“I was only 3 when I started. I was pushed into the business … but I have to admit that I loved it,” the 63-year-old beauty reveals to Closer Weekly in the magazine’s latest issue, on newsstands now. “I would have liked to have worked even more.”
Despite a sometimes stressful youth and a brief 1979 marriage, she found a healthy career-life balance when she married her second husband, former Y&R and current The Bold and the Beautiful producer Edward Scott, in 1985 and raised three daughters, Alexandra, Elizabeth and Jennifer, with him. Her world nearly fell apart, however, when she suffered a “complete neurological breakdown” in 2014 after taking a common antibiotic and a steroid.
Closer caught up with Melody to talk about how her five grandkids helped her recover, her upcoming memoir and the truth about working with Hitchcock.
Scroll through the gallery below to check out the exclusive Q&A with Melody!
Closer: Can you believe you’ve been on ‘Y&R’ for 40 years? How does it make you feel?
Melody: So blessed and so grateful. I’ve always been quite the fatalist, and I feel it was certainly my destiny, in the stars, or however you want to put it,” she gushed. “Life seemed to guide me in the right directions, and I never worried too much about making the right decision, because I’ve always believed that I’ll go where I’m supposed to.
Melody: In the ’80s, ’90s and until Bill Bell passed [in 2005], we had his influence. He was our [co]creator and original head writer. We’ve had great writers since then, but he was the best in the business. And you can’t think back without thinking about the hairdos, the clothes, the shoulder pads — very Dynasty– and Dallas-looking. They were a lot of fun!
Closer: You’ve had a lot of guest roles on shows like ‘The King of Queens’ and ‘Castle.’ Why keep ‘Y&R’ as your home all this time?
Melody: I never really questioned it. I suppose as long as one is happy where they are, they don’t really think about going anywhere. It’s always fun to do something else, but I’ve never really had any intention of leaving. I’m sure there were moments where I was mad and thought about it, but it never happened.
Closer: What was it like making 1964’s ‘Marnie’ as a kid with Alfred Hitchcock?
Melody: It was my first feature. He was a scary, imposing guy. It was quite well known that he loathed working with children, and didn’t really know how to very well. He was very demanding, never smiled, very gruff and breathed loud. That’s scary to a kid.
Closer: You were also in John Wayne’s final film, 1976’s ‘The Shootist.’ What was he like?
Melody: He was wonderful. Just bigger than life. Shortly after flying into Carson City, [Nevada] where we did the exteriors, he came out of his trailer and was like a walking mountain, a big grizzly bear, and just so warm and kind.
Closer: Did you enjoy your recurring role on ‘The Waltons’ as Ben’s girlfriend Darlene?
Melody: That was great, too. I had to give that role up when I got Y&R, because I couldn’t be a regular on both of them. It was sad to leave The Waltons. We all had so much fun, laughing and being silly, like our show now — but we’re old folks being silly! [Laughs]
Melody: Just as any other part — interview, callback, talent test. The funny thing is I really wasn’t that excited about getting Y&R, because that same week, I had gotten an NBC sitcom pilot. I really wanted to do that, because I love comedy, but my agent talked me out of it. She said, “Do Y&R, it’s just three years, and you’ll have a lot of fun.” So she won that battle, and blessedly so. I invited her to my 40th anniversary party on the set in February. She came — she’s 90 now — and I was just so thrilled that she could be there. The moral is, always listen to your agent!
Closer: You said you would’ve liked to work more as a kid. Why?
Melody: I don’t want to get into all this drudgery, but I had a lot to escape from in my house, and show business was the perfect escape. It will be in my book [Always Young and Restless], coming out in summer 2020.
Closer: In 2014 you wrote that you had a very bad reaction to an antibiotic and a steroid after a sinus infection…
Melody: I couldn’t walk. I lost my sense of taste. My heart rate went so low when I was in the hospital, they thought that I would die. Even after I got out, I was still hallucinating, and I wasn’t able to work for weeks. The medical community said [around 0.01 percent] of people might have this reaction. But seven people we knew had had this same reaction. Slowly I got better by going to an herbalist and an acupuncturist and doing yoga.
Melody: Jennifer’s directing The Bold and the Beautiful and she’s the mother of twins. Elizabeth has two little ones, so she’s taking it easy now. Alex is a fashion designer who just created a bridal line which is doing extremely well. And we have five grandkids now! The twins just turned 9 — one, James, just qualified for the Junior Olympics! Ellie’s 3, Fiero’s 2 and we have a 3-and-a-half-month-old. They’re wonderful. It’s just so fulfilling, but I’m pretty sure we’re getting busted when they say, “Grandma fed us cookies.” You want free babysitting, that’s the deal!