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Y&R’s Peter Bergman Talks 30 Years Of Jack Abbott, His Co-Stars, And His Gratitude

Photo: CBS

When you think of the world of daytime drama, you can’t get any better than this man.  And, this week, three-time Daytime Emmy winner, Peter Bergman celebrates his 30th anniversary in the pivotal and now iconic role of Jack Abbott on CBS’ The Young and the Restless.

To mark the occasion, viewers are in for an emotional standalone episode on Monday, November 25th, when Jack’s sister, Traci (Beth Maitland) hands him the completed manuscript of the memoir she has been working on about the Abbott clan, and lets Jack be the first to read it.  As he goes through it, Jack recalls the ups and the downs of his life.  Get ready for some flashbacks and have the hankies ready!

Throughout the years, we have witnessed Jack do anything possible to keep control of the family business (Jabot Cosmetics).  We have watched his longstanding feud with Victor Newman (Eric Braeden), and how Jack spiraled out of control to a pain pill addiction.  As for Jack’s love life, well, that has not always been too successful.  There have been many wives and many divorces through the years.  But for Jack, it’s all about family … from his sons, to his siblings … to his mother and father, and while there has been often rivalry, there has also been deep love and affection.  All of this and more has offered 21-time Emmy nominee and soap vet, Bergman a palette to bring his honed acting skills and passion for the genre to each and every episode in which he appears.

Many a soap fan also knows that Peter got his soap star in New York as Dr. Cliff Warner on ABC’s All My Children, but who knew back then that a career-defining role was eventually going to be waiting for him in Hollywood.

Michael Fairman TV chatted with Peter as he reflects on his time in Genoa City from:  his beginnings on Y&R replacing another talented actor, Terry Lester, to his Abbott family co-stars; to what this milestone means to him, to how he felt about taping the episode in his honor, and what life lessons he has learned along the way.

While we have had the good fortune to interview Peter many times over the years, this was an extra special conversation that we hope you will enjoy as we salute the one and only Mr. Bergman.

Photo: JPI

How have you liked all of the attention that has come your way surrounding your 30th anniversary on Y&R?  I know you well enough to know you don’t often like all the pomp and circumstance.  However, it’s been great to see you get the acknowledgements through: your own upcoming special Y&R standalone episode that airs Monday, your visit to The Talk recently, the satellite media tour you just did with CBS affiliate markets around the country, interviews with the press, and that very cool photo shoot spread in CBS Watch!

PETER:  (Laughs) You know, it’s so funny.  My wife, Mariellen said to me more than once in the last couple of weeks, “All of this stuff  keeps coming up, and you’ve not made a big deal of this at home,” and it’s true.  I feel like we just celebrated 25.  That seems like just 2 years ago.  But, here we are again.  Approaching all of this, CBS, Matt Kane (publicist, Y&R) and Melissa Burton (publicist, CBS) said, “So, what do we want to do?  A cake and a party?”  I said, “No, no, no.  I feel like we just did that.  Let’s just go low-key.”  So, their version of low-key is somewhat different than my version of low-key. (Laughs)  I have my own episode, and have been on talk shows galore, and have done interviews with the likes of you, and everything over 30 years.  Actually, I have to be honest, it has been great fun.  It’s surprising how much fun I’ve had.  Some of the conversations are just about wonderful memories that I have been forced to look at and cherish.  So here are a couple insights from that. I was asked, “What did you see in 30 years of tape?”  I saw a lot of storypoints that we could talk about, but I also saw all of these friendships that I have made and that I value so much.  I remember when I first got to the job.  I was this New York snob thinking, “What am I doing in this God-forsaken, cultural vacuum of a town (referring to Hollywood)?”  Oh, if only I had just embraced it from the moment I got here.  People were probably being exceedingly friendly and welcoming to me, and I didn’t even see it.  I was so busy being at malcontent.  It lasted for a long time.  I kept our apartment for 7 years in New York.  It was so clear though, that Y&R was becoming one of those gigs.  But, I still held on to that apartment, just in case, because once this thing is over, I am out of here! (Laughs)

Photo: JPI

Truth be told, when I moved out to L.A, from New York I felt the same way.  I was ready to hightail it back the first chance I could.  I also should have embraced it earlier. Looking back on it now, what would you have done differently?

PETER:  Oh, if I could do it all over again, the first day, I would have sold the New York apartment, bought a surf board, bought a set of golf clubs, joined a tennis club, embraced California, reached out to my cast members, welcomed them into my life.  I didn’t do any of those things, and I am a little embarrassed by that because look at what it tuned into.  I have joked before that I was dragged kicking and screaming to the best thing that has ever happened to me.  These past couple of weeks have been a reminder that that’s actually true.

Photo: JPI

I remember when you first took over the role of Jack Abbott.  You were a recast taking over the part last played by Terry Lester.  What I always loved about all of our conversations, or conversations that I’ve seen you do with others, is that you always say that you feel a connection to those performers who come onto Y&R or any other soap, who have to step into the shoes of a character previously played by another actor.

PETER:  That’s right. I do indeed.  I am their best friend.  I make sure I find anyone who finds themselves in that situation and I have a conversation with them; for instance: Mark Grossman (Adam, Y&R) just the other day.  I said, “Mark, you’ve been here long enough.  You’ve now established Adam.  You don’t have to look back at what anyone else did with this character.  Now we have to tell Mark Grossman’s version of Adam,” and he did welcome that advice because yeah, it’s a hard thing to do.  It’s a hard thing to step into a role that’s been played by someone else before

Knowing that, was there trepidation on your part once you got the role of Jack?

PETER:  Oh, yeah.  I’m telling you, every prop person, every set decorator, every lighting person knew more about Jack Abbott than I did.  It was daunting.  It was really daunting.  I’d try something, “Eh, I’m going to try this,” and they’d cut it short and go, “No, no,” and they were right!  They were helping to guide me towards making this my own, but we do this in baby steps.  I’m just amazingly grateful.  This has been a time of gratitude, and it has surprised me.

Photo Credit: JPI

When you found out that Y&R was going to air a 30th anniversary episode in honor of you and the character of Jack Abbott, what was your reaction to that?

PETER:  My first reaction was some reluctance, “Is that going to be interesting at all?” and my second reaction was, “Wow!  That’s pretty damn flattering.”  I’m genuinely honored and flattered by that.  That really touched me.

In the anniversary episode that viewers will see on Monday, was there a scene that you did that just either gut-punched you … or made you think about something that transpired over the years differently, or was just so emotional for you?

PETER:  There were several that gut-punched me.  There were a few emotional highlights of stories, and emotional peaks of stories in there.  If I had to pick one thing to take away from it, and this is kind of curious because I was surprised by this. I watched my relationship with so many different people and thought about how they’ve changed or grown.  I watched scenes with Phyllis, and thought, “This is probably Jack’s most painful loss.”  There is something just inherently oil and water with them.  This old money, somewhat straight-laced guy, and this crazy-ass girl from the other side of the tracks, like no woman he ever met at the country club.  I watched those scenes, and I thought, “Wow, that is terrific,” and I thought of it from Jack’s perspective, and I thought, “These two people never got out of love.  It just got too painful between them.”  That really stood out to me.  There were scenes that I saw a lot of Jack exposed in.  He covers himself pretty well with lots of people.  He was pretty exposed for a while.  He doesn’t give it away to just anybody.  I watched those scenes and there was an emotional honestly in there that was kind of startling.

Photo: JPI

Jack has had been married several times, and had five divorces along the way.  Some of the women in his life have included: Sharon, Nikki, Luan, Patty, Jill, and Phyllis.

PETER:  That’s right.  There was Patty.  Nikki a couple of times.  There were a few women, and every one of them changed Jack.  The Jack that I watched in the progression of this show… … the Jack when I first got there … was a pretty selfish guy.  He was out for himself and pretty much through Nikki and then through others, learned compassion.  Jack earned empathy in a way he hadn’t before, and we watched him build a conscience in the progress of telling Jack’s story.

At this point, Jack needs to have a woman in is life that can be one of the great loves and relationships of his lifetime.  Do you think he’d be prepared for that now?

PETER:  Oh yes.  Strangely enough, I think he’s more prepared for that now than ever before.  Part of Jack’s problem always with these women is that all of these women paid for Dina’s sins.  He expected every one of them to leave.  It was almost a foregone conclusion.  The most important woman of his life left when he was 14, and one by one all these other women left him.

Photo: JPI

Is there someone in a primetime series, motion pictures, daytime, the theatre, who would you love to see play your love interest on Y&R?

PETER:  Who would I love to see play my love interest?  Gosh, I wish I had an answer to that.  I think just bring her on.  I’ll make it work.  I think that’s a side of Jack that we haven’t gotten to see for a while, and I agree with you.  I think now, he actually might be ready for a two-way relationship that isn’t all about him, that is based on some truth, that is based on looking out for someone else as much as he looks out for himself.  I think he is more ready for that now than he has ever been.  We’ll see if they are ready to invest in that, and if that is something they’re ready to see.

You’ve had 21 Daytime Emmy nominations in acting categories, but I want to nominate you for “Best Chair-Throwing in a Daytime Drama Series”.

PETER:  (Laughs)  You can only do it in one take.  They don’t have several sheets of glass, so it had better work when you do it.

Remember; when you did that now classic chair throw in the showdown between Jack and Victor (Eric Braeden)?

PETER:  Yes, The first one was with Eric Braeden.  My favorite part of that story is Mike Denney was directing it, and I pulled Mike aside as we were blocking it.  I said, “Wouldn’t there be just crazy wind at that level, that high up?   Wouldn’t the wind be nuts?” and Mike had like three fans brought in, and I looked over, and Eric Braeden’s hair was everywhere.  Mine had blown from one part of my scalp to the other. (Laughs)  It was this wind storm that made it all the more dramatic.  I loved the finished product of that, and I got to have a little hand in it.

Photo: JPI

And the second was more recent when Jack finds out about Ashley’s duplicity and throws the chair threw the glass at Jabot

PETER:  The second chair throwing through a window with Ashley was just pure animal, anger, disgust, revulsion, everything black in Jack coming out that way, and that stupid glass shouldn’t have been there in the first place, but we put that in.  (Laughs)

I can’t wait for the next chair throw!

PETER:  I’m practicing just in case!

Photo: JPI

I’m going to name a few cast members of the Abbott clan, and if you could just give me a few words about working with each of them through the years that would be great.  Let’s start with Beth Maitland (Traci).

PETER:  Beth Maitland, the beating heart and soul of the Abbott family, the conscious of the Abbotts, the keeper of the family secrets, she knows everything, and she’s kept it to herself.  A generous, kind, thoughtful, hard-working, and really responsible friend.

Eileen Davidson (Ashley) …

PETER:  Eileen Davidson… exotic, smart as a whip, and a lot funnier than most people know.  She makes me laugh until I cry.  She is at once beautiful and funny, and that is a lethal combination.

Photo: JPI

Jerry Douglas (John) …

PETER:  Jerry Douglas… just a sweet, sweet man who has always had such ease in playing my father that it made it easy to be his son.  He was a generous actor that way.

Jason Thompson (Billy) …

PETER:  Jason Thompson … naturally cool.  There are two things that Jason has that seem to be contradictory.  He is cool and at the same time warm-loving and…. just sweet.  Kind.  That doesn’t happen.  There is a cool about Jason that has always been there.  It just comes totally naturally to him, and at the same time you see this love and warmth and genuine kindness.

Photo:JPI

Marla Adams (Dina) …

PETER:  Marla Adams, that sweetheart of a woman who loves to break into song at a moment’s notice, just makes me smile, and from the moment she came back is a daily reminder to be grateful for work, to be grateful for this job.  She is a walking reminder that we are lucky, lucky actors, and she is a very talented woman.

Photo JPI

Michael Mealor (Kyle) …

PETER:  Michael Mealor, a 28-year-old man with the soul of a 50-year-old man.  He is so evolved.  He is so bright, asks smart questions. Michael is a wise, wise man for his age and experience.  He constantly surprises me.  He constantly amazes me, and all of that with a sense of humor is a cool thing.

Photo: JPI

What do you think your longtime castmate, the late Kristoff St. John (Ex-Neil) would say to you if he were here for your 30th anniversary with Y&R?

PETER:  Oh, Kristoff St. John was always so generous with accolades, with commendations, with compliments.  I think Kristoff would look at this as a great thing for me, and a great thing for him, and a great thing for the show.  He was just that generous.  I miss him on a regular basis.  That was a generous, generous heart, and a tragic end to a vibrant life.

In story, and just in time for your 30th, Jack is back as the CEO of Jabot.  Billy has resigned, and now upon learning Theo (Tyler Johnson) is family, Jack gets Theo to stay in Genoa City and not go to Paris to work with Ashley and become part of the Jabot team.  Will Jack thrive this time as CEO?

PETER:  Yes, Jack is back to taking the reins at Jabot.  I think that is as it should be.  I think it is very hard for the audience or anyone to see, “Wait Jabot without Jack? I’m not sure what that is.”  So, yes, I’m happy to be back and happy to be working regularly with Michael Mealor and Hunter King (Summer) and the whole gang over there, and now Theo.  Tyler Johnson is just fantastic.  What a really neat guy… a young philosopher who is well-read and has this curious, curious mind that makes us all smile.

Photo: JPI

When did you know that the Victor/Jack feud was lightning in a bottle?

PETER:  I think it snuck up on me.  Ten years in, I realized, “Wait a second, this actually is a rivalry for the ages.”  I knew very early on that Victor Newman’s presence in Jack’s life made Jack a more interesting character.  I fully understood that and a great credit to Eric Braeden and what he and I got to establish together (what he established first of all with Terry Lester and what he and I got to continue).  So, this enduring rivalry is a now part of, I think, television history.  I don’t know if there is any rivalry that has lasted this long on one show … ever.

Which of these Jack nicknames is your favorite?  “Jackie”, which his family calls him, “Jackie Boy”, which John Abbott called him, “Jacko”, which Brad Carlton called him, and “Goddamn Jack Abbott” which is what Victor called him! (Laughs)  And, there is of course, “Smiling Jack” as the character has been referred to over time.

PETER:  I hear the name “Jackie”, and it is only used by my on-screen sisters and so that makes me smile.  They call me “Jackie” a lot.  “Smiling Jack”, I never fought that, but “Jackie” always feels good.

Photo: F. Scott Schafer/CBSWatch!

You know when people say, “Peter Bergman” the words associated with that are: “class act”, “respect”, “gracious” and “one helluva an actor”  So in closing, what would you want to say to the fans that have supported you and loved your character for 30 years on this show? 

PETER:  I am so grateful, and genuinely surprised with the way the audience has connected with my friend Jack Abbott.  I am so grateful that they have allowed Jack to grow and change.  I am so grateful that the audience always wants to know Jack’s side of the story, and just those things make it possible for me to do the greatest job that anyone could ever have.  I have the greatest job thanks to all of those qualities in the people who watch the show.

Share your thoughts on 30 years of memorable performances of Peter Bergman and your favorite Jack Abbott moments via the comment section below.  But first, check out the promo for Monday’s standalone episode of Y&R in honor of Bergman, a video shared with international broadcasters and the media of the milestone, and one of Peter’s Daytime Emmy-winning moments.

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Jennifer MartinRichard SignorellimattKayDMRR Recent comment authors
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Su000
Guest
Su000

Petter deserves high praise for his Jack role..
30 years WOW half a lifetime, he is very committed.

but– (always a but lol)

His character is so wimpy..
Jack is a sucker
The best word to describe the Jack character is-
…..GULLIBLE …
 
The Abbot family is BLAH in comparison to the rockin’ Newman family..
Anyways..
Jack wouldn’t be Jack without Victor who wouldn’t be Victor without Jack.. (figure that one out lol)

CONGRATULATIONS PETTER !! FOR 30 GREAT YEARS!!
Y&R WOULDN’T BE what it is WITHOUT YOU !!

Gloria
Guest
Gloria

He has such a distinctive look & voice & even though he’s played Jack on Y&R for so long I still, every time I see his face I can’t help but think of Cliff & Nina on All My Children. I can hear him on that show! A part of me will always think of him as Cliff who I loved so much as an 18 yr old, ha. Y&R was lucky to get him & he’s been lucky to stay there! ALL GOOD!

Kay
Guest
Kay

Gloria most definitely the best chemistry he ever had was with Taylor Miller/Nina !!! They were what in those times they called a Super Couple!

Timmm
Guest
Timmm

He is who you think he is, a nice, warm individual who somehow got to shine in the gloom and doom of Hollywood! Peter, I wish you 30 more years of anything you wish for!

Momo
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Momo

What a classy guy. Peter is fabulous and Jack. Congratulations on 30 years at Y&R!!!

DMRR
Guest
DMRR

I love him; and I loved him as Cliff on AMC.
Congratulations, “Jackie.”

matt
Guest
matt

Watching the episode today, the writers missed a perfect potential storyline. Rather than Theo being the son of a dead unseen brother, he should have been the John who received the heart transplant from Jack and Niki’s baby… That would have made the entire Summer connection even more interesting…

Richard Signorelli
Guest
Richard Signorelli

great actor and a class act

Jennifer Martin
Guest
Jennifer Martin

Congratulations Peter. You took Jack Abbott and made him your own. You are Jack Abbott. May you have many more years on Y&R

Days Of Our Lives

Kevin Spirtas Talks ‘After Forever’s’ Digital Special ‘Riley’s Unforgettable School Project’, The Loss of Michael Slade, and a Chance to Reprise DAYS Craig Wesley

The coronavirus pandemic has put to the test many content creators on just how they would keep their projects moving forward in ways they never dreamed of. However, out of that situation has come some of the most compelling, unique series, specials, and features currently streaming for viewers. One of which is Riley’s Unforgettable School Project, brought to you by the team from the six-time Daytime Emmy Award-winning series, After Forever.

Former Days of our Lives star, Kevin Spirtas (Ex-Craig Wesley) has starred in and created the first two seasons of what has become the most honored Emmy-awarded LGBTQ-themed drama series on any platform.  Along with his ‘After Forever’ writing/producing partner, the late Michael Slade (DAYS, OLTL, Passions, Another World), the two also conceptualized and delivered this latest documentary-style offering now on Amazon Prime Video.

What makes Riley’s Unforgettable School Project so noteworthy is not just how they were able to execute the series based on fictional 11-year-old Riley’s virtual school project and utilize its cast, which includes: Spirtas, Cady Huffman, Jamison Stern, Lenny Wolpe, Erin Cherry, Anita Gillette, Christopher J. Hanke, and Finn Douglas, but that it was made while Slade was succumbing to his battle with cancer, and that this special marks the final script from this talented writer.

 

Michael Fairman TV spoke with Spirtas about making the special during Covid-19, how the death of Michael Slade has made a lasting impact on his life, what After Forever has personally meant to him, and how an official third season is still in the works, and … if he would consider a return to Salem and Days of our Lives, should they come a-calling.  Here’s what Kevin had to say about it all.

Photo: AfterForever

I think the entire story of this digital special has become even more meaningful with Michael Slade’s passing. What was the genesis of the concept? You wanted to continue the telling of the story of After Forever … but we are all in the middle of a pandemic?

KEVIN:  Yes and… when we filmed season 2, we had the scripts for season 3 already completed. It was our hope and desire to film them at the same time, back-to-back, so that we would have had all of our cast and crew together, and we could have gotten through it because we’ve always imagined this story being told in a trilogy so to speak – a beginning, middle, and end to Brian (Spirtas) and Jason, (Mitchell Anderson) and Brian’s healing or his steps towards healing through grief.  Schedules turned out that they couldn’t really work out for us to hold all the people and hold all of the sets for that amount of time.  So, we thought, “We’ve got the scripts for season 3 ready.  We’ll come back to it in the following year,” and that was always the intention, and then the pandemic hit.  So, it was shut down immediately that we weren’t going to do anything, but we wanted to stay current, and instead of going back in and telling the third installment of After Forever as a Covid-19 story as well, Michael and I sat down and looked at a way of staying relevant and current with a story within COVID, and there was born the idea to do this documentary style story/special about the characters of After Forever told through the lens of the character of Riley, the 11-year-old boy, who is now being homeschooled during the pandemic. He gets an assignment to do a project about the most unforgettable person he has ever met, and he, of course, chooses his best friend, the late Jason Adams, and he enlists all of Jason’s friends and family to join in.  Michael actually said, “What if we tell a story about Riley being homeschooled?” And, not only is Riley a technical genius at 11-years-old in the story, but Finn Douglas, who plays Riley, is a technical genius.

And didn’t Finn perform and write the song “Forever There” contained within the special?

KEVIN. Yes. He is this incredible musician.  Michael thought, “What would it be like if we asked to have the character of Finn sing a song for Jason?”  I said, “Well, what kind of song would we have him sing?”  Finn could play anything, I’m sure, because he’s self-taught, he plays by ear – guitar, piano, and drums.  Michael said, “What if we ask him to see if he could write a song?” and when we heard this song, we all called each other and we all got on Zoom and went, “Can you believe this song?  Can you believe this came out of this 11-year-old?”  It’s pretty incredible.  Michael did a gorgeous job of weaving the stories in and out and how they just sort of dove-tailed into each other, and then it was framed by Riley opening the project and ending the project.  During the Zoom reading we wanted to hear the song out loud.  We said to Finn, “Would you want to sing the song?”  We all just watched everybody on that Zoom call just fall apart.  It was just so beautiful. He’s an amazing talent.

Where is your character within this?

KEVIN:  I still stand in the center of the story of Jason because my character, Brian, was married to Jason, and it sort of connects us all, and through Riley’s understanding of how we all connect to Jason, is how we are all sort of spread out throughout the story.  Michael jokingly said, “You know, you’re not going to be the star of this special,” and I said, “I don’t think it’s about being the star.  It’s really about the storytelling.”  The beauty of Riley’s Unforgettable School Project is that we get to see moments of each person’s relationship with Jason, which Riley sets out to say, “Answer these three questions: What did you like most about Jason?  What did you like least about Jason? And what’s your favorite memory?”  Those three things, cut back and forth is where we all kind of fit in.  Nobody has more of a story than the next person, and it’s all telling honest portrayals of how they’re dealing with their loss of their good friend, or their child, or partner.

It’s a very inventive idea during Covid-19 to continue it in a way where you weren’t having to go shoot a full season of episodes.

KEVIN:  Well, we couldn’t. I have to say, Allison Vanore, who not only produced this special, but she also stepped up saying, “I’d love to direct this,” and I said, “Yes, please!”  She knows the characters.  She understands the story because she’s been a part of it for the last two seasons.  Allison also has this extraordinary amount of knowledge and expertise with the camera and what was needed for a remote shoot, and to also be able to organize filming 13 people in 2 different countries and 5 different cities… that’s just the technical side of it, but having that in our back pocket, knowing that it was a remote shoot, we had to send the camera, the computer, the ring light, and the microphone to each person’s house.  We had to location scout over Zoom.  We had to do wardrobe over Zoom.  It was all this big puzzle putting it together, and once you look at that board of storytelling and how we were going to do it, it kind of fell into place.  I feel blessed that a) we still had Michael with us, at that point, and b) Allison had the know-how to do this.  We all feel that at least this pandemic didn’t keep us from doing what we love.

Photo: AfterForever

In terms of the contribution of Michael Slade in this special, was it the construction of the story, and how was he able to work and write this during his illness?

KEVIN:  Michael’s contribution to the special was no less than the contribution to season 1 and season 2, and the future of season 3, because the scripts are written.  We did everything on Zoom, and we worked around his schedule of treatment.  We scheduled 2 people per day, and we spread them out over two weeks.  He was very present, and when there would be a day where he would say, “I’m going to be an hour late, let’s just push that call time,” I would ask, “Is this too much right now?  We can shelve it; we can stop it.” He’d then say, “Absolutely not, otherwise cancer will win.”  He was determined to stay focused and to stay active because it took his mind off of what was happening to him.

Photo: AfterForever

It would be lovely moment if you both were to win a Daytime Emmy for this project. 

KEVIN:  It’s our last collaboration together as a team, as I said, season 3 has been scripted, and it is on the calendar to get made.  We are just waiting for the COVID restrictions to lift a little bit and everyone to get vaccinated.  Michael was really hit hard with cancer – to stay healthy was so challenging for him.  Sadly, he didn’t make it to see the final edit of the special, and he died four days before we launched, but he had seen the cuts before that and was very approving of it, and had made some decisions, and offered some suggestions, and if God gives him an Emmy for this, it’s not because he died.  It’s because it’s great work.  It just happens to be that the work that was involved in this particular special was very tricky.  It brought up everything, like life itself to have to deal with.  Here we are dealing with the loss of a colleague, the loss of a friend, someone’s brother, someone’s son, this is life imitating art, imitating art imitating life. I can’t tell you the darkness that I went through just experiencing the need to stay focused on getting everything edited, and everything ready, and everything aligned for a release of this project that we had put into motion.  On top of it, our editor lost his mother just before Michael passed, and Allison’s mom was sick at the time, as well.  It took a lot of heavy deep breaths with Michael’s death, and the pandemic, and the loss has, for me, on a personal level, sent me back to really questioning my spiritual muscle and to help remind me that we have to come out of this better than we went into this.  I had many dark nights of the soul this last year, and December was probably the darkest.  I feel like I’m just kind of coming out of it now with the spring revealing itself.

Photo: AfterForever

It must have been extraordinarily difficult for you to also go to New York during a pandemic and also knowing Michael did not have much time left.

KEVIN:  I will say this: I am grateful that I was able to stay in touch with my heart and my instinct and go out to New York to let that be my remote location.  Yes, maybe there was some risk involved.  I wore my mask; I was Covid-19 negative, and I was determined to be fine.  Once I got to New York, I would visit him very protectively with our masks and our gloves, and I’d sit across the room, and then I’d go back to the house I was at.  It was a gift that I was able to see him at that time.  We had some good talks then about how he was feeling, and I think he was still being optimistic, and then once we got the project in the can there was maybe this psychic letting go. That’s when everything really started to reveal itself as this could be the end.  I did go back to see him when he was in hospice.  I think I was there the last two days that he really was able to really stay coherent.  He would close his eyes and be at peace and quiet for a minute, and he would finish a conversation and sort of close his eyes, not to sleep and not to go away, but I remember watching him going, “Look how peaceful he is,” and then he’d open his eyes and he’d remember that he is in this body that has been given a time limit of life, and he’s on his way out.  I’d watch the fear go back in his eyes.  At one point, he did say, “I’m so scared,” and I just held his hand, and I said, “I’m scared too.  Let’s be scared through this together.”  I don’t know how to navigate grief like that.  We are all going to be in a position at some point where we are going to be on the other side of the hand holding.  The wonderful thing is that we were able to have honest communication about our feelings.  I thanked him for everything that he has done for me and how he believed in my talent and creativity and our partnership.  I will always take that with me.  I waved my finger at him, and I said, “Listen.  Now, we wrote a series about a man talking to his deceased husband.  You’d better talk to me!”  So, we laughed about that.

Photo: AfterForever

You’ve done a lot of things in your career from Broadway to television, and of course, daytime fans know you best as Dr. Craig Wesley on DAYS.  How does the entire After Forever project stack up to you within all that you have done?

KEVIN:  Former DAYS casting director Fran Bascom, sought me out and offered me this 2-day role on Days of Our Lives, and those 2 days turned into 8 years, and unbeknownst to me at the time, the final 3 months of that contract of those 8 years, Michael Slade was brought in to write.  We didn’t cross paths at that point, but years later, when we did cross paths in New York, and then After Forever was born, that was that universal crossing point.  I am most proud of the fact that we were able create something fresh, and real, and personal to ourselves that we didn’t have to cater to any “powers that be” that had their vision and their tinkering, that they thought that it could be better in this way or that way.  Then for After Forever to gain such recognition, within the film festivals, and the Emmys, and then, just after Michael died, we won the GLAAD award for Special Recognition this year.  We don’t even fit into one of their categories!  They found a way to acknowledge this project.  If another Emmy happens again, that might be another one to put up on the shelf for After Forever that would be beautiful, and I couldn’t have done it without Michael.

For the Daytime Emmys this year, what category have you entered Riley’s Unforgettable School Project?

KEVIN:  We are not a series this year, we are a daytime fiction special, and the “Daytime Fiction Special” category is a special class.  It’s anything that’s digital in the construct of less than 40 minutes.  NATAS (National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences) is being bombarded with so much content, they’re trying to find ways to put categories together.

Photo: JPI

So, now, when we last saw Days of Lives’ Dr. Craig Wesley, where was he? (Laughs)

KEVIN: (Laughs) He was in a flash from the past or something in the DOOL app’s Last Blast Reunion series. I had a fun time working with Patrika Darbo (Nancy) and Nadia Bjorlin (Chloe), once again.

So, if they were to want Craig to come back to DAYS, would you be all for it?

KEVIN:  Hell yes!

Photo: JPI

Now, what story would you want to be told involving Craig? 

KEVIN:  When Craig was first on the canvas in Salem, there was a lot of mustache twirling and a lot of hand wringing.  He was always plotting; most of the time with Nancy.  It was kind of this high drama, evil villain storyline being told, but when the writers created an opportunity for us to be on after those first three months by bringing on Chloe without a father, there was something real about it.  It may have been told under the construct of soap opera storytelling, but there was a reality-based story about, “You have a daughter, and we are just now finding out about it?”  Then, finding a cure to her health was another realistic story, and finding out that Craig was her real father.  Anything that’s reality based is what I’m getting to.  I would welcome any job that brings me back and gives me an opportunity to dive into something real.

Photo: JPI

Would you welcome the opportunity to play a gay character on daytime; in a medium where there are very few represented in storylines?

KEVIN:  I’d have no problem with that.  Do you know anybody who is starting that?  Let’s do it!  (Laughs) First of all, there’s nothing to hide anymore.  There’s nothing to pretend you’re not anymore.  I would think that bringing in a storyline that deals with anything outside the norm that we are used to seeing would be interesting.  How many times can you retell a story?  How many times can you set the same story up with another couple?  So, why not be diverse and have a stylized story being told through the lens of a gay person.

Photo: AfterForever

In closing, so many go through life without acknowledging people who had an impact them.  We don’t give pats on the back, often enough, and especially in Hollywood, where people can be very self-involved.  You have already paid tribute to Michael Slade in our discussion, but what gift from him is your personal takeaway?

KEVIN:  The gift that Michael really gave to me is to remember to be kind to myself and to others, and to acknowledge and salute the person who is in front of us, because we don’t know when we will have, or if we will have, another moment to do that.

Now below, check out the trailer for Riley’s Unforgettable School Project.  Then let us know, what do you think of its concept? Kevin’s thoughts on the passing of his collaborator on the project, Michael Slade? And, do you hope DAYS brings back Dr. Craig Wesley? Share your thoughts via the comment section.

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General Hospital

GH’s Kin Shriner Talks on Franco’s Demise, Scott’s Budding Romance with Obrecht, and His Enduring On-Screen Partnership with Genie Francis

One of the most beloved actors in the history of General Hospital, Kin Shriner, currently finds his alter-ego, Scott Baldwin, in a new budding on-screen romance with none other than Liesl Obrecht (Kathleen Gati).

This comes on the heels of Scott learning the devastating news that his son, Franco Baldwin was shot and killed, thus writing-off the ABC daytime drama series, for now, popular actor, Roger Howarth.

Photo: JPI

Throughout his now almost 44-year-run on the ABC daytime drama series, Kin Shriner has brought his unique acting chops that helped mold the character of legal eagle Scott Baldwin into the humorous, at times cutthroat, endearing and many times heartbreaking character we have all come to love.’

 

In a brand new exclusive virtual sit-down interview with Michael Fairman on You Tube’s The Michael Fairman Channel, Shriner opens up about his history with GH and the times he stepped away to take on roles on Texas and As the World Turns, and then back again to the town of Port Charles and GH.

Photo: ABC

As well, Kin reveals his reaction to learning the news that Roger Howarth would be exiting the show as his TV son and how he shot the key emotional scene where Laura (Genie Francis) tells Scott that Franco had died.  Shriner shares that he does not see how when Howarth returns to the show in as a yet-to-be-revealed character, that it would be a stretch if the two were some how related, but that he will miss working with the talented Howarth as a scene-partner.

Photo: JPI

As to the women in Scott’s life, Kin addresses each of them from: Lucy (Lynn Herring), Bobbie (Jackie Zeman), Dominque (Shell Danielson), Laura (Francis), Ava (Maura West) – to which the character could never get that close to – and now Liesl (Gati), and working opposite all the powerhouse actresses who portray them.

Photo: ABC

For fans of General Hospital who have watched the series for decades, Kin also shares memories of working with his late TV parents, Peter Hansen (Lee), Susan Brown (Gail) and his friend and former GH castmate John Reilly (Sean), plus backstage stories with his longtime scene partner, Genie Francis.

Watch the entire conversation with Kin below.

Now let us know, are you all for the Scott and Liesl romance? Will you miss scenes between Scott and Franco?  Would you ever want to see Scott and Laura reunite romantically? Share your thoughts in the comment section.

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Interviews

Y&R’s Newman Kids Talk 48th Anniversary, Storylines, Camaraderie, and Take the Trivia Challenge

On Friday, to celebrate the 48th anniversary of The Young and the Restless (which premiered back on March 26th,1973) Michael Fairman chatted virtually with the actors who comprise the adult Newman family children; Joshua Morrow (Nick), Amelia Heinle (Victoria), Mark Grossman (Adam), Hunter King (Summer) and Melissa Ordway (Abby).

During the conversation, on You Tube’s the Michael Fairman Channel, the actors discussed what it was like coming into the iconic Newman clan when they first debuted, behind-the-scenes moments and laughs they share working with each other, and what it has been like for them to share scenes with their iconic TV father, Eric Braeden (Victor) and for some of the kids, their on-screen mother, Melody Thomas Scott (Nikki).

In addition, each touch upon their current Y&R storyline where:Nick is involved with Phyllis again, Adam is on to Chelsea, Victoria is trying to be in the woman in charge of the company and she finds herself boyfriend-less, Summer has her hands full with the arrival of Tara Locke and Sally Spectra who may all destroy her relationship with Kyle, and Abby wanting to have a baby via surrogacy with the sperm donor being Devon.

Later, Michael plays a round of “Stump the Newman” trivia where the actors are put to the test to see just who knows the history of the Newman clan best. Watch what happens when the mention of the notorious and ill-fated reliquary storyline is brought up!

Joshua, Amelia, Mark, Hunter, and Melissa also express what it has meant to them to be a part of the legacy of The Young and the Restless, and still later Joshua’s daughter, Charlie, even makes a special guest appearance.

Now watch the conversation in full with the Newman kids below. 

Then let us know, what was your favorite moment of the interview? How do you hope their current storylines resolve? What was your favorite and least favorite storyline of all-time for Nick, Victoria, Adam, Abby, and Summer? Share your thoughts in the comment section.

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Y&R’s Joshua Morrow, Amelie Heinle, Mark Grossman, Hunter King and Melissa Ordway chat with Michael Fairman about being a part of and portraying the Newman Children as the show celebrates its 48th anniversary.Leave A Comment

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