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Leslie Charleson

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  Summary  

Leslie Charleson is an American actress most famous for her work in daytime television.

  Biography  

Charleson was born in Kansas City, Missouri. Her career began on short-lived soap A Flame in the Wind in 1964. She then moved to As the World Turns as Alice Whipple, but when she learned of the length of the contract she was supposed to sign, she left almost immediately. In 1967, she was an original cast member of Love is a Many Splendored Thing. She played Iris Donnelly Garrison and was a part of a highly popular love triangle with David Birney and Donna Mills. She left the show in 1970 after the departure of Mr. Birney, whom she was involved with at the time.

In the 1970s, Leslie gave Richie Cunningham his first kiss in an episode of Happy Days.

The next seven years brought guest-starring roles in several primetime series. In 1976, she appeared in the pilot for the Quinn Martin TV crime show Most Wanted, but neither she nor costar Tom Selleck were kept on for the series proper.

In 1977, Fred Silverman, then head of President of ABC, asked her to join the serial General Hospital, which by that time was near the bottom of the ratings and near cancellation. Charleson replaced Patsy Rahn as the high-strung Monica Webber, a doctor caught between her husband Jeff Webber and his back-from-the-dead brother, her true love Rick Webber. Charleson's first day was, according to her, nightmarish, for a number of reasons. When she was a teenager, she was president of a local Elvis Presley fan club and he had died the day before she started at GH. She had to take her own clothes to work and do her own makeup because of a hair and wardrobe strike at ABC. Finally, GH's producers had not informed the cast or crew of Rahn's dismissal. She had to break the news to people who were not thrilled to learn of the change.

In spite of these pressures, Charleson was accepted backstage and was a big hit with viewers, especially when Monica entered into an initially loveless marriage with roguish millionaire Alan Quartermaine, played by Stuart Damon. The love/hate relationship between the two, all while Monica fought to be with Rick Webber, electrified viewers and was one of the stories which helped propel the show towards #1 in the ratings. The Webbers were eventually phased out, but Monica and Alan remained, through a series of affairs, divorces and remarriages.

In 1990, Gloria Monty, who had created the Quartermaine family while producing GH, returned and attempted to push them off of the show because she felt they were "old hat". She planned to replace them with the Eckert family. Angry viewer response and falling ratings convinced Monty to change course. Charleson said she felt it was poetic justice that the last few Eckerts had to film nearly all their scenes in the Quartermaine living room. In 1994, Charleson was given some of the best dramatic material of her career, as Monica faced a long battle with breast cancer. Charleson was nominated for a Daytime Emmy for that year's performances. Due to the extremely limited role ABC Daytime now has for actors over 40, she has moonlighted on such series as Friends and Dharma & Greg. In February 2007, she protested the firing of her on-screen husband Damon, telling the press that she was not happy with the decisions of the producers and that all the actors on the show over 40 were worried about their own fate.

In July, 2009, after months of speculation that Charleson would be let go from General Hospital when her contract expired, she signed a new one year contract keeping her with the show. However, in September 2010, Soap Opera Digest reported that the series had taken Charleson, who was then the series' longest-running contract player, off contract and she is now in a recurring capacity.

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Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "Leslie Charleson", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.