Catching Up With Jeffrey Byron


Credit: ABC

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Roger Hurley, DALLAS, 1978; Richard Abbott, ONE LIFE TO LIVE, 1986-87; Jeff Martin, ALL MY CHILDREN, 1986-87; Chuck Williams, B&B, 2002; Dr. Mark Boardman, PORT CHARLES, 1997- 2000; Mr. Morton, B&B, 2008

You got your soap start on DALLAS in its second episode. “My scenes were with Charlene Tilton [ex-Lucy], who is lovely. It was about a year before ‘Who Shot J.R.?’ Who could have predicted the heights DALLAS would have gone to? It caught on like wildfire and the rest is history. I have great memories of Larry Hagman [ex-J.R.], and I have to say that Patrick Duffy [ex-Bobby, et al] is one of the sweetest people on earth.”

Tell us about your OLTL experience. “They wanted me to test opposite Andrea Evans [ex-Tina et al] because we had chemistry. I flew back to New York. It was January, snow on the ground. Somewhere on the flight, I came down with a cold. I got up the next morning feeling awful and I walked the two blocks to the studio. I ran lines with Andrea, and because I felt so crappy, I felt I had nothing to lose. I did my performance and I got back on the plane and by the time we landed my agent called and said, ‘You got the part.’ That was my first experience being on a daytime soap, and they put me in multiple storylines. I was working every single day for nine months. I was all over the map. I was terrified my very first day. I had 35 pages of dialogue. I couldn’t stop pacing. My first scene was with Andrea, Phil Carey [ex-Asa] and Clint Ritchie [ex-Clint] and I swear I don’t remember what happened. I’m sure it was a mediocre performance but I got the lines out!”

Then you went to AMC. “Yes. I had just finished ONE LIFE TO LIVE. I moved back to L.A. and this role came up and the whole point of the character, had they followed through with it, which would have been amazing, would have been the first interracial relationship with me and Debbi Morgan’s character [Angie]. The minute I heard about it, I begged my agent to get me in. They tested a bunch of people and I tested with Debbi and we were on fire. We got along so well together. Even during the test, we improvised and an hour after I tested, I got the part. We were just about to get into that story and the network folks pulled the plug on it. It never happened, and I was in this no-man’s-land. I came on to do that storyline and suddenly my character was lost. That was a disappointment because I really liked the people in that show. That storyline would have been so great, and I do believe Debbi and I would have done justice to it.”

You also had two separate appearances on B&B. “I did and they were delightful. The one in 2002 was a pretty good run. I was recurring as Hunter Tylo’s [ex-Taylor] lawyer; I knew her very well because we were on ALL MY CHILDREN together. I had a run of about four-to-five months. I adore Hunter, so that was fun.”

Next, you played Dr. Boardman on PC. “He was a pompous ass! Wendy Riche was producing both [GH and PC] at the time, and she called me and mentioned this part that was coming up. I said. ‘I’d love to do it.’ It was so different than my homogenized, squeaky clean guys I’d played. I grew a goatee, which would give me more of a dastardly look, and three months turned into three years of bullying the interns, who were the basis of the show. Then, they wrote in Kimberlin Brown [ex-Rachel; Sheila, B&B] and they developed this storyline for our characters which went on for a year or so. We had great chemistry, and I really enjoyed playing that.”

You also got to do a cameo with your real-life mom, the late Anna Lee (ex-Lila, GH). “Yes. It was a very short scene where my character is waiting for an elevator and sure enough, the elevator door opens and Lila is in the elevator and we had a moment together. My mom got a huge kick out of it, so it checked all the boxes. I had a great time on PC and am very thankful for it.”

Do you think Dr. Boardman could come back to GH to raise some havoc? “If the opportunity presented itself and they were open to it, I would love that. It would be fun to see Dr. Boardman with silver hair.”

It’s been a while since your soap days. What are you up to now? “Child actors rarely blossom as adult actors. I was very lucky. I’m doing a show now called THE RESONATOR — and the big thing for me now is, I’m an avid photographer. It’s more of a hobby but I do some photography work [] and that’s what my life is, my number one thing I’m doing — that is my life and my passion. I also inherited the rights to my late stepfather [the poet and novelist] Robert Nathan’s work, and I’m working on that with my partner and lifelong friend, Colleen Camp — she’s a force of nature — to develop his work. It’s very exciting. His books are brilliant and there are a lot of eyes on his library now, so we will see what happens.”

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