"I thought I knew a lot and I really didn't. I just trusted the wrong people."
The 17-year-old changed her name from Althea Janairo and started off well
enough, landing high-profile modeling jobs with companies like Dep and
Dance France and the contract role in General Hospital. But Carrere also
fell in with Steve Sarich, a manipulative personal manager 16 years her
senior who moonlighted as her boyfriend.
Sarich urged Carrere to file a newsmaking suit against General Hospital.
The basis: the soap was forcing her into bankruptcy by denying her a
contract release. When Carrere started on the show the writers had given
her as many as six scenes a day. Three months later, as the novelty of her
character wore thin, the role dwindled to a few lines a week, reducing her
pay to as little as $359 per week. A potentially more lucrative role on The
A-Team was up for grabs but for her exclusive contract to GH.
Carrere lost the suit. Along with that went valuable respect from GH
colleagues. "There was a lot of gossip on the set," she told People in
1986. "Sometimes they didn't realize I was there, and they said, 'Who does
she think she is? She's got to pay her dues.' The last few months were pure
hree years later Carrere still winces at the memory. "I was very young
when all that came down. I thought I knew a lot and I really didn't. I just
trusted the wrong people."
Carrere also got caught up in the classic syndrome of having too much too
soon. "I was 18 and driving a Mercedes-Benz convertible. I was renting a
three-bedroom house all for myself. I was flaunting all the external
accoutrements of stardom. But I guess I had to find out things for myself."
Listening to her now it is obvious that Carrere has taken to heart the lessons
she's learned in Hollywood. They've left her cautious and press-shy--the
People article had portrayed her as painfully naive. "The reporter
claimed he was going to write the article from my point of view. Instead, he
made me sound like a little idiot. It made me never want to do another