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Day of the Jackal

GENERAL HOSPITAL's Bradford Anderson explains why he believes fan events are so fun — and why Damian Spinelli has retired from public appearances for good.

Soap Opera Weekly: What kind of reaction do you tend to get at fan events?

Bradford Anderson: Most of the time the first comment is, "Oh, wow, it's weird to see you not talk like Spinelli. You're kind of normal, aren't you (laughs)?" That's fun for me, because Spinelli is very much a character, something I come in to work, put on, and take off when I leave work. To have people say that means to me that I was successful in creating a character that lives on his own, that has distinguishable characteristics that I don't carry around in my normal life. It means I was successful in building something from the ground up. As an actor, that is satisfying to hear. It's fun for me to be a chameleon, for people to look at me and realize that those things I do at work are not things I do on a daily basis.

Weekly: Do fans ask you to give them a Spinelli-esque nickname?

Anderson: Once, when we were taking questions from the audience [during a 2007 "Fun in the Sun" event at the University of Florida], someone asked me to "speak Spinelli," and the strangest thing happened: I couldn't do it! I couldn't just throw it on. I made kind of an a-- of myself. Everyone was satisfied with what I did, but I felt completely disconnected from it. I couldn't find a way into it; it was so weird. I realized that when I come to work and I put on these clothes and mess up my hair, it's something I get into — and something I'm very happy to leave at work. After that, I decided I'm not doing it. Spinelli does not make public appearances; Bradford does. I leave him at work, and that's more than okay for me. I don't mean to say that I'm completely different from him, because I'm a pretty excitable person when I'm up in front of a lot of people. I'm pretty animated, and I'm not a quiet person, so I don't think I need to bring him out. I do fine without him (laughs). Since then, I've never spoken in character at a public appearance.

Weekly: Well, they are there to see you...

Anderson: Yeah, I think it's more interesting to see me. No — that sounds presumptuous.... It's fun for those people I see more than once at these public appearances to get to know me. It's fun for me, and I think it might be even more interesting for those people who have seen me in my real clothes to then watch me on TV and see what I do at work. There's something really fun about seeing the difference, and also the similarities. It's fun to have a dual life.

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