One of the most popular – and likable – actors to ever work in daytime, Scotland born Ian Buchanan made a name for himself in soap operas with his star turn as Duke Lavery on General Hospital (he joined the show in 1986, left to appear on tons of primetime television series, returned for a few years, and has made several special – if not odd – appearances over recent time – and there is no good reason that he couldn’t come back for more). He is also a Daytime Emmy winner, having won in 1997 for his versatile acting on The Bold and the Beautiful. Add his roles on All My Children, Port Charles, and Days of our Lives, and that pretty much means every fan of daytime has been pleasantly subjected to Ian and his work. A daytime icon, indeed.
What’s the best reply you have for when fans insist you should be back on General Hospital?
I am always amazed at how popular the character of Duke has been for so many years. He is loved. I respect that and respond accordingly. That for him to return is always an option but not mine.
When you read the GH script that was killing Duke, did you consider not showing up for work?
Not seriously! That would have gone against everything I believe in. It was suggested, but I never considered it.
After you won the Daytime Emmy, and read the script where you were being written out of The Bold and the Beautiful, did think it was a typo?
At B&B it was pretty obvious that the character of James was winding down and the canvas was shifting. I was very sad and disappointed but not surprised. And I have bounced back there frequently.
Between your soap roles, you’ve had tons of other television of course, but also your stage performance was a big hit as part of The Citizens Band – what is that about?
The Citizens Band is a Weimar Republic Cabaret Collective, made up of a revolving ensemble, performing original and period songs with a timeless political message.
You’ve lived in Los Angeles for so long, but did you love your years in New York while on All My Children?
I have always loved N.Y. and jump at any chance to spend time there. All My Children and The Citizens Band had me there for several wonderful years.
During this COVID-19 experience, you’ve sort of kept busy – starring in a fun Enter/Exit with your tv partner Finola Hughes. How did that come about?
Enter/Exit was Finola’s creation and I think I was her first choice to play Hugo.
Otherwise, how have you held up during Covid-19?
I have been busy during Covid doing things the Covid Way! Plays on Zoom, Enter Exit on Instagram. A lot of meet and greets and Cameos, sending special greetings to people out there celebrating birthdays or just wanting a hello.
What have you learned about yourself, these past few months?
I never get bored. I have a greater understanding of time and have learned to measure it efficiently. I don’t have to talk myself out of canceling plans as nothing is planned. I do miss dressing up and will get back to that when it is called for, not just the upper half for Zoom.
What are you most looking forward to when things get back to normal?
I’m looking forward to traveling and seeing people I have missed. And hugging them.
What was your last fun night out, before it all came crashing down?
My last fun night out was my nephews wedding in Scotland. The timing was perfect. The entire family was there and I haven’t seen them since. Everyone was dressed beautifully in kilts and gowns and it’s a great way to remember them.
What was your favorite way to spend the weekend, usually?
Weekends for me have always been social. Brunch, dinners, Sunday Funday. Unless I’m working! But it’s usually for catching up with friends or a road trip to stay with them.
What tv show would fans be surprised you never miss?
I have been loving Schitts Creek and any of the historical dramas. And biographies and documentaries.
What was scary as a kid but doesn’t scare you anymore?
Bullies scared me as a kid but not now.
What is your favorite vacation spot?
I love any city by the sea or on a river. With great train service.
Is there any place you’ve always wanted to visit, but haven’t?
There are places in South America I’d love to visit. I’ve been to Brazil and Argentina and one day will see the rest.
What do you miss more, live sporting events or go to movie theaters?
I don’t like crowds so I don’t miss events. I feel safer on stage.
What brand names are you most loyal to?
I support quality and equality and spend my money accordingly. I support local business and mom and pop stores as much as possible.
What was your first childhood brawl about?
My first child hood brawl would have been with my brother in his effort to get me to stop skipping and twirling in my kilt.
Who has been your hero?
Anyone who has maintained gentleness and integrity through thick and thin is my hero.
What is the greatest indulgence you allow yourself?
I spoil myself with shoes and sport coats. And travel.
What’s your favorite summer activity?
My favorite summer activity is sitting outside a European cafe watching the world stroll by, sipping a chilled rose.
Who makes you laugh?
I make myself laugh. My friend Bart cracks me up. And Finola.
What quality do you like most in a friend?
I like loyalty and integrity and a sense of humor in a friend. And kindness.
Best advice your father?
Don’t believe in anything that doesn’t believe in you.
Favorite tv show when you were a kid?
I love a British show called Blue Peter. I won several Blue Peter Badges.
You get one phone call – who is it to?
My mother because I’ve missed her for thirty-five years.
Most people consider it a job they couldn’t or wouldn’t do, but you’d like it?
What is the biggest event you’ve attended?
The biggest event was The Royal Wedding of Diana and Charles even just as a bystander.
Where do you keep your Emmy?
My Emmy is on a shelf in the laundry room, dusted off frequently.
What do you think is your best quality?
My best quality is putting others before myself.
How does someone who doesn’t like you describe you?
I don’t give much thought to people who don’t like me but imagine they think I’m standoffish, disrespectful and opinionated.
Have you changed your workout routine these past few months? What is it, what was it before?
I walk every day. That hasn’t changed.
Are you a great cook – are you?
I learned to cook along the way. Madrid, London, Milan, Tokyo, New York and Los Angeles.
So, you’re having a dinner party – who is on that list?
I’d rather have friends to dinner than celebrities. If they happen to be both that’s great.
OK, your friends are all there – so what’s on the menu?
Definitely on the menu salmon, baked or broiled, roast potatoes, asparagus and a very busy salad. Perhaps roast chicken for the non pescatarians. Cheers and fruit for desert.
How do you think/hope your friends describe you to their friends who haven’t met you?
To my friends I’m complex, loyal, kind and a lot of fun. Although some just call me Scottish!