Leighton auditions, hoping to be cast in a pilot of next year’s hit. Savant aspires to be Gavin MacLeod, moving smoothly from one long-running show to another. No wild fantasies here, I note.
"We're circus people," Leighton replies.
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They're more like prime-time gypsies, I think, aware that even the biggest TV payday isn’t a permanent resting place. But then, they've been here before.
Remember Melrose Place? It was created for the big brothers and sisters of the tweens who adored Beverly Hills, 90210. At 9 p.m., Family Hour ended and Anything Goes began. Heather Locklear took her pleasure on desks and beds alike. Her rival as a hottie? Sydney, the vixen played by Leighton. Savant also was on Melrose Place, as Matt Fielding, the gay guy— a very brave part for an actor to take back in the mid '90s. Not that he hesitated. "I always wanted to be a character actor," he says, "and I thought this was an exceptional role." Plus, the job had a large upside—great visibility, a regular paycheck, and a growing friendship with Laura Leighton.
Both Savant and Leighton were going through the throes of professional success and personal distress. For Savant, that meant the end of his marriage and finding himself, at 32, the custodial parent of two small girls. For the 27-year-old Leighton, it was the end of her high-profile romance with another Melrose Place actor.
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You know how the story goes from here. One day two close friends looked at each other with fresh eyes and realized they were destined to be lovers. "It was like, 'Where have you been?'" Leighton recalls.