Melrose Place.. What really happened
Updated: Jan 26
My biggest break and biggest bomb all in one show.
Imagine you're a football player in High School, and you score a touchdown. And everyone thinks your the coolest person in the school. And then, the next game comes, and you fumble the ball; and your no longer the coolest person in school. Now take the same experience and magnify it by a million.
That's exactly what it was like. Usually, a pilot is a test show. Because Melrose Place was a spin-off of 90210, which had enormous success, it was a direct to series 13 episode order. After a normal pilot is filmed, the executives watch the test show and see who fits in, who stands out, and changes that should be made.
Thereafter, they decide what works and what doesn't and they replace people before the show even hits the air. Although people who work in the industry are aware of the who has been replaced, the public at large does not know about the embarrassment of their "football fumble."
I read Twitter accounts about an actor being replaced in a pilot that was never on air. Usually they're furious, speaking out on how "shamed" they feel. Imagine if your pilot or show was on air for 13 episodes and then you were replaced and the entire world was aware of it. It was one of the most surreal experiences of my life. It was terrible and truly traumatizing.
First of all, in retrospect, I was miscast as I was just 20 years old and too young for the role of Sandy on that show. The rest of the cast was in their mid to late 20's and blended well together. I got along very well with Grant Show and we had wonderful chemistry, but I guess that wasn't enough.
After being replaced? I was so young when the replacing of my character occurred, that I had no idea of what the ramifications of losing that show would be. I would go on press junkets and discuss other films that I was making and the reporters would say, "Do you regret not being on Melrose Place now that it's such a big hit?" I turned crimson. Or, this one is even better....I would go on auditions. I knew my career was in trouble, so I would try and be as prepared as possible, walk in the audition room, and a producer would ask, So, What happened on Melrose Place? I was absolutely unprepared for any of that fallout. And I didn't know how to deal with it. Instead of embracing the elephant in the room, I rebelled against the room that held the elephant. Needless to say, I didn't nail those auditions. As a matter of fact, any mistakes I made after the public replacing of me on Melrose Place hammered the nails in my career coffin.
So, why did I write this? I'm not hoping people will have sympathy for me or my doomed career. The real reason I'm writing this is for my fans. I know this all happened 20 some years ago and we've all moved on, but recently I've gone to places and people will know my history....and my fans will tell me how much they loved Sandy and how disappointed they were when she was gone . They deserve to know the truth. And I can't go into all of this in a two minute meeting...so, partly my fault, partly the universe's, the world keeps on spinning, and thanks to repeats, Sandy Louise Harling will always have a fan base. So, for all of you head scratchers, I hope this gives you clarity