When you’ve been playing the same character on TV for decades it’s no surprise that when a fan sees you on the street or interacts with you online that they might refer to you by your character’s name. The hope is that they can separate you from the character you play on screen. You’d hope. Recently, Michelle Stafford who plays Phyllis Summers on “The Young and the Restless” had to point out the difference by formally introducing herself to those who follow her online and on TV.
“I would like to introduce myself to some of you folks,” began Stafford in a Twitter post. “My name is Michelle Stafford. It is not Phyllis Summers. That is a character I play. I am not responsible for that character’s actions. So you can throw your hate somewhere else…God Bless.”
Stafford’s post came after she responded to a since-deleted tweet from an unknown user that wasn’t very kind. In her response to the user, Stafford said, “You are aware that I am Michelle and not Phyllis, right?”
Following her introduction post, several of Stafford’s actor/writer friends, including past and present soap stars, shared their own similar experiences.
“I am also not actually dead,” stated Ryan Paevey whose character on “General Hospital,” Nathan West, died after being shot by his father, Ceasar Faison (Anders Hove), in January 2018.
“Hey Michelle…. Really big fan x,” shared Finola Hughes (Anna Devane, “GH”).
Since its publication on Saturday, June 4, Stafford’s tweet has received just over 11,000 likes and nearly 2,000 comments. She made her debut on “Y&R” in 1994 and played the role until 1997, the same year in which she won a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for her portrayal. She later reprised the role from 2000-2013 before taking on the role of Nina Reeves from 2014-2019 on “GH.” She returned to the role of Phyllis Summers on “Y&R” in 2019. In 2004, Stafford won her second Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for her work on “Y&R.”
Slightly Off Topic:
I remember going to one of the final “One Life to Live” fan club events and finding myself on a shuttle bus with Robert S. Woods who played Bo Buchanan on the soap. He and I were having a minor conversation when a woman came on the shuttle who turned out to be a fan of his, referring to him as his character immediately after she recognized him. On the surface, it wasn’t a problem but each time she spoke to him she kept referring to him as Bo and the things his character had done on the show. Eventually, I pointed out to her that his name is Bob Woods. She still kept calling him Bo. I remember Bob and me exchanging a look and a chuckle. Fun memory.