Interview

Bob Swickard Dishes On His Famous Son Josh Swickard

What was Josh like as a kid? “Josh was a great kid. He was a rule-follower; he kind of lived inside the lines. He’s our only son, and obviously, for a dad, that’s just special. When I think about his childhood, I remember things like rollerblading in the street in front of our house. Just being with him and being with our girls was a gift for me every day.”

Both you and your wife have a musical background. When did you first get the sense that there might be an entertainer lurking inside you son? “When Josh was probably 7, [wife] Gina and I were in Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi with the Muddy River Opera Company and they asked if Josh might want to do the role of a young boy who comes out and has a single sung line. When he came out and nailed that, I thought, ‘Oh, okay!’ ”

How would you rate Josh as a brother to his three sisters? “The best! He learned how to braid hair before he learned how to make a fire! We always said to him, ‘Josh, whoever your wife is, you’re going to be the best husband!’ ”

He told me the story of his surprise entrée into modeling, which began with you and your wife giving him permission to skip school and drive a friend to a casting call in Chicago. He said, “To this day, I don’t know what my parents were thinking.” So here’s the million-dollar question: “What were you thinking?” “Great question [laughs]! From the day our kids were born, we always prayed for them and prayed for their future and their future spouses. And by the time that rolled around I guess I figured God was leading in whatever way, and missing one day of school, you know, what’s the harm? When he moved out to L.A. at 19, I drove him out and I flew back home. I never said anything to him at the time, but I thought, ‘He may run out of money and if he does, he’s coming home and our doors will be wide open for him.’ But we’ve always had that feeling, that God’s got a plan and he’s living it.”

What did you and your wife think when Josh landed on GH? “First response was excitement, especially because we knew how it all went down; he was working on ROPED for Netflix at the time seven hours away and didn’t get any sleep the night before his audition; he said, ‘I didn’t even know which end was up and I go in and Finola Hughes [Anna] is there.’ It just seemed like a lot of cards were stacked against him, so when he got the job, we were excited for him and happy that he had work!”

Do you ever watch him on GH? “Of course! We record it and we never get tired of watching him. Recently, he sang that song of Brook Lynn’s on the show and we happened to be in L.A. the day he recorded it. He shared the studio version with us that he had on his phone and it was so much fun to hear and even more fun to watch.”

Are you Team “Chillow” or Team “Chalynn”? “Is ‘Chalynn’ Brook Lynn and Chase? Then, yes, I’d have to be on Team ‘Chalynn’.”

You were with Josh when he proposed to his wife, Lauren, correct? “Yes, her family and our family were all together on a ski trip. He proposed while we were playing charades and we stacked the deck so that all of the cards said, ‘You’re proposing.’ So, he starts acting it out, points to his finger, she’s not getting it, and finally she goes, ‘A proposal!’ Josh had given me the ring in a box, and at that point he dropped to his knee, I threw him the box and he opened it up and said, ‘Marry me.’ It was just excellent!”

Now they have their own child, Savannah. What has it been like to see your son become a dad? “That’s just been so incredible. Savannah was our fifth grandchild and every one is an awesome gift, but she’s the only one who has my same last name, which is special. Josh calls and he’s like, ‘Is this normal? And is this normal?’ And you’re like, ‘Yep, yep. Everything you put me through, now you get to go through!’ ”

When you think about this man that you raised and who he is today, what makes you the most proud? “First and foremost, his integrity. There is no pretense to who Josh is and I love that about him. His work ethic is off the charts and I love that about him, too, especially because I’ve seen that develop in recent years. And he’s a great dad. He loves Savannah so much and how he’s raising her is beautiful. And I see a man of faith, where he’s wanting to live by faith, and I love that, too.”

One last million-dollar question: Do you ever brag that his father on GH is played by Gregory Harrison? “That’s hilarious. But no.”

I think you should introduce yourself that way: “My role is played by Gregory Harrison on GENERAL HOSPITAL.” “I like that. I can work with that!”

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