October 2017

Miranda Wilson, then known as Cheryl-Ann Wilson, played Megan Hathaway on "Days of Our Lives" from 1984-1985. In her brief time on the show, Megan tried to get in between Bo and Hope; ended up being one of Stefano DiMera's children; and while trying to kill Hope, ended up being killed by Larry Welch instead.

A publicity shot of Miranda as Megan in 1984.

From your IMDB profile, it seems Days was your first-ever role on TV. Had you auditioned for any other roles or guest spots for other series before that?

DAYS was both my first professional role and my first professional audition. 

I had just finished a stage play, "Terra Nova", at the Morgan Wixson Theatre in Santa Monica. The sister of my fellow cast member had seen the show numerous times and she recommended me to her client, the head writer of DOOL, for a role they had tried to cast, many times already. I became that character. Megan Hathaway. Later revealed as Stefano Dimera's Golden Girl. Megan Hathaway Dimera was a brilliant creation by inspired minds. I was more fortunate than I realised, to have played her.

Miranda with Peter Reckell (Bo) in 1984.

What was your casting session like with casting director Doris Sabbagh? Was executive producer Betty Corday involved at all in the auditioning process? Which actor(s) did you screen-test with, if any?

The first meeting was simply me across a desk, reading the scene for her. I never did meet Betty Corday. When I went in to do the screen test, Shelley Curtis was directing Peter Reckell (Bo) and I. The audition scene was compiled from a couple scenes I had with Peter over the first week of Megan's run. Bo and Megan see each other again for the first time in years, and at the end of the scene, she tells him she had his baby, etc. We filmed one take, then Shelley came down to the set, gave a couple notes, spoke to Peter in private, then we filmed the scene again.

This time, at the end of the scene, Bo says to Megan, "do you hate me for not being there for you?" Megan responds, "Hate you? I love you Bo. I've always loved you!" And this second time, Peter grabbed me and gave me a completely unexpected kiss. (Which was lovely!) And then Shelley came dashing in from the control booth and was so happy that I had come in and really liked the way I dealt with the surprise ending, etc.

And a couple days later I got a phone call from Ken Corday, that rocked my world!

Miranda's first day taping at "Days" was June 6, 1984. Here's her first script cover and cast/set list.

Do you remember anything about your first day of work? 

I WAS TERRIFIED!!! And, I was never going to let anyone know that! But I was also swept up in the glamour and excitement and sheer magnitude of it all! 

I remember the dog that Megan had. Marigold. A beautiful Irish wolfhound, I believe. 

I remember the scene when I was getting out of the shower. And then managing to keep from showing the flesh coloured unitard I had on as I wrapped my towel over it. 

I remember smiling til my jaws ached. 

And sounding like I was making pronouncements rather than speaking sentences. 

Most of all, I remember it took weeks to get back to sleeping like a normal person.

Miranda's first day at work, June 6, 1984.

During your time at Days, the show was taping in Hollywood. Have you ever been to the Days studios in Burbank?

I worked at the NBC Burbank lot when I was filming "Santa Barbara". I've not been to the DAYS studios there.

Miranda with Kristian Alfonso in 2015.

What are your memories of working with Kristian Alfonso (Hope), Peter Reckell (Bo) and Tom Hallick (Megan's first dad, Maxwell)?

I worked a great deal with Peter and he was very good to work with. He was thoughtful, kind and always willing to look at different ideas. Tom Hallick was a consummate pro. Kristian and I had an excellent working relationship that really added a lot of spice to the scenes between Hope and Megan. I'd love to work with Kristian again. I think our rapport really lights up the screen!

Andrew Masset (Larry) with Miranda during Megan's death scene in 1985.

You had quite an interesting death on the show. What are your memories of taping your last day? How long before-hand were you told that you would be leaving the show?

I LOVED my death scene! What a great piece of drama! And the final picture of me lying elegantly tipped into the hot tub, is iconic! I could build an entire parody story around that one image!

I "found out" that Megan was going to leave the show, by deduction. About 2 - 3 months before Megan's death, I was reading a script that had Megan speaking specific words about Hope, in a pivotal scene. My gut told me that the end was nigh. Later that week, when I had a chance to speak with [supervising executive producer] Al Rabin, he confirmed my suspicions.

Filming the death scene was a great deal of fun! Andrew Masset (Larry) was always a pleasure to work with. We rehearsed the scene numerous times. Because there was a "stunt" involved, with me slamming against the wall and breaking my neck, we had a choreographer in that day. My dance background aided me in making sure I did the stunt effectively without hurting myself. And all I really had to worry about was making sure my breathing was shallow enough to hide.

After I wrapped for the day, and left the set, my room mate picked me up in a limousine. We drove to the Beverly Hills Hotel where we sat and drank champagne in the Polo Lounge, and had a fantastic time celebrating the end of my first ever professional acting job!

The parking list for Miranda's last day of taping, January 21, 1985, when Hope found Megan in the hot tub.

You won a Soap Opera Digest Award in 1985 for Villainess. Was it bittersweet to win after having been written off the show?

Winning the SOD Award was an amazing delight! It was a complete surprise. I was deeply moved considering the other amazing actresses who were also on the ballot. So, my overriding reaction was excitement. 

I think I was too young to recognise the experience as bittersweet. As I've lived my life, experiencing many, many bittersweet moments, the term has come to hold a profound meaning for me. "Bittersweet" requires an awareness of what one has lost. I was young enough, then, to believe that the next step would simply be a better step. 

Have you kept in touch with any of the cast or crew since leaving Days?

I left DAYS before cell phones, personal computers and email. So, not really. I have since become "friends" with many of my previous cast mates. But, as I've lived abroad for the majority of the last 27 years, I've been as far out of the loop as one can get!

Miranda with Leann Hunley (Anna), Joe Mascolo (Stefano) and Philece Sampler (Renee) at the 50th anniversary party in 2015.

What was it like reuniting with all of the cast at the 50th anniversary party in 2015?

I was contacted in London by the show and I came over without flinching. It was such a pleasure to be at the event. At first, I was a bit overwhelmed by the red carpet and the number of fans and just the scale of it all. But it's like the proverbial riding a bike. It all quickly came back. In addition to meeting up with old DAYS co-stars, I was very happy to also see A Martinez (Eduardo) at the 50th, as he and I had worked together very closely on "Santa Barbara".

Miranda got to share one last kiss with the late Joe Mascolo (Stefano) at the show's 50th anniversary party in 2015.

Did you get to speak with Joe Mascolo (Stefano) after the 50th anniversary party, or was that the last time? What are your favorite memories of Joe?

I was blessed to have had the opportunity to see and speak with Joe, when I was at the party. He was already very frail and we shared just a few moments of memories. That was the last time I saw or spoke to Joe.

Joe had a bad boy streak. He used to make sure the brandy bottle had his favourite tipple in it, so when we toasted on camera, I always had to brace myself! He also had a very calming effect on me. Whenever we had a big scene or I was taking it all too seriously, he would make a joke, assuage my fears and get me seeing things in perspective. He was wonderful.

Fans always enjoy when former cast members return to Days. If asked, would you like to reprise the role of Megan?

I'd love to return to DAYS! I've had fans write to me and suggest ways to bring Megan back. I've dreamed up ideas, myself. I think the time is ripe for a really juicy storyline that incorporates elements of some of the most popular dramas on TV at the moment. Showing strong female characters, who have both age and wisdom, battling to see who wins, light or dark.

OK. Put like that, it sounds like what most stories are about, but, you get my drift, right?

What's it like knowing you've been a part of the longest-running scripted series in NBC history?

Simply amazing! It will forever be my calling card!

There's been quite a lot of changes at Days since you left, especially with the taping schedule. If you do return someday, will it be hard adjusting to the hectic pace and the lightning-speed at which they now tape every scene?

I'm confident with the pace and speed and shooting schedule. The changes have been fairly comprehensive, from what I see. Even on night time it happens that you only have a 30 minute window to shoot all angles of a 4 person scene with 4 pages of dialogue. I'm blessed with an excellent memory and often get a scene down in 1 take.

What else would you like to tell the fans. What do you have coming up?

The most interesting event I have coming up is a film festival in Orlando, Florida. I'm starring in a short film that we shot in London, that is screening on October 23, 2017 at 18:45 (6:45 PM ET). I'll be doing a Q&A afterwards. Anyone can come see the film and I'm happy to do photos and autograph afterwards. This is the link to buy tickets to the screening:

Here are questions submitted by "Days" fans:

Hourglass asks: Which actors did you hang out the most with when you were on Days? Who was most helpful to you when you first joined the show?

[Producer] Shelley Curtis and Peter Reckell were the most helpful to me when I joined the show. Shelley is about the most perfect boss one can hope for. Peter was such a gift to work with. He was very nurturing and a tireless pro. As for hanging out, I usually went home and fell into bed! I think Charles Shaughnessy (Shane), Patsy Pease (Kimberly), [director] Steve Wyman, [director] Herb Stein came to one of my parties. I know I went to one of Charles’.

Brenda asks: Were there any pranksters on Days that made you laugh and force a second take of a scene? 

LOL I don’t remember any intentional pranks that caused us to reshoot a scene. There were loads of accidental goofs, as you all know. There was certainly an air of easy going camaraderie. And seriousness. But, in fairness, I was a little bit outside of the main stream.

Miranda on the March 1985 cover of Soap Opera Magazine.

Hugo asks: While playing Megan, what were your best experiences with fans? 

One "bittersweet" moment with fans was in Oregon. I had just heard that a friend of mine had died from a brain aneurism and everyone was so supportive and compassionate. Generally going out of their way to be there for me, in that difficult time.

Another memorable publicity event was at the Darlington 500. Boy oh boy, do those folks know how to party! 

Frivolity asks: Since Megan was trying to separate one of the popular duos on Days, did you get any backlash from fans in fan mail or in person?

I . . . . don't think so. Not as such. I had some weird fan mail. And I had some interesting encounters, in person. But, well, . . . OK. When fans would send letters saying things like, "Leave Bo alone, he's for Hope!" I would just take all of that in stride. It meant they liked what I was doing with the character, because they were worked up enough to write a letter about it. So, Yay! When a fan asked me, at a mall opening in Omaha, "How come you're so nice in person, when you're so mean on the show?" That also made me feel good about what I was doing! Yay, squared! The only thing that got me a bit worried was when I'd get fan mail from prison convicts telling me that 'I was such a great bitch that I would be their perfect partner. And that they were going to look me up when they got out and make me their bitch.' This would send up a little red flag. Especially when the same person would send more than one of these a week. After a few weeks of that sort of thing, I had to turn these over to the NBC security team to look into it.

Miranda with Joe Mascolo (Stefano), Quinn Redeker (Alex) and Elaine Princi (Linda) in the 1985 "Days" calendar.

Dr. Chip asks: When you joined the show, were you aware that Megan would eventually end up being Stefano's daughter? If not, were you surprised at that twist?

I had no idea about the Dimera connection, at the start.

And, the reveal came as a surprise, as well. I read a script that had me throwing glasses across the room and shouting at my father, Max Hathaway. It was so unusual and out of character, up to that point. When I went upstairs to ask what it was all about, I was given the news. And, although I hadn't seen any of Joe's work on the show, it definitely seemed to me to be a step up in the world!

Drew asks: Have you watched "Days" at all since you left? How would you like to see Megan integrated back onto the show?

I've been living overseas for the majority of the last 27 years, so, no DAYS for me. The big reason I left my acting career back in 1990 was so that I could focus on raising my kids. I wanted to be a stay at home mother. And during that time I devoted myself to studying holistic health, education and emotional intelligence. So, when my kids got to be school age, I worked with a handful of friends to set up a holistic elementary school. And those were my focuses while I was a mother. 

Of course, now that I'm back to being a single woman in the world, I'd love to see Megan return to Salem. A stronger, smarter, wiser Megan. With a bit of Jessica Lange about her, perhaps.

Cassadine asks: Since you left Days in 1985, have you ever been contacted to return?

I've never been contacted to return to DAYS. But, I never say never!