Thursday, August 20, 2015

'The Doctors' Recasts Althea with Virginia Vestoff, 46 Years Ago!

Virginia Vestoff as Dr. Althea Davis on The Doctors.
There's little on TV that brings me more enjoyment than the two half-hour episodes of classic daytime soap opera The Doctors that air on Retro TV each weekday. It is current October 1969 at Hope Memorial Hospital, and we already know what is going to happen over the next 13 years until the show ended on December 31, 1982. So why was I so upset when the announcer started Wednesday's second episode with, "The part of Althea Davis is being played by Virginia Vestoff"?

I knew it was coming, but this recast was quite jarring nonetheless. I didn't realize how dramatically different Vestoff looked compared to her predecessor, Elizabeth Hubbard, one of the best actors to ever appear in a daytime drama. This is going to take some getting used to!

Hubbard returns to the role of Althea in a year, or six months if Retro TV's two-episodes-a-day schedule remains in tact. It can't come soon enough for me.

Earlier in 1969, Vestoff received a Tony nomination for creating the role of Abigail Adams, wife of John Adams, in the popular musical ''1776'' on Broadway. Sadly, Vestoff passed away in 1982 at only 42 years of age after a battle with cancer.

Serial Scoop Now spoke with Hubbard about The Doctors and more at the October 2014 premiere of Weight the series.

"Martha [Byrne] sent me a link, and I saw a scene with me and Nick Bellini (played by Gerald Gordon) and Bethel Leslie (who played Maggie Powers)," Hubbard told us, then added with a laugh, "and I thought we looked pretty good, we looked pretty normal, like real people who might like each other."

Watch Elizabeth Hubbard's final 1969 episode (October 17, 1969):


Watch Virginia Vestoff's debut (October 20, 1969):

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