WE LOVE SOAPS TV: You discussed earlier in our interview many of the personal demons you fought before getting hired on GENERAL HOSPITAL in 1998. Marcus Taggert was a formidable opponent against Sonny Corinthos. Up until that time, most cops on soaps had been portrayed as heroic. In his quest to stop violence and crime in Port Charles, Taggert was actually the bad guy!
Real Andrews: It was interesting, but sometimes it was frustrating. I would say, “But I’m the good guy!” Everyone hated me but I’d point out, “I'm the good guy here.” But you have fun with it. And whenever you can be the person people love to hate that is always a good thing.
WE LOVE SOAPS TV: You held your own with Maurice Benard.
Real Andrews: I love Maurice. We hit it off right from the get go. I was hired to just be an under-five player. I only had a few lines with Maurice. Everyone was gracious when I came on the set. I went to shake Maurice’s hand. He went right past my hand and gave me a hug. It was a cool bond. In the scene itself I had a notepad and had to say, “My name is Detective Taggert of the PCPD.” That was it. In the booth the producers saw our chemistry and immediately called my manager Michael Bruno and said, “We want to offer him a role. We haven’t been able to find anybody that can go head-to-head with Maurice.” Michael Bruno was pivotal, I wouldn’t have had the role without him. The character written was Italian, and he talked them into letting me to do the part.
That was part of my process. Like an idiot I fired Michael. I have since apologized to him. There are things you look back at and wish you hadn’t have done but that’s part of growing up. I wanted to say that about Michael because I don’t think he knows enough that I appreciate the career that I had was because of him. He was pivotal in that.
WE LOVE SOAPS TV: And as you have said there are no accidents. Maurice Benard as well has publicly discussed his personal struggles, and then you two connected so clearly on screen.
Real Andrews: He told me long before I ever admitted it that I was Bipolar. I said, “No.” He said, “Oh yeah, Dude.” He called that way early in our relationship, long before I ever admitted it or saw it or felt it. For me the depression stuff would start around Christmas and then it would get longer and longer. But I was always able to pull myself out of it. Then the depressive phases got longer, from a couple of days to a couple of weeks. I thought it was just part of who I am. One year I wasn’t coming out of it. A month had gone by and I could not get myself up off the couch, I was not excited or fired up about anything. I was lying there, on the couch for another day watching TV and that little guy on that commercial came on, that one with the cartoon ball. I had seen it many many times. They went through the list of Bipolar symptoms and I kept saying, “I’ve got that, got that, I know what that’s all about too...” I was sitting up, watching this, and realizing I had all those symptoms. That was the first “a-ha” moment. Of course Maurice and my wife had told me the same thing. I said to her, “I think I may be Bipolar,” and she said, “You think?” [laughs]. I was never a big fan of medications though. I tried it, but Jesus has been my medication and my therapist. He’s doing an amazing job.
WE LOVE SOAPS TV: You found that religion was a more effective treatment than medications?
Real Andrews: Absolutely. I watch that show INTERVENTION with my wife, she never dabbled in anything. The two of us will watch that show, and my heart will go out to the people on it. My wife sees it as, “What is their problem? Why don’t they just stop?” I explain, “You can’t stop when you’re deep in the jungle.” I was able to walk out because of Jesus. I know people who are still doing the same thing I was doing fifteen years ago. As you know as a therapist, some of these people are going in and out of this shelter, that program, and they still can’t kick it. I turned to Jesus and was able to kick it.
I pray for those people on INTERVENTION. One minute I was on one side of the fence, then boom, the next day I was on the other side, running in a new direction. I had been in such a viscous cycle of getting better, then going crazy, and I could never kick it until I asked Jesus to be my manager, to be my agent. I had been going on seven years, every single day. When you’re using that much you’re not happy, you hate it, but you can’t stop, you don’t know how to stop.
WE LOVE SOAPS TV: On GENERAL HOSPITAL we rarely saw glimpses into Taggert’s personal life. I always thought the character got short changed in that way.
Real Andrews: I think that was my frustration, and ultimately why I left. As a young actor I got caught up in that. When really you should just be happy to be acting and happy to be doing something you are passionate about. Looking back on it now, I am here for a reason. I am going to be blessed and thankful and just go to work because God has a plan for me. Back then I was complaining, “I need more depth in my character.” I left the show saying, “I’m better than this.” That is the mistake we make. We need to be more humble and grateful for what we have and know we have a purpose and a calling. That is the best advice I can give to any young actor: Don’t get bigger than your britches and get ahead of yourself. Be grateful, work hard, and those doors will open. Don’t think that you always know what is best for your future.
WE LOVE SOAPS TV: Soon after GENERAL HOSPITAL you went to AS THE WORLD TURNS as Dr. Walker Daniels. What was that like?
Real Andrews: That was cool. I spent a year there. It wasn’t Taggert. I really loved working with Maurice and the GH crew. You can’t go backwards but it was almost like after having a girlfriend or a wife where you made a mistake, then you go on with someone else and it’s not the same.
WE LOVE SOAPS TV: WORLD TURNS started with a big promise of you being involved in many stories, and then it fizzled.
Real Andrews: Yes. I am not sure what happened there. I went to work every day, I did what I do. Then one day I was called into the office and that was it. I don’t question it, everything has a purpose. But yes, it was kind of weird.
WE LOVE SOAPS TV: You are a very good looking man, always in great shape, and a very talented actor. Yet GH and ATWT both steered clear of your character's personal life, and rarely gave you a love interest or a love scene. Do you think that is a symptom of racism in the industry?
Real Andrews: You know I would be lying if I said that I didn't think racism plays a part in everything we do either in a small part or large depending on what state your in and what the situation is. Unfortunately that is just the way it is. Now with that said, one of my favorite quotes I use with my clients is, "I don't make excuses so I don't take em." I am an actor and my job is to bring to life the characters and story lines that are created by the champions that are experts in those arenas. I always try to put myself in their shoes and walk their walk. The pressure and demands they are under I can only imagine. I have really never been one of those actors who wants to be the writer, director etc. I love to act so that's what I do. Not to mention, as we said before, I put my future in the big guys hands.
WE LOVE SOAPS TV: It’s hard to believe that in 2011 we are still talking about the racism that exists on daytime television. Fortunately, many indie soaps, like THE BAY, embrace diversity, and strive to more accurately reflect our modern society.
Real Andrews: Well you have Gregori J. Martin who sees no race, no color, and he doesn’t have to answer to anybody. It’s his baby. We don’t have a big corporate sponsor. As much as we would love to have a corporate sponsor, I pray that we will get the funding to do what we need to do and still have great people controlling it. It is the independent shows that can speak the truth and tell it like it is. If this was a network soap there would be a lot of differences. That’s the way it is.
WE LOVE SOAPS TV: I have really enjoyed talking with you. I admire your integrity, and how you follow up your words with action. You have demonstrated your integrity with your special offer to WLS TV readers.
Real Andrews: Absolutely. They just go to Lose Weight and Easy Fast, put in their name and their e-mail and phone number and immediately I will get back to them. The first 12 people who respond to me after reading this interview can take the challenge for free. Go to Lose Weight Easy and Fast, fill out the information, and put “We Love Soaps” in the “How Did You Hear From Us?” Box.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Okay folks, you read it yourself! The first 12 people to respond to Real's challenge at Lose Weight Easy and Fast can take the 24 Day Challenge for FREE! Just type "We Love Soaps TV" in the "How Did Your Hear About Us" box. No excuses!
Damon L. Jacobs is a Licensed Therapist now accepting new clients in New York City. He is also the author of the popular book "Absolutely Should-less: The Secret to Living the Stress-Free Life You Deserve." For more information about scheduling an appointment, please email him at Shouldless@gmail.com.