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Irises: The Unofficial Beverlee McKinsey and Carmen Duncan Home Page

It's My Party
by Robert Rorke
Soap Opera Digest, March 30, 1993

Night Owl Carmen Duncan Loves Life and Men and Babies, But Not Necessarily in That Order

Birthday: July 7
Citizenship: Australian. "You can't have dual citizenship in Australia."
Hangouts: Don't Tell Mama; Sam's
Recommended Reading: Anything by Thomas Keneally
Family Tradition: Naming children after the parent's last name: Duncan's mother's name is Margaret Carmen, Duncan's son is Duncan Barrett.
She's Too Old-Fashioned To: Propose marriage
One Thing She Doesn't Miss About Australia: The press

    For a good time, call Carmen Duncan. Unlike actors who whine that their work schedule leaves them precious little time for socializing, Duncan likes to hang out. Since moving to New York five years ago, the Australian beauty has become something of a night owl, discovering the clubs and the party scene and frequenting the theater. At one of her favorite spots, Don't Tell Mama, in Manhattan's theater district, she requested that the owner affix a "plaque" above her habitual seat. "I'm a real party girl," says the star of ANOTHER WORLD. "I love company; I love to see my friends, my girlfriends, my gay friends, my boyfriends - I mean friends who are boys. And I'm very lucky," she says, pausing. "I probably go out far too much."
    Duncan says she grew up in a "party atmosphere" at her parents' hotel in a town called Cooma, which is at the base of the Snowy Mountains, a seven-hour drive from Sydney. "My mother always used to play the piano, and everyone would stand around and sing. They had a hostess who played, but when it was late and just the family, we'd come around the piano and sing."
    Her warm recollections of her childhood give her a measure by which to compare everything else in her life, from relationships to men. Duncan believes that today, "everything is disposable, including people," particularly women. The actress, who is divorced, states with melancholy authority that "women are more disposable than men" because men believe that if they lose one woman, they can always get another. "I also don't think men are as monogamous as women are," she says.
    Yet Duncan is clearly not on anyone's list of disposable goods. The busy socialite claims she never lacks for a boyfriend and remains on good terms with all previous beaux. "I don't actively look [for men]," she says. "I'm never long without a man in my life." The ultrafeminine and deeply tanned Duncan reveals her secret. "I think I'm a giver," she says. "I think I learned that from my parents. I was a selfish little brat early in my life. It was a traumatic change for me, this whole move to New York and being on my own without the people I love most in the world." With so many opportunities to find "the right man," Duncan admits that she doesn't think he's out there.
    "I don't think there's a man alive who's right for me," she says forthrightly. "I'm too fussy. About a lot of things. I think my sister said something interesting to me when I was home. She said that she thought the reason that her marriage failed and my marriage failed was that we had such a brilliant father and mother and that their relationship was so great. My father said to me, 'Oh, well, I'm very lucky. I married the woman of my dreams.' And they've been married over fifty years, and they're still in love. It's very hard to find that sort of a relationship in this day and age, to find someone who can live up to what we had."
    But what about the future? Duncan stands firm about what she doesn't want: "I don't particularly want to grow old without somebody in my life, but I'd rather grow old without somebody in my life than grow old unhappy with somebody."
    In an age of diminished expectations, Duncan has made a concerted effort to make life a success and a party, filling up her time with family, friends, and frequent travel. Then there's the work. Duncan has made a woman out of classic villain Iris Carrington Wheeler, no easy feat for the character, who was originally played by that queen of the daytime dragons, Beverlee McKinsey (ex-Alexandra, GUIDING LIGHT). She recently stepped into a wonderful storyline where Iris's vulnerability gets more airtime than her venom. Iris's care for leukemia patient Tommy Kent (Cory Lee Rogers) has shown her sweeter side. It's also given her a new love interest - Steve Fletcher (ex-Brad, OLTL) who plays Hank, the boy's father and Iris's employee at Cory Publishing.
    Fletcher, according to Duncan, is in the tradition of the AW men that suit her best: intuitive, sensitive, and classy, like Dack Rambo (ex-Grant) and John Aprea (ex-Lucas). "I just think he's great, and he's such a good actor. And seeing that the other gorgeous Piscean, John, is gone, it's lovely that Steve's here. He's such a good craftsman."
    Duncan's own reputation as a consummate craftswoman is well-known on the set. "The major thing about her is that she takes her work very seriously, but not herself," says Linda Dano (Felicia). "If you don't like Carmen or John Aprea, there's something wrong with you."
    Now that she's settled on the show and settled in the U.S., Duncan is looking for some way to volunteer her time in a socially beneficial way. She would like to take the necessary courses to qualify as a caretaker for babies with AIDS. She has already seen the AIDS virus cause her dear friend Dack Rambo to leave AW, and she says, "We can't afford to just stand by and do nothing."
    She also says, quite seriously, that if she weren't too old, she would like to adopt a baby. Duncan already has two grown children: 21-year-old Duncan, a student at the university in Sydney, and a 19-year-old daughter named Amelia, whom Duncan calls "Millie" and "Mils." Millie, a stunner like her mother, is a theater major at the University of Southern California. "My children are so faraway, and I threaten them every time when they're angry and tell me that they're not going to have babies. I tell them I'll go and adopt a child." As much as she loves children, Duncan says she doesn't want grandchildren "just yet." She laughs and says, "I'm quite happy they've got a dog."

Duncan and her daughter,
Amelia. Duncan says she'd
love to adopt another baby.

Duncan and Steve Fletcher
(Hank): "It's lovely that
Steve's here. And he's such
a good craftsman.

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