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    GENERAL HOSPITAL FANS LOVE VERNEE WATSON AS SHE RETURNS TO SEASON TWO OF BOB LOVES ABISHOLA

    Already told she was over-exposed and tooold, Vernee Watson went on to be a television fixture for the next 45 years – and counting. In the 2019-2020 television season, she was a featured actress in CBS-TV’s Bob Loves Abishola. She will return tothe role of Gloria for season two in the fall,but first she’ll be seen in her Daytime Emmy winning role of Stella on General Hospital. HollywoodHI caught up with the straight talking actress to find out exactly what she’s up to.

    OK, so Bob Abishola is funny, it’s a great show, but the title – wouldn’t it be nicer, easier, if it was
    Bob Loves Vernee.

    Vernee: When people ask me what the name of the show is and I go through my routine of
    making a heart and then I say, Abishola they go, ‘Oh yeah, I saw that show. I know what you’re talking about’. So people know what it is. It’s different and the show itself is as different as this name is.

    Well, that’s a nice point.

    Vernee: Yeah.

    Your daytime soap credits are Days of Our Lives
    and The Young and the Restless?

    Vernee: I don’t even remember Days of Our Lives.
    But on The Young and the Restless I played
    a homeless woman who was alcoholic.

    Oh, so you were in scenes with a legend on the
    show, Jeanne Cooper?

    Vernee: Yeah, she was, yeah, yeah, big time. It was
    her trying to save me or something. And I
    remember that was fun because I got to do
    real character stuff.

    You started acting in New York?

    Vernee: I had done a film in New York. I did Cotton
    Comes to Harlem and that’s where I got my
    SAG card. I was an extra and they gave me
    a line with Godfrey Cambridge and
    Raymond St. Jacques. And then I did
    another film, Come Back Charleston Blue
    with those same two guys. Yep.

    And tons of commercials?

    Vernee: I did over 200 commercials in New York,
    and I did theatre. And then my agent told
    me that I was overexposed in commercials.
    So I came out to California.

    And you had a friend in Los Angeles, the great
    Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs?

    Vernee:Yes, in fact I was about to go to Mexico, but
    my friend, Larry Jacobs, told me they were
    looking for Vernajean, his girlfriend on
    Welcome Back, Kotter. Well, my agent, who
    was in New York said I was ‘too old to play
    a teenager’ but I got in and I was cast on
    Welcome Back, Kotter – – and that was my
    first television thing here in Los Angeles.

    By the way, everybody was too old to be in high
    school on Welcome Back Kotter.

    Vernee: I know! I was in my late twenties – – we
    were all in our late twenties, but we
    looked like teenagers. Actually John
    Travolta was the youngest of everybody.

    Do you ever catch up with him anymore?

    Vernee: I do run into him sometimes. I used to live
    next door in the same complex as his
    brother. And I’ve seen John, over the years
    at different places. And he’s a very, very
    nice man. And I remember when we were
    on, Welcome Back, Kotter. He was just so
    goofy and silly and stuff, and he came up
    to us, he said, ‘they’re going to make me a
    star.’ I was like, ‘Yeah right, what kind of a
    star?’ He was doing a musical at the time,
    this is right before he did Saturday Night
    Fever. So, that was pretty funny. We were
    all like, ’yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, sure, sure,
    sure’. And that’s what happened!
    And when we’re all together, oh my God, I
    don’t know how we got any work done on
    that set.

    You teach an ongoing class that you’ve had to
    turn into a Zoom class?

    Vernee: Yes, it’s a class that I’ve been teaching.
    Right before the pandemic we did a show
    called A Lesson in Blackness which was a
    black history month show on the 29th day
    of February. And some of the kids from Bob
    Heart Abishola was in it, too. We filmed it.
    The place was packed and it was a really
    good show. The kids learned a lot about

    black history. Then the pandemic
    happened and we had to close down and
    do our classes on Zoom, which consist of
    children from the ages of seven to
    eighteen years old. And I’ve also taught an
    adult class.

    You’re keeping plenty busy?

    Vernee: I also wrote a piece with the kids. It’s about
    racism and the injustices and the
    demonstrations and stuff that has been
    going on. They belong to the Heartfelt
    education in the arts. There’s a website,
    www.theheartarts.org.

    You’ve enjoyed all the unexpected family time?

    Vernee: And this is something new for us – – she
    wanted chickens for her birthday, so we
    have chickens in the backyard. And the
    kids. So, yes, every once in a while I just
    get in my car and I go…

    Who wanted the chickens – – your granddaughter?

    Vernee: No, my daughter. And she
    designed a chicken coop and we had a guy
    build it for us. It’s called Chick Chala or
    Chick Filet or Chick Chalet or something
    like that, it’s crazy.

    Is there anything that you’ve discovered about
    yourself in being quarantined?

    Vernee: That’s what I asked my
    kids in class! Oh goodness. I’ve learned
    that I’m a survivor and I have a strong faith
    and I’m not afraid of work or change.

    Well, the rest of us has had nothing to do for five months. So you have been able to keep your
    creativity and your mind busy for all this time. So
    that’s good.

    Vernee: Yes, yes, yes, yes. I’m grateful for that.

    What kind of success
    do you have to have before you would reluctantly
    have to wonder how long you can continue the
    teaching part?

    Vernee: I’ve been teaching for thirty years. And I
    think I’ll always be doing that.

    So you must love it?

    Vernee: Well, yes I do. It’s hard work. But the
    satisfaction I get from a child who is
    insecure and hardly speaking and stuff or
    shy, and then they come out of themselves
    and they grow and they’re able to perform
    and feel good about themselves. That’s my
    satisfaction.

    What kind of music do you like?

    Vernee: I love Donny Hathaway.


    Where is the love?

    Vernee: Yes. Yes. Yes. Well I grew up in New York, so
    I saw a lot of them at The Apollo – – Jackie
    Wilson at the Apollo!

    What celebrities would you invite to a dinner
    party at your home?

    Vernee: I’ve had cookouts for a lot of people, they
    have been over here and they’re just in
    here with the rest of the folks. I don’t
    know. That’s a hard question for me.

    All right. Well, I’ll tell Frank Sinatra and Elvis,
    they’re not invited to dinner at your house.

    Vernee: Oh, they can come! Just bring something,
    bring a bottle. Yup. And I don’t ask people
    to bring food. I usually cook and I mean,
    it’s a feast all around.

    Any encouraging words for your fans?

    Vernee: Be patient and keep your faith strong. Trust. You can’t buy into the fear and the
    hate, you know?

    That’s a nice place to end this interview.

    Vernee: And I’ve been reading the 1619 Project
    which was published in the New York
    Times. It’s about, 1619 was the year that
    the slaves were first brought over to the
    United States. And it talks about the
    business of slavery and so I’m very
    interested in that. And how generationally
    we have been subject to so much
    inhumanity and how we have had to be
    stronger and more resilient than any other
    race because of that. And people don’t
    want to talk about it. Well they’re talking
    about it now. And it’s real, the prejudices
    are just woven into the fabric of this nation
    and now it’s time to shake it out and shine
    a light on it.

    Jim Warren
    Exclusive to HollywoodHI

    Latest Posts

    JACKLYN ZEMAN IS IN THE THICK OF THINGS ON THE 10TH SEASON OF THE BAY WHILE KEEPING BOBBIE SPENCER BUSY ON GENERAL HOSPITAL

    One of daytime television's most recognizable faces as Bobbie Spencer on General Hospital, these days Jacklyn Zeman also brings her talents to...

    JUST LIKE FELIX, GENERAL HOSPITAL ACTOR MARC ANTHONY SAMUEL IS ONE COOL CAT

    Marc Anthony Samuel is one of those people who bring a smile to your face when he pops up on General Hospital...

    NATHAN DEAN IS OUT OF THIS WORLD IN ROSWELL, NEW MEXICO

    Nathan Dean Parsons shocked General Hospital fans in the last weeks of September by squeezing in a few appearances as beloved Ethan...

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    One of the few nice surprises of 2020 has been a beautiful appearance from Alicia Leigh Willis on General Hospital. An otherwise...