On one hand, Anthony Turpel is like any other 16-year-old, talking about video games, sports and getting his driver’s license someday soon. Unlike most teens, however, the young actor has a steady job on daytime TV.
“I was bitten by the acting bug at 5,” he shares. “I did a lot of plays when I was a kid. Musicals. I was a terrible singer but the school didn’t care, so I sang anyway. We did Grease, Annie, and I was one of the munchkins in The Wizard of Oz. I knew I loved it and the way I got an agent was technically an accident.” Responding to a talent search offering six months of free acting classes, Turpel lost out on the top prize but ultimately made the right connections. “I talked to the agents there and they liked my personality, so I read a monologue from Field of Dreams and they said, ‘We like you. We want to hire you,’ so I had an agent who introduced me to my theatrical agent, which introduced me to my manager.”
By that point, Turpel was a savvy 10-year-old and began appearing in commercials for everything from Dodge to Jack in the Box. He credits his mother for her support in making his dream come true. “My mom is awesome,” he beams. “I couldn’t be doing what I’m doing without my mom because she drives me everywhere. She’s constantly doing whatever she can to help me.”
As far as education, the actor divides his time between taking online classes and attending in person. “I get teased constantly,” he laughs of his classmates. “Most of my friends are other actors, so it’s not like it’s a big deal to them. They don’t really care about it but we do talk about it and they do make fun of me a lot. They don’t refer to me as Anthony anymore. Whenever I walk in the room now it’s, ‘Oh, RJ Forrester! What’s up, man?’ ”
Besides ribbing from pals, Turpel is dealing with fame for the first time in his life. “People care about my life now for some reason,” he muses. “People see you on the street and actually come up to you, and I still haven’t gotten used to it. It’s just weird because someone knows you but you don’t know them. I’m used to being in the background, minding my own business, so that’s changed. If they ask if they can have an autograph or some pictures, I’m going to, of course, say yes to it but it’s weird at the same time.”
Turpel is also discovering the perks of his soap gig. “The Hollywood Christmas Parade was awesome!” he enthuses. “I met Kenny G when we were on the red carpet together, and he was talking to me about my career — but I didn’t know it was Kenny G at the time! When I saw him playing his saxophone on the TV, I was like, ‘Oh, my God. That’s Kenny G!’ ”
The young actor is looking forward to exploring more of RJ, and seeing if his alter ego’s upbringing will have any impact on the storytelling. “RJ and I have had very different lives,” Turpel observes. “I’ve always had my family there. I’ve always had brothers and sisters and we always stuck by each other. With RJ, there’s a lot to him we haven’t seen yet. The kid was basically ditched, and I think he still feels some resentment about that. He hasn’t been allowing any of it to show because he just wants his parents to be married but in my mind, at least, boarding school wasn’t the best experience for him.”
As for what the future holds for Turpel, he shares, “I just want to keep on working, and I want to learn as much as possible and do as much as I can. Everything in this business is experience, and I want to have as much experience as I can because that will make me a better actor. But I think most actors usually have a Plan B, and mine would be video game design. The coding is boring but I love writing, and Dick [Christie, Charlie] is also a writer, so we talk about writing a lot. As long as I’m doing something I love, that would be awesome!”
B&B original cast member Katherine Kelly Lang (Brooke) knows talent when she sees it, and was an immediate fan of Turpel. “Oh, my gosh, I love Anthony,” she gushes. “He’s perfect. I read with some of the young actors when they were auditioning for the producers and Brad [Bell, executive producer/head writer], and everybody knew right then, and he was hired right after that. I’m so happy. It’s amazing how much he looks like he could be a son of Thorsten [Kaye, Ridge] and I [laughs]. And his voice! I love his voice. He came in determined to do this, and they gave him monologues every day from the start. I remember thinking, ‘Wow!’ He’s only 16 but he’s a great actor. He’s going to go far. He reminds me a little of Jacob [Young, Rick] when he first started on the show, with that sense of presence and dedication. Anthony’s actually younger than Jacob was, I believe, but the three of us had a scene together in Brooke’s kitchen and I was just looking at them and beaming, thinking, ‘Oh, my boys!’ ”
Did You Know?
• Turpel’s nicknames include: “Tony, Antonio, Antwon and Ant.”
• He previously appeared on the TV series FUTURE SHOCK, HENRY DANGER and COMEDY BANG! BANG!
• He’s friends with Joey Luthman, who played Young Luke on GH in 2015.
JUST THE FACTS
Birthday: January 26
Hails From: Ventura County, CA
In The Genes: “My dad was an actor for a little while and he does a lot of voice-over work.”
All In The Blended Family: “I have one half-brother, one half-sister and one biological sister, and I’m the youngest.”
A PIECE Of The Action: He filmed the part of Max on LIFE IN PIECES, noting, “It wasn’t a big role and I got cut from it, too — but the people there
were really cool!”
Family Circle: Now that Turpel is a regular on a soap opera, “Last Thanksgiving, my aunts and cousins, that’s all they were talking about with me, which gets a little annoying [laughs]. But now, they all watch the show and some of them have become