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April 17, 2014

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The Stories Behind 'The Stories': Debbi Morgan's 'Extraordinary, Heartfelt Journey'

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On ABC's long-running daytime drama, 'All My Children,' the producers and creative teams have stayed true in projecting the many dimensions to African American life via the trials and tribulations of two of the most focal characters in the history of daytime television; Jesse Hubbard and Angie Baxter Hubbard.

Since 1982, the two characters – portrayed by Darnell Williams and Debbi Morgan –have become a soap opera super couple. In 2008, after a long separation (which involved the typical soap fare of people coming back from the dead), Jesse and Angie had a much anticipated and long awaited reunion. And their love is stronger than ever.

Morgan, a native of Dunn, North Carolina who was reared in Harlem, New York, has had an illustrious career beyond 'All My Children.' Though she has credits dating back all the way to 1971 in movies such as 1975's 'Mandingo' and on TV shows such as 'What's Happening,' 'The Love Boat' and 'Good Times,' Morgan says her big break came with the miniseries 'Roots: The Next Generation' in 1979.

"I got to age from 18 to 83 and played alongside Henry Fonda and Olivia de Havilland and I was just starting out," she told BV Newswire during a recent interview. "That was my first major experience and to be amongst all those people I was just walking around in awe everyday."

The Daytime Emmy Award winning thespian holds the distinction of being the first actor to portray the same character as a regular cast member on three different soap operas ('All My Children,' 'Loving' and 'The City'). Proving to be a powerhouse in daytime dramas, she also starred in two other soap operas: 'Generations' and 'Port Charles'

And then there are the movies.

'Eve's Bayou,' 'The Hurricane,' 'Love & Basketball' and 'Woman Thou Art Loosed' are just a handful of projects have kept Morgan and her acting chops in the mix during breaks from the daytime dramas. And according to Morgan, she wouldn't have it any other way.

"I absolutely love what I do. I've been doing this since I was sixteen years old, and I still feel very passionate about it," she beamed.

"I look at people who do 9-to-5 jobs and the first thing you hear them say is, 'Oh God, it's Monday, I gotta get through another damn work week.' But as an actor, we're going crazy when we don't have a job. We get paid doing something we enjoy and love. It's so exciting."

The three-time NAACP Image Award winner said her love for acting is what kept her in it for so long.

On the flip side of all of her on-camera drama (Angie Hubbard, who is now a physician at Pine Valley Hospital is secretly losing her vision), Morgan is passionate about other projects; her forthcoming memoir, aptly titled 'My Ass Turned 50 And I Lost My Mind,' and a documentary about close, family friends who are the parents of two Autistic sons, aged 20 and 21. "The mother is a nurse and I met her by going to the doctor," she revealed. "And her sons are Brad and Kenny. The story about them is absolutely incredible ... They're coming of age now and they're thinking about women. And just to see how they deal with it and the things that come up is just so interesting."

And just as she is well versed in daytime drama, Morgan is well versed in the laws of love. She's weathered the storm with three failed marriages and is now on her fourth (to Jeffrey Winston).

And there is no shame in her game.

"I had members of my family say to me, 'My God, what do you want to be like? Elizabeth Taylor [and] keep getting married?' But the thing is, I don't see anything wrong with the institution of marriage," Morgan attested.

"I love being married. Let me tell you something if you got the wrong man and he ain't acting right, he's cheating and he's doing all this stuff, I'm outta there. Why would I stay?"

One place she's staying is on 'All My Children,' where she continues to relish in all things Angie Hubbard.

"She has an amazing story and the thing that's so amazing about it is the significant challenge [is] going to present to her as it challenges her," Morgan said. "Ultimately it's a triumphant story about her spirit that she has. And more than that, it's a wonderful challenge for me as an actress to play ... an extraordinary, heartfelt journey."





Mel B Pictures

    In this photo provided by Kraft Foods, Spice Girl "Mel B" poses for a photo wearing a T-shirt she designed based on the classic pink ribbon used for breast cancer awareness, after a fashion show and launch of "Pose for the Cure" web site to help Kraft Foods raise money for the 'Susan G. Komen for the Cure' fight against breast cancer in New York, Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2008. The shirt is for sale on the web site and the net proceeds will benefit the foundation. (AP Photo/Kraft Foods, Ray Stubblebine) **NO SALES**

    AP

    In this photo provided by Kraft Foods, Spice Girl "Mel B" poses for a photo wearing a T-shirt she designed based on the classic pink ribbon used for breast cancer awareness, after a fashion show and launch of "Pose for the Cure" web site to help Kraft Foods raise money for the 'Susan G. Komen for the Cure' fight against breast cancer in New York, Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2008. The shirt is for sale on the web site and the net proceeds will benefit the foundation. (AP Photo/Kraft Foods, Ray Stubblebine) **NO SALES**

    AP

    In this undated image released by Oxfam Tuesday Sept. 23, 2008, British singer Mel B participates in the 'In My Name' global campaign calling for action against poverty and demanding world leaders keep their promises on millennium development goals. (AP Photo/Oxfam, HO) ** NO SALES **

    AP

    In this photo provided by Kraft Foods, Spice Girl Mel B, left, serves as the emcee at a fashion show and launch of "Pose for the Cure" web site to help Kraft Foods raise money for the 'Susan G. Komen for the Cure' fight against breast cancer in New York, Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2008. Mel B wears a T-shirt she designed based on the classic pink ribbon used for breast cancer awareness. The shirt is for sale on the web site and the net proceeds will benefit the foundation. The woman at right is unidentified. (AP Photo/Kraft Foods, Ray Stubblebine) **NO SALES**

    AP

    NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 09: TV personality and designer Khloe Kardashian and Olympic-level swimmer and model Amanda Beard (R) pose backstage at the Mel B With Ultimo Spring 2009 fashion show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week at the Metropolitan Pavilion on September 9, 2008 in New York City. (Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images )

    Getty Images

    NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 09: Ultimo Scottish designer lingerie brand founder Michelle Mone (L) and pop singer Melanie Brown pose backstage at the Mel B With Ultimo Spring 2009 fashion show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week at the Metropolitan Pavilion on September 9, 2008 in New York City. (Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images )

    Getty Images

    NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 09: Pop singer Melanie Brown poses backstage at the Mel B With Ultimo Spring 2009 fashion show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week at the Metropolitan Pavilion on September 9, 2008 in New York City. (Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images )

    Getty Images

    NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 09: Pop singer Melanie Brown and Olympic-level swimmer and model Amanda Beard (R) pose backstage at the Mel B With Ultimo Spring 2009 fashion show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week at the Metropolitan Pavilion on September 9, 2008 in New York City. (Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images )

    Getty Images

    NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 09: Pop singer Melanie Brown and singer Aubrey O'Day (R) poses backstage at the Mel B With Ultimo Spring 2009 fashion show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week at the Metropolitan Pavilion on September 9, 2008 in New York City. (Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images )

    Getty Images

    NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 09: Pop singer Melanie Brown, Olympic-level swimmer and model Amanda Beard, singer Aubrey O'Day and TV personality and designer Khloe Kardashian pose backstage at the Mel B With Ultimo Spring 2009 fashion show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week at the Metropolitan Pavilion on September 9, 2008 in New York City. (Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images )

    Getty Images

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