Bowling With Jerry verDorn

Soap Opera Weekly caught up with ONE LIFE TO LIVE’s Jerry verDorn at the Oct. 11 Daytime Stars and Strikes charity event for the American Cancer Society.Soap Opera Weekly: Is it a little bittersweet, doing this since you started it when GUIDING LIGHT was on the air, and now the show’s gone?

Jerry verDorn: Yes. The demise of GL really hurt me. It was part of me for 27 years, so I was very sad to see it go. But in terms of it affecting this event, it really didn’t, because the actors are still kind enough to come and join in. This is year number six, and we’ve been averaging $12,000 a year — all of which goes to the American Cancer Society for research and development. So they are giving a substantial amount of their time: Three-to-four hours on a beautiful Sunday afternoon in October is asking quite a bit, and nobody gets paid. Everybody here is a volunteer and the people who put this together…it’s a year-long job. It’s kind of like Macy’s [Thanksgiving] parade: you take a rest for one day and then start thinking about next year.

Weekly: Exactly. It’s wonderful. It’s wonderful that you host it. It’s wonderful that everyone comes out.

verDorn: Well, cancer in one way or another touches absolutely everybody. And years ago, the soaps kind of broke ground, even before prime time, by dealing with cancer. I remember Bert Bauer, a GL character in the early ’60s, was dealing with cervical cancer when you couldn’t even say cancer on TV. So everybody responds to it because of a friend, a family member or they themselves may have been touched by cancer.

Weekly: Your whole ONE LIFE TO LIVE family had a great turnout here, too.

verDorn: Yeah, my current TV family really came through, and I appreciate every one of them coming here, because they could be doing other things, too. But, once again, they all tell me it’s for the cause and not just because I’m a nice guy. [laughs] They want to come out and honor someone that they know by raising money. And if you can be absolutely goofy and stupid and sell all this stuff to fans and make money at the same time, it’s a beautiful thing.

Weekly: Your onscreen daughters, Bree Williamson and Melissa Archer, are here, too.

verDorn: I know. I have daughters all over the place. So I’m very pleased with the turnout, and the fans really get to see the actors in a light they never seen them before.

Weekly: How about Clint? Are we going to see him in a light that we haven’t seen before?

verDorn: Yeah, you are.

Weekly: I love it, because Clint is sort of turning into Asa in a lot of ways.

verDorn: You know that happens, and not just because the writers want it that way, but it happens a lot in life. Sometimes you look in the mirror and you say, “Oh, hello, Mom; hello, Dad.” You start looking and behaving like your parents, and a lot of times the sins of the father come back and revisit the son. I think it’s a great thing, because it happens in families all the time. And Clint is going to go slightly bonkers. It should be a lot of fun.

Weekly: Well, we can only hope he finds out that Bo and Nora have been making out behind his back.

verDorn: [laughs] Oh, my God! It’s going to hit the fan. I’m telling you, those feathers are going to be everywhere. It’ll make for some very nice soap.

Weekly: I remember it was so priceless during the David reality show segment a while back, when you had to whip out the shotgun.

verDorn: I love it when Tuc (Watkins, David) comes back.

Weekly: It’s such a great dynamic between him and the Buchanans.

verDorn: I love to see Tuc and Peter Bartlett (Nigel). It’s just a hoot. I keep hoping Tuc flies in. Because he’s based on the West Coast, he flies in, does a whole bunch of shows and goes away again. It’s tough on everybody, but so much fun.