Why We Love Soaps-Ron Hale Interview 7/10

Any ABC soap fan worth their bubbles recognizes the names "Roger Coleridge" and "Mike Corbin."  These are two staples of ABC daytime history brought to vivid life by the talented and fascinating actor Ron Hale.  But how does he see the impact of his creations, and what is the next step in his long career?  The answers to all of these are coming up over this series of interviews.  Please enjoy!

We Love Soaps: I am so glad to speak with you Ron and to use this space to celebrate your contributions to daytime.  You recently came in [at #47 on] our Best 50 Soap Actors Ever list.  This was based on rankings by 15 different soap critics and journalists who have covered the genre over the past 35 years. 
Ron Hale: That is quite something.  One of our directors came up to me the other day and said, “Hey, you made the Top 50!”  A lot of people saw that and heard about that. 

We Love Soaps: Let’s go back 41 years ago to when a young actor starting out was cast on SEARCH FOR TOMORROW
Ron Hale: Which I remember basically nothing about.  Honest to God, it was such a short stint.  The main thing I remember was being in awe about how they did this thing with three cameras so quickly.  A lot of the older actors had been for years, it was such a learning experience.  Learning to tone everything down, I remember, because I was not on stage. 

We Love Soaps: You are primarily a theater trained actor.  Did daytime work help support your theater work?
Ron Hale: I think so, sure.  I did SEARCH, LOVE IS A MANY SPLENDORED THING.  I don’t know if I want to say those two shows gave me a leg up on other people, but at least I had done it enough that I knew the drill.  I knew how hard I had to prepare.  It’s just technical things like if you’re sitting down on a sofa, or getting up from a sofa, don’t do it too fast so the camera guys can follow you.  Just little stuff like that.

We Love Soaps: Did you have to change the way you speak or articulate for television versus theater?
Ron Hale: Back in the day when I was doing live theater, nobody was miked.  Of course now everyone is miked in all musicals.  It was all about projection, you had to fill a one thousand seat theater and make sure the “real theater lovers,” that is, those in the balcony, could hear everything.  Of course when you are projecting like that, you are trying to be honest and real in what you are doing.  That’s a whole different art form because you have to speak rather loudly, with feeling, and make it real.  So going into daytime, today you could practically whisper in a scene today and they are going to pick it up.  But back then you had to speak in a conversational tone.  That was difficult I think for most actors coming to daytime with theater training, that the first few times you can just talk like a person.  It’s kind of a relief after awhile, to realize you don’t have to have people half a block away hear you.  So when I got to the point when I was doing the auditions for RYAN’S HOPE, I had some confidence going into it from that standpoint. 

We Love Soaps: What do you recall about working on LOVE IS A MANY SPLENDORED THING?
Ron Hale: John Conboy was the producer.  He was a good friend of my agent.  He had seen my theater work, and really wanted to get me on the show.  He brought me in for two different roles over a year and a half and I just wasn’t right for any of them.  Finally he called me in for Dr. Jim Abbott.  I got the role, and everyone was excited.  I had been on the show for a month when I was called into his office.  I thought, “Oh my Gosh, am I screwing this up badly?” He told me that they were very happy with what I was doing, and he was thrilled I was there, but that the show was going off the air.  Apparently they all knew this when I was hired.  They knew that we only had about another six months, which I obviously didn’t know.   He told me he was going to go out to L.A. to start producing a new show, which I’m sure was YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS.

In hindsight, it was quite tense around there.  A lot of these actors had been on there a long time and they were going to be unemployed.  Over the years people tend to get along with each other in a work situation.  But when they know it’s going to end, sometimes they stop being as polite as they used to be.  So there were some tense moments with actors going at each other.  But again, it was a great experience. 

We Love Soaps: Unfortunately, this has become more and more commonplace in recent years.
Ron Hale: Oh yeah.  It’s getting scary out there.  I heard yesterday that GH is only going to be filming like three weeks out of the month.  That it’s going to be taking  a week off every frigging month! I guess this saves money.  I don’t know how this saves money, but that seems to be what they are going to do.  Again, this is just what I hear, and I don’t have my ear to the ground when it comes to what’s going on in the business.  And certainly I don’t know what’s going on with other shows.  But it seems like with the bits and pieces I get that daytime is having a rough time. 

We Love Soaps: You were cast in what myself and many other readers consider to be one of the very best soaps, at one of the very best times to be working in daytime.  Tell me what you were doing when RYAN’S HOPE came your way.
Ron Hale: I was in Washington, D.C. doing All the President's Men. It was a very rainy day when I auditioned.  I got there a half hour before my interview with Robert Redford.  The appointment was 1 p.m. in the afternoon, and he didn’t show.  It became 45 minutes later, I’m still sitting there.  All of the sudden, the doors open in this beautiful office and he comes running in soaked to death, apologizing to me up and down.  Remember, it was 1975, people didn’t have cell phones.  He was apologizing because his meeting ran late, he couldn’t get a cab.  He said, “Come with me to the office,” and he kept on apologizing for holding me up.  This is Robert Redford!  So we chatted, and we talked about everything in the world except acting.  We did not discuss theater or movies or movie stars.  We talked about politics and sports.  I don’t know if it was out of kindness because he was so late, but I must have sat there for 40 minutes, we just talked.  He basically said to me, “This role I’m interviewing you for, to be completely honest, is really a ‘nothing’ role.  You'll be seen for  a few seconds.  The characters is 20 years older than you and 40 pounds heavier.”  We ended the interview, shook hands, and again he apologized profusely.

Then about four weeks later my agent called and said, “I have a message for you.  Mr. Redford says to age 20 years, gain 40 pounds, and head on down to Washington, D.C. in a week.”  I played one of the Watergate burglars.  You don’t really see me, you get a glimpse of me here and there.  But this was a two week gig that turned into four.  One day we were doing a location shot.  We were outside the trailers.  [Redford] came out of his trailer, asked me if I was a good catcher, went back into his trailer, threw me a mitt, and he started pitching to me.  We spent a half hour there throwing the baseball.  That was really cool.

So I was doing that when I got the call to come to New York to audition with Shirley Rich for RYAN’S HOPE.  She said, “Great Ron, I always love your work.”  I went back to Washington and a week or so later my agent called and said, “They want to see you again.”  I went back, read with Paul [Avila Mayer] and Claire [Labine].  They put me on tape.  I guess it was a Roger/Jillian scene.  I did my thing on tape, they were all sitting there watching.  Claire was very effusive, saying, “Oh, that was wonderful.”  I said, “Thanks a lot.”  I was getting up to leave when they said, “We know you have to go to Washington, but would you mind staying and doing the same scene with a couple more actresses?” I said, “Sure, no problem.”  Something  inside me said, “This is really a good sign.”  A few weeks later I got the call, “They want you.” That was the beginning of a wonderful run.

We Love Soaps: Given you had just had this wonderful experience working with Robert Redford in a Hollywood film, did you have reservations about signing on to do a soap opera in New York?
Ron Hale: Oh sure.  My whole thing was I had a wife and three step kids.  It was a thirteen week guarantee.  I just came off working four weeks on a movie and got paid probably more money I seen in my whole life.  I had some money in my pocket, and signed a contract with ABC.  All I knew was that we were starting a new show, no one knew how it was going to go.  I said, “Of course I’ll sign, I’m guaranteed a certain amount of money for 13 weeks.” And that’s why I took it.  I had a family to keep a roof over their head, food on the table, shoes on their feet. 

RYAN’S HOPE was a wonderful time.  Not only because Paul [Avila Mayer] and Claire [Labine] created these wonderfully honest and real characters.  But it was a totally collaborative effort.  They were head writers and executive producers.  They were at the studio every day.  That was the most wonderful situation you could have.  This was their baby, they created it.  If you had any questions you could go to them, it was an open door policy.  I remember this one Friday night I got home from work and that night I got a call from Claire.  She said, “Did you get the script for Monday?” I said, “Yes, I got it today at the studio.”  She said, “Did you get a chance to glance it? We were a little worried because in that one scene with Delia, Paul and I weren’t sure if you thought it was right for Roger to do this.”  I remember at the time I was flabbergasted.  I thought, “My God, these people trust my opinion about what this character would actually do or say?” I can’t remember exactly what the scene was.  But she said, “We were kind of on the edge with this.  It’s no problem, we can do some rewrites over the weekend.”  I said, no, except maybe some word changes, which they always allowed us to do.  But I said, “No, the essence of the scene is fine.  It’s a challenge, and I think Roger would certainly do this,” whatever it was.  She said, “Oh, thank God! We are so thrilled.  Good, good, good.”

That was part and parcel of why that was such a wonderful show.  It wasn’t, “Here’s your script, here’s what you say...” with no discussion. They trusted the people they hired.  They trusted that we were fairly intelligent and fairly talented people who would have opinions about their characters.  That seems to be really gone.  I look back on those years, and all those shows as they started going to an hour, starting having three executive producers.  Now it’s big production numbers.  Everyone has to have big car crashes, cave-ins, hospitals blowing up.  They do so many things that I think are done better in primetime and in movies than they ever are on soaps no matter how hard they try to make them look real.  It just looks like a soap opera trying to do an action film.  It always reads that way to me. 

We Love Soaps: I have always said that Maeve Ryan could do more damage with a disapproving look than Sonny Corinthos could do with a bullet. 
Ron Hale: Absolutely. Have you ever talked to Rosie O’Donnell about RYAN’S HOPE? That was the family that she wanted to be a part of.  That was heaven for her to imagine having a mom like Maeve, having brothers and sisters like the Ryan kids.  And she wasn’t the only one in America.

We Love Soaps: Roger Coleridge was the only non-Ryan to stay on the show during its entire run.  The others had been related by marriage.  He operated outside the lines.  I have said that decades before E/R or GREY'S ANATOMY, Ron Hale showed how to make the life of an ethically challenged TV doctor sexy, fun, and delightfully devious on RYAN'S HOPE.
Ron Hale: Well, thank you. 

We Love Soaps: How did you relate to Roger?
Ron Hale: In the beginning it was kind of difficult.  Paul and Claire had given us all biographies on our characters.  They gave me an envelope with 20 pages written about our characters.  They had written Roger’s entire childhood.

We Love Soaps: Do you still have that biography?
Ron Hale:No.  I wish to God I did.  I have no clue whatever happened to that.  So here I was an actor, and they are saying, “Okay, here is the character you are playing, and this is why he is who he is from the day he was born.” It was amazing.  Yet still, on paper, Roger could have been a mustache twirler.  He could have been more villainous but I just didn’t see that.  Once again, if somebody is a little on the bad side or the evil side, they don’t look at themselves that way.  This is the way they behave and they are perfectly happy that way.  I just kept looking at Roger and saying the same thing.  He is self-centered, upwardly mobile, he hates the Ryan clan, he hates the boys.  There was a little jealousy there to some extent because Roger’s father never gave him a hug.  He was always trying to get his father’s love by being the best at whatever he did, which was school or surgery.

But that was the thing I fought from the get-go.  How do I make this guy do these things and make them rational choices? Not just, “Oh I’m going to blackmail my sister for no reason.”  I always tried to find something that the audience and myself would understand why Roger was thinking that way.  Not just trying to hurt somebody.  It was about finding the humor in the character.  And that came about with Ilene [Kristen] and myself.  They were not going to have us paired together in the beginning.  But then we had to some scenes together.  And I can remember like it was yesterday that from day one we hit it off.  We were madly in love with each other as co-workers.  I loved her work. We started doing scenes together.  We would just look at each other and we knew, “Oh my God, we can really have fun with this. It doesn’t have to be heavy.  We can find moments to lighten it up and have these characters be funny.”  I know that caught on with Paul and Claire when they first saw us do that stuff.  They said, “This is great. You guys can do stuff and be silly and at the same time have the ability to screw up other people’s lives.”  Claire described Roger as a “rake.”  I loved the booze, loved the women, loved the money.

We Love Soaps: And the leopard print sheets!
Ron Hale: And the leopard print sheets.

We Love Soaps: Now when Roger was scheming with either Delia or Rae there was literally a sparkle, a gleam in his eye.  Were you aware of this?
Ron Hale: I think it was just enjoyment. I hate the term “in the moment,” it is so overused.  But in those scenes doing things, whether it was plotting with Rae or Delia or whoever, there was enjoyment in doing those scenes.  It was like a couple of little kids plotting, “Okay, we’re going to sneak over there, we’re going to throw toilet paper in the tree.”  There was that conspiratorial joy of those scenes.  I wasn’t looking it the mirror seeing how I could make my eyes twinkle.  I think that was the enjoyment of just working with wonderful actors and having those moments be real between us.

We Love Soaps: What, in your mind, led to the decline and ultimate cancellation of RYAN’S HOPE?
Ron Hale: The network.

We Love Soaps: How so?
Ron Hale: I’m not saying anything out of school here, this is common knowledge.  Paul [Avila Mayer] and Claire [Labine] fought tooth and nail from day one to keep the integrity of what they wrote and what they created.  Networks have a habit of people getting paid money to be in executive decisions and making decisions, whether they are right, wrong, or indifferent, just to justify their paychecks.  This is in every business, not just ours.  They’ll say, “You shouldn’t have this” and “You need a little more of this,” when the show was moving along just beautifully.  Everyone had to put in their two cents, and I saw Paul and Claire fight constantly to keep that show the simple and beautiful show that it was.  Ergo, when ABC took over, holy mackrel!  All of a sudden, you took this simple perfect little set-up with these families on the Upper West Side,  that everyone in America could relate to, and they said, “Well, we need some gangsters and stuff.”  It was a formula, that was working on other shows.  That was great for the other shows.  But they didn’t fit on RYAN’S HOPE.

I never blame an actor for getting a job.  If somebody gets hired on GENERAL HOSPITAL or RYAN’S HOPE, if the network hires them, they hired them, and you are happy the actor got the job.  Now maybe five months into it you realize this isn’t a wonderful person and they can’t act their way out of paper bag.  But it’s not the actor’s fault that they got the job.  So they started bringing in some people from the left coast.  And, nothing against them personally, but attitudes changed.  Actors were coming on the show and walking up to the cameraman and saying, “Are you getting a medium shot of me, or a profile?” All of a sudden you’re standing there going, “What!?” We never asked that of our cameramen.  We were just doing our scenes and it was up to them to take the shot.  Some actors would ask, “Are you coming in tight on me?” and we were rolling our eyes asking, “What the hell is this? Just do the frickin’ scene, let them do their job.” 

So things just got weird.  I remember working at this great restaurant/bar in New York back in the '60s on the Upper East side.  I would make a ton of money there when I wasn’t acting.  It occupied the lower floor of a building.  The place was packed, great food, great ambiance.  After a couple of years they bought the building next door, tore down the wall, and doubled the size of the place.  And guess what? Their business went right down the crapper.  They couldn’t stay with a simple thing that worked.  They got greedy.  The people that were there on a constant basis stopped coming.  That is what I liken RYAN’S HOPE to.  It was this wonderful little restaurant and it was doing so well.  Then you come in, you start fiddling around with it, and that’s what I saw.  Then ratings started going down, and you had the LOVING situation.  Agnes Nixon, of course, had a tremendous amount of power though. 

We Love Soaps: RYAN’S HOPE lost their primary time slot to LOVING.
Ron Hale: That was part and parcel of it.  When it came down to the end it was basically them saying, “If one has to go it’s going to be RYAN’S HOPE.  This is an Agnes Nixon show and we’re going to keep it.”  I’m not against her.  I just remember the politics involved. 

We Love Soaps: How did the role of Mike Corbin on GENERAL HOSPITAL come about?
Ron Hale: My wife passed away in 1992 from a car accident.  I had to sell our house, and went back to my brother’s theater in South Carolina and did  a production of "MacBeth" with him.  Then I got a movie called Trial By Jury starring Armand Assante and William Hurt.  I was hired for two weeks, and it turned into four or five.  Everyone kept saying, “Come out to L.A., they love a fresh face,” even though I wasn’t a fresh face.  But the idea was that there were guys in my age range that get used all the time.  So I sold my house, I jumped in my car, and drove west.  I stayed with Nancy Addison’s husband, Danny.  I had enough money leftover from the sale of the house that I knew I could live in L.A. for a year.  I thought, “If I don’t get a job in L.A. this year then I might as well pack in the whole acting thing.” 

Out of the clear blue sky I got a call from Mark Teschner, who I hadn’t seen in years, who cast LOVING. I did not know Claire was head writing GENERAL HOSPITAL.  Mark said, “I hear you’re in town.  There is a role coming up around December, it’s just being written, I don’t know if you’re interested in daytime.”  I asked what it was about?  He gave me a breakdown of the character, I didn’t know who Sonny Corinthos was.  He said, “They’re writing this character to give this kid a background.  He’s kind of just there and doesn’t have a background. He’s kind of a sleazy guy who ran away from his family.  His kid hates his guts, but he comes to Port Charles to try to make amends.  After six months you’re going to take a bullet and die.”  After six months they figured Sonny and his father will start to get close.  At that point the old man will jump in front of his son, take a bulllet, and get killed. 

Six months later Wendy Riche called me into her office.  She said, “You know you’re taking the bullet in a couple of weeks.”  I said, “Wendy, don’t remind me.   She asked if I was enjoying it, and I said, “You know I am, I am loving this role. I’m working with Maurice, and Tony Geary, all the time, I’m working a lot.”  She said, “We love you, the audience is crazy about you.  We want you to take the bullet, but would you like to live?” I said, “Would I ever!” That was 15 years ago!

We Love Soaps: What’s interesting to me is that characters on soaps do terrible things and are quickly forgiven all the time.  Mike is still on the hook for abandoning Sonny as a child all these years later.  Why is that?
Ron Hale: I can be honest about that.  They haven’t touched on this for a long time.  Mike has really been put in the background which I do understand to a certain extent.

We Love Soaps: How do you understand it?
Ron Hale: I can’t totally go into it.  But it’s the way the show is going, and that’s fine.  It’s fine because I’m getting to the end of my long run in my own mind.  Jill [Farren Phelps] knows this.  I’m going to be moving on.  Not tomorrow or anything.  But I’ve had a great run there, and I’m ready to leave Southern California.  I’ve gotta go find me a farm somewhere. 

We Love Soaps: As a long term viewer of GH I’m sad to hear that.  Mike is just this saddened broken man who I had hoped could move on and find some sort of happiness.
Ron Hale: Like we used to say in New York, “From your mouth to God’s ear.”  I used to walk in the show and literally ask a producer, “I’ve been on the show seven years. Has Mike ever bedded a woman?” They’d say, “Oh yeah!” I’d say, “Oh really? When?” They’d say, “It was off camera.” They wanted the audience to imagine that he and Tammy had gone and done the deed.

We Love Soaps: In every scene Mike carries such sadness.  Do you enjoy portraying that grief versus Roger’s fun? 
Ron Hale: Even though he and Sonny have gotten so much better over the years, there is still that parental guilt for what he did.  I mean, he gave the kid a bicycle for this birthday when he was ten years old.  Sonny was teary-eyed, saying “How great, my dad bought me a bicycle.”  And the next day Mike hocked it and went to the race track.  Those are things that Mike could never forgive himself for.  He just can’t.  He abandoned that kid and his wife because he was selfish, he was a gambler, he was a boozer, and it was all about him satisfying his own cravings.  

We Love Soaps: Do you think Mike deserves forgiveness? 
Ron Hale: If I were Sonny, I’d say no.  I think Sonny understands him now.  We had a scene a couple of years ago where Sonny said something about being a parent, and being able to see how tough it is and how he could understand some of the things Mike did.  In other words, you’ve got to be one before you can understand it all.  But he doesn’t forgive Mike for what he did.  I mean, Mike abandoned his wife who was a beautiful woman and loved him to death.  She ends up marrying this ex-cop Deke who roughs Sonny up.  Sonny is a 10-year-old kid watching this guy come home drunk and slap his mother around.  Sonny keeps saying, “Where’s Daddy to protect me and mommy?”  Mike was in a bar somewhere in Vegas and playing with dance hall girls.  How can anyone forgive that? 

We Love Soaps: Do you think people who make mistakes that are detrimental to their families and  hurtful to themselves ever deserving of forgiveness?  Could Mike ever be deserving of happiness?
Ron Hale: I think philosophically everybody makes mistakes.  People should be able to forgive to a certain extent.  But certain things you cannot forgive, certain behaviors you cannot forgive.  Ever.  I’ve had experiences in my life with friends where I have done things that have hurt them and vice versa.  We have all made those kinds of mistakes.  When I know this person didn’t mean to malicious, and it just happened.  You’re upset for awhile, and you get over it.  You hurt people that you love, and you do it without trying to do it.  You do it because you’re a human being, and none of us are perfect.

But getting back to Mike, those things were so traumatic for Sonny.  I envisioned this early on.  I saw him as a kid, with Deke pushing him away, as he stood there and slapped his mother in the face.  While little Michael Corinthos Jr. tries to stop him and Deke would swat him away like a fly.  He was a helpless child watching his mother get beaten.  All he prayed for was that his daddy would be there to protect him.  It was unconscionable.  I don’t know how Sonny could ever forgive that.  Mike has tried for fifteen years in his mind to rectify the situation.  At least he has tried. 

We Love Soaps: You said earlier you are ready to leave California.  What’s next for you?
Ron Hale:  I have lived out here [in Southern California] about 16 years.  It’s a beautiful place, but I need to go somewhere where I can sit on a porch and hear it rain.  And feel it rain.  I need to be somewhere where there is a change in season.  Not a drastic change, I’m not talking about Minnesota.  But somewhere in the Southern states where I can get a nice piece of property, 50-100 acres.  I’d like to get an old farm house that I can work in, fix things up, and have animals again.  I’d like to have a big garden again, and live around fresh water lakes where I can go fishing and work with my hands again.  I miss that so tremendously living here - the changes in season, where winter lasts a few months, I can chop wood like I used to, and read a lot.  I want to see spring again.  I love the idea of the rebirth.  I love watching wild flowers come up and the trees getting leaves again.

We Love Soaps: Would you like to do all that and still act?
Ron Hale: No. When I walk, I’m walkin’.

We Love Soaps: As a fan of yours I’m sad to hear that.  But I sure do understand what you’re saying. 
Ron Hale: It’s been 45 years since I unpacked my one suitcase in New York City and went to my first class at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts.  I have been so blessed with my career.  Nobody appreciates it more than I do.  But that took a lot of hard work and dedication.  There will be a lot of people who will know where I end up, and they will have my number.  If someone needs something, like, “Ron, we’re doing this theater production in Boise, Idaho, and the guy playing the lead just got sick and we’re opening in three weeks, can you come out?”  Of course I would do that.  I’ve done it before.

I’m not saying I’m burnt out, it’s just time to move on.  The years are getting by, and I still have a tremendous amount of energy.  I love to travel, I love to play golf, I’d love to get out on a small tractor and clear up half an acre of land and plant it and watch stuff grow.  It’s very idyllic, but I can make it happen.  And it’s the year 2010, I can be on a plane and be anywhere I want.  It’s not like I’m going off to live in a cave and grow a long beard.  But all the people who know me know that this is something I have craved all my life.  It’s so funny, here I am in a business where I get on stage in front of hundreds and hundreds of strangers to make them laugh or cry.  Yet, all my life all I’ve really craved is living in a cabin somewhere with a couple of dogs hunting and fishing.

We Love Soaps: You sound complete and content when you talk about it.
Ron Hale: It’s always been a dream, and now I’m at the point where I can make that dream come true. 

We Love Soaps: You gave an interview in 1976 in which you said, “You have to be a person before you can be an actor.”  What does that mean?
Ron Hale: In order to portray other human beings and different walks of life, in order to become that person for two hours on stage, or ten minutes on order, if you don’t understand humanity, if you don’t understand your brother man or sister, which is understanding yourself, you have to be a complete person. You have to know how to feel pain, to feel hurt, you have to be sensitive to other people, to their ways of life, to what they do for a living.

I remember a young actor in New York saying derogatory things about sanitation workers.  I almost bashed in his nose.  I said, “What the hell are you talking about? That guy is busting his ass out there all day long.”  He said, “How can they do that? It’s picking up other people’s garbage!” I said, “He has a wife and kids to feed.  He could be very content.  Yeah, he’s picking up garbage, but does that make him less than you? You will never be actor.”  He said, “What the hell are you talkin’ about?” I said, “If you can’t get into that guy’s mind, if you can’t see where he’s coming from, and how he could be content, then how can you portray other human beings?”

We Love Soaps: It’s interesting you say that.  I just gave an interview tonight where I said a similar thing about therapists.  I think it’s the people who have survived and overcome adversity who are more available to assist and promote mental health. 
Ron Hale: Absolutely.  That’s exactly what I meant in that quote.  Now again, I’m not a confrontational person.  I do everything in my power to be non-confrontational.  But I can only be pushed so far, and then look out.  I remember this actor on RYAN’S HOPE.  I can picture the kid, but I don’t remember his name.  He was on the show a few months and getting really cocky, thinking he’s James Dean.  I heard him in the make-up room one day talking about this-and-that.  I walked up to him and in a very low voice said, “If you spent three days a week with an acting coach instead of three days a week at the gym working out your abs, you might get somewhere.”  His mouth was just open.  I don’t think that sunk in.

That’s one of those things I have run into more and more, and have certainly run into that a lot more out here than I ever did in New York.  The physical image has become more important than the training or having the need as a person to do the thing we do.  But most of those people don’t last.  If you’re just a me-me-me person, and all you care about is limousines and paparazzi, and want to be a star instead of an actor, then that is the big difference.

Damon L. Jacobs is a Licensed Therapist now accepting new clients in New York City.  He is also the author of the popular book "Absolutely Should-less: The Secret to Living the Stress-Free Life You Deserve," currently available at Amazon.com. For more information about scheduling an appointment, please email him at Shouldless@gmail.com.