Good Twin, Evil Twin: It’s a plot twist as old as ancient mythology.
Thom Christopher won an Emmy award in 1993 for his portrayal of twin brothers on the ABC soap opera “One Life to Live.”
Characters on soap operas often come and go, frequently because actors are fitting in soap opera roles between roles in theater or movies, Christopher said in an interview Monday at the Charles R. Wood Theater.
Christopher is in Glens Falls rehearsing for a role in the upcoming Adirondack Theatre Festival production of “Black Tie,” which runs June 26-30 at the theater on Glen Street.
“Like many actors, my career started with rent-paying appearances for like a week or two days on a soap. There were loads of soaps in New York then, and they were live,” said Christopher, who also appeared on “Guiding Light” and “Loving,” on which he also played twins.
On “One Life to Live,” he played Carlo Hesser, a gangster, and Hesser’s twin brother, Mortimer Bern, an ancient Egyptian culture scholar.
The character of Mortimer came about when a new producer took over the show and shook up the plot.
“So she killed me for three months, and I disappeared. ... When I came back, she said, ‘You’re going to come back as this Eqyptologist, Mortimer,’ ” he said.
Christopher said it was a wonderful sequence in which he would be ducking in and out of scenes portraying both characters -- the long-haired, brainy Mortimer versus the bald-headed, vivacious Carlo.
“And it’s a wonderful sequence over about two or three days in the show where you see her cutting the wig and eventually it’s to my bald head, and putting tuxedos on. But it was wonderful because it got farcical,” he said.
Christopher, who has acted in numerous stage, movie and television roles, including as Hawk on the television show “Buck Rogers in the 25th Century,” said that a quotation from Sir Laurence Olivier sums up his philosophy about acting.
“He said, ‘An actor has to recreate himself every 10 to 15 years.’”
Soap operas are no longer filmed in New York City, and only four or five are still filmed in Los Angeles.
“When the soaps went down, when the three networks just killed them, it was catastrophic. It put a lot of people out of work in these times.”
At age 71, Christopher finds himself in Glens Falls for his latest reinvention.
“Now I’ve been around long enough that people know me, and the new people coming into the business are getting to know me,” he said.
Staff writer Maury Thompson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.