Where are They Now? Alexandra
All My Children Wasn't
Just a Job... it Was High School
Alexandra Daddario (ex-Laurie)
Alexandra Daddario (ex-Laurie
Lewis) grew up in front of the camera, and she loved it. "Since
I lived in the [New York] City where auditions and agents are very accessible,
I have been doing it since I was a kid," Daddario said about her
start as a child commercial actress. "My parents signed me up for
all kinds of lessons, one of them was acting. The teacher took us to
agents. One of the agents wanted to hire me, and I have been going out
for roles ever since then."
But her first television role did not come about until she was 16 years
old, when she booked a single episode in the role of victimized teen
Laurie Lewis on All My Children. "My first scene was JR
(Chandler, then Jonathan Bennett) taking me to prom. It was with David
Chandler), Jonathan Bennett (JR), and Elizabeth Hendrickson (ex-Maggie
Stone)," said Daddario. "I only had a couple lines, something
like, 'Hi Mr. Chandler' and 'Bye Mr. Chandler."
"I was so nervous, but it was the most fun ever just being there,"
Daddario' did not let her nerves get the best of her. "They called
me back for another episode and another," Daddario said. "I
was so excited when they called me back."
Daddario will never forget her first moments at the studio. "When
you're a dayplayer, you don't have your own dressing room, they put
you in someone's," Daddario said. "I was put in Kelly Ripa's
Santos). She had a note on the wall from Kathy Lee (Gifford) congratulating
her on the new show." Daddario is referring to Live With Regis
and Kelly, the nationally syndicated morning talk show Ripa continues
to co-host to this day with Lifetime Achievement Emmy Award Winner Regis
Still, the road ahead was uncertain for Daddario. Daddario was still
attending a traditional girls school in New York, and the new opportunities
to recur as Laurie was affecting her ability to focus on her education.
"I was finishing my sophomore year of high school at Brearley in
New York," Daddario said. "I would not have been able to continue
my education there."
With a great opportunity in front of her, Daddario dropped
out of Brearley. "I did not have a contract at the time, so I took
a chance," Daddario said. "I went to PCS (Professional Childrens
School) and did guided study and stuff like that." Being around
other children in the industry afforded Daddario the time to continue
her role as Laurie. "School was never going to be a problem because
that is what the school was made for. They are very respectful and very
helpful," Daddario said.
PCS has helped many a young actress on All My Children get their start.
Notable alumnus include Sarah Michelle Gellar (ex-Kendall
Hart), Lindsey Price (ex-AnLi
Chen) and most recently Leven Rambin (ex-Lily
Daddario (left) was joined by a sleu of younger actors including
Michael B. Jordan (ex-Reggie), Micah Alberti (ex-Jamie), Amanda
The typical high school comrade absent from attending
a school like PCS was supplemented by Daddario's set life. "They
had all these new kids at the time: Amanda (Seyfried, ex-Joni
Stafford), Andrew Riddings (ex-JR Chandler), Michael Jordan (ex-Reggie
Montgomery)," Daddario said. "They were trying to start
a whole 'teen scene' thing and develop new characters." Later,
the brood grew with the addition of Micah Alberti (ex-Jamie
The younger crowd also found guidance in a surprising source, Darnell
Hubbard). "Darnell Williams was the on set acting coach and
he took a lot of time out of his day to help us," Daddario said.
"It was an honor being taught by someone so talented who has been
working on the show for so long." Williams has since taken on his
signature role of Jesse in front of the screen.
Daddario found herself working a lot. "There would be a couple
of weeks where I worked every single day, and the next week only a few
days," Daddario said. "Most of the call times were for 7:00am
or 9:00am, and I would stay until 1:00pm or 2:00pm, then go to class."
Still, Daddario could not ignore a strange feeling in the studio. In
late 2002, All My Children was at a crossroads. "I wasn't
aware of it fully at the time, but it was an extremely transitional
period. They were testing the waters," Daddario said. Gordan Raysfield
just came on as Headwriter. Prominent stars like Mark Consuelos (ex-Mateo
Santos), Kelly Ripa (ex-Hayley Santos) and Josh Duhamel (ex-Leo
duPres) had just departed their signature roles. "I think storyline-wise,
they were just trying to adjust to the change," Daddario said.
Another major transition Daddario had to work with was a switch in leading
men. By the end of 2002, Bennett left Pine Valley for Hollywood and
Riddings took over the role of JR. "Jonathan has been doing it
for a while so he taught me a lot. Andrew and I were both so new so
we were sort of figuring it out together," Daddario said. The public
reception to the green Riddings in the role lead to his abrupt dismissal
Before coming back in his signature role of Jesse Hubbard,
Daddario revealed Darnell Williams was working behind the scenes
as an acting coach for the younger actors on the show.
Daddario revealed that after Riddings was let go, the
original plan was to recast the role of JR again. "They did some
screentesting. I got to see people from the opposite end. Usually I
am the one testing or interviewing," Daddario said about the process.
"They did one with Amanda and one with me, just to figure out the
character so that the audience was happy." The role of JR would
be recast with soap opera veteran Jacob Young, but not until late 2003
after Daddario and Seyfried had both left the show.
The loss of so many legacy characters combined with a shift of focus
on the canvas to the younger scene did not sit well with fans. The public
reception to All My Children at the time was, "lukewarm
at best," Daddario remembered. The sinking ratings reflected this.
"I tried not to read too much on the Internet," Daddario said.
Despite these factors, Daddario persevered and landed a contract. "I
was so excited, I screamed for sure.'" Daddario said. "I came
in before they (the other members of the younger set) did. I was the
first person in. We worked so together so much. We spent most of our
time together." By 2003, all the younger cast members were on contract.
Though they were all supposed to be in high school, only Alberti, Jordan
and Daddario actually were. "They were a couple years older than
me," Daddario said. Downtime onset sometimes became study hall.
"Micah had some special program from his hometown. He was being
sent things and he would send papers back."
That did not mean the younger cast stayed out of trouble. "Once,
we were running around and I don't remember if it was Micah's or Michael
Jordan's, but we wrote in magic marker all over his dressing room mirror,"
Daddario laughed. "Maybe you had to be there."
Being on contract afforded Daddario a few perks, including attending
the Daytime Emmy Awards. "I had a full length dress that a wonderful
designer made for me, it was so gorgeous," Daddario said. "My
mom was my date… I got to walk the red carpet and do interviews
with some of the other cast."
"I tried not to read too much on the Internet."
-Daddario about the public reception to her character.
Daddario also remembered the day she was called in to
do a shoot for her opening credits reel. "If I remember correctly,
they were re-shooting everyone for a new beginning. They had the wind
machine going and we all took turns smiling," Daddario said. "It
was all the cast that was there filming on that day and they probably
had other cast members come in just for the shoot." This new opening
never aired. Daddario would never be featured in the opening despite
being with the show for almost a full year on contract.
It took time for Daddario to understand the character of Laurie. "The
character slowly developed so I didn't know much about her at first.
She was a good girl struggling with her difficult father and the death
of her mother," Daddario said. "The directors were the people
who gave you the most direction. Judy [Wilson, Casting Director] was
incredibly sweet and complementary. They were all so encouraging; they
really wanted you to succeed."
The same could not necessarily be said for Headwriter, Gordon Raysfield.
"I never really met the writer," Daddario said. "I met
him at an Emmy party once briefly, but I never really had discussions
"You get scripts months ahead of time, so you have a lot of time
to memorize your lines," Daddario said. "But there were definitely
changes through to the last minute. There was a lot of this going on."
Daddario's storylines had their light hearted moments. Daddario got
to participate in the highly publicized FUSION launch episode. "I
got to wear a gorgeous white dress… it was so fun and I did this
model thing, and a little fantasy scene," Daddario said. But the
shoot did not all go as plan. "It was already a very long day.
Something happened and a fire alarm went off in the middle of the shoot.
It was midnight. We were going very late and we had to leave the building."
A more dramatic storyline involved Laurie confronting her father, Doug
Lewis, about his alcoholism. "One of the hardest things for me
as an actress was discovering hot to play and show difficult emotions
onscreen," Daddario said. "Basically, this was my father and
he was dying before my eyes and it was my responsibility to help him
even though he had been abusive in the past," Daddario said. "The
director basically told me the same thing, that the emotions had to
be high and that I was grappling with something very difficult."
Daddario said, "I wish I could do those scenes again today and
see how they would different form when I was 17."
Daddario got to relay on a heavy hitter when the storyline called for
a blossoming surrogate relationship with Vincent Irizarry's Dr.
David Hayward. "I was excited to have my storyline take a different
angle," Daddario said. "I just remember it was great to work
with Vincent." This dramatic turn would be Daddario's last storyline.
Daddario's last scenes would be opposite Irizarry when the writers had
Laurie defer admissions to Pine Valley University to be by her father
as he recovered.
The new pairing of Raysfield with Anna Cascio as Headwriters ushered
in the end of Daddario's run as Laurie. Daddario's last line was, "I
don't care what anyone says Dr. Hayward, you're a great guy. Anyways,
I'd better go back in. Daddy's a lousy packer."
"Judy called me and told me they (the writers) were writing me
out," Daddario said. "They were trying to figure out what
characters were going to be on for the long term and figure out their
storylines and see what was working and what didn't work."
"They had planned to end the teen thing," Daddario said. Of
that set of young actors, only Michael B. Jordan would remain by year's
One of Daddario's last days on set was the FUSION launch episode.
Reflecting on her time as Laurie, Daddario would have
liked to see the writers flesh out the character. "She seemed a
little bit like a victim, a victim or her father and of JR. I would
have loved to play her as a tough girl who didn't take any crap,"
Daddario said. "Hopefully [Laurie] is in college, and away from
Daddario remained in New York for high school and college. Her latest
film, Malevolence: Bereavement, is set for a fall wide release.
She also worked with Edie Flaco in a new pilot for Showtime called Nurse
Jackie. Daddario points out the alumni of young cast members from
her time have all achieved various levels of maisntream success.
"Everyone is in LA!" Daddario said. "I was in LA with
a co-star from the movie [Malevolence] and was planning to
move out there. I went to a party and because it is a small world, I
ran into Jonathan (Bennett)!"
Though focused on a pursuing a career in film and Primetime, Daddario
would not rule out a return to All My Children or another foray
into Daytime Television. "I had never worked on a TV show before.
Working with other people, being in front of the camera, it was the
best acting school you could go to, and you were getting paid for it."