Interviews

Soap Alum Bobbie Eakes Talks George & Tammy, and Leslie Jordan

Bobbie Eakes appears in Showtime biopic George & Tammy.

Bobbie Eakes on George and Tammy

Supercouples aren’t just for soap operas; they exist in country music too! Bobbie Eakes, beloved as Macy Alexander Forrester on Bold and the Beautiful and Krystal Carey on All My Children, recently chatted with Soap Hub about her role as Nan Smith in the Showtime series George & Tammy, which tells the story of country music superstars George Jones and Tammy Wynette.

When Bobbie Eakes Met Tammy Wynette

Wynette is known for more than hit songs like ‘Stand By Your Man.’ She appeared as hair stylist-turned-singer Darlene Stankowski on Captiol, the CBS soap that left the airwaves in 1987 to make way for, ironically, B&B. “I met Tammy because of B&B,” Eakes shares. “I was a huge fan of hers. Someone in the [B&B] publicity department let me know Tammy was playing at Knott’s Berry Farm and I went to the show and was invited to her trailer.”

If you thought that Eakes, who sang on both B&B and on All My Children, chatted about country music with Wynette, you’d be wrong. “I was a big fan of Tammy’s and had covered some of her songs,” Eakes says. “But she wanted to talk about acting and soap operas. I was thrilled to meet her. She was lovely and gracious.”

Singing Sensations

Abe Sylvia (‘The Eyes of Tammy Faye’), who created, executive produced, and directed George & Tammy, based on Georgette Jones’s (George and Tammy’s daughter) book, met Eakes at a wardrobe fitting after she’d been cast. “Abe said to me that he watched my tape and thought that I really understood the character,” Eakes shares. “That was the highest compliment.”

Eakes plays the role of Nan Smith, one of George and Tammy’s hairdressers. Katy Mixon (American Housewife) plays Nan’s sister Jan. “Nan and Jan are real people and they were like family to George and Tammy,” Eakes says. “They did their hair and makeup and traveled everywhere with them.”

Wynette and Jones’s marriage ended in 1975 but the couple got back together professionally. “Some of their biggest duets were put out after they divorced,” Eakes says. Wynette passed away in 1998 at the age of 55 from a blood clot; Jones died in 2013 at the age of 81 from hypoxic respiratory failure.

Actors Jessica Chastain and Michael Shannon do all their own singing in George & Tammy. “I thought she was brilliant in The Eyes of Tammy Faye but Tammy [Wynette]’s voice is more nuanced,” Eakes offers. “Jessica and Michael sing everything live and they do 30 numbers in the series.”

Bobbie Eakes Recalls Leslie Jordan

During filming, Eakes passed along to Chastain a hello and a quip from a dear mutual friend, Leslie Jordan (Will & Grace), who died in October. (Eakes and Jordan worked together in the movie Southern Baptist Sissies; Chastain and Jordan were in the film The Help.) “Leslie and I talked soon after I got the role in George and Tammy and he asked me to tell Jessica hello and also for her to ‘please stop stealing all his roles!'” chuckles Eakes. She adds that the talented Jordan had the ability to make you “both laugh and cry.”

Eakes is set to travel to Amsterdam next year to record a duet with Dutch singer Jeffrey Schenk. “It’s going to be a whirlwind trip,” she says, “but we’ve got a lot to do!”

George & Tammy streams new episodes Fridays on Showtime.

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