At that she has succeeded. An enormously uncomplicated woman, Hunley inspires a unanimity of praise among her peers. "She has an open, vulnerable quality that no one else has on the show," Thomson says of the actress, who debuted on Dynasty last month. Agrees Thaao Penghlis, who played her lover on Days of Our Lives: "She has absolutely no negativity. She has an innocence that hasn't been tampered with. Once we had a bedroom scene and I tricked her into thinking I had no drawers on. I jumped on top of her and she screamed and screamed. Leann is very shy."
Hunley's husband, Bill Sheridan, proves that opposites attract. A gregarious real estate investor, it's Sheridan, 38, who supplies the verve in the six-year marriage. "I'm an impatient guy in some ways," he says. "I tend to jump over turnstiles if a line isn't moving."
By contrast, Hunley has always been content to drift along. Born in Forks, Wash., the youngest of four children, Leann has been a part-time secretary, an answering-service operator and a college dropout (she left the University of Washington in Seattle during her junior year when she couldn't find a major that engaged her interest). Moving to Oahu in 1977, she entered the Miss Hawaii contest. Although she came in as only second runner-up, she won a chance to read for Hawaii Five-0. "I just fell into acting," she says of her successful audition. "They must not have very many people to choose from in Hawaii." Two brief appearances on Hawaii Five-0 led to small roles on other shows, then to a recurring part on The Misadventures of Sheriff Lobo (from 1979 to 1980) and to Days of Our Lives in 1982.
After playing Anna Brady DiMeara, a hussy with a sordid past, Hunley left Days earlier this year in one of TV's more unusual contract negotiations. While most actors demand more money and time, Hunley pressed for less work. "All I ever wanted to do was come home and sleep," she says. The show balked, and she walked in June. A month later, ironically, Hunley won the Daytime Emmy as Best Supporting Actress, and a month after that she was signed by Dynasty.
Success, however, hasn't created any great career goals. If she doesn't last as an actress, Hunley concedes, "I'll work at something else in a flash, though I'm not sure what it would be. I could go back to being a secretary. I wouldn't mind that too much."
You'd like to say that Leann Hunley won one of the TV season's plum roles—as Gordon (Adam Carrington) Thomson's new lust interest on Dynasty—through relentless drive and dedication. In point of fact she didn't. In point of fact Hunley, a four-year veteran of Days of Our Lives, has almost no ambition at all. "I never aspired to be anything, really," says the 31-year-old green-eyed blonde. "It never occurred to me to be an actress or think about any type of career. In school I just wanted to be a good student and have everybody like me."