I vote Iris!
I didn't see Iris but Beverlee as Alexandra WAS FIERCE! AND I REMEMBER HER AS A LITTLE BOY! I COULDN'T BELIEVE WHEN SHE LEFT AND THEY REPLACED HER. She was one of my favorite characters of Guiding Light!
I will say "Alex" only because my memories are of her on my mom's favorite show: The Guiding Light.
But through Youtube I have been able to discover her as "Iris" and Another World.
Moreover, check out Beverlee McKinsey's wikipedia page; for Y&R fans the part containing her contract dispute as "Alexandra Spaulding" while on G.L. is a GREAT reflection of the great Dame herself, who appropriately sticks it to the notorious, Jill Farren Phelps!
Team Iris here.
When I was watching AW Carmen Duncan was playing her(and she was pretty good as Iris).
That said, Beverlee's Alexandra Spaulding is one of my two or three favorite daytime characters EVER. Can't say it enough, '90-'92 with Alex driving story 4-5 days a week--destroying Roger, destroying Mindy, destroying anybody who got in her way--was as good as any soap has ever been in my book. Still perplexing why daytime's greatest actress ever went to the grave with not one Emmy despite Emmy-caliber work in daytime over the course of three different decades.
The only Iris I knew was Carmen Duncan's and even though I thought she was quite good, my aunts had watched Another World since the show's beginning and always said that Beverlee was better in the role.
Luckily, since my grandmother was a big fan of CBS soaps, I got to see almost all of Beverlee's 8-year run as Alexandra Spaulding and she was FANTASTIC. I enjoyed Marj Dusay in the role too but not quite as much. She played the part longer, but the character didn't seem to have as many layers as when Beverlee played her.
All the way baby... team Alexandra Spaulding for Beverlee!
I watched both Carmen and Beverlee as Iris and also watched Beverlee as Alexandra (to a lesser extent).
I want to discuss not only my preferences but what each brought to the roles.
First of all, I feel that Alex was slightly more of a generic character than Iris. Not to take anything away from her but the character was way more flexible personality wise than Iris. Alex was a strong minded business woman who was not above getting her hands dirty when needed. She also was a mother, wife, aunt, sister, friend to many people. Sometimes those relationships were complicated. Sometimes not as complicated. Alex was totally capable of having ongoing friendships and familial relationships with people. She was also capable of ripping you a new hole, when necessary. She could also be very protective and overbearing, however she could be nurturing and loving. She could be charming or a snake depending on what she perceived as important in that moment with that person. All in all a fairly well rounded individual.
Well rounded could NOT be used to describe Iris. Iris had a duality in her personality and they were extreme. She was both a vicious bitch and a wounded vulnerable child. Some moments you wanted to slap the hell out of her the next moment you might want to hug her and protect her. She was her own worst enemy and never had anything close to a normal relationship with anyone. At best she had extremely codependent relationships with others mostly her servants Louise and Vivien. She simply had few positive relationships with women. With men, she alternated between sex kitten and master manipulator. Even with her own father Mac. Some days in the midst of a heated argument, it looked like they might jump each other's bones. Other times she would pour on the tears and one would feel for her, even though mostly what was wrong was her own fault. She did tend to get along better with her ex husbands than she did when she was married to them. Perhaps they saw more of the vulnerable side and less of the manipulator after she didn't need them any longer. Of course when she met up again with the supposed root of her issues, Alex Wheeler, his love sent her in a new but short lived direction. Her claws came back out when her only son Dennis hooked up with one of his older and stronger females Paige. Iris would have done anything to stop that relationship. It brought out the old Iris that we knew and loved to hate!
Years later when Carmen took on the role, Iris had become an astute business woman and had somewhat grown up. Gone was that extreme vulnerability that softened her hard exterior. However Iris had learned to play well with others to a degree. Yeah she still manipulated and schemed all the time, but it was usually less about personal issues and more about corporate greed. She had also made some headway with developing interpersonal relationships. Mind you she was not exactly Mother Theresa,
but people didn't usually cross the street to avoid talking to her anymore (even Rachel softened her stance with her a little bit especially after Mac died).
Beverlee did a lovely job with Alexandra and Carmen did a solid job as Iris. However, Beverlee's Iris was so polarizing and unique, that it is impossible for me to pick anything but her Iris as the best.
My one regret is that she was not playing Iris when Mac died. I would have paid to see her play out those scenes. Carmen really got it well but simply did not fall into the deep well of despair that Beverlee would have. I can just picture it now her face falling to the floor and Rachel having to comfort her. That is until Iris would stick her proverbial fangs in Rachel's lovely neck. There would have been blood, especially because Iris was partly to blame for her father's death. And that was a pill that Beverlee's Iris would not have swallowed easily.
marknsprmo -- You summed it up. As some who saw all 4,
Beverlee as Iris
Carmen as Iris
Beverlee as Alex
Marj as Alex
I agree with you 100%.
I read years ago Beverlee wanted the character of Alex more multifaceted than Iris, when P&G asked her to come GL...she got her way. She was the star for P&G and they knew it...
As for Carmen I loved her Iris, Carmen was strong actress herself but at first the accent was startling in the beginning, I wasn't used to it when watching Beverlee's Iris of the '70s.
As for Marj, I loved her Alex in a completely different way, she made Alex her own and lord, she did have huge shoes to fill and Marj stepped up to the plate and did just that she brought Alex back in form. What made me more accepting of Marj was she kept the character intact as what the viewers knew but still add her own elements. Another thing was the chemistry between Marj & Ron as Alan & Alex and like wise the chemistry between Chris & Beverlee.
I have to go with The Baroness just because GL was my favorite soap and was where I first was introduced to Beverlee McKinsey.
And I love Marj Dusay and enjoyed her as Alex but she got the shaft by so many terrible writers who would write things for Alexandra that I just know Beverlee would have balked at doing but Marj has that "show must go on" attitude where she was game to play whatever beats she was given.
It's too bad because Marj's first year as Alex was dynamite and showed that she was up to the challenge of filling Beverlee's shoes.
I always think of Marj Dusay as the fill in queen. She has taken over more roles on soaps than probably any other person dead or alive! I remember when she took on the role of Myrna Clegg on Capitol. Then on to Santa Barbara as the Pamela Capwell recast. That was a great role and I wish they had made that role a permanent character on the show. She had sooooo much potential. Marj was my favorite Pamela. Then she went on to replace Louise Sorell on Days as Vivian for some episodes. Then of course Alexandra. She did originate one role Vanessa on AMC. There are several coincidences about her soap roles.
1 Both Louise Sorel (Vivian Alamain) and Marj appeared on Santa Barbara. Louise played CC's enemy Lionel Lockridge's wife Augusta. Marj of course played CC's first wife Pamela. They both also have the distinction of playing roles on Star Trek the original series of which they are both well remembered. Marj's episode Spock's Brain is widely considered the worst TOS episode.
3 Three actresses played on both Days and Star Trek tos. Louise, Marj and Susan Oliver who played Laura Horton on Days in the 70s.
4 Rosemary Forsyth (another Laura Horton) also played one of CC Capwell's wives on Santa Barbara. She played CC's second wife Sofia. However none of these actresses ever worked together at any point.
5 Vincent Izarry played on Santa Barbara, Guiding Light and All My Children. All three of these roles have connections to the roles Marj played in. On Santa Barbara, it was discovered that Pamela Capwell murdered Scott's (Vincent) uncle. On both GL and AMC Marj played Vincent's mother.
6 Laura Horton and Vivian Alamain (Days) were friends in the crazy house and escaped together. Actress Jamie Lyn Bauer played Laura at that time. She was famous for being on Young and The Restless as Lorie who was romatically tied to Victor. Of course Vincent Izarry was also on Y&R and romantically tied to Nikki.
I remember Marj Dusay appearing in several Hogan's Heroes episodes from when I used to watch the show in re-runs. I love her laugh. For a certain generation, she's the one and only Alexandra Spaulding.
My first taste of her was as Blair's mother Monica on Facts of Life. And she killed as Pamela on SB(agree, that should have been a more permanent role). So I was thrilled when they announced she'd been recast as Alex because while I'd argue Beverlee was nigh irreplaceable in that role, I thought Marj was the type of actress who would bring it(she always has had that flair for the dramatic and a little over-the-top). And she was fantastic as Alex, different of course from Beverlee, but I'd say she definitely made the character her own during her time on the show(she ended up playing the role twice as long as Beverlee did).
Marj is wonderful! Loved her as Monica Warner on Facts of Life! The breast cancer episode was so great. She was just the best.
I loved her as Alex. I remember her first scene as Alex. She was in Singapore standing over a child's bed with that strand of pearls around her neck.
I never saw Beverlee as Iris so I don't know.
But I LOVED AND MISS HER AS ALEX. Thank God for Youtube is all I have to say.
Loved Beverlee in both roles. But I think her role as Alex on GL was her best.
Beverlee McKinsey was AMAZING as Alexandra Spaulding! When she was on it was must see! The show was gold when they had the Alex/Roger/Mindy triangle, and later when they added Alex's son Nick (who fell in love with Mindy) to the mix. Guiding Light during 1990 to late 1992 were perfect, and the show was never the same after she left.
Too bad JFP didn't listen to her requests and make her want to stay. But the perfect thing was how she knew but Jill didn't how her contract was drawn up. That was hilarious!
Totally agree with ALL of this! ChrisGa this is perfect!