By John N. Goudas
King Features Syndicate
September 24, 1990
Replacing an actor on a soap is never an easy thing to do. The actor doing the replacing has to win over the audience, which generally adopts a "show-me" attitude.
Then the new cast member has to adjust to a group of actors, producers, directors, writers and technicians who have been working as an ensemble for some time.
Rick Hearst had to face all this about 2 1/2 months ago when he stepped into the role of Alan-Michael Spaulding after Carl Evans left GUIDING LIGHT.
Prior to landing the role of Alan-Michael, he had been written out of DAYS OF OUR LIVES, on which he had played Scott Banning for a year. In fact, the actor said he was going through a rather bleak time in his career just before the GUIDINNG LIGHT offer came his way.
Mr. Hearst and his wife, Donna, have not moved to New York City but chose to live in nearby Westchester County. A former dancer-actress, Donna Hearst has more or less given up show biz and plans to go back to school. The two have been together for seven years.
Mr. Hearst's passion for acting started when he was in junior high school in Plano, Texas, where he grew up after his family moved from the East. He tried out for the secondary role of Hugo in the school's production of "Bye, Bye Birdie," but after the audition, everyone connected with the show agreed that they had found their Conrad Birdie.
A bit of a ham, Mr. Hearst loved the spotlight. However, there was a time when he seriously thought of making oceanography his life's work.
The ocean-notion was just that, and he won a drama scholarship to the University of Texas. After two years he felt he wasn't getting what he wanted out of college theatrics and applied for the Circle in the Square's professional workshop in New York City.
With a little financial help from Mom and a job as a waiter, Mr. Hearst went through the program for the next two years. More waiting on tables and endless auditions finally paid off, and he began earning his keep as an actor.