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Mark Lawson (Dustin, GH) reflects on the gig that launched his soap career

First Soap Role: Brody Lovett, ONE LIFE TO LIVE, 2008-12

First Screen Test: “My girlfriend had a rule that I couldn’t move in until I knew I was going to propose within the year. On a Sunday night, I told her I was ready to move in — and on Monday morning, I got the call for a screen test. I was in New York like, two days later screen-testing and then a day after that I got the job. I was at this point in my relationship where I almost didn’t get on the plane. Everybody on her side of the family said, ‘You’ve got to go and do this.’ My mom, who’s been the champion for my acting career my whole life, said, ‘I don’t know, Mark, she’s really great….’ So I was really conflicted. But when I got to New York, I just really wanted it. I was in the old [OLTL studio] building on 66th [St.], down in that basement with all of these other dudes, all looking at each other — dudes just scoping each other out. ‘Who’s gonna look the most like an ex-Navy SEAL?’ I remember walking on that set and just feeling, like, electrified. They let me do one take, then Frank [Valentini, then-exec-utive producer, now GH’s EP] came down and gave me some notes and before we did a second take, I was talking to myself, like, ‘You better get this right, right now!’ One of the guys on the crew looked at me and said, ‘You know, Mark, we can hear everything you’re saying.’ I was on set with Farah Fath [ex-Gigi] and it kind of got revealed to me later on that she thought I was a complete psycho because I was so wired up!”

First Day On Set: “My first day I got in a bar fight and I got to kiss a girl, and the girl happened to be Melissa Fumero [ex-Adriana]. Not a bad day at work!”

First Pals In The Cast: “Melissa and David [Fumero, ex-Cristian, Melissa’s husband]. I kissed Melissa, I walked out the door with her and met David, and I think we were working out together the next week. We kind of took over Crunch on 83rd Street. They were my people. I was living with them for the last, like, six weeks before I moved back to L.A. [after OLTL ended], and they’re godparents to one of my kids.”


Steven Bergman

First Dressing Room: “My room was very bare. I kept a portable speaker in there and I did at one point bring a couple of kettlebells in, thinking I was going to work out in my room, which I did occasionally. Josh Kelly [ex-Cutter] and Tom Degnan [ex-Joey] were across the hall. They were hysterical because they ended up buying bunk beds! They were a few years younger than me so they were still out hell-raising. I was like, ‘No, my girl’s back home,’ and [after work] I’d just go back to my apartment and play video games.”

First Love Interest: “That was Farah. Farah was a pro. I had to be on my toes with her because she was a boss and ready to go fast. I learned a lot from Farah.”

First Romantic Rival: “That was John-Paul [Lavoisier, ex-Rex]. I don’t think it’s news that [he and Fath] were dating, right? So, I was the odd man out, literally and figuratively! J-P and I are buds. I’ve done his crazy Runyon Canyon workout with him a couple of times, The Full Dolores. He also likes to send me funny memes on Friday the 13th because we’re both ’80s horror movie kids.”



First Love Scene: “Well, my first love scene wasn’t actually a love scene, it was a shower scene. I was in the shower alone, but they intercut it with J-P and Farah in their own shower. It ended up being a clip on BEST WEEK EVER and they called it ‘the gayest, saddest shower scene.’ I was so proud of that, as ridiculous as it ended up being. I was like, ‘I’m gonna have my Full Metal Jacket, Apocalypse Now meltdown in the shower. Frank is such a good director. It’s gonna be artistic.’ And it was, but when you watched it cut together, it was like, ‘I’m in the shower watching them make out in the shower [laughs].’ ”

First Time Being Recognized: “It was my 30th birthday. A lot of my friends from L.A. had flown out with [wife] Cortney. I literally, I think, that morning proposed to her. We’re leaving this bar and some young woman comes up to me, literally crying, and says, ‘Oh, my God! You’re Brody on ONE LIFE.’ My friends were like, ‘What is happening?’ But when I felt like it really meant something was when we were walking by a club in Hell’s Kitchen and some huge bouncer was like, ‘Yo, Brody! You wanna come in? Come in!’ And I was like, ‘That’s it. I’ve arrived.’ ”

First Soap Wedding: “Can I be honest? What stood out to me about [Brody’s failed double wedding with Jessica, Natalie and John] was feeling like, ‘I’m really part of this cast! I’m involved here.’ We used to kind of mentally break it down into A, B and C storylines. I was like, ‘I’m in an A storyline, and I’m getting married. That’s a big deal!’ But also knowing that was the beginning of the downward spiral for Brody, I was like, ‘Okay, I’m gonna go nuts after this, I’m sure!’ ”