it’s kind of an open possibility, so I wasn’t really surprised.
This was your first return to Salem in many years that didn’t revolve around Sami.
No, I know! That’s what I think is so interesting if they were to come back with Noah, it’s the first time they’ve been in Salem without Sami. To see what happens would be intriguing. I feel like if they were there for a while, Sami would come back at some point. I can’t see her not coming back if she knew they were there. That’s what I think anyway.
What are your top 3 favorite scenes?
Definitely the coma with Marlena. That one I remember so vividly. Maybe it’s because I’ve seen it on YouTube. I love that one. I love the boxing scenes with Patrick. And I love when Austin and Carrie finally got together in 2006 and got married at the justice of the peace. And of course the punch. That’s four. So there’s a tie.
I want to get your take on Carrie’s relationships with various important characters in her life. John.
He is her guardian angel. He’s been her solid, solid person. Her number one. Her go to source for comfort and support. I think she trusts him with her whole heart and loves him almost as much as Austin.
It’s difficult because there have been three different Romans, so I’m even a little jumbled up in my feelings. He missed a couple of solid, informative years. But there’s a bond, and he’s my blood. I love him dearly, but I kind of feel like John is my real dad. I don't know if I should say that.
Well, I agree with you, so it’s cool with me. Marlena.
Marlena. She guides me with her wise words. She’s a wonderful role model…of course I feel like Carrie and Sami and Belle got these crazy sex drives from John and Marlena. They were always kind of doing it. Everywhere.
You don’t have as much to pull from on this one. Anna.
I think there’s a gaping hole there. I feel like she’s been desperate to fill that hole and have that love and that relationship with her mom. But she left her at a young age and wanted to go have fun. Now being a mother myself, I have glimpses of that. But I would never do it! She actually went away forever, and that’s heartbreaking. I feel like there’s a big hole in her heart there from her leaving, and I’d like that to be mended.
Well. I feel like there’s still hope. I think they both deep down want that relationship they had when they were little when Carrie was taking care of them. She was kind of playing mommy to them when Marlena had died. I think she feels like she was a really good sister, and she doesn’t deserve what’s happened. I think it’s almost like a relationship she’s desperate to have. Yearning for that relationship they had when they were little.
My musician. My boxer. He’s so gorgeous and passionate. Lights my fire. Obviously having kids changes things a bit, but that fire has never gone out. It’s dramatic and explosive I’d say. We take little breaks every now and then, but we always come back to each other.
I didn’t mention Eric because you haven’t worked with an Eric in about 18 years.
They haven’t written that. We haven’t been on at the same time. I’d just love having all those relationships with these close family members. Even Belle. I was around her as a sort of older sister even though she’s not my flesh and blood. She’s John and Marlena’s, but they truly are my parents. I think Martha is fantastic. And Greg Vaughan. Goodness. I wish he wasn’t my brother. I’m related to all the cuties.
You haven’t really interacted with Brady as an adult, and I’ve always been afraid that if you did, they’d try to pair you up.
I know! Eric and I would always see each other in the hall, and he’d be like, “Are we related? Can we flirt a little in these scenes?” And I was like, “No! We’re not blood but it’s just not right.”
I don’t think you two even interacted.
No! And I would love to. He’s hysterical.
Any time there’s a big change like what’s coming up, there is talk of returns. You and Ken Corday have both said some things that make it sound like a return is on the table.
Carrie and Austin returning is conceivable in my eyes.
Is there anything else you would like to share?
I hope Days is massively successful with this new reset. I feel like they will be. It sounds really good. They’re doing more uplifting stuff and love and laughter and hopefully family connections. I hope for the best. It sounds like from the recent SOD interviews that they’re on the right path. I hope it’s successful this time and that next year the renewal isn’t even a question. I think they can do it.
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