Where are They Now? Michael
Soap Opera Veteran Tylo
Continues to be in a "New York State of Mind."
Michael Tylo (ex-Matt)
Michael Tylo's (Matt
Connolly) decision to join the cast of All My Children
in 1986 was prompted both by his love for Daytime television, and his
love for the great city of New York. "I was in LA doing episodic
television. I had a run-in with my agent out there, so I called my agent
in New York. I told her, I needed to get back. I told her, 'I can't
stand LA,'" Tylo said.
Tylo made his name in daytime television with his role as gothic hero
Quint Chamberlain on CBS' Guiding Light. "I really liked Guiding
Light and Lisa Brown," Tylo said referring to his onscreen love
interest Nola Reardon. "She was terrific for that show. You would
not find a harder working actress. She was doing 42nd Street
on Broadway, taking Wednesdays off for the matinee, and even sometimes
worked the morning set, and was seven months pregnant."
In 1986, Tylo's agent told him about an opportunity to join the cast
of All My Children in the role of Matt Connolly. The role would
have him working closely with Susan Lucci (Erica
Kane). "I didn't care if I had to audition or not. So, I went
back [to New York] for the audition, came in, worked with Susan Lucci
a bit," Tylo said, "I went back to the hotel they put me up
in, and that night, they told me I got the role."
"I immediately sent Susan Lucci one-dozen white roses," Tylo
The casting director only had a few notes of Tylo, "They said he
[Matt] was a soldier of fortune, and I asked if I could grow a beard.
That was it," Tylo said. "They put me in a soldier of fortune
outfit with a mesh t-shirt I did not care for at all. I was scruffy,"
Tylo said. "Jacky Babbin (then Executive Producer) said, 'I want
this guy to be different.'"
Matt was different, especially from Tylo's signature role as Guiding
Light's Quint. "The fans opinions initially were kind of low.
They expected the same kind of guy," Tylo said. "Quint was
kind of a gothic fantasy. This guy, this guy was real."
"They said he [Matt] was a soldier of fortune, and I
asked if I could grow a beard. That was it."
-The Casting Director's notes about Matt
Tylo was immediately featured in a front burner storyline
opposite Lucci, and the Jeremy
Marlowe triangle with Jean LeClerc and Kate Collins (now Janet
Dillon). "When I came on, Julia Barr's character (Brooke
English) and Susan Lucci's character (Erica Kane) were in a plane
crash. Jeremy called me to go find them. My character was already in
South America, in some mythical country," Tylo said. "When
I showed up to rescue them, they looked disgusted by me. It was fun."
"Kate Collins, Jean and I went out for drinks to get to know each
other my first day. We would tease Jean because he was French Canadian,"
Tylo said. "I used to say he was not really French." Tylo
enjoyed the dynamic of his friendship with the onscreen Hunters. "All
I knew was that I was supposed to help Jeremy. He was my boyhood friend,"
Tylo said, "and Kate's (as Natalie) friend too." When it came
to Erica Matt, "was the third wheel. He [Jeremy] was always after
her, she was always after him. They left me up to me own devices."
Tylo became fast friends with his new ensemble. "I had a good feeling
about this show," Tylo said. Original cast members Ruth Warrick
English) and Ray MacDonnell (Joe
Martin) guided Tylo through the ups and downs of his personal life.
"When I came on the show, I was divorcing my first wife. She [Warrick]
came to me and told that, 'this would all pass,'" Tylo said. "Ray,
we had the same entertainment attorney. When I was having kids, I asked
him for advice about education and stuff. There were no problems with
people on that show."
Tylo and Mark LaMura (ex-Mark) made up the "Bad Boys"
of Daytime Television.
"The people were genuinely nice," Tylo said
about the cast at that time. Tylo became especially close to Lucci because
of their time onscreen. "She was the welcome wagon, she made feel
comfortable. When you work with professionals like that, who are not
worried about their position, everything is great," Tylo said.
"I would tease her, she would tease me back."
At Guiding Light, he received a similar reception from the
late Charita Bauer (ex-Bert Bauer). "Mrs. Bauer, my mother watched
this soap, my grandmother watched it… they all asked me about
Charita. My first day, she took me around."
Tylo's teasing with Lucci made its way to the small screen. "I
began calling her 'Sweet and Low,'" Tylo said, "She was so
short. She said it was kind of cute. So I would flirt back with her
like the guys would in the 50's and 60's." The writers took notice,
"All of a sudden that stuff started appearing in the scripts,"
Tylo said. "It was part of the character, and it worked because
it was not smarmy. I made it a term of endearment."
"I learned a lot from the old Hollywood actors," Tylo said.
Tylo shared his love for old Hollywood with James Mitchell (Palmer Cortlandt).
"We both did the same role of Marco the Magnificent in Carnival.
Jimmy was the ballet dancer in Oklahoma too," Tylo said.
"We would talk about the old days, old actors. I would listen to
Jimmy because he forgot more than I knew about the business."
"You have to steal from the best, and I would steal from Jimmy,"
Tylo said. "I really liked the guy. He was so dapper and great."
Mitchell's onscreen rival David Canary (Adam
Chandler) shared a dressing room with Tylo. "We used to go
around and around about politics. I used to say things to get his blood
moving," Tylo said. Tylo took on the challenge of dual roles when
he played Rick and Blade Bladeson on The Young and the Restless.
Contrary to popular belief, Tylo was not paid twice for playing dual
roles. "No, it is not true," Tylo said. "Maybe David
does because he started doing that for such a long time, but I was never
Some church goers in Manhattan would be shocked to see Billy
Clyde (Matthew Cowles) among the congregation.
His closest friend on set was probably Mark LaMura (ex-Mark
Dalton). "We started a group called the 'Bad Boys.' His (LaMura)
character was a drug addict and I was a soldier of fortune and womanizer,"
Tylo said. "We invited people from different soaps who played the
same kinds of role to join. We raised money for a charity, the Mother
Hale charity for heroine addicts."
LaMura and Tylo's bond came from the similar childhoods. "We were
raised Catholic, so we went to mass at our lunch hour, then would hang
out," Tylo said about their daily routine. "Matthew Cowles
Clyde Tuggle) was a daily communicant too, so he would go to mass
with us sometimes."
The "Bad Boys" continue to stay in touch to this day. "Mark
and I were two days different in age. He always calls me on my birthday
to say, 'Happy Birthday, Old Man!'" Tylo said. "I talk to
Mark all the time. He came out here to Las Vegas when he shot one of
the last episodes of Sopranos… he keeps in touch with people."
"You would have disagreements about scenes and stuff, but I know
I buttered my bread and I was not going to screw the pooch on it,"
Tylo was also made friends with the crew. "Being a blue collar
kid from Detroit, I got along with them. My father was a blue collar
guy. I was raised in that environment," Tylo said. "I approached
my job as an actor the same way a plumber does his. Thomas Aquinas said,
'art is the act of doing something well.' If a plumber does his job
well he is an artist. If I do my job well, I am an artist too."
"I always had a thing for the crew because they can make or break
you," Tylo said. "They would have shots they would like to
try and I would listen to them. I told them it was easier to move me
than to move the camera."
"Thomas Aquinas said, 'art is the act of doing something
well.' If a plumber does his job well he is an artist. If I
do my job well, I am an artist too."
-Tylo on what it means to be an actor
Tylo appreciated how the higher ups at ABC encouraged
their actors to pursue side projects. "They let me do Broadway
shows, and films. They wanted you to recharge your batteries doing something
else," Tylo said.
One cast member with an illustrious side career was Candice Earley (ex-Donna
Tyler). "I would watch her sing. These people, they not only
supported you for what you did for them, but outside things," Tylo
said. "I remember going to see Candi perform and bumming a ride
with Susan Lucci and Helmut (Huber, Lucci's longtime husband)."
Earley and Tylo actually became friends before their time together at
All My Children. "We did a 'handshake and wave' some place, we
did so many of them," Tylo said about their first meeting. "We
landed in Pittsburg Airport, and after lightning hit the tower and no
planes were leaving." Earley and Tylo had work the next day in
New York at their respective shows. "So, we stood in line, rented
a car, and drove all night back to New York. She dropped me off, I arrived
as soon as I was supposed to work."
Another personal onset anecdote was the day Collins brought her father,
Apollo 11 astronaut Michael Collins to work. "Subsequently, in
my other travels, I met Buzz Aldren and Neil Armstrong. So, I got to
meet all three of them."
"Kate was hell on wheels," Tylo said. "She was as professional
as they came."
"Kate, Jean, Jimmy, Taylor Miller (ex-Nina
Warner), David Canary, they were secure in what they were doing,"
Tylo said. "Even old Ruth, they would help you unbeknownst to yourself
that they were helping you." Tylo fondly looks back at the actors
he has had in his company, "Charita Bauer, Susan Lucci, Eric Braden
(Victor Newman, The Young and the Restless), how lucky can
an actor be in a lifetime?"
Tylo also worked with daytime television royalty behind the scenes,
having worked under Douglas Marland, Bill Bell, and Agnes Nixon as Headwriters.
"Irna Phillips developed the whole thing: the formula, everything
else. She had Bill Bell, Agnes Nixon, and Douglas Marland working for
her at one time. You were learning from the master."
Henderson Forsythe (ex-David Stewart, As the World Turns) and
Tylo commiserated about working with these legends. "He told me,
'When you are enjoying word for word what they are giving you, you are
really enjoying it.' Agnes, Bill, Marland, they were the best writers
I have worked for. It was my privilege to know them."
"I have learned that when a writer knows what they are doing, you
what the writer wants. I did what Agnes wanted," Tylo said about
his former boss. "I always saw her. Then, there was another writer
(Winser Washam), but it did not ever veer off from what she wanted.
Agnes knew what she was doing from the get go, I never had any qualms
or cautions. I just did it, and knew if it worked I did it right."
He had to put his faith in the writer's hands when they decided to place
Matt between daytime supercouple Cliff
and Nina Warner (Peter Bergman and Miller). "I knew this could
make me sink or swim. It was awfully tough to come between them. I did
it before," Tylo said. "I had to do it in such a way where
the audience may not have liked it, but they would still like me."
This daunting task was made easier by Tylo's friendship with Bergman
and Miller. "I am still friends with Pete, we worked together again
at The Young and the Restless. There has to be chemistry between two
people for it to work, and fortunately there was chemistry with Taylor."
Tylo was part of the big prison break stroyline with Erica
(Susan Lucci) and Jeremy (Jean LeClerc).
Bergman and Miller's love story dominated the eighties,
and the couple saw four onscreen marriages. Tylo was a newcomer to the
canvas and knew fans were dedicated to the couple's happiness. "Most
of my beginning stuff was based on Susan, Jean and Kate… I think
this story was more of Cliff and Nina having a falling out." Matt
and Nina would marry onscreen, and even share a supposed child, Mikey
Connolly Warner (played by Miller's real life daughter Elizabeth Avery
Another trademark for the eighties in Pine Valley was location shoots,
and Tylo was in many of them because of the adventurous nature of his
character. "It cost so damn much, and it never really added to
it. You just couldn't do it well. If you were on location, you were
just shooting video. It would look better on film," Tylo said.
"Video is just so two dimensional."
"I don't know know about moving stuff on location or the handheld
stuff. There are certain movies I like it in… but I am disturbed
by too much of the hand held stuff," Tylo said. "It can be
too much. If it is used like on NYPD Blue for effect, it is
more effective than as a format."
One memorable location shoot for Tylo was the helicopter jailbreak episode
that called for Matt to fly a helicopter. "It was a really tough
day because there was so much stuff I had to pretend to do. I had never
flown in a helicopter, let alone drive one," Tylo said. The day
did not end there. "I had to finish up the helicopter scenes in
the morning and be back at the studio to tape the rest of the day. The
only way I could go back was to take the helicopter back to the city,"
Tylo said. This is where the real adventure began.
"The guy driving the helicopter was a Vietnam vet. He flew me all
over these places. At one point, he flies me under a bridge and you
could see the cables hanging from it. I was scarred crapless,"
Tylo said about the flight home. "He got me back to the City, and
I got back to the studio to shoot my scenes."
Tylo's high flying days came to an end in 1988, when Nina and Matt left
Pine Valley together. "She (Miller) wanted to leave, and they were
going to keep me. But I did not want to, you know, just hang around.
No one came to me with any ideas for Matt," Tylo said. "I
did not want to sit in the background, waiting for an exit."
Tylo as Guiding Light's Quint in the early 1980's.
"I did not want to be that guy who went upstairs
to check something, and then disappear," Tylo said, alluding to
the infamous Bobby Martin incident of 1970. Unfortunately for Tylo,
his character Quint on Guding Light would share that fate after
Tylo's return to his alma mater in 1997. "I (Quint) went to the
restroom and never came back."
Nina and Matt returned to Pine Valley in 1989, but Matt had a new face
with actor Stephen Fletcher. "In the spring of '89 from Janaury
to June, I was doing General Hospital, I think that was what
happened," Tylo explain. "Hell, if I was not doing General
Hospital, I would have come back in a New York minute."
"There is something about that show and New York, it always seemed
more real to me than other shows," Tylo said. "I always had
good feelings about All My Children."
Tylo's daytime career continued into the nineties with roles on General
Hospital, The Young and the Restless and time back at
Guiding Light. "I went back to Guiding Light
as Quint in 1997. I thought I was going back to stay," Tylo said.
But after some creative changes behind the scenes, Tylo found himself
an out of work actor again in the city that he loved.
In 2005, Tylo attempted to return to Pine Valley when he tried out for
the new role of Dr. Greg Madden, a role that eventually went to Ian
Buchanan. "I was just in town when I saw the casting call, and
the casting director did not know me," Tylo said. "The writer
at that time [Megan McTavish] she said that the fans would say, 'No,
that is Matt Connolly!' It [his run as Matt] was only two years. I didn't
think that people would."
Tylo would eventually relocated to Las Vegas where he is a Film and
Theatre Professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. "I have
a Masters in Fine Arts. I love scholarship," Tylo said. Tylo went
to graduate school with a future All My Children cast member, Mark Pinter
Smythe). "Actually, Jean, Mark and I were going to do a production
of the show Art, but the backing fell through," Tylo said. Today,
Tylo advises other students pursuing a Masters degree.
Chris Holder (ex-Wade) had a close call with Ruth
Though removed from the daytime scenes in Los Angeles
and New York, Tylo relies on some of his old friends from time to time
. "Chris Holder (ex-Wade
Matthews), he played a character marrying Ruth Warrick, and he was
going to take all her money," Tylo said, "I had Chris come
in to my class to teach. He now teaches for Ivana Cubbuck in LA."
Holder recounted a funny moment onset that involved the legendary Warrick
as Phoebe. "They had a whole wedding ceremony. They did the whole
thing like they did at rehearsals, but when they said, 'you may now
kiss the bride,' he [Holder] went to give her a peck and she [Warrick]
grabbed him, and slipped him some tongue," Tylo remembered. "I
fell out! Everyone fell out!"
Tylo also heard from his former castmates during one of the most trying
times of his life, the death of his son Mikey Tylo from an accidental
drowning. "I heard from a lot of them when Mickey passed away:
Jean leClerc, Kate Collins," Tylo said.
"Mikey told me I had to relate with these kids (his students).
He would not let me dress like the other college professors. He was
a great kid. He was a kid," Tylo said. "He had his good points
and bad points, and I loved him no matter what."
"I think about him everyday," Tylo said. "It's tough."
As for Tylo's immediate plans, he is spending three weeks in New York
with his fiance, Rachelle Reichert. He is always hoping to get back
into acting. "You know professors either have to write or do, and
there is nothing I feel compelled to write," Tylo said. "I
am going back to dip my toe in the water to see what is going on. I
do want to go down to All My Children and see how it is working. I am
teaching a Daytime Drama class next semester. I want to see if I can
get on set and observe. I always believe that what I have to give the
students has to be fresh and things have changed on the soap set,"
Tylo said. "If they wanted me back on a soap in New York, this
would be a great way to tell people I am still here."