YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

A New And Improved Simone Hardy

June 04, 1995|NANCY M. REICHARDT

Felecia Bell was forgettable as district attorney Glynnis Connor on "Days of Our Lives," a character she readily admits faded into the courtroom woodwork on the Salem-based soap. But as Dr. Simone Ravelle Hardy, a pediatrician coping with a failed marriage, enjoying a new lover and discovering a newfound spunk on "General Hospital," Bell is making viewers sit up and take notice.

"I love it. Love it!," says Bell, who joined "General Hospital" as a recurring player in November, 1993, then graduated to her own story line. She was recently given contract status much to her delight and surprise.

"My whole thought was that if you're hired to recur, on a certain level, there's a lack of commitment to the character," she says. "But at the time I started this job I was told by a couple of actors on the show, who had started the same way, that [the writers had begun to write for them.] I began to think, 'Is it a question of proving yourself as a performer?' So I pretty much just waited for them to give me something to do. Every time I had a scene that remotely had another layer to it, I would fulfill it, and they would write a little more."

A little turned into a lot when the "General Hospital" writers began plotting a complicated lovers' triangle and planted Simone in the middle of it.

"In order to begin Simone's [affair] with Justus Ward [Joseph Phillips], they had to complete the story with her husband," Bell explains. "It was just through circumstances and luck that they got Matthew Ashford [for the role of Tom Hardy]."

Ever since then it has been an actor's field day for Bell, who admits she was "thrilled to get out of the hospital" and into the daytime action.

"[The writers] have been spicing things up and it's wonderful," says the actress. "You never know what's going to come out of Simone these days."

It was a casual dance scene between herself and Phillips that initially gave Bell insight into the real Simone.

"Justus was asking her questions, trying to figure her out," she recounts. "There was this little spark that there's a whole lot more to Simone."

Bell reveals that her revamped character is a lot more like her--adventurous, spontaneous, and even a little wild and crazy at times.

"I'm somebody who ...." She pauses for a moment of thought. "I don't know how to begin to categorize myself. There are so many things that influence me at any given moment."

For example, Bell thinks nothing of flying off halfway around the world at a moment's notice. She did that last year. "I met somebody and took off for France the next week," she says with a laugh.

Then again, travel is her passion. "That's it with me," she says, noting she has already been to Japan, Kenya and France. "I'd still like to go to South Africa and India. I like to see new places, to explore."

Just like the new, improved Simone.

"General Hospital" airs weekdays at 2 p.m. on ABC.

Los Angeles Times Articles