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Daytime Emmy Nominee Q&A: Wally Kurth (Justin, Days of our Lives)

The 51st Annual Daytime Emmy Awards will be held on Friday, June 7, with the ceremony airing live on CBS starting at 8 p.m. ET. Soap Opera Digest chatted with the nominees to get the scoop on how they found out, what episodes they submitted, and more as we count down to daytime’s biggest night!

Wally Kurth

Ben Rose/Getty Images

Outstanding Supporting Actor

Wally Kurth (Justin, Days of our Lives)

You’ve won a Daytime Emmy for Original Song. What would it mean to you to finally, after all these decades, win one for acting?

“Obviously, I’ve been doing this a long, long time. And I work really hard in order to try to make it look really easy. I take this art very seriously. So to be recognized by my peers is really humbling and exciting. It never gets old, and I don’t take it for granted.”

What scenes did you submit?

“Two major events happened, so it was pretty easy to put together a reel. One of them was Victor’s death. I tried to put in scenes of me telling Maggie the news, me telling Sonny, and then just breaking down with Bonnie, when it was just her and I alone. Then we did the funeral, which was a nice little snippet. I wasn’t sitting there bawling or anything. What was nice about it was that I was able to speak about John [Aniston, ex-Victor]. Those scenes, to me, were about John’s presence and what he meant to me as a role model, someone who taught by example and really made me a pro. He was a father figure to me, honestly. So those scenes were totally just inspired by him. Then there was the story about Alex, the scenes of me discovering the letter, the faked letter that said he was not my son, but Victor’s son. I had to tell Alex the truth, and those scenes were very dramatic. At the end I looked at the letter and cried in Bonnie’s arms. I thought to myself, Well, these are the kind of scenes that obviously move voters just, because you’re really your most vulnerable.”

How did you find out you were nominated?

“I was at breakfast in Chicago with my two daughters, and I knew that [the nominations were] going to be coming out, but I didn’t tell them. I have to say I was little nervous. It’s a little nerve-racking. You can’t help but think about it. My manager, Michael Bruno, called me. I knew as soon as I saw his number pop up, I went, ‘Oh, I think that’s good news.”

Did you receive any congratulatory messages that stood out?

“I remember Tamara [Braun, Ava] was like, ‘Way to go, Wally.’ And I was like, ‘Right back at you. Way to go.’ What was kind of funny is that Eric [Martsolf, Brady] and I were both in Chicago together [performing with their band, The Day Players]. So it was nice to take some bows in front of the audiences with both of us getting nominated. I said, ‘I’m glad we’re not in the same category, Eric. Otherwise I’d have to hate you right now.’”

Did you do anything to celebrate?

My daughters and I went out dancing at a honky-tonk bar. We all learned the two-step together. Then we went to dinner, had a glass of champagne, and posted it on my Instagram. So I celebrated with my two daughters and a glass of champagne on, although they don’t like champagne. So I ended up drinking all three glasses.”

Are you familiar with any of the competition in your category?

“I don’t know Bryton [James; Devon, The Young and the Restless], but he beat me in 2020. He won Supporting Actor during the quarantine. I’ve worked with Robert [Gossett, Marshall] on General Hospital during the Eddie Maine story. We had a ball together. He’s great. I’m a huge fan of his and was thrilled that he won last year. Of course, I know A Martinez [Nardos, The Bay]. I’m a big fan of his, and I consider him a friend. We don’t see each other off the set too often, but whenever we’re together we pick up right where we left off. It feels like he’s a brother. I don’t really know Mike Manning [Caleb, The Bay; ex-Charlie, Days of our Lives).”

Will anyone in your family be attending the ceremony with you?

“Of course. My wife, Deborah. She really does [look forward to it]. It’s funny, when I first met her, she said, ‘Wally, I don’t like my picture taken.’ And I said, ‘Well, you’ll hate red carpets then.” But you know what? She’s gotten better. She’s awesome. She’ll go with me, and she’s got very good taste. So I’m sure she’s going to try to pick out a nice tuxedo for me or at least a nice suit.”

So she’ll be dressing you, so to speak?

“Oh yeah. I’ve got no style. I’ll admit that. The last time I went [to the Daytime Emmys] there was a company that gave me a tuxedo, and I wore that. But I just remember that whenever we watch the award shows, like the Golden Globes or the Academy Awards or the Emmys or the SAG awards, Deborah will say, ‘Oh, that would look good on you.’ Or, ‘Wally, don’t wear that. You would not look good in that.’ So she’s already thinking, not because she would predict that I would be nominated, but she just likes people with style.”

Regarding an acceptance speech, would you jot down some bullet points or just wing it?

“Oh, I’ve got to have bullet points. You can’t help but think, if you win, what are you going to say? Although I will say this, in the past I was more like, ‘OK, you’ve got to say this. You’ve got to say that.’ I already feel like I’ve got three or four bullet points that I’ve got to hit and would be easy to talk about. So it’s just a matter of when I get up there, if I remember any of those bullet points.”

To wrap things up, what does this year’s nomination mean to you?

“I am very proud of my work, and I also acknowledge that it was a year that dramatically had the potential of my being a nominee and winning. So I’m excited about that. And then the fact that the material was also inspired by John Aniston… It’s kind of just thanking him for being in my life. Saying goodbye to Victor and saying goodbye to John. So that’s something that would be meaningful if I won.”