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Shades Of Grayson

Grayson McCouch (Dusty, AS THE WORLD TURNS) is in a very forthcoming mood. He pauses occasionally and glances down with a smile, as if he can't believe what he's about to say. He's not the only one. "You're getting a real good interview -- in-depth, raw: 'Wait till you hear this s--- that I got on Grayson McCouch,' " he eventually says with a laugh, after one particularly revealing anecdote. "It's gonna be my first and last interview. You better blow this one open!" He's kidding, of course, but that doesn't stop him from answering even the most innocuous questions with a surprisingly introspective candor. Expect a routine response about movies he has seen recently, and he chooses two that especially spoke to him: Confessions of a Dangerous Mind and About Schmidt, both of which address the despair of unachieved successes and lost potential amidst the desperate search for meaning in life. He speaks about the parallels to his own life -- some unflattering -- at length, eventually distilling them to one realization that clearly worries him: "I'm constantly finding myself feeling sad in moments of great bliss," he confesses. It's a theme he returns to often, regarding all aspects of his life -- work, family, love -- and one he correlates to the dichotomy between his lifestyles on either coast: It's L.A. (excess) vs. New York (substance). McCouch spent seven years in Los Angeles after leaving ANOTHER WORLD, where he played Morgan from 1993-96, and his home in New York. "Too long a time to not feel a sacredness in any arena. With friends, lovers, family life. I could never find it. It had me guessing what everything was all about," he says. "It wasn't so much work. I was prospering quite well in L.A. It was that f---ing city. I swear, and this is one of the things I've discovered: It's not so much how a place has affected you, like some bull---- tirade of victimization; it's about how you operate in a place. And I did not operate on a level that I wanted in L.A. My mom was wondering what kind of cultural events I was involved in, and I tried to explain that I went to the Getty [museum] one day and the Huntington the next. When really I should be telling her, 'There are a lot of hot chicks out here, Mom, and the club scene sucks because you have to leave at 2. And then, perhaps, I'll get around to reading a book.' ... I felt like my battery was depleted, and I had to recharge." And as soon as he made the decision to come back East, he couldn't get home fast enough. "Quite honestly, my agent called and said, 'What's your problem? You're gonna have a show in three months. You always do. Just wait until pilot season.' And I said, "I can't wait three f---ing months.' I was going nuts. I don't blame anybody. Some people operate very well in L.A. For some, it's a bright, sunny town, and you can't beat the weather. For me, it's hot in hell, too."


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