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Home Features Exclusives Soap Actors Come Clean on Character Names

Soap Actors Come Clean on Character Names

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What do their character names mean to them?

Y&R's Tracey E. Bregman (Lauren), Don Diamont (Brad) and Peter Bergman (Jack) with headwriter, Lynn Marie LathamSoap opera writers pull out the stops when it comes to naming the characters.  [That's Young and the Restless former headwriter, Lynn Marie Latham, pictured at right with Tracey E. Bregman (Lauren), Don Diamont (Brad) and Peter Bergman (Jack)]. It’s rare you’ll find a Bob or a Sue living in a fictional soap opera town.  More likely you’ll encounter someone named Fancy, Nash, Thorne, Durant or Spike.

Imagine being the actors who must breathe life into their characters.  Does the character name inspire or deter them from doing the best they can with the role?

Some actors luck out!  Their characters share their own real names like Aiden Turner who played Aidan on All My Children, for example, or Austin Peck who played Austin on Days of our Lives.  But for almost everyone else, the name of the character could play a very important part in how they perceive that character, which in turn affects the way they portray it.

How do some of our most popular soap opera actors -- past and present -- feel about the names of the fictional people they played or play on the soaps?  Read on…

Justin Bruening (Jamie, AMC)

“It’s interesting. I never met a guy named Jamie before.  Now that he’s become a little older, we’re trying to change it to James because that’s his real name.  It’s James Edward Martin, his full name.  But Jamie kind of fits my character because he’s light-hearted and he’s kind of comedic and he’s very charming.  I’m not, he is. He can seduce some women.  He can, again, I can’t.  It fits my character very well.”

Marie Wilson (Meg, ATWT)Marie Wilson (Meg, ATWT)

“The big practical joke on the show was, before we were going to tape I was new on the show and everyone was telling who’s been on the show and who’s very successful right now and one of them was Meg Ryan and I didn’t know she was here.  They called action and I was supposed to say ‘Hi, I’m Meg Snyder,’ instead I said, ‘Hi, I’m Meg Ryan.’”

Linda Dano (Felicia, Another World; Gretel/Ray, OLTL, AMC, GH)

“Felicia always to me meant strength, friendship, tenacity, honesty, and unbelievable loyalty.  There was something about the name, about her, about the clothes, all of the outside elements went inside because inside she was Fannie O’Grady.  Gretel became Ray, but I’m not so sure why.  I think that was the problem in playing her.  I really didn’t know who she was, really.”

Darin Brooks (Max, DOOL)

“He’s just a wild child.  It’s a cool little name, a little more edgy than Darin Brooks.”

Michael Graziadei (Daniel, Y&R)

“I think it’s a good strong name.  It brings strength and integrity to my character.  I hope.”

John Ingle (Edward, GH)

“Obviously, it’s money centered.  Everything about him is money centered. Any member of the family who doesn’t contribute to the money is out of it as far as I’m concerned.”

Jacob Young (JR, AMC)

“Complicated. Savvy.”

Ty Treadway (Host, Soaptalk; Troy/Colin, OLTL)

“Colin meant evil doctor.  And, Troy meant, slightly more evil doctor. Colin for me always had an edge to him. I always tried to play Colin with a little more edge and not as much of a conscience.  And, Troy, it sounds like a guy who’s trying to do well.  He’s trying to be a good guy. The writers didn’t necessarily see it that way and that’s why I was always walking around with a syringe and kidnapping some body.  Not necessarily my fault.”

Tyler Christopher (Nikolas Cassadine, GH)

“The name, Nikolas Cassadine means nothing to me personally.”

Michael Park (Jack, ATWT)

“Jack Snyder means a long line of tradition in the Snyder family. It means kindness and warmth and unfortunately, he’s a little judgmental, I guess.”

Maura West (Carly, ATWT)

“When I was born in Springfield, Massachusetts I was born Maura Jo Snyder.  For me I cannot answer the Carla Tenney thing, but for me as Snyder, I was born a Snyder and when...



Linda Marshall-Smith (QueenRuler, www.Soapdom.com)
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