When Aaron Spelling made his foray into daytime in 1997 with Sunset Beach, one of its stars was already a favorite to soap lovers of NBC, as Hank Cheyne, who had played Scott LaSalle/Love on Another World a decade earlier, was cast as hero cop Ricardo Torres.
Hank Cheyne Recalls His Soap Past
Cheyne would stay with the show until its premature cancellation in 1999, with Ricardo a major part of the storyline throughout Sunset Beach’s entire run, with the actor getting to play comedy, drama, romance, and even horror. His character was involved in a great love triangle with Gabi (Priscilla Garita) and his brother Antonio (Nick Kiriazis); a spooky tale involving the curse of the Rosario Jewels; and the infamous Shockwave storyline.
In the latter, two earthquakes triggered an enormous tidal wave which then hit a cruise liner tipping it upside-down, leaving many of the show’s characters in a Poseidon Adventure-esque race for survival.
“Shockwave was so much fun. Every day, I felt like I was shooting a prime-time show or a film because of all the effort that everyone put into it; it was such a big production,” he says. “Priscilla and I had a lot of great stuff during that and it was a big ‘rally around the flag’ moment for the show, and we all got to do some fun and challenging stuff.”
Cheyne has stayed in touch with a lot of the Sunset Beach cast through the years, sharing that Dax Griffin (Tim) regularly texts him about “one thing or another,” and Kiriazis is also someone he connects with weekly.
“I hear from Clive [Robertson; Ben] once in a while, and he’s doing a completely different thing now, developing properties,” Cheyne says. “I just talked to him last week and he may come up to visit in a week or so.”
He and his wife have also shared dinners with Garita and her husband and celebrated special occasions with others as well.
Cheyne is married to Missy Hughes (Another World’s Sara Montaigne), who he met in 1986 when they were both on the NBC soap. The couple just celebrated their 26th anniversary on Oct. 15.
“We’ve been down this long road together and it’s been a beautiful ride,” Cheyne says. Hughes has spent the past 15 years as a realty television executive for Renegade 83, and the two have shared countless adventures together. The couple lives in Ojai, California, and recently sold their apartment in Santa Monica after 30 years, so this is the first time they haven’t had a place to host friends in the Los Angeles area.
Thinking back to his Another World days, Cheyne recalls one time when he was shooting in upstate New York on a frozen lake when Scott needed to save Cheryl’s dad Vince (Bob Hogan), who had crashed through the lake.
“It was something you don’t normally do on a soap and it was really interesting,” he says. “They had cut a hole into the lake and Bob had to wear a wetsuit and get in, and I was just glad I didn’t have to do that. I was just on top.”
Cheyne was saddened to learn of the death of Marcus Smythe, who played Peter Love on Another World, describing him as “a lot of fun, sarcastic as a motherf…and I just loved him.”
Another person Cheyne stayed in touch with from his AW days is John Considine, who played Scott’s father, Reginald and the two are planning to get together soon. He also reached out to Hogan prior to his death this past May, who he hadn’t talked to in decades, contacting him through his agent.
“He called me the next day and we had a great talk for about an hour,” Cheyne says. “We’re all in a different stage of our lives, and it gets you thinking as you get older.
When Sunset Beach ended in 1999, Hank Cheyne explored another passion—art. He immersed himself into his paintings, with his artist bio describing them as “infused with an affinity for unorthodox applications of concrete, wood, steel, and fire, exhibiting a labor-intensive physicality that draws the viewer into a multi-dimensional surface.”
“I had some success with that I devoted 10 years to that, and it was another great journey,” he says. “I still do that once in a while and had some fun with it.”
Naturally, he still popped up on TV here and there, most notably as drug lord Anton Vargas in MyNetworkTV’s Saints & Sinners. More recently, Cheyne appeared in 10 episodes of Longmire, turned up on a few episodes of The Bay, and was in an episode of The Morning Show, the Jennifer Aniston/Reese Witherspoon hit show on AppleTV+.
“I like that show and maybe at some point, they will bring me back on that one,” he says. “That was really fun.”
During the Beach days, Cheyne shot a lot of films and is hoping to put together a new documentary or “visual poem” to reflect the journey the cast members took.
“I ran across all these interviews I did with many of the actors during the run-up of the first time they thought we might get canceled, and I’d like to mold that into something at some point,” he says. “Creatively, that’s going to be my next project.”
Hank Cheyne believes that had Sunset Beach came on a few years later—when the Internet and social media became more popular, it would have starved off cancellation because the fandom remains so strong for the show and he’s constantly hearing from fans.
“I just want to send my best and love to all of the fans over the years,” Cheyne says. “It picks your spirit up in between gigs for sure and I try to acknowledge them when I can.”