You recently hosted a mystery cruise. How did that go?
“That turned out rather fantastic. There were about 30-40 people in the group and it was a great time. They all wanted to do it again the following week, so you know it was successful. Every day on board, they had a clue or two and went around and tried to figure out the clues on the ship. It was fun. The people running it did a very good job. At the end, someone is accused of the crime. The only thing is, this was a little tricky and nobody came up with [the culprit] so they made one up. It was really cute. We stopped in the Cayman Islands, which was fun. I didn’t realize, but Stefano should run for governor of the Cayman Islands! They really like him there. I didn’t even think about the banks and money that goes there; I should have taken advantage of that [laughs]. What an idiot.”How are you involved with the City of Hope charity?
“It’s an important charity and it’s quite wonderful because of what they do for people. I was at an event and Kevin Dobson [Mickey] was there and Patrika [Darbo, ex-Nancy], too. I helped sell things during the auction. You know the ship the Andrea Doria that sunk [in 1956]? Well, they asked me if I would raffle off some paper money that was found from the Andrea Doria and I said, ‘Yes, and you don’t even have any idea that I have been on that ship.’ So, when I was up there in front of the crowd, I told them this story about how my mom and dad went to Europe on the Andrea Doria and I went on the ship to see them off. I was in school and they were supposed to come back on the trip that it sunk and I thought they were on it. I went bonkers. I flew back to Connecticut and I finally got a telegram that they decided to stay in Italy for another month. So, when I told then that story, the auction price went up to $4000-$5,000.”How is work?
“I’m enjoying it. The thing that I find rather interesting at the moment is that they kind of have Stefano dealing with Nicole in a different kind of way. She’s happy about it and I am, too, because Arianne [Zucker, Nicole] is a nice gal. The writing for Stefano has been better, so that’s always encouraging. Gary [Tomlin, co-executive producer] is actor-friendly and he has some insights that are good.”
What do you think about all the Emmy nominations?
“I don’t have a lot in my heart about these prizes for actors, but what I was happy about is that the show got nominated. That’s the main thing for me, especially going through all the stuff we’ve gone through. That part of it was gratifying.”
Do you remember your first day at DAYS?
“Holy moly! Thaao Penghlis [ex-Tony/Andre], who knew me, called me up the night before and said, ‘I hear you’re going to be Daddy.’ I was lucky because of the writer at the time, Pat Falken Smith — she’s the one that created Stefano. It was very interesting because I had not done soaps before and I didn’t know how long I wanted to do it, but with Smith there, it was a wonderful experience. I came on the set talking like Stefano because once we had decided that he was European, I said, ‘I’ll do an accent,’ so I spent time talking to people to try and figure out where he was from. I remember I had asked for a cigarette and one of the producers came running down on the set and said, ‘You can’t smoke.’ I said, ‘Are you crazy? This guy is from Europe. They smoke so much over there.’ I did it anyway, but it was for a specific reason in the script because I don’t smoke! I noticed in the following weeks, they had him smoking every five minutes and I called them and said, ‘I don’t want to smoke! It was only for a particular moment!’ “