Michelle Ann Mercier (nee Harper; previously Wainwright and Armstrong) was a character on ONtv's Harpers Falls. She was played from day one by Nancy Lee Grahn, best known for her role of Alexis Davis on General Hospital, until 2015, when she decided to not renew her contract.
When the character was brought back on as a contract role, the role was cast, due to Michelle having lived in London, with UK actress Phyllis Logan, best known for her role as Elsie Hughes Carson, the stalwart housekeeper of the Crawley family on the recently completed series, Downton Abbey.
"I daresay I was kind of thrown when Albert had called me to talk about bringing Michelle Harper back to the boards," Phyllis said, " because here I was, having finished six series of Downton as Mrs. Hughes, but yet after seeing how Nancy Grahn had played her from the series beginning, I didn't want to emulate how she played her, oh, my, no. I figured with her, and the changes in her and her children, Dylan and Sheila's lives, especially with Michelle being their mother, I thought an older and wiser Michelle would work here.
"Since I am basically playing her as a motherly figure, I thought she would be more sensible a bit like my darling Elsie Hughes, but without the dowdiness! And I can be made up and wearing the loveliest and most fashionable of outfits, it would cause Mrs. Hughes to be envious! In any event, I am so pleased to be able to join the show and to play Michelle. Albert, who truly adored Downton Abbey, thoroughly loved my performance as Mrs. Hughes (and he adored just how strong she was, that strength was placed into Michelle), and he saw me as his new Michelle, and I am so glad to be working here."
Michael's twin sister and Dylan and Sheila's motherEdit
Michelle and her twin brother, Michael were the first set of twins born to Richard and Violet Harper. Because of their age, they are considered the de facto heads of the family.
Although that IS the case, they always deferred to their aunt, Patricia Wheeler, whom they see as the matriarch of their family in lieu of their late mother. The long-time social secretary, Velda Smithfield, had joined their family when they were in Junior High.
However, it was later revealed that both kids were born on the same day, although in different hospitals. So, they were considered to be twins, since they were born at about the same time.
However, it was later revealed that Sheila and Dylan were indeed siblings (Dylan was the elder of the two by four minutes). Michelle had given birth to them well before she married Joe Wainwright in 1982.
Their father was revealed to be a fellow member of the symphony orchestra named Craig Schneider, but he left before the twins were born, so neither Dylan or Sheila had ever met their real father. Recently, though, Michelle's new friend, Maureen Whitehead, who knew some contacts of his, told him about the twins, and he wrote them a letter.
He would later divorce his shrewish wife who never wanted him to see them, and would come to Boston and visit them. He is now as much a part of their lives as the rest of the family. The Harpers welcomed Craig into their midst and consider him as family.
Nearly breaking her heart, Michael's girlfriend at the time, Shelby Whitehead Harper, tried to kidnap Dylan. This sparked a confrontation between the twins and Shelby. Michael was so disgusted with Shelby's actions that he nearly broke off his engagement with her immediately.
However, to keep the peace, Michelle allowed Michael to raise Dylan. Despite this kind gesture, Shelby and Michelle had always been enemies. And they remained enemies even to the former's death. Because of Shelby's chicanery and the fact that she could not be trusted by anyone in the family, Michelle kept a close eye on her son, to make sure he was all right.
The closeness Michael and Michelle have as siblings would be turbulent for both of them. Especially in their first marriages.
For many years, Michelle was a fan of classical music. She was the youngest first chair cellist in the Boston Symphony Orchestra, a position she still maintains to this day. When she is not in concert with the Orchestra, she taught Orchestra at Harper Academy, until she quit teaching to become Harper Industries' new CEO, after the death of her father, Richard.
While Michael was married to his first wife, Shelby, who tended to be a mite overbearing, and somewhat smothering and interfering, especially when it came to Dylan. Michelle had her share of issues with her husband, Joseph Wainwright, whom she was married to for almost 20 years and had two children Sheila (whom he never realized wasn't his daughter) and their son together, Christopher.
Joseph cheated on his wife, whenever he felt the whim hit him, mostly with his secretaries, but when he met and married Sheila's worst enemy, Molly Hendrix, that was the end. Although Michelle had long since divorced him, and couldn't have cared less about what he had done at that point, it was his behavior towards his own children that infuriated her.
Finally having had enough of his inconsiderate attitude, she lashed out at both Joseph and his new wife, and denounced them both for their callous attitude. After her divorce, she adopted Sheila's friend, Anyssa Rayburn, a fellow student of hers at Harper Academy.
Ironically, Marie, one of Joseph's secretaries, had fallen in love with Michelle, and they lived in happiness for almost four years.
Marie would later move out of Harpers Falls and back to her home town of New Bedford, where she had later adopted a young woman, Andrea "Boots" Woolsey, who had once tormented the family. She adopted Andrea ("Boots" was a nickname that she doesn't use anymore) and her brother, Mark, and they lived in Hull, Massachusetts, where the Woolseys had their family home.
Today, Mark Woolsey lives and works in Paris, he never got married, work always kept him busy and with no time for romance. Andrea met and married a handsome cardiologist, Dr. Christopher Langham, and moved with him down to Atlanta, Georgia, where she lives and is happy. She and Mark keep in touch, and he spends his holidays with his sister, brother in-law and their children.
Michelle eventually hired British businesswoman, Sydney Armstrong, who came to town to help Michelle revamp and to run Harper Industries, and the two women fell in love and moved into a house of their own in Beacon Hill, which allows them to be close to their family. Eventually, the two women got married.
Recently, Michelle became a grandmother, five times over, when her daughters, Sheila and Anyssa gave birth to five children between them. Two sets of twins for Anyssa; and a daughter for Sheila. Anyssa's four children are Serena; Samuel; Courtney and Ellen and Sheila's daughter is Catherine. She also gained two grandchildren from her son, Dylan, Derek Asbury Harper and Ashley Asbury Harper.
Michelle was thoroughly devastated when she lost her twin brother, Michael, to a heart attack, the pain doubled when his daughter, her niece, Hannah Harper Atchley, was killed by her wicked sister, Erica.
At that time, as a part of her brother's will, she retired from being the CEO of Harper Industries, and installed her children, Sheila and Dylan, as co-CEOs of Harper Industries. Now, the twins are the co-heads of the family. Like their parents, they defer to their great aunt, Patricia.
After a long talk with Sam and Lahoma Lucas, as well as Velda Smithfield, her spouse, Sydney Armstrong; and herself; they all agreed that Anyssa should take on the name of Lucas since she had been raised by Sam and Lahoma when she was a child. Thereby making her daughter's official name become Anyssa Lucas Harper Forson.
After a long time of being around Boston, and realizing that she now has to find herself, Michelle stunned everyone by divorcing Sydney and leaving Boston to live in London to find herself. As she stated to everyone, "I've always been someone's wife, or mother, or twin sister, it is time that I find out more about Michelle Ann Harper, as a person."
Another situation, which the family knew nothing about, except for Sheila and Dylan, when the twins saw the divorce papers, was that during a business trip, she met and fell in love with another woman. It was for that woman, named Prudence Baxter, that Michelle divorced Sydney and moved to London. She moved into a home that was near her son's.
Since her moving to London, Michelle has thoroughly blossomed. She got back into performing with an orchestra, this time, the London Symphony Orchestra, where she plays cello again. She has acclimated herself into the life of being in London, and has a quiet life now.
Although she keeps in touch with the family, she prefers London. Besides that, she lives with her girlfriend Prudence. She and Sydney parted on good terms, and Sydney even met Prudence and they get along beautifully.
In a complete turnaround, Michelle and American born Prudence, are looking to come back to Boston. They will maintain the Belgravia house, which is near where Dylan has his own house in Belgravia, but they also found a nicer home in Beacon Hill, where they can visit periodically. However, she had Prudence sell the house and have moved back to Boston full time. Once again, she is playing cello with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and sometimes with the world-famous Boston Pops Orchestra
Michelle also gained a close friend and ally in Shelby's sister, Maureen. After Dylan and Sheila went to explain the whole twisted story to Maureen, she and Michelle had a long talk and they became best friends. Maureen had always liked Michelle and they got along better than her sister did. Maureen accepted Sheila as her niece and as Dylan's sister.
After an amicable breakup with Prudence, Michelle again found love with, most ironically, her brother's former girlfriend, and her best friend, Angela Mercier. It is clear that they are most assuredly in love, having known one another for many years. After selling their home on Boudoin Street, Michelle and Angela moved in with her children in their townhouse, and they live there happily.
Their long-time romance was finally solemnized in marriage in the Spring of 2017, and even though Jennifer Barrett tried to sink the ceremony, the ceremony was beautiful, and the security got rid of the troublemaker. Everyone was pleased that she and Angela are finally spouses.