He's known for bringing the laughs on shows like 30 Rock, Will & Grace, and Saturday Night Live, but Alec Baldwin got his start in the entertainment business on soap operas like The Doctors, where he played Billy Aldrich in 1982, and Knots Landing, where he played Joshua Rush from 1984 to 1985. And he says that his time in the drama-dominated genre was incredibly special.
In an upcoming ABC special titled The Story of Soaps, set to air on Tuesday, May 19, Baldwin says that after his short stint on The Doctors, "I went out to Los Angeles and got cast on Knots Landing. It was probably one of the five most important times of my life."
He points to the format of soap opera storytelling -- playing the same character, day in and day out, for a length of time that can last months, years, even decades -- as to what makes the genre so extraordinary.
"It's that kind of investment in characters that make television special," Baldwin says in a teaser released by People. "Daytime TV and TV in general, you have a different relationship with the audience because they see you all the time. You have to go somewhere and buy a ticket and watch a movie. With television, we're people that are in your living room."
Therefore, the actor put every ounce of energy he had into playing Knots Landing preacher Joshua (a taste of which fans can view below). "When I play that kind of character, I want to give it everything I can so when the hero kills me or thwarts me in the end, it's more satisfying for the audience," he says. "You really want that guy to get it."
For more from Baldwin, be sure tune in to The Story of Soaps, featuring appearances from a bevy of stars including Bryan Cranston (ex-Dean Stella, One Life to Live; ex-Douglas Donovan, Loving), Susan Lucci (ex-Erica Kane, All My Children), Carol Burnett (ex-Verla Grubbs, AMC), John Stamos (ex-Blackie Parrish, General Hospital), and Vivica A. Fox (ex-Stephanie Simmons, The Young and the Restless).
Fans can also listen to Baldwin's lengthy chat about soap operas with Y&R star Peter Bergman (Jack Abbott; ex-Cliff Warner, AMC) here.
What do you think about Alec Baldwin's comments about his time on soap operas? Do you remember his role on The Doctors or Knots Landing? We want to hear from you -- and there are many ways you can share your thoughts.