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View Full Version : Elayne Heilveil or Meredith Baxter-Birney?


catlover79
04-20-2007, 11:10 PM
I just started to watch my Family DVD set again. Watching the first few episodes with Elayne Heilveil, Nancy was a doormat: mousy and totally stepped on by her rich-boy husband Jeff. Yet this Nancy had a sweet, innocent quality that made you want to protect her. Had TPTB kept Ms. Heilveil in the role, would Nancy still have evolved into the often thoughtless sexpot that MBB played?

Likewise, I wonder how MBB would've played Nancy if she'd been in the role from the beginning. Would Nancy have still been Minnie Milquetoast throughout the entire series run or would've she always been Blonde Barracuda?? So many questions.

Cheryl Ladd was the original choice to play Nancy when Elayne Heilveil left the series, until Aaron Spelling decided at the 11th hour to go with MBB because she had more acting experience. It would've been interesting to see how Ms. Ladd would've played the role. Alas, Aaron Spelling offered her a role on Charlie's Angels when Farrah Fawcett left, and the rest is history.

Finally, whatever happened to Elayne Heilveil? The only other role I saw her in was as a less-than-helpful salesgirl in a 1973 Mary Tyler Moore episode. So many questions, indeed!! :lol:

Sophie Treadmill
07-20-2007, 10:07 AM
I preferred Meredith Baxter-Birney in the role. Heilveil just didn't seem to have the acting chops to play the character. She seemed sweet, but one-dimensional, IMO. Although Baxter-Birney didn't resemble anyone in the family, her acting was far superior (again, IMO), so I preferred her. After having watched the DVD's, the show didn't really pick up until Baxter-Birney entered the picture.

According to IMDB, the last thing Heilveil did was a couple of episodes of the critically acclaimed Beauty and the Beast, which was on from 1989 to 1990.

catlover79
08-29-2008, 10:00 PM
I would love to see what Elayne Heilveil looks like today. It's a shame that she was never given much to do after the pilot episode. I think Nancy was only in about 3 more episodes before the role was recast.

catlover79
05-09-2009, 07:10 PM
Here is each Nancy with the rest of the "Family":

catlover79
07-23-2009, 08:35 AM
I found Elayne Heilveil on Facebook. I requested her as a friend and hopefully will hear back soon!! :D

APPLEI
09-18-2009, 08:24 PM
I preferred Meredith Baxter-Birney in the role. Heilveil just didn't seem to have the acting chops to play the character. She seemed sweet, but one-dimensional, IMO. Although Baxter-Birney didn't resemble anyone in the family, her acting was far superior (again, IMO), so I preferred her. After having watched the DVD's, the show didn't really pick up until Baxter-Birney entered the picture.

According to IMDB, the last thing Heilveil did was a couple of episodes of the critically acclaimed Beauty and the Beast, which was on from 1989 to 1990.

Elayne Heilveil was also in an episode of The Waltons
Season 3 episode "THE JOB" playing a bitter blind woman that john-boy helps

catlover79
09-18-2009, 09:58 PM
Elayne Heilveil was also in an episode of The Waltons
Season 3 episode "THE JOB" playing a bitter blind woman that john-boy helps
I never knew that - I'll have to check that out. Thanks!! :cool:

Elayne's Friend
11-10-2010, 05:59 AM
Hi there catlover79, Sophie T, & APPLEI. I know what Elayne Heilveil looks like now, because I'm a close friend of hers. If you'd like to know anything about her life now, just let me know. Maybe I could even talk her into contacting you personally.

catlover79
11-10-2010, 06:50 PM
Hi there catlover79, Sophie T, & APPLEI. I know what Elayne Heilveil looks like now, because I'm a close friend of hers. If you'd like to know anything about her life now, just let me know. Maybe I could even talk her into contacting you personally.

Cool!! :D Please tell her I said hello and hope she is doing well. :cool:

Elayne's Friend
11-17-2010, 09:34 AM
I told Elayne about you and she said to say hi back to you. She is doing fine right now, and hopes you are too. You may want to know that she is also a cat lover (as am I) and has a beautiful calico named Mischa (Mee-Sha).

catlover79
11-17-2010, 08:24 PM
Awesome!! I also enjoyed her guest spot as a bored salesgirl on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. I found a fairly recent pic of her, dated 2006:

catlover79
11-17-2010, 08:28 PM
Here are some other pics I found from back in the day:

Hallishka
09-02-2011, 04:46 AM
Hi All,

Just found this blog and wanted to say I've been a fan of Elayne Heilveil's since her first role in a film called Payday. She starred opposite Rip Torn and played a southern groupie. I loved her in the part and couldn't believe she was a New York actress who did many theatre rolls. My brother also loved her in "Birds of Prey" a TV movie she starred in with David Janssen. She also starred in many other TV movies, and guest starred in many episodic shows. I recently goggled her and found that she's an award winning playwright!! How cool is that?

Best to all,
Hallishka

I just started to watch my Family DVD set again. Watching the first few episodes with Elayne Heilveil, Nancy was a doormat: mousy and totally stepped on by her rich-boy husband Jeff. Yet this Nancy had a sweet, innocent quality that made you want to protect her. Had TPTB kept Ms. Heilveil in the role, would Nancy still have evolved into the often thoughtless sexpot that MBB played?

Likewise, I wonder how MBB would've played Nancy if she'd been in the role from the beginning. Would Nancy have still been Minnie Milquetoast throughout the entire series run or would've she always been Blonde Barracuda?? So many questions.

Cheryl Ladd was the original choice to play Nancy when Elayne Heilveil left the series, until Aaron Spelling decided at the 11th hour to go with MBB because she had more acting experience. It would've been interesting to see how Ms. Ladd would've played the role. Alas, Aaron Spelling offered her a role on Charlie's Angels when Farrah Fawcett left, and the rest is history.

Finally, whatever happened to Elayne Heilveil? The only other role I saw her in was as a less-than-helpful salesgirl in a 1973 Mary Tyler Moore episode. So many questions, indeed!! :lol:

catlover79
09-02-2011, 06:55 PM
Sweet!! :cool: :D

Hallishka
05-27-2012, 08:29 AM
I would love to see what Elayne Heilveil looks like today. It's a shame that she was never given much to do after the pilot episode. I think Nancy was only in about 3 more episodes before the role was recast.

Hi All,
Well, I was totally excited when I saw a show at the Music Center in Los Angeles (Follies) about a week ago and I stared at this really attractive woman (who looked exactly like Elayne Heilveil used to look, with long, curly great hair) and I went up to her and asked if her name was Elayne. She said 'yes' and asked if she knew me? I then asked if she was the actress who I'd seen in so many things and she said, yes. I immediately asked her to sign an autograph and take a picture with me, then all these other people recognized her and asked for autographs too and she was surrounded. I asked her if she had a picture of Dorian Gray in her attic, cause she looked exactly the same as I remembered her. She was really beautiful in person and so sweet and gracious. I saw the very first film she did, called Payday, where she starred opposite Rip Torn and you wouldn't even believe she was the same actress. She played a southern groupie and the New York Times said she was an 'all american original'. I've watched her career ever since. She's done so many different things. I was so excited to actually meet her, it totally made my week!

catlover79
05-28-2012, 01:28 AM
^ Awwww, that's terrific. I'm so glad you got to meet Elayne and that she turned out to be everything you expected and more!! :cool: :D

Kas
05-31-2012, 09:39 AM
I haven't seen her on anything in a long time, doesn't she want to do acting any longer? Does she do plays or anything?

duckie
05-31-2012, 03:53 PM
Since she was on the show longer, i'd have to go with MBB.

Oscar&Felix
06-24-2012, 09:44 AM
Meredith Baxter-Birney actually brought me to the show, when I looked for her work pre-Family Ties. Still, the more I watched Family, the more I realized I wasn' truly interested in her character. Kristy McNichols and Sada Thompson (both of them I had never seen before) really made it for me.
I think Elayne Heivel and MBB had a different view of Nancy. The former was more of a childlike, frail character, while the latter, although pretty brazen, seemed able to take her life in charge. I guess I prefer Heyvel's potrayal in the end. More dramatic, and more original, sometimes in a rather disturbing light: like her casual, innocent behaviour at her son's christening, as she's apparently unaware of the painful memories it brings back to the rest of the family. Heyvel made Nancy aloof, yet likeable. Baxter-Birney, on the other hand gave a more down-to-earth character, that suited well the change of mood in the series, since the second season : more of a mix between drama and comedy.