Kimberlin Brown: Soap world's best baddie!
The soap opera world's best baddie, Kimberlin Brown of Bold and the Beautiful with co-star John McCook. BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL
SHAUN PROULX/ 24 HOURS
"Did you ever see my face in the coffin?" Kimberlin Brown makes a good point, albeit in soap-speak. I have asked the 56-year-old actress how it could be that the long-dead soap villain she's most famous for portraying, Sheila Carter, arguably the evilest woman in the history of daytime TV, is alive - yet again.
Last month, in a top-secret reveal, The Bold and the Beautiful left viewers shrieking in delight with the shocking end-of-episode sight of Brown herself, back in Los Angeles as deadly Sheila. However, fans of The Young and the Restless - the show on which the crossover character originated in 1990 - know they saw with their own eyes the wicked nurse behind countless vile crimes - including baby-snatching and multiple murder attempts against longtime arch-nemesis Lauren Fenmore - shot by Fenmore in Genoa City in 2006.
She was even officially pronounced dead; confusing much? Brown continues to clarify - as one only can when from daytime television - that the Sheila Carter we saw finally dead-done-gone didn't only not have her face, but died on a different show, too: "I was never killed on B&B. That was something they did on Y&R."
If you stretch your willingness to suspend disbelief, Brown's right: the Sheila who died - on Y&R - was played by actress Michelle Stafford, who pulled double duty for two months as both Phyllis Newman and Sheila Carter in an ultimately disappointing finale to an epic decade-and-a-half-long storyline that saw viewers contend with a non-Kimberlin Brown Sheila Carter, who surgeried herself to look like Stafford's Phyllis Newman, for reasons that likely escape anyone's recollect or understanding.
Including Brown's. "I never understood that (casting Stafford as Sheila)," Brown confesses.
"I was available. I got a lovely call from Michelle at the time, who said 'I'm so excited to play your role but are you OK?'And I was. I had no choice. The Y&R writers obviously had their reasons and a story they wanted to tell."
Now B&B showrunner Brad Bell - who is celebrating the most watched daily show in the world's 30th anniversary by bringing back old faves - is rewriting history so he can insert Sheila into an already compelling season.
And you can credit fate: The resurrection of Sheila came to be after Brown and Bell ran into each other at a giant photo-shoot celebrating CBS Daytime.
"It was like old home week," recalls Brown, listing off former and current colleagues she was reunited with.
"Brad and I talked a little bit. Three weeks later, I got a call asking, 'Would you be interested in coming back?'" The answer was obviously a fat yes. While Brown exudes a notable gracious calm as she speaks, she's clearly beyond excited about this twist in the tale for herself and Sheila Carter fans.
"Brad knows me," she says.
"I don't have writers this time who don't know Sheila or her story. It's a completely different cast I get to work with.
Other than John (McCook, Eric Forrester), Katherine (Kelly-Lang, Brooke Spencer), and myself, it's an exciting entirely new cast of young, energetic people." The actress has signed a one-year contract with the show.
Brown is making headlines now for her return to B&B, but only months ago during President Donald Trump's election campaign she was making news after speaking at a Trump's GOP Convention. Snarky critics far and wide wanted to know what on earth a soap star was doing with such a prime speaking spot.
Had they investigated even slightly they would have gleaned that alongside her husband Gary Pelzer, Brown is also the owner of multiple small businesses, including an avocado farm in California and, long before Sheila Carter, a design company serving exclusive clients globally for over twenty years. (She also hosts Dramatic Designs on The Design Network.)
Hence the invite: Brown was asked to speak as a small business owner and voice their concerns.
The California native says she welcomed the platform to share points of view that any small business owner would have regardless of political leanings.
"I have 180 employees and I deal with all their concerns and their needs every day. I got up and gave my speech, which was completely off-the-cuff."
But Brown's choice of platform was questioned and mocked, and she took hate from bloggers, social and mainstream media alike.
"People have their opinions about me now and I'm fine with that," she says, though she doesn't sound so fine about any automatic assumption that if she spoke at a Republican convention that's how she should be labelled, loathing labels in any form altogether: "My aunt is black and my brother-in-law is gay, but I don't introduce them with those labels. Once they label you, they separate and divide you. We are a quick-to-judge world these days. Social media is used recklessly by people who are cowards, quite honestly, and it used to also be there were once investigative reporters."
One almost wants to send Sheila Carter after Brown's detractors, but if the multiple Daytime Emmy Award nominated-actress is not that bothered, maybe it's best to keep Carter in L.A. where she is now stirring the B&B plot pot.
Brown shares that she's kept alive within her imagination this whole time a Sheila Carter history she's created. The heart of that history sees a Sheila never able to achieve love back in her early childhood.
"Sheila just wants to be loved and accepted," explains Brown.
"Even as an evil character, you felt sorry for her, regardless of how outrageous her acts were."
Brown uses past tense deliberately, saying that the returned Sheila is now a reformed Sheila. "She wants to be good now. She changed her game."
Which is just the sort of the thing Sheila Carter would tell everyone, isn't it? And why all of Los Angeles best stay on high alert. Genoa City, too, for that matter.
After all, we didn't see Brown's face in the coffin.
The Bold and The Beautiful airs Monday -Friday at 1:30 p.m. ET on CTV 2.
The Shaun Proulx Show airs on SiriusXM Canada Talks channel 167. He is the publisher of TheGayGuide Network.com and leads a #ThoughtRevolution about busting through personal limits on ShaunProulx.com