Interview

ICYMI: John J. York (Mac) Looks Back On His Favorite GH Memories

John

Credit: Getty

Best Thing About Playing Tristan Rogers’s (Robert) Brother? “I get to work a lot, are you kidding? With Tristan comes just the rich, deep history of the WSB, all the characters and everything that he built with Finola [Hughes, Anna] and Tony [Geary, ex-Luke] and with Faison. I just got sucked right into all of that with my character and that was fantastic. How lucky can a guy get? And now the Scorpio brothers are back in action! It’s fun being around Tristan. He’s just a hoot. He hasn’t changed a bit. No one’s changed except our hair color; we’re a little bit grayer.”

Best Thing About Playing Uncle Mac To Kimberly McCullough’s Robin: “She’s just a pro, an unbelievable actress. She was always grounded, knew her stuff, she was always looking for nuances, the fine little nuances in scenes. She was there for many years before me and grew up on the show. Her character allowed me all the opportunities with Tristan, with Finola, with the whole Scorpio clan, and then moving forward with her story, one of my favorite scenes as an actor was when Robin told me she was HIV-positive. When I was onstage with Kimberly, that was the first time in my life as an actor where I was just living the scene with her and experiencing the information…. I’m getting emotional now talking about it because it was just so real and we just took our time. It was wonderful.”

Best Thing About Being Kristina Wagner’s (Felicia) Leading Man? “The best thing about being Kristina’s guy is that over the years, not only did Mac fall in love with Felicia, but John York fell in love with Kristina because she is just the most wonderful person. Kristina is very special and she’s more beautiful now than she’s ever been. It was very emotional when she came back to the show [in 2012]. We really have gone through an arc on the show. I mean, Felicia had an affair with Luke Spencer, which makes me wonder, ‘What the hell is wrong with Mac? Do I have a mole on my back? What’s going on? Luke Spencer?!’ But luckily for me, when the producers and writers were figuring out, you know, ‘Who should we put with who?’ and ‘Maybe let’s try this,’ I ended up with Kristina and she gave me a sponge bath in a barn and off we went.”

Best Thing About Working With Kirsten Storms (Maxie)? “Kirsten is just so smart. She’s just a really smart actress. Talk about the rainbow of colors — I got to play the rainbow of colors with Kirsten. She’s funny, she’s emotional, she’s very deep and her timing is amazing. Maxie’s got a timing, a specific kind of cadence to how she talks and what she does, and Kirsten has just really tapped into that. Just the other day we were playing a scene and we were trying to work out the timing of a couple of comedic beats and it was just fantastic. She’s just amazing, and she does it all as a mom in real life. She has early call times, she’s never late, she’s always on time to the set. It’s just fantastic. She’s great.”

Best Thing About Working With Finola Hughes? “She is just a bouquet of emotions and her eyes tell so much. She’s very unpredictable; she’s gonna surprise you, so you’ve got to be on your toes. She was great when I auditioned. I read with Tristan and Finola. We did the scene and off he went. But Finola was there and she was involved. She read with all the actors, but she made me feel like she was rooting for me and gave me every bit of her attention. It was great.”

Favorite On-Screen Wedding? “I remember Mac passing out at Maxie and Spinelli’s wedding, and when Richard Simmons crashed Mac and Felicia’s wedding at The Floating Rib; that was hysterical. Those are the things that come to mind. They were all unique and funny and fun and I can’t believe I got to be the guy playing Mac!”

Best Memories Of The Nurses’ Ball? “When the [The NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt] was brought to the show and was wrapped around Robin, that stands out in my mind. In terms of the numbers, one of my worst nightmares was Mr. Marbles. ‘Hey, let’s make Mac a ventriloquist!’ Whose idea was that?! Anyway, I remember doing a number, ‘Jump, Jive, An’ Wail’, with Kristina and Brad Maule [ex-Tony]. That was a great, fun number. One of the most fun Nurses’ Balls was when Jack [Wagner, ex-Frisco] returned and Rick Springfield [ex-Noah] returned. And there we are singing and dancing to ‘Jessie’s Girl’ and Jack’s ‘All I Need’. I mean, it was just like, ‘Where am I? How am I sitting here getting this live concert right now?’ ”

Best Memory Of The Mac/Kevin Friendship: “Jon Lindstrom [Kevin] and I playing Norma and Eve was a really, really fun time, another one of my favorite storylines. I really got to know Jon very well. He’s a great actor. He should have won the Daytime Emmy for the dual role [Kevin/Ryan] he’s been playing over the last several months. He is an amazing guy. But we had the best time. I don’t understand why women put makeup, like, inside their eyeballs, inside their eyelashes. The things that women do are just unbelievable! I’m so glad I’m a man.”

Best Thing About Playing A Dual Role, Nefarious Mac Look-Alike James In 1998: “That was kind of quick and I don’t remember too much about that. It was fun. I wanted to try to find some different nuances to things if I could. I don’t know if I did, I don’t know if I met the challenge, but we got through it. I grew a beard, didn’t I? I combed my hair on the side. So there you go. I combed my hair differently.”

Best On-Screen Job? “I loved being the police commissioner because I got to work with pretty much everyone on the show in one way or another. But the only problem with that was that I didn’t solve too many crimes. In fact, I think the only crime I ever solved was the Joseph Sorel case. I liked being the private detective because Mac and Felicia got to work together doing adventurous stuff. And owner of The Outback was fun because again, it was a great meeting place like The Floating Rib is now. The Outback was a great set.”

Best Thing About Mac’s Enduring Popularity: “Boy. Don’t make me cry! Ah, too late. I’m just really thankful that the fans have welcomed me on the show the way they did. I don’t know, maybe they feel my gratitude, maybe they can sense it or whatever, but I really love doing what I’m doing. The fans have embraced Mac as a guardian of Maxie and Georgie; he looked after them and raised Robin. I love being Mac. He’s a good guy. He loves his daughters, he loves his wife. I’ve been blessed to play him for all these years. Lucky me.”

All-Time Favorite Mac Storyline? “There are a few. The first one, obviously, was when I came on the show. It was a very exciting time for me. My wife and I were expecting our daughter, Schyler, who was born three weeks after I started the show. I was working five days a week. Just jumping in and doing all that work was great. When I first came on the show, I was Mr. Adventure Guy. I remember coming to work and I’m flying helicopters and driving speedboats and jumping out of planes and like, ‘How do I know how to do all this stuff?!’ For me, personally, I loved getting to work with Arte Johnson from LAUGH-IN. He played Finian O’Toole [from 1991-92]. I don’t even remember what the storyline was about, but they had this great set built and we were going through the catacombs down underneath Port Charles. Obviously, dealing with Robin’s HIV. Losing Georgie was a huge storyline. I remember the emotional moment of going to the hospital hub to tell Robin that Georgie was dead. And don’t forget, there’s been a lot of humor with Mac and Felicia. One thing that I really appreciate and am thankful for is that I’ve gotten to play drama, deep emotional drama, but also I got to play comedy.”

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