Born in Queens, New York and raised on Long Island in Lake Grove, New York, Vincent Michael Irizarry was bit by the acting bug while studying at Berklee College of Music in Boston. It was during this time, while performing with a regional theater company, Irizarry, decided to return to New York to try his hand as a professional actor. Shortly after Irizarry won a full-time scholarship with Lee Strasberg at his Theater Institute.
Irizarry started out in daytime television in 1983 as Brandon “Lujack” Luvonaczek Spaulding on Guiding Light and hasn’t looked back once taking on roles from day to night to film to theater. Irizarry was nominated for a Daytime Emmy Award in 1985 and 2002, and won the coveted award in 2009. While beloved as “Lujack” it was portraying the dastardly and dashing role of Dr. David Hayward that elevated him to legendary status by daytime fans.
Irizarry was able to showcase more than his character’s evil side with tender performances with the iconic Susan Lucci and brilliant Alexa Havins. Irizarry held his own with television veterans David Canary and Ray MacDonnell delivering high octane performances.
Recently Vincent and I chatted about his roots as a performer, his celebrated role as David, what he has planned, saying goodbye to All My Children, and the fan extravaganza, A Tribute to Pine Valley. I have been a fan since I was seven and haven’t looked back since.
Describe what your last day of filming like?
Last day of filming was very surreal. Honestly. Felt like an out of body experience for me. Even driving to work felt like that. So strange. So dreamlike. Being on the show for 14 years, it was just indescribable. I didn’t know what to make of it. I was working so much for the last month going up to it. I was working like crazy that I kept prolonging it – the reaction for myself -
pushing it off. Not dealing with the reality. Until the last couple of days started to hit me.
That last day in particular. My last scenes and my last lines were with David Canary. After it was done I couldn’t remember one word that I had I said. It just seemed like an out of body experience. There was great celebration afterwards. Agnes Nixon was there she gave a beautiful speech. Everybody was very celebratory. An amazing bunch of people coming together to celebrate the beauty of All My Children.
How did you get involved with the Tribute to All My Children?
I got involved with it when Michael who is the promoter of it contacted some of the actors. He thought it was a great idea for everybody to have a chance to give a tribute to Pine Valley and really a tribute to the fans more than anything, they’re the ones we’re going to celebrate with. We’re going to celebrate with them everything that we loved about All My Children.
Giving them an opportunity to be up close and personal with us. It is going to be an all the way around fun event. Cameron Mathison, Michael E. Knight, Walt Willey, Jacob Young, and Darnell Williams. It is not scripted, it is a lot of fun. There are VIP tickets – premiere seats. A meet and greet for 2 hrs with the actors. More up close and personal with the actors. Pictures and autographs. It is a lot of fun. A great time.
Since David was such an amazing character, what has it been like playing him? You were good. You were evil. You were misunderstood. I mean, you ran the gamut.
(Laughing) This character has an amazing range of play. Certainly, you’re right I’ve run the gamut of emotions. I’ve had every emotion possible. It has been a lot of fun. I love this character. I’ve had a great time playing him.
Honestly, it has been a great privilege to play a character on a soap that has been created by Agnes Nixon who I have an enormous amount of respect for.
In fact, that was one of the highlights of the entire time that I worked on the show
having Agnes Nixon there and do scenes with her directly it was wonderful. She is a sweetheart.
Is David Haywood a villain or just misunderstood?
Is he a villain or is he just misunderstood. I think he is a little bit of both (laughing). He is definitely misunderstood. He also has his villainous ways. He is not his best advocate let’s say that for where PR is concerned. He definitely likes to leave a trail of destruction behind him. He is exciting, he really is. I love that he is a character that has issues that you can play and the audience gets to see that right before their eyes from week to week and respond to. The audience seems to like him a lot. It’s not just a character people love to hate. They really do love the character. The way it is scripted they identify with him or they see his humanity at times when they give me the opportunity to play that and they love that.
Do you still have plans to play him online or is that still undecided?
They haven’t approached all the actors, they’ve approached just a small handful thus far. So at the moment, I have no idea whether I am going to continue on online. Until they come to me and we know what is going on I can’t say.
Do you want to take the role online with Prospect Park or leave him end with the network?
I would love to if it is something that makes sense. It’s a great character. It really is a great character, but if it doesn’t happen… then I move on.
At the moment, right now, I am a free agent until they come to me and we’ll see what’s going on. I don’t know what their plans are. It’s too hard for me to speculate what could happen and what is going to happen at this point.
Tonight A Tribute to Pine Valley is on Long Island in Westbury for its final event.
Visit Vincent’s website for the latest news.