Mary Beth Evans on her Final Days
Soap Opera Weekly, June 2, 1992
By Janet Di Lauro
The mood was melancholy and emotions ran high on the DAYS OF OUR LIVES set the day six-year veteran Mary Beth Evans taped her final scenes as Kayla Brady Johnson. The episode airs Monday, May 25.
“The part that was really difficult was that I had to work my whole last week on the show,” says Evans. “There were a lot of late days; we were taping Isabella (Staci Greason) and John’s (Drake Hogestyn) wedding. I knew it was all leading up to my last days. I had 45 pages [of scripted dialogue]. I had to go to Steven’s grave for the first time and have a big monologue. I always felt it was horrible that I never went there before. I had to break up with Shane (Charles Shaughnessy). At one point, I had to look into Peggy’s (McCay, who plays Caroline) and Frank’s (Parker, who plays Shawn) eyes and tell them how much I loved them and would miss them.,” explains Evans. “During dress rehearsals, I broke down sobbing.”
Rumors of Evans’ exit began in April when officials from the show announced her upcoming departure; then, hours later, the show retraced that statement, claiming negotiations were still on. Evans explains: “The whole thing was very complicated. It was never about the money — it was about time commitment. I’d just finished a one-year contract and wanted the same thing. DAYS wanted two years. I said okay, and gave in to two. At the time they were talking to Stephen (Nichols, who portrayed Kayla’s husband, Steve). They wanted him to come back. I talked to him; I know he was interested.
The talking and negotiating stopped, however. “My contract fell at a time when there were a lot of changes going on — a change in producers, new writers,” she says. “And honestly don’t know if after this last year anyone knows the kind of work I can do. I fought tooth and nail to keep the character’s integrity over the last year [while the writers] did whatever they wanted. They said they were committed to Charlie (Shaughnessy) and me as a couple, but I had scenes that were so out of character,” she continues. “I remember one time I had to say something like, ‘Seeing Kimberly’s baby’s toys around the house only made me want Shane all the more.’ Charlie and I complained about what was going on in our storyline many time. We really tried to fight for it.”
“Basically they wrote Kayla into a corner,” Evans says. “They didn’t know how to resolve the character. All the other stories were going full force, so they decided to write me off. Actually, I feel positive about the whole thing. I couldn’t have made the decision to leave on my own. It would have been too hard. DAYS was a great job. Everyone was terrific to me. I probably would have stayed the rest of my life. I don’t have any resentments,” she maintains.
The actress is optimistic about the future. “I just know that I love to work. There have been inquiries from other soaps. And, of course, Shelley Curtis (ex-DAYS supervising producer), who’s always been a good friend, is at GENERAL HOSPITAL now.” She laughs. “Right now, I want to relax, take a break, and clear my head.”