This interview originally appeared in the July 30, 1996 issue of Soap Opera Digest
OLTL’s tortured poet might as well keep a lid on his personal life
Thorsten Kaye lives on the ground floor of a turn-of-the-century Manhattan townhouse. But don’t seek out the leather-bound volumes of Shakespeare or the tweed furniture you’d expect from brooding ONE LIFE TO LIVE hero Patrick Thornhart. Instead, visitors are greeted by a chewing gum machine, Looney Tunes prints and a neon Harley-Davidson sign. A pool table stands in the dining room, flanked by a saddle on a pole (in case visitors feel like cowboys). It’s no surprise to learn that this Englishman has had a love affair with all things American since he was little.
“My dad worked for General Motors,” Kaye says, with a slightly more British accent than Patrick’s Irish brogue, “and I always went to American schools.” Even his first love was an American girl living in London with her family. When imagining life on the other side of the ocean, Kaye’s vision was very specific: “I wanted to go somewhere warm, where there’s a beach, palm trees and great weather.
As Kaye shares his memories over an after-work beer at a restaurant near his apartment, he is cordial and honest, yet cautious. He’s not a man who feels comfortable giving his heart for a magazine article. It becomes apparent as the conversation progresses that Kaye is fighting her share of demons; Absorbing the limelight as a newly knighted piece of soap is clearly not a prospect he relishes. But he’s too gentlemanly to let his apprehension make anyone else uncomfortable. In fact, when he was told in the interview that one of the restaurant’s patrons was a fan, he didn’t wait for her to work up the courage to approach him – he approached and walked over. is introduced to her and her husband.
In person, the 6-foot-1, hazel-eyed actor is just as eye-catching as Patrick, the romantic hero who melts Marty’s heart with nostalgic looks and lines like “There’s no life without you “. And like Patrick, he has an intensity born of suffering. “I’ve never been a happy person,” Kaye acknowledges with a shrug. “I’m not that close to my mum and dad, and that’s not my choice. you have a conversation [with them] and it goes here, it goes there, but it never really hits [home]. Unfortunately, this is a lesson I learned very early on.
To fill that void, Kaye spent his youth immersed in sports. As a teenager, he broke athletics records and even became a decathlete. “It was a selfish time in my life,” he now admits. “The runners are very involved.” When a motorbike accident left him out of competition and his parents moved to Germany, 18-year-old Kaye pitched a tent outside London. But not for long: the United States International University (USIU) offered a tryout for its football team. Armed with $57 and a one-way ticket to San Diego, Kaye headed west.
“I arrived in San Diego unshaven, wearing a bomber jacket and jeans,” he recalls. “I walked into a hotel and the guy looked at me and said, ‘No room.’ So I slept on a lawn near the port. At 5 a.m. the sprinklers came on: that was my introduction to America.”
Kaye did not make the football team, but he was able to get a scholarship from the USIU theater department. “I wanted to be a movie star, earn a lot of money and live on the beach,” he recalls, displaying his killer smile. Countless unsuccessful auditions later, Kaye was forced to reassess his career path and accepted a scholarship to Wayne State University in Detroit, where he earned a master’s degree in acting. By the time he read for the role of Patrick, Kaye had performed nearly every play by Shakespeare.
Kaye laughs as she describes her screen test opposite Susan Haskell (Marty). “I come in and [learn I] having to do a kiss scene. Susan walks up to me and says, ‘I just want to tell you there will be no languages.’ I thought, ‘Great, because that’s what I wanted to do, talk to everyone and go home.’ It was very embarrassing; I tease her about it now.
Nine months later, the two are close friends as well as anchors in one of OLTL’s most romantic stories. Kaye speaks modestly about his appeal as Patrick. “It’s the character, not me,” he insists. “He’s a romantic, and I play the desire.”
Sometimes, Kaye suggests, Patrick’s desire goes a bit too far. “Guys don’t talk like that,” he remarks. “If I said to a woman, ‘I love you, I want you to be with me, I’m building you a house in the hills’, and she replied, ‘I had a good time, but I’m still with this [other] man, I’ll be out! It’s the biggest opposite between us – my respect for marriage. I’ve never been very eager.
In other ways, Kaye sees herself a lot in her character. “I am very passionate about my work. I like peace, tranquility. And I’m looking for a place where I can sit and say, ‘This is my home.’ “Playing a teacher comes naturally too, because Kaye actually taught drama and literature when he was in college. “I love the breadth of Shakespeare and classical theatre,” he says, “and there’s a place for that in this medium. People loved the Romeo and Juliet thing we did in class because they felt that hour was not wasted.
Of course, Kaye doesn’t greet all soap opera scripts so enthusiastically, especially ones marked “Patrick, shirtless, panting,” as he puts it. “If you have to take your shirt off because it’s on fire, that’s one thing,” he smiles. “Otherwise, I’ll say, ‘Why?’ During the remote where I had to do a riding scene, I said, “How come I don’t have a jacket on?” They said, ‘You were in such a hurry [you forgot it].’ I said, ‘It’s very cold, I saddled my horse, put on a new shirt and a waistcoat and didn’t take a jacket? Why don’t you just say you want to see my chest? ”
Still, her frustration with soap work doesn’t leave Kaye dreaming of movie stardom. “It would be nice to make a movie that means something, like Braveheart or Rob Roy,” he says. “But I don’t want to end up like some of these movie stars, unhappy because they want someone else’s career. They’re as mad at themselves as I am.
“I would love to fall asleep one night and feel satisfied with my work,” says the critically and fan acclaimed artist. “I don’t know what it’s going to take. It may never happen.
just the facts
Date of Birth: February 22
Favorite Classical Role: Macbeth
true romance: “Buying something is not romantic. Having a conversation with someone – listening and honestly telling them how you feel – is a romantic thing to do.
The Female Factor: “Most of my friends are women. I just enjoy their company. That doesn’t mean I have to go home and sleep with them.
Keeping Your Personal Life Private“It’s the only thing I have that’s mine. If I don’t have that, I have nothing.