Ruler of the RoostBy Posted: Apr 15, 2003
Philip Carey stands in the doorway of his Manhattan apartment looming like Asa Buchanan, the character he portrays on ONE LIFE TO LIVE, larger than life.The fact that he's 6'4" is not what's overpowering, but rather, it's his chest and his smile. He's got a bigger grin that Texas and a chest to match. For a moment, one gets the impression that Phil really is Asa Buchanan, the rich Southern oilman who rides herd over Llanview, but one of the "anklebiters" -- as Carey fondly calls his children -- comes rushing out yelling "daddy," and you know you're at home with the Careys.The Careys are dressed -- in various shades of blue -- to have their picture taken. Phil, looking long and lean in a navy blazer over a yellow sport shirt and cream colored slacks, directs the action. As the photographer sets up the shot, Phil tells Sean to give his sister Shannon a kiss. He does. Later, Colleen, Phil's considerably younger wife of nine years, settles next to her husband on a cream colored couch. Colleen is an attractive woman with long red hair, highlighted by her bright blue dress. Phil and Colleen are good together. "Make believe it's a moonlit night," Phil says as he puts his arm around her. Colleen tries not to laugh as the photographer's shutter clicks. "This is a picture of wedded bliss," Phil continues. Colleen smiles, charmed by her husband.Like any household with small children, this one's a jumble of carefree laughter and sudden tears followed almost immediately by carefree laughter. Sean, at the time this interview takes place, is 19 months and his sister Shannon is four and a half years old. This day, there's some competition for the rocking horse. Shannon climbs on and rides furiously, while Phil and Sean look on. After a short while, Phil tells Shannon to get off and give her brother a chance. Ignoring him, Shannon goes at it, until Phil, exercising parental rights, gently orders her to get off. Shannon slides down reluctantly, and Sean takes the reins. "Watch how a real horseman rides," Phil says to Shannon, as he urges Sean on. Then, noting his daughter's disinterest, Carey suggests that she serve tea. Shannon happily complies.For Phil, who has adult children, this is his second go-round at parenting. "You try not to make the mistakes you made with the other group," he comments, sounding like Asa Buchanan, who having made some errors raising sons Bo and Clint, is now hell-bent on bringing up his young son, Drew, the right way."No one was ever born to be a parent and when children are born, you just do the best you can then later, you look back and see the mistakes the kids made, too. It's a two-way street as you get older. They are all the same; they need loving and they need caring and they can abuse you. Then you've got to bite the bullet because they don't know what they are doing."Parenting for Phil is obviously something he enjoys, yet, he admits, "I'm not 21 and I give them as much time as I can. You get aggravated as you get older. It's like I made my own grandchildren," he laughs. "I enjoy them and I love them very much, but after a while it's like, 'Okay, Colleen, they are yours. I need to rest.'" "You take them out with you," Colleen observes. "He's very good with them. He really is. He'll take Shannon to the golf course with him." Chuckling, Phil says, "Shannon is just an angel on the golf course. She just sits in the cart and never moves." Like contemporary fathers, Phil was present at Shannon and Sean's births. "I took them out of the womb, gave them a bath," he notes proudly. "The first voice they heard was mine."Phil Carey has a voice that could soothe a hurricane. It is steady, very calming. When somebody disagrees with him, he doesn't raise his voice, he merely presses his point. As we sit around the kitchen table talking while the children, escaping from their babysitter, come bouncing in and out, Phil says some things that might raise a few female eyebrows."I think I have to be sincere," Carey begins when asked what qualities he shares with Asa Buchanan. "I'm not a male chauvinist, but I think women have their place. I enjoy women very much," he hastens to add. "I think the world is controlled by men; women are slowly moving in. I'm not against that." "What do you think about your husband saying women have their place?" I ask Colleen. "I think that sometimes Phil comes off as chauvinistic, but he really isn't," Colleen answers without hesitating. "Most of the people at ABC in top positions -- his producers -- are women. I really think that he really respects women who work and get ahead. I really don't think he's chauvinistic," Colleen concludes."I'm not," Phil readily agrees. "this young lady," he says referring to Colleen, "runs everything here. I own a corporation and she handles all the books. I don't have a business manager, Colleen does all that stuff." Colleen adds, "I think he plays games with women. I think he wants them to think he's chauvinistic. I think he loves to irritate women to get a rise, or whatever, but basically, I think that he respects women and most of the women he works with, he likes." "I do not have a male boss," Carey interjects, shaking his head. "All women. I mean I do not have a male boss except the directors who are controlled by the producers. For a guy like me to have all women bosses, it's difficult.