All Jekyll and No Hyde
Soap Opera People Magazine, March 1985
by Paulette Kohn
Article Provided By Wanda
Although Bill Hyde desires nothing more than marriage to Siobhan Ryan Novak, nothing could be farther from the mind of Pennsylvania-born David Sederholm, who portrays the police detective on Ryan's Hope. He is adamant about his single status.
"I'm of that age and position where I'm aware that I'm afraid of commitment", he confides. "I was married for six years and lived with a couple of women for a long period of time. I'm very wary of having someone completely inside my life for fear of being tied down and for fear of discovering the tragedies and traumas that I went through during my past relationship."
That's not the only dissimilarity between the two men. "Bill is more physically extrovert and macho than David and possibly more modern in his relationships with women." Although David is a product of the cultural revolutions, he still clings to some old-fashioned values.
"As much as I'd like to go Dutch or let a woman pick up a check, it's so hard to do! I'd like to help the women liberate themselves in that respect but I just can't," he states.
This same ambivalence toward new values as compared to those learned in childhood gave David considerable pause in committing himself to his acting career.
He entered Harvard in the early '70's, a time when there was no way to avoid the political unrest that swept college campuses. The rallying cry was, "don't trust anyone over thirty!" It was an age that questioned the beliefs of the older generations. David found that he, too, was questioning the "American Dream" values his father had instilled in him.
"I was feeling the urge to major in something meaningful in preparation for what my father and I hoped would be a law degree. The philosophy they taught at Harvard was not the kind of humanism I was interested in."
By his senior year, he had switched his major twice and given up on going to parties and drinking beer. Instead, he spent his free time watching movies - particularly those which starred anti-heroes like Marlon Brando, Montgomery Cliff and James Dean.
"I didn't realize it at the time but I was looking for male role models. I was confused, lost and very emotional and watching the movies made me say, "wow, there's another way of behaving."
Sederholm began reading Arthur Miller, William Inge and Tennessee Williams and soon discovered that drama was much more interesting than law. He began to realize that acting is an art form. These new ideas were light-years away from the way he had been raised.
"In my household, culture consisted of Reader's Digest Condensed books and Bing Crosby records. I thought that was what everybody was like."
Graduation came and went and David still hadn't resolved his dilemma. Should he try acting or try to fulfill the expectations he'd lived with since childhood? David opted for the Peace Corps. Ticket in hand, about to leave for Micronesia, he had his departure interview with the corp's psychologist who suggested he try acting instead.
"It was the first time anybody had validated what it was I thought I wanted to do."
Twenty years old and without an acting lesson to his name, David hit New York - but not by storm. Unsuccessful, he returned to the real world. He took a responsible position, married, and for a few years submerged his desire to act and tried to be the good middle-class son/husband/provider. It didn't work.
David re-entered the acting world slowly through lessons. He began seeing a therapist to help him get in touch with some of the things he was blocking in acting class. What he realized was, if he didn't work at acting full-time, he would be an unhappy person. He resigned his 9-to-5 job at Exxon.
His acting was so bad at first, he sold light bulbs door-to-door, drove a cab and worked in a health spa to keep going. In five years, he auditioned for close to 30 different roles on soap operas and was hired for none. Slowly, he began getting work as a dayplayer. Then, he struck paydirt. He landed the role of Tony on All My Children at the same time he landed Bill. The part of Tony didn't start for five months. He took the one that started first.
"I enjoy doing Bill Hyde because it's a way for me to open up certain parts of myself that I feel shy about. Bill is more physically extroverted, more macho, more jockish and more of a ladies' man than I am. Those are the fantasy sides to me that I only occasionally let out!"
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