Friday, April 30, 2010

Thaao Penghlis

I was extremely shocked to find out that Thaao Penghlis is Australian. I thought I'd have to try to explain why I was shocked, but it turns out I already wrote a whole post about it. I knew I had mentioned being shocked, but I didn't know I had gone into such detail. So I can skip retelling the story. That will save me some time.

I did remember something extra last night. As I've mentioned before, I felt unloved as a child. It wasn't like in an abusive way. My parents didn't call me awful names, starve me, or lock me in the closet. I wasn't traded out for heroin, or anything. I guess I just felt that I was loved out of obligation only. Looking back, I'm thinking that there were people out there that were fond of me, and not just because they felt an obligation to love me. So I think most of my feelings were some kind of delusional self-esteem issue. Anyway, I remember at one point dreaming about Thaao Penghlis. He acted bored by me. You know that feeling when you're with someone, and you can tell they'd rather be anywhere but with you. So I started thinking....crap, even in my dreams people don't like me.

But that's changed now. I sometimes have dreams where people seem to not like me. But I also have dreams where people give me tons of love. It's funny. Last night and the night before I dreamed about the same friends. In one, I felt very rejected by them. Then in the next night, they were totally loving on me. What's the deal with that?

Anyway, I should probably start talking about Thaao Penghlis. It's WEIRD writing about the guy. I feel like he's an uncle or something....or some long lost family friend. He's been in my life since I was a child. Why? He's on Days of our Lives, the soap opera I've been watching since I was about ten. Actually, he's not on anymore. His character Tony DiMera died. Yeah. I think Tony DiMera has died like five times already. He just keeps coming back. No one on Days of our Lives stays dead.

I have to admit I don't watch the show too much anymore. I probably watch about ten minutes every two weeks or so. If something looks interesting, I'll go onto my favorite Days of our Lives website to catch up on what's been happening.

Holy shit!!! I just checked out the comings and goings page. Guess who's coming back?! SHANE DONOVAN! I'm so excited. Maybe I'll start having to watch the show regularly again.

Charles Shaughnessy played Shane Donovan, and he's one of the few Days of our Lives actors who's had a very successful career outside of the soap opera. Allison Sweeney does that let's-promote-eating-disorders reality TV show. I guess that counts for something too.

I still haven't said much about Penghlis. Oops. Okay, let me get on with the show.

Lord Wiki says that Baby Thaao was born in Sydney, on 15 December 1945. He's a bit older than my parents.

He's of Greek heritage. I knew that. I just didn't realize he was an Australian with Greek heritage. I'm still totally shocked about that. Maybe one day I'll get used to the idea.

His character on Days of our Lives is Italian. Lord Wiki says he got the role because of his dark complexion...despite having a strong Aussie accent. I wonder if he still has the accent. It would be so weird to hear Tony DiMera talking Australian.

I feel I should write about Tony DiMera, the same as I write about other soap opera characters....especially since I actually watch the show. But the task is way too daunting. I just don't understand the Tony DiMera storyline. He's bad, then he's good, then he's bad; but then it ends up it wasn't him. It was his evil twin cousin Andre. And what's the deal with that? Since when do people have identical cousins?

I'll name some of the stuff I remember from the storylines....but I'm not always quite sure if it was Tony or Andre. But I guess they're both played by Thaao, so it's okay.

1. Tony had a thing going on with a woman named Anna. I think this is one of the storylines where he was a good guy....and kind of cool and sexy.

2. He was a serial killer who framed Roman Brady for a bunch of murders....that turned out to be Andre.

3. He made it look like Marlena had killed all these people, but it ended up they were all kidnapped on some weird island place. That was one of the dumbest soap opera storylines ever. That might have been Andre behind it all, not Tony.

4. He was in love with his adopted sister, Kristen. There he was a bit possessive and pathetic.

How many times has he died? Well, Lord Wiki says it was only once. He died in 2009, after being impaled. Ouch. I really thought he had died before.

Anyway, I'm laughing right now because Lord Wiki also says that Andre had been impersonating Tony for over twenty years. So all that time, we thought it was Tony.... It was really Andre.

Okay. Here we go. This website explains why I thought Tony had died before. Andre died three times while impersonating Tony. In 1985, it was quicksand. In 1995, he shot himself. In 2004, he was attacked by a tiger and then drugged by Marlena Evans. So, there we go. If Penghlis decides he wants to return to Days of our Lives, they can just say it was Andre that was impaled. OR maybe there's a second look-a-like cousin.

The website also says that it was Andre who had the hots for Kristen....not Tony.

I'm going to look at the Penghlis filmography on IMDb now. It's longer than I thought. Although a lot of it is probably one time guest appearances. I usually skip over those, unless it's something that really interests me.

I'll definitely mention the first thing on his filmography. It was a TV show called Hawkins. It was American, so I guess he didn't start his TV career in Australia. I wonder when he moved over. This show was in 1973, so maybe it was around then? I wonder how long he was in America before he got work.

In 1978, Penghlis was in a musical called Slow Dancing in the Big City. Here's a fan made video about the movie. I'm not sure if they'll show Penghlis. This is not one of those montage things. They actually have dialogue, and all that.

Here we go. Penghlis appears at 1:51. I think he's the dance teacher.

In 1979, Penghlis was in The Bell Jar. It's based on the novel by Sylvia Plath. I had heard of it, but didn't know what it was about. IMDb says it's about the 1950's.

Lord Wiki says the book is about a woman's mental illness. He says Plath committed suicide a month after it was published, giving the belief that the book was somewhat autobiographical.

Penghlis played a character named Marco. This Cliff Notes type website says Marco was a sexist asshole in love with his first cousin. He rapes the protagonist, and then calls her a slut. Lovely.

I wonder. Is the world full of so much shit because we have so many mentally ill people; or do we have so many mentally ill people because the world is full of shit?

In 1980, Penghlis was in the TV movie The Silent Lovers. It was about Hollywood in the 1930's. Penghlis played the actor/director Antonio Moreno. Lord Wiki says he was from Spain. His career died down when sound was added to the the movies because his Spanish accent was so strong. That's sad. I wish we were more open to various accents.

Also in 1980, Penghlis was in the science fiction movie Altered States. I didn't realize Drew Barrymore was in this.

The movie is about a scientists who experiments with hallucinatory drugs.

Here's a scene from the movie. It might have Penghlis.

Well, there was no Penghlis there. It was weird. The imagery was nice, but the music made it feel kind of creepy.

Here's the trailer. Maybe Penghlis will be in that.

Maybe that's him at :39.

It looks like an interesting movie.

In 1981, Penghlis played Victor Cassadine on General Hospital. Here's a scene from that.

That same year, Penghlis started working on Days of our Lives. Lord Wiki says he was on the show from 1981-1985. Then he took a long hiatus. He returned in 1993, and was there until 1995. He left again, and returned in 2002. He was gone from 2005-2007. Then he left again in 2009.

Here's a scene with Penghlis. I think it's a fairly recent one. Lord Wiki just reminded me that the woman in the scene, Leann Hunley also had a bit of a career outside of Days of our Lives.

On Days of our Lives, the characters are always talking aloud to themselves.

Oh, that was a very sweet scene. My heart is warmed. It's all about misunderstandings. How many times do two people love each other, but they keep their distance because they think the other is rejecting them? Then again, how many times do people cling to dead relationships because they fail to accept the other person has rejected them? I like the first scenario much better.

One of my friends had this theory that we should pick the delusional self-esteem boosting theory. Why? Because it will make us feel better. If the object of our affection dumps us, we can imagine he's been told by evil aliens that the world will be destroyed if he doesn't pretend he hates us. That's much better than believing the guy has simply lost interest.

For some reason last night I was thinking about this guy in college. Oh, I know why. I was thinking about something I read regarding dissociative identity disorder, and the United States of Tara. I thought about whether or not it would work to live without being treated....just have many personalities. But then I thought how it might be confusing for other people. And it would totally suck to connect with someone, and then be rejected the next day when they have a new personality. That made me think of this guy in college....Hayden. I forgot his last name. He was actually Australian. Maybe he's the one that planted the Australian seed in my brain.

Anyway, he was this really hot guy....totally out of my league. And he had the awesome accent. He started showing major interest in me, and we had some heavy flirting going on. There was something magical budding between us. One day we went to my room, and totally bonded. He seemed so understanding. We liked the same movies. We fooled around a bit. He tried to go farther than I wanted to, but there was nothing too pushy going on. I thought we left on good terms. I was floating in la la land. I thought it was the beginning of something great. But then when I saw him next, he seemed completely uninterested in me. I was all disappointed....hurt and rejected. I probably had some delusional soap opera hopes for a day or so. Then I finally decided the guy was an asshole and had been simply using me....telling me what I wanted to hear so he could have sex. I've believed that all these years. But then last night, I thought....what if all that time, he just had multiple personalities. Maybe that guy in my room had been my soulmate, and the guy I saw the next day didn't know who the hell I was.

Unlikely. But possible. Who's ever going to prove me wrong? Maybe Hayden himself. He could find this blog by some weird coincidence, read this, and say no, I did not have multiple personalities. I just figured out you were a total freak.

That's one of the worst things in the world though. I hate when you spend an evening with someone, believing there's really something between you two. Then they don't call. It hurts on so many levels. First your hopes for the future are smashed, but also your feelings towards the past. You thought something was great, and then you have to reevaluate all your initial impressions.

It's such a fantastic feeling when they do call the next day....eager to see you again. And then you realize the feeling was mutual. That's awesome.

Now I'm getting all nostalgic. Do you know the first time Tim called me, I wrote in my diary that I was going to marry him. Yeah. Totally delusional there. Hey, but it eventually happened. SO THERE. I had such a huge crush on him. He talked on and on, that guy. I hardly got a word in. But I loved every little moment of that phone call. Then the phone call had to end, and I do NOT think it was by my choice. He told me he'd call again in a few weeks. I was crushed with disappointment. I didn't want to wait that long. But then he ended up calling me much sooner than that....I think maybe the next day. That was a happy moment.

My crush turned into a real relationship when I visited Tim in New York. I spent the weekend with him. I had no idea if the feelings were mutual. To him, I was just an old camp friend coming to visit. To me, he was my potential future husband. At one point, he started holding my hand. I thought that was a good sign, but wasn't sure. I thought maybe he was the type to hold the hand of friends.

Well, eventually we kissed and Tim talked about us dating, and all that.

What I'm wondering is when I left New York, did I have any doubts? Did I think maybe this guy had some fun for the weekend, made some promises, and then would never call again? And how soon after did he call or email? I can't remember.

Okay, I'll stop walking down memory lane.

Back to business.

In 1983, Penghlis was in Sadat. It's a bio-pic about an Egyptian leader named Muhammad Anwar al-Sadat.

The IMDb trivia page says Egypt wasn't happy with the movie. They banned movies made by Columbia pictures, and anything featuring Louis Gossett Jr. He's the one who played the title character.

I wonder why the movie was banned. Did the Egyptians like Anwar-al-Sadet, and the movie put him in an unfavorable light? Or did the movie present him in a positive way, and the Egyptians didn't like that?

Well, Lord Wiki says the guy was supportive towards having peace with Israel, and that made him unpopular with the Egyptians.

Lord Wiki says Egyptians say their grief with the film was due to historical inaccuracies. Yeah, I can buy that to a point. It's annoying when films give us the wrong facts. But in those cases, we usually roll our eyes with annoyment. We don't go and ban the whole film.

Some say the movie was rejected out of racism....because an African-American played the title character. Who knows......

Here's the trailer. Well, I can kind of see why they might be offended. It looks like Sadat is the one good guy in Egypt, and the rest of Egyptians are the villains. I don't know if the whole movie is that way, or just the trailer.

In 1985, Penghlis guest-starred on the TV show Hotel. It was a one time thing, but I'm mentioning it because I saw that they have the video on YouTube.

What kind of accent is Penghlis using?

Oh, this is funny. The name of another guest-star looked familar. I looked her up, and she was on Days of our Lives too. She played Kayla Brady, but then was later replaced by another actress.

I guess Penghlis is supposed to be Italian.

He's so cute when he rubs his nose at 2:38. The guy is kind of least I think so. I welcome him back into my dreams, anytime.

Oh no! There's some naughty business going on here. It seems Mr. Valli loves someone besides his new wife.

Wait. The new wife KNOWS about the arrangement. She's in on it. I didn't see that coming.

I'm betting they're going to fall in love. I'm going to fast forward to see whether I'm right or not.

Now I'm on part 2.

Ah. The wife is giving Penghlis a massage now. The romance is budding.

Oh, poor Monica. She's left out in the cold. But she sure does take the rejection gracefully. That's nice.

In 1986, Penghlis was in the TV movie Under Siege. The movie is about Arab terrorists attacking Americans via airplane. Wow.

It's not to be confused with the Steven Seagal movie that came out in 1992. Some IMDb users talk about how it's banned in the US because it might give terrorists too many ideas. Actually, no. Wait.   The IMDb people SUSPECT it may have been banned, because they haven't seen it around lately.

Lord Wiki says the United States as a whole does not ban movies. If a movie is banned, it's done by local governments and organizations. But I'm reading about a movie called The Profit. It's a movie that pokes fun of Scientology. If I'm reading this right, the Church of Scientology has managed to prevent distribution of the movie. They claim it was because of a court case. They didn't want the movie influencing the jury.

I don't know. It sounds suspicious to me.

An IMDb user says distributors can't profit from distributing it in the United States. But it seems people are still finding ways to show and see the movie. That's good!

I have no grief with Scientologists for believing in the writings of science fiction author. I think that's actually kind of adorable. But they should really stop being bullies about stuff. That's not cute at all.

In 1988, Penghlis was in an Australian movie! I'm excited to see that. It actually sounds familar to me; Les Patterson Saves the World.

Oh, silly me. It's a Barry Humphries thing. How could I forget that? Well, at least it sounded familar. That's something to be thankful for.

This espionage website has information about the film. There's an evil guy named Mustafa Toul. He's going to do bad things to Les Patterson, but then Colonel Richard Godowni saves the day. Godowni is played by Penghlis.

Here's a scene from the movie. It involves a rotating restaurant. I don't know if Penghlis will be in it.

Cute koala.

This is kind of funny.

Penghlis appears at 3:00.

It's a funny scene, but I think it goes on a bit too long. The joke gets old after about a minute.

In 1988, Penghlis was in another Australian project. This was a miniseries called Emma: Queen of the South Seas.

Now from about 1985 to about 1993, Penghlis wasn't doing Days of our Lives. Maybe he spent some of his hiatus in his home country.

This film site says that Emma refers to Emma Coe, a woman who prevented the Samoan islands from being colonized.

From 1988-1990, Penghlis was on Mission Impossible. Wasn't it a remake?

Yeah. Lord Wiki says it was originally on from 1966 to 1973. But it looks like both had some of the same cast. Well, at least they both had Peter Graves.

Jane Badler from V was in the 1980's version.

Here are some clips from an episode of the show.

Penghlis can be seen in the credits part, at least.

Here we are. He appears at 4:48.

I can't look at Peter Graves without thinking of Airplane. And I just remembered that he was in Savannah Smiles.

In 1990, Penghlis was in The Lookalike. I think I saw this. It's with Melissa Gilbert, and is about doppelgangers.

I don't remember the exact plot, so I'm getting help from IMDb. Gilbert's daughter died, and then later she sees someone who looks a lot like her daughter. Penghlis plays her boss at a clothing store. He believes in weird stuff, and thinks something is going on.

I'm reading all the spoilers. From what I see, I like how it turns out. It kind of goes along with something I believe. Sometimes we believe people are mentally ill because there's something inherently wrong with them. But sometimes they're just reacting to wrong things that have been done to them. Sometimes paranoia is simply that...paranoia. But other times, it's based on fact.

In 1991, Penghlis did a TV movie based on a Sidney Sheldon novel; Memories of Midnight. It's about amnesia. Amnesia is very common in the world of TV movies and soap operas. I wonder how common it is in real life.

From 1992-1993, Penghlis was on Santa Barbara. That show ended in 1993, he got there at the tail end of things.

Penghlis played a mysterious guy named Micah DeAngelis. Lord Wiki is trying to explain the mystery, but I don't really get it. I'm just going to forget about it. I think he was a doctor, maybe? And Micah wasn't his real name. He was faking his identity, and he was the son of some crazy woman. I might be wrong about some of this. Did any of you watch that soap opera?

In 1999, Penghlis did an Australian miniseries called Tribe. It was directed by George Miller. It's about sailors attacked by pirates.

In 2007, Penghlis was in the movie The Mirror. Penghlis plays someone named Nicholas Theophilus, so I guess he's portraying his own ethnicity in this.

In 2009, Penghlis started work on a TV show called Emissary. According to IMDb, it still seems to be on. I can't find much information about it.

Now I'm going to read the Penghlis trivia page on IMDb.

Penghlis moved to New York after high school. That's brave.

He loves archeology, history, and Egyptology. I wonder how he feels about Egypt banning one of his films.

One of Penghlis' personal quotes is Once I only dreamed of the life I'm now living. Maybe I can remind people that the best does exist and can be ours if only we take the time to look for it and work for it.

Yeah. So anyone who is NOT a successful TV star didn't want it enough and/or didn't work hard enough.

I'm thinking of all my struggling friends....court battles, cancer, job losses, disabled children, financial problems, rejections, etc. I guess if they had wished and worked hard enough, they could have been on Days of our Lives instead of dealing with a bunch of crap.

Here's the official Thaao Penghlis website. It looks like it might have information I can use. It looks more thorough then most actor sites I've seen.

Here's a biographical page, and I think there's even more bio stuff on other pages.

Penghlis originally wanted to be an archaeologist, not an actor. Both jobs seem fun and interesting to me.

This is actually quite fascinating. Penghlis worked in immigration. He helped Greek immigrants. He aspired to be the vice-consul for Greece, but then decided he wanted to do something beyond Greekness. So he moved to NYC to work for the United Nations.

While in New York, Penghlis met an acting teacher named Milton Katselas. Katselas inspired Penghlis to become an actor.

Well, this is interesting. We're back on Scientology. Lord Wiki says that Katselas was a Scientologist, and that he introduced actors to the religion. The New York Times had an article about it. I'm kind of skimming, but what I'm seeing is interesting. It shows how people can be so varied in their perceptions. There's some people who felt that his class was merely a recruitment center for Scientology. Some people felt he didn't push his religion at all. Then Jenna Elfman quit the center supposedly because she felt Katselas wasn't commited enough to the church. As they say, you can't please everyone.

After Penghlis decided to be an actor, he quit his job at the UN. He did acting at night, and then worked as an antique dealer during the day.

Later he followed Katselas to Los Angeles. This is when we get the birth of the Beverly Hills Playhouse.

The Penghlis page says ABC got many letters of protest when they took his character off the air. They were going to bring him back, but NBC had already hired him for Days of our Lives. It must have felt good to be so wanted.

The website all of a sudden changed from third person to first person. What's the deal with that?

Penghlis says his family thought of him as a black sheep and loser. Sometimes I think that's how my family sees me. However, my rank in the family greatly improved once I married Tim. They all adore him. So he makes me a winner.

Penghlis reminds me of me in that he sees both good and bad about things in his relationship to his family. One good thing is that his parents always allowed him to express emotion. They never told him it wasn't manly to cry. That's awesome.

Penghlis says he grew up without financial wealth and was embarrassed about this. He'd lead people to believe his family had money. But eventually he learned to accept things the way they are.

I like this though. Penghlis says he later went to Greece and found out his family came from aristocrats. He says... so maybe all the arrogance I've displayed in the past isn't only a cover for insecurity. Maybe deep inside he just KNEW......

Penghlis says that even though his parents had great doubts about him as a child, they're proud of him now. That's lovely....I guess. But it doesn't seem right to me. I think it's better if parents support their kids BEFORE they become successful. But then again, maybe their lack of support is what drove Penghlis to prove himself. What I've learned through my life though is that I'd rather have the support of those I love than have career success. I mean it would be great to have both, but I'd prefer the former. And it would bother me if I did become successful with something, and then suddenly those who never supported me came out of the woodwork with their praise and support. It would be kind of like that little red hen story.

This page has a copy of an Melbourne interview done with Penghlis in 2008.

He's deeply spiritual and meditates.

I'm spiritual, but I'm not sure how deep I am about it.

This is funny. Penghlis talks about the Days of our Lives storyline on Friends. On the show, a disgruntled writer killed off Joey's character. Penghlis says this isn't far from the truth. He's known actors who've been killed off and put into comas for complaining about the writing. I wonder if he was one of them. His character was killed off repeatedly.

I think I just lost some love for Penghlis. He defends Mel Gibson for saying anti-semitic stuff. The guy was just drunk. Yeah. Okay. Whatever. I don't drink, so I'm not an expert. But from what I understand, I didn't think alcohol made you lie. I thought it lowered your inhibitions so you'd be more likely to say the stuff you usually kept quiet. Like when people drunk-dial, they don't call the people they don't love. Right? Don't they call the people they secretly love?

This page has a bunch of photos of Penghlis and his family....cousins and everything. I think it's so great that he has these photos. It seems most celebrities have more photos of themselves with other famous people. Penghlis really seems to have a love for his family.

And this page has really old photographs of his family. I love it!

Here are childhood photos. This is the most awesome celebrity website I've ever seen. Really. I wonder if Penghlis did most of this himself.

He was so damn cute as a little boy. And he looks very sexy in that first LA head shot.

Penghlis has a really weird painting in his living room....or his old living room.

Penghlis is really great at uploading photos.

There are excerpts from a book Penghlis has written. I think it's about his travels. I'm not sure if it's been published yet.

And here are some Sydney photos. He went there with some of his co-stars of Days of our Lives.

There's a photo of his childhood school. It's Crown Street Public School.

There's a photo of his family's first home. They lived in Surrey Hills. I think that's the neighborhood in which Jack and I were walking, and he said he wanted to move there.

Here's an interview with Penghlis. It was done on my dad's 60th birthday.

I'm getting the feeling that Penghlis is a bit disgruntled about his work on Days of our Lives. I don't blame him. I get disgruntled from just watching that show. It's close to my heart because I've been watching it for so long. But it really IS awful. I think it has some of the worst writing I've ever seen. Although it goes back and forth. Sometimes it has really bad writing, and then other times it's okay.

Penghlis didn't quit Days of our Lives to pursue other things. He was fired. That show fires people left and right. And then they're bringing people back all the time. I think that's their trick. They get rid of people, and then 10-20 years later they bring them back, and we get all excited. I guess it's a good way of preventing characters being taken for granted.

Anyway, Penghlis says he got the bad phone call when he was in Cuba. He says in the past the show would call you to give you a pat on the back. But that doesn't happen anymore. Now when they call, you know it's bad news.

Penghlis puts a lot of blame on one particular person, and I may disagree with him about Mel Gibson, but we are on the same page with this one. I think when this guy is working on the show, it's especially awful. I'm sure he's a great guy in his personal life, or whatever. He might be one of the nicest people in the world. I just don't think he's a very good soap opera writer. Plus, it's because of him and his damn Passions soap opera that my beloved soap opera went off the air. Another THAT show had great writing. turns out this guy is actually dead. Well, I hope he's at peace. I hate when you have bad feelings about someone, and then you find out they're dead. That happened to me with someone I used to work with. We separated on kind of bad terms. I saw her once again, and we were pleasant to each other. But it was kind of weird. Plus, I felt kind of haunted by her opinions. She was so opinionated about parenting and educational stuff. I know she would have HATED that we're homeschooling Jack. She'd be absolutely horrified. I always kind of imagined her learning about our lives and judging me. Then one day I was looking up various people on the internet....I do that every so often. I researched her, and found out she had died. It felt a bit eerie. I have such a mixture of feelings. There's regret. I guess there's a part of me that wishes we would have gotten together, and I could have brought her over to the dark side. Maybe she'd see that homeschooling isn't so awful. There's guilt. I had negative feelings towards someone, and they died a tragic death. Then there's kind of....well paranoia that now she's out there watching me from somewhere.

Anyway, I'm rambling. Let me get back to the interview.

Oh! Marlena is not on Days of our Lives anymore.   Did I know that? Maybe I did. I probably just forgot.

Well, we're going to eat dinner soon. Tim is making grilled cheese which sounds really good to me right now.

I wish Penghlis much success and happiness in his career and life. I'm sure in a few years, Days of our Lives will come back for him...groveling. I hope he gives them a big fat NO WAY. There's better stuff out there for him. I'd love to see him working in more Australian films!

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