Thaao Penghlis, Actor-Author-Greek Historian-Episode #283

Feb 20, 2024 | 0 comments

“Milton used to say ‘acting is about a necklace.’ The more understanding you have of your character, the more beads you add until you have it complete.”

I had a blast chatting with the great Australian-born actor and raconteur, Thaao Penghlis, about his career and creative process. If you’re a fan of NBC’s long-running soap opera, Days of Our Lives, then you’re also likely to be a fan of Thaao. He’s had a remarkable four-decade, 1500+ episode run on the show playing both the seductively villainous Count Tony DiMera and the Count’s evil look-a-like impersonator Andre DiMera. Thaao has earned 3 Emmy nominations for Outstanding Leading Actor and a Soap Opera Digest Award for Favorite Return.

Thaao’s infamous dual roles are on top of playing a wide-range of characters on various TV series, movies, and plays, including two other daytime series, General Hospital and Santa Barbara, as well as appearances on the 1980’s prime time reboot of Mission Impossible, in which Thaao played master-of-disguise Nicholas Black. Other notable appearances include the films Slow Dancing in the Big City, Ken Russell’s Altered States, The Bell Jar, Sadat, Sidney Sheldon’s Memories of Midnight, Under Siege, Tribe, and as Dame Edna’s lover, Colonel Godowni in the cult classic Les Patterson Saves the World.

A world traveler and celebrated host of Hollywood dinner parties, Thaao has authored his memoir Places: The Journey of My Days, My Lives, and also the cookbook Seducing Celebrities One Meal at a Time.

Thaao, whose family were Greek immigrants to Australia, has poured his passions for all things Greece into a new podcast, The Lost Treasures, a fantastic detective story-style exploration of Greece’s greatest contribution to the world’s literature, the poet Homer.  The Lost Treasures explores the Iliad and the Odyssey through the amazing life of German archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann, who changed history when he discovered the real-life locations and treasures in the epic poems.

Written and narrated by Thaao, the podcast draws on his exclusive access to 60,000 pages of long-hidden documents and diaries.




Read the Podcast Transcript

Steve Cuden: On today’s StoryBeat,

Thaao Penghlis: If I was doing something as André for instance, in André DiMera and because he was a villain, it would be part of my truth was to come through manipulation, whereas if I was doing Tony, I always thought he was. That’s why I love monks. I always try to make him centered. And when you’re, that’s where your core is said. And then Milton used to say, acting is about a necklace. The more understanding you have of your character, the more beads you add until you have it complete.

Steve Cuden: Oh, that’s great.

Thaao Penghlis: So then what you do is once you’ve completed the necklace and you’re wearing it, it comes from your core, whether it’s good or bad, it depends on how well do you know yourself? And how well can you bring those senses, to the character that you’re playing?

Announcer: This is StoryBeat with Steve Cuden a, podcast for the creative mind. StoryBeat explores how masters of creativity develop and produce brilliant works that people everywhere love and admire. So join us as we discover how talented creators find success in the worlds of imagination and entertainment. Here now is your host, Steve Cuden.

Steve Cuden: Thanks for joining us on StoryBeat. We’re coming to you from the Steel City, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Well, we have a really special show today. If you’re a fan of NBC’s long running soap opera Days of our lives, then you’re also likely to be a fan of the australian born actor Thaao Penglass, who’s had a remarkable four decade, 1500 plus episode run on that show, playing both the seductively villainous count Tony DeMera and the count’s evil lookalike impersonator, Andre Demera. Thaao has earned three Emmy nominations for outstanding Leading Actor and a Soap Opera Digest award for favorite return. Thaao’s infamous dual roles are on top of playing a wide range of characters on various tv series, movies and plays, including two other daytime series, General Hospital and Santa Barbara, as well as appearances on the 1980s primetime reboot of Mission Impossible, in which Thaao played master of disguise Nicholas Black. Other notable appearances include the film’s slow Dancing in the Big City, Ken Russell’s altered states, the bell Jar Sadat, Sidney Sheldon’s memories of Midnight under Siege tribe, and as Dame Edna’s lover, Colonel Godowney in the cult classic Les patterson saves the world. A world traveler and celebrated host of Hollywood dinner parties, Thaao has authored his memoir places the journey of my days, my lives, and also the cookbook seducing celebrities one meal at a time. Thaao whose family were greek immigrants to Australia has poured his passions for all things Greece into a new podcast, the Lost Treasures. It’s a fantastic detective story style exploration of Greece’s greatest contribution to the world’s literature. The poet Homer. The lost treasures explores the Iliad and the odyssey through the amazing life of german archaeologist Heinrich Schleeman, who changed history when he discovered the real life locations and treasures in the epic poems written and narrated by Thaao The podcast draws on his exclusive access to 60,000 pages of long hidden documents and diaries. So for all those reasons and many more, it’s truly a great honor for me to welcome the prolific actor Thaao Panglis to StoryBeat today. Thaao welcome to the show.

Thaao Penghlis: That sounded very good. Someone tells your life, know, and you hear her going, oh, okay. Yeah. The only thing is it suddenly becomes short because you reach a certain age and then you’re going, oh my God, I’m in the last renaissance. When you’re still curious about things in life, you wanted to keep going. And I think that’s always been for me, the secret to success is that you keep on being curious about what can come about in your life, what you can discover, the people that cross your path. All those things amount to a life well lived. I think someone said to me, how do you stay young? I think that helps other than living properly and not too many bad habits. But I think it’s because of the interest in life and my travels. I think my journeys in my life.

Steve Cuden: That curiosity keeps you young, doesn’t it?

Thaao Penghlis: Yeah, it does. Because it doesn’t make you feel like you need to sit in another chair when you get older, you say, I’ve got to sit down, all this, I keep going, I keep going. And I think also because of working on days all these years, when you’re doing seven, eight scenes back to back, you’re on the move all the time. And so that’s always kept me, youthful, I think, and also happy that I’m exuding, ah, a part of me that I never thought was there. And that is the artistic, the creative side. I think that’s why cooking for me is important, because it’s also creative. So the podcast came about because, I stopped working on days for a while, and the podcast came and I wrote it within the two years and then found the avenue to project it into a story.

Steve Cuden: Sure. So let’s go back in time just a little bit first to figure out where this came from. When did you first think to, acting, being in the arts, when did that first strike you, how old were you?

Thaao Penghlis: I was late. I was an immigration official in Australia. So I got a free trip with, the ballet folklorico of Mexico with Amali Hernandez. And then I went on to New York. I only took a year’s absence from my job, but I met with some extraordinary people. Your decade, where you plant the seeds, sure. And then you nurture them. They like your insecurities. They like your children. You nurture them in the best way possible. through meeting people, through people helping you through your own way of looking at things in life, giving it a different perspective. But I went into the fashion world at 26. I studied, I think the acting profession really started with Milton Katselis. And Katselis became my mentor. He was Elia Kazan’s, his mentor. And so Milton, when we met, we didn’t get along really. I went to his classes. I didn’t like Greeks in those days. I thought they were arrogant. And, I wanted to get away from being raised. Always a so Milton Catselus also had.

Steve Cuden: A reputation for being a little tough on people?

Thaao Penghlis: Oh, my God, yes. But I see, I always talk back at him. There was something about being australian. We don’t like the bullshit with people, we just call it. And so Milton was not used to that. And so it’s the thing that kept me going. And then he asked me if I’d be his assistant. And I did become that, even though I did it reluctantly. and we came out to California and I assisted him for over ten years and studied with him. And then all that training, because he was a director. So he taught you how to direct yourself. Because this industry directors are not, unless you’re making an error, mistake of some sort, they’re not always there, with you.

Steve Cuden: What would you say are one or more of the lessons that you took away from him that have held you in good stead all these years?

Thaao Penghlis: I think that I was good enough that I tested all those things that I learned in my 20s from the fashion, the, ah, art world, the cooking. All those were elements of which I was able to put into my acting. And, so the fashion, I was able to know how to dress a character. The cooking was choosing spontaneously what would make a recipe work. I think also I took ballet classes in modern jazz. to develop the whole being, you got to look at all of it. You can’t just say, well, like actors today, some of the young ones, they just come on, they think they’re, you know, I came at the end of a golden age. And so when people like how Prince, Stephen Sondheim, Lillian Gish, John Gilgood, Robert Ref, all these people crossed my path, having had tea in the gallery with Kennedy. the first lady was so well mannered. She was so meticulous. I always remember how still she was. So you refer to us as an actor. How do you remain still? Spencer Tracer did it very well. Go up to your line and tell the truth. So people like that that crossed my path had lessons there for me if I was listening. And so I was a good listener because I didn’t know much. I didn’t know enough. And then I became, working with Milton. What he ended up doing was he kind of carved me out as a human being, as an artist, and it gave me a certain confidence. And when we were doing the play jockeys in New York, I was playing balance sheen of the New York ballet. And I remember he had me come on stage 40 times during rehearsals because he didn’t believe my entrance. So I have to tell you, after 40 entrances and exits, you get to know the strut and the way. As a choreographer, he would have walked holding a cane. And I remember people saying, I just love Thaao’s entrances, which I found really interesting, and I thought, isn’t that interesting? That lesson that I learned all those years ago on how to enter and how to leave with a kind of authority leading with the chest, having a kind of strut in my walk, depending on who I was playing, came from those years, because I had people who cared enough, who wanted the best out of you. And when it wasn’t there, they would really scold you. Like Stella Adler, for instance. She was the same. I mean, God forbid you’d come in and schlep, and if you came in looking, know you were broke, she wanted everyone to come in. Like there was stars. I mean, she had a real discipline thing, and she also came in dressed. And so all these people, we don’t see that much anymore. I mean, these days, they’re wearing shorts.

Steve Cuden: And it’s just like the way people get onto airplanes. It looks like a bus.

Thaao Penghlis: Indeed. I find that sad.

Steve Cuden: So you mentioned listening, that you were a good listener. How important is listening to being a good actor?

Thaao Penghlis: Well, if you’re not listening, you don’t listen for your cues. You don’t know how to respond. You catch a ball, for instance, and then you drop it. If you’re not listening, if you’re listening, you throw the ball back. If you really want an exchange between you and the other actors who are on stage with you or in film, then you’ve got to listen to their cues. You can’t just know what you have to say. You’ve got to understand where they’re coming from as well.

Steve Cuden: I think you can definitely tell when an actor isn’t listening. I think it’s know Milton Ketzellas. He was from Pittsburgh. I don’t know if you knew that.

Thaao Penghlis: Absolutely. I mean, we were going to do. What’s the great theater there for poetry. For the poetry forum, was it Mellon?

Steve Cuden: Carnegie Mellon University.

Thaao Penghlis: Carnegie Mellon University. I was going to do a poetry reading as the elder and the youngster. He was going to play the elder and we were going to do greek poetry. And we would come in and out of the mood of which poems we decided to do. But he got sick there, and so I worked on it for six months with him, but we never got it.

Steve Cuden: That’s a shame.

Thaao Penghlis: Yeah.

Steve Cuden: So he was your mentor and Gadj Kazan was his mentor. How important do you think it is in the arts to have a mentor? Because not everybody does. But for you, it was something you had. How important was it for you? And should others consider finding a know?

Thaao Penghlis: I think it’s the most important thing in anyone’s life to be with someone who knows a lot more than they do. Because let’s face it, when you’re young, when you’re, a teenager, or in your need guidance, not from your family, very few times have I ever heard someone say, my father was my mentor. Because I’m doing that now. I am passing back to others who are looking for mentorship. And so it’s so valid, because you’ll always remember that human being the rest of your lives. Indeed, you hear the know, the conversations. And I remember before three months before Milton died, I sat with him and I said, well, now that we’re old enough and we can talk equally, tell me, what was your biggest disappointment in life? And he thought for a moment, and then he looked at me and he said, people. He found that all that he did and all that he gave, and he did give. I don’t think people were appreciative enough to know who he was m when he crossed their, path. There are still a few that around that talk about Milton, but I think that was his big disappointment. And that’s why I think he left early.

Steve Cuden: He founded the Beverly Hills Playhouse, didn’t he?

Thaao Penghlis: I did. With him, yes. The two of us.

Steve Cuden: The two of you?

Thaao Penghlis: Yes. In the mid seventy s. And I’m.

Steve Cuden: trying to remember what street that was on.

Thaao Penghlis: That was on Robertson Boulevard.

Steve Cuden: You’re right. Robertson Boulevard, yes.

Thaao Penghlis: Ah. Two, four, one. South Robertson Boulevard.

Steve Cuden: I know I was in there several times, but I didn’t remember exactly where it was because it’s been a long time since I’ve been out there. Is there anything that you wish that you knew before you met him that would have helped you to, grow quicker or easier? Is there anything that you think that someone should learn earlier on than finding a mentor or going to classes or training?

Thaao Penghlis: I think everyone’s different. I think when you’re ready, that’s when the teacher arrives. When you’re ready, that’s when the mentor arrives. When you’re ready, that’s when certain things happen in your life, but you can’t predict that, and you can’t force that. It’s not something, you know, just automatically, it’s an intuition. when you meet somebody, why does someone resonate with you? Whereas somebody else may just seem like you want to get away from them. Not to say that everyone has to say nice things to you. The tough ones, they’re the ones that remain to me, they’re the ones who made me look at things that I was insecure about. And I was being arrogant in those years because it was a cover up, having come from a family that had a certain breeding, but because they went to Australia and became part of the labor force, it affected my father. and I saw what it did to his character. And I remember telling my father something and I said, just because you came in before me doesn’t mean you know more. And so he wasn’t very happy about, you know, when I left, he know he’s going to ruin us. He’s gone to America, he’s going to come back a failure, because that’s how my father thought. And when I came back, winning, I have to tell you, there’s nothing like looking at your father, who suddenly, in his eyes, he has seen something of himself that he didn’t know was there, and that is winning and that is success. And that is where he looks at you and tears in his eyes and puts his arms out, which he wasn’t. The warmest man put his arms out and called me. In Greek, Levendi, which means warrior. So I sent him overseas six times. I brought him to America with my mum, and he loved America. And what happened to him where others before him had success? But then as you get older, some people just retire early or money is not enough, so it doesn’t really feed the soul. My father, going back in those later years, made a huge difference to the way he left. So I gave them what he couldn’t give me in my youth, and that’s what mentorship went. It’s the respect of your elders, firstly, because they know more, they’re here longer than you’ve been. Whether you agree with them or not, the wisdom that comes with having lived makes a humongous difference to the way you perceive life. People love when you’re a success because they want to be attached to it. Something about you they spill over.

Steve Cuden: Well, that’s exactly right. And those are the gifts that one gives each other in a mentor and mentee relationship. There are gifts exchanged in that relationship, is there not?

Thaao Penghlis: Oh, yeah. I think what it is is that the mentor feels that what they contributed to you worked, that they saw of themselves, that what they were teaching, what they were resonating, brought somebody into a different kind of life than they did when they first met. I think it’s like a parent watching a child grow and become successful.

Steve Cuden: Well, sure.

Thaao Penghlis: The same thing with mentoring.

Steve Cuden: Well, sure, because the mentor is actually parenting you in a way. I mean, they’re not literally a parent, but they are giving you that kind of parental feeling in what it is you’re doing. Yes.

Thaao Penghlis: Right?

You’ve been on the show for 40 years. 40 years is a long time

Steve Cuden: So let’s talk about days of our lives for a moment, because I think it’s really fascinating that you’ve been able to do that show for as long as you have, playing both Tony Demara and Andre Demara. 40 years is a long time. You must be an incredibly resilient person. I mean, you’ve traveled around the world. And so I’m wondering, do you have something that you do that keeps you, aside from your curiosity, which we talked about, something that keeps you to endure? Are you an exerciser? How do you stay with it physically and mentally?

Thaao Penghlis: How do you do it every time? We had a break and we needed it because, we worked very hard and learning lines at night and your brain was very. And so I always thought to myself, la wasn’t enough for me. There wasn’t enough culture here. And so I looked at what stimulated me and I went to Egypt, I went to Greece, I went to Italy, I went to Jordan, I went to places that for me, were dangerous at times. And I didn’t mind that because, you know, life is not easy, and I have to walk a path that’s not always straight. And I come across people who try to swindle you, people who, try to take advantage of you. These are all part of the training. So when I left and came back to work, I was full because I had a chance to discover other cultures beyond myself. So when I would meet with my guides who knew more than I do to the point of where I would go after the 10th time, and I had more knowledge than they did because I always did homework. But that fed me into the character, that knowledge, that foundation that I had built, all those years, I didn’t realize it, but what it did, it fed me so that when I went into work, I had this energy, this happiness, this joy, this discovery, the things that, you don’t know what you know until somebody asks you a question. So, that’s what was important about it. When I was drowning a bit because it was just too much work and too much dialogue, I had to go somewhere else and feed myself with something else. Some people would go in their backyard and make a barn or play baseball or do whatever for me was to take a cultural trip and learn about other people’s lives, their cuisine, their history. And, I’ve taken many people with me because of my, training in journeying across the continents. And so, I think that’s what probably fed me. some people get it in different places, but that was the clue for me. Not everybody can afford to do that. But I said to someone, they said, why did you become an actor? I said, because I wanted to make a lot of money so I could take journeys. oh, actors don’t make money. And I said, well, I am. I’m not going to waste my time if I wasn’t going to make money. So I think that as a subtext in my life is what fed me to keep going. Keep going.

Steve Cuden: So you actually, as an actor, looked at the business as a business, not just an art?

Thaao Penghlis: Absolutely. It was a business that fed my original thought, which was I wanted to be an archaeologist when I was younger. I wanted to go and dig something out of the earth, and say I was the first person to touch this in all these thousands of years. That did something for me that I found to be amazing. And so that’s why when, Carter, discovered, all the things that he did with tart and all the rest of those in the early 20th century, imagine what must have been like when they were the first to enter and I had that experience. I had a phenomenal, guide who was an elder. And because he saw my passion, he asked me that that particular day. They’d found a tomb in 23, 40 bc. It was from, so we’re talking over 4000 years. They’re about to open it. How would you like to be the first one to enter? And that’s what got me really excited, that I would be the first person to go into that tomb, and breathe that ancient air before anybody else. Those are the things that kept me.

Steve Cuden: Going for the listeners. Just so they know, if you listen to the lost treasures, you’ll hear Thaao talking about going into that tomb. It’s really fascinating and very entertaining to listen. Know your passion for travel. That’s what has sustained you all these years. But you don’t worry about your physical body. You’re not a gym rat or anything like that.

Thaao Penghlis: I have a gym downstairs, so I work out four times a week.

Steve Cuden: Oh, wow.

Thaao Penghlis: For, a half an hour, 35 minutes. I do my stretches, my sit ups, push ups, some weights. Not a lot because I don’t like men who wear tuxedos whose muscles are protruding out of their, that’s. I come from the school because of Melodondre who I had done fashion with in New York, that the line had to be clean. So when those arms, know, protruding out of a jacket, it doesn’t like. Arnold Schwarzenegger doesn’t wear a tuxedo very well. And my character always wore a tux.

Steve Cuden: Well, then you needed to look a certain way. And because you’re very fashion conscious, that.

Thaao Penghlis: Was something that was, well, you know, it doesn’t mean that my clothes have to look, expensive. When you looked at Olivia and those wonderful actors, during the golden age, when they put their outfit on and the shoes, that’s what gave them the walk and that’s what gave them the attitude. It’s funny, I was looking at, the guy who was head of the what, was it the guns in America, the one who just resigned, the one who was Pierre whatever his last name was, he was the one who was being brought up on charges. And they said that he stole so much money and that he went and spent in one day $30,000 just on clothing. And I was watching the way he was dressed and I thought, you’re still a crook. It doesn’t matter how he wore, that suit that cost him all that money. He still looked like a crook to me.

Steve Cuden: Well, sometimes looking a certain way helps you be a crook.

Thaao Penghlis: Yes. We could go into that conversation.

Steve Cuden: Well, we’re not. That’s for a whole other show. So am I correct? On days of our lives that you have been killed and brought back to life seven times.

Thaao Penghlis: Yes. Isn’t that a tragedy? every time they said to me, we’re going to kill you off. And I thought, why can’t I just disappear up the stairs, go up to the bedroom and not come down for a while like they used to do to Bill and Susan Hayes.

Steve Cuden: But if you were a cat, you’ve only got two more lives left.

Thaao Penghlis: Well, I don’t know how long the show is going to last. I’m sure they’ll get to their 60th anniversary, but it has my heart, that show. It’s what gave me so much. It really did. And the fans, that have stayed with me all these years because something I did worked for them. They found it attractive, especially the women, the guys, because I thought I was cool, all those things that daze was about. And then it allowed me to go out and do other work.

How fulfilling is it for Robert De Niro when fans approach him

Steve Cuden: Well, of course, how fulfilling is it for you when the fans approach you?

Thaao Penghlis: No, you never take that for granted. Each fan is different. Some of them can be a little bit aggressive, so you’ve got to know how to handle them. Of course, they love to touch and grab you and all this, and you just go, wait a minute. Wait a minute. you see me. You know me, you think, but you don’t know me personally, but especially when I’ve gone home and, you see the audience stand up and scream and applaud and all this, and my parents are watching. That was exciting for me because they said, oh, my God, where did he come from? My mother used to say, how did we have this one? And how he came back, a success. but I’ve traveled America, and there were times where the thousands and thousands of people. But that’s also another hard form in knowing how to address an audience. Like, this weekend, I’m going to be doing the greek ball, hosting the greek ball, which I’ve done many times. And I’m always finding a story to tell when I follow the priest because it’s called the Fitlockthorse society, which gives to charity. And so, I always have a great story to tell, especially about monks, because I love monks. M I love monks. I love visiting monasteries and just observing their solitude and the singularity of their life. And the idea, like when I went to mount Athos in Greece, in the northern part of Greece, along the peninsula. Those monks have dedicated their lives and given up. And the mothers who can never go because the island doesn’t allow women to go on there, they might as well they feel their sons died because they’ll never see them again because they’re not allowed to leave the, you know, I find their choices in life fascinating.

Steve Cuden: Well, they strip it down to the most basic thing that you can have, which know solitude. And they’re not out in the crazy, wild world like Los Angeles. They would have a rough time in.

Thaao Penghlis: Well, you know, I wrote in that story in the fourth podcast when I asked a monk that it must be difficult to live a life of solitude and not be entertained by anything except his prayers and his faith in God. And he said to me, no, my life is quite easy. I don’t have responsibilities except my prayers and who I associate with other monks. But you have to find enlightenment within chaos where you live.

Steve Cuden: That’s very profound. You have to find enlightenment in chaos.

Thaao Penghlis: Yes. And I always remember that because living in New York, living in Los Angeles, it’s chaotic.

Steve Cuden: Sure it is.

Thaao Penghlis: How do you become center in areas that throw you off if you’re not watching your path?

Steve Cuden: And do you have a thought as to how you do that?

Thaao Penghlis: Meditation.

Steve Cuden: Meditation. Do you meditate every day?

Thaao Penghlis: Every day for the last 40 years, 45 years, I’ve meditated every morning between 30 and 40 minutes.

Steve Cuden: Wow.

Thaao Penghlis: Today I did it for 50 minutes. I, just went really under. So for me, what it does is it lines myself the self. It lines it up so that when I come out of it, I’m not in a bad mood, I’m not feeling. I get rid of things when I wake up because we have nightmares, we have dreams, we have things that stay with us and you’re not quite sure what they mean. And so for me to go into a meditation, I start to see clarity once I go under, how interesting.

Steve Cuden: There’s a parallel, I think, and you tell me if I’m wrong. There’s a parallel to what you do for a living, as in acting, in a major soap opera where you have all these fantastical storylines, and then that’s a kind of a dream and a fantasy and that you’re talking about fantasy in your own life as well, or dreaming. And, do you think that those are related and have helped you in some way?

Thaao Penghlis: Anything that allows my imagination to expand in the way I think and the way I see someone I was writing with one time said, where the hell do you get that imagination? And I went my journeys, taking the time to be still and sit at a cafe and observe people. I’ve even been in New York and seen Robert De Niro, acting out behind a car, doing his lines and finding his call within that character. and I’ve met him, I auditioned for him. And, scorsese, one point. And, they were really fantastic, lovely, lovely people. And, I remember De Niro loving the way I was dressed. Loved my suit. So you see, it does work for the occasion when you go in, they see you coming through that door and they say, oh, that’s him.

Steve Cuden: I have found over the years that in life, being dressed in a certain way is a kind of a costume, a real life costume, as opposed to working on a stage or a movie or something. And so if you are dressed down, as we were talking about earlier, if you’re dressed in shorts and so on, people treat you with a little less respect, I think. And if you’re in a suit, people tend to treat you with great respect.

Thaao Penghlis: Absolutely. you mentioned earlier, when we were talking before we started about on planes, they bring all their luggage, and it takes so much longer to get off the plane because they’ve got to take their luggage off. I thought, what changed? When people just carried a suitcase, one suitcase or a little bag or something, and dressed, now they’re in flip flops and shorts and t shirts, and you’re going, firstly, it’s so cold on the plane. I never know how they can just sit there and then they drink. There’s a thing about when you dress. You know where you are and you know the environment and where you’re sitting in, and therefore you contribute to that. To me, getting on a plane is to share respect and calmness so that you can just be in your own space and private and read or whatever it is you want to do. But we don’t have that. We go on a plane and it’s chaotic.

Steve Cuden: Well, we’ve lost a lot of the kindness and the thoughtfulness that people used to have. I think a lot of that’s gone away, and I don’t really know why.

Thaao Penghlis: But it has because planes are allowed to do it. Why do you serve a man or a woman who’s had already a couple of drinks? Why do you serve. There should be a maximum of how many drinks a person can have on a plane because that’s what starts making them go crazy. They’re not disciplined and they don’t think about anybody else. It’s a very self centered way, the way we live. I don’t find it being considerate of anybody else. What happened the day when you be on a bus and some elderly woman comes in and you stand for her so she can sit down. They didn’t even pay attention to that. So I think that our, victorian era, I know people say, well, that was part of the old world. Now we’re in changes. I said, but the changes are not good. Just because it’s change, it doesn’t mean that it’s fulfilling. You’re going to find a very empty vessel, when you break down those boundaries.

How important is it for an actor to be observant?

Steve Cuden: And how important to you, you’re clearly a truly observant person. You’re observing the world and people around you and so on. How important is it for. I’m going back to acting again. How important is it for an actor to be that kind of observant?

Thaao Penghlis: The way that you, you know, Stella, Adler used to know, when you come into a room, or the way you’re dressed, what is the sky like? Is it a big sky? Is it a cloudy sky? All those things. What is the period that you’re entering? Are there gloves? Ah. Are you coming from chaos? When you walk into the room, suddenly you find some peace of mind. It all depends on the environment around you, and you have to take those in. You can’t make a soup and just do a chicken broth. That’s not a soup. That’s your base. But what you add to it and what it becomes in the final picture when you serve it is something that you created and something that you know what tastes. I don’t have to ask you, what does this meal taste like? Because I know what it tastes like. I don’t need your opinion in my acting because I’m not watching myself. I will ask sometimes someone I respect. What did you think? Could it have been better? Because the elements today, it’s all about cost. That’s why we race through things and we don’t get a second take most of the time, unless it’s a big. Unless the ceiling fell in. But we just don’t get that. So we’re living in a different world. We’re, not living with that kind of luxury we had in our training. And so auditions now. Used to go into a room, say, Columbia did Sonya, whatever, at Fox, and used to go in, there were all these people in there, and you’d walk in and you would have a certain attitude. You’d do your work and you’d get a sense of the room. You knew if someone liked you, didn’t like you. The audition went well. No, it didn’t. then we got into, I will just have you sit in a chair and just do it to the camera. While the casting director then reads for you, now it’s at home. You do it. So we’ve slowly broken down the beauty of the art form.

Steve Cuden: Indeed.

Thaao Penghlis: And what are we left with? We’re left with, oh, yeah, look at all the movies they’re making, all the tv series they’re making. Some are very good, some are great, but a lot of them are just ordinary.

Steve Cuden: But especially tv. Movies have gone off into superhero land, and, tv has become where the really great art stuff is.

Thaao Penghlis: Yeah, but I think they’re realizing too, after the failure of the last big, what do you call those cartoons? When that finally died, they realized, the audience doesn’t want that anymore. So they’re going back to, I think, movies that have more character, more human towards each other. I think we’re getting back to that.

Steve Cuden: I hope so, as long as they make money. Because that’s really what they only care about.

Thaao Penghlis: Right.

Steve Cuden: They’re not in it for the art, they’re in it for the money. I’m talking about the studios now, and the networks are in it for profits, because they’re big business. Back to auditioning for a moment. Do you have any tips or, tricks that you would pass on to someone who needs to know the best way to go attitudinally go at an audition.

Thaao Penghlis: Don’t sit on your passion.

Steve Cuden: Don’t sit on your passion.

Thaao Penghlis: Yes. I think what’s important is never to forget what’s driving through you. Not from you, what’s driving through you. And if you’re going to do a Zoom audition and all that, you get a choice of whether you like this one or that take or that take, so you can send that in. But there’s something about the lack of connection, ah, between human beings that’s not in the room. And so it doesn’t demand as much from you because you don’t know the temperature of the room and how they respond to you. So because you’re home, you’re in your comfort zones. It seems easier just to do the audition on a zoom. But it’s not, because what’s missing I found a lot is what is the passion that is driving this character in the scene? It’s not enough for you to just come on camera and do the words, break down the words. And I think one of the things that’s helped me a lot is that I write, and there is something about writing that gives gravitas to the word. It gives it a muscle. So that when you say the words, there’s a difference between saying treasure, as opposed to treasure. If you haven’t discovered treasure, if you don’t know what that word means, the sound is not going to be the same. I, don’t mean to overly break it down, but you must break it down to understand what the purpose of the scene is, who you’re talking to, what time of the day is it, and how does the character dress. So I think it’s the attitude that you have as the character. And also, it’s very important to be liked unless you’re playing the villain, but you still want, to like your villain. And I’ve played both of them.

Steve Cuden: Yes, you have.

Thaao Penghlis: People love. When I played  André people used to love Andre because he was likable, because he’d get away with things and he would relish in it. Whereas the other character, who’s a good character, always did it with charm, some form, where because people want to like you. There’s enough criticism in the mean. I think why Trump has such an audience is because he has a personality. He’s bigger than life. They look at Biden, who is about truth and who is about helping people, but because his personality is not big, it’s not entertaining, it’s not a circus. They don’t get what he’s saying. They don’t listen.

Steve Cuden: Well, unfortunately, so much of our politics, and I don’t want to get too far or too deep into politics here, but it is now become a circus, an entertainment for people. And so you’re correct, Donald Trump has a way of making it entertaining for people, in a way, and other politicians do not. They’re more serious about things. And, that, I think, is. I want to go back for a second, because I think they’re tied in to when someone auditions or performs. That has to be there. That entertainment factor has to be in there, doesn’t it?

Thaao Penghlis: yes. And also your truth.

Steve Cuden: How do you approach getting truth out of whatever the work is that they’ve given you to perform?

Thaao Penghlis: Where is the conviction in the know? What is it you’re trying to say? If I was doing something as  André for instance, in Andre D’Amara, and because he was a villain, it would be part of my truth was to come through manipulation. Whereas if I was doing tony, I always thought he was. That’s why I love monks. I always try to make him centered. And, that’s where your core is. You’re centered. And then Milton used to say, acting is about a necklace. The more understanding you have of your character, the more beads you add, until you have it complete.

Steve Cuden: Oh, that’s great.

Thaao Penghlis: So then what you do is once you’ve completed the necklace and you’re wearing it, it comes from your core, whether it’s good or bad, it depends on how well do you know yourself and how well can you bring those senses to the character that you’re playing?

Steve Cuden: So part of that process is you’re building the character bead by bead, correct?

Thaao Penghlis: Oh, absolutely.

How do you break a script down after reading it

Steve Cuden: And so have you ever had the experience of coming in, receiving a script and just knowing it all on the first read, or do you always have to go back and break it down?

Thaao Penghlis: Listen, when you’re playing a character for a long, long time, part, of the problem can be that you stop existing and you stop feeding, you stop being passionate. You say, oh, I know this character, so I do it. No, the thing is, you never know it completely. It’s always discovering, discovering. So, for me, when someone hands me a script, I don’t say to myself, oh, I know this, I can play this. No, I want to find out. I want to discover what within me identifies with this piece.

Steve Cuden: How do you break a script down? What do you do when you get a script, aside from reading it? What are the first things you do with it?

Thaao Penghlis: Well, I create an arc, and the arc must have a beginning and an end and the middle. And in between those points, the character develops a certain way. And so that you don’t heighten early on before you get to the end. They call the 11th hour Harry. That’s what I call it. usually in a character, it’s the 11th hour, that suddenly something about him or her comes through and surprises the audience. And the audience gets something they didn’t know before.

Steve Cuden: Sometimes that’s called an epiphany.

Thaao Penghlis: Yes. I love that word.

Steve Cuden: It’s a good greek word, isn’t it?

Thaao Penghlis: Yes. Well, I’ve been writing something, I’m writing a biblical story right now that could be part of my next podcast. And I’ve been exploring a, world I didn’t know and I didn’t want to explore the Christmas, card images. I want to find out, and I’ve been finding out things that we’ve been so wrong in so many of the areas because people thought, oh, this will sell. This looks lovely. So every year, you know, Joseph and Mary and the child, and I thought, well, does the child never grow up? Do you never see him when people come and visit him? Is he not developed? What happens when they escaped into know when you had the mask of the innocence? And so writing about those things, understanding beats. So when you’ve got a script, you have to break it down. Break down the beats. So you say, okay, give it a word. One word each beat. So that when you look at it and go, oh, okay, that’s the word. That’s what I have to play, the next. Oh, that’s what that is. So that you are in continuation of your plan, which is the, ah, arc. And George Scott used to do that.

Steve Cuden: Do you think that those beats tend to be verbs, actions?

Thaao Penghlis: Yes.

Steve Cuden: So you’re breaking it down by what it is the character is doing.

Thaao Penghlis: Is doing, yes. You have the ending, so you can’t put the ending in the beginning.

Steve Cuden: Right?

Thaao Penghlis: Unless you’re having flashbacks and things like that.

Steve Cuden: Yes.

Thaao Penghlis: You can’t give it away. You can’t serve somebody the dessert first up. You serve them, the first course, whatever that may be, and then the next course and then the dessert. So that’s why food, to me when I did my cookbook is because it came out of my head. And that was part of the training I had as an actor. And so that’s the way I also trained myself to put ingredients together. What tastes right. Where do you put curry, for instance, or cumin or whatever spice you want to use? like on fish. I remember from being greek, the herbs to provence that you put on there with the lemon juice and the olive oil, things like that. And they’re all part of the stages when you cook.

You have had huge monologues to memorize on days of your lives

Steve Cuden: I am curious. You have had huge monologues to memorize on days of our lives. How do you memorize all that? You’re obviously doing it fast. They’re giving you one or two takes, tops. How do you do it? What do you do? What’s your secret?

Thaao Penghlis: I remember when I started general hospital and they gave me all this dialogue. I thought, who’s going to learn all that? There’s not possible that I could remember this. Just, I didn’t have that memory muscle at that time and hadn’t been developed. And I remember a, producer coming to me. She thought I was struggling. And she said, it’s very important that you take it one scene at a time. Don’t put all the scenes together and have a look at it all. And it’s massive. No, take the first scene, give it a word. Take the next scene, give it a word. What I did, they gave me a five page monologue one Sunday, and I did it in one take.

Steve Cuden: Wow.

Thaao Penghlis: No sound from the booth. Because I think they were in shock. How did I know it? Because I memorized that every page. I knew the top of the page, how it started. So when you don’t have a lot of time, you have to cover up a lot. When you’re acting, you got to know that. I don’t know the words as much as I would love to, because I haven’t had much time to learn them. But that’s what’s on that next page. And so you go into that beat, and then you go into the next beat. And, I remember my producer would tell young actors to come and watch me do monologues and telephone calls. How do you make a telephone call realistic? Because you’re listening from what’s coming on, on the other end, right when there’s no sound, so you’re just talking by yourself, but you’ve got a stage manager who’s reading the line badly off stage, just like that. There’s no drive, there’s nothing. And you’ve got to keep it sustained. Keep it sustained. I love monologues because when I studied with Milton and I was doing days of our lives, the only thing I could do for Milton and come to class and still be part of the class was learn monologues. I didn’t have time to meet with people, so I came on, stage with a monologue. I would learn that and learn that and learn that. And that’s how I became good at monologues. I enjoyed them, actually. Sometimes, what do we say when we’re growing up and people say, you’re talking to yourself, you must be going insane. That’s how people thought. So how do you make a monologue? As if you’re talking to yourself, and it’s not stiff, it’s not comprehensive to the audience. So you’ve got to have your pauses. You got to know, you have to be listening to what it is you’re.

Steve Cuden: Doing and saying, you have to listen to yourself.

Thaao Penghlis: Yeah. And you got to know your pauses. The one great thing about Obama, if you notice Obama’s when he makes speeches, he will give you a line, and he allows the line to land. And when that happens, and then he comes in with the next, but he listens because he knows that line has gravitas to it.

Steve Cuden: Well, I, think what we’re kind of missing in our public discourse today, he is a great orator. We don’t have too many great orators anymore.

Thaao Penghlis: No.

Steve Cuden: And that’s part of what you’re talking about. When you go to memorize a big monologue, you’re going to be an orator. Of a kind. You’re not giving a speech, obviously, but it is a kind of a speech.

Thaao Penghlis: It, is. I mean, the reason why I do what I do with the ball, for instance, and I’ve got a monologue, basically, is because. How do you become a good storyteller? I learned from doing the podcast what it was like to be in front of a mic in a darkened room with nobody else except the sound guy. No direction. But you tell the story, and when you’re telling the story, you have to know. I place people around me so that it’s not self serving. You have to know when you’re telling a story. How do you get an audience to listen? When I went up and followed the priest a few years ago, I remembered that people were eating while he was talking. Both were at fault. One disrespect for the priest, and the other was the priest who wasn’t listening to his people. He was just doing a thing like he does on a Sunday sermon. is he listening that people get it? So he taught me a lesson. So when I had to follow him and the audience was not quite there because I was still eating, I stood there and I looked at that whole room. I just went all the way around the room and made sure they all put their knives and forks down. It was just a look, and they knew what I was doing. But how do you take command?

Steve Cuden: Well, they probably thought you were being Andre D’Amara at that.

Thaao Penghlis: know, it made a big difference.

Steve Cuden: To, you know, there’s something about, and I’ve taught this, too, there’s something about quiet. When an actor on stage, a live performance, suddenly takes the volume way down, the audience is drawn in. They have to spend more time and more energy listening, and so they’re forced into it. So if you’re really super loud, the audience is not as drawn in, I think. And that’s what I think you get in a soap opera as well, is.

Thaao Penghlis: That it’s very intimate. It’s creating an intimacy.

Steve Cuden: Intimacy, yes. Sure. That’s exactly right. And that forces people to really stop what they’re doing and listen.

What lessons would you say you’ve learned from directing over time

What lessons would you say you’ve learned from any of the directors that you’ve worked with over time? What have you learned that you’ve carried forward into your other, assignments, your other gigs?

Thaao Penghlis: that is, Milton taught me this about self directing.

Thaao Penghlis: You have to know exactly who your character is, how it fits into. If you had a cake and you have one piece of that cake, how does your piece fit into that cake? And so you take that piece and you’re responsible for that piece. And for me, it was, I come knowing my lines. I get an essence, of, because you don’t know what the set is like until you get on set. But I know the clothing I’m going to wear and I know, my dialogue and I know I get a sense of who’s going to play it and how they’re going to play it because of the character that has been cast. And so for me, it’s coming prepared. Preparedness is everything. And that always what helps is the discipline of arriving on time. You don’t want to come in late. Early is fine. I do that sometimes, because I’m going to sit in a new set. So I get a sense, I sit on the stage and I sense and I go through the dialogue in my head. So when they do 5432 and they say action or just say action, you’re ready because all of it has been put together. That is your piece of the cake.

Steve Cuden: This is one of the most important things, of many of the important things you’ve said, which is discipline. Being there all fully in that moment and being disciplined about the work itself.

Thaao Penghlis: Yes. Because even the shoes you wear, I’ve seen actors or actresses come in schlepping with the shoes, the slippers they have, on and not come in with the character and the shoes. That gives them the attitude because you don’t have time. Once you get on set, it begins, you find your light and you keep going. But it’s so important, discipline. It’s so important respect.

Steve Cuden: Do you stay in character all you, you’re, you’re not like Daniel Day Lewis, where you are the character and you have to talk to that character even when you’re not on camera.

Thaao Penghlis: No, I mean, I can understand, know some actors work with the method that way and want to be addressed as the character and want all that. I’m not proud of that. I looked at actors like Spencer Tracy. I looked at people like, you know, all the greats, the Peter O’Tooles. it’s just within them they can tap into know you’ve been in the business long enough, you know where to tap. You have a big, resource of things within you that you have discovered and you’ve nurtured. So that when they tell, know this is what you’re going to, you know, Daniel Day Lewis playing an american character and know the president of the United States, that takes a lot of work.

Steve Cuden: Oh, sure.

Thaao Penghlis: You just go on and do it I understand that. I understand those kind of complications. That’s why they’re rewarded the way they, are.

Teo Penguis: You’ve had many memorable experiences as an actor

Steve Cuden: I’ve been having the most marvelous conversation with Thaao Penguis, and I’m wondering, in all of your experiences, you’ve met so many people and you’ve had so many experiences, but aside from some of the stories you’ve told us, are you able to share with us a story that’s either weird, quirky, offbeat, strange, or maybe just plain funny?

Thaao Penghlis: Well, I’ve done the Redford story. I’ve said that enough times. I can’t keep repeating that story. even the John Gilgood, when I was working in the fashion world, and I chose with Lillian Geisha’s shirt for John Gilgood, and he returned it two days later in his Rolls Royce. And he came in and he screened my name, like, how dare you think I could wear this, know, that type of thing that I enjoyed? And I went, oh, my God. Just to watch him come out of his Rolls Royce with a cane and a big hat and the parcel under his arm and enter. I thought, that’s an entrance. And I looked at him and I wanted a smile, but I went, oh, my God, he looks so fierce with that voice. And think, you know, when I was doing jockeys in New York, and the choreographer who was head of the Joffrey ballet, who came on stage just cutting me to shreds performance, my entrance, the way I was conducting myself as an actor, as a dancer, he didn’t believe me. And I found out later he did this to everybody to bring them down to size. And so therefore he could get in them into stellar Adler was scary. I mean, I’ve seen her just shred women, especially if they were late or the performance was know she’d get up and she’d basically make a fool of you. Milton, never did that. So I had a variety of different people that I would say. I mean, meeting Jacqueline Kennedy was a wonderful experience because you couldn’t get anybody more polite. I mean, she was the famous lady of the day in every facet, her fashion. Her demeanor. I mean, all that was just wonderful for somebody who was 21 years old. I mean, there are some people, like with Ken Russell, that I didn’t think he was necessary.

Steve Cuden: What do you mean by that?

Thaao Penghlis: You don’t treat an actor, because you’re drunk and you’ve created, an atmosphere of tension to where the actors can’t. Or that he starts cutting the script and then you have no idea what it is you’re supposed to say. And he just tells you, let’s do it, and you’re going, but it doesn’t make sense. He just screams at you. And the next thing you know is I’m losing my lines because I haven’t quite gotten where we’re going now. And when he came at me with a wine bottle, and screaming and calling me the worst names you could think of and an amateur, I remember going into my trailer and sobbing after the humiliation. And I just thought to myself, it really isn’t necessary. And that night he applauded me in front of everybody at dinner, and gave me a bottle of champagne and said it was worth it. Well, to me it wasn’t because the next time I had to work, my back went out from the stress of having to be on stage with him again at Warner Brothers. So that was a big lesson for me. And it wasn’t my fault that because he cut the dialogue that I couldn’t remember because it took away the intention of the scene by cutting it. Plus, we had from the writer we weren’t allowed to change anything. And so because he was director, he thought he could do anything he wanted. So I knew it was going to be a problem because the first day of rehearsing the movie, everybody was drunk except me. So, there were times even the director of Sadat, because he couldn’t get his act together, they looked to blame and they’re always looking for anybody’s. You know, the joy of working on days was that after a while, you know more than they do in your character. So basically, you’re showing them the way. The only thing they’re going to show you is the blocking.

Steve Cuden: So on a soap opera, because you’re moving so fast, the directors are more or less traffic cops, right?

Thaao Penghlis: Yeah.

Steve Cuden: And it’s on you because you know the character better than anybody other than.

Thaao Penghlis: Maybe they don’t have the time to even tell you anything. They’ve got to tell the cameraman, they’ve got to tell you where to move and then it’s action. So it’s difficult for them. So you have to have compassion, but you’re responsible for bringing your act together. And sometimes the director will say, I want you to move over here. that doesn’t work. What do you mean it doesn’t work? Well, he wants me to go around my mother comes into the scene and I’m going to sit behind a desk and talk to my mother behind the desk. I said, men don’t talk about to their mothers behind a desk. If my mother. Difference. If I’m going to break character, if, a brother comes in, I may do that. But a mother, if you understand the female side of the situation, no, what you do is you greet your mother and you take her somewhere because of who she is and how much love you have. That’s how the audience understands what your feelings are to each other, for each other. And so you sit there, and he broke his pencil. He got so upset because he had to take time to change the cameras and the blocking because he already established in his head what it should be. I said, it’s not just about blocking. It’s also I have a character, and I have feeling. And so that I learned early on.

Steve Cuden: You were standing and defending your own position as an actor and a character that you knew.

Thaao Penghlis: Well, yeah, I, mean, I remember one time I said to a director, this is it. You want me just stand here all through the five scenes? Yeah. I said, well, that’s boring. Boring? You think that’s boring? I said, yes. That’s what I said. Boring. What would you like to do? I said, well, I was waiting for you, but just standing here is not going to change anything. There is an arc here. he called me one night at my place and told me off and said to me, you think you’re so good, but you’re not. And, you tell me in front of everybody that I’m boring. I said, but you. My. But most of the time, I’ve had great times with directors.

Teo has some great advice for budding writers and budding entrepreneurs

Steve Cuden: So last question for you today. Thaao you’ve already given us a huge amount of really wonderful advice throughout this entire episode, and I’m wondering if there’s a single solid piece of advice that you like to give those who are maybe starting out in the business, or maybe they’re in a little bit and they’re trying to get to the next level. What do you tell those folks?

Thaao Penghlis: Firstly, I tell them the art of getting to know who you are. I think it’s very important that you know the source of the human that you are and how you train it, and it comes through all different experiences. Like, as I said before, writing is one experience that gives you gravitas. When you say those words, you have a better understanding of the language. It’s what Milton used to say to me. Sometimes people will have a passage and they’ll say it, and then it doesn’t make sense. Why? Because there’s a word in that paragraph they didn’t understand. So it’s very, important to understand language. I think it’s important that you keep nutrition. How do you feed your mind? How do you feed the body? Have respect for yourself. Learn how to love what you’ve brought in, and don’t shortchange it. And don’t hang around with losers. They’re going to pull you down anyway because they don’t want to see you get ahead. So to me, I always was around people who knew more than I did. So that my training, it’s like I said in my 20s, was where I put all those seeds in. Some of them grew, some didn’t, but I nurtured them. Like your own children, your insecurities are, ah, like your children, so that you nurture them so that when they grow up and they grow older, they have something that I can be proud of because they took the time to be nourished. So I think, firstly, everybody’s different. Everybody comes from a different family, different country, different sounds in their lives. It’s all about understanding who you are. So that when you portray somebody outside of yourself, you have to know, how do you go from your core to somebody else’s and understand somebody else’s core.

Teo Panglis: Building a character is very important in screenwriting

So to me, it’s about writing as much as you can on the character you’re playing, put in ideas that you have, so you build a foundation before you start playing it. I think sometimes actors learn the words first, and I always think that’s a mistake because once you’ve nailed the dialogue, you’ve also nailed the thought pattern of the character. And I think it’s important that you learn it as you go along. What I liked about George Heath Scott, he used to have a board in that board, he’d have an arc from beginning to end and in between. Because when you’re shooting sequences in film and television, you don’t shoot between the beginning and the end. You can shoot towards the end first. You don’t have the character become before he does. That’s where you understand the, arc. So that when you see, say, oh, I’m here with that script. Oh, I’m playing this tomorrow. So I haven’t quite gotten there. So I break it down so that the chart, when I’m in my dressing or whatever, I say, oh, this is what we’re doing today. Oh, tomorrow is going to be this. So where would he be? So that’s how you break it down. You begin to own it. And also, it’s very important that you love the character you’re playing, whether it’s a villain or not. There’s something about that character, you have to find that you love, because, let’s face it, I don’t think villains think of themselves as being villains.

Steve Cuden: Oh, never.

Thaao Penghlis: They never do. So you have to find out the secret of that. So to me, I always come in every day, and part of the reason I enjoy is because I know something that I’m thinking that nobody else does. So that becomes my secret. So that when I come on stage, I have that going for me as well. So that the entrance has much more gravitas. And so you have to learn how to make entrances and exits.

Steve Cuden: Well, I think that is exceptional advice, all of it. And, building a character is what it’s all about. Because if you don’t build the character, it’ll be boring, which you don’t want it to be. And so that’s the number one cardinal sin of screenwriting, is just don’t be boring. Be entertaining in some way.

Thaao Penghlis: I call the director boring. You didn’t like that. But I think it’s important that you build a foundation for yourself and you put all those elements down for yourself so that before you go on set, you go, hm, this is where he is. This is what he’s going to be. I don’t want to manifest it too quickly. okay. And so by the time you get to the end, you’ve gone through all these different episodes in order to come to that finality of the character. And you asked me, why have I died so many times and always resurrected? Because something I did was right. I always left. Well, I didn’t leave screaming or being at it. I just left. And, well, you know, when I came back the next time, they said, oh, my God, you’re looking so well. I said, yes. I just wanted to make sure you understood what you’ve missed all this time. So to me, you’ve got to have some humor about it. And when you do leave, leave.

Steve Cuden: Well, Thaao Panglis, this has been so much fun for me and such a great show and so much, information and energy and passion. And I really appreciate your time, your energy and your wisdom, more than anything you could possibly imagine. And I thank you kindly for doing the show today.

Thaao Penghlis: Oh, thank you. And thank you for your time. I enjoyed the conversation.

Steve Cuden: And so we’ve come to the end of today’s StoryBeat. If you like this episode, won’t you please take a moment to give us a comment, rating or review on whatever app or platform you’re listening to? Your support helps us bring more great StoryBeat episodes to you. StoryBeat is available on all major podcast apps and platforms, including Apple Podcasts, YouTube, Spotify, iHeartRadio, Tunein, and many others. Until next time, I’m Steve Cuden, and may all your stories be unforgettable.

Executive Producer: Steve Cuden, Producer: Casey Georgi, Announcer: Javier Grajeda
Social Media: Mina Hoffman, Design & Marketing: Holly Reed, Reed Creative Group


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