Interview

ICYMI: Wally Kurth (Ned) Looks Back At His Favorite GH Moments

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Credit: ABC

Wally Kurth (Ned) Looks Back At His Favorite GH Moments

Best Thing About Playing A Quartermaine? “The camaraderie with all the actors. I feel bad for any actors who only have three or four peripheral characters in their main story because we had seven or eight people. Some people maybe might not like being more of a supportive actor and not being the main focus of a family, but I loved it. This large, extended family allowed you, as an actor, to bring out different parts of your personality and your character’s personality because you’re having to deal with your mother, your grandfather, your uncle, your cousin, your stepcousin, when Amber [Tamblyn, ex-Emily] was on the show.”

Best Thing About Working With Jane Elliot (ex-Tracy)? “She’s a one of a kind. She’s my guardian angel. Michael Knight once said the woman that played Opal on ALL MY CHILDREN, Dorothy Lyman, kind of helped him navigate the job when he first got on the show and helped him find his feet on the ground and his voice [as Tad]. With soap operas, there’s a certain tone and a certain technique that you have to gain, and Jane was that person for me. She’s the one who gave me confidence and gave me notes in a way that was really helpful and not hurtful. And then she became a dear friend. She’s a friend I wish I saw more. You know, Jane’s not the easiest person. She’s a tough cookie. She scares people. She can scare me, but in a good way. She’s that mirror that we all need to make us grow in the areas that we are often most afraid of, where we need to look at ourselves.”

Best Thing About Working With Stuart Damon (ex-Alan)? “He used to say, ‘Wally, you see the best in me when I’m here.’ I didn’t really dig any deeper than that, but I think he was just a happy person, first of all, that he was in show business and that he chose this life and he was able to parlay it from Broadway singer into actor and lucked out by getting on a soap that lasted forever. He just always had a smile on his face and was always quick with a joke. I would think probably the weddings were the most fun to shoot, because there were more people there. Stuart’s sort of a natural performer and he sort of rose up and [commanded] the stage. He sort of allowed himself to be Alan Quartermaine and sort of be the real paternal figure of the family — and of course, he wasn’t, which pissed Alan off, because Edward was always there! When I think about it, I’m sorry that they didn’t keep the character of Alan so he could’ve been the patriarch. Had he been there now as the patriarch, it would’ve been so much fun. We would’ve been able to carry on the craziness of the Quartermaines. Stuart loved playing Alan. And also, because I’m a big fan of his singing, I remember when Tracy and Paul got married and he sang at the wedding. I can picture him singing at the bottom of the stairs.”

Best Thing About Working With Leslie Charleson (Monica)? “Unfortunately, I wasn’t playing the character of Ned when he was fooling around with her! I think at the same time, I was fooling around with Jane Elliot on DAYS OF OUR LIVES [as Justin and Anjelica]. I adore Leslie and luckily, I still get to work with her. Her character sort of reminds me of Ned, in a way. They’re both sort of gatekeepers. It seems like with Leslie, I have kind of butting-heads scenes with her more than just love, love, love stuff. It’s like, ‘How are we going to move the family forward and get through this next obstacle?’ I love playing dramatic scenes with Leslie. I think she’s a really good dramatic actress. I know when they give us something really juicy, it’s going to be a good day.”

Favorite Memory Of The Late Anna Lee (ex-Lila)? “Well, it was so much fun working with her. When I met her, she was already in her wheelchair. The hilarious part was that she would insist on making entrances, and it might take her a few times to get through the door without bashing into the threshold, so that was always fun. You didn’t know when she was going to enter and if she was going to have to re-enter! Even at the end [of her life], when she couldn’t pick her head up, she just insisted on playing Lila. She was gonna play Lila till the end. Once again, an actor that just adored being a performer and adored being an actress and loved Lila and loved being onstage and being at the studio. My favorite moments were the quiet moments with Anna, actually, when it was just her and me talking in the living room about Edward or Alan. Those were the moments that I cherish, sitting there in the den, one-on-one with Anna Lee.”

Favorite Memory Of The Late David Lewis (ex-Edward)? “When I first got on the show, he was nothing but a voice-over [when Edward’s portrait would speak to Lila] and then Gloria [Monty, then-executive producer] brought him back. He was moving kind of slowly then. I was just driving through his old neighborhood and I thought about the time when I went and visited him when he was ill, at his house out in the Valley. Even though I didn’t work with him very long, I befriended him, and he really appreciated me making an effort to see him and to spend time with him. I thought he was just a wonderful man.”

Favorite Memory Of The Late John Ingle (ex-Edward)? “I knew of John because I had an old girlfriend who was his student when he was a teacher at Beverly Hills High. John never really lost that teacher quality to him. The fun thing about John was that he’d dive into a scene with you, but he was the first actor at the end of the scene who would literally applaud, like, ‘Great job!’ He was just an encouraging cheerleader that was like, ‘You go get ’em! That was good work. Well done!’ He’d pat you on the back and send you off with a smile. You don’t get many pats on the back by fellow actors, but he was just one of those actors that just loved to be there. And let me say, that’s something true about the Quartermaines. None of those actors took for granted that, ‘We’re actors and we have a script and we’re here and we get to do what we love.’ ”

Favorite Nurses’ Ball Memory? “Oh, boy, that’s tough. The Nurses’ Ball, when it first started out, we used to bring in the [The NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt] and it was honoring the pediatric AIDS ward at GENERAL HOSPITAL. I met a couple of men with HIV that were there with the quilt and with local AIDS awareness organizations that producers invited to take part [in the ball] as speakers. They became friends, and over that year, I was with them at the end [of their lives]. It was an incredible time in my life in the ’90s to have those friendships and to experience this disease that was decimating the gay community at that time. I remember singing ‘Somewhere Over The Rainbow’, but it wasn’t just me and my performances that I remember, it was watching the show onstage with the AIDS quilt in the background. I never forgot, ‘That’s why we’re here.’ The show is more than just a soap opera. We were courageous enough to bring in the AIDS quilt and to talk about AIDS. Back in those days, that was not an easy thing to do. It just wasn’t safe. But by God, Wendy [Riche, then-executive producer] and Claire [Labine, then-head writer] did it. I’m proud to have been a part of that.”

Favorite Location Shoot? “Puerto Rico was nice because I didn’t have very much story, so I really just had a nice vacation! There was a lot of other stuff going on but it didn’t involve Ned and Lois so, I have to thank GENERAL HOSPITAL for giving me a nice little four- or five-day vacation! That’s the truth. However, Brooklyn was all about me. That wasn’t a vacation, but that was even better. Being on the Brooklyn Bridge with Rena [Sofer, ex-Lois, his real-life ex] while she and I were in the throes of our own love story, running down the streets of Brooklyn and waving at Claire and [her husband] Clem Labine, who were playing neighbors. It was awesome! And of course, when we shot at Coney Island. They had to open up the amusement park just for us. How cool is that?”

Best Thing About Having Lisa LoCicero (Olivia) As A Leading Lady? “Well, she’s so beautiful to look at and so sweet to work with and such a talented actress. Lisa’s hilarious and fun and just such a good person. We work on stuff. We talk about scenes and we talk about the characters and what we can do to make it more interesting and go deeper. As an actor, that’s always nice, to have a partner who wants to go deeper.”

Ned Storyline Closest To Your Heart? “Honestly, last year when I got nominated [for a Daytime Emmy as Supporting Actor], I looked at all those scenes that I did [in 2017] and that whole year was a really good year. And I sang, too, when Ned and Olivia got married, so I got to put the musical stuff in there. That whole arc of Ned and Olivia getting married and at the same time Ned had to say good-bye to his mother, that was, in my opinion, some of the best, strongest work I did and a really nice story.”

Best Thing About Playing Ned? “The nice thing about playing Ned is that I feel as though I’m forced to bring more of Wally into it than I would probably normally do. Granted, on soaps, you really end up bringing so much of who you are. You have to just dig deeper in your own life to bring in stuff that’s true for you. I think for me when it comes to Ned, I’m challenged to really kind of look at it through the prism of Wally in a way that is good for Wally. It makes me a better person and a better actor when I have to look at the corners of my personality and my soul that I wouldn’t maybe bring forward if I didn’t have Ned. When I sing, and when I ask a woman to marry me, I have to go to those places and look in there and see what it is that I need to make that scene work. It forces me to dig deeper.”

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