Brier and Stack’s ‘Life’ Comes to an End in Llanview
Wednesday, April 1, 2009 1:02 AM EDT | By Scotty Gore
(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — “One Life to Live” has announced that Marcie and Michael McBain will be soon be riding off into the sunset together, as Kathy Brier and Chris Stack prepare to say goodbye to Llanview.
The writing has long been on the wall, but the news remains shocking nonetheless. According to Soap Opera Digest, “OLTL” has decided not to renew the contracts of Kathy Brier and Chris Stack. Mostly backburnerd during the past few years, Marcie and Michael have had relatively little story of their own. Outside of holding baby Tommy hostage after discovering that he was really Todd Manning’s son, and agreeing to adopt Todd’s pregnant daughter Starr’s baby girl, Marcie has rarely been seen other than occasional visits to her friends to dispense advice and exchange pleasantries. Much the same can be also be said for Michael, whose primary duties seem to be limited to interacting with patients at Llanview Hospital. Marcie and Michael even had to compete with a tornado and the revelation of who killed Michael and his brother John’s police officer father on their wedding day, leaving the newlyweds treated as second class citizens on what should have been the happiest day of their lives.
Brier has portrayed author/teacher Marcie Walsh McBain since creating the role in 2002; although the character was originally slated for two episodes . In 2004, she received a Daytime Emmy nomination for best supporting actress. Marcie marked Brier’s first television role. From 2003-2004 Brier appeared on Broadway as Tracy in “Hairspray.” She is also the voice of Babalulu on the animated Playhouse Disney children’s program “Jo Jo’s Circus,” and Rosamond in “Nate the Great” on PBS. In addition, Brier has also performed in numerous regional and off-Broadway theater productions, including “Bat Boy: the Musical,” “The Prince and the Pauper,” “Funny Girl,” “Cinderella,” and “Grease.” An accomplished singer, Brier has released a album entitled “Heartbreaker,” recorded a song for the “One Life, Many Voices” CD to benefit victims of Hurricanes Katrina and Wilma, and performed several songs on “OLTL” in recent years. And in 2003, Brier garnered attention following a rather unflattering comment by then-ABC Daytime President Brian Frons, in which he stated that “Kathy Brier, a marvelous actress, […] has an incredible voice and is not beautiful, is overweight and the audience has just embraced her, because she is not perfect like everybody else.”
Stack took over the role of Dr. Michael McBain in December 2007 following the dismissal of Nathaniel Marston from the role, becoming the fourth actor to take over the character (the others being R. Brandon Johnson from 2003-2004 and Robert Harte as a temporary replacement for a handful of episodes in 2007). Before joining the cast of “One Life to Live,” Stack made appearances as Walt on “As the World Turns” in 2006. In 2003, Stack had a minor role on “OLTL” as drug dealer Brad White. Other acting credits include “Conviction,” “Third Watch,” and “The Education of Max Bickford,” along with the films “School of Rock” and “Roger Dodger.”
SOD is reporting that both actors were let go by the soap last week, which Kathy Brier confirmed in the following message, posted Tuesday afternoon (March 31st) at 3:48 pm edt on her official MySpace page. “Last week after seven years on OLTL I was told by the powers that be at ABC that my contract was not going to be renewed at the end of my current cycle (May 31st). I was told that they don’t know what else to write for Marcie. Obviously I don’t agree with that statement. I think Marcie has so many layers still left to explore. That being said I want to take this opportunity to thank you all for being the most loyal fans I will probably ever have in my entire career. Over the years I have received countless emails and letters expressing how much Marcie has given hope to and inspired you but I want you all to know that you have done the same for me. You welcomed Marcie in a medium where she was never expected to flourish and helped me to break boundaries that my fellow voluptuous thespians (hollah Chandra Wilson, Melissa McCarthy) continue to break down. I hope to have your support as I enter this new adventure in my life and career and I hope, you have enjoyed the life and times of Marcie Walsh McBain as much as I have. Kathy.” However, a set side source leaked to SOD that “There could have been more story for Michael and Marcie, but that’s just not the direction they decided to take it. It’s the nature of the business.”
News of the exits of Brier and Stack comes on the heels of several other actors who have recently parted ways with “One Life to Live,” including Justis Bolding, Jacqueline Hendy, Kamar de los Reyes and BethAnn Bonner. While it remains to be seen if Marcie and Michael will be written off the show or if they will simply fade out of existence the way of forgotten characters like Miles Laurence have done, viewers will still be seeing them around Llanview for several more weeks. The McBains will be a part of baby Chloe’s christening in mid-April, and Michael will likely still be seen making his rounds at Llanview Hospital. And, although no final airdate has yet been announced, both Marcie and Michael could potentially continue to air until at least June or July, given that Brier’s contract expires on May 31st, and that “One Life” regularly tapes approximately four to six weeks in advance.
“One Life to Live” airs Weekdays on ABC. Weeknights on SOAPnet. Check local listings.