By Katrina Rasbold
While visiting with fans around the pool at the Sportmens Lodge on August 23-24, 2003, Scott Egan ("Johnny," Sonny's bodyguard) took time to speak with Carolyn Aspenson and me about his time on GH and the changes that had taken place with his character over the years. Personable and candid, it was definitely one of the best interviews we've shared over the years with Eye on Soaps and we enjoyed a good amount of time with Egan as the weekend progressed.
I, personally, had met Scott at the GH Fan Weekend two years prior and enjoyed spending time with him then, so it was a pleasure to introduce Carolyn to him and have another visit. We were invited to spend the evening with Scott, his publicist (Rita J. Runyon of TRC Entertainment), Lindze Letherman (Georgie), Lindze's parents and aunt and Dylan Cash (Michael) and his family. The atmosphere was jovial and the group was quite relaxed with an obvious rapport of comfort and respect for one another.
At one point during the evening, Carolyn and I stole Scott away for a long chat and as usual, he was a joy to interview. Seemingly unruffled by being famous, Egan never ceases to be pleased at being recognized for his role on General Hospital. He is very much the person you'd want to meet as your first star encounter: down to earth, forthright and approachable. As I've mentioned in a few other places, I personally tend to shun interviews because actors especially are whipped by the network into giving very sterile, fairly "by rote" interviews that tend to repeat themselves throughout the sites across the net so that it's hardly even worth the effort. Who wants to read the same interview over and over? It had always been my wish that, Godferbid I ever did another interview, it would be me sitting down at a bar with endless time, a drink and an open mind to pick. Egan gave me just that and I was happy to roam around in there for a while.
Congenial and warm, he spoke with affection of his co-stars on the show, crediting Maurice Benard for keeping him involved in scenes in which he'd otherwise been cut. He also had high praise for Tamara Braun and Dylan Cash, with whom he bantered at the pool prior to our interview.
With an easy laugh, he told us of the ribbing he'd gotten from pals, Benard and Steve Burton for being the body guard to play follow up to Renaldo, poor Renaldo, who'd been blown to bits by a car bomb intended for Sonny. "The bodyguards come and go," he mused.
When asked how he felt about the limited screen time he'd been given over the past year or so, he was philosophical in his response, saying that "they either write you in or they don't" and for him, they hadn't for some time. I told him about the cheers that had gone up across the net from Johnny fans at his recent re-emergence and he agreed it was good to be back, if even now and then. He gave full credit to the fans, who wrote in droves asking for his return and to Jen Jarvis, his web guru who runs his official site at www.scottegan.net, for pushing his return into fruition.
He spoke with pride of his work with the West Coast Baseball School, where he coaches children between the ages of six and sixteen. It was working with the kids and being a positive influence in their lives that kept him occupied during the time he was not taping for GH. Himself a former minor league player with the Milwaukee Brewers and the Chicago White Sox, Egan genuinely enjoys working with the kids who might some day follow along that path themselves. Egan was bored during the off-season for baseball and took acting classes to pass the time. When an arm injury ended his professional baseball career, he headed to Los Angeles to pursue acting. Originally, he read for a part on Port Charles as it was debuting and although he did not get that particular part, but casting director Mark Teschner remembered him when the role of Johnny came up. This was not actually his baptism into the business of TV and he laughed good naturedly about his first job in show business... as the first "no pins" tape strips Pampers baby.
Feeling brave, I pushed a bit to see if he would be interested in having a stronger storyline on the show, but Egan demurred, saying it would be great if it happened, but he was just as happy standing outside the door, protecting Sonny and watching what goes on in the penthouse.
Almost prophetically, Egan considered aloud that his time with GH wouldn't go on forever and felt he'd like to re-visit his time working in theater again in the future. I asked if he'd had any experiences on GH that had indicated that he might be let go, other than the weeks of having no scenes. "Well that was a pretty good indicator," he smiled. "I never knew if I was going to ever be called back in again with all of these other bodyguards showing up."
I asked if he had any idea what had changed to cause such a reduction in scenes for him and he thought for a moment before answering. "I think I know what it was, but you can never be sure with these people. There were administrative changes with new writers coming on board and a new President of ABC Daytime and they have their own vision of how GH should be. Evidently, I wasn't in it. I do know that just before Alexis had her affair with Sonny, a story was written in which Johnny rapes Alexis. Nancy (Nancy Lee Grahn - Alexis) had been asking for a story for a long time that would give Alexis a baby. The set up had always been there that Alexis had no mothering instincts and she really wanted to play that out. The writers wanted to have Alexis as a single mother and having Johnny rape her with a subsequent pregnancy was the way they felt that could happen. Maurice (Maurice Benard - Sonny) and I were shocked, to say the least and told the writers it wouldn't fly. Of course, that would have been the end of Johnny right there. Alexis was Sonny's friend and Johnny would have been wearing cement shoes. Instead, you got the Alexis and Sonny fling, I was pretty much absent after that and you saw what happened to Alexis."
When asked if he had any parting words to offer his fans, he said, "Tell them that the only limits are those of vision. The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their own dreams."
Wise words from a really great guy. Eye on Soaps would like to say thanks to Steve and his publicist, Rita J. Runyun, for the opportunity to visit with him for this interview.
Since I last interviewed Scott, it has come to my attention that a number of extremely disparaging rumors have been pushing around regarding Scott's alleged behavior at fan events and rumors that he was "fired" from General Hospital.
I'd like to take my turn at the podium to shoot down these blatant lies. Let's start at the top of the list of why this is untrue:
1) I am personal friends with Scott and his "people" and have been for quite some time. He is the consummate gentleman. Folks, it just didn't happen.
2) At every fan event he attends he is accompanied by one (or more) of three people: his publicist Rita Runyon, his webmaster Jen and his mother. Folks, it just didn't happen.
3) Scott was not on contract to General Hospital and therefore, cannot be "fired." Actors who are not on contract are always open to being dropped from the show. And to their advantage, they have the opportunity to explore other options. For years, Constance Towers has chosen to work this way to allow her more opportunities to spend time with her family and work on other projects. The mob storyline is going in a new direction. Scott's character of 'Johnny' was eliminated. He was not fired. Folks, it just didn't happen.
4) Scott's representatives are taking legal action. Folks, that is going to happen!
And that's all I've got to say about that.