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Vincent Irizarry Opens up About His Epic Career in Soaps (EXCLUSIVE)

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After scrubbing in at THE BOLD & THE BEAUTIFUL for a brief stint this summer, Vincent Irizarry’s Jordan was busy saving lives. Having first treated Thomas after he plunged over a 300-foot cliff, he then to keep an ailing Katie alive. “It’s always a challenge to communicate the medicalese — that’s not something that comes trippingly off the tongue,” noted Irizarry, who previously played Dr. Scott Clark on SANTA BARBARA and ALL MY CHILDREN’s nefarious Dr. David Hayward.

It wouldn’t be inconceivable for this short-term B&B role to turn into something more substantial for Irizarry. After all, many of the veteran actor’s most iconic soap roles started off as brief stints, including his first one as GUIDING LIGHT’s Brandon “Lujack” Luvonaczek. “That was supposed to be a three-day role,” he noted. “They ended up giving me a few more days, and then I had a contract. The character took off, and it was kind of a phenomenon.” 

This was in the early 1980s, during the Golden Age of soaps, when Lujack’s romance with Beth earned Irizarry and leading lady Judi Evans (now Adrienne, DAYS OF OUR LIVES) supercouple status. “I didn’t know how to handle it at first,” Irizarry recalls. “All of a sudden, people were coming up to me on the street freaking out. It was a totally different world for me. It took some getting used to.”

All My Children Zach David

“he has a really good way of keeping things light and off the cuff,” said Irizarry of Thorsten Kaye (Ridge), with whom he worked on AMC more than a decade ago. (Kaye was Zach, Irizarry, David.) (Photo Credit: Ron Tom/ABC)

Likewise, playing AMC’s villainous doc started off as a three-month contract. “That ended up turning into a 14-year job,” said Irizarry, who won a Best Supporting Actor Emmy for the role in 2009. “David was sociopathic, frankly, but they gave him a backstory to explain why he was as broken as he was. It gave the audience some empathy toward him.”

In 2007, the actor joined the cast of THE YOUNG & THE RESTLESS as David Chow, a political operative with a dark past and an even darker future. “That was another three-month job that turned into two years,” he marveled. “It was cool playing someone with a gambling addiction, which resulted in David making very destructive choices.”

If you’re sensing a pattern here, it’s that Irizarry is the sort of actor who can take a role and run with it. It doesn’t hurt that decades in the business have given him insight into what it takes to be both successful in this genre and respected by one’s peers. He chalks some of that wisdom up to working with so many daytime greats throughout the years, class acts who taught him how it’s done. “I love that I had the opportunity to work with Beverlee McKinsey (Alexandra, GL) and Larry Gates (H.B., GL), and in the later years, people like James Mitchell (Palmer, AMC), David Canary (Adam/ Stuart, AMC) and Ruth Warrick (Phoebe, AMC),” he said. “They gave me something to aspire to as a young actor, and direction as to how one proceeds in this business, how you develop a character and come to work prepared.”

Vincent Irizarry John Aniston

Irizarry’s DAYS villain, Deimos Kiriakis, came to town seeking revenge against his brother after spending more than three decades in prison. “Talk about a great backstory! [Plus,] John Aniston (Victor) is a consummate professional and a good guy.” (Photo Credit: Howard Wise/jpistudios.com)

Such skills have also translated to Irizarry’s career success off camera. He’s a residential real-estate agent as well as a certified second-level sommelier, which led to a sales rep gig for a wine distribution company, Alluvial Wines. “I represent about a thousand wines that are produced globally, which means I have about 13 cases of wine from all over the world in my house at any given time. It’s a blessing, but also, potentially a problem,” he teased. In any case, having him back in daytime is something we can all definitely raise a glass to!

For more on your favorite daytime stars, keep reading Soaps In Depth magazine.

This story originally appeared in our print magazine

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