McKenzie Westmore looks back on the 2008 cancellation of NBC’s “Passions” as the start of daytime dramas fading.
Now the host of Syfy’s Wednesday special-effects-makeup competition “Face Off” — in tribute to her legendary family of Hollywood makeup artists — the actress who was the soap world’s Sheridan Crane Lopez-Fitzgerald tells Zap2it, “We started to see the decline, even on ‘Passions,’ as budgets started to get cut and things dissipated. It started toward the end of when we were going off the air, and to see it as it continued was heartbreaking to me.
“I even bounced over to ‘All My Children’ for a little bit, when it was still based in New York. I went over and did about six months there, and it was so sad to me to see them just go down in flames. I started on a soap opera at 20 years old with a three-year contract, then over the course of time, it became nine years total. It was a blessing for me.”
Westmore adds, “There are so many fans who love the genre, and they’re not getting the payoff they deserve. I wish there was a way to revive some of these shows, though I know the Internet isn’t the way. ‘Passions’ was ahead of its time in some ways. There are times when I watch ‘True Blood’ and it’s ‘Passions,’ but with the cable backing so they can go a little farther.”
Devotees of the often offbeat “Passions” still recognize Westmore from her days as Sheridan, but she has a separate public identity now, thanks in no small part to the often-shown “Face Off” promo depicting her getting a major makeup job herself. And she really did sit in the chair for 12 or 13 hours to yield what amounts to 30 seconds or less on-air.
“I’ll go in for coffee one day and one of the girls behind the counter will go, ‘You’re Sheridan Crane!,'” says the daughter of Oscar and Emmy winner Michael Westmore, granddaughter of Monte Westmore and niece of Marvin Westmore … screen makeup veterans all, along with other relatives. “Then I’ll be walking down the street another day and a guy will go, ‘Hey! McKenzie Westmore!’
“It’s so weird for me, because for years, there was no public identity of me. It was always the recognition for playing Sheridan. Now when I get recognized as me, it’s like, ‘Whoa! Wait a minute! You know who I am?’ I’m happy and thankful for it, but it’s definitely been a shift of gears.”