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Soap Opera Digest Nov. 21, 2006

late-breaking news
 
JULIA BARR OFF AMC

Thirty years after making her Pine Valley debut, two-time Daytime Emmy winner Julia Barr (Brooke) has opted to leave AMC when her contract expires in December rather than remain as a recurring player.

"It was gracious of them to offer recurring," Barr says, "but I said, 'It's been a great run and that's the way I would like to end it.' I had pretty much made up my mind (to leave) before that...I would love to have stayed, but you want to leave when you feel like it's time to leave. I have had so much fun on this show and feel so fortunate to have been part of it for 30 years. I have nothing but good feelings about all of it."

The actress had been mulling the decision for several months. "With Jill Larson (Opal) and Tonya Pinkins (Livia) going to recurring this
year, I was pretty sure this was going to be the time to say so long," Barr explains. Being asked to stay off-contract, she points out, "wasn't unexpected. I would have had to be sort of deaf, dumb and blind. It's just a sign of the times; the (budgetary) bottom line is the bottom line and that affects everything.

"Over the past few years; and the past year in particular, I haven't been involved in the show that much," she continues. "It's a natural choice at this point, and I think people understand that, that I'm not being disloyal to the show or to the longtime fans. I'm just
ready to move on. I haven't been a free agent in a long time, so it's an exciting time for me-which doesn't mean I won't miss the cameraderie and the connection, not only to the fans, but to the people I've been working with for all this time."

Barr thinks her fans will embrace her decision. "At a certain point, I think they realized, 'Well, if you're not going to use her, whatever decision she wants to make, it's okay.'" And she appreciates their support. "They have been so vocal, so loyal. Their devotion has sometimes been such a surprise to me, a wonderful surprise. I am going to issue a very special letter to them because they have been
there through thick and thin."

As for what the post-AMC future holes, Barr smiles, "I've had great talks with my agent about potential things on the horizon, but we'll see about that after the new year. For now I'm just laying low, taking it one day at a time.

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