The Venerable "Da"
Soap Opera Digest, December 1978
by Geri Jefferson
Article Provided By Wanda
Bernard Barrow, one of Ryan's Hope's mainstay characters, has been with the show since its beginning, three years ago. After all this time, Bernie does not believe his character, Johnny 'Da' Ryan, has changed very much. He believes Johnny and his wife Maeve Rayan, portrayed by Helen Gallagher, have always been allowed to experience the joys and sorrows of marriage. The couple, Bernie feels, has also had the opportunity to experience the uniqueness and strength of a happily married couple.
In fact, Bernie comments, many young people tell him that they enjoy the show to a large degree because of the comfort they derive from Maeve and Johnny Ryan. In this day and age of so many single parents homes, they tend to gravitate towards the TV couple who represent a seeminly more staid lifestyle.
When asked if there was any one thing he'd dreamed of Johnny doing, the answer was a thoughtful 'no.' Bernie believes Johnny has been able to do and feel just about anything. And even if he hadn't, Bernie would never voice a complaint. He conceded that he might concern himself with a line or a scene, but never the general direction a character was taking. Bernie doesn't feel that is in his jurisdiction and has a belief that the show's creators will always do what's best for the Ryans.
When Bernie is not at the R.H. studios, he can often be found at Brooklyn College in the role of Professor Bernard Barrow, Theatre Department. Right now, Professor Barrow is on a sabbatical leave. Because the college is instituting a new degree, a Master of Fine Arts in Theatre, he plans on visiting various schools, colleges,and universities throughout the country. Bernie hopes to view several theatre programs with an eye on course content and various instructors' style of delivery; possibly finding teaching talent.
The kindly, yet seemingly demanding, professor believes that acting talent can be drawn out, enhanced, polished, refined - all those things - but never created. He believes that the raw talent must be inherent in the student or the teaching is wasted.
When Bernie is not acting on Ryan's Hope, recording commercial voiceovers, performing on stage or enjoying his home in Manhattan, he and his wife, actress Joan Kaye, are enjoying themselves at their weekend retreat. Their home away from home is in Pennsylvania. While there, Joan enjoys gardening and Bernie putters around the house.
The character of Johnny Ryan and the person of Bernard Barrow do not differ an iota when it comes to personal warmth and concern and support for family. The same power and strength of the one appears in the other.
It is as much a pleasure speaking with him as it is a pleasure seeing him working at his craft, his art, his gift of self - on Ryan's Hope.
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