#TBT - Don Diamont

Credit: Don Diamont Don Diamont Photo Shoot JPI Studios 10/23/00 © John Paschal/JPI 310-657-9661

Don Existence

A baby on the way and a career in high gear has brought new clarity to YOUNG AND RESTLESS’s Don Diamont

You’d think YOUNG AND RESTLESS’s Don Diamont (Brad) would show up for lunch at a chic, Italian bistro located in posh Brentwood in a fully equipped Mercedes, decked out like a GQ model. But Diamont arrives straddling a bike – as in Schwinn – and is outfitted in full cyclist regalia, right down to a state-of-the-art helmet. As Diamont parks the racer behind two potted plants, he explains that he’s just completed a 12-mile trek from his home. “It’s good exercise,” shrugs the actor.

Uh huh. The flesh-colored Ace bandage wrapped around Diamont’s left elbow hints that pedal-pushing your way through Southern California’s notoriously congested traffic can also be hazardous to your health. Indeed, Diamont confirms he suffered a nasty spill trying to avert a harrowing collision with a mammoth garbage truck on a ridiculously narrow canyon road. “I wouldn’t say that my life flashed before my eyes, ” Diamont says. “But my wife and kids did.”

Family, it turns out, is the touchstone of Diamont’s life. He lives close to his mom and keeps in steady contact with his siblings, a brother and two sisters. (The actor’s father an older brother died moths apart nearly five years ago.) “I was very loved and nurtured by my parents,” he declares. “That’s something I want to pass down to my children.”

Come January, Diamont and his wife Rachel, who are raising three boys (Lauren, 11, Sasha, 8 and Alexander Jael, 5), are anticipating the arrival of a fourth son. “We’d still like to have a daughter,” smiles Diamont. “Maybe next time.”

Presently, the Diamont clan is rallying to support the Y&R star’s 17-year-old niece, Alyssa, who was recently diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. “I’ve always been very, very close to her,” he says quietly. “At the time she was born, my sister and her ex-husband were living with my parents. I was 19 and also still living at home.” The baby’s arrival helped bridge the gap between the siblings. “Growing up, my sister, Betty, and I had sibling rivalry bad – we fought like cats and dogs – but my niece’s birth brought us together,” he recalls. “I babysat Alyssa and changed her diapers – helped to take care of her. She was like this little angel that came along and was a healing force for my sister and I. So I’m doing what I can to help her.”

Also keeping Diamont busy is his front-burner storyline on Y&R – he is paired with Eileen Davidson (Ashley). who he dated in real life for three years in the early ’90s. “Eileen and I are friends, which we have been for years,” he says dismissing any questions of awkwardness with the situation and their real-life spouses. “If anything, there’s a comfort level to working together on the show because of our friendship. Everyone understands it’s acting.” And he’s excited for the upcoming storyline. “I think that Brad and Ashley are really going to develop as a couple,” he enthuses. “Over the years, I’ve seen them as star-crossed lovers. Ultimately, his heart has been with her.”

Diamont’s heart however, is where the home is, which is why nasty spills on his bike make him appreciate what he’s got. “I really should have been toast,” he sighs. “Even though my arm hurt right away, I felt this surge of adrenaline and jumped, feeling very euphoric. I was overwhelmed by a sense of, “What a beautiful day; it’s great to be alive.”

Cycling For A Cure

Don Diamont is drawing on his Y&R connections to help his niece – and others – who are challenged by multiple sclerosis. “I’m putting together Don Diamont’s YOUNG AND RESTLESS Cross-Country Ride For Multiple Sclerosis,” he says. Diamont has established a cross-country team with castmates Peter Bergman (Jack), Scott Reeves (Ryan) and Francesco Quinn (Thomas). “Were going to relay across the country,” he explains. “Each of us will ride approximately 100 miles over a three-day period, and then the next guy will take over. On each leg of the journey, we’re going to open it up so that others can ride with us.” Diamont is receiving guidance from Tom Sherak, a partner in Revolution productions, who has a foundation established to benefit multiple sclerosis research. “His daughter, Melissa, also has multiple sclerosis,” Diamont states, “and he’s sort of taken my niece and I under his wing.” Meanwhile, Diamont has high praise for his Y&R colleagues, who have enthusiastically embraced the idea. “[Senior Coordinating Producer] Nancy [Bradley] Wiard has been a godsend,” he smiles. “She’s been brainstorming with me and helping to put everything together. She’s beyond helpful.” Diamont hopes to launch the event next year. “I’m very excited,” he enthuses. “As things start to gel, I’ll be able to offer more information [including an address and phone number].”
Just The Facts:

Birthday: December 31, 1962

Home State: New York

Vive La France: I’m learning French, which my wife already speaks.”

Sunday In The Park: “On Sunday mornings, when everyone else is asleep, my 5-year-old son and I go out for pancakes, and then play in the park.”

Winning Attitude: “I tell my children, ‘You are successful based on the effort you put in, not the result'”

Skin Deep: Was named one of People’s 50 Most Beautiful People in 1990

This interview originally appeared the November 11, 2000 issue of Soap Opera Digest