Articles and Interviews
The Most Revealing Interview
with Jack Wagner Ever
"FR: When you've been imbedded in the minds of millions of people as Frisco Jones on General Hospital, what goes through your mind when you ask them to accept you as a totally different character- Warren on Santa Barbara?
JW: Well the first thing that you have to do is really be true to yourself and this character. You have to make the commitment to the change first, because if you don't, nobody else will either. And I felt one of the main things was... when I left General Hospital, I had long hair and was clean shaven, and I felt that I really needed to change my look. So I cut off my hair and I grew a beard. And this guy is much more flamboyant and has more, I don't know if it's charisma, but he's definately more articulate than Frisco was, and I think that's given this guy a little bit more of a maturity and a development that Frisco never had.
FR: Why did you decide to leave General Hospital?
JW: The change basically came about because NBC came and offered me a great deal, and the fact that I felt a little stagnant over at General Hospital. The character had been in this plot and that plot, he'd gotten married, he had a child, he had a job, he was a hero, and there was no future there. I didn't see them doing anything on the dark side with this guy. He really was gonna be what he was, and I needed a change. I just felt that I'd gone as far as I could with him.
FR: Do the people on daytime TV feel that they're the lesser part of the entire show business family?
JW: No question. The positive part of that is you have a steady job and you really are able to work every day- that's the most rewarding thing to me because I like to work. I couldn't imagine myself doing one picture a year. I've done seven movies-of-the-week, I've done one feature film, and that life is wonderful if you two or three pictures a year- it's beautiful. But if you don't you really run into some problems in this business because the insecurity can set in very quickly.
FR: How frustrated are you, given your stage background, your success as a singer in West Side Story, in Grease, your albums, that you don't have as much time to devote to that aspect of your talent as you'd like?
JW: Well I'd love to be starring in a Broadway musical and hope to someday, or doing a national tour of some shows that I've always wanted to do, but you have to look realistically upon everything, you've gotta wait for your time. In order to do that, I'd have to take a good chunk of time off from Santa Barbara, and I'm just new on the show. I'm very excited to be there, I love what I'm doing so far, so you have to be patient in a career. I really believe that, because if you try to force things, it just won't pan out for you.
FR: Do you stay on top of your singing?
JW: Oh yeah. I'm cutting a new album right now as a matter of fact. I've been writing for about three or four years now. I've been very successful with my first album, the next couple of albums weren't as successful, and I've also had a lot of disappointment in the music business because I ran into a little trouble with some record labels and found that without that record label support you have no chance. So I've run into a new label now called BFE and it's distributed by a company in Los Angeles called BMG, who bought RCA, and they're believers of Jack Wagner; they're supportive of the fact that I'm on television. I'm a television image and they believe that the combination can work, as it has before, but without a label behind you, you've got no chance, so I'm very optimistic.
FR: What kind of songs will you do on the new album?
JW: Well, I'll definately have ballads. I've been very successful with that, and I enjoy singing them. But it's gonna take on a lot more flair of the pop rhythm and blues, and hopefully this album will be something special.
FR: Away from the demands of a successful daytime show, how do you spend your time?
JW: Well, I enjoy this new show, and I have a new little boy and he's terrific, and I also have a passion for the game of golf, so between those two, it keeps me pretty busy with my free time.
FR: How does a child change Jack Wagner?
JW: Well, for me, I lost my father just a little over a year ago, and what it's done for me is really put the whole aspect of the life cycle in perspective. When your parents get a little older, you find yourself becoming the parent in looking out for them- are they eating? And now I have a little boy, so I guess it's time for me to take care of people' cause I guess I've been taken care of most of my life. But you kind of see how it all comes together. And the things that have always been important to you aren't quite as important anymore, because you look at that little boy and you really want things to be right for him, whatever it is. You don't know, being my first child, you don't... you're so apprehensive about what the right thing is to do, but I think the best thing I can do for him is to try and give him a comfortable home and put him in a good school... you think about those kinds of things now.
FR: You and Kristina are like life imitating art. She played your wife on General Hospital and now you've had a child together... but your'e not married.
JW: No, but we're raising him together.
FR: What problems does that present?
JW: Well hopefully none, other than the usual problems of being in a relationship and being in the business. That's tough one to begin with, but we're very supportive of one another.
FR: Do you think it's necessary to be married, given the fact that there seems to be so many successful single parents?
JW: I really don't have an answer for that. It's my first time through all this, so I have to find the answers as I go along. I'm kind of winging it.
FR: Would you like him to follow in your footsteps?
JW: I have no feeling about that at all. I mean if he wants to golf, if he wants to be an engineer, if he wants to be an accountant... all I'm really concerned about is health.
FR: When you have one child like this, do you feel like having more?
JW: Yeah, a little bit. But then when you're waking up at 4 in the morning, you say, 'Well maybe we'll hold off on that.'
FR: Do you picture in your mind... going around the golf course with him?
JW: Oh yeah, big time! I've had him out there before... sure! Driving in the cart, and going around a little bit, but then you have to pull over and change his diaper. (laughs)
FR: So you and Kristina and Peter live together as a family?
JW: Yes, we do. Despite what you may have heard. And we get along just fine. We're just not married, that's all.
FR: Do you think that it will ever come to marriage, or will you just wait and see?
JW: Hey, I don't know about those things- women are hard to predict.
FR: They say the same things about us.
JW: Well maybe we are a little unpredictable at times, but I think we're all pretty simple.
FR: Richard Burton once told me that even though he'd known a vast amount of women, he really didn't know a 'goddamn thing' about them.
JW: (laughs) Well I never had the opportunity to meet Richard Burton, but I happen to agree with him. The more you know, the less you know because it's ever-changing.
FR: 'Why do you think that is? Why are we all so unpredictable?
JW: Gosh, I don't know. I think that, especially in the creative end of the entertainment business, there's so much insecurity that it is just inbred in this business, that it's hard to really trust anything. I think that has a lot to do with it- people really have a problem with trust in this town and that's probably the bottom line.
FR: What is said is usually not meant in this town. 'Let's have lunch' doesn't mean 'Let's have lunch.'
JW: And 'You were wonderful' means that you are wonderful today. Tell me what you're doing tomorrow.
FR: Does an Emmy Award mean a lot to you?
JW: Absolutely! And it means a lot more to me now that I've started this new character, because if I would ever be nominated for my work on something like this, I would be really proud of that. And I never really had that feeling when I was on General Hospital, because I never felt that I did anything that would deserve any kind of reward, but with this new character and the work that's been happening, I'm very proud of it... and so something like that would be nice.
FR: How would you describe your role on Santa Barbara?
JW: He's more of a Robin Hood kind of guy, but flamboyant, and has a little more color to him. More dimension.
FR: How long would you like this show to run?
JW: Oh probably another 35 or 40 years or so. At least long enough to go around the golf course with my son."