A Deadly Obsession

“When I first came on, people liked the character and they liked what was going on,” Ted King says with a sigh about his role as GENERAL HOSPITAL’s suave villain-of-the-moment, Luis Ramon Alcazar. “Then they started writing me as such a bad person. It’s interesting to see the audience change their view.”

Alcazar won’t be winning any more fans this week, when he has a showdown on the island with Sonny over Brenda. “It’s the three of us and there’s one gun between us. It changes hands a couple times as we fight for control,” King previews, in character. “Alcazar gets knocked over the head by Sonny. He’s knocked out and Sonny gets the gun. Brenda gets the gun from Sonny, and then it’s Alcazar trying to convince Brenda that she doesn’t want to kill him.”

And why wouldn’t she? “Well, this man did take care of her for four years,” King reasons. “He grabbed her out of the ocean, and had he not done that, she might have drowned. So he reminds her of that. ‘You really shouldn’t kill the person who saved your life. Bad karma.'”

Even if Alcazar survives his confrontation with Sonny, his days sure seem numbered with so many Port Charles residents wanting him dead. “Every show has to have some conflict. That’s my job. That’s my middle name,” King says matter-of-factly.

But for an actor who previously played one of the nicest guys on prime time &mdaash; Detective Andy Trudeau on CHARMED — it’s not always easy being mean. “As an actor, I try not to look at people in terms of black and white or good and evil,” he shares. “In order for me to play someone like Alcazar, his redeeming characteristic is that he is completely in love with Brenda, and it’s that love that allows him to do all of those things that everybody on the outside looks upon as being evil. He’s madly in love with this woman, and he’ll do anything for her. The ultimate romantic.”

That’s why King thinks his character got a bit of a raw deal in the sympathy department. “I think he’s likeable,” he laughs. “Brenda’s the last person he wants to hurt. He’ll kill everybody before he lays a hand on her. But once she turned on him, once he shot Jax, I think he went too far. But what are you going to do? He keeps reminding Sonny, ‘Look, you’re no better than I am. You kill people, too. Somehow everybody thinks you’re OK because you do it to protect your family. Well, I’m doing the same thing. I’m protecting what’s mine.’ If you kill somebody who’s not popular, people don’t care. If you kill their favorite character, that’s a whole other ball game.”

Which is not to say King hasn’t enjoyed the challenges of the role. “When I was a little boy, the actors I admired were the Robert Duvalls, the Dustin Hoffmans — character actors,” he says. “That’s what I aspire to do. This guy is the most powerful person I’ve ever played, but I have played everything from a pimp, onstage in New York, to a psychotic clown who murdered people on (The WB series) GLORY DAYS.”

Indeed, King has inhabited a variety of characters since making his mark on daytime as Danny Roberts on LOVING and THE CITY (1995-’97). But he also takes a realistic approach to his career. “The reality is, after having done this for a while, you need to keep doing what you love to do at any level and then you hope that people take notice and it propels you to the next level. You never know where life is going to take you. Four years ago I was starring in my own show on ABC in prime time (TIMECOP). If people watch, you’ll get big ratings, and if they don’t, then you go find a new job. Try not to take it too personally. That’s the hard part.”

This article originally ran in the Nov. 19, 2002 issue of SOAP OPERA WEEKLY.