October 14, 2010 - 25 years of Santa Barbara in France

Jon Lindstrom : «It's very gratifying to see the show has lived on after it's own demise.»

 By Nicolas, exclusively for Santa Barbara : le site Francais, October 2010

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On October 12 2010, Jon Lindstrom agreed to take on his time to answer exclusively the questions of Santa Barbara : le site Francais. The actor talks about his debuts, the Santa Barbara years as Dr. Mark McCormick, and at last about his career since then.

The beginnings before Santa Barbara

At first, can you tell us a little about you : how old are you today ? Where do you live ? Do you live in couple or have children ?

I'm old enough to know better than to say.  :-)  Hows' this ? I play characters who are between the ages of 43 and 53. I have a grown foster son who lives in Los Angeles. I live in New York City.

When did you know you wanted to be an actor and how did you start your career ?

I knew I wanted to act when I saw From Russia With Love with my parents when I was about 5 years old. I started the old fashioned way by moving to Los Angeles and going to acting class. The getting an agent and bartending while I worked for my break. Eventually I got a part on the show Rituals which was cancelled six months later, but I made enough money to not have to go back to restaurant work.


The time of Santa Barbara

How did you start in Santa Barbara in 1985 and how did Mark McCormick was presented to you at first ?

I auditioned for another role, the one Page Moseley played, I forget the character, and they offered me Mark instead. I think they just liked me as an actor and they had an idea for the Mary/Mason story and voila, I had the job.

Mark was at first a rival for Mason Capwell in his love-story with Mary DuVall. When he succeeded in marrying Mary and then quite of raped her, he became a true villain that the audience had no other choice than to hate. How did you live this situation as an actor ? Were you agree with the evolution of your character ?

To be honest, I was just an actor doing a job. It was a while ago so I don't remember that much of it, except that I thought Mark started out as interesting and then became pretty one dimensional as characters go. But that's what they needed; someone to come between Mary and Mason so that they had to fight to be together again. And redeem Mason a bit a long the way by making him heroic due to his love for Mary.

What were your favorite male and female acting partners as Mark ?

Well, I only really worked with Harley Kozak and Lane Davies so I'd have to say them. Joseph Bottoms was a lot of fun in the little that we did together.

You left the show after nine months. What were the reasons of your departure ?

Really, it was just that the storyline ended and Mary and Mason were together. After that, there was no future for Mark there.

In 1988, when his skeleton was found in a boathouse, it turned out that Mark has been killed two years earlier by a nun. Then Mark appeared again in flashbacks of the night of his death. Can you confirm me (or not !) that it was again you who played Mark during those scenes ?

Really ? A boathouse ? Kidding. Yes, I did come back for a day to play those scenes.

What are your best remembrances from the show, on a relational and on a professional level ?

It went by so fast, those nine months that I didn't take a lot away. I made a couple friends, A Martinez, Joe Bottoms. Professionally it was a challenge but I ready to move on.

Did you keep in touch with members of the cast or the crew after your departure ? Did you continue to watch the show ?

The show does not air anywhere in the United States as far as I know. I have tapes of some of my scenes but they're buried in storage. One friend I made there, Larry Poindexter, played guitar and wrote songs and I was a drummer. We started a band that we had going for ten years. The High Lonesome. We got signed to a label, recorded an album, had some hits on the radio. We recently reformed to record two new songs and re-master our older recordings for re-release. It comes out in mid-November. Check www.thehighlonesomeonline.com in about a month (don't bother clicking there before then) and you'll be able to get it. It's really good and holds up well. And playing the new songs was a blast ! You can also sign up for my fan page and get the release announcement.

If you hadn't play Mark, what character would you have liked to play ?

Mason. Most interesting character on the show, in my humble opinion.


These 24 last years after Santa Barbara and now

After Santa Barbara, you worked a lot for TV, movies... And you had two great parts in General Hospital, Port Charles, and lastly As the World Turns. What comparison can you make between all these soap-operas ? Can you tell us a little of how it is to live the end of a long-living series such as As the World Turns ?

Generally, all soaps are the same. The same people write them as they move from show to show so they all pretty much feel the same. Sometimes you get an inspired story to hold up a character and that's happened to me more than once. I'm very lucky that way. As the World Turns was not the first show to end while I was on it so I was known what to expect. You handle it by recognizing that it's sad, but that's showbiz ! I don't think other cast members took it that well. That was the only job most of them have ever had.

What about your next projects as an actor ? I saw a movie called You Can't Have It All on the IMDB, what is it about ? Do you know when it will be released ?

The movie is about a man who discovers the difference between being content and being truly happy. I'm also doing a play here in New York called Welcome, This Is a Neighborhood Watch Community. We open next month for a three week run.

Is there something you'd like to say to all the Santa Barbara fans all over the world who didn't forget you as Mark ?

It's very gratifying to see the show has lived on after it's own demise. That fans still like to check in with it is amazing and a real testament to how hard everyone involved with it worked to make it as good as possible. We all know it was certainly one of the best soaps ever produced, that it still has a life out there proves it. Thank you very much for that. As for Mark, well, he was bad but he was memorable in his own way. Thank you for keeping his memory, and me, alive.  :-)


Once again all my thanks to Jon Lindstrom for his kindness and his frankness.