Soap Opera Digest: Describe your early days as a struggling actor. You attended NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. What happened next?
Ted King: I had moved to New York as an actor and was trying to find work, so I went to Tisch and loved it — and then I ran out of money. So, I got a job working for a small production company and got my feet wet doing production, and sneaking out at lunchtime to go on auditions. I would take these incredibly long lunches and have to come [up] with some story about, “Oh, I was waiting in a really long sandwich line.” This amazing casting director who used to work at LOVING brought me over and I had auditioned for her [for] about a year and I got a call out of the blue and she said, “I think I finally have a role for you,” and then gave me the role of Danny Roberts on LOVING. At the time, it was a small role and after working there for a period of months, they offered me a contract.
Digest: LOVING became THE CITY shortly after, which was a very big deal, resetting the show the way they did. What was it like to be a part of that?
King: It was a whirlwind. They were trying to create a daytime show in the same technical vein as NYPD BLUE, where we were shooting a lot of steadycam footage, a lot of wireless microphones, shooting on location around New York City. It had huge aspirations. It was very expensive and ultimately, it failed. Ultimately, I don’t think the audience really wanted it, to be honest. I think the daytime audience loves their format and always has and always will. There is a familiarity there. That’s not something people want to change.
Digest: How did you take the show’s cancellation?
King: I was too new to be crushed by it. I was young and when you’re young, you always assume there’s another one around the corner. I was fortunate and was offered pilots on my first two auditions. One of them was a guaranteed on the air, which was a show called TIMECOP, so ABC moved me from New York to Los Angeles and I started that show, so I bounced back quickly, and then that show was canceled. That’s when I had to learn my lessons. It was the slap across the face that the Hollywood business will give you every now and then.
Digest: In 2002, you returned to daytime, joining GH as Luis Alcazar, head of the Alcazar crime family. How’d that come about?
King: In between, I had gone to Africa to shoot a film [Hoodlum & Son] with Ron Perlman and Mia Sara, and I was offered a short-term role on GH for about four months, basically to bring Vanessa Marcil’s [Brenda] character back and so I said, “Great. I’ll do the short-term role. I’ll be done by pilot season and then start working in prime-time again.” So, I started doing GH and really enjoyed it. They had always planned on killing him but then Brian Frons, the head of daytime at the time, came to me in the hallway and said, “We are going to bring you back [as Luis’s twin brother],” and I said, “Okay.”
Digest: What was it like creating a new character?
King: We talked about who Lorenzo was and we decided that if Luis was the older brother, Sonny from The Godfather, then Lorenzo is the Michael Corleone, saying he’s reluctant to go into the family business. We rode that train for a while, which was fun. The character was well-written. He was smart but if he was pushed, if someone was threatening his family, he could be ruthless.
Digest: Maurice Benard (Sonny, GH) said recently he thinks you were the best rival he had on the show.
King: That’s very generous of Maurice. I’m surprised but pleased at the same time. I’ve always respected Maurice’s work and we got along great, and when I came on to play Lorenzo, they had this storyline where I was stealing Carly, and we didn’t get along as well as we used to. There was always that dynamic between the two of us. It was an exciting time because we were constantly challenging one another, and it was good for the show.
Digest: When Alcazar was involved with Carly, you worked with three different actresses in the role.
King: Oh, Tamara [Braun, ex-Carly; Ava, DAYS], what a joy. What a gem. What a lovely person. We are still good friends. I don’t see her often because I have kids now but we stay in touch. I’m glad she’s had so much success. Working with her was easy because she was willing to dig deep, and that makes her a smart actor. She’s terrific.
Digest: In 2005 when Tamara left, Jennifer Bransford briefly played Carly and married you on the show. Then, Laura Wright, your LOVING/THE CITY love interest [ex-Ally], assumed the part so you reunited 20 years later with your first soap love.
King: We didn’t get a lot of time together because I left the show shortly after that, but I remember when they were talking about hiring her, the executive producer asked me about her and I said, “She is Carly. You are going to hire the right person. She’s gonna nail that role, and you’re going to be happy.” Obviously, that’s completely true.
Digest: In 2007, you left GH. How’d you reach that decision?
King: The role had come to a point where he wasn’t able to win against his foes, so when it became predictable, it was hard for me. I didn’t like being the guy that constantly loses. I find that boring so it was time for me to go.
Digest: In 2008, you tied the knot and in October of 2010, you and Maya welcomed the first of your two daughters, Ava. [Second daughter Vivienne was born in 2013.] How’d your life change?
King: When I married Maya, we deliberately took a year honeymoon before we started to try having children, and then Maya got pregnant and Ava was born. She was about two-and-a- half months when [then-Executive Producer] Frank Valentini contacted me for ONE LIFE TO LIVE … so, we moved to New York. That was incredibly stressful. I was there for three days and had to shoot a number of shows and try to find an apartment for my new nuclear family. Then, I came back to L.A. and packed everything up in the rain. It seemed like we got on a plane the next day, flew to New York and found ourselves there between Christmas and New Year’s with a newborn and no apartment, which wasn’t ready yet, and then I started shooting after New Year’s Day. When we got the apartment set up, I think we kept unopened boxes for the first year we were there. We just did not have the time or the energy to unpack. It was a crazy time — but again, another great role. I was able to put my two cents in on Tomas Delgado and the only stipulation ABC had was he be related to Téa, who was of Latin origins. So again, I was speaking Spanish like I was with Lorenzo, and then Tomas became multinational so he was also speaking French — and he was trying to keep secrets from everybody.
Digest: Earlier this year, B&B snapped you up to play Jack, Finn’s adoptive father and biological father and the ex-lover of Kimberlin Brown’s Sheila. Tell us about joining B&B.
King: The timing was perfect because we’d all been locked down due to the coronavirus. I had shot a pilot last fall in Colorado and was waiting to hear if that was going to be picked up and I turned the television on in the middle of the day and there are my friends, working, acting on television. I was incredibly happy for them but also jealous because they had jobs they knew they could come back to the next week and with the coronavirus, I didn’t know what the future held so when B&B came knocking, I jumped at the opportunity.
Digest: How was it getting back into the soap routine?
King: I was fortunate when I started; two weeks prior they had just stopped their social distance acting, so I didn’t have to work with Tanner [Novlan, Finn] from 6 feet away. I could actually put my arm around him as my son and we could have face-to-face conversations. I had a lovely meeting with [Executive Producer/ Head Writer] Brad Bell to discuss the character but I wasn’t told a lot, so things unveiled as we were seeing the scripts. Then, it became a matter of Jack doing this dance between being a good husband and father and also being a man who kept huge secrets from his wife and son, and now has to try to keep them by dancing with the devil.
Digest: Tell us about your TV family, Tanner and Naomi Matsuda [Li].
King: What I absolutely love when Naomi and I are working, she has this sternness about her character where it’s like, she is just looking through Jack and making him feel like, “Oh, I shouldn’t have done or said that.” She’s that tough wife and she’s not going to stand for a lot, which makes her a very strong character. Tanner has been there longer than both of us, so he’s the veteran and he’s schooling us on how this show works. Tanner is like a super- hero. That guy is gorgeous and super-fit and I just feel blessed that he’s playing my son because it only makes me look better — and he plays the role so innocently, and let me tell you, doing innocent in acting is one of the hardest things to do. It’s underrated and under-appreciated but you get this beautiful innocence from the character. It’s a tribute to him and what he’s doing.
Digest: Did you know that Jack was going to be part of the Sheila story? Were you aware of the character’s notoriety?
King: I did have an awareness. I knew she has great history and I’ve learned since the impact her character has when she returns from the audience point of view. They absolutely love it! I didn’t work with her in the beginning, so there was an anticipation of having these two characters connect … Kimberlin is very easy to work with. We just sat in our dressing rooms and rehearsed, and we came up with our own individual backstories for this relationship — and that’s interesting, too. We haven’t really talked about our backstories together. It’s in the scripts they had this fling but it doesn’t dig too deep so we have our own individual backstories — but we actually haven’t really spoken about that for some reason … It’s working on camera, so I’m not going to mess with it [laughs]!