John McCook has played Eric on The Bold and the Beautiful for over 30 years. But the actor didn’t start out in daytime as the top designer at Forrester Creations. He first dipped his toes in the soap opera waters as Lance Prentiss on The Young and the Restless.
A Look Back With John McCook
“Lance Prentiss had his own private jet, lots of money and always two women he loved,” McCook posted on Instagram. “Typical soap hero, right?”
As YR fans recall, Lance worked as CEO of Prentiss Industries. He and his brother Lucas (Tom Ligon) were in a love quadrangle with Lorie (Jaime Lyn Bauer) and Leslie (Janice Lynde; Victoria Mallory) Brooks.
The dynamic actually had other dimensions, too. Leslie was still hung up on Brad Elliott (Tom Hallick), prompting Lance to take up with Lorie. Things got problematic for Lorie with the arrival of Vanessa (K.T. Stevens), the matriarch of the Prentiss clan.
McCook left Genoa City in 1980, around the time YR went to an hour. He embarked on a successful career in primetime, appearing on such shows as Family Ties, Three’s Company, The Love Boat, Dynasty, Hotel, Fantasy Island, Alice, and Hill Street Blues, among others.
The performer booked a role in Back to the Future as an actor in a cigarette commercial. Alas, that wound up on the cutting room floor. In late 1986, BB creator William J. Bell reached out to McCook about taking on the role of Eric.
There was one problem — Bell was dismayed to see that McCook still looked a bit too young to play a patriarch to grown children! The show added grey to McCook’s hair for the first year or so of the show to give him the appearance of being older.
Like many BB characters, McCook has popped over to YR, including when his ex-lover and fashion pal Lauren Fenmore (Tracey Bregman) wed Michael Baldwin (Christian Jules LeBlanc). McCook has never reprised his role as Lance on YR, however.
A few of McCook’s past and present co-stars chimed in on his post, including Jennifer Gareis (Donna) and Jacob Young (ex-Rick). “I remember seeing you on Y&R in the 70s when my mom watched,” posted kitcat1817, one of the actor’s followers. “That’s how I knew who you were when B&B started in ‘87. The Bells couldn’t have picked anyone better to bring Eric Forrester to life. I’m so glad you’re still there. Love a cleft chin too…” The Bold and the Beautiful airs weekdays on CBS. Check local listings for air times.