The Henrik Maneuver
Landing A Prime Spot On GH Capped Off The Biggest Year Of Wes Ramsey’s Life
Wes Ramsey is in the middle of a two-week GH production hiatus when he calls in to Digest for his first feature interview since joining the show last fall as the secret son of notorious baddie Cesar Faison — and as much as he’s enjoying the quality time he’s getting to spend with his girlfriend of a year, Laura Wright (Carly), he’s itching to return to work. “I’m missing it a lot,” he says. “I can’t wait to get back!”
That sentiment pretty much summarizes his entire attitude toward daytime, where he cut his teeth as GUIDING LIGHT’s Sam Spencer back in 2000. It was his first professional gig, booked upon his graduation from Juilliard’s prestigious drama program, and while he remembers his run on the show as “a special, beautiful time in my life,” he said good-bye to Springfield after only two years. And though he went on to work on a wide swath of prime-time shows, including recurring roles on CHARMED and CSI: MIAMI, “I always wondered what it would’ve been like to see it through,” he recalls. “I feel like they would have liked to have done more [with the character] but I was young and rambunctious and maybe a little overly eager to jump ship and flee to the West Coast. I’d never even been to California before, but I was told to take your risks when you’re young and I definitely took a lot of risks by walking away. Twenty years later, with so few shows on the air, it feels like a real gift to come back to this medium and give everything I have to it.”
It was back when he was working on GL in New York that he first met Wright, who then played Cassie, “running lines in the green room with her and hoping that she wasn’t catching me staring at her. There is a part of me deep down inside that always fantasized about the idea [of being with her] and it’s not like I assumed it would happen, but I certainly was not going to miss the opportunity when it presented itself!” He copped to his long-ago crush when they did begin dating, a year ago this week after a chance encounter at a reception for Daytime Emmy nominees. “She was in shock when I was telling her, ‘I kept it secret because when I first met you, you were pregnant with your second child. You were a wife and a mother and all that.’ But I let her know that this was something that was always there for me. If someone had whispered in my ear [that they would eventually begin a romance], after I did cartwheels, I probably would have said, ‘The sooner the better!’ But we both had time to grow and become who we’re meant to be so that we can be our best selves for each other, and we just feel so happy that we found each other at this time in our lives.”
He had yet more blessings to count when his long-percolating interest in making a sustained trip back to daytime (he’d done a brief run on DAYS in 2009 as baddie Owen) coincided with GH’s search for the new character of Peter August. Dropping Wright off at work one morning, he reconnected with Executive Producer Frank Valentini, for whom he’d screen-tested years earlier for a role on ONE LIFE TO LIVE, and a few months later, he nailed his audition for Peter, who was introduced last November as the seemingly mild-mannered COO of Aurora Media. At first, Peter was limited in his interactions to officemates like Drew, Sam and Lulu, but the reveal of his true identity — to the audience, at least — as Henrik Faison has put him in on-screen contact with players as varied as Jason, Valentin, Griffin and Anna, Peter’s likely mom. Marvels the actor, “I still have to pinch myself every day and realize, ‘This is not a dream. You really are connected to all of these amazing characters on this incredible show. This really is your life!’ ”
The promise of working more closely with Anna’s portrayer, Finola Hughes, is particularly meaningful to Ramsey. “This is when it really starts to become emotional to me because it feels like such a dream come true,” he enthuses. “She is someone whose work I have known and admired for many years. I used to watch GENERAL HOSPITAL with my mother when I was a little boy and I remember her very specifically, and I remember her [character’s] daughter, Robin. It’s just crazy to me that I have memories of Finola from that long ago, from before I even discovered my love of acting and decided that’s what I was going to spend the rest of my life doing. For me to have the opportunity to work alongside her, a woman of such creative strength as Finola — in my life and my career, it’s certainly a highlight for me. She is one of the most incredible actors I’ve ever met.”
With both a lady and a job he loves, Ramsey grins, “I’m the luckiest guy in the whole state of California! This last year has been the most important year of my life. For my personal life and professional life to have lined up in a way that makes me feel peace with the greater picture … I could never have planned or predicted it, but I feel grateful every day. And if there’s anything I can throw out to anybody that’s reading this, it’s, say yes to life when life is throwing something at you. The night of that Emmy party a year ago, I could have stayed on my sofa and not put on my suit and not met my friend who had to convince me to go. Say yes to life and you never know what tomorrow will bring. I am a living testament to how powerful that truly is.”
Ramsey’s alter ego, Peter, has been growing close to Maxie, the widow of his late brother, Nathan — and the actor would be thrilled if that trend continues. “I feel so lucky to be working with Kirsten [Storms, Maxie],” he enthuses. “She is a consummate professional, a tour de force, and I’m really blown away by her every day. On top of that, as a person, she is really giving and caring and she will step up and help you in any way you need it. She’s so supportive and willing to be vulnerable. I just think she’s an incredible woman and an incredible actor.” Ramsey characterizes Peter’s genuine fondness for Maxie as “groundbreaking for him; he’s never had someone in his life that he’s wanted to protect before. Despite all of the violence and anger in his life, he’s found something beautiful.”
DID YOU KNOW?
• Wesley’s character on CHARMED, Wyatt Halliwell, was the grandson of Patty Halliwell, the role played by Finola Hughes (Anna).
• His older brother, Will, is a renowned metal fabricator. “He builds custom choppers, motorcycles, that have been on the covers of magazines and he’s won competitions all over the country.”
JUST THE FACTS
Birthday: October 6
Hometown: Lexington, KY
Creative Spark: He fell in love with theater when he was 12 and “gave up multiple sports to pursue it very seriously in my hometown, doing Shakespeare plays every year, playwriting programs on the weekend and acting class and rehearsals in the evening.”
Boys’ Life: Ramsey is the middle of three sons and he has a 1 ½-year-old niece via his younger brother. “Uncle is a fun hat to wear,” he beams. “A grandchild was something my mother and father were looking forward to and considering that our family is full of nothing but boys, we were overdue for a beautiful little girl. Baby brother got it right!”
Men At Work: The actor inherited Ryan Paevey’s (ex-Nathan) dressing room. “I’m in between Maurice [Benard, Sonny] and Matt Cohen [Griffin]. Matt and I have really hit it off and I’m so happy that we’ve gotten to work together recently.”
Crystal Clear: He remains friendly with his GUIDING LIGHT sibling, Crystal Chappell (ex-Olivia). “I’d never had a sister before and really loved working with her.”
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