As GH fans now know, Marshall, the mysterious newcomer who was skulking around asking questions about Curtis, is actually Curtis’s father. The role is being played by Robert Gossett, who chuckles, “I called myself a stalker! I thought, ‘If they’re going to pay me to do this, just walk around stalking people, I’ll do it!’ But now, I’m not overpaid [laughs].”
Gossett, a native of the Bronx, NY, got his start in show business onstage in New York, and first came to Los Angeles in 1988 with a production of Fences, “the Broadway show with James Earl Jones [ex-Jim, GUIDING LIGHT] and Courtney Vance, and I decided to stay.” While he’s worked most extensively in prime-time, he also played short-term roles on PASSIONS and Y&R. “They were gigs, but they weren’t like what I’m doing now,” Gossett notes.
His path to playing his meatiest soap role to date began a few months ago. “My agent called and said that [Casting Director] Mark Teschner was thinking about me for a role, and he wanted my permission to tell Mark, ‘Yes, please consider him.’ He didn’t know if I would want to do a daytime drama, but of course I said, ‘Of course I would! Why not?’ I actually forgot about it because a couple of months passed, but finally they said, ‘Could you come in and read with the actor, Donnell [Turner, Curtis]?’ for chemistry and all that. I said yes and came in and then I was told I had the role.”
Thus far, Gossett is having a great Port Charles experience. “I’m really happy,” he says. “I’m glad I’m doing it. This phrase is overused, but it is a blessing. As an actor, I don’t have to leave town, don’t have to go to Vancouver or New York or New Orleans. I’m not in a hotel. I don’t have to get picked up in a van and taken to a musty trailer with a small bathroom. I get to wake up in my own bed, jump in my car, drive to the studio, do what I love to do, which is act, go to a really nice dressing room with a couch and a television, the bathrooms are huge and nice, and then I come home! And then in terms of script, what I’m getting to do is really cool. I’m enjoying where they are taking the character, the mystery of the character, and the collaboration in daytime television; because it moves so fast, they don’t have time to micromanage. They leave the actors alone: ‘Your job is to act this and create your character, so go for it!’ There is a certain freedom in that kind of collaboration, and I appreciate it so much.”
The pace was overwhelming at first, he admits. “Man, that first day on the set? I was like, ‘Lord have mercy, what did I get myself into?’ The speed of it was rattling. There was a learning curve, but I quickly adapted and now I’m fine. If you see me now, you’d think I’ve been on the show 20 years!”