By Lilana Novakovich
November 13, 1998
In 1984, Christian J. LeBlanc was on the cover of Soap Opera Digest with Marisa Tomei, who was then his love interest Marcy, on AS THE WORLD TURNS. It was early in the career of LeBlanc, who now plays Michael Baldwin on THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS.
"I had just gotton off the turnip truck," he laughs, "so, to be able to work from time to time with such talented people as Margaret Colin (ex Margo) and Meg Ryan (ex-Betsy), was a gift. And I got to work closely with Marisa, who was great. In our infancy, we were all so green in a way, but Marisa was very talented, and so natural -- even then. I had no training, really, so it was like this wonderful lesson to be able to work with her."
He's a seasoned actor now and is back on Y&R after a four-year absence. In 1993, his dastardly character, lawyer Michael Baldwin, was put behind bars for various crimes, including sexual harassment and assault on Christine.
Y&R honcho Bill Bell always kept in touch with LeBlanc, and last spring, Michael was rewritten into the storyline after spending four years in jail.
"April Fool's Day was my first anniversary back," LeBlanc recalls. "I was finishing teaching a special ed class in an inner-city school (in Los Angeles) and had just planned the Easter party."
LeBlanc has an ancient history/pre-med degree from Tulane University, which afforded him teaching credentials.
"I had some tough classes, but the kids were great. I think having jobs like that, that have nothing to do with acting, make a difference. The job made me a better teacher and since I had to be entertaining on some level, I also think it made me a better actor."
LeBlanc is a descendant of the Acadian LeBlancs, who settled in Nova Scotia. Born in Ft. Bragg, N.C., (his father was in the military) and raised in New Orleans, he is second eldest of eight kids.
"We lived on a plantation estate along the Mississippi River. We'd play barbarian invasion games. I'd make empires out of Legos and get my brothers and sisters to help out."
He is writing and illustrating Louisiana Moon, a Cajun children's book which taps into his roots. He is also producing a movie, Puppy Love, a new Orleans mob story.
It was while he was enrolled in pre-med at Tulane that LeBlanc was discovered by a photographer at a swimming pool, which led to modelling, commercials and acting jobs. His first show was Edit Point, for PBS, on which he played a reporter.
"I always say, if I had played racquetball that day instead of going swimming, I'd be a doctor."
LeBlanc moved to New York and was up for two roles, Tad on ALL MY CHILDREN and Billy Hufsey's character on FAME, before landing the part of goody-two shoes Kirk McColl on AS THE WORLD TURNS, which he played from 1983-85.
"With Kirk, whom I fondly call 'the rebel without a clue,' I had the tendency to want to be liked," he contemplates. "Every actor wants that. But with Michael, it's not an issue. You're just forced to play him. You can't worry about people liking you. I'm a much better actor now, but it's still more of a challenge to play."