Daytime superstar Peter Bergman was a guest on Alec Baldwin’s podcast, Here’s The Thing, and it’s a conversation that every fan of his will want to listen in on whether they know him as ALL MY CHILDREN‘s Cliff Warner or THE YOUNG & THE RESTLESS‘ Jack Abbott. And host Alec Baldwin knows a thing or two about soaps, having gotten his start on NBC’s THE DOCTORS where he played Billy Aldrich in the early ’80s.
Introduced by Baldwin as an “undisputed master” of soap operas, Bergman discusses his beginnings auditioning for school plays and studying acting before waiting tables and auditioning for commercials and theater gigs in New York City. This, naturally, led to him landing the breakout role of Cliff on AMC in 1979. “What I didn’t know was this was the beginning of this wave of daytime craziness,” he recalled. “When I started there were 13 soap operas. There are four now. They were all doing well, but ABC in particular, that ‘Love in the Afternoon’ thing, it was crazy. There were 12, 13 million people watching us every day.”
Being written off of AMC was a devastating blow for the actor. “I was just hammered by it,” he confided. “I had found a home and had made myself a member of that family in a big way. They let me know in late January and I worked until September 6. It was nasty and I wish I could tell you I was strong enough to pick myself up and dust myself off and get on to the next thing… I was thunderstruck by it.”
The last thing Bergman said he wanted was to move to Los Angeles and work on another soap, especially as a recast, but that’s exactly what happened when Melody Thomas Scott (Nikki) felt he would be perfect to replace the departing Terry Lester as Jack Abbott on Y&R. And having spent his time on AMC in awe of actors like David Canary (Adam/Stuart) and James Mitchell (Palmer), Bergman finally found himself in that position for a change. “After 10 years of watching a couple guys have those roles, the role. I’ve got the role on this show. This is a mercurial character. One day, the nicest brother anybody could ever have and the next day a despotic boss, a dreadful, venal, self-centered idiot. The next day, a careful, kind lover. It was one of the roles in daytime.”
You can click here to listen to Bergman’s entire conversation with Baldwin about his childhood and acting experiences that ends with the actor revealing just how he’d like to see Jack’s story come to an end! And for more on your favorite Y&R stars, keep reading the CBS edition of Soaps In Depth magazine.