October 19th, 2009  |  Leave a comment

The Greg Vaughan Interview – General Hospital

Vaughan Moves On

Greg VaughanBack at the end of last month, word came down that Greg Vaughan’s days as Lucky Spencer had come to an end. The popular actor, who spent almost seven years in the coveted role of the son of soap’s and General Hospital’s most legendary couple, Luke and Laura, was given his walking papers. But with that came the news that GH brought back the original ‘cowboy’, Jonathan Jackson, to replace Vaughan in what has to be the year’s most highly anticipated, yet bittersweet, shocking soap switch! When early reports came in, it alluded to the fact that perhaps this was Vaughan’s decision to exit, paving the way for Jackson. Official word from ABC said that Vaughan “has decided to leave GH and vacate the role to explore new opportunities.” But according to Vaughan, that was definitely not the case. Vaughan then tweeted the news to his fans that he wanted them to know: “As of today, with sad regrets, I will no longer be apart of what has been a big part of me and my family’s life. GH and TPTB have… chosen to take a new direction. I THANK ALL of YOU, for the many memories we’ve shared and new ones to come!!! ALL MY LOVE, & BIG HUGS…”

On-Air On-Soaps sat down with the reliable and hard working Vaughan late last week. In this personally heartfelt and revealing interview, Greg opens up about his feelings about being let-go by the soap; what he feels caused the decision by executives to make the change; and what his plans are in a very difficult economy with a wife, a child and a brand new baby on the way. If there was ever a class act in daytime, this is the guy!


MICHAEL:

What have all your legions of fans said to you since the news has sunk in that you were let-go as Lucky Spencer?

GREG:

Other than heartfelt shock and complete sorrow that things turned out the way they have, and been wishing and hoping there is something greater out there for me.

MICHAEL:

You had a difficult task when you started on GH. You preceded two Daytime Emmy winners in the role, Jonathan Jackson and Jacob Young.

GREG:

Coming into the role with the excitement, and opportunity to take on a loved and adored character was such a challenge and meant so much. Looking back on my seven years there, its flown right by. As I was cleaning out my dressing room and getting all my memories, things that I got from fans, interviews and articles, it was a complete process. I had to go through all that and it helped a lot. Every person that came to me…. we had tears that we shed and laughs that had meant so much. It’s been an amazing opportunity for me and a lot of fun.

Greg Vaughan and his wifeMICHAEL:

When did you clean out your dressing room? That must have been a tough one!

GREG:

I cleaned it out after a week I was let go from the show. I needed time to reassess some things and talk to my wife and my family. I have one child and one on the way. It is terrible timing. I love what I do, and I do it with nothing but respect, and this period of time we are at in the world is a terrible time, not just for me but for so many people in worse positions that I am. I have a roof over my head and a family I love so much. And I will come out of its on top, no matter what.

MICHAEL:

So how did you find out the final nail in your version of Lucky’s coffin?

GREG:

It was a bit of shock and there was a call that was made. I went in knowing one of three things; A) I was going to be fired, B) I was going to be put on recurring, C) There was a story coming. But usually your executive does not call you with a story, that is usually done by your head writer, and that only happened once to me in seven years. So I sort of prepared myself going in to it and going in just at ease and peace. It’s not what you want to hear, but if you go in knowing you are a little bit more reserved, and that was my approach.

MICHAEL:

Did you have any inkling in your gut that this might happen?

Liz and LuckyGREG:

There was a guy who was coming on the show who is recurring, and he is there now and he said, “How are things going?” And I said, “You know what? I think
my days are numbered.” And he said, “No. You’re Lucky Spencer!” I said, “You know what? I know how this system works,
and I know how this show works. I have been here long enough.” Its not that I wanted it to happen, but sometimes things happen for the right reasons. Doors close and others open. Look, I could have been there for a long time. It was a comfort and a great family. I love the people I was with and they were my second family. If you don’t invest in your product then you don’t get a good return, and I was dispensable!

MICHAEL:

It’s almost like now soap opera actors are becoming more like free agent baseball players… you trade them to another team, or re-sign them again later!

GREG:

I think they are doing what they felt is best, and look, now Sarah Brown is at B&B. It is like any athlete. You are expendable and a free agent. I did my time. I felt like all good things come to an end, and it’s sad to walk away. This machine is going to continue with or without me, and it’s time to say it’s the nature of the beast, and I love you, and it’s been fun. These last years though, I felt I was not challenged as an actor.

MICHAEL:

You were sort of wasted, and Lucky had no story of his own. Which means they did not either want to write for you, or they were too busy on other stories and actors.

GREG:

There is too much history and investment into the Spencer family with Luke and Laura. I am sure there are a lot of political reasons to showcase certain people and not others. You put all your eggs in one basket and that is who you invest in. It’s the way the show operates and it’s sad. I learned a lot of great things from it, and a lot of truth. It’s a very cutthroat business.

MICHAEL:

Do you feel like you even had the opportunity to make Lucky your own?

Lucky Liz and LukeGREG:

I think in everything I was given I tried to bring a realness, and was accepted. So many people were voicing their opinions, and
it says they embraced me more as Lucky being the man, instead of the child. You know what? With the utmost respect to Jonathan Jackson, and he is a great actor, but I would never have seen this day coming. He has a family he has to take care of too. Now I am on the outside looking in. I don’t have a paycheck anymore. Now I’ve got to go figure out what I’ve got to do to feed my family.

MICHAEL:

Did you get a call or moment with your co-stars of almost seven years, Tony Geary (Luke) and Rebecca Herbst (Liz)?

GREG:

Tony sent me a nice gift and we had a short conversation. I did not get to speak to Rebecca at all. She and her husband, Michael Saucedo, did leave a message letting me know I was in their thoughts and prayers. I got abundance farewells from the cast and crew. There was a lot of tears. The first week and half I wanted to re-evaluate things in life and figure out what my plan was; and if there was another place for me in this realm and in this medium. I am open to all things and anybody who wants to have a meeting with me from CBS, NBC or ABC, of course I will. Soap operas have given me a great outlet and I don’t want anybody to take that away from me. I was losing that at GH. There is a vehicle there, and that is why you see great actors on General Hospital, because they have an outlet daily.

MICHAEL:

What kind of role would you like ultimately like to do?

Greg Vaughan and girlsGREG:

I think the romantic comedy genre would be great for me as an actor. I really haven’t gotten the chance to do much comedy. With Kelly Monaco (Sam) and me, I tried to make things bigger with her, and find
the humor between the lines. That was the most fun I had on GH. I just booked a little independent film the other day, and I am playing a doctor. So maybe seven
years on this show, rubbed
off on me!

MICHAEL:

You tweeted to your fans when you were officially let go from GH. Why?

GREG:

There was so much speculation as to what was going on: that I was being released from my contract, that I was in contract negotiations, and that I was done. This is months before and this was right before our fan weekend in July . I was in a long 26-week cycle and a four-year contract. So, I still had a year and four months left on my contract. There was a power among us, who in the political environment that we are in, made a choice. I was an expendable asset to the show to make room for somebody else. They made the bed and they have to sleep with that. I have peace, and it is what it is. I stay in touch with my fans, though!

MICHAEL:

Greg Vaughan and a fanYou have some of the most loyal fans I have ever seen. They really needed to hear the devastating news from you to make it palpable.

GREG:

They are great to me, and I wanted
them to hear this from me. I don’t like
a person spinning my words, which has been done. If somebody wants to talk to me directly you find a way to get me on the phone and we will talk. And if it didn’t come from my mouth then it isn’t the truth. Sometimes magazines and things don’t say the truth from me. In this new social networking, such as Twitter and Face Book and email, it was like I did a good interview with Soap Opera Digest and gave my official expression of what happened and to be true to myself, and I let people know through these new networking tools, too. I am grateful as to how the fans embraced me, whether they liked me or not. It was my job to win them over and I did that in due time. And if I didn’t, well then I hope down the road you will see something and I can bring more light to it. But it’s not about what I was doing as an actor; it was about the material I was given as an actor. If you don’t write it and you don’t shoot it and you don’t put it on camera, then you can’t see the actor doing the work he is doing because they are focusing on other people’s faces. In going through a lot of my footage, when I was hopefully going to be pre-nominated for a Daytime Emmy for my drug addiction storyline that I was not nominated for, I saw how good the work can be.

MICHAEL:

Is Lucky’s drug addiction storyline the work you are most proud of?

GREG:

Obviously, because it was the only story I was ever given. When you give something like that to somebody and they can take it… it’s like they want to see how much value you can bring to our show. If you are given great material and you can deliver, you think you are going to have a follow-up story or more than that. You would think they would say, “Wow. You were more than challenged and you delivered beyond expectations.” I think in some ways you can’t outshine those who are already stars on the show!

MICHAEL:

Which must be frustrating then.

Greg VaughanGREG:

I would not want to be tied down to someone or something that does not have value in it. If I am giving 100% of myself then I want them to have an open communication with me about what they are thinking and what I am thinking, and ask and reciprocate the same thing. Because we are actors does not mean
we are puppets, but that is how we are treated. When certain people are let go from the show, it’s an eye opening experience for everyone.

MICHAEL:

So do you think when the news spread of your departure that it put the fear of God in your cast mates… that they could be the next to go?

GREG:

Yeah! You see great actors like, Ted King (Ex-Alcazar), Sebastian Roche (Ex- Jerry ), Rick Hearst (Ex-Ric) and people unused like Megan Ward (Kate). I just don’t get it! I don’t get how you can have one of the most talented ensembles and you can only showcase three people.

MICHAEL:

They have their chosen people!

GREG:

And look, I think they are great people outside of the work place, and inside they are great actors as well. But if you don’t see other characters intertwined in story then it does not make a good show. It’s become more of a suit and tie business and about making budgets. Now back in the old days when Jonathan Jackson was there, great people like former executive producer Gloria Monty (who passed away) were in charge, and that is when everybody came together and hashed things out… storyline and possibilities… and that was always everybody’s greatest memories. Not anymore!

MICHAEL:

No matter what transpired, you were still a part of one of the most famous soap families of all-time, the Spencer’s. Do you feel that in the end, the business of soap opera got in your way of being able to show your chops?

The SpencersGREG:

Everybody nowadays has somebody breathing over their shoulder. We’ve got a budget to make, and if
you are not in their good graces, or not up there charming their pants off
and bringing the apple to the teacher, then you are the one who is not going to get any work. The best way I can describe it is like, this is supposed to be the place you get to play and when you don’t have the material, you are not playing. And so, I never got the chance to play, and I am an actor and I wanted to play. I knew when I took on the role of Lucky that this was a great opportunity for me as an actor. I am going to contribute to history… now it is not what Tony Geary or Genie Francis (Ex-Laura) created but Jonathan, Jacob and I, we all had something. I was Luke and Laura’s son. I was not there for nine months. I was there for seven years and I will always be remembered as being there once. It was actually 6 years and 10 months…. but you know what? I have great friends and good people out here, and it’s interesting to see. I know how people believed in me and I know I made a permanent mark on the character of Lucky.

MICHAEL:

Now that you are in the middle of this grieving process, what possible advice could you give to anyone who may read this, who has just gone through a life-changing event or personal and professional set back? How do you go through something like that and come out the other side?

Greg VaughanGREG:

It’s a difficult thing to do and overcome, and the stakes are even higher now with the economy and the limited amount of jobs in the market place. I mean, specifically focusing on the job aspect of it, you have to take what you learn in any situation and you have to apply it to your life to maintain your stability. If I was in my 20’s and independent and on my own righ now, I would be out having a drink with the guys. But I have a family with children, and one on the way. My wife and I have had some good heart-to-heart talks. We have looked at it as; we have to take a moment to step outside and breathe and wake up tomorrow. That is how I live life. I live life to the fullest, no matter what it is. And if it all ended today, am I OK with that? Yeah! I could walk away saying I had a dream. I came to California and I have achieved it. I did good work and challenged myself and now I am ready to set sail. Let the winds blow and let it take me wherever I am supposed to go. I am happy, and I hope that I will have greater and many more opportunities down the road.

Photo Credits: Courtesy JPI and ABC

  1. pink says:

    I love G.V! Thanks for the interview. It is nice to read what he had to say.I am glad that he confirmed what the fans have always thought about them propping three actors/characters on the show. My guess is those actors/characters are Steve Burton AKA “St Jason”,Maurice Bernard AKA Sonny “the midget” Corinthos & Laura Wright AKA Carly “The Hypocrite” Jax!?

    Reply

  2. Marcus says:

    gotta love him, even when is gone he still manages to keep a good head on his shoulders and he has no regrets. GV to me you are and will always have a special place in my heart, i do love and respect what you brought to Lucky with what you were given, you will never be forgotten. I LOVE U, u are in my prayers and thoughts.

    Reply

  3. trace says:

    I hope he can get another job in the soap business… We are only hearing 1 side of the story here but wow… how cruel of GH… right? What I think is hugely strange here… Anthony G. bought him a gift.. and had a short conversation with him?? wow.. Anthony was his SOAP DAD.. you would think they had more to talk about then a gift and a short chat… Also..Rebecca Herbst didn’t see him off at all??!!!! She managed to leave him a message that said.. “your in my prayers.!!” ARE YOU KIDDING ME??? Somethings up here… and so far.. noone’s talking!!!! drat!

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  4. NANCY says:

    I LOVE THIS NEW ACTOR THE NEW ERIC BRADY HE’S TOTALLY HOT HE CAN BE MY PRIEST ANYTIME IN A THORNS BIRDS KIND OF WAY

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  5. Rj says:

    GV has been great as Eric Brady on Days! Hope they will give him more storylines and time to keep growing in the role. He has been good with everyone on the show, but he and Nicole have been excellent together. The temptation and passion have been fun to watch. Glad he was able to get this role after GH. When one door closes another opens!

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