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Follow the links to our archive of Thorsten's print interviews and articles about the characters he's portrayed.

Above: On the cover of the June 26, 2007 issue of Soap Opera Digest.

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The Long And Winding Road


Soap Opera Digest Online

From January 1997

What path brought a classically trained, British jock to an American soap opera to woo the despairing damsel and the hearts of OLTL fans?

Thorsten Kaye traces his steps from Great Britain to the United States.

Digest Online: You were born in London and grew up in England. When did you leave there?

Thorsten Kaye: I left there to come to America. I was in an American high school in London. I had a track  scholarship to go to San Diego when I was 18.

Digest Online: What did you get from London? Thorsten Kaye: It's not about the city, it's about the people. First love, first broken heart, all that stuff, that was there.

Digest Online: Somebody broke your heart?

Thorsten Kaye: Yeah, bitch. [laughs] It's a shame, I still talk to her, my first girlfriend. We were young. What is it, love is wasted on the young? I fell for that woman and we didn't really know, we didn't know what was going on.

Digest Online: How old were you?

Thorsten Kaye: Seventeen. Those things went hand in hand. I met her when I was fifteen, we didn't breakup until like seventeen.

Digest Online: Is she still in London?

Thorsten Kaye: No, she's American.

Digest Online: Why was she in London?

Thorsten Kaye: She was at an American high school ... her dad was with some big accounting firm.

Digest Online: So, she broke your heart?

Thorsten Kaye: No, it wasn't that, I think a broken heart is something that doesn't... you don't know what that is until much later. It's certainly a feeling of abandonment and loss. I missed her an awful lot when she left. I was also 18 and I figured this is my world. But I still think about her, she was a part of my life.

Digest Online: What were you like in high school?

Thorsten Kaye: I was a track and field guy, I was running track.

Digest Online: You stopped running because you had a serious motorcycle accident?

Thorsten Kaye: It's part of the story. There's a reason why I had the motorcycle accident. It was a bad time in my life. I took the bike down and tore up my shoulder and did a couple of things. This whole track thing was a good time, but it was a very egotistical time in my life. Running is something you do alone. It's not a team sport. You get very self involved. There's a real need for somebody to be fast. When I was 16, 17, 18, I wanted to be the fastest runner in the world. That was my goal. What happens to you, it's a really strange thing, running, athletics and playing sports, you get into yourself and you don't share with anybody. You're just in there, you worry about your body, you don't drink, you don't smoke, you just want to be this thing. I went up to a guy in a barber shop and I said, "Who is the fastest runner in the world?" He goes, "I don't know." No one knows this, no knows who the fastest runner is, you know why, because no one cares. I asked this guy, I said, "Who is it?" He goes, "I think it's so and so." I said, "Well, you sure?" and he goes, "I don't know, it doesn't really matter." I thought, he's right, it doesn't matter. And all these years of running around in circles, all of a sudden were frivolous, it didn't mean a thing. It was a lot of wasted time. Actually, I wrote a treatment for it and a friend of mine is writing the story. It was a sad story, but a good story. It's going to be a movie called, Hours Of Idleness, which is a Lord Byron poem. But it's about the period where you did something that was important, and the next one, that means something. I think a lot of people are in [that period] longer than they want to. It's a story about a decathlete who decides not to [compete] anymore, who just says it's time to stop and to see how many people that you thought were on your side, want you to keep going, even though it isn't what you want. It's not what I want. You say "I don't enjoy it anymore, the bottom line, I no longer have a passion for this."

Digest Online: Did your family try to talk you into staying in athletics?

Thorsten Kaye: No, it wasn't my family, it was other people. I'm not that close to my mom and dad, and it's not my choice. It's just you have a conversation [with them], it goes here, it goes there, but it never really hits [home]. Or maybe it does, but it's like playing tennis with someone who doesn't have tight strings on his racket. They can't control where it's going to come back to them, sometimes it hits the wall, sometimes it will go straight through. It was a lesson that sadly I learned very early in my life. This whole soap thing, if it stops feeling like I don't need to do this anymore, if I feel this is hurting me, I have to go.

Digest Online: Tell us about your family...

Thorsten Kaye: My mom's name is Anna, my father's name is Peter and my brother's name is Patrick. The reason [my OLTL] character is called Patrick is because Susan [Bedsow Horgan, OLTL's former executive producer], her husband's name is Patrick. That's why I'm called Patrick. America, I love that s--t. I'm younger [than my brother], I just turned 30. He's 31. It's about 12 months or 11 months. It was hard in high school. It's tougher for my brother because he's a little shorter than I am, stocky, he's a good looking guy. He always felt that he should have been the taller one. We got into fights: It's my GI Joe. Nyah. Fights. Breaking stuff, blood. It wasn't good.

Digest Online: Poor Anna.

Thorsten Kaye: It was always when Anna wasn't home. I'm a little animated, it's not a bad thing. My mother is very animated as well. She would always slam doors and throw things. He is a foot and a half taller than she is and she's going, "God damn it, boys." I never stopped to think, "Mom what are you going to do?" But usually you go to your room, you go mom, I'm sorry. But my dad, he never raised his voice. He taught me manners. He was a boxer, he's a good fighter, and never raised his voice. He fought when he was younger. He was a boxer first, then he worked for GM, he worked his way up. He's a strange man. I think he's jealous of his sons in a lot of ways and that's an awful thing to do. I think a lot of men do it.

Digest Online: What does your brother do?

Thorsten Kaye: He's in the car business, Mercedes. He does very well for himself. He can have fun. I've forgotten how to do that. It may not seem that way, like sometimes on the weekend I sit at home and my brother always goes somewhere. I'm real bad at that, he'd just call from the spot where he was and go skiing. It's not even a money thing, it's just, especially after work, I just kind of sit about and think about what it is we're doing. He's a fun guy, he's a good man.

Digest Online: You're the first actor in your family?

Thorsten Kaye: Yeah, and some people would tell you that I'm not. [Laughs] I was in the park today and this woman comes up to me, like she had some information that I don't. She goes, "Stay away from Blair. Okay?" So I didn't go back to the studio. Because I had scenes with Blair, I figured I'm not doing them. So I didn't go back, I went home. [smirking]

Digest Online: Why did your parents send you to an American high school?

Thorsten Kaye: It was a private school and I'm glad they did it. I'm glad I didn't go to an English school. It was a nice school and I was recruited by five different colleges in the states to run track. They came and found us. They all fell through because I had that accident.

Digest Online: When did you have the accident?

Thorsten Kaye: It was right after high school. After high school I took the year off and I was teaching physical education because I had an opportunity to make a little bit of money. I've always had a love for motorcycles, I needed to make money to buy my first Harley. I finally get to this age that I can buy my first bike and the transmission went up in about three weeks. I went and tried to do my track and stuff, but I couldn't. So I played soccer instead and I went to soccer school.

Digest Online: Why did you choose San Diego to go to school?

Thorsten Kaye: I love so much all my track scholarships, Weiss was one, North Carolina was one. University of South Florida was another one. All these schools said, "We want you to come over and run." And I couldn't. So the school I went to, United States International University, USIU, they had a conference in San Diego and one in Mexico City, one in London, one in Nairobi. So I went to London and I played for those guys in London. They called their school and said this guy would be good for you. So I went over there. Digest Online: Did you want to go to the States?

Thorsten Kaye: Yeah, I wanted to go to college, I wanted to go somewhere warm, where there's beach and palm trees and beautiful weather. [When you're] 16 or 17 years old and this is your dream and some big recruiting guy comes out and says, "Hey!"

Digest Online: So you came to the U.S. by yourself?

Thorsten Kaye: I was living in a tent at the time outside of London, because my family had moved to Germany. I had a dream. I lived in this tent, I couldn't really chop wood or cook or anything, my shoulder was just gone [from the accident] -- I couldn't do anything, but I was finally getting back into shape, living in the woods. They said, "Well they want to see you in San Diego and we can't really fly you out." I told them f**k it. I took what was left of the bike, sold that, and bought a one-way ticket to San Diego. This is my dream, this is what I want, that's fine. I have no ticket back, I thought, "Okay, I'll give it a shot." I went to San Diego and I'll never forget the smell. When you walk in the San Diego airport, it smells like eucalyptus. I didn't have money for a hotel and it was late, I had to be at school the next morning. I had $57 bucks. I didn't know what things cost. I thought $20 can get a hotel room. I figured I could get a bed and breakfast. There's these big, huge hotels. I walked over there, hadn't shaved because I was in training, trying to get back in shape. I was wearing a bomber jacket -- I'll never forget this -- and jeans. I went into this hotel and this guy looked at me and went, no room, sorry. I went and slept in the harbor. First night on the San Diego harbor, right by the airport, the other side is water. I went there, my thing was at 9:00 and I had a little portable alarm thing. I didn't know what was what, there was green grass then there was the water. At 5:00 in the morning, the sprinklers [went off]. This is my introduction to America. I thought okay, I'm up, I'll go to the campus. So I caught a cab. I didn't know what was what, or where I was or whatever. San Diego to me sounded like a small town instead of L.A. I got a cab and this time, this guy knew I was an idiot. I gave him $30 and he dropped me about 10 or 15 miles north of where I needed to go. He dropped me at a 7-11. I went and had a coffee. Now it's 6:30, 7:00 and I asked the guy, I said I need to go to the university. He goes, no, it's about 15 miles the other way. And the nicest thing, I wish I remembered his name, he said, you know what, my shift is over, I'll give you a ride. He had a black Camaro. He's talking about his girlfriend, how he likes to play soccer and he drove me right up to campus. The school didn't open actually until 11:00, this was a Saturday, if I remember. I was just sitting on campus doing nothing, feeling lost, my parents didn't know where I was. I didn't tell anybody. Then when the school finally opened, nobody knew who I was or what they wanted me for. The coach wouldn't be there until  Monday, so I stayed again in the woods.

Digest Online: How did you do on your try outs?

Thorsten Kaye: Not too good. I was so angry and so tired. I did pretty well, but they were all good players. There was not one American player there, they were all South African, Brazilian. It was one of the best teams in America. I did okay. I'm not a small man, and soccer players usually are, so they like having a bigger guy at the defense. I don't mind getting physical so they liked having me there. There was a one and a half week try out. During the tryouts, they pay for your food, pay for your housing, all that stuff. During this time, I declared my major. I wanted to be a theater major, a drama minor because I've always enjoyed the theater, I've always enjoyed classical literature. I thought to minor in it would be fun. I met all the drama people. Then it came, this was a horrible day. They all had limited amounts of money and funds, so it came time to hand out the scholarships. They had a final trial day, and I was doing really well. My friend Tom Williams in England gave me a relic and I'm not religious by any means, but he gave me this relic on a chain that I wore. It's the last time I wore anything around my neck, until now when I play Patrick. But it's a second degree relic which is a piece of cloth, [with which] they touch the bone of a saint. I wore this and I needed help from someone. No friends, sleep in this bed without sheets, with a sweater over me trying to keep you warm at night, it was a hard thing and then it came time for them to say who was on the team. I think I was doing as well as I could and I don't fool myself in that way; I think physically I was in better shape than anybody else and my soccer playing was good enough to be on their team, but I didn't make it, didn't make the team. So I'm stuck in America with whatever's left, $10. I went to the drama department to say that I wasn't going to be there. There was a secretary, Ellie Campbell, at The School Of Performing and Visual Arts, SPVA, and the woman who was in charge of it, Nicole Brown, said, you know what, we'll give you a full ride if you can find a place to stay, we'll pay for all your schooling and all your books. I said great! Ellie talked to her husband and she said because I was nice to her, "We want you stay with us, while you're here." So I stayed with her family just outside of San Diego. Her husband, Harold Campbell, is a carpenter; This is where I learned my carpentry. I worked as a carpenter all through college, Harold taught me. A good man and his wife, Ellie, a beautiful family; They took me in like their own son, I had a place to stay, and I had my schooling paid for, I learned my craft. So that was my first year of college, I was working construction and Harold said, "This is what I want you to do, I'll let you stay here and eat, do whatever, you seem like a good man, help me." He was building churches. He said, "I want you to get up and on the weekends, help me build these churches." So I would go to school and learn my thing and do my plays, then on the weekends go with Harold, learn my craft as a carpenter and work with him. He had a good heart, he was a good guy. So I got through my first year, and then got cocky, of course. They offered me a full ride. They said we love your work and you understand the craft, we want to give you room and board. They had something called, the International Company, which was the graduate students; Then there was the Junior International Company which was the undergrads but there were only two people in it. They said, we want you to be part of this company. I said, "I don't know if this is what I want to do, I'm getting a little bored." I went back to Europe for almost a year; This is my sophomore year. Do you know what sophomore means? Somebody who thinks they know everything. I played the rugby tour for about a year. It was with a good team and I needed to get out and do that. An English team, we just toured Europe. I love playing and I just missed the feeling of being physically tired, I still do today, to be physically tired at the end of the day instead of just having your head be tired and your body going, come on, come on, come on. Then I came back with the same deal, I said, "Is it still open?" and they said "Yeah." They gave me the same amount of money to pay for everything and I finished my schooling. I did four years, did some good plays. Got some good stuff down, worked with some great teachers. I finished and went to L.A.

Digest Online: What did you plan on doing when you graduated?

Thorsten Kaye: I wanted to be a movie star. I wanted to make a lot of money.

Digest Online: What was your dream at that point?

Thorsten Kaye: To live on the beach. My friend Lawrence Welk, a very good friend of mine, his dad has a house in Malibu right on the water. It's beautiful. David Geffen lives next door. James Garner lives on the other side. Larry, he's obviously a very wealthy family, we both drank too much in college. He's a lot younger than I am. I think he's 27; he's three years younger than I am. I wanted to be a movie star, yeah, s--t. I looked a lot different, I was in better shape with a long, big thick, Tom Selleck mustache.... So, being a movie star, I was younger and certainly had to turn a couple of corners since then, but it seems if you have a lot of money and you live on the beach, things will be well. I've never been a happy person. I never have.

Digest Online: You have a lot of demons?

Thorsten Kaye: Certainly demons, but I think there are shortcomings which I think are demons in their own right. You walk away from something and think that you didn't do as well as you could have. It's just striving for perfection in a lot of ways, which we're not in the right medium to do I've noticed. I've never been someone to come home and go, oh, things are great, there's food in the fridge. I would love to be able to go to sleep one night and feel content about my work. It doesn't happen very often. I don't know what it's going to take. I think maybe it'll never happen, but there are certainly short comings in my work that get to me, shortcomings in other people's work. Where you want to go, if you just did this, we could have a good day here. There's too much of that. The money... I'm out of things to buy already. I bought the things, the toys that I thought I wanted. Not even for me, they're for people coming over, a big television, a pool table. They're not for me, when I'm home alone, by myself, I don't turn on the TV or play pool by myself, it's for people coming over. That's an apartment, if you're by yourself, you just need a bed. But if you like to have people over, it's to entertain. I've done all that. I've had all the toys, yeah, there's bigger toys. I don't want to end up like some of these movie stars. They're just as angry at themselves as I am.

Digest Online: Why do you think they're angry?

Thorsten Kaye: An angry actor wants somebody else's career. It's part of the business, because at that point it's very hard to stand outside of it and watch it without being critical. You know that book The Artist's Way? I read it, it's about not being critical of your own work, just doing it and letting go. It talks about the morning pages where you write pages in the morning and don't critique them, just put them away, then ten years later, you look at them and see what it was that you're spewing was [about]. As an artist, you can't help but look at your work because you do things intentionally, you don't just go out and go, "I will just be open and do." No you don't, you say, "I will do this because this is my craft and this is what I've learned." A baseball player doesn't go out there and say, "I'm just going to swing. I don't care, it's maple. This is the pitcher, I know what he does. He studies what the pitcher does, he says I will stand and let the first one go, see what he does with that." That's what an actor does. An actor sits there and he says, "Okay, I've worked with this person, she forgets her lines, she takes pauses here, my work will change because of this person." You don't wake up in the morning and go, "I kind of know what I [will do], I will go and just do this." There's a lot of work, there's a technique, it's not an emotional outburst, you're not vomiting all over the stage. You're learning something.

Digest Online: So what happened with the young kid who was out of school and ready to become a movie star?

Thorsten Kaye: Well, no one called me.

Digest Online: Have you thought of knocking on doors?

Thorsten Kaye: I'm also very proud so I didn't knock too much.

Digest Online: Did you get an agent right away?

Thorsten Kaye: Yes. All that. I was up for a couple of roles and here's what happened, they say, "What have you done?" I haven't done anything because I just got here. "Well, when you've done something come and see me." If I've done something I don't need you anymore. It was hard and it was stupid and there's a lot of politics. More than that, I got to walk around movie sets. This is a silly thing to you, but it made a lot of sense to me. I was on the Warner Brothers set, walking around, and there was a realization about how it's not real. You see these actors up close. They have zits and scars and bad teeth like the rest of us. They're get pissed off at whoever didn't put the right amount of sugar in their coffee. And those buildings are flats; There's nothing behind them. When I saw that there was nothing behind those buildings and it was all fake and they do the same take over and over, and it's not going to go in there, it took away from what I thought the heroism of this was. There are no heroes. We wanted to be one of those guys who goes out and runs into burning buildings, grabs kids. Not pretend, but actually do it. But those that get to do this, pretend. Once you pretend, you know that's what you're doing on a movie set. On stage, it's a different story. It's the truest form of expression as an artist, as a performing artist, than anything you can have. I don't know about dance because I don't dance. But as an actor to be on the stage and have the immediacy of five hundred, one thousand, two thousand people out there, they're right at your hands, you can do whatever you want with them, they will go with you, or not go with you. No one's going to yell, "Cut!" It's your time. It's your time to manipulate and take these people to a place they've never been and tell a story. You don't do that in a movie. . The stage is the stage. There is nothing they will ever take away from it.

Digest Online: Were you happy when you were doing theater?

Thorsten Kaye: There were moments, certainly moments, the great speeches. Even with Shakespeare.

Digest Online: What was your favorite?

Thorsten Kaye: Macbeth was my favorite. Marc Antony was another one. I think it's a lot easier to play Hamlet -- people will disagree -- than to play Romeo. Because people sit back and go "Oh, Romeo." The first speech of Macbeth is someone coming out and going, this man has cut hundreds of people, his sword was steaming with blood just to get to this one man, to cut his head off. That's the first speech, of course that's not the speech but, it's about a man who does something that he believes in, but the audience is not necessarily on your side. Romeo... His death speech is, I've lived long enough, my way of life is falling to the sea. He's talking about this is not what I wanted, no burns, nothing. Sitting in this place, my wife is dead, all I have is a sword. Let me die by the sword. It's the journey of one man, that's why Shakespeare is so great, he takes you from this spot all the way around, especially in that light. It's one man's journey back to where he was, just happy to die a soldier. I haven't seen movie scripts like this, they're changing a little bit now with Braveheart and Rob Roy, they're going back to the classics. Modern day is Die Hard. Who gives a s--t about that, some guy with a gun who is a superhero who gets shot, it doesn't hurt him. Come on, give me more, it doesn't mean anything. Human tragedy, human shortcoming -- That's what hits home for everybody. You can't do that play for your last speech, go home and go, "Oh, okay. It was nothing." It meant everything, and if it didn't then you cheated the audience. Cheated. You have a lot of responsibility as an actor, a lot.

Digest Online: It doesn't matter what stage your on as an actor?

Thorsten Kaye: When I was doing theater in Detroit, no one ever approached me. No one came up to me in a mall going, "We love you." And the work was 100 times better than what we do here. No one ever did that because it wasn't about the individual. Now we reach 40, 50 million people a day who watch this? Uhhahhhhuhh. You have more responsibility now than you did, you can't f--k around. It's a horrible thing and I'm not going to change society, but people sit at home waiting for certain characters to come on to change their lives. Even if it's just for an hour a day. As an actor, it's your responsibility to give it your all, that's why we get paid a lot of money.