By Michele Dargan

I’m finally getting around to posting the photos from a fantastic event featuring some of “Daytimes Hottest Stars” in Largo, FL on Nov. 7.

It was so much fun meeting and interacting with Walt Willey (Jackson Montgomery/AMC,) Vincent Irizarry (Dr. David Hayward/AMC) and Forbes March (former Nash Brennan/OLTL and Mason Jarvis/ATWT).

Bobbie Eakes (Krystal Carey/AMC) was scheduled to attend. She was booked on a flight out of NYC on Friday, which was supposed to be her day off. But Eakes was called into the studio to work and missed her flight and was unable to get to Largo in time for the event.

The event, hosted by sisters Barbie Tsagaris and Patti Werynski, raised money to benefit of OurMilitaryKids.org

I’ve been to quite a few soap events in the past couple of years, but I have to say this is one of the top events on my list!

First of all, all the money went to a great charity.

Secondly, it wasn’t one of those events where the stars were all up on a stage and the fans get only a minute to get a photo signed. There was a lot of quality time with the stars.

One thing I came away with: Walt is an incredibly funny guy!

He has his own stand-up comedy show that he performs at comedy clubs around the country.

He is also a GREAT emcee and auctioneer and upped the ante on the live auctions for the benefit of the charity.

Something that you may not know is that Walt is a huge believer in charity fundraising. He raises money for various children’s charities through his own “Willey World Endowment.”

On a sad note, his stint with All My Children is pretty much over, unless he gets some guest appearances. If you ever get the chance to see his comedy show – jump at the chance!

Forbes is also really funny and super nice! He spent so much time with every fan. One woman asked him to sign her arm – and he did!

Did you know he was a candidate to be on this season’s “Dancing With The Stars?” He interviewed for the show and everything. The thing is….the ABC primetime people doing the interviewing thought he was still on ABC Daytime on OLTL.

Forbes said he explained that although his character was killed off, the character was still – a year later – involved in a front-burner storyline.
He didn’t get the DWTS gig, though.

So what is Forbes doing these days?

He’s involved in producing some independent films.

Vincent Irizarry is THE NICEST guy you could meet. He has this great caring spirit about him and seems to genuinely enjoy meeting the fans.

For instance, my friend, Sharon, took two photos of Vincent and me and the flash was not going off. Vincent wanted to make sure that I got a good photo. So he took the camera from Sharon and gave her a quick photography lesson, including how to use the zoom to get a closer pic of us two…..Super nice!

Also, when I introduced myself, he looked at me and said, “you posted on my Facebook page yesterday, didn’t you?” I had indeed!

He also remembered the phone interview that I did with him back in March, which I had posted on Soapbox. He said that I even included the fact that he was on the set while we were talking and I could hear the intercom calling the various actors to the set.

I find it incredible that he not only remembered the interview, but he remembered an actual detail that I wrote in the story. Click here to read the full interview.

In addition to a general luncheon ticket price, Barbie and Patti offered VIP premium seating (which included sitting at a star’s luncheon table and going to an earlier reception where you were free to mix and mingle among the stars).

They also had some really great raffle prizes, which included acting in a skit with one of the stars.

Sharon won a “Prada” lookalike handbag, which she was soooo happy to get! I couldn’t believe she won it, but I guess when you put all your raffle tickets in one bowl….(Note to self for next time.)

There also was a grand prize: a chance to have dinner that night with Walt and Forbes. (Vincent had to get fly back to NYC right after the event.)

Getting back to that grand prize – Sharon and I were among the six women who won and had a fabulous dinner that night with them.

I would HIGHLY recommend – if you’re a big soap opera fan – that you save up money to attend the next soap event that these two sisters host. And they’re already working on their next one!!

Check out the photos below and let me know what you think!

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Vincent Irizarry plays (the sometimes evil) Dr. David Hayward on ABC’s All My Children.
He originated the role in 1997 and played Hayward for almost 10 years, before being let go by AMC. He then moved to The Young and the Restless as David Chow.
When David Chow was killed off Y&R in August, Vincent was tapped by AMC to reprise Hayward, who re-entered Pine Valley in October.
Although he plays a not-so-good doctor on TV, Vincent is doing a nice thing for a very worthy charity.
He’s doing a meet-and-greet from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday, March 14 in Largo, FL for the benefit of the local Ronald McDonald House in St. Petersburg, FL. If you live in Florida or you can get there for the day, it’s definitely worth the trip.
“I’m very much looking forward to it because it gives me a chance to meet fans,” he said. “I work in a dark studio all day so it’s nice to see them and it gives me a chance to pick their brains about what they’re enjoying.”
Click here to read all the details of how you can meet Vincent in person.
You can see Vincent up close and personal, ask him questions, get his autograph and have your photo taken with him.
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When I caught up with him by phone a few days ago, the Daytime Emmy Prenomination list had just come out and he had made the first cut toward a final-five nomination in the Supporting Actor category.
“It’s very nice considering that I just came back to the show and, certainly, it’s an honor,” he said.
Vincent explained the next step in the process: each actor chooses one episode to submit to the judges’ panel and the disc must include every scene the actor is in during that particular episode. From that, the Pre-nom list is whittled down to the top five in each category.
Vincent said he hasn’t decided which episode to submit yet, but is considering the show where Krystal walks in on David holding a gun in his hand and considering suicide.
“I have to look at it from an overall perspective of which shows really stand out,” he said.
I talked to Vincent while he was on the “All My Children” set (I could hear the intercom in the background calling actors to their scenes, which was pretty interesting in itself).
He took a lot of time answering each question and even offered to call me back if I needed additional info. How nice is that?
Michele: If you go on to the final five, what would it mean to you to win the Emmy?
Vincent: “I’ve been in this business more than 25 years and I’ve been nominated before and of course it would be an honor. I’m grateful for having been able to work in this business for as long as I have. To win would be exciting. But it really comes from a contribution from everyone who I have ever worked with and I feel like I would have to share a piece of it with everybody.”
Michele: What can you tell me about yourself that maybe your fans don’t know about you?
Vincent: “The majority of my free time I like to spend with my family. My 7-year-old son is a Cub Scout and we’ve been doing a lot of wonderful trips with the Cub Scouts. I slept on the Battleship New Jersey with my son and the Cub Scouts a couple of weeks ago.”
Michele: What is the best characteristic about David Hayward?
Vincent: “He’s loyal to a fault. Everything he does is because he’s loyal to those he loves – whether it’s for Babe, Krystal or Little Adam – he does it because he’s loyal to them, devoted to them. Sometimes he’s misguided and takes it too far and hurts other people out of loyalty to those he loves.
“Even now with Krystal, he’s not fully explaining everything to her right now….The reason he’s doing it is because he truly believes that what he’s doing is in her best interest and that she wouldn’t fully understand it at this moment. And that when the smoke is cleared, she will understand it and appreciate it. So the end justifys the means.
“I would say that’s David’s best quality is his loyalty to the people who he really loves and cares about, but he takes it too far where it becomes even dangerous.”
Michele: What parts of David Chow (Y&R) did you enjoy the most?
Vincent: “I particularly enjoyed playing him in the latter months on that show, because they finally found something for that character. In the earlier part, it looked like the character had some potential. But because they brought on the character for me to play so quickly, they really didn’t flesh him out yet and who he was really going to be.
“It was really different from when I came on (AMC) as David. The character was fleshed out immediately. They knew who he was. I knew what they wanted from him. I didn’t have to worry about the choices that I was making for him.
“Once (Y&R) gave David Chow the issue of having a gambling addiction, I loved playing him because I found him one of the more truly tragic figures on daytime at the time. Every choice that he was making, every aspect of his life was governed by that addiction…His relationships, his business, his financial life….
“The choices he was forced to make where he killed someone to pay off a debt…All of these choices came down to he couldn’t get control over this addiction. It was exciting to play that, because it was tragic to watch. I think he had genuine feelings for Nikki and he did want to have a good life with her, but because of these choices it was destroying him – and ultimately did destroy him.
Vincent: On Playing David Hayward
“Where David Hayward is concerned, he’s also, in his own way, a tragic figure. He can’t let go of the past. A lot of things that happen with David come from his early years as a young boy growing up with the mother that he had, Vanessa. And watching his father commit suicide before his very eyes bleeding out. And, as an 11-year-old boy, watching his mother encourage him to do it.
“This is a man who has been greatly damaged and that’s why it’s interesting that Krystal sees him as a much more complex person than other people give him credit for or are willing to tolerate. She’s sees something special in him and I think that’s great, because if it wasn’t for her, who would there be?
Vincent laughs as he describes David’s wedding to Krystal: “He’s such a pariah that nobody’s there except the pastor and his attorney, who I’m sure he had to pay to be there to witness. That’s pretty sad. He’s a loner, but he’s obviously in great need of love. That’s something that he, at least, has the potential of with Krystal if he doesn’t shoot himself in both feet while running to the finish line.
“Even with him giving Krystal the pills, once she called him on it, he didn’t deny it at all. He said, ‘Well, yeah. You needed it. You needed some ability to sleep.'”
Vincent: On Playing a Villain
“Even some of the most despicable people out there will justify what they do. Even if it’s some warped sense within them, that what they’re doing is the right thing to do for whatever reason. They don’t do it and think it’s a terrible thing. Even to the point of killing people, they do it and they feel justified while they’re doing it.
“As an actor, I have to buy into the reason that I’m doing it. I don’t do it because I think I’m being a villain. I do it because I have a purpose, something that I’m trying to accomplish. The way that I treat people in the process is not very nice at times, but it’s because of my background.
“I find them (villains) very draining. To be in that mindset on a regular basis sometimes can wear you down. I think they’re much more challenging than playing straight-laced people. On these shows, they write them pretty well. But as an actor it can wear you down on a day-to-day basis. It seems like those are the roles I get called in to play, so I guess I must be doing something right with them.”

I spent Saturday afternoon listening to four of daytime’s hottest stars dish about everything from things they hope for their characters to their most memorable or favorite scenes.
And, seasoned journalist that I am, captured it in my notes to share with you!
More good news: I had one-on-one interviews with them and will post those blogs later in the week.
Soap stars Cameron Mathison (Ryan, All My Children), Bradford Anderson (Spinelli, General Hospital), Winsor Harmon (Thorne, The Bold and the Beautiful) and Christian LeBlanc (Michael, The Young and the Restless) appeared at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, FL.
All four will be taking part in the 2nd voyage of the Soap Cruise, which departs out of Miami on Jan. 22, where fans get to mingle with 15 soap stars on a four-day cruise.
And I attended it with my good friend, fellow journalist and rabid soap fan Sharon Robb from the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
Two-hundred-plus fans joined us in a fun-filled two hour question and answer session and the fans (also rabid, but not literally) peppered the soap hunks with questions – no holds barred.
The guys ad-libbed everything and took their cues from the audience. It was great entertainment!
Christian ran around with the microphone from fan-to-fan and had the entire audience in stitches with his comments, while the others on stage engaged in repartee with him and the fans.
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They started off showing clips of each of the actors from their respective shows.
Cameron asked the audience how they liked Christian’s clip.
“How many Emmys do you have…like 14?” he asked Christian.
To which Christian responded in mock modesty…”Ca-a-mer-o-n-n-n. Stop talking about my Emmys! It’s embarrassing.”
When one fan asked Bradford to sing with her, he called her up onstage to sing solo – and the two finished the song together!
Here are some other highlights:
Question to Christian: Are you going to get your dad out of jail?
Answer: Christian said he’s “thrilled” to be working with Michael Gross, who plays his father, River, on Y&R. Gross is best known as Steven Keaton on the 80’s sitcom “Family Ties.”
“He’s in jail because the feds caught him and my step-father turned him in. You know how that can be,” Christian answered.
From the stage Winsor said, “Sounds like bad writing to me!”
“Win-sor!” Christian said. “It’s a half hour….Only a half hour, isn’t that sad?” referring to the fact that B&B is a half-hour compared to the other soaps’ hour format.
“Just because we get paid more to do less work,” Winsor retorted.
Actually, the two actors film their soaps across the hall from each other in the same studio and the two constantly joke around with each other.
One fan asked Bradford if he would visit the fans at 1 a.m. at the Disney World gates – like he did last year – when he brought fans food and soda while they camped out waiting for Super Soap Weekend to begin. SSW 2008 is this weekend, Nov. 15 and 16.
Because he will taking part in Street Jam this year, Bradford said he has to take better care of himself and not stay up all night.
“Last year, I went out and kind of slept with the crowd on the concrete,” Bradford said. “I won’t be able to do that this year. Number one, because I’d be too tired and number two they forbid me to do that again.”
A woman told Cameron that she loved watching him on “Dancing With The Stars” and that his Superman number was the best dance of the entire season.
Cameron said, “It is phenomenally difficult beyond anything that I could possibly say and add to that I was traveling 3,000 miles to work full-time in New York (filming AMC). It was just insane, but it was fun. Pretty intense.”
A fan asked Winsor if his character, Thorne, will get a love interest.
“We’re in the process of shooting stuff right now regarding where Thorne’s heading with the love interest,” Winsor said. “She’s somebody new on the canvas.”
Question: What are the most difficult scenes that you’ve had to do?
Bradford said the most challenging scenes for him were when Georgie was killed on GH and he found her body.
“It was a great challenge and allowed my character to evolve,” Bradford said. “But we lost a great actress and a great character.”
Well, that’s all for now.
Check back here and I’ll have more from Hard Rock interviews this week.
Coming up this weekend, LIVE FROM SUPER SOAP 2008.