Guest Star Goodness: Julie Dove, “Connie” Days of our Lives
Soap operas are known for storylines that have highs and lows, ups and downs, as well as mega doses of drama and romance. This is what viewers fall for on a daily basis. And they have for decades. One of those viewers is Julie Dove, whose longtime love of soaps resulted in a pretty epic accomplishment.
On Thursday, May 4, the force was with Dove as she played Connie, a woman looking to Sloan Petersen for legal help, on Peacock’s Days of our Lives. Her journey from Days fan to Days guest star has its twists and turns. But in the end, there’s no painful cliffhanger, just happiness, satisfaction of a job well done and… a great credit added to her IMDB page.
SOAP FAN ORIGIN STORY
Dove says she started watching soaps like Days when she was a teenager growing up in a small town in Texas. At the time, there were a ton of them to choose from and she tuned into as many as she could. For her they were a method of escape. “My dad had died and I really delved into the soap opera world as escapism. Some networks had five shows — three one-hours and two half-hours. My grandmother and my mother watched shows. They were more ABC people. Then I remember reading in one of the magazines — maybe Soap Opera Digest — a recap of Hope [Brady’s] 18th birthday. And I was like, ‘Oh my God, I have to watch this show!’”
Photo Credit: Howard Wise/Peacock (2022)
Days (then on NBC) quickly became mandatory viewing. While she enjoyed many pairings on this veteran daytime drama, Bo and Hope were her super couple. It’s the bad boy element of the popular romance that really spoke to her. “The motorcycle, the wrong side of the tracks thing. At the time, we had all the John Hughes movies like Pretty in Pink. So I feel like the bad boy mentality was a turn on, for lack of a better word,” laughs Dove.
“Just the chemistry between the two actors. As a kid, I was like, wow, these two people are really into each other and light each other up when they’re on screen. I know we have newer super couples now, but those of us that got to enjoy the original super couples… We really enjoyed something special.”
Dove didn’t just watch soaps. She wrote fan letters to actors like Peter Reckell, who’s played Bo Brady on Days on and off since the ‘80s. She attended public appearances featuring various actors. She took a photo with Hope herself, Kristian Alfonso. And she even found the perfect prom dress thanks to Lauren-Marie Taylor, an actress from the late great soap, Loving, where she played Stacey Donovan. The two corresponded for ten years and connected in person when Taylor took her on a tour of the Loving set in New York City.
“She had these formal dresses from the show and went up on the roof of her Brooklyn apartment and took these pictures,” she explains.
“I said something like, ‘oh this would be cool to wear to prom.’ And she said, ‘You should keep it.’ So I wore this pink prom dress that was Susan Walters’ (Loving’s Lorna).”
More significantly, Taylor encouraged Dove’s acting dreams. “She was like, you want to be an actor? You can be an actor. She didn’t even have a second thought about it.”
BECOMING AN ACTOR
Dove didn’t actually pursue acting until she was 31. This was years after she studied it in college. She says after graduation “reality set in” and she ended up teaching drama instead of following her dreams. “Then I had a couple of detours in life with some divorces — I’ve had my own little soap opera.”
One day, after working in the music industry in Nashville, she decided she was ready. “I just said, you have to do what you always wanted to do,” she says. “So I moved [to Los Angeles] in December of 2001 and started auditioning. After ten years of auditioning for commercials, I got my first TV show. And for the last ten years I’ve been fortunate enough to work in primetime television and always holding [out] for a soap opera role.”
She’s appeared on shows like Silicon Valley, The Office, Jimmy Kimmel Live and a now defunct cop comedy on TBS called Angie Tribeca, which starred Parks and Rec actress Rashida Jones. She channeled her inner soap fan for this particular role. “I played this character named Fran Tabuto, who is a superfan of this boy band and they think I’ve killed one of the members,” laughs Dove. “That was my first guest star. And that audition came so easy for me. It was so fun to just go in there and deliver these lines about being a superfan.”
But like she said earlier, she’s always held out for a soap role.
DAYS’ CONNIE TAKE 1
Her chance at soap guest stardom happened when she snagged the role of Connie for an episode of Days of our Lives. Her experience with the show comes with a little bit of heartbreak, but don’t worry, it has a great payoff.
She was so excited to be a part of a show she had grown up adoring. “I had done some background work on soaps when I first moved here,” she reveals. “So I had been on a soap set before and I knew things moved a little faster than a regular TV show. I don’t think I got to appreciate it as much as I wanted to.”
On top of that, her scenes with Marci Miller and Billy Flynn — where she threw a coffee at Chad DiMera — were cut from the episode. “I will say [it was] one of the most devastating things in my acting career,” she explains. After she found out her scenes didn’t make the cut, she went ahead and posted a behind-the-scenes video she made of her experience anyway.
“I said to everyone, ‘Hey even though you didn’t get to see it [on air], it was still the most special experience in my life. And then people really reacted to that and they’re like, oh my god, this is better than seeing you on the show. And then I sent it to the casting director, told her how much it meant to be on the show.”
You’d think that’d be the end of her Salem, USA adventure. It wasn’t.
DAYS’ CONNIE TAKE 2
In October of last year, casting gave her a call saying Ron Carlivati, Days’ Emmy-award winning head writer, wanted her back, playing the same character she embodied the first time around. “He had seen everything I posted online and wanted to bring my character back.”
Unlike her first experience on the set, she was able to savor every minute. She shared scenes with newcomers Jessica Serfaty (Sloan Petersen) and Jasper Newman (Colin). She didn’t get to throw any drinks, but she did get to sink her teeth into the material. “I’m a client of Sloan’s and we’re going over my court case. And then Sloan leaves me in this bar that we’re in and then Colin comes over and inserts himself into the conversation.”
Dove loved how Connie got her flirt on with Colin. “I don’t really get to flirt with men like that much in real life, so that was pretty special and wild for this 53-year-old woman,” she laughs.
Backstage she received some kind words from one of the series regulars. “When I was coming back to my dressing room, I passed Greg Vaughan who, you know, is just adorable. And is a fellow Texan, by the way. I passed and he goes [to me], ‘Really great job.’ I guess he watched me on the monitor filming my scenes and that was really, really nice that he said that to me and it meant a lot.”
After her scenes were cut the first time, she thought about walking away from acting. But now she’s happy she persevered. She wouldn’t have missed this moment for anything. “As hard as this is, there’s more happiness in knowing that I’m here still pursuing what I’ve wanted to do since I was 13 years old.”
Her two takes with Days were fun and a learning opportunity. She’s grateful for the experience. “I want to say thank you to the producers at Days. To Ken Corday (Executive Producer), Albert Alarr (Co-EP), to Ron and his writing team. To Marni Saitta, the casting director. They’re all really wonderful people and I am so happy they helped make such a specific dream of mine come true.”
And what’s next for her? She has a couple more boxes she wants to check off. She says she’d love to guest star on ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy and CBS’ Young Sheldon. “Grey’s Anatomy because I’ve watched it from the very beginning and my friend and I would call each other the next day and talk about it. Young Sheldon because it takes place in east Texas and I love the actress who plays the mom on there, Zoe Perry.”
You can catch Julie Dove’s episode of Days of our Lives on Peacock (it aired May 4, 2023), where the show streams new episodes exclusively five days a week.
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