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The General Hospital Q & A Pages

General Hospital Interviews!

Catching Up with Blake Gibbons (Coleman)
Laurie Bedigian
December 5, 2008

Blake Gibbons plays the interesting and colorful Coleman on “General Hospital.”  Coleman became a favorite character of mine almost immediately.  I’ve often wondered about the man behind the role.  Recently I spent some time talking with Blake about his life and his career.  Blake is from Bakersfield, California and started acting when he was in college.  He has appeared in commercials, films, and numerous television programs.  Over the years, Blake has proven himself to be a talented and versatile actor.  He’s also an incredibly funny and well-spoken person.  Here are some of the highlights of my talk with the man who plays “General Hospital’s” favorite bartender. 

Did you act at all when you were in high school? 

No.  I was active in sports in high school, and you wouldn’t be caught dead in the theater department (laughs).  I always knew I was gonna come to LA to be an actor – from an early age.  But I was too “cool” at that point to go into my theater department in high school, because it was just a “strange” group of kids.  I guess I just didn’t admit that inside I was probably just as “strange” (laughs).  I didn’t make a move on it (acting) until I was in college.  I ended up majoring in Communications. 

Have you done any professional theater?

Yes, I have.  I’m not a big fan of theater, oddly enough.  There are many actors who love “the theater.”  I’m not one of them.  But I appreciate and respect those that do, and I understand why they do.  On the other hand, if something came up tomorrow that was a great part, I’d be there.  I’ve had some really great experiences in the theater.   But being on stage isn’t feeding my soul (laughs).  I’m thankful that I did it, and I’ve been exposed to it, and I appreciate and respect it.  But I have no personal longing to do plays.

You’ve been on “General Hospital” since 2002.  Was it originally a short-term part?

It was a six-week part, I think.  I was running a strip club.  I was very fortunate that it just kind of kept going. 

Coleman is a sort of guilty pleasure that people have come to really like.  Do you get approached much by fans of the character?

Yes, and people are very generous.  They’ve been very kind, and they seem to like Coleman.  It’s a good feeling to know that people seem to get a kick out of what you’re doing. 

There’s confusion about whether Coleman has a first name.  I’ve read his first name is Mitchell – is that right?

No, I don’t know how the name Coleman came about, but I’ve never, ever been given a (first) name.  I’ve never had a name other than Coleman, and it’s never been “Mitchell” or “Radcliff” (laughs). 

Tell me about working with Jason Thompson (Patrick).

Jason is a great guy and a great actor.  I think he’s really solid.  It’s a pleasure to work with him.  You can’t ask for more than that.  We have some laughs and go in there and do the deal.  I enjoy working with him.  He’s a really, really good solid guy.  And I mean that in the best sense of the word.  I just can’t say enough nice things about the guy. 

Do you prefer being on recurring status so you have the freedom and opportunity to audition for other projects?

I think soap opera actors have a great schedule.  You’re not working crazy hours, and you have time to be with your family.  From that point of view of just being steadily employed, I think it would be great.  On the other side, if I had been on contract, I probably wouldn’t have had the opportunity to do some other things that I find equally fulfilling.  I’ve been very fortunate to play some eccentric characters in commercials.  I have fun with that – I get to play things I wouldn’t normally get hired to play.  I feel very blessed and fortunate, and I have a great situation.   I love doing “General Hospital,” and yet I get to do all these other things. 

Do you get nervous during an audition?

No, but you do get kind of “jacked up,” for lack of a better term.  At times, nerves creep in.  Auditioning is kind of a skill in itself.  I think after you’ve done it so long, it allows you to keep your eye on the ball and not let those nerves get the best of you.  I go in and do the best job I can do, and if they’re digging me that day, great.  If not, that’s ok too.  Sometimes you may not be the “best” person for the role.  That’s just the way it rolls.  You usually know immediately if a part speaks to you. 

Tell me about your experience on “Seinfeld.”

Unfortunately I didn’t get “into” the show until later, so I didn’t realize what a coup that was to get on that show.  I didn’t watch it at the time, so I didn’t get the full impact.  After I became a fan, it kind of hit me, “Wow, I was on “Seinfeld.”  Jerry was really great and the girl who was my girlfriend was Amanda Peet.   I just remember it being a really cool, well-oiled show.  I remember there was a scene when Jerry comes over, and he’s coming to pick up my girlfriend to take her out, and I’m telling her goodbye.  I thought it would add to it if I gave her a little peck on the mouth.  So I asked the director, and they had a mini conference about it.  I realized that’s why the show is so successful – because there’s no detail that isn’t given thought.  Because my reasoning was sound – it wasn’t just arbitrary, they went with it.  They knew their “product,” and they were very attentive to every detail.

Weren’t you in a towel in that “Seinfeld” episode?  Was that uncomfortable for you and was it the closest thing to nudity you’ve done?

I remember pulling the towel up high, because I wasn’t used to taking my shirt off (laughs).  I probably had some love handles that from a vanity standpoint I felt I needed to cover up, so I hiked the towel up a little higher than normal.  To me that wasn’t nudity, because I had shorts on underneath.  I’m not big on taking my shirt off and all that – unless it’s part of the deal where you’re doing a full on love scene.

Tell me about the episode of “Dexter” you did recently.

I hadn’t seen “Dexter,” but I heard it was a great show and people loved it.  Working on something of quality is always such a great pleasure.  The role was kind of cool – it was something I hadn’t done before.  The scenes I did were with Michael C. Hall (Dexter) and Jimmy Smits (Miguel) and that was a nice bonus.  People love this show – they’re intense about it.  When I told friends, you would have thought I’d said that Elvis is alive (laughs).  It’s a great show – I can see how you get hooked on it.

Do you normally watch your work?  If so, do you watch as a critic?

I do watch and definitely as a critic.  I still record “General Hospital,” because it lets me know if what I’m doing is working.  It’s an invaluable tool.

Do you have a favorite role or something that stands out for you?

Years and years ago I did do a show about Elvis called “The Elvis Series,” and I played a character called Bill Black.  That would probably be my greatest experience just because I’m a huge Elvis fan.  That would have to be my favorite acting experience just because of the subject matter,  and we weren’t in the studio.  We were filming on the sites where things actually happened.  I was playing a really great character in a time period I love and a place (Memphis, Tennessee) that I love.  It was all very exciting, and it was a quality project.  I was very fortunate. 

If you weren’t acting, is there something else you would be doing?

I’d probably be a trapeze artist in the circus or a televangelist or something - out on the road with Jimmy Swaggart maybe (laughs). 

I hope you enjoyed my chat with Blake as much as I did.  Our conversation was truly one of the most enjoyable ones I’ve had to date.  I hope to bring you more from Blake in the future.  In the meantime, if you’re a “Seinfeld” fan, be sure to catch Blake in season 8’s (episode 22) “The Summer of George.”  Blake also appeared in the season 3 episode of “Dexter” called “Si se puede,” which can be seen on Showtime.  Be sure to watch for more of Blake on “General Hospital” around mid-January.


Read all of Laurie Bedigian's celebrity interviews:

Melissa Archer (ex-Natalie, OLTL)  10/21/12
Sean Kanan (Deacon, Y&R)  11/20/11
Greg Cipes (JT, GH)  9/5/11
Colin Egglesfield (ex Josh, AMC)  9/4/11
Brad Maule (Dr. Tony Jones, GH)  12/13/09
Tim Gibbs (ex-Kevin, OLTL)  11/7/09
Louise Shaffer (Rae Woodard, Ryan's Hope)  10/23/09
Tobias Truvillion (Vincent, OLTL)  8/14/09
Brian Gaskill (Rafe, Port Charles; ex-Bobby, AMC)  7/24/09
Catherine Hickland (Lindsay, OLTL)  4/12/09
Senta Moses (Winnifred, GH)  2/15/09
Blake Gibbons (Coleman, GH)  12/5/08
Brad Maule (Dr. Tony Jones, GH)  11/23/08
Graham Shiels (Cody, GH)  11/19/08
Bradford Anderson (Spinelli, GH)  4/5/08
Bradford Anderson (Spinelli, GH)  1/11/08

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