It’s been an amazing 11 days for former General Hospital star Bradford Anderson, and a lot to take in! First, Bradford landed his fifth Daytime Emmy nomination in the Outstanding Supporting Actor category for his role of Damian Spinelli! What followed was the birth of his real-life second daughter, Finola! Talk about getting a double dose of great news!
While Bradford was learning that he had been nominated for the upcoming 41st Annual Daytime Emmys, along with many of his former co-stars and friends in the same category including Steve Burton (Dylan, Y&R) and Dominic Zamprogna (Dante, GH), he was also on high alert and ready to take his wife Kiera to the hospital to give birth to their second child, when the time came.
On-Air On-Soaps caught up with this now two-time dad and five-time Daytime Emmy nominee for a special interview on: new baby Finola, the choice of the name, the killer performance that scored Bradford a nomination, his decision to leave GH and more! Here now is what Bradford shared with us!
So you have had quite the last week and half! First, comes a Daytime Emmy nomination, and then comes a baby within basically 36 hours of each other. What went down at the Anderson home when you found out you scored a nomination from your peers?
BRADFORD: Well, I had a lot of big news! So the nomination came out last Thursday, but we were in baby watch at that point anyway, because our doctor told us she would probably come a week early. So we were expecting the baby to come the weekend prior. I wasn’t anticipating the nominations, because the night before I did not have time to think of what was happening the next day. It was about making sure the bags were packed, and making sure we were set if we needed to get out the front door at a moment’s notice to the hospital. Thursday morning, my phone lit up with a lot of alerts, emails, and texts. I kind of thought …“Why would this be?” (Laugh) Then, the first texts were from Dominic Zamprogna (Dante, GH) and Steve Burton (Dylan, Y&R) which was a cool way to find out.
And then next, you are trying to celebrate the news of your nomination … and Kiera goes into Labor that evening? And then I try to call you to chat about your nomination the next afternoon … and you inform me you just became a dad again! My timing is impeccable! (Laughs)
BRADFORD: (Laughs) Thursday night around 9PM Kiera got contractions. We had a rough night Thursday night and a sleepless night. We called our doctor Friday morning at around 7AM and she said come in to the hospital …. and the baby was born that day at 3:30PM. And then Michael Fairman called around 5PM! (Laughs)
You named your daughter “Finola”. And everyone immediately drew the reference to the one and only Finola Hughes (Anna) of General Hospital. How come you and Kiera chose “Finola” for your new little bundle of joy?
BRADFORD: It’s a great aunt’s name, and Kiera’s Irish heritage is very important to her. The derivative of Finola we had even talked about for our first daughter which was “Nola”. And then Kiera said, “What about Finola?” When we realized we were having a second daughter we played with the name … and having a little girl named “Fin” was so cute. It was interesting. Sometimes when you name your kid it’s fun to not have any prior association with it. We talked about that, because we knew people would say we named her after Finola Hughes (Anna, GH). It’s a family name, but at the same time, if that’s the association people make with our daughter, we couldn’t be more thrilled.
Did Finola Hughes reach out to you after realizing you named your daughter, “Finola”? Or, did she already know that was a strong possibility?
BRADFORD: I went to visit GH a few weeks ago and I saw her. A couple of friends that are at GH knew I was going to be naming our baby “Finola”. It’s funny because Finola came up to us a couple of years ago when I told her we were thinking of naming our second child her name. She said, “Don’t, don’t. It was the worst name when I was a kid, and people made fun of me.” I think she was being funny. So I went up to her and said, “Hey, I know awhile back you told us not to name our baby “Finola”, but … our daughter is going to be named “Finola”. She had a tear in her eyes and it was very sweet. It will be a great moment when they finally meet.
What happened when your now eldest daughter Juna meet her sister, Finola for the first time?
BRADFORD: She came to visit at 6PM last Friday night, and she was really sweet. Juna brought a teddy bear to give Finola. She has been keeping tabs on her, and if she is not in the room, she goes, “Where is my baby sister?” I think she has more of a sister vocabulary now from watching Frozen a hundred times! (Laughs) One her favorite things to say in general now is, “Please don’t shut me out…” from the song from the movie! Juna will be three in July.
Back to going for the gold at this year’s 41st Annual Daytime Emmys. I looked at this list of Supporting Actor nominees and it’s a great group, and some of your close friends! How does it feel to be nominated in the same category as Steve Burton? The two of you made Jason and Spinelli, or the Jackal and Stone Cold, such a unique friendship on GH. Now you are pitted against each other for a Daytime Emmy!
BRADFORD: That was one of the cool things. I don’t get to see those guys very often anymore, and it’s hard to get Steve Burton out of the house! (Laughs) The first thing I asked him was, “You’re going to be there, right?” But also his wife is due around that time. He gave a pretty definitive, “I’ll be there”. It’s weird to be pitted against each other. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be in a category with Steve. In the situation we were in at GH, I never thought I would be in the category with him, because he was a leading actor. Of course, all of us would like to win, but at the same time, it’s really a celebration of the soap community, and being with all of our friends that makes it more fun.
And this is your Fifth nomination! Could five times be the charm, Bradford?
BRADFORD: A fistful of nominations, yup! I figured how many nominations do I get before Susan Lucci gives you a call? (Laughs)
What episode did you submit that won you the nomination?
BRADFORD: When Ellie (Emily Wilson) tells Spinelli he is the father of Maxie’s baby, while he is outside the nursery window in the hospital watching Dante with his son. Dominic Zamprogna was my favorite part of my submission! So Ellie rehashes the night that Maxie got pregnant, which Spinelli deflects because he believes Maxie used a second embryo. Then Ellie goes, “No. She didn’t have to get a second embryo, because she was already pregnant with your kid!” She convinces him, and in the moment that he processes it. He kind of walks over to the window of the nursery. Dominic gives us this ho-hum wave like, “Why are you staring at us?” It’s this nice little moment. Spinelli is having this crazy moment in the hallway, while Dante gives this chummy wave! It contrasts so much with what Spinelli was dealing with outside the nursery, and when we taped the scene I was worried I was going to laugh!
I remember watching those scenes when they aired. I truly thought it was one of your best performances … ever! It gave the character of Spinelli an opportunity to really man up, and not let Ellie, or Maxie, or anyone off so easy for their lies, but also offered the contradiction of the knowledge for him that he is a father … which is something he wanted to be.
BRADFORD: The reason why I liked it was it has a bunch of different colors in it. It’s “Oh, I am a father!” Then, “Wait, why didn’t Maxie tell me?” Then Ellie is like, “Well, she wanted to keep it a secret?” But then he realizes Ellie knows too! And then it’s, “Wait! You lied to me to? What the hell!” It’s quite the arc. It was fun to play. Emmy episodes are tough, because it’s a one episode submission for the actors. This one kind of made sense because it had a heightened circumstance. It was good material. I was happy with how I handled it. I think sometimes, we are ourselves, are not the best judges of our own material. You fall in love with certain things and you see it from your eye. But at the end of the day, you have to think about how other people are going to view it. My wife is a good judge of that, because I showed her a couple of episodes and she watched the one I submitted first and she said, “Yeah, that’s kind of perfect.” Then we watched a couple others that I thought were charming and what not. And she said, “You know what? I get you see this as charming, but the circumstance of the other one is so heightened that you got to go with that.” This is the biggest storyline I ever had. It made sense to use that and just not try to find something that was charming.
It did have many twists and turns within the episode for Spinelli.
BRADFORD: Yes. You get to see Spinelli coming to terms with that he is a father, so there is that element to it. There is the happiness of it and I felt that was interesting, and then the realization that he was betrayed by two people that he cares about.
So to back-up a minute, is it true that you had already made the decision to leave General Hospital, but decided to stay on to finish out this storyline?
BRADFORD: My contract was up in May of last year, and so I could’ve just walked away then. However, I was so grateful that they trusted me with a story like that, and once you have a kid on a soap there is a legacy there. I wanted GH to know how grateful I was to be given that story. I wanted to do right by the show, and by Kirsten Storms (Maxie). I didn’t want her to have to play a shortened version of the story where it couldn’t reach the potential it could go, and she is having a baby and that story directly effects her. I wanted to do right by my character and I wanted to handle it with respect, but at the same time doing right by my decision to leave. So it made sense to just go on recurring until the story wrapped-up in the way that everyone was happy. I felt like we got the most out of it from the time that we had.
In closing, what do you deep down in your heart of hearts really think about your shot to win the Emmy this year?
BRADFORD: Ultimately, it’s bestowed upon by your peers, which makes it really special, but at the same time, it’s not bestowed upon by the “acting gods”, which makes this unique. It’s the outsiders that watch the tapes that aren’t in the circle of actors that can watch the submissions more objectively, and as much as the actors try to watch objectively, these are our co-workers. And no one can be blamed for that, and no one can be faulted for who wins every year, because every one that is not nominated deserves to win. So, you can’t take it too personally if you don’t win, and if I do win, I can’t take it like, “Well, I’m the best!” If it’s my turn, fantastic! If not, I got nominated again and that’s pretty cool. It’s also kind of hard to want to win in my category. I know this may sound cheesy, but I am rooting for others in my category too! Dominic Zamprogna has done such great work for a long time. Steve Burton is someone that I admire so much. Scott Clifton (Liam, B&B) had been one of my buddies for awhile, but I think he has enough trophies (laughs), and Eric Martsolf (Brady, DAYS) is a good friend of mine, too. What a group!
So, what do you think of Bradford’s chance to win the gold? Did you love his performance when he found out that he was the bio-dad of Maxie’s baby? What do you think about the choice of the name “Finola” for his second real-life daughter? Do you miss Spinelli on GH big time? Let us know!