Night Owl Carmen Duncan Loves Life and Men and Babies,
But Not Necessarily in That Order
JUST THE FACTS
Australian. "You can't have dual citizenship in
Don't Tell Mama; Sam's
Anything by Thomas Keneally
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:
One Thing She Doesn't Miss About Australia:
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
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."