George Pilgrim was the first actor to play the role of Anthony James Chamberlain, simply called J (son of Nola and Quinton) but he stayed on the soap only a few months despite a three-year contract. We interviewed him to talk about that period!
Sentieri OnLine – Tell us something about you… When did you start acting?
Gerge Pilgrim – I was 19 years old and living in New York (1986) when I was recruited by the late Tobey Gibson; who, incidentally, also discovered Tom Cruise and represented Giancarlo Esposito. While studying at the Actors Studio in New York City, I worked as a tennis instructor at the New York City Health & Racket Club. I got my first acting job in a Burger King Commercial. Then I did PBS mini-series, Oklahoma Passage, where I played a green corn rebel in the 1800s.
From there, I ended up in California where I starred in the Red Shoe Diaries series with David Duchovny of the X-Files. I landed the starring role of Billy in the newly released cult classic, Tammy and the T-Rex, starring; which also starred the late Paul Walker, Dennis Richards, & Terry Kaiser of Weekend at Bernie’s. Tammy & The TRex is streaming on Showtime Anytime, Hulu, Amazon and Shutter and others. I then went on to play Billy the Kid in Timemaster which starred Pat Morita of Karate Kid & Michelle Williams. Eventually, all these projects led me to a 3 year contract playing the original J Chamberlain in CBS’s Guiding Light.
SOL – Why did you think about working in soap operas? Did you have this
intention or it happened by chance?
GP – It happened by pure coincidence during an audition, which led to 7 call backs and a trip to New York City for a screen test, where I landed the role of J Chamberlain.
SOL – Did you know Guiding Light or someone in your family was a fan of this soap?
GP – My late grandmother was a big fan of Guiding Light.
SOL – Do you remember your screen test for Guiding Light or your first day on the set?
GP – Yes, very well, I was flown business class to NYC from Los Angeles, put up in a hotel and had a car service that picked me up and took me to work each day. In the middle of Manhattan, we were up on the 11th and 12th floors. Guiding Light was filmed in a skyscraper, where we took up 2 or 2 floors, which was the locating for both the set and sound stage.
SOL – You had many scenes with Rebecca Budig. Did you like working with her?
GP – I did. I was Rebecca’s love interest. She was a talented and beautiful actress.
SOL – You also worked with some veterans of Guiding Light. What do you
remember about: Lisa Brown, Michael Tylo, Maeve Kinkead?
GP – Lisa Brown was known as Nola, and she played my mother. She was also a very talented actress. Michael Tylo played my father. He played an archaeologist on the show. He kind of reminded me of my biological father. He was extremely talented as well. I unfortunately do not remember working with Maeve Kinkead.
SOL – You had a contract for three years but you left the show after some
months. Was it your choice?
GB – True. They would not allow me to do other film roles that I was booking, and the role of J Chamberlain held me back in my career. This was a huge downside to working in Soap Operas.
SOL – Did you keep in touch with your co-stars or the crew of GL?
GP – The only person I kept in touch with was Marshall Hilliard, who played Hart Jessup. I ran into Wendy Moniz a few times, who played Dinah.
SOL – What happened after leaving Guiding Light? Did you ever try to work in another soap opera?
GP – No, I got into writing my auto biography, Citizen Pilgrim, which is currently in development.
SOL – You are also a producer and a writer. Do you like most to act or to work behind the scenes?
GP – While I like acting the best, I did go to focus on writing my auto biography, Citizen Pilgrim, which is currently in development.
SOL – Which are your current and future projects?
GP – I am currently shopping my autobiography Citizen Pilgrim, which was co-written by New York Best Selling author, Lisa Pulizter. It is also being shopped as a movie.
SOL – Have you ever been to Italy?
GP – Yes, one time to Rome.
We thank George Pilgrim for this interview, and we invite you to visit his personal website to learn more about him!! www.georgepilgrim.com
Many thanks to Ross P.S. that helped me to do this interview.