Juliet Mills talks about Passions, life and if she would ever return to soaps. Read more here --->
With the upcoming magazine and documentary in honor of Passions 20th Anniversary we wanted to catch up with some of the cast of the now-defunct soap opera, and who better to speak with than Juliet Mills who played the wonderfully witchy Tabitha Lenox?
We were lucky to get a chance to speak Juliet while she is in the midst of a stage tour of The Lady Vanishes in the UK. We got to hear her thoughts on Passions and what her life has been like since the show ended as well as some fun facts about the actress.
There is not a day that goes by that we don't see fans supporting Passions on social media. Whether that be by sharing their favorite clips of the show or calling for the show to be brought back in some capacity. We asked Juliet why she thinks the show still has such a dedicated fan base. "It was very original and different." She said that the only other soap opera that Passions could be compared to was Dark Shadows, which aired throughout the late sixties and early seventies. She noted that "the show had magic in it, but it was also about real people." She also praised the production value of the show. "It had a lot going for it, and it certainly was a huge hit at the time."
"It was a wonderful character they wrote for me." Mills said about her character Tabitha Lenox, who is among the most notable from Passions. Tabitha was a witch who had spent over 300 years in the show's town of Harmony. The character was beloved by fans even though being one of the show's main antagonists throughout it's run. "I got to play all sorts of parts. She was always masquerading as somebody else. I even played Colonel Sanders from Kentucky [Fried] Chicken and Rasputin. I had a wonderful time on that show and made some good friends as well."
One of those good friends being Josh Ryan Evans who passed away in 2002. Evans played Tabitha's ever-faithful sidekick Timmy, who was once a doll that Tabitha brought to life using her magic. In our opinion, Timmy and Tabitha are one of soap opera's greatest duos. "I loved working with Josh Ryan Evans. He and I were very great friends. And we had three [great] years together."
Would Mills ever return to the soap world though? "Well, I'd return to that soap. I don't know about any other soap. Ha!" She talked about the hard work that soap opera actors endure. "I've never had to learn so many lines in my life. Of course, Tabitha was always talking to inanimate objects, animals and dolls and things. So, I had an awful lot of monologues." After almost nine years on Passions, Juliet says "I think I did my stint in soap opera."
Juliet is no stranger to hard work though. She grew up in an acting family. Her father is the late Academy Award-winning Sir John Mills and her mother is the late actress and writer Mary Hayley Bell. You might also recognize her sister, Hayley Mills, from the 1961 film The Parent Trap. Juliet herself started very young in the business of Hollywood. Her first on-screen role came in the 1942 film In Which We Serve where she played opposite her father at eleven weeks old.
Her work on stage and screen has garnered her some impressive accolades. She was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Play in 1960 for her role in Five Finger Exercise. Mills won a Primetime Emmy in 1974 for QB VII and was nominated in 2005 for a Daytime Emmy for portraying Tabitha on Passions. She also has two Golden Globe nominations. One of those coming in 1970 for her role in the popular sitcom Nanny and the Professor. "People still come up to me and talk about Nanny. Even now they still recognize me from that. And you know that was over 40 years ago. So, it's amazing."
Over the years she has starred in many films, television and stage work. When asked if there was one that she preferred she had this to say: "No, they're all different really. And you get different rewards from all of them. The theatre is the most exciting for me because you're working in front of a live audience. And of course everyone loves making movies, you know. That's easy-peasy after you've done a soap opera. [laughs] But I think probably on TV, sitcom is my favorite genre."
And as for Juliet's life since Passions ended? "It's been wonderful!" Juliet exclaimed."I've worked a lot in the theater in England." Which is where she is now. Her and her husband, actor Maxwell Caulfield, who is known for his role in the Grease 2 and as Miles Colby on the primetime soap Dynasty, are leading a newly adapted production of Alfred Hitchcock's The Lady Vanishes. The tour of the play will have them on the road between the UK, Scotland, and Wales for around six months. She also has done some TV work as well. She played the recurring character of Philippa on the comedy Hot in Cleveland and had a guest spot on the Disney show, Andi Mack. "I certainly haven't stopped working."
She has had many roles over her illustrious career, but her favorite is that of wife and mother. "My husband calls me a domestic goddess, and I think that's the biggest accolade and compliment I could possibly have. Because that's my favorite role as a wife and mother." Juliet has been married to husband, Maxwell, since 1980 and she is the mother to two children Sean and Melissa. She also stated that despite her busy schedule, she loves being at home and cooking and gardening.
Over her extensive career, Juliet has amassed an impressive fan base. To which she sends her love and says "I'm always so thrilled to meet them. They are so supportive and loyal. I know that if I'm going to show up in some show, or on TV or in a movie they're gonna go and see me. And my message is just thank you so much."
Thank you to Juliet for her time and we here at Soap Opera News wish her continued success in her career.
And be sure to follow @passions20th on Twitter for updates on the anniversary magazine and upcoming documentary!