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Catching Up With Richard Steinmetz

(Jeff Hartman, LOVING, 1988-90, 1993; Martin Fitzgerald, PASSIONS, 2004-06; Joe Scully, Jr., GH, 2012; Robert Smails, DAYS, 2021)

Let’s start with your first soap job. How would you sum up your experience on LOVING? “The greatest couple of years of my life. I couldn’t have asked for a better experience. We were all such great friends, from Rena Sofer [ex-Rocky] to Randy Mantooth [ex-Alex] to Noelle Beck [ex-Trisha] to James Horan [ex-Clay]. We would hang out and do things together all of the time. One night, me, Randy, James and Chip Albers [ex-Curtis] dressed up as women to crash a baby shower. There were no boys allowed, so we weren’t invited. We said, ‘Well, we’ll just do it another way,’ and the wardrobe people at LOVING got us all fixed up. I mean, we dressed in full drag with heels, pantyhose, everything. There were some ugly people on the streets that night [laughs]!”

What was the storyline highlight of your time on LOVING? “I was the third Jeff Hartman, who was madly in love with Trisha. Jeff would do anything in the world to get her away from Trucker, who was played by Robert Tyler. We ended up going to Rome, Italy, for a remote that was amazing. Jeff was taking Trisha to the beautiful sites of Rome, with Trucker secretly following them. We did the big wedding thing, when Jeff and Trisha got married. I wore this cape and sash, something you would see on Peter O’Toole during the 17th century.”

Next up for you was PASSIONS. “That was pretty darn fun, too. I was a good guy on that show, not as much fun to play as the bad guy, but it still was fun. Galen [Gering, ex-Luis; Rafe, DAYS] played my son, even though we’re not that far apart in age, but we actually made the father/son relationship work. Martin had five kids and they were all his, which is kind of out of the ordinary for soaps. PASSIONS was crazy. I once rode a coffin in a tsunami to my front door. That was out there! I had a great time working with Leigh Taylor-Young [ex-Katherine]. I became pretty good buddies with everybody. I taught Justin Hartley [ex-Fox] how to golf and I used to beat the crap out of James Hyde [ex-Sam] on the course. I’d go golfing with Galen and Eric [Martsolf, ex-Ethan; Brady, DAYS], as well. I also remember going on Ben’s [Masters, ex-Julian] boat a few times and he taught me about boating.”

You’ve also had runs on DAYS and GH. “Technically, I still have a recurring role on DAYS OF OUR LIVES as the judge in town, so I’m a phone call away whenever they need me. On GH, I played Sonny’s childhood best friend but they became mortal enemies. I didn’t have to audition for that role either because someone had suggested me. I was thrown into the fire right away and was in these massive scenes with Maurice Benard [Sonny], where he’s torturing and interrogating my character right out of the gate. It was only supposed to be for a couple of episodes and it turned into a year, so I had a lot of fun with that. I loved working with Maurice. Back in my LOVING days, he and I would travel together to fan events and on publicity tours because he was on ALL MY CHILDREN [as Nico]. We hung out, so we got to know each other pretty well.”

Tell us about your life today! “I still coach football at Venice High School and we won the city championship last year. I finally got my ring, which is a huge gaudy thing with pretend diamonds. I was at the five-yard line for a role on YOUNG AND RESTLESS, which went to Trevor St. John. I didn’t even audition. I was on the short list right away because I had auditioned for them a couple of times already. I met Nancy Nayor, the casting director, in the ’90s when I auditioned for something. She told me, ‘You need to get your teeth fixed,’ and that’s what I did! I’ll never forget that she took the time to make a personal comment for my benefit. She’s always remembered me since then and I find her to be somebody very special.”

How is your daughter, Annalisa? “Great. She turned 6 last May 18 and she’s a very sharp 6. She already reads at third grade level and is busy with piano, soccer, T-ball, gymnastics, Taekwondo, yoga and ballet. She doesn’t live with me, she lives with her mother, and she comes to my house for sleepovers, but after a night or two, I’m dead. I can only play dolls and Uno for so long. But you suck it up and enjoy it because in the blink of an eye, she’ll be like, ‘I don’t want to talk to you anymore,’ and I’ll become invisible.”

You also raised four brothers who you consider your sons. Do you have any grandchildren yet? “I’ve become a grandpa 11 times and they’re ages 4 to 21! That’s why I’m in the middle of getting a pool, so I can entertain them!”