Follow the links to our archive of Thorsten's print interviews and articles about the characters he's portrayed.
Above: On the cover of the June 26, 2007 issue of Soap Opera Digest.
European actor Thorsten Kaye burst onto the American soap scene as Irish poet Patrick Thornhart on ONE LIFE TO LIVE. Art imitated life as Patrick wooed the damaged Marty while Kaye fell for her talented portrayer, Susan Haskell. Kaye left the soap in 1997, moved to L.A., and turned up on GENERAL HOSPITAL spin-off PORT CHARLES as Patrick's earnest brother, Dr. Ian Thornhart. He returned to New York in 2004 to join ALL MY CHILDREN as mysterious tycoon Zach Slater, perhaps his most inedlible role. Zach "died" in a plane crash in 2010, but miraculously surfaced this summer, having only been hi-zached. As of this writing, he will not make the move with AMC when it goes online. Kaye currently resides in Connecticut with Haskell and their two young daughters, McKenna, 8, and Marlowe, 4. When he's not acting, he enjoys doing home improvements and reliving the Detroit Red Wings' Stanley Cup victory.
What drew you to playing Zach after a decade of playing Thornharts?
It sounded like a nice opportunity to work with some people I knew, including Julie [Carruthers, executive producer] who I had worked with on PORT CHARLES. Zach had more money than I'll ever have - he had boats and planes and Armani suits - so it was an escape for the actor, too. It's cool to become someone who is so removed from who you are and who you will ever be. Whether it was the power, the money, the relationships with women, I enjoyed it. We had a bunch of good years there.
Why was Zach so popular?
You've seen me. I'm a tasty treat [laughs]. When I was younger, I did a lot of modeling on the radio.
What did you like the most about playing him?
I liked the fact that Zach didn't always have to say what he thought, and people got it.
That was because of the way you played him, not necessarily how he was written.
The part was created by all of it. You bring to the table what you think will work, and it goes from there. They say acting is reacting. Well, Zach evolved because of the way the rest of the cast reacted to him. Their reaction sold the character.
Helped by your acting, and his eventual romance with Kendall.
I don't know about my acting, but yes, Kendall for sure. Alicia Minshew is a great listener. The way she reacted to Zach helped sell the character. There's always something going on with her, which helped create the relationship.
Along with the fact that you always played Zach like he burned for Kendall, no matter how AMC wrote him.
As an actor, you make a choice and you hope the audience catches up with you. Sometimes they wrote that they wanted Zach to be in love with someone else. That didn't work for me. I stuck with my first choice, which made sense to me, and the audience caught up.
The writers did, too.
Let's just say that the writers wrote to my limitations, and I would like to thank them for that [laughs]. The hardest thing about soap operas - and the most fun thing, too - is that not everything is set in stone. When you read a script for a movie or a play, you know exactly what your job is. There is a definite evolution for the character. On soaps, the evolution comes from what is written, how you interpret it, and how other actors deal with you on-screen. So for me, even if I made a bad choice, it was a choice. And the writers let me deal with the consequences.
Is that why Zach was so popular?
There's really no formula for it. If there was, soaps would just write popular characters. Look at Cady McClain [Dixie]. She was asked to do some things she didn't agree with, and she did them because she is a team player. The audience didn't get it. When the audience doesn't get it on a soap, it comes back to the actor, not the writer. People don't stop Russsell Crowe and say, "Why did you kill all those Romans?" But they stop us all the time. "Why did you do that to Kendall?"
What would you have done differently if you were the boss?
I would have had Zach paired with two sets of twins.
I would have committed more to stories and tried to fix them before pulling the plug.
What was your favorite story?
My favorite story was in 2008, when the Red Wings won the Stanley Cup.... uh, you mean daytime story? I can barely tell you what happened to Hamlet in the end! Looking back, I liked the bigger stories where I got to play with other characters. There were some really great actors on that show. David Canary [Adam] is a legend. Eileen Herlie [Myrtle] was amazing. I look back and am so grateful for the time I spent with her. Thank God for some of those bomb explosions they wrote for us, because I got to hang with Eileen and just shoot the s--- while they set up the shots. Who can you compare someone like that to? No one. I really miss her.
You also introduced Alicia to her husband, Richie, which was pretty monumental in their lives.
Yes. If you ask Alicia what her most memorable moments are, she will probably say her scenes with me first, then her husband, and child [laughs]. No, those guys are happy and little Willow is beautiful.
What are your most memorable moments?
Here's one: I had just gotten there and I had scenes with Cameron [Mathison, Ryan], who is this big in-shape super model and one of my best friends. Ryan had fallen off a motorcyle and I was supposed to kick him to see if he was okay. Before the take, he says to me, "Really kick me, I want to feel some pain." I said, "Okay, Brando." He just wanted a little bit of contact, but with the language barrier - he's Canadian - I didn't get that. So I really gave him something to work with. That was a pretty good scene for young Cameron.
What was your least favorite story?
I didn't love my father turning out to be a murderer [The Satin Slayer]. And how did I get a French father? I could have missed that chapter very easily.
What's your take on AMC going online?
I think it's a great idea and I hope it works out for everyone.
What do you want to say to AMC fans?
Thanks for sticking with us on this ride, even though it got a little bumpy. Here's the thing: All jobs end. The longer the job goes on, the harder it is to say good-bye. All you can do is cherish the good stuff it has given you over the years. Actors get paid really well for a while, and then we don't work. Sometimes you luck out with a job like AMC. And sometimes you run the fog machine for a high school production of Pippin.