Thu. Jan 23rd, 2020

EXCLUSIVE: Carrie Mitchum Speaks About Her Memories Of Portraying Donna Logan On ‘B&B,’ Her Family And Career Journey, By: Steven Brittingham

She has lived in other countries. She was there during the early years of Bill Bell’s masterpiece, “The Bold and the Beautiful” which would go on to international success (and still airs today). Her grandfather, Robert Mitchum, made cinema history. Despite her love of acting, her true passion is for cooking. This talented woman who once portrayed Donna Logan on “The Bold and the Beautiful” can now be found creating magic in the kitchen as a chef. Join me as I interview Carrie Mitchum.  

Steven: Thank you, Carrie, for joining me today. I have been looking forward to this interview very much. You are from Los Angeles and were born into a family full of actors. How many generations has your family been in California?
Carrie: I am a fifth generation Californian on my mother’s side, second on my father’s.
Steven: At a young age your family moved from Los Angeles to Spain. Was this primarily due to the fact that your father, Chris Mitchum, had acting opportunities overseas?
Carrie Yes. My dad did a film with Olivia Hussey and Karl Malden called “Summertime Killer” over in Spain. My parents liked it, so we stayed.
Steven: What was it like living in Spain and experiencing Asia in the process?
Carrie: I loved it. Getting to experience so many diverse cultures at a young age was an amazing perspective to grow from!
Steven : What type of films was your father appearing in during those years abroad?
Carrie: Bad ones. Like “D” list Kung Fu films.
Steven: Experiencing all sorts of different cultures and traditions from other countries must have been fascinating. You witnessed first hand different approaches towards daily living. This also included food and meal preparations, which must have been full of variety. You must have been exposed to some amazing meals, as well as some rather unique foods. All of that must have influenced you in so many ways. You are now a chef. What impact do all of those experiences have on you as a chef today?
Carrie: It formed who I am as a person and as a chef. While I definitely have influences I prefer above others, I love blending multi-cultures in my dishes.
Steven: Cooking has been a big part of your life for many years. It seems it has brought you enormous joy. Was there someone in particular who influenced you on the joys of cooking during your childhood?
Carrie: My maternal grandmother was a fabulous cook. She was also the one who got the family together for holidays, etc. I loved the feeling of love and home in addition to the food!
Steven: Where did you train to become a chef? What kind of commitment does it require for a person to become a truly skilled chef and be able to handle all of the responsibilities that go along with it?
Carrie: I trained in Italy and France then finished my academics at Le Cordon Bleu in LA. I loved culinary school, but I think that the most useful part of my education came from working in the field! It isn’t a job you can do half-assed. It requires a tremendous amount of dedication, both physically and mentally. You have to commit.
Steven: Your grandfather is Hollywood legend Robert Mitchum. He was a part of the Golden Age of Hollywood. His impact on cinema is phenomenal. Gregory Peck, Deborah Kerr, John Wayne and Marilyn Monroe, all worked with your grandfather. The list of talented people that he worked with goes on and on. He had strong screen presence, with a deep but endearing voice, and he often displayed an indifference with various characters he portrayed on the big screen. When did you first start to realize that your grandfather was not only a big star, but one of the best actors working in Hollywood?
Carrie: I don’t think I ever thought about it. He was always just my grandfather.
Steven: Many may be unaware that your grandfather was also a singer. Was singing something he enjoyed when he had the chance to do so?
Carrie: Not that I noticed. I know he sang, but not so much around the house.
Steven: When did the Mitchum acting bug catch you? When did you decide that acting was something you wanted to experience?
Carrie: I always liked the nomadic gypsy life of being an actor, and it seemed like a natural thing to do. I ended up not liking the business so much.
Steven: Did you ever seek out acting advice from your grandfather?
Carrie: My grandfather told me to remember my lines and not trip over the cables.
Steven: On March 23, 1987, CBS premiered “The Bold and the Beautiful” created by William J. Bell and his wife Lee Phillip Bell. Expectations were high considering the Bell family was also the creative force behind the wildly popular “The Young and the Restless” which was also from CBS. Two families were at the forefront of “The Bold and the Beautiful” when it first arrived on television. There was the wealthy fashion dynasty of the Forrester family, running Forrester Creations, which to this day still remains an integral part of the show. Then there was the other clan, a close-knit middle class family that placed integrity and family values high on their list of priorities. They were the Logan family. They did not have the financial means of the Forresters, but they found wealth within their own strong family unit. As Donna Logan, you were about to go on a lot of adventures. When did the opportunity to land this key role present itself to you?
Carrie: My manager called me with the audition and I went. Got called back, tested and got the role. It wasn’t a long, drawn out process.
Steven: What was it like meeting William J. Bell and Lee Phillip Bell for the first time?
Carrie: When I met Lee and Bill, I had never seen a soap opera before in my life and I didn’t have much respect for the medium. I looked at doing a soap as an opportunity to get paid to perfect my craft. Shortly after starting the show Brad Bell and I became a couple. I lived with the Bell family for nearly two years. It was then that I saw how much work Lee and Bill, specifically Bill, put into the shows. He breathed, ate, drank, lived those shows. It was very impressive!
Steven: Do you feel that some of the cast members felt any pressure during those early years to find a way to match the success of “The Young and the Restless”?
Carrie: No. The Y&R cast were all really friendly and welcoming. Also, B&B took off internationally in a way Y&R never did so we each had our own accomplishments.
Steven: Katherine Kelly Lang, Nancy Burnett, Robert Pine, Nancy Sloan, Lesley Woods and Ethan Wayne made up the Logan family. What was it like to work with all of these talented individuals who portrayed your on-screen family?
Carrie: I loved it. We had a lot of fun and I am still in touch with Kelly and Ethan.
Steven: Actor Ethan Wayne, who played Donna’s older brother Storm, is the son of John Wayne. Had you ever met Ethan before appearing on the show together?
Carrie: Yes! Ethan played ‘Little Jake’ in a film my dad did with John Wayne when we were little. We all were down in Durango, Mexico for a while. It was fun!
Steven: You had numerous, memorable moments as Donna Logan. She found herself in a lot of interesting situations too. When you look back on your time on “The Bold and the Beautiful,” what do you like most about the overall experience?
Carrie: The camaraderie with the other cast members. It was a fun bunch!
Steven: The amazing talents that are Katherine Kelly Lang and John McCook, are both still on the show to this very day. What was it like working with Katherine and John?
Carrie: I didn’t have many scenes with John, but both he and Kelly were a lot of fun to work with. Very funny people!
Steven: What was it like working with Jim Storm? He often had a very intense screen presence.
Carrie: I loved working with Jim. He was a hippie and would play guitar – a lot of fun! Robert Pine (Stephen Logan) was great too. It cracks me up that his son Chris is an actor now. How fast the kids grow!
Steven: You had a lot of scenes with Bryan Genesse. What was it like working with Bryan?
Carrie: Working with Bryan was never dull. What a fun guy! 
Steven: Did you ever wish for Donna to go in different storyline directions? Or were you satisfied with the outcome?
Carrie: I think it would have been fun as an actress to go in some different directions, but when it was time to leave the show, I was ready to hang up her hat.
Steven: Actors often form deep bonds with fellow performers, especially when working together for so many years. Was leaving “The Bold and the Beautiful” something you struggled with, or were you ready for new challenges ahead?
Carrie: I was ready to leave. A few weeks after my last show, I got the lead in a Fox MOW (Movie Of The Week) and it was so refreshing to play someone new!
Steven: Speaking of long-term acting projects, your grandfather was the leading actor in ABC’s epic miniseries “The Winds of War” and later the sequel “War and Remembrance” based on the best-selling books by Herman Wouk. His performance as naval captain Victor “PUG” Henry was unforgettable, like the overall production itself. It took years and years to complete both projects and with the huge production costs at the time, this dramatic World War II television event still remains one of the most powerful presentations of a world grasped in war. How did Robert Mitchum handle such a long filming experience?
Carrie: He took everything in stride. A week, a month, a year. He did his job.
Steven: You finally got the chance to work with your grandfather in “James Dean: Race with Destiny.” This must have meant so much to you personally. What do you remember most from working with him?
Carrie: Hanging out on the set was fun – and we had a lot of visitors when he was there!
Steven:  When you think about all of the accomplishments that your grandfather achieved as an actor in the early years of Hollywood and beyond, you must be extremely proud of him. What do you feel Robert Mitchum would have to say about the state of Hollywood today?
Carrie: I don’t think he would be very impressed.
Steven: When did you decide that your passion for fine cooking could no longer be denied? Was it difficult to leave acting behind?
Carrie: Leaving acting was easy. I have always loved cooking, so the transition was easy. What takes getting used to, is how much work being a chef is.
Steven: What are you most passionate about when it comes to food preparations?
Carrie: The quality of the ingredients. “You can’t make a silk purse out of a pigs ear,” my grandmother used to say. Same goes for food. The finished product is only as good as it’s parts!
Steven: Do you find it exciting to prepare dishes that pair well with wines? What are some inspirations when you go about creating new dishes?
Carrie: I usually dream about dishes and then create them.
Steven: Being a chef requires being able to juggle many responsibilities, often all at once. As a chef, how important is it to form a good relationship with the front of the house staff?
Carrie: Well, clearly, any situation works better if everyone gets along. Communication is the most important. Sometimes, leaving personalities at the door and focusing on the professional relationship is what works best!
Steven: What do you enjoy doing for fun when you aren’t working or have some extra time to spare?
Carrie: In my spare time I cook! Or take my dogs to the beach. I may be a somewhat complicated person but I lead a pretty simple life.
Steven: As if acting and being an Executive Chef was not impressive enough, you are also a mom – the best role and job ever. Have any of your children shown an interest in cooking or acting?
Carrie: My son, Casper, and my daughter, Grace, both act. Although I think Casper may decide to use his middle name, Robert, and my last name rather than his father’s and going with Robbie Mitchum. My youngest, Wyatt, wants to be a chef!
Steven: Carrie, it has been so exciting learning more about you and your life. I thank you so much. One final question. What do you hope most for in 2016?
Carrie: Peace and happiness. Or, at least, calm!
Walking slowly beside her dogs over the warm sand, the beach looked extra inviting this evening to Carrie Mitchum. Ocean waves greeted the beach with the music of the ocean itself. Birds flew high above these waves, as a gentle breeze greeted her face in the most pleasant of ways. As the dogs moved slightly ahead of her, Carrie noticed the setting sun; a beautiful sight to see. Carrie was not entirely certain where life would take her next, but she did know that she was always going to stay true to her own heart. No matter how complicated things might get, she was always going to try to keep things in perspective – by keeping it simple.
Written By: Steven Brittingham, Contributing Editor; Steven Brittingham is an actor, writer residing in Cincinnati, Ohio. Steven has one son Jacob. He was raised and adopted by his grandparents. He is currently writing ‘Memories Left Behind’, which is based on his own true life experiences of being adopted, life as an actor in Hollywood and the journey of saying goodbye to his grandmother during her final days.
Photographs are Courtesy:  B&B Cast Photo by CBS; Carrie Mitchum’s Private Collection
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