Mystery Man From Ireland
Soap Opera Digest, August 1978
by Geri Jefferson
Article Provided By Wanda
He's tall, suave and handsome with an intriguing lock of gray hair at the nape of his neck. He's the epitome of the strong, silent type with a mystifying undercurrent apparent in his conversation and demeanor.
He is Tom MacGreevy. He is Tom Desmond. Both men hail from Ireland. Both men have somewhat unhappy past lives and both men are former boxing champs. Both men enjoy the poetry of Yeats and both men are wonderfully charming.
"'Mother, I've got to do this. I've just got to try theatre.' She didn't like that, but I tried it and I knew when I went into drama school that (acting) was what I'd been looking for all those years."
In his early twenties, Tom embarked on his new life as an actor, leaving behind, for the most part, the world of professional boxing.
From Boxing To Acting:
In a strange way, Tom thinks, the two professions are related. "I think boxing is theatre in its most physical sense.....There is the audience....you are up on a dais....I find it has a sort of appeal for me. It's not as spiritual as acting, but I believe it is theatre in its most physical form."
As a teenager, Tom found boxing to be a tremendous form of expresson. He started at the age of fifteen and was Irish middle-weight boxing champion in international competition at the age of eighteen!
Does he (as do so many) consider boxing to be a violent sport? "No, certainly not." Tom explained that people who don't understand the sport might consider it violent, but he feels that it requires a lot of skill and a lot of intelligence. As a youth, boxing also had a therapeutic effect on Tom. "It gave me an identity that I never had for years.....it meant I was worth something...I felt a sense of importance I'd never felt before in my life."
Alone But Not Lonely:
Tom's mother is still in Ireland; his father and brother are in London. So Tom is living alone in New York, but with his continued interest in boxing and his work on Ryan's Hope, there is more than enough to take up his time. Althought he did live with a woman some time ago....he is currently back to his single living status. During that period of his life, his 'struggling actor' days, he was, he felt, ill-prepared to make the marital vows his friend seemed to require. Although very much a believer in marriage, he didn't feel he was ready for it at the time.
When asked what kind of woman he might look for in a wife, Tom had a ready answer. "She would, I imagine, have to be physically attractive to me. I also want a certain amount of intelligence. I'd like....someone who is strong, who you can count on with a certain amount of strength, sensitivity and gentleness......Tom was asked what his reaction would be if he encountered a domineering woman. "I think it's a problem in every relationship. Sometimes I think that somebody has to take the upper hand. I imagine I would like to take the upper hand." When it was suggested that Tom's was a typically male attitude he answered that perhaps it was, but that one person has to be more dominant in different areas. He did concede, however, that since he's had no real experience in the matter, he was perhaps not the authority figure he was beginning to sound like.
When Does One Tom Plus One Tom Equal One Tom?
There are so many similarities between Tom MacGreevy and Tom Desmond that I felt compelled to comment. Tom agreed and said, "well, they wrote the part for me, so I'm sure they put a lot of Tom MacGreevy in the part. In fact, the Ryan's Hope scene in which Tom Desmond laid one yellow rose on the bed for Faith and whispered luscious poetry in her ear seemed more of a part of Tom MacGreevy than one might imagine. Tom had to agree. "I think with honesty I can say I'm a romantic. I am certainly into poetry. I just love the things they write for me."....
I also detected that somewhere under the surface was the same intensity and anger in Tom MacGreevy that exists in Tom Desmond.
And so there we are...back to the mystery. He is intelligent and appears to be loving. He seems warm and open and giving. He is introspective and secretive. It would seem that he has his own private and loved haunts. Is he Tom Desmond? Is he Tom MacGreevy? Is he really a mystery?
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