Maurice Benard (Sonny, GH) wasn’t ready for a long-term commitment when he was first talking to GH. The actor didn’t even have an actual audition. “I just had a meeting and they offered me two roles: Damian and Sonny. I said, ‘Which is the shortest term?’ They said Sonny was a sixth-month role and I said, ‘I’d like to do that.’ " Benard has been playing the role since 1993!
Bryan R. Dattilo (Lucas, DAYS) didn’t have such a great start in Salem. “Mine was the worst, I was so petrified,” he relayed. "There were like eight, 10 dudes doing it before me. I was the last one to go. Christie Clark [ex-Carrie] had done so many scenes so many times. It actually was hard because I kind of knew her. We were acting school when I was really, really little, like 8 years old. I kind of knew her from going out with a couple of friends, and then had to do a scene with her… that was weird. I didn’t remember my lines and kept going; made up lines, ad-libbed, kind of like I do now. I thought I blew it. It took months to get. My hair was bad. I had parted it and sprayed it and it never moved. My hair on the first three years of the show never moved. It was just ‘Lucas has a lid.’ ”
Daytime legend Susan Lucci (ex-Erica, AMC) expected wrath from her professor when she was thinking about joining a soap. “I had studied with the head of my drama department, who was from Yale School of Drama, and he only wanted me to go for film or theater, and I knew he was going to be really mad at me if took a job on television, much less daytime television,” she admitted. "But I didn’t care; that’s, how much I loved the part and saw so much possibility in the writing.”
Hillary B. Smith, who played Nora Buchanan on OLTL and just popped up on GH, recalled, “The first audition for a soap I ever did was Becky Lee Abbott on ONE LIFE TO LIVE. In 1979, I brought my guitar and sang, and then they had us screen-testing with other people, so you were only as good as your partner was, and he was terrible. Then, I screen-tested three times for RYAN’S HOPE, the first time for a role they decided not to do; then, they were looking for a ‘Hillary Bailey type,' and I said, ‘Well, that works because I’m a Hilary Bailey type.’ They said, ‘Yeah, but they’re not sure if they want to bring you back.’’ I ended screen-testing twice more there and I still didn’t get it!”
Michelle Stafford (Nina, GH) told Digest that she left her audition for Y&R’s Phyllis in tears. “I remember I came in and I auditioned, and Bill [Bell, creator, then-head writer/executive producer] was sitting there. He was listening and clicking his pen. As an actor, all I could think was, ‘I lost him. He’s not interested.’ It seemed to me he was like, ‘Oh, God, would she just finish!’ I left and went into the elevator and I just sobbed because I thought, ‘Another audition.’ But then I got it.”