A Q&A with Kevin Mambo

ONE LIFE TO LIVE has upped its quotient of Emmy-winning cast members by hiring Kevin Mambo to play the role of Dr. Jordan Kingsley, replacing Jarrett Willis. Mambo played Marcus on GUIDING LIGHT from 1995-’98; during that time he won two Daytime Emmys in the Younger Actor category. Here, the actor talks about his future in Llanview and his past in Springfield.Soap Opera Weekly: What appealed to you about One Life to Live and this role?
Kevin Mambo: I’d always wanted to do one of the ABC shows. Especially after being, at the time, at a very conservative place like GUIDING LIGHT, I’d found some of the ABC shows to be a little younger. The storylines were a little bit hipper. Just because of the situation I was in then, I didn’t get a chance to do a whole lot. So, it was an appealing thing to do. I thought ABC would be a great place. And I also get a chance to play a doctor. My father’s a forensic pathologist, my mother is a midwife, a registered nurse, a child psychologist, and an epidemiologist. So, it kinda runs in the family. I officially get to say, “I’m not a doctor, but I play one on TV.”Weekly: What kind of doctor is Jordan?
Mambo: Jordan is going to be doing everything (laughs). And I’m hoping he’s going to start making some house calls.Weekly: What was your first day like?
Mambo: It was a short day. I worked with the guy who’s playing the new Todd (Trevor St. John). He’s great. He’s very focused and natural. You can throw him stuff and he’ll throw it back to you. That’s what I always loved about working with the crew over at GL. I learned a lot from them, from Justin (Deas, Buzz), Kim (Zimmer, Reva), [the late] Michael Zaslow (ex-Roger) and Vince Williams (ex-Hamp). People who were coming from particularly earnest places.Weekly: That was quite a crew you worked with at GL.

Mambo: I’m very thankful because I don’t think I would have wanted to learn how to do this particular thing from anyone else. I definitely wouldn’t exchange it for anything.Weekly: Do you keep in touch with anybody from the show?

Mambo: Not really. I see Wendy Moniz (ex-Dinah) from time to time. I see Frank Grillo (ex-Hart).Toby Poser (ex-Amanda) and I keep in touch. I see Jennifer Roszell (ex-Eleni). For the most part, that’s it.Weekly: Did you screen-test for OLTL?
Mambo: No. I had a good one-on-one with Frank [Valentini, executive producer]. We sat and talked about what’s going on and what they’re looking for and the kinds of things that I bring to the table. I find him to be a very sensitive, intuitive, intelligent person. I have never sat in a meeting with an executive producer quite like that. I appreciate how quickly his mind works. Once I get my legs on and I understand the system of how they work over there, that’s the kind of person I want to work with. I know he’s a person I can take ideas to.Weekly: What did he tell you they were looking for in the character?

Mambo: We didn’t go too far in terms in character. I think they want to beef the show up a little bit. It seems like it’s a young place, so he’s trying to segue into something a little bit older. He’s someone who, over the years, has seen my work and knows my stuff. He was there when I won both of my awards. He has an idea of the things that I can do and that I can’t do. Now that I’m there, we’ve got to figure out where exactly it fits.Weekly: Would you be interested if this became long-term?

Mambo: Yeah. More than anything, that’s something for us to consider. The situation I was in at GL started off great, but it became a long-term thing which ended up hampering me in a lot of ways. I couldn’t go out and do other things. I was on-contract; I was showing up once a month by the end of it. I’m definitely not going to get into a situation like that again. But it’s a matter of new shoes: They’re trying me on and I’m trying them on. Hopefully, we lace up in the middle.Weekly: I was thinking that you might become a romantic interest for Evangeline, since she and Jordan are college pals.

Mambo: That is a possibility. But, like I said, I don’t know. I’m still trying to figure out who everybody is. I read a script the other day, I had no idea what was going on — and I was in it. That’s the scary part. I don’t mind taking a little bit of time to try these shoes on and get to know Llanview and who’s who and why. There’s nothing better than walking into a room and knowing exactly what’s going on and where you fit within that spectrum. That, to me, is where it starts to become like the theater. That’s the group play, and that’s where you get your strongest stuff from.

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