Don't mess with this guy! Emmy winner Michael Badalucco — aka Jimmy Berluti on The Practice — joins The Young and the RestlessOctober 13 as a menschy but dangerous bookie named Hogan. He'll be after schemer Jeff Bardwell (Ted Shackelford) to cough up some overdue dough — or else. TV Guide Magazine spoke with Badalucco about his first suds experience and found out he's already been reprimanded by the voice of God!
TV Guide Magazine: How'd a guy like you wind up in Genoa City?
Badalucco: My agent called and said Y&R wanted to offer me a role that might last a little while. I used to watch it when I was back at New Paltz College in the '70s, and the show's still on and it's No. 1! I've never worked in this genre and I kinda like the idea, as I get older, of reaching a whole new daytime demographic — the female kind. I got no problem with that! But the main reason I took it? My cousin, Rosemary, and my best friend, Ray, never miss the show. There's no way I wasn't gonna do this job! My wife, Brenda, is excited, too. How could I say no?
TV Guide Magazine: Tell us about Hogan.
Badalucco: He's a great character — the kind of guy who'll cry at a wedding, but then the next day he might have to break the groom's legs over an unpaid bet.
TV Guide Magazine: Did you have first-day jitters?
Badalucco: Well, I've always heard they work very, very fast on soaps so I made sure to arrive on the soundstage for rehearsal 10 minutes early. That was taught to me by my mother. I've always gotta be neat and clean and ready to go. So I'm all set, I've got my lines down, I'm looking professional and I get there early only to find Ted Shakelford and Judith Chapman [Gloria] already beat me to it! These people want to go, go, go! If big shots like them are 10 minutes early, I gotta be there 15 minutes early!
TV Guide Magazine: So how you doing so far?
Badalucco: [Laughs] Well, they haven't fired me! Paul Rauch is the big executive over there and he's very, very nice, but he did have to give me some pointers. That guy is like the voice of God, with his voice coming over the loudspeaker. I was trying to do a little bit of business with Judith — I had Hogan being kind of friendly with Gloria because in soap operas you fool around with the girls, right? — but I guess I was moving too quickly. Paul told me to stick to business! This is very disciplined work. When it's time to shoot a scene on a movie set, people mosey on in, everyone waits around while the star is in his dressing room making a call, nobody's rushing, you can screw up and it's no problem. At Y&R, there is no screwing up! There is no slouching!
TV Guide Magazine: Didn't it take a while for you to get this acting thing going?
Badalucco: Oh, yeah. Instead of being a waiter when I got out of college, I worked as a prop man for Local 52 in New York. My father, Joe, was a master craftsman who built sets on a lot of top movies and, like Yogi Berra said, "You can observe a lot by watching." He came from Sicily and took pride in all the sets he made — his reputation was number one. I learned so much from him! I worked as a prop man on all the Woody Allen films from Manhattan to Mighty Aphrodite and saw so many great actors at work. In the meantime I'd do theatre and got bit parts. I did a little bit in Raging Bull. Woody put me in Broadway Danny Rose. Then I finally made the move and said, "I'm going to do this acting stuff full time." It was David Kelley who gave me my big break in '96 on The Practice. [Laughs] Finally after all those years I became an overnight sensation! This is a crazy, unpredictable business, which is why I am so grateful and appreciative of everything that comes my way. I am so honored to do this soap. I take my father's old-country pride and work ethic with me to Y&R. There are no small parts.