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Peter has been playing the role of "Jack Abbott" on CBS's soap opera "The Young And The Restless" since 1989. Despite the break-up of his marriage to Phyllis (Michelle Stafford) and recent business set backs, Jack is determined to succeed and defeat his bitter enemy, Victor Newman (Eric Braeden). Bergman has received 12 consecutive Daytime Emmy Award nominations for Outstanding Lead Actor (1990-2002) for his work on Y&R, winning the coveted award in 1991, 1992 and 2002. Bergman was also honored with the Soap Opera Digest Award as "Outstanding Lead Actor" in 1992 and 1993. In addition, he was the recipient of the MVP Award from Soap Opera Update in 1991, 1992 and 1994. Bergman was born on June 11, 1953 in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. His father was in the United States Navy and the family moved nine times before Bergman entered the eighth grade. Upon graduating from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York, Bergman appeared in numerous regional theatrical productions and in several television commercials before landing his first role as Dr. Cliff Warner on the daytime drama All My Children in 1979. He played the role until 1989, receiving a 1983 Emmy Award nomination for "Outstanding Lead Actor in a Daytime Series." Additionally, Bergman guest starred in the television film Kojak, and in the television series The Five Mrs. Buchanans and The Nanny. He starred in the PBS presentation of Pity the Poor Soldier and in the made-for-television movie Woman on the Ledge. His television credits also include guest-starring roles in the films Fantasies, Money, Power, Murder and Palomino. With a passion for classical and contemporary music, Bergman enjoys playing the piano, which he began studying at the age of 20. He freely donates his time to several charities, and coaches his children's various sports teams. He also serves on their school's board of directors. Bergman and his wife, Mariellen, live in Los Angeles and have two children, Connor and Clare.
A day in the life of Peter Bergman
PETER BERGMAN has portrayed the powerful Jack Abbott on The Young and the Restless for over ten years - and he’s loved just about every minute of it. After all, he hasn’t racked up eleven consecutive Daytime Emmy Award nominations for Outstanding Lead Actor (1990-2000) for nothing! (He won the award in 1991 and 1992.) Come with CBS.com as we follow Peter around to find out what a typical day at the studio is like for him.
It's another sunny day in Los Angeles and Peter Bergman is a bit tardy in arriving to the studio, which is unusual for him. "I lucked out - I got a late call today," he explains of his early afternoon entrance. In truth, this is only the third time he has ever been late to work in ten years. Peter is a self-proclaimed early morning person. "I wake up at 5:15 a.m.," he reveals. "I'm here [at CBS] at 6:15 a.m. and I go for a run." Running, although hard on his knees, is part of his everyday routine. On his way back in, he stops and puts some ice on his knee. "Well, I'm an old man," he laughs.
CBS.com met up with Peter around 1:00 p.m. Dressed in slacks and a white button down shirt rolled to the elbows, Bergman is ready to work. He gathers his script, a pencil and a cup of coffee and heads out for blocking at about 1:20 p.m. "This is where the director tells you when you're crossing [the stage] and waiting to speak," he explains. Even though he receives scripts about one week in advance of the actual taping, he doesn't start to memorize his lines until the night before. "All I have to do, in this job, is show up on time and know my lines," he jokes.
Peter remembers his first days on the set as being "terribly lonely." It wasn't easy to replace the actor who had originated the role of Jack Abbott. "It was a tough time," he confesses. "Though people were nice to me, there were Jack experts everywhere. Every prop man, every lighting guy knew more about Jack than I did." A New Yorker at heart, the move to Los Angeles was also difficult for Peter. "I moved with my family far away from the land I loved," he recalls. Peter has adapted to living in California and has found a permanent place in the Y&R family. "[The cast is] a very nice group of people who've become family to me," he notes.
After blocking, Peter heads to the stage to run lines with MICHELLE STAFFORD (Phyllis). Even though Stafford was on Y&R three years ago, this is the first time Peter has ever had the opportunity to work with her. They run through their scenes a few times and then move off to their individual dressing rooms.
Next, Peter grabs a bite to eat at the CBS Commissary. He enters and waves to the man behind the counter who, without saying a word, immediately prepares Peter's usual lunch: a turkey sandwich on wheat bread. He has the same thing everyday and dines in his dressing room that is adorned with pictures of his wife and two children. (Peter has a thirteen-year-old son and a ten-year-old daughter.) Much of his life revolves around his family. He's been married for fifteen years to a "beautiful redhead." "Redheads have always been a weakness!" he exclaims. Peter met his wife, Mariellen, on a blind date. "I get to be involved with my family because of the very kind hours that I work here," he enthuses. "I'm very lucky." Both of his children are athletes and this busy dad even finds time to coach their teams in basketball, baseball, softball and soccer. In addition, he's also the President of the trustees at his daughter's school.
Around 2:30 p.m., Peter gets dressed in the dark suit left for him by the wardrobe department. He then walks over to the makeup room, where he fixes his tie and sits back in an old fashion barber's chair. What does Peter do to relax on his days off? "I have a sailboat in Marina Del Rey," he shares. "[My wife] and I do a bit of sailing while the kids are in school. But I'm not going to be best remembered for my relaxing skills. I'm a busy doer." However, he is perfectly comfortable just sitting on his sailboat, which bears the name "Late Start." "I got a very late start on a lot of things," he explains. Just after his makeup is done, he runs into Stafford again and they decide to go over their lines in the hallway one more time. When they feel confident, we have a bit of time to sit and talk about how Peter feels about Jack Abbott.
Jack has had his share of drama, but Peter's favorite storyline was Jack's love for Nikki. "Jack thought he could love her enough to get her out of [her addictions] and it wasn't enough," he comments. Still, Peter enjoys the fact that Jack is passionate in his beliefs. "Jack is not a man who thinks anything lightly. Sometimes he's wrong but he believes it passionately." He also likes the fact that Jack is so mercurial. "On Monday, he's the son every father should have. On Tuesday, he is the manipulator. On Wednesday, he's the loving brother. On Thursday, he's a somewhat lovesick man in the middle of his life." Even though his character seems to have been through it all, there's still one storyline Peter would like to see happen. "I have to go after Victoria - not for Victoria," he muses. "I think that would kill Victor. I think Jack and Victoria are birds of a feather and Jack would know how to play Victoria better than most people would."
At 3:15 p.m., Peter gets called to the stage, where he and Stafford start with camera blocking. That's when they rehearse how the scene will look on camera and where the problems are with lighting or sound. Then the countdown starts to the actual taping. "Ideally, we do one take," says Peter. "I hate three and four takes. Take three and take four, I'm wooden and predictable." Today Bergman splits the difference and completes most of his scenes in two takes.
Wondering if this first encounter with Phyllis will lead to something romantic for Jack? Knowing his luck in the romance department, don't hold your breath! Don't feel sorry for him, though - Peter likes the fact that Jack is unlucky in love. "I so much want to play the guy out howling at the moon that life's unfair [rather] than the guy that's happy at last," he asserts.
After their scenes end at around 3:40 p.m., Peter heads back to his dressing room and bids CBS.com a good evening. "On this show, when your scenes are done, you go home," he laughs. "So, as soon as my scenes are done, I'm gone!
Peter Bergman's family fun in the sun
YOUNG AND RESTLESS's Jack Abbott can't seem to get away from his family, but for portrayer Peter Bergman, family time takes a bit more effort.
Bergman, his father, sister Beth, brothers Bob and Jon and their extended families are scattered up and down the West Coast and over to Virginia, so "An old-fashioned family reunion is just what we felt we were missing," says Bergman, who hit the information highway back in January to plan a July getaway. "Me on the Internet, a wild, wild thing!"
Birthday Heartache for Y&R Star Peter Bergman
Peter Bergman (Jack, THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS) was ready to peddle for a cause on his birthday weekend, but a family loss changed the game plan.
His June 11 birthday started out well, with Bergman psyched to join AIDS/Lifecycle for the final leg of its seven-day fund-raising bike ride. "I had birthday breakfast with Mariellen and the kids," shares Bergman. "Then, at 2 p.m., they all took me up to Ventura where I was to start riding the 84 miles to Dodger Stadium. There were 1,200 riders that had already made it from San Francisco to this point. I met lots of nice people. I hung out with them, went through the whole indoctrination and spoke a couple of times."
Then Bergman turned in to rest up for the ride. "At 2:15 a.m., Mariellen woke me up to tell me my dog Murphy was in the emergency room and they weren't sure he was going to make it through the night," continues Bergman. "He was my 40th birthday present, and here it was my birthday that many years after. I raced back and we had to put him down Saturday morning, so I missed the ride and now I miss my dog. It is terrible."
The golden retriever had been ailing for a month, but tests had been inconclusive. "It turned out he had a growth, and by the time he was in the emergency room he had blood in his lungs," explains Bergman softly. "It was very sad. He was part of the family, but he was really my dog. It wasn't a very good birthday present."