"Grayson McCouch is too big for the small screen. He has no boundaries. Like riding bareback through the Sierra, he comes swooping in like the last Mohican, championing his talents to share with all on the big silver screen."
ALL SOULS - Entertainment Tonight Interview (04-13-2001)ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT: How does it feel to be back on UPN?
GRAYSON: It's great. They've always been very supportive of my career and my path. I like working for them. They've not only been my bread and butter for a number of years, they're also the guys who are running the network. We've always been good friends.
ET: This is at least the second time that you're playing a doctor -- "Another World" and now "All Souls." How do the two characters differ?
GRAYSON: Well, one has those five-second long pauses at the end of every scene for the close up, and the winks, and the little lip smack and the jaw clinch. And the other one's a little more believable (laughs). You know, one of them may be able to revive you. And the other might just be good for a kiss. I don't know. It's funny that you should mention it. I got a lot out of playing a doctor for three years on the soap. It gave me a little bit of confidence.
ET: Does it make the doctor jargon any easier the second time around?
GRAYSON: Yeah. It does. Across the board, doing a soap is very good education. That was great training and it does make the jargon a little bit easier.
ET: Did you ever watch "Twin Peaks"?
GRAYSON: I did. I remember watching the pilot. Then I went back and rented it a little while ago. You'll see the tell-tale signs of the same producer.
ET: What are the similarities between the two shows?
GRAYSON: In kind of the way that it's scary -- it works on you in a subliminal kind of insidious way. It's a mind play. You're kind of intrigued by a lot of unanswered questions that may be answered later on. It gets people talking in a cult fashion. I think, as you see the show progress, it takes off in a very wacky way. It's far out but not in a goofy way -- in a truly creepy way.
ET: So, is there any concern on your part that if people don't catch the first one or two episodes that they won't be able to understand what's going on?
GRAYSON: I think every episode is encapsulated with a story on its own. Every episode has a beginning and an ending. It's not like you have to see prior episodes to enjoy the one airing.
ET: But isn't it sort of like the "X-Files" where there's a whole mythology?
GRAYSON: Yeah. You get a history -- a character history. If you don't see the pilot, you may not hear right away again that my father used to be a janitor at the hospital and he died. So much of my impetus for working at that particular hospital is that my father used to work there.
ET: Is that really it or do you think it was your destiny and out of your control?
GRAYSON: There you go! You're on it! You're a real viewer. A lot of it was preordained which is an intriguing element. And a lot of it -- well, that's the big question, isn't it?
ET: How far do you think you can go with stories like the fetus story before the AMA gets really upset?
GRAYSON: That pertained only to the first episode. Experiments were being done for genetic reproduction -- they were testing to live forever. I haven't heard about anybody being upset about the fetal story.
ET: This is the first paranormal hospital show I've heard of, which in itself makes it unique, don't you think?
GRAYSON: Yeah, I do. And yet the focus being more on the paranormal, it's not really a medical show. We're not trying to emulate "ER" and be meticulous about our craft as doctors. Our story line is more focused on the paranormal or the far out.
ET: And you're on a search for something?
GRAYSON: Well, the question is if I'm being bothered, why don't I leave? And why did I choose this hospital over the Mayo Clinic? Perhaps I was sucked into the environment. Maybe a deal was struck when I was a kid. Maybe it's larger than the hospital. Maybe the hospital has to deal with the government. Whatever -- on whatever level. And another is my father -- in a Hamlet sort of way -- I get the voice of my father, the apparition of my father and him being a janitor there and having hopes for me to be a doctor at that particular hospital keeps me there. And Glory keeps me there and reminds me, "Don't you want to get to the bottom of your father's death?" If there remains any question as to how my father died, or there was any corruption behind his death, it's very believable that I would be on a quest to get to the bottom of it.
ET: This show falls under the AARON SPELLING umbrella, but with an executive producer as strong as MARK FROST, does Aaron have any input?
GRAYSON: As I'm told, Aaron always has his finger on the button. I think it's really a collaboration. I think it's unlike anything we've seen under the Spelling umbrella. I think when people think Spelling, they think of a certain genre. And I think this story is so original that I think it's a real tribute to what those guys are producing and what those guys are doing.
Canyon News - By Tommy Garrett - October 10, 2010
--- While “As The World Turns” ended last month, our hearts and souls are still with our beloved characters, many of which we have known for over a half century of time. It is the actor Grayson McCouch, who portrayed billionaire Dusty, a guy with love in his heart for the ladies he romanced and unending anger for those who considered his or his family’s enemies that stood out in 2010 on the series. Whenever Grayson portrays any character you know it’s going to be done well. He adds gusto to any role he’s ever played. ---
The Sleazeball: Dusty Donovan
His Portrayer: Grayson McCouch
Do you think Dusty is sleazy? Hell, no! "Sleazy" is a guy who has secrets.
Well, he has some secrets. No, he just has some troubled history. Maybe he needs therapy once a week or something. He's a hustler, man. And everybody's a hustler in today's economy. He also has a conscience, which weighs heavily on him. If you're sleazy, you don't have a conscience. But we all know he can handle himself. He's pretty fearless in that he's willing to deal with the fallout of just about every situation that comes his way.
He has the thug hair. You probably won't see that slicked-back hair anymore. All gangsters slick their hair back and do all kinds of tattoo stuff because they want to appear to be the grim reaper. But they're the softest guys around. [The show] was right to tell me not to slick my hair anymore because it's too reminiscent of these box characters who have sold us down the river on coolness, like Arthur Fonzarelli. We can go fuzzy and hustle anytime [laughs].
What makes him so attractive to women? I guess it's his Dolce [& Gabbana] suits. I have to attribute it to Chip [Schoonmaker, costume designer] on that one.
What is his biggest regret? Not holding on to Lily; or not grabbing Lucy sooner. He should have gone to Craig with the "Priscilla Presley" proposal. He should have gone through the proper channels.
Since Dusty Donovan returned to Oakdale, he's been wheeling and dealing and trying to get himself out of debt. But now, Dusty's trying to straighten out his act for the love of a good woman, Rose. But now that Paul is back, will these two ever get it together? CBS.com caught up with GRAYSON McCOUCH, the busy actor/writer/producer behind ATWT's hottest hustler.
CBS.com: You've been working pretty steadily these days.
GRAYSON McCOUCH: Yeah, and the soap has really been such a great catalyst for an abundance of energy. So, I'm not only doing the show, I've been doing a lot of other things like planning to teach an acting class, writing, and getting involved in producing some stuff. It's amazing how energy can just propel more energy.
CBS.com: What are you working on as far as your writing?
GRAYSON McCOUCH: I'm writing a prime-time drama.
CBS.com: Can you compare it to another show?
GRAYSON McCOUCH: I'd compare it to a show I used to do called Legacy. I'd compare it to Little House on the Prairie a little bit.
CBS.com: Did you always write?
GRAYSON McCOUCH: I've always been a writer. While I was doing theater I read a lot of Chekhov letters and I loved writing letters. My prowess is more with dialogue than it is with anything else. My sister's a writer. She just wrote a book called Girl Cook. Her name is Hannah McCouch.
CBS.com: Do you keep a journal?
GRAYSON McCOUCH: Not a journal per se. I walk around with these yellow note pads - as anybody will tell you on set! I write my dialogue from my script on there, too, so I don't show up with scripts. I have all these yellow note pads all over my house that I've begun and sometimes I rip out a page. So, I need to have assistance is basically what I'm saying!
CBS.com: Does it help you to memorize your lines by rewriting them?
GRAYSON McCOUCH: Yeah. It certainly makes an impression on your head. But for me, it also gets it off the page and helps me just make it my own, and organic to my character's rhythm.
CBS.com: So, Dusty's been doing some pretty bad stuff.
GRAYSON McCOUCH: Has he? Yes, he has. I don't mind saying that. But he's not a bad guy. Good people do bad stuff. Bad stuff is carried out by bad circumstances, and desperate needs.
CBS.com: I would say he's been in a domino effect of bad circumstances!
GRAYSON McCOUCH: Yeah, only the latest of which people are seeing now. The problem is once you get into bad stuff to begin with [and] then it snowballs, it's pretty hard to stop. So, by the time we see him in Oakdale, that snowball's already pretty big. That's [what] the audience isn't even privy to.
CBS.com: He's after Rose full speed ahead now, no hesitation, no guilt.
GRAYSON McCOUCH: Yeah. This is what you get for watching your own soap opera! Holden has this line, he says something like, "You would trust that guy Dusty? He'd say anything to you. He needs you to save himself." And I thought, "Whoa, that's cool!" If I had to articulate what that's about, I'd say he's got a lot at stake in this woman because for him, there's a part of himself that he can't let slip away. It's like the last vestige of sanity, the last vestige of something real so that [he] doesn't just keep on this downward spiral of hot chicks and hotel babes and not being able to pay off debt. You know? That's pretty amazing if you think about it. That's what any real hustler would do. He'd latch on to something real. If he sees something real in her, not just some fast-moving girl, he would probably want to lay his anchor there. Especially [since] she's the identical twin of a girl that was his first love and perhaps the love that represented purity and innocence in his prior life. On a symbolic level yes, it would be him trying to recapture a bit of his conscience. It would help him assuage all his other guilt if he thinks he's got someone in his life that's real. He's got a sense whether he knows it or not for what's sacred. But he's not a bad guy.
CBS.com: Now that we know Paul is alive, is there any guilt on Dusty's part on continuing to pursue his best friend's love?
GRAYSON McCOUCH: No, I feel like I paid my penance, I did my time and I served it well by being there for Rose. I wasn't there for Rose because I wanted her approval or the town's approval, I did it because of my conscience. I got someone mixed up in business that she had no business being mixed up in. So, when Paul comes back [carrying an axe] like he does, Paul's being a [wimp] quite frankly. He fakes his death; to me it's a childish move for attention. And the gig's up. I'm not playing games. I want relationships that are adult, not what they usually consist of on soap operas.
CBS.com: Now that the whole Spangler business is over, what's next for Dusty?
GRAYSON McCOUCH: That's assuming that Spangler was the top guy in the chain of guys that I owe. And I'd like to think he's not. Let's assume maybe it gets bigger. One of the notes I was given when I first came on the show was there's a lot going on that the audience has no idea [about] and to always keep that in mind. This guy's troubles lie in pretty deep water, you know? So, the web is endless, I think. He's certainly not going to assimilate to a relationship with a white picket fence and a golden retriever. He's always going to be hustling. A guy like Dusty would never wait a table.
CBS.com: Is there someone you use as the basis for this kind of hustler?
GRAYSON McCOUCH: Yeah, I just came up with this last night. It's so weird that you're asking me this question! I came back to New York more in need of New York than I realized. I was pretty sacked [on L.A.]. I was distraught on a personal level. When I came back, it was primarily a move that consisted on survival, just on a primarily emotional level. So, I wanted the character to reflect that. A really no [BS] attitude, really to the point, and really focusing on things other than relationships to qualify his existence. Dusty's kind of like that guy. I feel like since I've been back, I'm breathing New York. And Dusty is very much a hyper-illustration of who I am right now. I have a friend that this character is based on. His name is Johnny Calvani. Johnny Calvani is a guy that can part the sea, if there was one in New York. Meaning, he's the green light guy. He's the guy that everybody opens the door to and everybody wants to be around, whether it be Jack Nicholson, Warren Beatty, now he works for J. Lo. And this guy has never been the quintessential star. He's been the hustler. He's been everything he had to be to be like the third guy through the door. Never the guy in the limelight, but always the guy in the mix. He's a guy that publicly has done whatever he had to do to survive. And people adored him and still do. His tale is so dynamic that he went from rock star to standup comedian to fashion for J. Lo, Studio 54 guy. When he's down they call him Johnny Baked Beans when he's up they call him Johnny Caviar. He is quintessential New York. And Dusty Donavan is Johnny Calvani. I'm actually working with him now on a project that's really going to be a part of this survival guy we're talking about.
SHADES OF GRAYSON
After Fleeing Darkness In L.A. For Enlightenment Back Home In New York, ATWT's Grayson McCouch Seeks Balance.
Grayson McCouch (Dusty, AS THE WORLD TURNS) is in a very forthcoming mood. He pauses occasionally and glances down with a smile, as if he can't believe what he's about to say. He's not the only one. "You're getting a real good interview -- in-depth, raw: 'Wait till you hear this s--- that I got on Grayson McCouch,'" he eventually says with a laugh, after one particularly revealing anecdote. "It's gonna be my first and last interview. You better blow this one open!"
He's kidding, of course, but that doesn't stop him from answering even the most innocuous questions with a surprisingly introspective candor. Expect a routine response about movies he has seen recently, and he chooses two that especially spoke to him: Confessions of a Dangerous Mind and About Schmidt, both of which address the despair of unachieved successes and lost potential amidst the desperate search for meaning in life. He speaks about the parallels to his own life -- some unflattering -- at length, eventually distilling them to one realization that clearly worries him: "I'm constantly finding myself feeling sad in moments of great bliss," he confesses. It's a theme he returns to often, regarding all aspects of his life -- work, family, love -- and one he correlates to the dichotomy between his lifestyles on either coast: It's L.A. (excess) vs. New York (substance).
McCouch spent seven years in Los Angeles after leaving ANOTHER WORLD, where he played Morgan from 1993-96, and his home in New York. "Too long a time to not feel a sacredness in any arena. With friends, lovers, family life. I could never find it. It had me guessing what everything was all about," he says. "It wasn't so much work. I was prospering quite well in L.A. It was that f---ing city. I swear, and this is one of the things I've discovered: It's not so much how a place has affected you, like some bull---- tirade of victimization; it's about how you operate in a place. And I did not operate on a level that I wanted in L.A. My mom was wondering what kind of cultural events I was involved in, and I tried to explain that I went to the Getty [museum] one day and the Huntington the next. When really I should be telling her, 'There are a lot of hot chicks out here, Mom, and the club scene sucks because you have to leave at 2. And then, perhaps, I'll get around to reading a book.' ... I felt like my battery was depleted, and I had to recharge."
And as soon as he made the decision to come back East, he couldn't get home fast enough. "Quite honestly, my agent called and said, 'What's your problem? You're gonna have a show in three months. You always do. Just wait until pilot season.' And I said, "I can't wait three f---ing months.' I was going nuts. I don't blame anybody. Some people operate very well in L.A. For some, it's a bright, sunny town, and you can't beat the weather. For me, it's hot in hell, too."
Knowing that daytime was his best option ("There are only a handful of things you can do in New York as an actor: Work on one of four soaps or get a job in meat-packing"), he consulted friend and former ALL SOULS co-star Daniel Cosgrove, who plays Bill on GUIDING LIGHT. Cosgrove put him in touch with ATWT, and McCouch was hired to play Dusty soon after. "There was something in me that thought I'd never be on daytime again," admits the actor, who had played everything from the lead in prime-time series to a featured part in the blockbuster Armageddon during his time away. "For whatever reason, yes, it felt regressive. But I think that was erroneous thinking -- it's a great job." More importantly, it brought him back to the grounding influence of his family and the (relative) stability of the East Coast.
His love life is another area where the balance between superficial temptation and spiritual fulfillment is a struggle. "I think I choose my relationships, fortunately or unfortunately, as a model for my whole m.o., which is not to settle," he says. "Finally, when one does marry, it will be the utopian arena that illustrates who you are as a person. It's not so much who I want to be with, it's 'In whose company am I going to perform the best in life?' Show me that woman who makes me feel like a million bucks, spiritually, mentally, physically, all of it. That's what I'm waiting for, that's what anybody's waiting for."
It's what he didn't find in two of his more notable long-term relationships. He was first drawn to veteran theater and film actress Betty Buckley, who is around 20 years his senior, when she took the stage at the Williamstown Theatre Festival just before he got the job at AW, and their romance lasted three years. "True women-lovers like myself go through this evolution where when they're younger, they go for older, and when they're older, they go for younger, and somewhere at the end of the day, you have experienced the whole spectrum of womanhood. And hopefully, you emerge to a place where you're not oedipal, and you're not a pedophile," he chuckles. In retrospect, he believes he was drawn to Buckley's talent and wisdom, but it was definitely a high-maintenance relationship. "Oh, man, she was the most difficult woman in America!" he blurts. "I was dysfunctional. My parents clearly had something to worry about. You can imagine bringing her home to my mother. The two of them, it was like Clash of the Titans."
It was about two years later, on the set of LEGACY in the pastoral backdrop of Richmond, VA, that he fell for co-star Sharon Leal (ex-Dahlia, GL; now on BOSTON PUBLIC). "Only in retrospect do I see how utopian it actually was. It was a dream for me. I had a good time with my horse, my woman and a great car," he jokes. But the idyllic life didn't extend west when the show was canceled. "It's funny, I saw sides of Sharon after LEGACY that I never saw before. This is what happens in Hollywood: You meet someone on a job, and what you forget is that when you're working, especially on location, it's fairyland. You don't have to worry about dishes. You don't have to worry about bills. You don't have to worry about any of the obstacles that life presents because everything's taken care of for you. All you have to worry about is hugging and kissing one another. Then, once it's over, you go, 'Oh, okay, Now there's life.' I found that it was a real challenge doing the obstacles of life with Sharon."
Things fell apart soon after he followed Leal to San Francisco for her run in Rent, although he admits that she's still the closest he has come to lifetime commitment. "There was a moment where I thought I was going to get married," he reveals. "I walked into Tiffany's with her -- and walked right out again. I think it was from that moment on, and we never really spoke about it after that, but it was the beginning of the end."
Without his relationship, it's almost as if the distractions of L.A. got the better of him. "After Sharon, I met a lot of really fine-looking women who lacked a lot of substance that I miss from people like Sharon or even Betty," he continues. "I felt myself compromising, attached to people I had no business getting attached to: a bunch of hot mamas who can't offer me a thing at the end of the day. I'd love to find fusion of everything again."
And he's not just talking about his love life. He dreads the idea of life being that empty, even as he fights the more shallow impulses within himself. "I feel almost desperate to find gratification blended with impacting life in a positive way. And the two don't necessarily feel like they go hand in hand all the time," he finally says, in one of his most honest declarations.
Like we said, pretty forthcoming. But he's not so obliviously earnest, which is why one of his last comments -- elicited, quite innocently, from a non-invasive "just the facts"-intended question about his worst qualities, and which quickly evolves into a more complex discussion -- comes with another wry grin. "I'd like to dig a little deeper, which I've been doing. I've been excavating a lot," he says. "We'll see how deep I can go."
Catch Him If You Can In Momentum
ATWT's Grayson McCouch (Dusty) stars in the Sci Fi original movie, Momentum.
Here, McCouch tells about his physics professor-turned "kinetic-action hero" character.Soap Opera Digest: Tell us about the movie.
Me VS Him
How similar are soap stars to their TV alter egos?
How do your friends describe your personality?
Morgan: "Sweet, heroic, sincere and diligent".
Grayson: "Ambitious, childish, trustworthy and spontaneous".
Who do you most admire?
Morgan: "George Clooney".
Grayson: "Abe Lincoln and Robert E. Lee".
What are the perks of your job?
Morgan: "Saving people, free cotton swabs and pretty nurses".
Grayson: "Terrific co-workers, the sweetest fans and good parking".
What book is on your bedside table?
Morgan: "How to hold onto a relationship for more than three months".
Grayson: "The Best of the Far Side".
What do you do to relax?
Morgan: "I take my shirt off and watch cartoons".
Grayson: "I work out, meditate, ride my motorcycle and enjoy a good meal".
Is it ever right to tell a little lie?
Morgan: "Of course not. I've taken the Hippocratic Oath".
Grayson: "Only if the truth hurts too much".
What's the biggest risk you've ever taken?
Morgan: "I'd say getting into another relationship after two failures".
Grayson: "Going back to the same agent who fired me".
What do you do when you can't fall asleep at night?
Morgan: "I pull out my favorite Wonder Woman comic".
Grayson: "Eat a little leftover pasta and read a script".
Do you have any vices?
Morgan: "Relying on work to help me forget about my problems".
Grayson: "Ice cream-coffee or mint chocolate chip".
What would be an ideal date?
Morgan: "I'd turn my apartment into a cruise ship for the weekend".
Grayson: "I'd pack up a few lunches and head out on horseback".
What makes you see red?
Morgan: "Men who pick on women".
What is the best way to get over a heartache?
Morgan: "Take two aspirin and page myself in the morning".
Grayson: "Spend a year's saving on seeing my shrink".
MAN POWERSoap Opera Digest
Soap Opera Weekly: What's it like working together?
Grayson McCouch: Easy.
Peyton List: One scene at a time.
McCouch: One scene at a time.
Weekly: Is that your motto?
McCouch: Yep. They go right to tape with our stuff. It's so demanding on the actors, and our way of handling it has been, "One at a time." We'll work on that one scene and then flush it down the toilet when the scene's over. Then we ask for a brief pause to look at the next one.
Weekly: Do you rehearse your scenes a lot beforehand?
List: We run the lines for the words. But every single time we tape, it's different.
McCouch: Peyton's so cute. She'll say, "Ugh, I'm not ready." She'll be in the hair room and we're trying to cram in lines over hairblowers and she enters the scene sometimes unwillingly. Then all of a sudden they call action and it's all over. She's amazing.
Weekly: What has fan reaction been like?
McCouch: My business partner said to me, "Do you know you guys have your own Lusty fan site?" We have Lustyheads out there who are down with the chemistry.
List: I've run into people who have given me folders and official cards for their Web site.
McCouch: I was given a whole album on Lusty with pictures, letters and actual storyline. They wrote their own Lusty fantasies. They are very committed. It's nice when people are so vocal about something they like. It's helpful to hear.
List: Being here [at the set] sometimes you feel like it's going a certain way and you feel really good about something and then it doesn't turn out to be the way you thought it was. It's cool to have a response where you feel like what you're enjoying and experiencing, the audience is doing that, too. They get it and they're in tune with it.
Weekly: What about that age difference?
McCouch: No one blinks an eye at a 20-year difference as long as the guy's like 45 or 50. Like 50 and 30 totally works. 'Cause you know, the girl's mature. If he's mature, she's younger, but it's all well-suited. We're probably right on track.
Weekly: What would you like to see happen with Lusty?
McCouch: Four kids and a Lusty marriage. I hope they stay together forever. She really has lured him in. The last thing he wants to be a part of is a responsible relationship. And yet here he is. He's hooked. So regardless of what happens, she'll be a tough one to get out of his system.
List: Just how they got together in the first place was so different from other couples. They started in extreme circumstances. They were tough with each other and as their relationship progresses they're getting nicer to one another.
Weekly: It seems like it's Dusty and Lucy against the world.
McCouch: I got to see her toughness and she was supposed to have this whole maturation process which she did through all these crises. We've been through a lot of stuff together in a short amount of time. There seems to be a loyalty and a devotion to one another.
List: She assumes that he knew about the loaded gloves [during the fight] because he knew that it was going to be fixed and she's really upset because her friends are getting hurt. She goes off and cries and says he's a jerk and she hates him and that's it. But then within a day she turns around and is like, "Okay, I don't really care." She can't go a day without him.
McCouch: There's a security there that one would naturally have. I depend on feeling like she needs to be taken care of by me. I'm the only sensible figure in her life and the only one who can protect her. It's a vain outlook but it is the way it is.
List: There's a difference in personality and ambitions and goals. You're constantly making compromises. He makes a lot of compromises for Lucy which doesn't seem like it'd be a typical quality with him.
McCouch: Damn straight. You know a guy maybe goes down that road once, twice. If it doesn't work out he's too traumatized to ever go again, to have someone that beautiful and have it be that right and potentially have it traumatize you. You only have a handful, and this is probably the one.
Weekly: And Lucy's put off college to stay with Dusty.
McCouch: That's huge. Williams, no less. One of the top in the nation (laughs).
List: That's a huge thing and people would tell me, "I can't believe you're putting off college." Because their view on it was that it was a young, foolish, just jumping-before-you're-looking thing. It was a huge decision she completely thought through. The lines that Lucy were saying were, "I'm in love with Dusty and I'm staying here to be with him." But I think off-camera she spent hours going, "I can't believe I'm not going to go to college but..."
McCouch: Well, she's smart enough.
List: She's too smart.
McCouch: She corrects me all the time.
List: It's making me feel bad.
McCouch: And it's cool that the educated rich girl gives up the college education for the bad boy. It's a nice compromise. They complement one another perfectly. She can't stand her bullsh-- uptown world and we meet on that middle ground.
Labor Day Of Love
Soap Opera Special: Best of 1996 Soap Opera Digest
"Since I was about 13, during the two weeks heading up to Labor Day, my mom, dad, sister and I sail from Rowayton, Connecticut to Mount Desert Island, Maine. In recent years, it's just me, Mom and Dad -- my sister is not as aquatic as the rest of us, but she comes when it's possible. We have a 46-foot sloop, a custom boat called The Cambria. It's named the Rina Gray -- Rina's my mom's name and Gray is the first part of my name, but also my dad's name and my grandfather's name.
The longest time we've gone without going ashore is about four days; you've got to love the people you're with. You're dealing with 46 feet of space and nerves run tight on hot days. Being on the boat keeps you away from people, for the most part, so it's one of those experiences that allows you to contemplate, relax and enjoy solitude. It's really nice. While you're sailing, there's a lot to pay attention to on the ocean. The downtime pleasure is really when you drop anchor. We walk the beaches, rent bicycles, have a nice meal, get ice cream. That's where my mom's pleasure comes in. She's our cook and it's a real task in itself because the galley's not a great place to be when the ocean's moving stuff around. But we eat well; she prepares a lot of food ahead of time and freezes it. We really have a lot of fun."
Fixin' Up Is Hard To Do
After spending 7 months renovating his apartment, AW's Grayson McCouch loves his new pad, but he admits it cost him a small fortune.
"The place is beautiful, but I'm bankrupt," the handsome actor, who plays Morgan, told Soap Opera Magazine with a grin. "I'm not homeless, but I'm broke."
Grayson figured it was smarter financially to buy rather than rent, so he bought an apartment on Manhattan's Upper West Side last summer.
"Then I went about remodeling the apartment to my taste" he said. "The kitchen needed the most work. When I replaced the formica countertops, it was a toss-up between granite and marble. Marble is not conducive to hard-core kitchen operations, because it's very porous and can chip easily. It would turn all kinds of funky colors when I spill my red wine and olive oil" he laughed.
So Grayson chose granite in subtle earth tones. "It's got nice tan, peach and silver hues in it. It's beautiful. I'm into stone. I like solid, heavy, strong things. It gives me a sense of security" the actor explained.
But Grayson realized he couldn't put the expensive granite atop cheap veneer cabinets, so he designed birch wood cabinets with glass doors and had them installed. Next came the floor.
"I picked out a nice ceramic tile that looked very much like terra cotta, but it's much stronger, more beautiful and never needs resealing. Now I had these beautiful tiles, granite tops and birch cabinets, so I had to redo the lighting with track halogen lights. Then I was bankrupt. It cost a fortune."
Grayson hired workmen to do the skilled jobs, but he helped with the drilling, painting and cleaning up. At one point, he was searching for wiring behind the wall so he could hook up the wall lamp.
"The neat thing was when I busted through the walls with a hammer and found they were stuffed with old newspapers. I read a 1955 newspaper where Sugar Ray Robinson was fighting Jake LaMotta. I gave the paper to a "Raging Bull" fan. I felt like an archaeologist uncovering these great archives."
The renovation required months of effort and put a major dent in his wallet, but it was all worth it.
You now play a father on TV, right?
"I never even had the impression that Dusty was a father on any level, but sure, I guess he is qualified. Although everybody knows he's really the kid's godfather. That would be the right term. But Dusty adopted him. Or Johnny adopted Dusty."
Do you have experience with children in real life?
"I do a lot of mentoring. I've been a Big Brother for about 5 years now. He's someone I mentor and he does so much for my life. I can't even express what a wonderful friend in return he is to me."
How are you with the baby who plays Johnny?
"A lot of people might think I'm not very good with babies, but at the end of the day, we get along famously. Babies and animals usually like me because they feel a certain amount of comfort."
What do you do to bond with him?
"The set is mostly chaotic and when he's with me, I usually assuage his anguish. I don't know if it's the male energy he likes, but he and I just click. For the most part, he's very tranquil around me and he makes it very easy."
So, you don't get nervous holding him?
"No. The people around me who try to tell me how to handle him make me nervous."
Would you like to be a father in real life?
"At this stage in the game, I'll stick with my sensations of fatherhood rather than taking on my own biological responsibilities."
Will Dusty be a good father?
"He'll be an excellent father. Dusty never really had a parent, so to speak. He's all about breaking cycles, so this kid's gonna have it all, man. And Dusty will tell him he loves him every day."
From the June 20, 2006 issue of SOD - the Father's Day issue
"Grayson McCouch dusts off a fan favorite"He'd only been away for eight months, but when Grayson McCouch returned to AS THE WORLD TURNS' Brooklyn, NY, studio to reprise his role as Dusty Donovan, he found quite a bit had changed.
That's a concept that might be alien to most people, who often dread another workday like the prospect of having a root canal. "I love work!" McCouch declares with an enthusiastic laugh. "You know, second to eating a good meal, work is as good as it gets!"
June 13, 2006 in Soaps in DepthViewers who know Grayson McCouch (Dusty) from his roles on ATWT and ANOTHER WORLD might be surprised to know he has a background in theater.
So might the actor take advantage of his New York City base of operations and take a stroll down the Great White Way? Enthuses McCouch: "I'm down for Broadway!"
Soap Opera Digest - 1/8/95
Easy Rider Grayson McCouch (Morgan) is planning an April vacation with his dad, Don, but it's not the typical father-son getaway.
"We're doing a Civil War tour on our Harleys," says Grayson, who just became the proud owner of a police motorcycle, fully loaded with sirens and pursuit lights. He and his dad will kick off the trip in Greenville, SC and work their way north to Connecticut.
"We're stopping in Gettysburg for a few days," he says. "I've been watching tapes of Ken Burns's Civil War series and reading up on the battlefields," he adds.
What made Grayson and his dad decide on this adventure? "We're fascinated with the Civil War and Harley Davidsons," he explains. "The two make a real American vacation and it'll be a bonding experience."
HOLLYWOOD -Grayson McCouch has become an international star but not overnight. The seasoned and extremely talented young actor has worked many years and received a classical education in his craft, having received his Bachelor of Arts Honors Degree in Theatre from Hamilton College and later studied at the British American Drama Academy through the Oxford-Yale program. He spent four seasons with the Williamstown Theatre Festival where he performed in Arturo UI, The Visit, Threepenny Opera, A Midsummer's Night Dream, Inherit the Wind and The Moon Stone. While in London, the actor also performed in Electra at the Almeida Theatre and Women Beware Women at the Royal Court.
It was no surprise that McCouch would receive so much attention. After graduating from the British-American Drama Academy and appearing on the London stage, McCouch returned to New York and promptly landed a role on the comedy pilot Sibs in 1991. This role led to a multi-year contract as Dr. Morgan Winthrop on Another World.
But it's the role of Dusty Donovan that is getting Grayson McCouch the critical acclaim the actor has long deserved. Sitting down for a day with the handsome actor is a dream come true. After McCouch starred in Aaron Spelling's series All Souls everyone knew it was only a matter of time before he would end up as the lead in a series again. As The World Turns is that series. When asked what he was most surprised about when returning to the series after a short break from the role, McCouch said, "Being surprised by the variety of people I am able to work with, all the power houses on our show. Also, I am amazed by the diversity of the colors I've been able to portray this time around. Even including the recent masquerade scenes we had on the show. So far I can say it's a wondrous opportunity to be back on a show that respects my work and to be able to show up to work every day is delightful for an actor."
Delightful is how costars, crew and fans describe the amiable handsome star. McCouch in his role is able to exude not only a sex appeal to the ladies in the audience but for all of the viewers the new Dusty is a more heady guy. He's lost his innocence, he's lived life and life has changed him. McCouch laments, "Not for the worst. Dusty is a heavier guy now. He's had life experiences and things happen to him during the time he was not in Oakdale, much like I had many different experiences in my own life when I was off the show. When I came back Goutman promised that Dusty would be a heavier guy, a more deep character and he and the writers have not let me down. I am really blessed and happy to be on this series with this team of writers and Goutman is a genius. Chris (Goutman) knows this show and he knows what it takes to make this show better than it's ever been." Though McCouch is quick to give others credit, fans and costars alike say that the role would not be the same with anyone else in it. He adds a superior style of work that hasn't been seen since the days Henry Fonda, William Holden and Sir Laurence Olivier were on the screen.
On the big shocking return of the Dusty storyline, McCouch adds, "The exciting stage of the return was completely set by Goutman and his writers. Goutman and I had spoken and he wanted the character to come back heavier and regardless of that discussion, I had been away from the show for a year, I was able to return and share my experience with the audience." Adding to that, Grayson said, "Going through cycles in life while living and expressing is what makes a person grow. Having a role like mine now is an opportunity for me to live out all of those experiences. The soap medium is a great medium for truth telling. It offers all kinds of dimensions that we can tell a story. I was given an opportunity and it is really great now. More than ever, I am focused on this arena, which I am really proud to be offered an opportunity to perform in."
Perform he does. Asked about the exciting leading ladies he's had the chance to work with in the last few months, Grayson laughs. The strikingly handsome star immediately goes into what it is like. "Sure, they are gorgeous women, Kelly, Marie, Noelle. All of them are incredible women to look at. But they are more than that. These are deeply talented amazing women that I have been lucky enough to be paired with in scenes and it's been incredible. All of the actresses, even those I've not named, are incredible talents. But in addition to talented they are also pretty tough. The rigors of daytime are a tough thing and they all maintain an impressive level of endurance. The chemistry comes from two atoms not one. So it's not just me. However, I do wrap myself around the work I have right now." The star certainly does that.
Over the years actors have told me that they each have a way of recharging those creative batteries. Being a daytime star and one of Grayson's caliber must be a draining experience. The actor is on the show so much and when he's in character you see no sign of Grayson, except for the piercing blue eyes and rugged good looks. Grayson explained how he handles his down time. "I go up in the hills, walking with my dog. I love to just look at nature, look out at the vistas and views and try to just imagine how it was all created. I love to just be alone sometimes and absorb the real great opportunity I have to perform as an actor. Chris Goutman took me back at a time I wasn't doing a lot and wasn't busy working like I'd hoped. But this return has been an amazing ride and exciting every day since I've returned. I guess the best way to recharge, as you call it, is to just be alone and allow your mind to be open and absorb what you see and feel. That's how an actor is able to go on screen and it looks fresh every day."
Knowing Grayson since his days as a young guy on Another World, it's been an exciting experience to watch one of the up and coming stars in the nineties turn into the best actor of this generation. The only actors today that even come close are Russell Crowe and Sir Anthony Hopkins. McCouch is a member of the elite and short list of actors who proves that he can take any role and make it exciting. Luckily for McCouch he has the great Chris Goutman, who as a director, writer and producer is in the league with Hollywood's greatest today, Henry Jaglom. It's every aspiring actor's dream to work for at least one of them. I was lucky to make my big screen appearance in Jaglom's upcoming "Queen of the Lot" starring Noah Wyle and Tanna Frederick. But Grayson McCouch is lucky in that he's in the presence of greatness every single day in Christopher Goutman.
McCouch did offer a response to what he'd like to do next. "I started my career as you know on stage. I'd love to do some more stage work. I have been looking at what's available and hopefully I'll be able to find something that fits in with my schedule at As The World Turns, because that's my priority right now. I love working on the show and being a part of such a creative and incredible ensemble of not just actors but behind-the-scenes geniuses as well. But I would love to do something maybe in a comedy and then later a highly dramatic turn on stage," stated McCouch.
Until that time, McCouch is delivering an Emmy-worthy performance every day on the soap and if the Academy was able to watch his performance, they would make an exception to it being a television show and offer him the Oscar for Best Lead in a Drama. Untouched by the fact that he's not only the most talented but the most handsome man on daytime television, McCouch ended the interview with the class his mother taught him as a young boy. He ended, "When I'm in my solitary mood and I'm out in the woods enjoying Mother Nature, I am mostly grateful and appreciative of the opportunity I have been offered to paint the paintings of work I am doing with my role on As The World Turns. I am very invigorated by it all and that's truly something I've learned to appreciate as an actor."
NY Moves February 2005: Man about Town (p86-87)
By Heather Marie Graham
Grayson McCouch has lived here since birth, growing up in the Central Park West Apartments. With a starring role as Dusty Donovan on As The World Turns, he has moved between films like Armageddon to last year's indie thriller E5. McCouch recently caught up with New York Moves to talk about his new country house and his love of the city.
What's your apartment like?
It's very indigenous New York pre-war. It's a Hallmark building. It's decorated kind of French country, southwest American. It's a beautiful combination of different woods. The kitchen is raw with lots of granite. I did it myself. I'm very into stone.
Is it neat?
Well, it goes through its cycles. It's always beautiful to me. I have friends over, but it's a one bedroom. I'm venturing to make my place in the country [new home in upstate New York] hospitable to guests. I go up to work on other things and then I just end up working on the house itself.
What are your best qualities?
I guess my devotion, loyalty, and obsessive behavior. It keeps me inching away at things that need to be taken care of.Your worst?
My need to salvage my liberties at all costs. Not making plans. Being irresponsible about the stupid stuff. I'm real reliable when it comes to life and death stuff. I'm a mess at being on time, getting back to people on time.
What's the first thing you notice about a woman?
If she's nice to me. (Laughs)
What do you look for in a woman?
A woman who understands. I look for real women, who are down-to-earth, who are aware of their womanhood.
Favorite places in the City?
My kitchen is one of my favorite places. I can do everything in there. I like feeling at home in New York and I do. I feel my salvation is here.Where do you go out?
Where I work, around 13th St. and 9th Ave. I joined the SoHo House primarily to take care of meetings. You know, I'm not a "bougie" [bourgeois] kind of guy. So it's not like I'm using the steam room. The place I really hang out is downstairs of Gaslight. It's one of the hallmark actor hangouts, for a lot of my friends, anyway. It's gritty, it's real New York. It's got a little bit of everything.
Describe your perfect Valentine's Day date?
Rao's in HarlemCan you get a reservation there?
Of course, I can darling. You think I'd be in the Romance issue if I couldn't? We start with impressing her there and then it's all down hill.Why Rao's?
Because it's Italian and cool and it's steeped in New York [history]. Nothing corny like a horse around the park, nothing cliche like that.
Would you take her to Gaslight?
Hell, yeah. We'd walk through the Meatpacking District, make sure she's got some high heels on so she can rely on the right arm. You know, the cobblestones really beat the crap out of the high heels.
What do you like about As The World Turns?
It's good because it shoots in New York, special because it's in Brooklyn; I think it's the only show that does. It's a little inbred family that loves being there. I love going to work everyday, seeing the crew, seeing everybody on a daily basis. That's a wonder if you're in the acting profession to be able to see a family for more than three months.What about producing?
I think it's the natural link in the chain. My interest is in telling stories. The projects that I've been a part of, like the last one I did, E5, my contributions are that of a producer. I just need more time and I'll be telling stories for everyone. I'm producing things on a certain scale. What I just did, I starred in as an actor. Because of the demands of the schedule; we were making a low-budget movie under the radar without a studio, in four weeks; I could only be quarterback. There could only be one director, a D.P.
Do you see yourself moving toward big studio films or sticking with indies?
The best feeling is that autonomy and independence, to feel you don't need to bother an agent or anyone, that you can go out, get the money, get the crew and get it done with some friends. Would I then be scrupulous against doing big studio stuff? Absolutely not. It gives me a lot of inspiration to see the cats who are holding down these big studio films. I'm very optimistic about where everything is going.Why did you start an acting studio?
I saw the state of affairs with students in New York and wanted to offer something different. I'm not into selling tricks. I'm disgruntled with the state of affairs with regard to acting instruction in this town. Our constitution at Graystone Studios is "from the ground up." If you are serious about being a working actor then you start your process where it truly begins. And it doesn't begin by meeting a casting director who promises a meeting in the future. What's unique about Graystone is that it's a production company. I'm modeling it after studios like Steppenwolf.
What's one thing you would change about yourself?
Soap Opera Digest -- November 23, 1999
Grayson McCouch (ex-Morgan Winthrop, Another World) is proof that trying to get ahead in Hollywood can make you hyperventilate literally. On Friday, Nov. 26, the Bay City grad stars in Airtight, a two-hour futuristic action thriller about life in a smog-choked city, where an evil syndicate has a stranglehold on air supply. (And we don't mean the 1980s rock group who relentlessly kvelled that "even the nights are better.")
McCouch plays heroic "Rat" Lucci (no relation to a certain Emmy winner), who risks his life to keep open the labyrinthine air tunnels that deliver clean oxygen to Smoggy Bottom. He's also hell-bent on exacting his pound of flesh from the ruthless syndicate leader who killed his father. McCouch sees strong political overtones in the script. "The story is set at a time in the future," he says, "when mankind has ignored ecological responsibility to the point where clean oxygen has become [scarcer than gold]. Therefore, we're forced to live underground and pump clean air down from the stratosphere through long pipes in order to survive. The bad guys want to privatize air and only provide it to the rich. So the poor will die while the rich get richer. In short, Airtight shows the power the economy has over human rights and global preservation. My character, in effect, is a freedom fighter, working to provide clean air for everyone, not just people who can afford it. The show has a lot of neat political parallels -- you could say it's the Republican [view] of survival of the fittest versus the Democratic concern for human rights."
Airtight (which airs 8-10 pm ET/PT on UPN) was filmed on location in Sydney, Australia, and McCouch did nearly all his own stunt work. Apparently, Australia's Crocodile Dundee approach to moviemaking didn't faze him at all (FYI: leading men are expected to bring their own supply of daredevil testosterone). Nor was he bothered by having to work in confined spaces for hours on end to film the tunnel hunting scenes. The only time his machismo threatened to take a temporary hike was when the script called for "Rat" Lucci to be wired into a harness and suspended in mid-air. "The harness only covered an area around my crotch," McCouch reveals, "so when they hoisted me high up in the air, it turned out to be a very delicate and painful matter." (Retakes, anyone? It hurts just thinking about it.)
Soap Opera Digest -- March 16, 1999
"Where Are They Now"
Grayson McCouch did not have much downtime after his three-year stint as ANOTHER WORLD's Morgan came to an end in 1996. First came a guest-starring role on BEVERLY HILLS, 90210, and the TV movie SINS OF THE MIND, then a plum part in last summer's blockbuster, ARMAGEDDON. "It was a great experience," recalls McCouch. "I was always getting in Bruce's [Willis] way, screwing up his close-up and stuff."
Why would an actor with such an impressive film credit return to the small screen in the UPN drama LEGACY? "I was being realistic," he admits. "I didn't have hopes that ARMAGEDDON was going to launch me right away into a huge film career. I was ready to do a prime-time show."
And he's had no regrets about his decision to play Kentucky farm boy Sean Logan. "I think this particular show is of a caliber that is very cinematic," he maintains. "I don't feel it's a downward move. I'm enjoying myself immensely."
His co-stars seem to be, as well. "I love working with Grayson," raves on-screen romantic interest Sharon Leal (Marita). "He's very serious about what he does, which I appreciate. And we have great chemistry, so it makes it really nice. I couldn't pick a better love interest, I have to say."
McCouch credits the show's Richmond, VA, location with keeping the cast grounded. "It brings one's focus to the table, rather than the city life," he says. "It also brings a cohesiveness to the group; we're able to work without being distracted."
While the series films far from the maddening crowd, McCouch is happy to hear from fans who've followed him from AW to LEGACY. "I've gotten a lot of response via computer and all have been very sweet and very favorable to the show," says the actor, who has his own web site at www.graysonmccouch.com. "It proved to be a great way to interact. I have a Q&A section that I respond to."
McCouch looks fondly back on his AW days as Dr. Winthrop. "I had ambitions to be the next [Sir Laurence] Olivier, and then I got the soap," he shrugs. "But I realized that I had a lot to learn in front of the camera. I loved the people, and I'm most grateful for the schooling it gave me. I'm proud of the work I did, and I'm proud of the people I've worked with. That show, in particular, maintained a strong group of actors."
Still, given the choice of playing a doctor or a rancher, McCouch says he'd rather get down in the dirt. "I've always been a fan of suspenders," he admits. "I have to say being a rancher is more appealing to me than playing a doctor. Doctors are very heady, and ranchers are more about brawn, and I guess I gravitate toward the latter."
Soap Opera Update -- February 3, 1999
"Daytimers are making a splash on primetime: Your favorite soap stars are saving the 'day' at night!"
ANOTHER WORLD'S GRAYSON MCCOUCH (EX-MORGAN)
In 1996, after three years as AW's dishiest doctor, Grayson McCouch decided it was time to hang up his stethoscope. "I knew I was ready to move on," he recalls. And though he felt he was making a sound decision he was also a little scared about leaving the security of soaps.
As it turned out, though, there was no reason to be nervous. Shortly after leaving the East Coast and arriving in L.A., McCouch landed a part in the 1997 TV movie "Sins of the Mind." He followed that with a supporting role as an ill-fated astronaut, Gruber, in the 1998 sci-fi flick "Armageddon."
Now McCouch is back on a series, starring as Sean Logan on the first year UPN drama LEGACY, which centers around a post-Civil War Kentucky family. McCouch describes the lavishly produced show as "a feast for the eyes and ears." And, he says with a laugh, "I'm having a blast. The opportunities to ride horses and wear suspenders are few and far between."
Eldest son Sean has emerged as the program's leading heartthrob. In just one season, he's broken off with his fiancée and had a very close encounter with a mysterious woman traveling through town. Now he's involved in a secret, interracial romance with Marita - played by GUIDING LIGHT's moonlighting Sharon Leal (Dahlia) - who has grown up on the Logan farm.
"The nicest thing about the relationship is that its foundation is a lifelong friendship," McCouch says. "I think Sean and Marita are soulmates."
McCouch won't say how far the relationship will go, but he does allow that "The final six episodes we're shooting should have more electricity than the ones before. The romances will be intensified, and a new character is coming on the show - someone who will have a major effect on the Logan family."
The only downside to McCouch's new job? The jury is still out as to whether LEGACY will be renewed for a second season. The show's avid fans are hopeful. But in any event, it's unlikely that McCouch will ride off into the showbiz sunset anytime soon.
LEGACY, 8 pm (UPN), Premieres October 9
"You are still dealing with contemporary themes, but it's a much more romantic, imaginative time--our country was so young." That's how Brett Cullen (ex-Dan, Falcon Crest) describes his new drama Legacy, in which he plays Ned Logan, patriarch--and single dad--of the Logan family in post-Civil War Kentucky. Nestled before Love Boat on Fridays, Legacy promises to be family-friendly while still keeping viewers hooked on dramatic storylines.
"There's a scene where I talk to my oldest son about our adopted son," says Cullen, describing themes of the show. "Our legacy is to give to others less fortunate than we. We've obviously done very well for ourselves." The family is progressive for their time, to say the least. While Alice (Lea Moreno) wears the traditionally binding corset, she is a young woman unafraid to express her forward-thinking views. Lexy (Sarah Rayne), the youngest, is the show's voice of wisdom--think Party of Five's Claudia a century ago. Sean (played by Grayson McCouch, ex-Morgan, AW), the eldest, feels trapped in his life. Expected to fill his father's shoes and set to marry Vivian (Lisa Sheridan) while secretly in love with Marita (Sharon Leal, Dahlia, GL), an African-American servant, Sean longs to break free. And Clay (Jeremy Garrett) is having a hard time getting along with Dad, especially when Dad takes in a "12-year-old orphan" who turns out to be the significantly older Jeremy (Ron Melendez), a con artist from New York. It's hard to tell whether or not Jeremy is on the level--or at least if he'll be able to overcome his pickpocketing past -- but by the end of the first show, it's clear he's stolen Alice's heart.
Set against a breathtaking Gone With The Wind-type backdrop, Legacy takes it a step beyond. "I loved the idea of Kentucky because I love bluegrass, I love horses, I love the whole racing aspect of it," explains executive producer Chris Abbott. While it takes place 20 years after Gone With The Wind, Abbott had that very film on her mind when penning the Legacy pilot. "I think it's one of the most incredible movies ever made," she says.
Future episodes further explore Jeremy's nature as well as the relationship between blacks and whites at the time. "I do foresee us delving into the Civil War somewhat," says Abbott, "as it related to our family and what that war did to them." Abbott also hints that the uppity Vivian, whom Sean leaves at the altar, will turn into the "vixen you love to hate."
"It's not cliche," says Jeremy Garrett. "It's real struggles, real ambitions, real dreams. And we'll all have that."
Soap Opera Weekly -- October 13, 1998
"STAR TRACK: Life After Soaps"
"AW's Grayson McCouch: HORSE PLAY"
"It's a nice contrast to playing Cass's younger brother on Another World," McCouch adds. "Sean's a good guy, not too verbose. He's centered, honest and his father's first mate."
McCouch's character kicks off the premier episode by breaking hearts. "I'm planning on marrying the daughter of one of the most prominent men, but I call it off," he explains, in character.
The reason for the canceled nuptials? "I'm in love with an African-American woman named Marita (Sharon Leal; Dahlia, Guiding Light) who works for the family. Our family is progressive with its attitude toward African Americans. That was one of the rifts between my fiancée and me."
McCouch says that he felt an instant camaraderie with Leal. "Sharon's the greatest thing since sliced bread. I can't wait for her to be permanently away from the soap so I can have her all to myself. We have good chemistry and it's fun to be working with someone who has a similar background."
Although the series is set in Lexington, KY, it's filmed in Richmond, VA. McCouch uses the "horse country" location to his advantage, indulging in one of his favorite pastimes, horseback riding.
"There's a lot of riding, which is great because I'm able to exploit my equestrian talents. Before I was an actor, I used to show equestrians. I grew up riding, so I'm in heaven. I'm putting it all to use and riding bareback, which is the way I want to ride. It's my favorite part of doing the show. Whenever we have external shots and riding scenes I can't believe I'm getting paid for it!"
McCouch has bonded with the horse he often rides, an Arabian named Ahab. "I keep trying to change his name to Trigger but the wranglers don't want to change it. So they are starting to call me 'Dale' to get back at me," he says with a laugh.
Legacy premiers Oct. 9. Check local listings.
Soap Opera Weekly -- July 21, 1998
THE GOSSIP -- "United We Stand"
McCouch (ex-Morgan Winthrop, AW), who starts filming Legacy for UPN later this summer, compares notes with Joan Severance (of UPN's The Love Boat) at the Waldorf Astoria. They were on hand for the International Radio and Television Society Foundation's fete for Viacom chairman and CEO Sumner Redstone.
Soap Opera Magazine -- July 7, 1998
Coming This Week to a Theater Near You...
On July 1, Bruce Willis's latest action flick, Armageddon, about an asteroid heading toward Earth, slams into theaters nationwide. Also featured in the film is former AW favorite Grayson McCouch (ex-Morgan), who portrays Sergeant Gruber; a nuclear explosives ordinates specialist.
"Gruber's in charge of the nuclear bomb they're going to place in the asteroid in order to blow it up," explains McCouch. "There's an asteroid coming toward earth. The government summons the help of a bunch of roughneck oil-rig guys from Texas who know nothing about space but everything about drilling. They're your major stars -- Bruce Willis, Ben Affleck, Steve Buscemi and Will Patton. They're brought to the Pentagon for a briefing of the plan, and in order for them to get to space they need to be trained. They get to collaborate with some real astronauts of whom I'm one. We're the guys in the front seat flying the shuttle. Once we get up there, the Texans know what to do with the drill, so we work together. The humor arises from the rift that exists between the government guys and the roughneck guys."
McCouch spent six months filming on location. "We shot in Florida at the Kennedy Space Center and in Houston at Houston Control. We also shot at Edwards Air Force Base in the Mojave Desert in California and on the Disney lot in L.A.," says the actor. "Filming was a blast. The people were fun. Buscemi had to be my favorite -- he was down to earth, funny and smart. Bruce was very nice; he's very generous and takes care of the people he's working with."
Armageddon gave McCouch a taste of life in a big-budget production, and with Disney footing the bill, it was star treatment all the way. "We wore these space outfits all day with packs on our backs that weighed about 50 pounds. You could ask for a massage, and there would be a lady in your trailer before you could blink an eye," he laughs. "Cappuccinos a plenty -- it's a real killer for the creative process. Big stunts, big money. They actually used me for a lot of the stunts. There was a lot of running, diving and falling. It was really cool."
When McCouch left AW in August 1996, he never dreamed doors would open so easily. "I booked my very first two auditions in L.A. -- Beverly Hills 90210 and a movie of the week called Sins of the Mind, with Missy Crider, Jill Clayburgh and Mike Farrell," he explains. Then came Armageddon.
The 1998 pilot season has brought McCouch his latest gig -- the new UPN series Legacy, which begins airing Fridays at 8 p.m. in October and stars Brett Cullen, Stephen Williams and Lane Smith. "Out of testing for so many pilots, to land one that's so close to my heart confirms that someone is navigating the boat properly," he says quietly. "The show is set post-Civil War, in the 1880s. The best way to describe it would be as a cross between Bonanza and Legends Of The Fall. The rare thing about it is that it truly films like a feature. The caliber is unlike anything I've seen on TV. If you like horses, you'll love it. I get to do my own riding -- bareback. They let me ride the way I want."
McCouch portrays Sean Logan, a tobacco farmer who falls in love with his father's African-American secretary. "Our family happens to be progressive along matters of servitude, charity and humanity, so it clashes with the context of the times," reveals McCouch. "I could say it's a family show because you're getting your stimuli not from obvious violence and sex, but from hoofs pounding and Steinbeckian dealings of the heart. You find yourself moved by moments that are simply human moments. The executive producer and writer of Legacy is Chris Abbott, who wrote Little House On The Prairie and Magnum P.I."
Although McCouch hasn't been on AW for almost two years, his fans keep in touch via his web page. "We have an interactive page where people can ask me questions," says the actor. "I answer them, and they're posted. The address is www.graysonmccouch.com, and the web site has the fan club information and where they can write to me."
McCouch says he stays in touch with his former TV brother Stephen Schnetzer (Cass). "I speak to Schnetzer frequently; he continues to be one of my best friends," shares the actor. "I watch now and then, but so many of my comrades have moved over to One Life To Live. I tuned in to my good friend Tim Gibbs (Kevin; ex-Gary, AW) and saw a scene between him and his mother (Erika Slezak) that was terrific. It inspired me to leave a message with Jill Phelps (OLTL's executive producer; former AW executive producer) saying how much I enjoyed watching and how good I thought the quality was."
Could daytime be in McCouch's future? "I don't close doors to any ideas. Legacy is on for a season, but we film and then we're on hiatus for four months," he explains. "What would be neat is to come in and enjoy work on some other program on my down time."
Soaps in Depth -- May 12, 1998
HORSING AROUND (Facts & Rumors Section)
Do you miss Grayson McCouch's baby blues? Then catch LEGACY, a pilot which the actor, who previously portrayed Morgan on ANOTHER WORLD, will star in this summer on the UPN Network. Set in the South in the 1880s and filmed in Virginia, "the show is about family values with a lot of heart," explains McCouch, who portrays the eldest son of a Southern family. McCouch loved acting in this historical piece. "Working with horses and suspenders has always been a dream of mine," he relates.
Soap Opera Magazine -- April 21, 1998
Grayson McCouch (ex-Morgan, AW) recently wrapped up his role in the feature film Armageddon, starring Bruce Willis and Academy Award winner Ben Affleck. Now McCouch is on location in Richmond, Va., taping a pilot for UPN that could turn into a fall series. The pilot, Legacy, is a period piece set in the 1880s. "I play Tom Logan, the oldest son of four kids - two boys and two girls," says McCouch. "I run a tobacco crop on the land. I'm engaged to be married to a prominent woman in the town, but I find myself truly in love with my father's secretary, a young African-American woman. We're shooting for two weeks on a horse ranch in Richmond," he adds. "I think it'll be great."
Soap Opera Weekly -- February 3, 1998
Preserving the balance in the universe, AW alum Grayson McCouch (ex-Morgan Winthrop), who left New York as a nondrinking vegetarian, has since taken up, in his words, "boozin', smokin', eatin' meat." Blame it partly on his boredom with L.A.'s health-consciousness, partly on his choice of reading material. "I started reading a lot of Hemingway and got all macho. I feel less of a radical zealot and more of a - I don't know - bullfighter, I guess." Which has made him a much more fit companion for Bruce Willis, star of Armageddon, in which Grayson has a featured role as a "very butch" astronaut. Though he's been doing some of his own stunts in this action adventure, more potentially dangerous are the stunts he's accidentally pulled in scenes with Bruce. "I'm always getting in the way of his shots, like when he's waiting for me to get out of my seat belt and I can't undo it. Or I'll be walking by and he'll have been saying goodbye to a girl, and I'll bump into him. Fortunately, he always gets a kick out of it. He's a generous guy." The generous guy even took a bunch of people from the movie to a club for Grayson's birthday. "I can't remember the name, only that it was smoky."
Surprisingly, with his film career (literally) skyrocketing, Grayson says he'd like to come back to AW. "I miss New York, and I miss working with Stephen Schnetzer (Cass, Morgan's brother)." He's even figured out a re-entry storyline: "I've been away on a medical seminar and I've been cloned as a top-secret experiment, and I come back and know nothing about the medical profession. I don't think it's been done on daytime."
Soap Opera Update -- August 5, 1997
Catching Up - Where They Are Now: Another World - Grayson McCouch
After Grayson McCouch (ex-Morgan Winthrop) left Another World in October 1996, he didn't waste any time finding more work. He quickly landed a guest-starring role on an episode of Beverly Hills 90210. He describes that as "cool."
Then he co-starred in the USA cable movie Sins of the Mind. He describes that experience as "even cooler. My character watches his brain-damaged fiancée become a nymphomaniac."
Sounds like more story than this under-utilized actor ever got to play during his time on AW. "It was frustrating," McCouch admits of the experience. "But I did get an opportunity to sharpen my acting skills and work with some unbelievable people. Stephen Schnetzer (Cass) was like my brother. I loved working with him, as well as Alice Barrett (Frankie)."
Soaps in Depth -- July 2, 1997Keeping Track: Another World - Grayson McCouch (ex-Morgan)
Grayson McCouch vacated his role as the good doc last October to expand his acting horizons. "I left AW just to keep myself going," he says. "My three-year contract was up. I'm 28 years old, and the world is mine to play in. It was time for new experiences." Since leaving daytime, McCouch has been testing the waters of prime-time TV. In addition to a guesting gig on Beverly Hills 90210, McCouch co-starred in the USA Network movie Sins of the Mind. The film, inspired by a true story, has McCouch's character watching helplessly as his brain-damaged fiancée becomes a nymphomaniac and wreaks havoc on their lives. Although he doesn't have his own series yet, McCouch is busy auditioning for pilots -- so busy that he says a return to daytime is not in the cards. "I had a great three years at AW," he relates. "But I don't plan on going back to soaps." McCouch may have shut the door to an AW reprise, but he has not cut off his former co-stars. Among those on his speed dial are Stephen Schnetzer (Cass), Alice Barrett (ex-Frankie), Timothy Gibbs (Gary), and Jensen Buchanan (Vicky). "I miss the people," he says. "I love the cast and crew. There couldn't be a better group there."
Soap Opera Weekly -- January 14, 1997
AW's Grayson McCouch: The Path to the Hills
A room with a view is hard to come by on a college campus, a fact Grayson McCouch (Morgan, Another World) discovers when he guests on the Jan. 15 episode of Beverly Hills, 90210. "My character doesn't have enough money for food and housing, so he lives in a boiler room on campus," he explains with a laugh.
McCouch portrays Larry Lincoln, "a poor kid who fancies himself as a phantom of sorts," he notes. "He runs around campus wearing a hooded jacket, playing practical jokes, stealing food - that sort of thing. He is not a bad guy, really; he is just trying to survive and make it through his senior year and get his photo in the yearbook."
Larry's game is revealed when he comes up against Steve (Ian Ziering). "Basically Steve takes pity on Larry, but what happens before that is quite humorous. It is a sweet little part," McCouch adds.
Despite the show's popularity, McCouch was not nervous walking onto the set. "I felt great, and it was an easy process after doing daytime for so long," he says. "We had a much longer shooting process, and the ambiance was professional and relaxed. None of the egos and stuff you hear about. They are a nice group of people."
Though his role on AW is currently recurring, McCouch says there has been very little communication between the show and him. "I would definitely be interested in doing more with the show; all they have to do is give me a call. I decided to stay a recurring character instead of going contract so I could openly pursue other projects."
Which is what he's been doing. The actor recently completed production for the USA Networks' Twisted Path. "The story focuses on a girl who goes through a mind-altering experience following a car accident," he explains. "I play her fiancé. Shooting this was a great experience for me, especially following 90210. The material of 90210 was reminiscent of daytime; it is just that we were working with a nighttime budget and technology. The movie-of-the-week told a story that had a beginning and an end. And the material didn't lend itself to the next episode, like it did on 90210, so everything was a bit more vital."
MUSIC: Cherie - Older Than My Years