Ann Gillespie Returns to Her Old Zip Code–90210–and Her Old Habits
The guest appearances keep on coming to TV’s most famous zip code. Ann Gillespie, who played recovering alcoholic Jackie Taylor and mother to Kelly (Jennie Garth) on the original 90210 returns to the spin-off tonight. In the original series, Jackie abused drugs and alcohol, but vowed to clean up her act after meeting Mel Silver, father to David (Brian Austin Green) and having a daughter, known as Silver (Jessica Stroup). But by the looks of things, Jackie is back to her old ways. --Elaine Aradillas
What have you been up to these days?I’m an Episcopal priest in Alexandria, Vir. I’m living a very different life. One of the funny things is are now googling me and finding my ordination service on YouTube. People from all walks of life are communicating. I think it’s wonderful because some of are like, 'Gosh, I live in Alexandria, Vir., and I’m going to come to church this Sunday.' I’m like, ok, whatever it takes to get them in the door.
What was it like working on the original 90210? It was a great gig because it lasted for 10 years. Even though I wasn’t on every show, I was on at least one episode of all 10 years, which was an amazing experience. Both as an actress in my 30s, of course when roles start to disappear and I was continuing to work, but also because I got to be with the same group of over the course of that 10 years.
What’s the difference between Jennie (Garth) then and Jennie now?They’re not all that different. Jennie was always a delight to work with. We always had a wonderful working relationship from the very first episode we worked together. She’s a very gifted actress. Over the course of 10 years, she got to watch me nurse my baby. I was pregnant in real life when they wrote the pregnancy into the storyline, so she was kind of around for that. And then she got married, and she was nursing her baby on the set. We had this lovely connection. I’m very proud of her.
What was it like when you saw her again for this episode?We both screamed and jumped up and down and hugged each other.
How did you feel reprising a character who’s an alcoholic when you’re a priest in real life?I had hoped that Jackie Taylor had a complete conversion and well on the road to health and recovery, but apparently that is not the case. In this particular scene that will be airing Tuesday night, I think the character is worse off than she was at the end of the series. I really had to let go of my own agenda and just give myself over to the character that they wrote.
What was it like working with Jessica Stroup (Silver) on the show?She’s delightful. And also a very good actress. I literally only met her and worked with her in one scene because that’s all I was there for. I wish her well. You know, one of the things about being on the old show was that I got to watch first-hand the effects of fame and attention on those kids. And some handled it better than others. I would really wish for her that she can really hang on to herself through this process.
What do you think about Shannen (Doherty) and Jennie reuniting after all these years?The thing that I am holding on to is both Shannen and Jennie have grown up very well. They’re both professionals and they can put behind them the stupidity, which is really what it boiled down to from years past. I didn’t talk to Jennie about it but she was very obviously willing and happy to work with Shannen again. They’ve grown up. I’m glad for them that they are able to be friends again.
Is there anyone you’d like to see come back on the show?(Laughs) I enjoyed the cast so much. The one person I’d like to see on the show is already on the show and that’s Jennie. Jennie’s character has a son on the show.
Who’s the father?I do not know, but apparently it was from some fling with an old high school friend. So that leaves the door wide open for some kind of fun, a reappearance from somebody, I’m guessing but I don’t know who that would be.
Justin Lubin/The CW