Ilene Kristen Tells All About Being Fired in Favor of a ‘Newer, Younger Delia’
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In Tom Lisanti’s new book, Ryan’s Hope: An Oral History of Daytime’s Groundbreaking Soap, the tumultuous year of 1983 is revisited when Ilene Kristen was fired from her role as Delia. She wasn’t ready to leave the soap at the time, but it seems that someone from ABC Daytime was gunning for her to go — and it wasn’t handled in the most gracious way.
In the publication, Kristen recalled the story of dealing with her thyroid condition and the constant battle with her weight while her doctors tried to find the right dosage of medication. She also shared her side of the real-life drama with Soaps.com, and we have to say that her version of events are downright jaw-dropping. Executive producer Joe Hardy was sent to do the dirty deed of firing Kristen after the show brought on Cali Timmins as Maggie, a character they thought “was going to be the new Delia, the newer, younger Delia.” And that’s when things went south for Kristen!
“Joe liked me and I know he liked me, but he did not do right by me. So he called me up one day and he kind of talked like Truman Capote,” Kristen reminisces about that fateful day. And he said, ‘We’re sending Delia away to San Diego.’ And I said to him, ‘Are you sending her away with two weeks’ severance or six months?’” she says with pride. “There was the longest pause. And he goes, ‘Six months.’ And I went, ‘Bye, Joe.’ And I just hung up the phone.”
Kristen wasn’t stressed out about her departure because she had the opportunity to perform in a comedy show that she had been dying to do — and she had the cushy severance pay to go along with it. But as fans all know, that wasn’t the last they saw of Delia. “Almost three years to the day [of her firing],” Hardy left a message on her voicemail asking her to return to Ryan’s Hope, even though he blamed the entire firing situation on somebody else. Kristen didn’t make it easy on him before she made her decision to come back to the show either — you have to admire her fortitude!