AMC’s Vincent Irizarry ~ An Intimate Chat

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Soapdom's Favorite Most Devious Doctor Gets Candid

AMC's Dr. Dave Talks About His Love of Music, His Former Role as Lujack, and Getting the Cybby Award for Most Devious Doctor Several Years in a Row!

At Right: Vincent Irizarry (David, AMC) with real-life wife, Avalon. Photo: Phyllis A. Tremblay

Soapdom readers may know that Vincent Irizarry, AMC’s Dr. David Hayward, has won the Cybby Award Fun Category for Most Devious Doctor for several years, but it was news to him.  And did you know that Irizarry attended Music School?  Get to know a little more about what makes Pine Valley’s most devious doctor tick!

SOAPDOM:  Let me start by telling you that you have been winning awards on our site. 

VINCENT IRIZARRY:  (Surprised)  I HAVE!  For what?

SOAPDOM:  The Cybby Award Fun Category for “Most Devious Doctor.”

IRIZARRY:  Oh, OK.  That’s a dubious honor, and I’ll proudly wear it.

SOAPDOM:  You’ve won this award for several years now.

IRIZARRY:  That’s fabulous, I had no idea!  That’s exciting!

SOAPDOM:  That leads me to my next question. Are you enjoying your role as Dr. David?

IRIZARRY: I’ll say this about Dr. David; I have played him now for eight years!  This was supposed to be a three month gig.  When I first came on the show, those first three months it was so obvious to me that there was such great potential for the character and the show felt that way as well as they came back and offered me a contract.  The character has NEVER failed my expectations during this period of time.  They wrote this character so well, he is developed so well.  In the beginning, when we first started out on a long-term contract, I was concerned because we were not really capitalizing on the potential of the character.  He was floundering.  So I went to the producers and told them that the problem with the character was that he had no real history.  He was just a doctor who came to town, he had one main connection which was Ali, who was on the show at the time and he had no history.  There was no one who knew his past.  I felt that after a while people would just view him as just a major irritant.  It was more like ‘who is this guy?’  We needed to create a past for him they came up with a storyline with my mother, Marj Dusay.  She came to town and obviously she knows my past, but that I hated her and my history with her about my father committing suicide and her egging him into it.  That is what contributed to my hostility to a certain type of woman and it created a whole new David.

SOAPDOM:  You were a person.

IRIZARRY:  Yeah.  It was a person that the audience could hold on to and who they could empathize with.  Now people could understand his malevolence. 

SOAPDOM:  It seems like ages ago you were playing against, Josh Duhamel who is now on Vegas. 

IRIZARRY:  Yes, Josh played my brother, Leo.  And my daughter who was born, with Anna, we conceived a child together and we named her Leora in honor of Leo who had died.  So yes, Josh was my brother for three years.

SOAPDOM:  Do you have a ‘fantasy’ storyline?  Who would David most like to be with?

IRIZARRY:  Now THAT is a completely different storyline, but my fantasy would be that everyone in Pine Valley would come and thank me for saving their lives and tell me that I’m the best doctor that they have ever had in Pine Valley.  In fact, that I am the BEST human being.  (Laughter from both of us)  And then that they would want to make me governor or something like that.  Now that is a fantasy that will NEVER be realized. 

SOAPDOM:  Do you think that David and Tad could ever be friends?

IRIZARRY:  NO!  That would not be a fantasy.  Unless of course, while everyone is telling me how wonderful I am, they would all turn on Tad.  They would vilify him and throw him in jail. 

SOAPDOM:  Switching gears now, how long ago has it been when you were Lujack on Guiding Light?

IRIZARRY:  Lujack was from November of 83 to December of 85.

SOAPDOM:  So many people still identify you with Lujack after all this time. 

IRIZARRY:  I know, (and) that is amazing.  Lujack was two years.  And what is really extraordinary about that is I came back in 1991 as my twin brother Nick and I was there for five years. 

SOAPDOM:  That’s right, but I couldn’t remember his name.

IRIZARRY:  But you see, that’s the funny thing about that character, people always remember Lujack and ask me ‘what was the other guy’s name?’  I mean, I played him for 150% longer.  So that is always funny. Lujack was a ground breaking role.  It was an extraordinary character.

SOAPDOM:  Who is your favorite character?  Would it be Lujack or David since you are playing him presently?

IRIZARRY:  Lujack, again, was such a well written role.  It was a ground-breaking role.  I was not your typical soap actor.

SOAPDOM:  You were the leather guy, a modern day James Dean.

IRIZARRY:  Right I WAS a rebel without a cause kind of guy, the anti-hero kind of guy.  But more important, when I first started on that show, I (had) your typical soap opera look.  At the time, I also weighed a lot less, I was a very skinny kid and they dressed me up in like a Michael Jackson Thriller gang video look.  I mean I had a fedora, suspenders, I mean, it was ridiculous.  But I was so thin that I actually looked like a ‘nose with a hat.’ And I’m sitting there having these arguments with Grant Aleksander (ex Phillip, GL), the man with the chiseled good looks and muscles on his forehead and just a big guy and I’m this skinny guy saying ‘you wait until next time’ and I’m going up in his face when all he had to do is flick his finger and he could throw me across the room.  But I wasn’t your typical look for a soap at that time but it was such a GREAT character.  I LOVED it, especially having a long term character.  Up until then, I had only done theater.  That was my first TV role.  Prior to that I had done six years of theater.  Just to have a long term role with a new script everyday that I was developing was very exciting to me.  I was young, I was single, I was living in the village and I found myself living in my mind, the fantasy of living the life of Lujack much more than my own life during that time.  Whereas after nine months of playing Lujack, I was losing sight of myself.  I was becoming much more Lujack and I had to find a balance.

SOAPDOM:  That’s so funny because I was just going to ask you to talk about your passion, but you seem to be doing that.  I wanted to talk about you and the piano.  Did you start in like a conservatory environment?

IRIZARRY:  Before I start, let me finish the one thing about Lujack, you asked me which I like better, David or Lujack.  David is the first character that I’ve had since Lujack that rivals Lujack in my affection, in my excitement and enthusiasm for playing him.  And I will say that I am happy to be playing David at this point of my life.  I don’t think that I’d want to be playing Lujack at this time of my life.  I can’t say that I like one character more than the other but I would say that I see them as equals.  At this time of my life, David is so much more suited to me.

Now as far as the piano…  I started playing piano privately as a kid.  I was eleven years old.  There was just something, a friend of mine studied organ at a very early age; he was an amazing organist at my age.  There was something very exciting to me and I always loved music.  I loved the Beatles; I was very into popular music.  I wanted to get involved in music.  So I went to my parents and said that I wanted to study piano.  And my parents were very wise when they said ‘look, we are not going to buy a piano because we need to see if you really are interested , we don’t want to go out and buy a piano and later on have it be no more than a piece of furniture.  So we’ll pay for your lessons, and can you find a piano to rehearse on.’  There was a woman right around the block from me who had three daughters and her husband has just passed away.  She was a widow with three girls and I went to her and told her that I will mow your lawn in the summer, I will shovel your driveway in the winter, and fill your pool in the summer and keep it clean if I could come to your house and use your piano which I found out that her daughters did not use.  She was so excited that someone would be using the piano and I would go there every day and practice for hours.  The result was that one of her daughters started practicing again and started playing and she became a very good pianist.  So, my parents had not heard me play for a year and a half, they had never heard me play a note but they would pay for my lessons.  And one day, we were driving by a piano store, my father saw the store, put on the brakes, turned around and we went into the store and he said, ‘show me what you’ve learned’.  I sat down at this really nice Yamaha piano and started playing.  I mean, I was playing jazz, classical, ragtime, stuff that I was learning very quickly and I was even able to play stuff that I had written.  I was learning very quickly because I was working very hard.  My mother started crying.  And my father said, ‘do you like this piano?’ and I said yeah, it’s a great piano.  He said, ‘OK, I’ll buy this piano.’  And they bought the piano.

SOAPDOM: What a great story!

IRIZARRY:  Yes, how has this progressed in my life, yes, I did go to Music College.  I left Music College to become and actor.  Music has always stayed in my career as well as an actor; I played Paul McCartney Off Broadway, but the great thing, the most exciting thing is with my children.  My 15 year old, she plays piano and she’s doing fabulous.  My seven year old daughter, she has been playing piano for a year and a half, she has recitals.  And she has a recital coming up in the next few weeks; she is learning so quickly, she is sight reading great.  At her first recital, about 10 months ago, he teacher asked me if I would be willing to do a duet with her.  I said sure.  I’m doing a duet with my daughter, who’s six years old at the time, and I’ll tell you, I was more nervous than I have EVER been because I was afraid that I going to throw her off and leave her with a negative experience.  I was SO nervous.  But it is so exciting to me now to work with my daughter, I work with her all the time.  She is preparing for this next recital, she has two songs that she has to learn by memory with the dynamics and everything and she is doing so well with it.  She is also doing three duets.  It is so exciting for me to do that and my 15 yr old is composing her own songs.  She has great lyrics; she takes things and starts playing it.  It is so exciting for me to see that my interest as an eleven year old boy has been passed on to my next generation.  My three year old son even sits at the piano and he just doesn’t hit at it, he plays single notes and little motifs.  I’ll play a motif and he’ll repeat it.

If only Dr. David would serenade us with a piano concerto!  Wouldn’t that add yet another dimension to his character?  Never say never!  Anything can happen on a soap.  Thank you Vincent Irizarry for taking a few moments to share a few intimate details about your life and career with us at, and here’s to your winning the Cybby Award again this year.