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|Ally||Mar 25 2010, 03:00 PM|
The Royal Princess
As Days of our Lives super-villain Stefano DiMera, Joseph Mascolo has been terrorizing the residents of Salem on and off for nearly twenty years. As it turns out, the man behind the villain is as friendly and funny they come. Forget Bo – I now have a crush on Stefano. Here, he chats about some famous friends, a real-life case of mistaken identity and the character that made him famous.|
As you’re one of the most recognizable figures in the history of daytime television, I imagine people have fairly strong reactions when they meet you in person. Have you had any memorable interactions with viewers that you could share with us?
I was on a plane about a year ago going from Los Angeles to New York and this little old woman gets on the plane. I noticed that as she walked by she looked at me and stopped for a beat. About twenty minutes later the stewardess, who knew who I was, said, “There’s a little old lady back here who told me to check you out because she thinks that you’re a terrorist. She told me to check out the man with the beard because she’s seen you before.” I mean, I fell out of the seat. We were laughing like crazy. That was the only time I ever had anything kind of weird happen. But usually it’s very flattering; people come up and say, “We just love what you do. Keep doing it.”
Apart from landing your role on Days, what do you consider to be one of the most important moments in your career?
I was a concert musician before I was an actor and after college I played with the Metropolitan Opera for two years while I studied theatre with a woman named Stella Adler in New York City. When I started working in the theatre one of the first jobs I had was with Jon Voight and Bob Duvall and Dustin Hoffman off-Broadway, so that started me off pretty good.
I’m still amazed that I’ve done what I’ve done here on daytime for as long as I have. I was doing a play in Houston, Texas with Burt Reynolds, as a matter of fact, when they called about the daytime thing. I thought I would do it for six months or a year and here it is over 20 years on and off. It was quite a ride I must say.
I read that you had to be convinced to take the job on Days of our Lives. Is that true?
Oh my goodness yes. I didn’t want to have anything to do with it! And then the gal who invented Stefano essentially insisted. She had seen me on some little series that was on nighttime television and said, “He’s the one. I don’t care if he doesn’t want to be on it. He’s the one.” So I got very curious and I came in to meet her, Falken Smith was her name, and she was a brilliant woman and that’s how it started. So I said, “okay let’s do it for a year.” And here we are.
Are there any characteristics that you share with Stefano – or ways in which you’re different from the character – that you think might surprise your viewers?
The power that the man has is beyond anything I could imagine. And I think that’s part of the fantasy that the audience really enjoys – to watch someone have that kind of power and get away with it is really gratifying. I think respect and strong feelings for family are areas where I feel a kinship with him.
Do you have a favourite Stefano storyline from years past? One that was the particularly fun to see play out?
Oh goodness. That’s a tough one because it’s been off and on for over 20 years. I loved being on one of my islands that I owned, riding on horseback. That was fun.
Had you ridden a horse before?
Yes - actually it was my suggestion. Instead of one of my entrances I said I wouldn’t mind coming up over the hill on a horse!
How about a dream storyline for Stefano – is there anything you would like to see happen to his character in the future?
I’d like to get back on that horse and gallop off into the sunset (laughs).
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