Daytime Emmy winner Vincent Irizarry has a fan base that covers all three major networks, from his groundbreaking role as Lujack on Guiding Light (CBS), his Emmy winning performances on All My Children (ABC), to memorable turns on Santa Barbara and Days Of Our Lives (both NBC) – he always brings a strong performance. And taking a break from daytime worked well for him, too, as he was cast in a lead role by Clint Eastwood in the feature Heartbreak Ridge more than three decades ago. While the Covid-19 pandemic brought Hollywood to a halt, Vincent has forged ahead as best he can, even finding a little peace.
Tough time to have many options, but what was your favorite summer activity?
Vincent: I’ve really come to enjoy hiking. I love the peacefulness of it, especially if it’s over a scenic location. Then afterwards, sitting outdoors in the shade, enjoying a nice meal over a glass of wine. Hey, a person’s gotta’ eat and hydrate, right?
What have you miss more, live sporting events or going to movie theaters?
Vincent: Neither. I’m no longer big on being a devout sport spectator, as I was in my earlier years – go Mets! Nor have I been impressed with most of the movies coming out over the past several years, compared to the quality of so many TV shows being produced. The quality of storytelling alone is so far superior, for the most part, which is why I’d rather binge watch something from home. Of course, there are some exceptions every year, but for the most part I go to the movies maybe twice or three times a year, compared to 20 years ago when I would do that practically each month. That’s not to say that I don’t miss even going occasionally.
What movie should definitely have a sequel – starring you?
Vincent: Godfather 4 – as a Corleone, obviously!
What was your first childhood brawl about?
Vincent: I don’t remember the cause, but when I was three year old another kid bit me, so I punched him in the mouth. My mother agreed with my reaction considering the kid never bit me again. Hey, it’s tough growing up in NYC! You gotta’ hold your own. Just because we’re invited to “Take a bite out of the Apple,” doesn’t mean that those of us living in The Apple should be feasted upon.
Who has been your hero?
Vincent: Honestly, all my siblings. I have five brothers and sisters, and each of them have been there for me throughout my life, during some very difficult times, as I’ve always attempted to be for them. We’re a very close-knit family, and I love them all greatly. I feel very blessed to have them all as my family, therefore to me, each of them holds a place in my heart as my heroes.
Who is the last famous person you’ve met?
Vincent: Tristan Rogers, the other night while he was dining in my community : ) It was great to be able to congratulate him personally for his well-deserved, and long overdue Emmy win for his role in “Studio City!” He really did a fantastic job, as did the entire cast. Wonderful production, overall…
Best advice your father ever gave you?
Vincent: My father used to say when I was younger, “Someday you’re going to have to stand up and be counted.” My version of that I’ve shared with my own children has been, “The world isn’t going to stop turning, waiting for you to get on.” Different phrases, similar advice, I guess?
What is the biggest event you’ve attended?
Vincent: I have two. Seeing Led Zeppelin in concert in 1976, “Physical Graffiti” tour, and being at Shea Stadium for the 1986 World Series between the Mets and the Red Sox – Mookie Wilson hit the little dribbler down the first base line, going under the legs of Bill Buckner, to come from behind in that inning to win that game, thereby getting them to game seven, which they won to take the trophy.
What one event do you wish you hadn’t missed?
Vincent: When the Berlin Wall came down I was on Santa Barbara. It was erected soon after my birth, and to grow up in a world, even as a young boy, knowing that there were people in the world that were literally walled in, unable to be a part of the world experience, seemed so disturbing, so bizarre to me. So when it finally came down, I really wanted to jump on a plane and experience that moment personally, but also as a photographer. It was such a significant moment in our world’s history, so to witness it coming down, even from across the globe via TV, was truly something to celebrate in.
What is your favorite sports team of all time?
Vincent: The 1986 World Series winning New York Mets. Although, I’ve also enjoyed many years of the New York Yankees as well. In 1988 I had season tickets for the LA Lakers which I purchased with Jed Allen. It was the final year of Kareem Abdul Jabbar’s career, as well as the last year the Laker’s won the championship with the dynasty of that time: Magic Johnson, James Worthy, Byron Scott, AC Green, etc. – I can honestly say that I witnessed some of the best moments in sports throughout that entire season. It was absolutely electrifying!
In sports, players must choose one team to represent when they into the Hall of Fame, which iconic role and soap would you choose?
Vincent: A difficult question because as much as I loved playing Dr. David Hayward on All My Children for 12 years, a role I won an Emmy for, I’d have to go with my first television role ever as a new and up-and-coming actor in the business, Lujack on Guiding Light, which earned me my first Emmy nomination. He was the closest to my own self in character at that time, a role I could truly identify with on so many levels. Additionally, despite the fact that I only played this wonderful character for two years, it was absolutely foundational to my work as a professional actor for the past 40 years, introducing me to the medium which I’ve enjoyed performing in throughout those many years on 6 different shows. Lujack became a life-changing role for me which I’ve been extremely grateful for ever since.
What was your favorite way to spend the weekend, usually?
Vincent: I don’t require much for stimulation and relaxation. I enjoy simple visits to the beach, watching sunsets from a favorite restaurant over a glass of wine with someone special – that sounds like a profile on a dating site, I know.