Part of “Old Info And News”
November 15, 1994
Two new faces, two old roles: Elizabeth Mitchell has become Loving’s new Dinah Lee #2 and Wendee Pratt has given One Life To Live’s Andy a complete transformation. Can replacing an old favourite be hard for a new actress? Read on!
Elizabeth Mitchell portrays Dinah Lee Mayberry Alden on Loving.
For some viewers who weren’t aware that Jessica Collins (Dinah Lee) was leaving the show, it was undoubtedly a shock when they tuned in one day and found a complete “stranger” in her hospital bed! The new Dinah Lee, Elizabeth Mitchell, acknowledges how unnerving this kind of “switcheroo” can be for a fan. “It’s like your sister all of a sudden becomes somebody else!” she says. “All of a sudden she’s got dark hair! I watch One Life To Live. And I remember every time someone new would come on, we’d be like, ‘Oh, look at her! Oh my gosh!’ And what’s so strange is that all the other characters react to her as if nothing changed.”
Which means, in order for the viewers to feel comfortable with the change, there’s a lot of “water under the bridge” that Mitchell has to absorb. Which can be a challenge in itself. “It’s hard because (Dinah Lee and Trucker) have had such a relationship… and then all of a sudden here I am,” explains Mitchell, “I walk onto the set and we’ve been friends forever, and now we’re terribly in love and I just lost the baby…”
But Mitchell gives her co-star Robert Tyler (Trucker) a lot of credit for making this potentially awkward situation extremely easy on her. She relates, “When I first came on, he said ‘I’m sorry that you have to just throw yourself into this.’ He couldn’t have been sweeter and more sensitive about it.” Since they get along so well in real life, Mitchell explains that she was able to go into her scenes, “as if that feeling of closeness (between Dinah Lee and Trucker) was already there. Robert made the transition a lot easier.”
Although Mitchell admits that stepping into someone else’s shoes can be intimidating (especially when the someone is as popular as her predecessor), she is ready to make the role her own… and asks that you give her a chance. “I went to a wedding yesterday and I talked to a lot of people who had watched the show forever,” the Texans native says, “I got all kinds of different reactions… but what I heard a lot was, ‘Well you’re different, but we enjoy watching you too.”