It was May 12, 2009, when THE BOLD & THE BEAUTIFUL’s Stephanie set foot for the first time in Dollar Bill Spencer’s office asking him to publish her trash-talking diatribes against the Logan women. “I like the way you think,” the ruthless publisher chuckled, “and it’s my pleasure to be a part of it.” A pleasure, indeed, not just for Bill but for his portrayer, Don Diamont, who feels immeasurably lucky to have spent the past 10 years breathing deliciously jaw-dropping life into a character that, in many ways, has breathed fresh life into the show itself. We sat down with the actor to discuss this milestone anniversary and what it means to him.
Soaps In Depth: Take us back to your first day on the job. What do you remember from that time period?
Don Diamont: “[Executive producer and head writer Bradley Bell] created this character for me after a very unceremonious departure from THE YOUNG & THE RESTLESS [on which he’d played Brad Carlton for 24 years]. He stepped up for me, big time, and made it very clear that the success of the character was important to him. So, while on the one hand, I was very excited, there was a degree of nerves and adrenaline, because there was a lot at stake. When I saw my first scenes were with Susan Flannery (ex-Stephanie), I thought, ‘Ah, this is brilliant.’ She was absolutely the character you’d want to see Bill with right off the bat.”
In Depth: Do you think the introduction of Bill’s two grown sons wound up being integral to the character’s success?
Diamont: “One hundred percent, yes. Looking at Scott Clifton (Liam), physically, you wouldn’t think, ‘Oh, this would be Bill’s son,’ but it really was perfect casting. Scott’s a great person and such a talented actor. I was very blessed to have somebody I could collaborate with, and that just made it special from the get-go. If Liam and Bill’s relationship hadn’t fallen into place, then it would have been hard to get to the next [son]. Sure enough, Darin [Brooks, Wyatt] was another great guy with a terrific sense of humor who was open to trying things and with so much talent. What a blessing for me. Having them come along, as well as the Katie/Bill relationship before that, was everything.”
In Depth: Does it feel like time has gone by quickly, or do you feel like you’ve been on the show a long time?
Diamont: “Very quickly. Like everything in life, if you really sit and try to map it out, then you can see that it’s been quite an amazing 10 years. But, on the other hand, it’s gone by in the blink of an eye.”
In Depth: Can you picture yourself still here playing Bill 10 years from now?
Diamont: “Oh, sure! Absolutely.”
In Depth: What might Bill be like a decade from now?
Diamont: “You can go through periods like he’s going through now [where he’s on his best behavior], but ultimately, the character has to be who he is, or it’s not ‘Bill.’ I’m waiting for something to happen where all of a sudden, viewers really want Bill to go kick somebody’s ass. That would be a nice way to bring him back to who he is.”
In Depth: Anything about your experience at Y&R that really informed how you approached the role at B&B?
Diamont: “No, but my relationship with [supervising producer] Ed Scott wound up being different. When Ed was [producing] on Y&R, his dynamic toward me was, ‘He’s a kid,’ because I was a kid when I started there. Playing Brad, there were certain things I wanted to do where Ed would say no, and we would have that discussion. With Bill, the dynamic of my relationship with Ed changed; we were suddenly professional contemporaries, in a way, and I found I had a lot more freedom with the character.”
In Depth: What has been the biggest perk of your job over the last 10 years?
Diamont: “Well, having Brad for a boss, for sure. But also, probably the location shoots. Those have been some great experiences for me.”
In Depth: Is there anything that you’d like to say to Brad on the occasion of your 10th anniversary?
Diamont: “Brad was my champion and has continued to be that over the course of my tenure at B&B. His willingness to listen — and that doesn’t mean he’s always going to implement what you bring to him — but his willingness to listen and his wonderfully collaborative nature has been a tremendous asset to me. I’ve always had a desire to do right by Brad, because he’s done so right by me.”
In Depth: Bill’s not the longest role that you’ve played in daytime television, but would you say that it’s the most gratifying?
Diamont: “It is, without a doubt. No other role comes even close. Just because you’re successful in a role on one show doesn’t mean that translates to another show, so I take a lot of pride in it. To have the Spencers become what they have become means a lot to me, and I know it was important to Brad. He did me such a tremendous solid, and I didn’t let him down. When somebody believes in you and puts time and effort and invests money in you… I didn’t take that for granted, and I still don’t. This opportunity and the success that’s come along with it, it means so much to me.”
For more B&B news, keep reading the CBS edition of Soaps In Depth magazine.