Peter Bergman has played Jack Abbott on The Young and the Restless for over 30 years. He recently sat down with Soap Hub to chat about the soap’s 12,000th episode, which aired earlier this week.
Peter Bergman Looks Back…And To The Future
In addition to talking about the show’s milestone episode, the three-time Daytime Emmy winner reflected on the genre, what he learned at All My Children (where he played Dr. Cliff Warner through the 1980s), and much more. Read on for the highlights from the insightful actor.
On watching not only The Young and the Restless but the other three soaps:
“I like to see what people are doing to stretch the medium, to see what they’re doing, actors who show up on the scene that make me say, ‘You’re somebody I don’t know yet, but I think you’re pretty darn good.’ I watch those actors mature both on our show and on others. We have Courtney Hope [Sally] on YR. I watched her on The Bold and the Beautiful and I thought, ‘This girl knows what she’s doing.’ I don’t know whose brainchild it was to bring her here, but I applaud the decision.”
On how he learned what a great job a daytime role can be and on paying that forward:
“When I started in this business on All My Children [as Cliff], I was 26. James Mitchell [Palmer] started at the same time. Looking at James, I realized that this was a job to take very seriously. In daytime, you get to work as an actor. Never ever take that for granted. I have since gone on to impress that to anyone on this show that I can. I tell them that this is a job, it’s a great job, and I’m eager to help you if I can.”
On that time Jack threw a chair out a window and invited Victor Newman (Eric Braeden) to “Have a seat — on me!”
“Jack was furious. Victor wanted Jack’s office so, Jack threw the chair out the window — without much regard to possible passersby below! When we did it in run-through, I thought if this really happened, wouldn’t there be a big breeze as the executive suites are up pretty high? The director said, ‘You’re right.’ They had three big fans that were used to make wind brought up. Jack threw the chair and when those fans came on, it looked just fantastic. I loved being a part of that moment.”
On Dina’s (Marla Adams) passing and how the show managed to make that work despite COVID-19 safety protocols:
“Since we’ve been back in August, we’ve had challenges [with safety protocols]. I thought staying six feet apart hasn’t been a burden for me — until Dina died. That was so hard to do. No touching. No comforting one another. In the end, however, I was very proud that it was as emotionally gripping as it was. We did it all with our hands figuratively tied behind our backs.”
On Dina going off into the light and hearing John’s (Jerry Douglas) voice:
“Having one more person die in this era of COVID [required us] to be creative and have Dina go off into that good night in a way where it wasn’t a dear, broken woman in a chair. I was happy with [how it was done]. I’ve made it my business to stay in touch with [Marla] throughout and I’ve talked to her since. She’s doing fine. She’s grateful that a six-month return turned into a four-year job where she got a Daytime Emmy nomination.”
On Jack being the head of the Abbott clan now:
“Jack started out as the bad boy scion to the family fortune. He’s learned about empathy from getting his heart broken and from failing to live up to what he thinks his father wanted him to be. He’s struggled through his relationships with his sisters [Ashley, Eileen Davidson, and Traci, Beth Maitland], and their mother leaving them at a young age. All of these things including his father’s passing, possibly the biggest single event in his life, have strengthened Jack.”
On his role in the family now that his parents are gone:
“Jack has come to realize — like it or not – the torch has been passed to him. Was he ready? I think everyone has been surprised that he is. I’m really, really proud of all of the colors that were explored through this arc, the highs and the lows, all of the character flaws, the misunderstandings — all of those things are a part of who Jack is. Life has changed for Jack and I have to respect that. If I had my druthers, Jack’s always a possible loose cannon, but that’s not what the show needs Jack to be right now. It needs Jack to be the head of a family. Jack’s changed. Peter has changed. I’ve gotten to play a lot of different colors.” The Young and the Restless airs weekdays on CBS. Check local listings for air times.