Grant Show got his big showbiz break when he was cast as RYAN’S HOPE’s Rick in 1984. Looking back, he says he learned valuable lessons in daytime that would serve him well as he moved on to other projects. “It’s knowing that I can deliver,” he explains. “Give me something and I can give it right back. Three years on a soap, you realize what they want you to do, and you learn how to do it.”
That groundwork served the actor well when he joined the cast of MELROSE PLACE as Jake in 1992 and was thrust into the national spotlight. “That show’s the most important thing that ever happened to me, other than my daughter and my wife,” he reflects.
But Show says he was ready to pack it in after the pop culture hit wrapped in 1997 because it was tough to fight the stigma associated with it. “There was a time, right after MELROSE PLACE, when I seriously considered giving it all up,” he reveals. “It was hard moving on after that, especially back then. Washing that off of you was a difficult thing, much more difficult than it would be now because there are so many other venues of work. But honestly, I didn’t know what else to do. I’d been acting professionally since I was 24 years old. I was feeling pretty low. But I refused to give up. I just kept working, and working hard, and I’m glad I did.”
Show bounced around the dial in TV movies and in series such as STRONG MEDICINE, SWINGTOWN and PRIVATE PRACTICE, then returned to prime-time soaps in 2013 as Spence on DEVIOUS MAIDS. Now, he’s back in the mix again as Blake Carrington on The CW’s DYNASTY reboot.
“When I got the script and the audition for this, I immediately said to myself, ‘This is my job. I’m not letting anyone else have it,’ ” he recalls. “If you look at my career and my connection with Aaron Spelling [former executive producer of MP and DYNASTY] and my connection with soap opera, I’ve been with it and developing with it through the last 30-plus years. So, I think I’m uniquely positioned to play Blake Carrington — and I am having a blast.”
Show says he had no qualms about returning to the medium that gave him his start. “I enjoy doing other things but this is clearly my wheelhouse and for me not to accept that, I would be foolish,” he shrugs. “I think I’m getting a little too old to be playing James Bond, but in my own way, Blake Carrington is my James Bond. And, just as every new actor who came in to play James Bond has been vastly different and still stayed true to that character, that’s exactly what I want to do with Blake Carrington.”
In reviews of the soap, Show has been called a younger, hotter Blake — “Please put that in your article,” he cracks — but the actor points out, “I’m actually only about six or seven years younger than John Forsythe was when the original first started [in 1981].”
He’s thrilled to assume the role of patriarch for the first time in his career. “It’s really what I wanted to do after leaving DEVIOUS MAIDS,” he shares. “Spence was a little bit of a buffoon — and I loved playing that. I loved the comedy of that, but I’m a little older now. I’m 55. I have a daughter. I have a family and I really wanted to play a more grown-up, stable, straightforward kind of a guy.”
Show says to expect a more updated version of Blake in the reboot, one that is more progressive than his ’80s predecessor. “Blake Carrington is such an iconic character — and one of the most complicated in soap opera history,” Show asserts. “He’s a leading man but he’s also a villain, and that’s what I’m continuing to strive for but in a modern era. Blake truly believes that what he is doing is the best for his family. But it’s 2017, and Blake can’t be homophobic in the same way that a 1981 Blake was, but he can have problems with Steven not being the son he wants him to be. This Blake will be dark but at the same time, he fiercely loves his family, defends his dynasty and defends himself and his position. John was so good at what he did and I can’t do what he did. I want to honor and respect that but it’s going to be my take.”
Because he didn’t watch the original series, Show did check out Forsythe’s performances to get some perspective on the part. “I watched it when I first got the audition. I watched the very first episode on YouTube and I was immensely impressed with John and his talent. The scene with him and Steven when he first confronts him about his homosexuality is an amazing scene.”
DYNASTY films in Georgia, on an estate in Suwanee, 30 miles northeast of Atlanta. “There are seven huge homes [on the grounds] and it’s a real-life dynasty living there,” he shares. “When we told them which house we wanted to use for Carrington Manor, they said, ‘Okay, we’ll just move into one of the other houses,’ so they actually moved out of the house so we could use it.” Show was familiar with the area; he lived in Atlanta to shoot DEVIOUS MAIDS. “I love Atlanta. It’s a vibrant and hip and forward-moving city. My daughter was born in Atlanta. I live in the same neighborhood. I rent from the same family, so it feels like my second home.”
As for DM, “I was happy to see Rosie and Spence get their happy ending but I thought it was kind of the perfect run,” he reflects of its four seasons. “I don’t think Lifetime was the right place for it. Originally, it was intended for ABC, and I think maybe it was a little ahead of its time. They were a little afraid of the Latina aspect of it and they passed. I think it would have been a much more successful show on that network. We were kind of limping along the entire four years on Lifetime. It had reached its time.”
So now his focus is firmly on DYNASTY, and the actor believes Aaron Spelling would give a thumbs up to the modern version. “I think he would love it because one thing that Aaron always said was that his stories were about people, and that’s what this is about,” Show declares.
There’s a reason why Show didn’t appear in the 2009 reboot of MELROSE PLACE. “I thought it was too close, that not enough time had passed [since the original ended],” he explains. “And, they weren’t offering me any money [laughs]. Like, really, and there was really nobody involved [behind the scenes] who was in the original. It would have just been me giving away my involvement with something I loved to somebody I didn’t know.” He also didn’t see 2015’s THE UNAUTHORIZED MELROSE PLACE STORY. “I wanted to but there was something going on work-wise and I couldn’t,” he says. “But it was such a peaceful set and we all got along so well, there’s really nothing that could have been interesting about that ‘exposé’.”
Did You Know?
• When he was younger, Show wanted to be a pilot.
• An avid golfer, his Twitter handle is @GrantNoShow, which is a nickname he says he got from his golfing buddies.
• He was offered the role of J.D. in Thelma & Louise before Brad Pitt (ex-Chris, ANOTHER WORLD), but couldn’t accept it due to a prior commitment.
Just The Facts
Birthday: February 27
Birthplace: Detroit, MI
My Wife And Kid: Married Katherine LaNasa (ex-Shannon, DEVIOUS MAIDS) on August 18, 2012. Daughter Eloise was born on March 25, 2014.
Previous Soap Roles: ex-Rick, RYAN’S HOPE, 1984-87; ex-Jake, MELROSE PLACE, 1992-97; ex-Spence, DM, 2013-16
Favorite Character? “[SWINGTOWN’s] Tom might be my favorite character. Tom’s philosophy was, ‘There are some people in the world who don’t ever get invited to the party, and I want to make sure everyone gets invited and knows that they are welcome.’ How great is that to be that wonderful?”
Go-To Guy: “He’s not from RYAN’S HOPE but Jon Hensley, who was on AS THE WORLD TURNS [as Holden] was my roommate in New York when we were both doing soaps and we’ve kept in contact.”
MELROSE PLACE Pals: “Heather [Locklear, ex- Amanda; ex-Sammy Jo, DYNASTY] and I have been in touch for quite a while; the same with Daphne [Zuniga, ex-Jo].”