Fans may have seen him in more than 100 roles and have never really known the man behind the characters. Daytime Emmy-award-winning actor, Jeff Kober, embodies every role he takes on and leaves it all on the acting floor. His performances mesmerize, horrify, shock, or surprise you but always leave you wanting more. This week on Maurice Benard’s video podcast, State Of Mind, Kober reveals the secret behind his craft and how to find your bliss.
Maurice Benard & Jeff Kober: Opening The Door
Life has a way of putting you on the path you belong, and it is sometimes when you feel most empty that life fills you up. Fans have heard Benard discuss how his role as Sonny Corinthos on General Hospital and the drug Lithium helped turn his life around. Such was the case with Jeff Kober (Cyrus Renault), who wandered aimlessly in his youth, trying to find his place in the world until acting opened up his emotional floodgates in a healthy way and set him on a spiritual path.
“I was so shut down for so long. I had this tragedy in my teenage years that just shut me down.” Benard probed so Kober explained, “I was in a car accident, and a boy died. I wasn’t charged with anything. I wasn’t speeding or anything, but a little kid ran out in front of me. And he was a friend of mine. I wasn’t even able to talk about this until a few years ago. I really thought that I was a murderer. I wasn’t worthy of life, let alone happiness, but I didn’t know how to kill myself.
“So everything was held inside,” continued Kober, detailing his journey. “Then came acting, and it was like a window out. And I started getting some therapy and getting a little bit more [opens hands like a window] and a little bit more.”
The memorable role of Sgt. Evan “Dodger” Winslow came along in the Vietnam-based series, China Beach. “It was a guy that had seen way too much, and he had like that 1,000-yard stare. It was written that way. And that is the way I was.”
The thoughtful actor explained his emotional state at the time. “I wasn’t fit for society. I could just barely talk. And they wrote that character. Plus, I had the flu when I went in. I could hardly talk, and I said, ‘Sorry about my voice.’ And they said, ‘No, we love it.’ So it was using who I was in a situation that really fit.”
Finding his niche in the world and finally opening up changed his life. “I have been blessed that throughout where I was able to continue to do the work both emotionally and spiritually. To just continue to opening up, opening up, and opening up. Today, I can take from all of that, but I am not controlled by any of that. I have cleared myself from the blocks and the trauma.”
An Epic Life Story
Kober shared his experience growing up in Billings, Montana, his first experience with actors after being conducted by then-student Oscar award-winning actor J. K. Simmons, as a trombone player in the orchestra of the University of Montana’s production of Fiddler on the Roof, which led him to Los Angeles, and how a Rock n’ Roll band experience led him to be a paralegal, and that led him to acting classes.
The consummate actor and, as Benard likes to call him, Zen Master, spoke of his early days working with Michael Landon and Victor French on Highway to Heaven. French gave him acting advice that he would never forget. The two co-stars talked about his first days as a villain on General Hospital, how six weeks turned into three years, working with Genie Francis, Michael E. Knight, and Cynthia Watros, and winning a Daytime Emmy.
Maurice Benard used a quote from some of Kober’s spiritual lessons, “To become mindfully aware of our surroundings is to bring our thinking back to our present moment reality and to the possibility of some semblance of serenity in the face of circumstances outside our ability to control.” The two discussed heaven, hell, joy, and bliss. There is so much covered in this episode, and you won’t want to miss a bit. Catch the full episode here.
For more information from Jeff Kober on acting, meditation, and his photography work, go to his website or Facebook page. Fans can follow the actor on Twitter and Instagram. Follow Maurice Benard on Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok. State Of Mind is inching closer to Benard’s goal of 100k subscribers. To follow State Of Mind and subscribe, go to YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter.