Before soap star Doug Davidson snatched the role of private investigator Paul Williams on "The Young and the Restless" more than 20 years ago, he was a struggling actor in Los Angeles.
"[Soap operas] really chose me, I didn't choose it," says Mr. Davidson from his car phone while driving to the CBS studios in Hollywood one recent morning.
"I was in my early 20s, and had a chance meeting with the producer and he wanted to have me as a character on his show."
Twenty-two years later, Davidson is still playing the likable and handsome P.I., who is also married to lawyer Christine Williams (Lauralee Bell) in the fictional town of Genoa City, Wis. "He has grown with me and that's the neat thing about a daytime drama - they can continue to evolve with you. And so there's no beginning or end. It's more like life. Every day is new...."
Davidson's character is one of the more level-headed and down-to-earth people on "Y&R." He says he tries to bring as much reality to the show as possible. His character just wrapped up an intense story line involving a crazed stalker. "In real life, I have a family, and so when your work calls for a more intense schedule, it's nice to have breaks afterwards."
Davidson says that one of the most surreal aspects of his career is that the "soap press" usually interviews him in character.
" 'How does Paul feel about this? How did he react when' ... that is the norm...," says Davidson. "The exception is talking about Doug Davidson and his real life. It is so bizarre when I do interviews with the soap press...."
But Davidson is used to it. He is signed on for several more years with "Y&R," and admits that his soap-opera career has given him a comfortable and stable lifestyle.
"It's a perfect job. I'm able to be an actor, have a family, have a relatively normal home life, and do all the things that I want to do. This is one industry you can have an entire career in without going from show to show."
(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society