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

Todd McKee : «I had a great time working on Santa Barbara.»

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

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On last October 06, Todd McKee 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 the first interpreter of Ted Capwell, the reasons of his departure, and at last about his life 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 46 now. Will turn 47 on November 7th. No children and not married.

To know you better, what did you brought from yourself in the character of Ted Capwell ?

I brought a lot of myself to the character of Ted. I'm a happy guy with a good sense of humour. I think Ted is too. The Ted I was auditioning for was a more moody and serious person. Yet at the final audition for the role of Ted my white t-shirt that I was wearing was causing an issue with the video cameras so at the last second they quickly put on me this ridiculous sweater. The audition began and the sweater made me laugh a couple of times during the audition bringing out more of my own character. So my audition ended up being a lighter and less serious Ted. Ted ended up being a lot more like who I really am.

 

The time of Santa Barbara

Ted was your first part on television. And you proved to be a very good actor right from your beginnings in the show. How did you start in Santa Barbara ?

I was studying acting at the University of Southern California (USC) and got an agent through an audition with another student at an acting agency. I auditioned for many things but got nothing except a McDonalds commercial. Then I auditioned for Santa Barbara. They said immediately I was too tall. But I got called back to audition again. Then again and again. Did a final audition in front of some producers. Waited to hear but no calls. Heard nothing for five months and thought that it was just another audition failed. Then my agent called and said I have an audition for a new soap opera Santa Barbara. I was like, "I did that already. I have to start auditioning for them all over again ?". So I went through the audition process all over again, another five times and then this time I went to the screen test. Heard nothing for a week and then my agent called and said, "Hello." She said, "Ted ?". I corrected her saying, "No, this is Todd." My agent replied, "It's Ted now. Congratulations you're Ted Capwell."

How did Ted was presented to you at first ?

My agent said they are looking for a James Dean type of Character on a New Soap Opera. Ted is the youngest of the family, brooding and troubled. All my acting teachers at college said to stay away from soaps. Obviously, I didn't listen. :-)

The first year, Ted was involved in a lot of comedy storylines among the young team of Laken, Jade and Danny. Do you know why it turned to disappear during the show's second year ?

I know, I loved all the fun and comedy. I kept pushing for it but they felt a troubled story line would keep the viewers watching.

After Laken's departure, Ted met Hayley in 1986. Their love-story was soon broken by their forced wedding and then Hayley's rape. Did you enjoy to play some more dramatic scenes, with a less happy Ted ?

No, I didn't like playing that storyline. Too dramatic and depressing. Very difficult scenes to do day after day.

When Hayley died in early 1988, it rang the bell for two darkest years for Ted : it seemed the writers didn't take the time to write some real good storylines for your character. Ted was still there, but less more active than previously. Even the two characters created to be a love-interest for him (Margot in 1988 and Wanda in 1989) didn't allow to renew with the Laken and Hayley years. Are you agree with this ? If yes, how do you explain it ?

I agreed and that's why I left after five years on the soap. I wanted more !!! But I think it was also time for me to leave and try something new. Travelled around the world with Lane Davies and then came back and did Bold and the Beautiful. Ironic thought that on The Bold and the Beautiful show I did another rape storyline. Ugh !

During the time you played him, Ted went to Hollywood, had a difficult but passionate love-story with Laken Lockridge, was accused of rape, worked on the radio, in the wine industry and in stables, married Hayley, divorced and so on… What were your favorite storylines and the ones you particularly disliked ?

I liked all the fun story lines with Danny and Laken in the beginning. It's difficult to pick out the ones I liked the most. I had a great time working on Santa Barbara. Such great memories and the entire cast was like my second family.

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

I like working with Lane Davies, Robin Wright, Marcy Walker, Judith McConnell, Nick Coster, John Allen Nelson...

You left Santa Barbara in July 1989, at the same time than Lane Davies. What were the circumstances of your departure ?

Lane and I both had our contracts ending at the same time. One morning I walked into the rehearsal room to get a bagel and there was Lane getting some coffee. He asked if I was planning on re signing and I said no and he said that he wasn't going to re sign either. I asked what he was going to do. He said, "I'm thinking of going to the south of France and study French for a month and then travel around the world, wanna come ?" After a brief pause, "Okay." We bought our round the world tickets that very same day !!!! It was the best trip ever.

In 1991, Ted suddenly came back in Santa Barbara, but with a different face... Have you been contacted at the time by the producers to come back to play Ted ?

Nope. And I never heard how that went or anything.

What were your best (and worst) remembrances from the show, on a relational and on a professional level ?

The whole Santa Barbara show is a great memory. I do remember very well the feeling I had on location in Santa Barbara in the first week of shooting the show. The week before I was bussing tables at a restaurant "Charlie Browns" and now I'm with a beautiful love interest Laken on a new TV show and being treated like a VIP. It was a crazy wonderful feeling.

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

I stayed friends with Lane Davies and John Nelson but that's it. I didn't watch the show once I left but I did see it lots overseas dubbed in different languages. That was fun to see the show with different voices. I just had dinner with Lane Davies last week and we reminisced.

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

Well now that I'm 46 years old I guess I would like to play C.C. Capwell.

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These 21 last years after Santa Barbara and now

Can you come back on the following years of your career after your departure from Santa Barbara ? These last years, you made several short reappearances in The Bold and Beautiful as Jake Maclaine. Do you still continue to work as an actor full time or did you find another job with the years ?

I have stayed in touch with Brad Bell who is the executive on Bold and The Beautiful cause we play tennis every Thursday. So, he pops me on the The Bold and Beautiful show once in a while but I have completely retired my acting. I am now working at Merrill Lynch as a financial advisor. Been there for eleven years and really liking it. It's steady and I'm in control of my life unlike the constant auditioning as an actor. My first chapter of my life as an actor was fantastic and I will treasure the memories forever but I'm also really enjoying the second chapter of the life of Todd McKee.

What would you like to say to all the Santa Barbara fans all over the world who didn't forget you as Ted ?

I'll never forget you and the wonderful times we shared together. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for always being there.

 

Once again all my thanks to Todd McKee for his kindness and his humor.