Susan Flannery, an American actress and director, etched her name into television history through her captivating performances in iconic daytime dramas, most notably in “The Bold and the Beautiful” and “Days of Our Lives.”
With her distinctive talent and commitment to the entertainment industry, Flannery’s journey is an extraordinary tale of passion, advocacy, and achievement.
Early Life and Education
Susan Flannery was born on July 31, 1939, in Jersey City, New Jersey.
Growing up, she attended school in Manhattan, where she nurtured her dreams of becoming an actress.
Her pursuit of academic excellence led her to Stephens College, a prestigious women’s college in Columbia, Missouri, where she earned her BA degree in 1962.
Little did she know that her journey was just beginning, and the stage was set for her to make a significant impact in the world of entertainment.
Stepping into the Spotlight
Flannery’s career in acting kicked off with her role as Dr.
Laura Spencer Horton in the long-running daytime drama “Days of Our Lives,” a character she portrayed from 1966 to 1975.
It was during this time that fate intervened, bringing her into the path of writer William J. Bell, who would later cast her in his creation, “The Bold and the Beautiful,” in 1987.
This marked the beginning of a new chapter in Flannery’s career, one that would solidify her status as a beloved figure in the realm of daytime television.
Conquering the Big Screen
Not content with just conquering the small screen, Flannery showcased her versatility as an actress by taking on roles in feature films.
In 1974, she appeared in the blockbuster disaster film “The Towering Inferno,” followed by a spirited performance in “The Gumball Rally” in 1976.
These ventures into the world of cinema further exemplified her acting prowess and endeared her to a broader audience.
The Bold and the Beautiful: A Defining Legacy
Flannery’s portrayal of Stephanie Douglas Forrester in “The Bold and the Beautiful” left an indelible mark on the hearts of soap opera enthusiasts worldwide.
As one of the original cast members of the show, she held a unique place in the hearts of fans, alongside co-stars Katherine Kelly Lang and John McCook.
For 25 years, Flannery graced the screen with her impeccable acting and became synonymous with the show’s success.
Behind the Camera: A Director’s Vision
Not content with just acting, Flannery proved herself as a multi-talented individual.
In addition to her on-screen roles, she took on the director’s chair for episodes of “The Bold and the Beautiful,” showcasing her prowess behind the camera.
Her work was recognized with two nominations for the Directors Guild of America Award, a testament to her creative vision and dedication to her craft.
Activism and Advocacy
Beyond her contributions to the entertainment world, Flannery took an active role in the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA).
A staunch advocate for the rights of actors, she championed the cause of securing cable rights and foreign residuals for fellow performers when their work appeared in other media.
Her efforts had a positive impact on how soap actors, including those from “The Bold and the Beautiful,” were compensated when the show was televised internationally.
Personal Life and Legacy
In her personal life, Flannery is a proud mother to an adopted daughter, Blaise, and her journey as a parent brought her immense joy and fulfillment.
Additionally, she shared a deep connection with gay rights activist Rita Mae Brown, forming a lasting friendship through their mutual friend, Fannie Flagg.
Awards and Accolades
Flannery’s talent and dedication to her craft did not go unnoticed.
She received accolades for her exceptional performances, including a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series in 1975 and again in the 2000s.
Notably, she also won a Golden Globe Award for New Star of the Year – Actress in 1974, further solidifying her status as a celebrated performer.
The Curtain Call
After a remarkable career spanning nearly five decades, Susan Flannery made the difficult decision to bid farewell to “The Bold and the Beautiful” in 2012.
In a poignant storyline, her character Stephanie Forrester succumbed to lung cancer, leaving an emotional impact on fans who had grown to adore her.
A Lasting Legacy
Though Flannery stepped away from the daily grind of daytime dramas, her influence and contributions remain an enduring legacy in the world of entertainment.
Her remarkable journey as an actress and director inspired countless individuals and helped shape the landscape of daytime television.
Susan Flannery’s life and career are a testament to the power of perseverance, talent, and advocacy.
From her early days as a budding actress to becoming an icon of daytime dramas, she captured the hearts of audiences worldwide.
With her trailblazing spirit and dedication to her craft, Flannery’s impact on the entertainment industry will continue to be felt for generations to come.
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