HOLLYWOOD—Lauralee Bell, the beautiful actress, writer, director and producer of the award-nominated Web series “Family Dinner” came to Canyon News exclusively to share the excitement for the upcoming new episode which pits her trashy character Karen opposite TV’s Mrs. Partridge. That’s right, Academy award-winning actress Shirley Jones guest stars on the comedy series and she also spoke exclusively with us about her turn on yet a new genre for a career that spans six decades. Bell shared great excitement for working with another Hollywood icon. “We’ve been so lucky to have had Phyllis Diller and Cloris Leachman appear on our show. We’re now feeling like three-classic stars is the charm for our little series. Tommy, Shirley [Jones] was so professional. I had to pinch myself to think I was working opposite this lady, but not only is she classy and extremely talented, but she’s also very easy to work with as well,” said Bell.

Lauralee is the daughter of Hollywood royalty. Her mother Lee Phillip Bell is a resident of Beverly Hills and is co-creator of both “The Young and the Restless” and “The Bold and the Beautiful” along with Lauralee’s late father William J. Bell, Sr. Both shows remain number one and two rated respectively and are helmed by Bell family members. Bel Air resident Maria Arena Bell is “Y&R’s” executive producer and head writer, while “B&B” is helmed by Holmby Hills resident Bradley P. Bell, who is not only the executive producer and head writer, but 2009 and 2010’s Emmy-winner for Best Dramatic Series.

Lauralee has mastered the new-age entertainment industry’s business model. Her wonderful hit series can be picked up from their studio and moved around L.A. County to benefit any business’s own promotion and their fans’ entertainment. The normally Toluca Lake-based set for “Family Dinner” changed to the swanky Cravings Restaurant in the Sunset Plaza in Hollywood. “You know it’s just near where my store once was, Tommy. They were great to work with. The place was filled to capacity, but we had a private dining room which we enjoyed filming in. We just incorporated the real-life sounds of the restaurant and ran with it,” said Lauralee. “We filmed for about three and a half hours, then Shirley arrived and she was so perfect, the chemistry was sensational with the other cast members. We were in awe of her abilities as an actress, but also in awe of how gorgeous she still is.”

The cast which includes Emmy-winning actor Aaron Lustig, and Bell, is rounded out by two of the most amazing young children in Hollywood, and Dan Cortese, who is one of the most talented actors and writers in the industry. Dan’s instincts opposite Bell, Lustig, and often Diller and Leachman continues with Shirley Jones in this new webisode. “Dan is very talented and you’ll love his writing, Tommy. If this show gets picked up by television, you’re going to enjoy one of the most hilarious pilots in TV history. And wait until you see Shirley on the web,” said Bell.

Shirley Jones had equally as kind of words for Bell, the cast and Co-Executive Producer Scott Martin. “Lauralee is so darling, she is beautiful, classy and smart. Just like her parents. Scott Martin knew his stuff. He handled all the technical issues, and he and Lauralee did an amazing job. I didn’t quite know what to expect going into this. My manager picked me up after I had been across the country doing two concerts, when I arrived, they were ready to shoot. Tommy, after doing stage, television and movies, I added soap opera actor to my resume. On ”˜Days of Our Lives’ I played a dying woman with an Irish brogue, but this Internet series is totally new to me. Like you, I’m not very technically savvy; my 10 grandchildren are much smarter than I am about computers and the Internet. However, I loved working with this wonderful, creative and talented team. I’d gladly do it again,” said the Oscar winner.

Jones, Cortese and Bell are joined by amazing star-studded guests in this highly improved version of “Family Dinner.” Actor and singing sensation Rick Springfield joins the cast to promote his newest best-selling book “Late, Late at Night.” “American Idol” winner Jordin Sparks appears on the webisode promoting her new perfume line. Jordin became involved thanks to her aunt, Shari Weidmann, who also plays a waitress who catches Karen’s eye in this episode.  While “Red Hot Chili Peppers” drummer Chad Smith taped his segment this week. If that is not enough,  legendary Richard Marx appears in a music video that Lauralee filmed with him over 15 years ago, only it’s newly mixed version places “Family Dinner’s” Karen in the high profile spot of being the focus of the music video.

In this latest webisode, Shirley Jones portrays a musical therapist. Her desire to help this very dysfunctional family doesn’t go as easily as the therapist is normally used to. Lauralee Bell’s past work in Richard Marx’s music video is really revamped thanks to her and Scott’s technical skills and those of the amazing production whiz David Gil, who has worked very hard to create such engaging comedy.

Bell admits to long hours on the project. “Scott and I really put a lot of hard work and time into this episode, Tommy. My friend Doug Davidson, who is one of Rick Springfield’s best friends did his magic. He and his wife Cindy did so much to help make this happen and I appreciate them for it. Everyone made it happen and I hope viewers will love the final product,” concluded Lauralee. Shirley Jones concurred, “These are enormously talented young people. They’ve all dragged me into the 21st century. Everyone involved with ”˜Family Dinner’ was terrific to work with. They made this a wonderful experience.” Wonderful experience is in line for anyone who watches the upcoming webisode.

The next episode of “Family Dinner” will debut at funnyordie.com on Monday, November 15, then will follow at familydinneronline.com.

Photographs are Courtesy: “Family Dinner” cast and Shirley Jones by Kathy Hutchins and Hutchins Photo Agency and Lauralee Bell by Lesley Bohm Photography

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