The Best of Soap Opera People # 1, 1987
by Lillian Smith
Article Provided By Wanda
Sam Behrens is dead serious about his acting career, which is probably why he's talking to a writer in the first place.
Actually, when he's not playing Jake Meyer on General Hospital, he's a casual, romantic sort of guy who'd rather be out flying a plane.
Sam's been a risk taker ever since he left home and his family's catering business to try acting full time in New York and wherever he could find it.
He found his way into theatre and loved it. He still does, which led to Ryan's Hope where he played a doctor for a year while working onstage in the musical Grease.
Evidently Sam decided it was time to go to California and we're glad he did because now we can see him every day helping all his pals on General Hospital.
Of course, we also have been seeing plenty of Sam in the Wrangler jeans commercials.
Obviously Sam likes doing the spots for Wrangler because he says they spend a fortune on them. The last one was done in Hong Kong, which was great.
"Do you find people ask you more serious questions because you are playing a lawyer?" I wanted to know.
"Yes. And when I was playing a doctor I used to get letters asking medical advice. Now that I'm a lawyer, a lot of letters are asking for legal advice. Some of them are heart wrenching," he told me.
"You've done theatre and films and all, so how is it working on your show?"
"It's a joy when I'm working. They're very professional and everyone is very friendly. The people are great," he said enthusiastically. "That's not always true because I have a friend on another soap and he says it's just the opposite. The crew and actors are ok, but the producers and writers all make life tough for them."
"If you are such a busy lawyer on General Hospital, how come you can go off with Bobbie to Terry's home town to solve the mystery of her past?"
"Well, I'm involved with a family, all the people who live in the brownstone and romantically with Bobby. All these people are like a family though one is from Minnesota, Omaha, and New York. We're a non-family getting together. When something happens to one, it happens to a few. Bobbi's involved, then so am I," he explained.
Sam lives up in the Hollywood Hills now that his second marriage has ended.
"Actually, my first marriage was very successful. The relationship still is. I gained a lot from my first marriage." He is fairly silent about his second.
"Are you romantic?"
"I am and I'm practical. It depends on who you talk to and where we are in the relationship. I can be romantic to a fault, then swing the other way," he shrugged.
"What kind of women do you like?", I wondered.
"Well, it's nice when they're beautiful but I wouldn't trade it in for independence, brains. It's a nice addition but sometimes when a girl has beauty and gets everything she needs, she sometimes doesn't develop other areas", he mused. "I like a woman who is independent, aggressive and is open. I like mystery but not when it comes to a person hiding something. No."
Sam drives an Audi now that he ha traded in his 66 T-Bird, which was a headache. He says he can cook and when pressed says meat and potatoes and sushi. He laughs when I point out that sushi isn't cooked. Music isn't something he listens to intently. When he does, he likes classical and jazz. When it comes to clothes, Sam admits he goes through fashionable periods then swings back to sweat clothes. The handsome, brown eyed actor is very much at ease in gray sweat pants and a blue sweatshirt as we talk.
"Were there years you would like to forget?"
"Fourteen to twenty! The teens," he said immediately. "I once had a friend who said the only reason he didn't kill himself was he'd have to come back and live through his childhood again. I like my late 20's and think 30's may be the best."
He says he is sort of serious today but as a child wasn't serious about anything. Now he believes in doing it seriously but not taking it seriously.
He wasn't good at school, says he wouldn't listen. However, he could always study about two weeks and get good grades.
"When did you decide you wanted to be an actor?"
"I wanted to be a star, not an actor, until my mid 20's," he laughed. Then he changed and decided to put the emphasis on acting, and wants to do more theatre and films. Right now he's extremely happy doing General Hospital.
"There's a lot of adventure on your show, would you like to be involved in that?"
"I like to do scenes that come out of real life rather than things that are made up! I like what is revealed by a character in a situation rather than just be in a car crash, or stand around just looking good."
That's why Sam prefers some foreign films more than say, Rambo. There are films around like that, for example he mentioned Choose Me, which he says was an exquisite film.
"Would you say you like danger?"
"It's not that I like danger but I like to be excited and involved. Sometimes I do some skydiving. I believe in involvement. If you're around to do it once, take in as much as you can. Even if you aren't around you might as well do it anyway because if reincarnation is the real thing, and I tend to think it is, you may as well enjoy yourself. If you screw it up, you're coming back anyway."
"Your fans like to know your birthday and what else do they say in letters?"
"My birthday is July 24. They want to know the storyline. They say you should be with so and so. Were getting good mail on
Bobbie and Jake."
"I think your scenes with Jackie are wonderful, very real life, warm and tender," I told him.
"Thank you - tell the powers that be," he laughed.
Then Sam was off flying a plane to Carmel for the weekend - next to acting, flying is his passion.
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