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The General Hospital Character Descriptions Pages

Tristan Rogers - Robert Scorpio!

Robert Scorpio (Tristan Rogers)

Jess Walton and Tristan Rogers Return to Y&R 5/6/17

Tristan Roger's Mother Passed Away 4/9/17

Older stuff:

Tristan Rogers Apologizes for Tweets about GH Writers (January 5, 2017)

Tristan Rogers Interview with SID (January 4, 2017)

Tristan Returns to Y&R (November, 2016)

Tristan returns to GH again! (August, 2016)

TRISTAN ROGERS BACK TO GH!

Tristan Rogers, who has been ensconced in Y&R's Genoa City as Colin, is making his way back to Port Charles this December! Said Executive Producer Frank Valentini in a statement, "Scorpio is such a beloved legacy character who evokes a sense of nostalgia and I know the fans have been patiently waiting for Tristanís return. I share their sentiments and enthusiasm and that of our entire GH team in welcoming him home. Itís been a fantastic week of casting announcements for GH, but itís not over yet."

 

Check out The Scorpio Files

Rumor that Tristan might be returning to GH

CLICK ON THE PHOTO TO SEE THE LARGER VERSION…
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In spite of criticism that he's too outspoken, GH's Tristan Rogers continues to tell it like it is.

"I figured that five years was enough. I think now is a good time to leave. I think the momentum is right. The show's been very good to me and it's given me a lot. I think now is the time to take that and go out and satisfy a few other urges, and I think if I miss the opportunity now, I've missed it for good. "

Tristan had left GH in the winter of 1985 to pursue some well deserved R&R only to return for a brief period in 1986 (The Bert Ramsey/Mr. Big Storyline). "Ideally, I'd like to make both things work, GH and other career moves," Tristan says. "But there comes a time in your life when you've got to ask yourself, 'Hey, this has been good, but what do I really want to do?' Daytime TV has a habit of turning an actor or a person into a commodity. So that's what I'm asking myself .. am I an actor or a just a commodity?"

Unable to find what he wanted on nighttime television or feature films ("I'd love to do a Mel Gibson-type film role! I'd like to have an acting job where I have a little more to say in what goes on behind the camera in terms of the scripting and some of the production values."), Tristan again returned to GH from 1987 until 1992. "I left (in 1985) because I was burned out and I felt like I had to try new horizons. The timing, however, was bad. It would have been better to have taken a leave from the show for a shorter period."

Tristan decided it was better to lay off the offers he was given as they would not have benefited him in the long run. "I wasn't getting the work I wanted to get and the work I was offered would have been detrimental to my career."

Due to increasingly stiffer competition, GH and daytime television itself was going through some dramatic changes during the years Tristan was on the show and it was difficult to keep up with those changes. "Cable was in its infancy, there was no such thing as satellite dishes, there wasn't the selection on video," says Tristan. "That's all changed now. The viewer has a lot of options. Our audience has probably halved in the last six years compared to what is was back in '81 when GH was the only show anybody talked about, daytime or nighttime. The audience has just evaporated. I think the problem is the networks; they're not paying attention to daytime anymore."

Tristan, who was never shy in voicing his opinions both for and against General Hospital, offers some suggestions on what could have improved the show. "If I was head of the ABC daytime lineup, I would seriously look at bringing in new talent … producers, writers," he says. "There are thousands of unemployed writers that would kill to be able to earn a living by writing a soap. They have created this aura around the soap. You might be able to write Ben Hur, but daytime TV requires a special touch! We are doing story lines that we did five years ago. I do not know how they are not losing people left and right. There are a limited amount of things you can do and we have done them all! GH started it by getting involved in sci-fi and going beyond the adventure."

But, he adds with guarded hopefulness, "Daytime could do it again what it did back in '81. But it needs a very inventive; constructive person along the lines of a Gloria Monty who can come in and perceive a show as a different entity." Gloria, like many of her actors, left the show to pursue other avenues and with her departure from the show, GH went through a series of changes, from producers to head writers to the revolving leading lady door.

Wes Kenney took over and basically held the show together by a thread through the summer long writer's strike in 1988 by writing each days show as they were filmed. This left the show with disjointed storylines and undeveloped characters (remember when Sean and Colton teamed up in search of some computer chip). Then there was Joe Hardy: "I'm a big supporter of Joe Hardy's. In the last three months the show's morale has turned around a lot," Tristan says. "We really have a better look and the actors are taking things far more responsibly. The writing and production values have been improved 100 percent, so look for General Hospital, before long, to be the force it once was."

The list of changes in the production staff through the years was almost as long as the list of Tristan's leading ladies. Tiffany Hill, Jackie Templeton, Holly Sutton, Anna Devane, Cheryl Stansbury and Katherine Delafield are the most prominent characters to cross Scorpio's path. Then there are hints at romance with Connie Townley, Autumn Clayton, Rose Kelly and Tracy Quartermaine (I know you remember Robert mentioning a fling with Tracy to Luke and Laura while they were on the Casadine Island and Robert's one date with Rose!). The brilliant powers that be over at GH also flirted with the idea of putting Robert with Felicia but wisely decided not to down that road.

Emma Samms (Holly) was probably Robert's most favorite leading lady among Tristan Rogers' fans as he and Emma had a really great chemistry and made love and romance fun on the soaps again. While Robert and Holly became Port Charles' most happily married couple, Tristan wasn't initially thrilled on being paired with the character of Holly. "I resisted the marriage, I didn't think it was Scorpio's style, and I didn't want another hand-me-down girl friend (from Tony Geary's Luke). Someone had always been there before me. I was a bit fed up with that." Tristan wasn't Emma's first choice for a leading man, either. It was reported that she made some kind of "oh, not him!" comment when she first learned her character was going to become Mrs. Scorpio. Despite the actors hesitancy, Robert married Holly in true grand and romantic soap opera tradition and saved her from being deported for her families misdeeds - and just in time, we might add!

It was the fans who first saw something special in the Tristan/Emma and Robert/Holly pairing long before either of the actors did. "Basically the audience noticed - probably before even Tristan and I did - that there was an attraction there," Emma explains. "And it was the reality coming through, which was the he and I were very good friends and we were very attracted to each other. We went our for a year, so that showed in our performance. A lot of our on-screen relationship and that realism made it appealing .. He and I had been playing a married couple in love for quite some time before we actually tried it for real. Tried having a relationship that is, not marriage. It was quite strange. For instance, we had already kissed, many times. I think it was the humor interjected in that relationship that made all the difference. And, we were determined to prove that you can have a happy marriage on a soap that's not boring."

The basis of Robert and Holly's happy marriage was trust. And that trust went beyond the characters to the actors where they trusted each other enough to just go for it in any situation. "We had a romantic scene in a sauna where he was supposed to open a bottle of champagne, spill it on my shoulder and rather sensuously lick it off," Emma remembers. "Well the champagne wasn't bubbling so he shook the bottle really hard, it went off right in my face and I started laughing, which wasn't the romantic sensuous situation that was planned at all. But he started talking to me and then we kissed and the scene went on. The mail we had on that was fabulous, people wrote in about what a funny, natural, realistic scene it was. Those are the little things he adds."

Of course, all that trust and happiness ended with the introduction of Robert's first wife Anna and daughter Robin. Fans were initially outraged - how could Robert have a wife and not tell Holly about it? Well, we suspect that Robert didn't tell Holly because the poor guy didn't know himself until the writers dreamt her up but soon Anna (Finola Hughes) became a fixture on the show and eventually re-wed Robert after their respective second spouses Duke and Holly bit the dust.

Finola and Tristan also had a great on-screen chemistry and with their constant loving bickering because known as the "Moonlighting" couple on daytime. Finola is quick to credit Tristan's easy-going nature as a source of their on-screen chemistry. "He's very fun, quick-witted, very sarcastic, down-to-earth. I like all of that," she says.

Tristan saw Kimberly McCullough's Robin as a way to show the paternal side of Robert that up until that time, he had not been able to explore. "I've always like working with kids and when I first saw her she was this high and I used to carry her around everywhere. Now she's a young lady and it's very fascinating relationship to actually be around a child who's growing up and be able to relate to her as a father."

With respect to his marriages to Anna and Holly, Robert wasn't really that lucky in love. This was also about the time when the soap opera press insisted that Tristan had the right to say nay or yay when it came to the choice of a leading lady. "I've caught a bit of flack about it," he says. "It's been printed that I seem to influence who's in my love life and who's not in my love life (on the show), but I have nothing to do with it. I'm accused of being the person who changes things, which isn't true. Obviously they're not going to hire anybody that I'm not happy with. That's not going to work. But on the other hand, I'm not the producer. People like to point at somebody so, it's always your name over the marquee."

Tiffany's sister Cheryl (Jennifer Anglin) wanted so much to be Robert's wife that she used to fantasize about their happy life together and going so far as even accusing Robert of fathering her child, Lucas. Jennifer's Cheryl was domed from the beginning: "Cheryl could have been a lot different, but unfortunately she was a victim of the (1988) writer's strike," Tristan says. "The character evolved badly right from the start. She was in love with Scorpio, but I never believed for one second that he was in love with her."

But despite Tristan's lack of enthusiasm over Robert's pairing with Cheryl, Jennifer tried to make the most of her time with her leading man and tried not to be overtaken by Tristan's near notorious ad-libbing. "I get thrown by it and I don't know what to do but I keep trying. I don't break character," Jennifer explains. I've learned to go with it and act surprised and stupid even. I've decided that it's okay if Robert knocks Cheryl off her feet because nobody else ever does. I know that he delights in getting the script and seeing how much he can demean me. Change the script around to see how stupid he can make Cheryl look. It's okay, because then Cheryl's got the rug pulled out from under her and off they go."

The one woman Robert couldn't knock off her feet was Katherine Delafield (Edie Lehmann). Katie was smart, rich and talented and could dish out even more barbs and quips than the king himself. She was caviar and polo ponies, he was adventure and a crime fighter and together they made beautiful music together … it was a match made in heaven! "The thing I think he (Robert) likes about her (Katherine) is that she's no "yes' person around him. I mean she's quite prepared to kick him in the butt when he needs it. Even when he doesn't need it, she's pretty much of a match for him and I think this is good for a number of reasons."

Edie was a first-time actress and GH was her first acting job so Tristan was able to kind of mold Edie to his own way of doing things. "I like adventure and I like comedy. I tend to like a combination of both. One of the good things about Edie is that she has been able to keep up with my craziness! That's a real plus!"

Tristan thinks that the relationships with each of his leading ladies is something special and should have been judged on it's own merit. "Even though they (Robert & Holly) had something very special back then, I just don't know if that relationship would work now! Scorpio is very capable and ready to fall in love again and Katherine just might be the one. I think our relationship is going to evolve into something special."

Something special? Yes. But legal? No. "Scorpio is going to stay very single and be very much the ladies' man - more affairs - but there won't be any marriage. This is how (executive producer at the time) Joe Hardy sees the character and how I've always seen him." But that wouldn't last long as in 1991, Gloria Monty returned to the show as executive producer and put two of her most beloved characters that she created (Robert & Anna) and put them back together.

In addition to the magic he created on-screen with his leading ladies, Robert Scorpio and Tristan Rogers were also know for creating some of the greatest "male bonding" ever on the show. His relationship with Tony Geary was legendary. Their crazy antics made the Ice Princess storyline so enjoyable. Just as strong is Robert's relationship with Sean Donely (John Reilly). Robert and Sean had been agents in the World Security Bureau together and Sean was responsible for the break-up between Robert and Anna but the two have remained steady friends through it all and together with their other WSB cohort Anna Devane, created one of the strongest bonds in friendship ever experienced in daytime history. "It's a very unusual little threesome," Tristan explains. "I was married to her. I'm a police officer, but I don't trust Sean. But he's my best friend and she has a strange background as a traitor, yet she had my child. Yes, it's a really weird group we've got here."

They made be a weird group but it was Tristan's and John's strong off screen relationship that kept the two characters of Robert & Sean such good friends through it all. "I'm closest to the actors with whom I work the most on the show: John Reilly, Finola Hughes, Kimberly McCullough and Sharon Wyatt, I see John a bit and go to his place when we're not working, but that's about it.'

"I'm lucky that I tend to work with the same group of people all the time. John, Finola, Ian and now Edie. This is a very volatile group. The first thing we say is lets throw the script away and see what we can do with it. I like that kind of ad lib quality, but you can't do that with everyone .. a lot of people come in and make the mistake of learning the script and that's not the way I work. I'll learn what the idea of the scene is all about then put the whole thing into my own jargon and working with John, for instance, I know he's gone and done the same thing and then sit down and develop a scene."

Another of Robert's strongest relationships was with long-lost brother, Malcolm Scorpio, played by actor John. J. York. Tristan was excited about showing yet another aspect to the Scorpio character. "This is kind of the last gasp in Robert's background. I like the idea. I wish we had done it sooner." Even though the characters were at odds when Mac first arrived on the show, the respect between Tristan and John was evident.

"He's a very giving actor and he kind of evolved and slipped into the role very easily," says Tristan of John. I am happy with the relationship because both of us get along well together. That makes it a lot easier."

John offers: "We are very comfortable with each other. I like Tristan and I think he likes me. We get along together pretty well. He literally has taken me on like his brother. That is exactly what our relationship is."

Tristan took a lot of his own integrity and applied it to his work. "I guess when I was growing up I was always very shy and most of it has been kicked out of me at this point. But there's still a streak in there and apart from all the glitter and glamour, I'm really a person who likes to go home, sit in front of the fire and read the paper. I'm not the one that's for the party scene. That was never my idea of what this business is all about, even when I first started and that hasn't changed at all. And a lot of people don't understand it. Some of the interpret it as snobbery."

And that applied arrogance spilled onto the set where Tristan was accused of throwing legendary fits on the set when things didn't suit him. The press would label Tristan with this "bad boy" reputation

"Don't believe all this stuff you've heard about me being the prime trouble maker on the set at the moment. I have a short fuse when it comes to stupidity and people who don't know what they're doing. And there was a three-year period on GH that that was very much in evidence … and there were certain things that I reacted to. Coming from five years on the show when everything was ship-shape and very organized, it was very difficult to swallow the fact that the show had become a rudderless ship. And, I guess, during that period, I flared a little bit .. Basically a lot of people took that the wrong way .. I just wanted the best possible show that I could be a part of .. I'm happy to say that things have come back on track now."

Considering his outspokenness, Tristan was committed to doing a good job on the show. "I do get bored from time to time, but I knew what I was letting myself in for when I signed the contract. I am the central character, so it requires a tremendous amount of input from me all the time. I am never off-stage."

There are some things about his tenure on GH that Tristan will never forget - like working with Tony Geary - the master of the ad lib! "When I was working with Tony Geary - he was a master of it, I learned a lot from him - we would sit back and ad lib and ad lib and Gloria Monty would come in and say 'Well, you're having a great time, but what the hell's the scene about?'"

Tristan also reminisces about working with Elizabeth Taylor: "She was extremely nervous on her first day. She had never worked with so many cameras before and she had cue cards all over the studio. Our producer took me to one side and ordered, 'Thou shall not ad lib today, Tristan.' I agreed but when I saw the script I just knew I would have to make some changes. As I was walking to the set with Elizabeth I told her I had made some alterations to the script and that he cue cards might not match up any more."

"She said, 'Oh, okay, but now will I know my cues?' I told her, 'Put it this way. You start talking when I stop.' She thought that was hilarious and burst out laughing. It broke the ice."

In the 11 years on General Hospital, Robert Scorpio became one of the most interesting and best loved characters in the history of daytime and has brought the joy of being a Tristan Rogers fan into our lives. "I look around at what's going on in daytime and I'm amazed that I've lasted (this long)! Either I've done something right or new upcoming talent isn't all that good!" Tristan jokes.

Tristan has also tried to put his celebrity status in perspective: "I'm a person who likes to do things for himself." I don't have a retinue of gophers and hangers-on to do things for me," says Tristan. And why should I? I get up in the morning and put my shoes on like everyone else." In his 11 years with the show, Tristan had won numerous fan-related awards, such as the Soap Opera Digest, Soap Opera Update awards and awards for best couple and leading citizens from the Fans Of General Hospital organization.

No one can say exactly what makes one character or actor work while another doesn't. Jennifer Anglin offers this opinion on what makes Tristan such a fan favorite: "One, he's so mischievous and I think that comes across. Two, at least from my point of view, he has this little-boy quality that I think every woman in the world is susceptible to. I think he's a very charming person and that comes across. Put together the whole package: he's attractive, charming and he's quite good at what he does." That just about says it all!

During his years on General, Tristan was also able to do a few other projects. In 1984, he worked on a album with music producer, Michael Lloyd, and put down the tracks to one single, If I could walk away and provided one of the movies for the Disney animated feature, The Rescuers Down Under.

"He's an unusual character named Jake, he's not your ordinary Australian," says Tristan. "He's a little kangaroo mouse. There's no such thing, except for the purpose of this character. I had quite a bit of carte blanche in terms of interpretation and dialogue."

Tristan continues: "It's just like preparing for an acting role except you do not have a camera, therefore you have to put more energy into your voice. You are painting a picture with your voice. I was given a lot of creative control. I would look at the storyboard and see what the visual looked like. Then I would go back behind the mike and do it. You do a line at a time or even a word at a time. Then I simply just go through that work ten or twelve times in different inflections … just work it in different ways. They are so much fun. You become a lot hammier. You can be as hammy as you like. When I did Sky Commanders (a cartoon series) we would always fight over who would play the monster!"

Back to Tristan Rogers' Biography

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Page updated 5/21/17

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