Daytime fans are in for a very special treat this week because General Hospital’s Maurice Benard sat down with Days of our Lives’ Peter Reckell on his video podcast, State Of Mind. In the episode, the two soap opera legends get personal on everything from anxiety, fatherhood, auditions, co-stars, and climate change.
Peter Reckell: Channelling Anxiety
Benard (Sonny) landed a double treat when Reckell (Bo, DAYS) agreed to an interview. Professionally, the two daytime greats had never officially met, even though they have worked in the same industry for 30-plus years and admired each other’s work. Their sit-down played out like a first date where both parties could really get to know each other, and the lucky audience has a front-row seat to the encounter.
The host wanted to know about Reckell’s childhood. The Daytime Emmy-nominated actor was very forthcoming about his upbringing. “I grew up in Michigan. Middle America. I am the second of six. I was the All-American boy,” he began. His need to do the right thing growing up led to some anxiety. “I saw mom, who had six kids, just get overwhelmed. And she did everything when I was in grade school. She made our clothes. We had a huge garden. We canned things. We had a cow. We made our own butter. We would trade milk for eggs with the folks down the street. I don’t know how she did it.
“I was overwhelmed with one [child],” Reckell admitted. “I, apparently, noticed that she was overwhelmed, so I took on responsibility. My baby sister, the youngest one, I changed her diapers. So I took on some of her angst. The only time I had an explosion was when my dad got a new job.”
The earnest actor explained what caused his blow-up. “We lived in the lower part of Michigan for my grade school years, and my dad got a new job in the upper peninsula, right on Lake Superior. It was like, boom! We had to move.
“I had a horse named Tiger at the time, and I just loved him,” Reckell shared. He revealed how his loss was compounded by the things he had to leave behind. “And, boom! He’s gone. We all pack up and pile in the car. Dad’s already up there working. We are driving, six kids in a station wagon full of stuff, and we crossed the Mackinaw Bridge, and I just blew up.”
He described what happened next. “My mom parked the car and took me for a walk.” Reckell discovered a release without even realizing it. “I learned to self-medicate when I was 10. My medication was running. I would just go run and disappear for an hour. I didn’t even know that I was self-medicating until later. Anxiety, I guess.
“That was the only time I was in that state,” the actor confessed. “Even now, when Kelly [his wife] and I first got together, I would ride my bike every weekend and back and forth to work as well. Kelly learned what it was for me if I didn’t because I would get a bit cranky. And she would say, ‘Nevermind. Just go.’”
Lots Of Ground To Cover
The fan-favorite actors covered a lot of ground in their intimate conversation such as how Reckell broke the news to his father that he wanted to act, where he went to school, working on the set of As the World Turns, and how an acting class in New York changed him forever.
Reckell spoke about his early days of intense fame on Days of our Lives, having Josh Taylor (Roman), John Aniston (Victor Kiriakis), Frances Reid (Alice), and Deidre Hall (Marlena) as mentors, how Kristian Alfonso (Hope) shared the same work ethic, who helped him get grounded early on so that his ego didn’t get the best of him, and the acting coaches and their methods that helped him not only in auditions but in life, as well.
The environmental activist talked about how becoming a father changed his life and galvanized his climate concerns into action, and now he speaks out on ways that people can help. Reckell shared with Benard what it was like living in New Zealand with his wife for five years, her climate change documentary that she made there, and the one she is currently making in Anchorage, Alaska, where they are living now. Don’t miss a minute of this episode.
Learn more about Kelly Moneymaker’s documentaries, Vaka and Drum Song: The Rhythm of Life. Follow Peter Reckell on Facebook, Instagram, and X, formerly Twitter. To follow State Of Mind and subscribe, go to YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter. Fans can now purchase inspirational merchandise for Benard’s State Of Mind. Check it out.