Where are They Now? Brian
Gaskill and "Warner" Learn Life's
Brian Gaskill (ex-Bobby)
Imagine walking into a New York City Restaurant during
the dinner rush and seeing the assembled Cortlandt clan breaking bread.
In 1995, this was very much a reality. "Jill (Larson, Opal
Cortlandt) would initiate the dinners I believe," Brian Gaskill
said. "We went out to dinner a few times with the whole fictional
family… good times."
These dinners were Gaskill's welcome to All My Children where
he took on the role of legacy character and Cortlandt heir apparent
Robert "Bobby" Clifford Thorne Warner in 1995. "My first
scene was with her [Larson] and the other grandma (Daisy
Murdoch, played by Gillian Spencer)," Gaskill said. "They
told me all about Bobby's history, but mostly they remembered Bobby
as a little kid. So, they thought the creative field was wide open to
"James Mitchell (Palmer
Cortlandt) and Jill Larson…at first, [they] were my 'family',"
Gaskill said. "We had a great chemistry."
Gaskill was the first actor to portray an "adult" Bobby, though
it was clear he still had a lot of growing up to do. "He was definitely
what was on the page, a bad boy smart-ass," Gaskill said about
his character. Gaskill's Bobby's early indiscretions included general
disrespect to his elders, and eventually getting a young Kelsey
Jefferson (TC Warner) pregnant out of wedlock.
When Gaskill first made his way to the studios, he was
auditioning for a very different role, that of good boy next door Scott
Parker Chandler, a role that would eventually go to child-star Shane
McDermott. "But, they saw me more as the bad boy, an anti-hero
I guess. So, they were always think'n of me as Bobby, and brought me
back for that," Gaskill said.
Gaskill's fondest memory from that day was his screen-test directed
by the late Henry Kaplan. "Boy, he was a cantankerous/loveable
character… so tough on the actors, but I loved it," Gaskill
said about Kaplan. "I later heard he turned to the others in the
booth and said, 'If you don't hire this kid, you are crazy.' So thank
Shane McDermott beat out Gaskill for the role of "Scott."
Kaplan was right about a lot of things. Gaskill was still
very much green to the industry. He came to New York fresh off his run
on Aaron Spelling Primetime soap opera Models, Inc. "[I]
was hungry at the time to get back to the East Coast and be surrounded
by theater. [I] started my own theater company at the time," Gaskill
said. "New York in '95, being a lot cheaper to live than it is
now… New York was awesome then."
"AMC turned out to be a great place," Gaskill said.
Though All My Children was not what brought him to the city,
he always had a soft spot for the daytime serial. "Because of my
mom, I grew up watching AMC, and all of ABC really," Gaskill said.
"I have watched off and on my whole life pretty much. It was born
the same month I was, I think."
"Pine Valley was always another home to me, to the
point that it was weird working with Susan Lucci (Erica
Kane)," Gaskill said. "It just felt surreal being in the
same world as Erica Kane."
Being familiar with the program's storylines, Gaskill knew he had a
large task at hand when taking on the role of Bobby, the first son of
Pine Valley supercouple Cliff
Warner. Taylor Miller reprised the role of Nina in 1996. "Her
being there showed me how much things come together on show like AMC,"
Gaskill said about Miller's two week stint. "It is a strong tradition
based family show. These connections are the glue that hold it together."
Nina's return not only gave Bobby more connections to the current canvas,
it also added new dimensions to the character. "I guess I wasn't
very likable [as Bobby], but when Taylor came on and baby Sam
[Grey] was born, I went through a redemption that brought in the fans,
"Gaskill said. "I love redemption and getting to see a character
you thought you had figured out come to life in a different way. I loved
it in life too. It's the base of life and art to me... change and growth."
Miller's presence also tested the young actor's stamina. "I had
about 80 pages of work, so that was insane," Gaskill said about
a particular episode. "I broke down on my mother's shoulder about
being a teenage dad. I ended up really loving that pressure and it made
it all work even better." Gaskill cites that moment as the turning
point for Bobby. "It was the moment when everything changed for
Bobby and the character was set in the direction he was meant to go."
Gaskill wished onscreen mother Taylor Miller (ex-Nina) could
have extended her stay in Pine Valley.
"When I got to work with her for a few weeks, it
was two of my best weeks there," Gaskill said about Miller. "I
was sorry that she couldn't stick around for more."
Gaskill spent most his time onscreen with the younger generation of
Pine Valley that included love interests Kelsey and Anita
Santos (Darlena Tejeiro). "I remember it being kinda the teen
"B" story that if given the chance could have been bigger...
I do remember it actually being pretty successful," Gaskill said.
Audiences responded positively to Gaskill's pairing with Tejeiro. "I
guess Bobby and Anita were the typical bad boy and sweet girl couple,
and he grew and changed through her blah blah blah..."
"But I had a great time with Darlena," Gaskill said, "even
though she couldn't wear contacts so she couldn't see me half the time…
which maybe, was a good thing."
Outside the love story, the class of 1996 teens in Pine Valley dealt
with a scandal regarding homosexual high school teacher Michael
Delaney (Chris Bruno). "Loved the story, loved Bruno,"
Gaskill said. "It was stuff like that that was one of the AMC cornerstones
and what made it and makes it a great show… dealing with social
issues while entertaining."
In 1997, Gaskill announced he was leaving All My Children
while still very much on the front burner of storylines. "I had
signed a two year contract and I refused to see the potential in staying
longer 'cuz I was young and had a bit of a wanderlust," Gaskill
said about his departure. "So I was leaving no matter what. They
tried to get me to stay, but I had a plan." With Gaskill leaving,
producers slated onscreen love Tejeiro to depart as well.
Gaskill admits in hindsight there was still much for Bobby to do in
Pine Valley. He noted a growing chemistry with Eva LaRue (ex-Dr.
Maria Grey), his onscreen son Sam's adoptive mother. "It could
have gone anywhere, there was a connection building from when I told
her she could have Sam," Gaskill said. "I think they could
have been friends and maybe a little older woman action for Bobby, even
though she [LaRue] wasn't that much older than me. We just had a chemistry
that could have been developed in any which way."
Bobby's blossoming love story with Anita also had an abrupt conclusion
that had the star-crossed lovers going to college together in Chicago.
"I guess we both left the show before it had a chance to really
take off super huge," Gaskill said. Anita and Bobby were mentioned
as having married off-screen. "Looking back I wish I had stayed
a little longer 'cuz Bobby was really just gettin' warmed up,"
"It is a strong tradition based family
show. These connections are the glue that hold it together."
-Gaskill's view of All My Children's defining factor
Gaskill's career after All My Children continued
to blossom. His next major role was as ABC soap opera Port Charles'
angel turned flesh and blood Rafe Kovach. The role propelled Gaskill
to leading man status. "I loved being an angel for a few years
and seeing first hand the light that was able to be shed on some people,"
But Gaskill was not content to just return to his original status as
a fan of All My Children. "I often felt like I was off-screen
as Bobby, and I wanted to jump onscreen and finish what was started,"
Gaskill would be given that chance in 2003 when then Headwriter
Megan McTavish announced plans to bring Bobby and Anita back to Pine
Valley. Port Charles had been cancelled earlier that year.
"I was approached, and I regret not going then. I decided to stay
in California at the time," Gaskill said. Gaskill instead took
on the role of Oscar Marone on CBS' The Bold and the Beautiful,
before moving cross-country again to star on Proctor & Gamble's
As The World Turns as BJ Greene. The role of Bobby was recast
with Christian Campbell in 2004. Campbell lasted less than one year
in the role.
"Maybe I will get the chance someday to finish what I started [as
Bobby] and leave a real legacy," Gaskill said. "Although my
real life legacy of [daughter] Alabama Zoe is the true legacy."
Gaskill credits staying in California after Port Charles as how he would
meet his wife Tonya Watts and conceive his daughter. "So I can't
really regret that choice," Gaskill said.
Darlena Tejeiro (ex-Anita) and Gaskill left Pine Valley together
Gaskill has his own ideas of what Bobby would be up to
now. "I see him as a low rent criminal who really is a great person
at heart and you would see that with his relationship with Sam and or
one special girl," Gaskill said. "But everywhere else, he
is up to no good."
Life back on the East Coast has afforded Gaskill the opportunity to
revisit some facets of his past life. "I sometimes stop by the
studio and say 'hi' to Judy Wilson (Casting Director), Michael Knight
(Tad Martin) and whoever else I run into," Gaskill said. "That
studio was home for me for a great two years of my life." Gaskill's
former Port Charles cast mate Thorsten Kaye (Zach Slater, Port Charles'
Ian Thornhart) now calls the same studio home. "Believe it or not,
the person who made me laugh the most on set was Thorsten Kaye…
since he is there now, I thought I would share that," Gaskill said.
One regret for Gaskill was not keeping in better touch with his colleagues
offset. "Unfortunately I have tended to be too much a of a loner
when working on a show, maybe because of the feeling that in this business
it always will eventually end. I don't know if that comes from coming
from a broken family and all that garbage," Gaskill said. "Anyways,
I always regretted not getting closer to my cast mates."
That is not to say the days of Cortlandt family reunions are only a
thing of the past. A recent chance encounter with Larson reminded Gaskill
about his old friends. "I bumped into her last year at the Cathedral
of St. John the Divine. I was in the middle of prayer and it was as
if she was an angel," Gaskill said, "I felt so warm inside
to see her again."
Gaskill with his true legacy, daughter Alabama Zoe.
"Jill was always amazing and I still carry a fondness
for her," Gaskill said.
Gaskill now spends his time working on his start up production company,
which specializes in developing film projects and shooting music content
for Internet distribution. The company also shoots and edits weddings.
In terms of mainstream projects, he is developing a series based on
a short film and is always open to a return to television be it in Daytime
"Whichever great story comes my way first,"
In April 2008, Soap Opera Digest reported rumors that Gaskill
was in talks to return to All My Children as Bobby. Gaskill
has spent the last year recurring as Dylan Lewis on P&G's Guiding
Light. "Although technically I think I am still recurring
at GL, though I haven't been seen in quiet a while, I have no contractual
obligation there," Gaskill said."I guess the rumor got started
by some wishful thinkers,
and maybe someday soon there wish will come true."
When asked if he would consider a return to All My Children,
Gaskill replied, "in a New York Minute."