Hear Full (19 minutes) Interview: Michele DeVito with Susan Dansby
Michele DeVito worked as the Assistant to Executive Producer, Christopher Goutman, on As the World Turns. But it wasn’t her first turn in that position. Michele assisted no less than seven soap producers during her career. During this interview in the waning days of As the World Turns (ATWT went off the air 9/17/10), Michele DeVito answers the question: How Did You Get That Job?
Susan Dansby: So, give me a little background. How did you become an Executive Assistant?
Michele DeVito: I had been working in a law office for about six years as a legal secretary. And my daughter, who was in high school at that time – back in 1986 – started to watch General Hospital. And she had a crush on Jack Wagner.
She asked me if I could go to this luncheon of the Daytime Emmys. And back in those days, there were no prime-time Daytime Emmys. [The awards show was] in the afternoon. And I said, “Okay, I’ll go.”
Anyway, I was so amazed at these people, and the fans. And we sat at a table. And, you know, you get to talking to people. And I said, “Gee, I would love to work in this genre. Looks like a lot of fun.”
So, while I was at the table, one girl – I don’t even remember her name – said to me, “I heard that there’s an opening at this soap opera called, Another World.” And I said, “I know, my parents watch it.” I used to watch it. When I was raising my children, I watched two soaps: Days of Our Lives and Another World.
And I said, “Wow, should I try for this?” You don’t think anything’s going to come through. And she took my phone number, and I took hers. And she called me about three days later, and she gave me the name of someone to call. And it was Linda Laundra, who was a producer at that time.
So I called Linda. And she said, “Why don’t you come in, and we’ll talk?”
I went in to this interview – which I didn’t even realize was an interview – and I spoke to John Whitesell, who was the executive producer at that time. And there was someone from – TeleNext Media at that time was called B&B (Benton and Bowles).
They gave me a typing test on a standard typewriter. There were no computers at that time. And, luckily, if anything, I was a fast typist. So I passed that with flying colors.
And right there, they interviewed me. There were about four people. You know, people from the company. And they spoke to me, and asked me questions.
He said, “Do you have a resume?” I mean, in my life, I never had a resume. I still don’t have a resume! And I was sitting right here in the lobby of this building. It was right where we tape the show. [JC Studios, Brooklyn, NY] It was the NBC Building at that time.
And I’m looking at all these girls, dressed, with attaché cases, all applying for this job. And I said, “Oh, this is a joke.” And he was asking me questions, and I was honest. I just said, “I raised my children, and then we bought a house that was a little too much to carry for my husband and I.” So [my husband] said, “Is there any way you can go to work?” I said, “Oh, yeah.” That’s when I went to the law office.
But I wasn’t happy there. It was just so dull. It was just a father, and his son who was starting to become a lawyer, and that was it. And me. I was stuck in this office with three people. It was so boring.
Anyway, they called me up. And they said, “You got the job.”
I was so surprised. I didn’t know what to do!