High in Hollywood! 1986?
-Odyssey to GH, 3/11/86
-Loves Her Leading Men, 1987?
Close With Ian Buchanan and Finola Hughes, SOU
-A Day with Finola
Hughes, SOU 1989?
British born Finola
Hughes is Riding High in
Hollywood! (by Janet DiLauro, 1986?)
"Finola Hughes has had a
difficult time winning over General Hospital fans, but the odds have been
overwhelmingly against her. Cast as the devious Anna Devane, her first storyline mission
was to break up the marriage of the ever-popular Holly and Robert Scorpio. Anna, viewer's
soon learned, was Robert's long lost ex-wife, and they were outraged by the outlandish
plot twist. But as time went on, the storyline changed. Anna was transformed from sinner
to saint. To help the transition and make Anna more sympathetic in the fans' eyes GH's
clever writers gave Anna a daughter- Robert's daughter. Slowly, but surely the strategy
worked. Today, Anna Devane is one of Port Charles' most respected heroines, and actress
Finola Hughes one of GH's most popular stars.
Where did you get your
unusual first name? 'My father was reading this old Irish book
right before I was born, and Finola was the name of one of the characters in it. He
thought the name had a nice ring to it, and my mother agreed. So I became Finola.'
You're from England
aren't you? 'Yes. I was born and bred in London. I lived
there practically my whole life.'
Hadn't you originally
planned on a career in dance?
'I went to theatrical school and studied
ballet from the time I was 10 through 17. I made my first public appearance at the Royal
Covent Garden when I was just 11. Later, I joined a ballet company. But as time went on I
found it too limiting. I wanted to do more. So I returned to London and soon started work
as a dancer on television and had a few small parts in film.'
It's back in London
that you met your boyfriend, actor Michael Praed (Dynasty's Prince Michael), isn't it?
'Michael and I met a little over three years
ago. We were both doing shows in London's West End. I was in the original production of Cats,
and Michael was in Pirates of Penzance. We started dating and have been together
Does Michael get to
watch your work on General Hospital much? 'Not that much really. He doesn't have all
that much time. Michael's just about as busy with his role on Dynasty as I am with mine on
How do you like
working on your first soap opera? 'Very much. I'm learning so much- more every
day. It's a great experience for me.'
Is there anyone on the
show you particularly enjoy working with? 'John Reilly (Sean Donely) is a lot of fun.
He's a real comedian. Everytime I do a scene with him, I wind up cracking up. He's a very
Are you anything like
Anna Devane? 'She's a lot tougher than I am and a lot more
daring, especially now that she's the chief of police. I've never played a character
anything like Anna before.'
What do you like to do
in your spare time, away from the set? 'I take acting lessons and still study ballet
too. I also like to work out regularly. I do aerobics and enjoy swimming. Another one of
my favorite pastimes is watching music videos. I just love MTV.'
If you had your choice
of any actor in Hollywood to work with who would you pick? 'Jack Nicholson. I think he's a wonderful
actor- just marvelous. I've been a big fan of his for years. To get to work with him
someday would be quite a thrill for me.'
You've worked with
some big-name talents before, haven't you? 'Yes. I was in the film Stayin' Alive opposite
John Travolta. I got to work with Sylvester Stallone, too. They were both wonderful to
work with. Back in England I worked on the film The Nutcracker with Joan Collins. That was
a few years ago. That was quite an opportunity too, and quite an interesting
Hollywood.... Finola Hughes's Transcontinental Odyssey to GH (by Ginger Myers and R. J. Johnson,
Opera Digest 3/11/86)
'I had a real middle class upbrining. We lived in Nottingham,
a very cosmopolitan area like SoHo in New York City. My mother was a devout
feminist. She worked to reform abortion laws. She worked on a War on Rape
program. I was brought up on Spare Rib, a real heavy feminist magazine,
when I was nine.
My mother made me
world-wise. She was a very strong woman. Her influence on me was to be
independent. My father had an influence on me, too... He worked as a taxi driver.
He was a marvelous man... a philosopher. He would laugh at nearly everything.
I don't think much of anything really bothered him. He always told me to just
do my best, which I think took the pressure off of me.' Her parents were, above all,
practical people. Their advice about men? - 'Have your own car.'
Ballet was Finola's first
passion: 'I started dancing when I was three. My mother took me to ballet
school, and I said, 'Oh, I have to go back.' After one lesson, I started going three
times a week, I just loved it. When I was six I turned to a lady and told her that I
could see Swan Lake every day for the rest of my life. She said, 'You'd get
bored.' But I told her, 'No, I wouldn't!' When I grew up, I got into a
professional ballet company. We did Swan Lake every day and I never got bored!'
It took years of
rigorous training before Finola was able to prove that point. 'When I was ten, I
went to a brillant school (Arts Educational School). My first public appearance was
when I was eleven. I danced at Covent Garden, I played a gnome. I remember
thinking that if I never do anything again, I danced in an opera at Covent Garden.
But Finola's dreams of a
dancing career were almost literally cut short by glass. 'When I was 16, I had an
accident which sliced my leg open. I was walking on a snow-covered glass skylight
over a cellar. I went right through it and lacerated my leg. And that put me
out of action for two months. I was livid. I was right at my peak in school.
I had the lead in the end of the term ballet. After my leg healed, I had to
work very hard, and I did do the performances.'
Dancing school opened
Finola's eyes to the class system in Britain. 'There were huge class differences in
the schools I went to. My mother told me that I should go when invited out to tea,
but that we couldn't really invite them back. Fortunately, being a performer is a
huge leveler because your talent is the thing that stands out... not where you
With solid training as a dancer, 20-year old Finola left her native
England for Europe. It was a quick journey from adolescence to adulthood. 'I
was a real trained dancer. Then, I went to Berlin to dance in a film, and
I saw all of this stuff going on there. Berlin is very colorful and decadent.
For example, there are many transvestite clubs. I was suddenly in a very commercial
atmosphere, and I met up with other sorts (of dancers). It influenced me. I
started to veer away from the classical dancing.'
Finola's return to England was for a very personal reason. 'I
thought it would be best to be at home. My mother was sick and dying at the
time. Seeing somebody die is a huge blow. My mother had cancer... it takes a
long time. And they change. They are not the people you knew in the
In 1980, the independent
Finola drove her car to an audition which truly launched her theatrical career. 'I
heard about the audition for CATS from a friend. I called and called to get
in. I knew it would be a big hit. I never doubted that it was going to be a
'I met Andrew Lloyd Webber
(composer of CATS) at the first audition. There were many callbacks. It was so
exciting. Near the end, he called me in to do a scene to see if I could take
direction. He gave me the bitch part (Victoria). I always like to do bitchy
things, it's so much more fun. After I read, he told me to do the bitch part again
but with a "nice" interpretation. But it came out even bitchier!'
Her performance in CATS caught the attention of a casting director
who asked her to read for the movie, Staying Alive. 'They videotaped my
reading and sent it to Sylvester Stallone. I hadn't seen Rocky, but I knew who
Stallone was. I was asked to come here to audition for him. It was my first
trip to America. Stallone wasn't intimidating. He was friendly and
funny. I found out the same day of my audition that I got the part. I was
doing another Andrew Lloyd Webber show, Song and Dance (now being performed on
Broadway and starring Bernadetter Peters). When I knew I had the job, I tried to
keep calm, but I was really excited. I called everyone I knew in England and
screamed and shouted with my friends.'
The initial thrill of victory
quickly turned to the agony of a disciplined body building program. In an interview
in People, Stallone said, 'Her buttocks had to be more curved, her shoulders
broadened.' Finola explains, 'I was real thin at the time. Stallone had me
work out with John Travolta's trainer in order to build me up.'
With that intense body
development course behind her, the renovated Finola admits that, 'I've only seen Staying
Alive two or three times. I was so blown away by everything that I didn't sit and
analyze it. Some of the reviews tore my stomach a little, but everybody gets panned
in their career. Someone came up to me once in New York and said, 'God, you were a
great bitch! I thought that was a great compliment.' But not nearly as
complimentary as Stallone's People Magazine prediction, 'If stardom isn't a strut
away (for her)... then I give up.'
After Staying Alive, Finola journeyed to New York where
she lived with her boyfriend, Michael Praed (Prince Michael, Dynasty). 'We
didn't live together when we were both working in London. Michael came to New York
in the summer of 1984 to do a Broadway play. I joined him in the fall (of
1984). The situation just kind of threw us together. It really wasn't a hard
We actually met several years
before in a restaurant in London. Some friends introduced us. Later, he told
the newspaper that he thought I was plain looking. It was a headline in the Daily
Mirror. He never lived that down. ' 'I was attracted to Michael because
he was carrying a plastic bag. I thought that it was great instead of a Louis
Vuitton handbag. After our first meeting, he sent me a letter at the theatre where I
was working. The next week, we went out to dinner. He was very funny, and we
got along pretty well. Afterward, we met quite often.'
A return trip to Hollywood is the latest stop on Finola's
itinerary. 'Unfortunately, the Broadway play Michael was in flooped and he was kind
of down about it. I told him I was going out to Los Angeles to look for work.
I wanted him to come with me. People were calling to ask him to screen test for
Dynasty. So, we both came to L.A. in November of 1984. Michael was cast in
Dynasty right after we arrived.'
'About three months later, I
was called in to read for the role of Anna Devane on General Hospital. By the way,
it was originally written for an American actress. After the screen test, it took
two weeks for them to make their decision. I was going to a wonderful acting school
(run by Milton Katselas), and all of these very sophisticated, blonde American girls in my
class were talking about being up for the role of Anna. I just knew that I hadn't
gotten the part. When I found out I did have the job, I screamed and jumped up and
With their signatures on
successful television contracts, Finola and Michael negotiated their next important
contract: a house. 'Michael and I rented this house (with an option to buy)
early last summer. Whe he found this place, we fell in love with it. It's so
quiet. It's really easy for us to make a place look lived in because we are
basically messy. Michael has his recording studio set up here. And my brother,
Sean (age 17), has been here for three months. I brought him out after my father
died so he could be with me for a while. Sean is brillant. He plays the
guitar, and he has put a band together, and they already have their first gig!'
Now that they are settled in
their new home and are established in their careers, Finola and Michael have become a
highly recognizable couple. Do adoring fans ever disrupt their privacy when they are
out in public? 'It can be a problem, but I don't find it a problem,' said Michael in
an interview with Tv's Am Los Angeles. "I find it quite flattering,
really. I do. I love it, as a matter of fact.'
Regarding her responsibility
to fans, Finola expresses this philosophy, 'I don't believe that a fan would like to think
that I was obligated to do anything. I think they would like to know as
much (about me) as I'm comfortable in telling... that I'm not being put on the spot.
So, I tell them as much as I'm comfortable with. They have to respect that just as I
'I take fans seriously.
I read my mail. If someone writes as says I look nice in the green dress, I tell
wardrobe and I wear it more often...' Finola seems to enjoy her work more than fame
and fortune. 'I don't think about making a lot of money. I think it's nice
that I can pay my bills. I just love working. If you are rich you are
working. I've never been out of work for more than four or six months. My
advice to a young actor is to work hard. Take the first job that comes along.
Work begets work.'"
From Travolta to
Tristan, Finola Hughes- Loves
Her Leading Men (1987?)
"A native of London,
England, Finola landed the role of Anna Devane on GH after American audiences were
introduced to her when she had the lead in the motion picture Stayin' Alive with John
Travolta. Finola was educated at Norland Place, and English private school and she also
studied ballet. When not busy on the Port Charles set, Finola loves to swim, aerobicize
and watch MTV!
Are you excited that Tristan Rogers (Robert) has
come back to the show?
'Oh yes, I'm very glad he's back. He's such a
wonderful actor and so much fun to work with. The last time he was back we had a great
time, so I expect more exciting things to happen in the future. I'm so lucky to be able to
work with Tristan and Ian (Duke). Ian is in a class all by himself! He's very subtle...
like an old-fashioned movie star.'
Anna and Duke came so
close to getting together and then his past broke them up. How will Robert's reappearance
affect Anna and Duke?
'Well, it certainly won't help matters! I
really don't know what direction the Anna/Duke/Robert story will take. Anna loves Duke
very much. I can't see her just giving up on him... but now that Robert's back you never
can tell! I think the fans of the show are in for a lot of excitement.'
You also work very
closely with Kimberly McCullough. How is it having a pint-sized co-star?
'It's wonderful. I simply adore that girl.
She's so pretty and she's so intelligent. She's very "old" for her age. It's
amazing, you can sit and have a completely normal conversation with her! She's not your
everyday seven-year-old. She is completely unspoiled, which is fabulous.'
You starred with John
Travolta in the film Stayin' Alive, which was directed by Sylvestor Stallone. Do you want
to get back into the movies?
'Yes, eventually I'd like to do another film.
I was fortunate that I was able to work with two of the biggest stars in America so I
think maybe I was a little spoiled! It was great working with them, though. Right now I'm
committed to the show, so I have to wait a bit.'
Do you miss England?
'I really don't get that homesick, though I do
miss some friends. I'm very happy in the United States. I couldn't be happier with the way
my life is going. I don't worry about things because I feel that most things are meant to
be. I used to spend a lot of time worrying, but I think now I'm a little wiser.'"
Close With Ian Buchanan And Finola Hughes- There’s
Much More To Anna And Duke Than Meets The Eye (SOU 4/11/88)
do you keep the music playing, how do you make it last?”
indeed? How does one of daytimes drama’s most popular romantic
duos- Anna Devane (Finola Hughes) and Duke Lavery (Ian Buchanan)- survive the
oftentimes death knell for soap opera lovers, that is, marriage? “It can
be interesting to see Anna and Duke, married, develop as individuals, not just
as a couple,” offers Ian Buchanan, the charming, classically handsome actor
who has brought “General Hospital’s” dark brooding Scot to life. “When two people marry, they still continue to grow separately.”
still feel challenged as an actress,” assure Finola Hughes. As Port
Charles’ resident female superwoman, Finola’s Anna has grown tremendously
since she entered the show in 1985. Originally cast as the “other
woman” in Robert Scorpio’s life- actually his first wife-
Anna was a
character ripe for discovery. Through Hughes’ interpretation, Anna went
from sinner to saint, from former double agent to the first female chief of
police in Port Charles. “I love it when I get an interesting story
line,” Finola explains, “but right now, we’re (Duke and Anna)
in limbo, and I get frustrated between story lines. I’d like to see
something happen to Anna that she really has to cover… maybe an affair.”
this were the case, what would happen to her marriage to Duke? Would she
jeopardize her marriage to him? Would he fight for her? “I’d
like to see them sophisticatedly work it out,” she offers.
would turn the relationship around,” says Ian. “Having an affair,
however doesn’t have to be, and often isn’t, the end of a relationship.
It’s only one way to approach it. A situation like this is a whole new
set of feelings and emotions. It can be handled on so many different ways.
It tests how you really do feel about another person.”
could this type of story line sever Anna and Duke’s relationship beyond the
point of repair? Cold the show handle infidelity in a way that doesn’t
alienate the viewers who have so obviously embraced this couple?
doesn’t have to be black and white,” opines Ian. “They don’t have
to follow a cliché. Everyone has been hurt or scarred, and the viewers
could relate to a broader sense or reality. Often the networks play it
safe. I think they could take a bigger chance and still be accepted.”
think it would’ve been very interesting had they (the writers and producers)
stuck to their guns,” adds Finola, “… had me remain a single mother, still
in love. A very realistic ‘80’s relationship.”
Finola continues, “They could’ve shown that you can be single and be
committed, you don’t have to play the field. The fidelity can still be
there. I think that would’ve made a great lesson.”
then, as Ian explains, “We don’t think about our characters, or story lines.
We just let things happen as opposed to thinking about what’s going to
the “General Hospital” fans think about what’s going to happen to them, no
doubt with some trepidation. Since their marriage, the characters have
faced new problems, and once again it appears as though Duke’s secrets, his
inability to deal openly and honestly with Anna, threaten their domestic bliss.
In addition, there’s Anna’s ex-husband, the dashing, dynamic Robert Scorpio
(Tristan Rogers), father of Anna’s child, robin, waiting in the wings, so to
speak. Robert is more attached to Anna than he’d like to admit, and
since the death of his beloved wife, Holly, Robert has been in a romantic void.
Finola and Ian aware of the fascination fans have with them? “It amazes
me how very much people (do) fantasize about soap characters!” exclaims Ian.
Finola suggests, “I guess there are hundreds of women who want you for a
husband.” More seriously, she goes on, “It doesn’t always have to be
such a fantasy. It (drama) can be real. Take a show like
‘thirysomething’- that’s a real slice of life. That show
hits home and still has an audience.
think the show has a lot of fantasy. I like the characters, especially the
core characters, like the Quartermaines. The show has very likeable
characters,” says Finola.
it’s the fantasy that makes “General Hospital” so popular?
show is popular because we’re so good,” quips Ian, offering his brightest
smile and a twinkle in his eyes. “I think it’s well-liked because they
(the producers and writers) create a situation and a social issues comes out of
it. The writers and producers don’t sit around and say, ‘I think we
have to do a show about this disease or about this topic.’ They don’t
totally emphasize a social issue or crisis just because it’s hot. I
think the show is quite intelligent.”
like Anna. I’d like to know her,” says Finola.
like to see more of duke’s friends,” adds Ian. “Who are they?
You can’t spend all your time with your wife. I also wish that Duke
would stop complaining about money, especially since he always seems to be home
in the middle of the day and seems to be wearing something new all the time!”
what about the chemistry between Anna and Duke- was that a challenge to create?
Did the writers and producers make the romance work by bringing Duke on as a
mystery man, quick with a tango or a line of verse, poised to sweep Anna Devane
off her feet, as he did soon after arriving in Port Charles? Or is it Ian
and Finola who deserve the credit for their special on-screen magic?
at a nodding Ian, Finola explains simply, “We like each other. We have
fun together. We have the same tastes in things- the way we approach a
scene, and certain things within a scene. Actually, we are very similar
noticed, commenting that they are both dressed in black for this interview.
They laugh. “You’d think we consult with each other at the start of
the day!” Finola says, sipping a cup of tea.
experienced success as an actress and dancer before joining “General
Hospital” in the London Company of “Cats” and as John
Travolta’s leading lady in “Staying Alive,” how does Finola Hughes
fell about where she is today?
don’t think that my life is so different than anyone else’s. The
perceptions that people have of you, well… let’s just say that I don’t
take any of it for granted. For the most part, the changes have been
good,” she smiles. “I’m happy right now, both professionally and
privately. I don’t think that to be happy you can separate the two.”
don’t know what ‘happy’ means,” Ian says, somewhat reflectively. “I do know that I’m continually changing, which is nice. I like myself
a lot more now. I’m much more tolerant, patient and understanding.
I used to be far more judgmental. I’m also more compassionate.
sometimes find it odd when someone comes running up to me in the street. I
could never go up to someone that I recognize (a celebrity). I guess I
would feel as though I were intruding.” Pausing for a moment, Ian then
adds, “It’s very difficult for me to receive. I’d rather give.
It’s very difficult for me to receive… I’d like to go back fifteen years
and have tea with myself.”
like to go back five years,” adds Finola, “but only if I can come back to
the present and…”
what, I wonder?
do some theater,” she confesses, then glancing over to Ian, she adds
seriously, “Hopefully together.”
hopefully, whatever their future projects, Ian Buchanan and Finola Hughes will
always keep the music playing not only on-screen as Duke and Anna, but also in
life as two very gifted and versatile performers.
On the General
Hospital Set- A Day with Finola
Hughes (by Rosemary Rossi, SOU 1989?)
"Finola Hughes stretches
her legs with a sigh of relief in an attempt to exercise out the kinks, leans back in the
makeup chair with mirror in hand, carefully applies gloss as she says without moving her
lips, 'Forty pages today...'
As a General Hospital veteran
of five years, Finola (a.k.a. Anna Devane Lavery) has added an irrefutable style and
panache to the look of daytime drama. The waist-length shiny hair; the dark attentive
eyes; the rich accent that could melt lead; and of couse, the Anna/Robert, then Anna/Duke
romances. Face it, some people have all the luck.
Today, Soap Opera Update
played 'shadow' to Finola. We followed her through hair and makeup, through the halls of
the studio, through rehearsal and through taping.
While the hair stylist worked
on making 'the famous Anna braid,' as Finola calls it, she affectionately speaks of
ex-co-star Ian Buchanan (ex-Duke). 'I just got off the phone with him. I wanted to find
out what "name" he used to call me. She smiled as she spoke of his innate sense
We wandered down the hall past
David Wallace's (Tom Hardy) wife Lisa Trusel (ex-Melissa, DAYS) with their new baby Ryan.
Lunch today for Finola was spent going over lines with Tristan Rogers (Robert) in his
dressing room. He relaxed in a chair while she reclined on the couch with her feet on a
nearby coffee table. Listening to them rehearse was like eavesdropping on two friends
talking over dinner. Though they were just doing this to learn their lines, they played
the scene with enough intensity to make the sometime stale lines spring to life. Every now
and then, one of them would thow in an ad-lib, 'Yeah! That's good. I like that!' They'd
Upstairs on the stage, John
Reilly (Sean) was pacing 'his office,' Jason Culp (Julian) was trying to look cold while
shooting a scene 'on the docks,' and the prop department was creating the look of
reflecting water with mirrors and lights. In a short time John, Finola, and Tristan shot
their scene. When the camera was rolling, I could feel the pressure to get it right.
And... they did. Another unique hour in Port Charles."