DISCOVERING TED KING … OR FIRST LOOKS CAN BE DECEIVING
Okay, I’ll admit it …. I did not like the character of Lorenzo Alcazar when he first appeared in General Hospital‘s fictional town of Port Charles, inside vile Ric Lansing’s (played by Rick Hearst) concealed Panic Room to a groggy and pregnant Carly Corinthos (Tamara Braun). Having endured so much, Carly was being chained to a wall during what was supposed to be the most amazing part of her life: Having a child with her loving and adoring husband, Port Charles crime lord, Sonny Corinthos (played by Maurice Benard). Being taken from The Queen of Angels Church where Carly was to be maid-of-honour to her best friend Courtney Matthews’ (played by Alicia Leigh Willis) marriage to Sonny’s major domo Jason Morgan (played by Steve Burton), then imprisoned in the Panic Room being manhandled and told repeatedly that her baby would be taken from her, I certainly was not looking forward to more abuse to my girl Carly by anyone else. Being a woman I thought what was being done to Carly was bordering on the obcene. Then when Lorenzo Alcazar entered the scene and cut a lock of Carly’s hair from her head to plant on board a plane heading for South America, I believed that Lorenzo was indeed, the enemy. Someone I thought I was gong to hate because he was too much like Sonny … but I was wrong on all levels. One thing Lorenzo never did was mistreat Carly. He ordered Ric to begin treating Mrs. Corinthos with respect. And when Ric reprogrammed the control that opened the door to the Panic Room, Lorenzo realized he had to move and move decisively.
THE YACHT & BOARD GAMES
Ric Lansing had a change of heart. Surprising, but true. He decided that it was time to let Carly go. He’d seen his wife Liz (Rebecca Herbst) poisoned by Faith Roscoe (Cynthia Preston) and had been feeding her birth control pills to keep her from becoming pregnant, causing a blood clot in her brain sending her to the General Hospital, her life bordering on life or death. Ric went home and allowed Carly to call Sonny and Jason to come and bring her home. When Sonny and Jason arrived at Ric and Liz’s home, they found Ric unconscious and lying on the floor of the very panic room he’d held Carly in for months. Later Carly awoke on board a yacht belonging to Lorenzo Alcazar. She was told by Alcazar she would treat her with respect and give her the things he knew she’d become accustomed to. Good food, good clothes and care for her unborn child. Alcazar also told Carly that unlike Ric, Carly was a bargaining chip in a business transaction. Alcazar need to move his product through Sonny’s docks and Carly and her unborn child would be that insurance he’d get what he wanted out of Mr. Corinthos. During those scenes, I began to see subtleties the actor playing Lorenzo Alcazar was adding to his performance. Unique and noteworthy because of the obvious chemistry building between Tamara Braun and the actor I came to know as Ted King. The backgammon scene was the first I noticed Ted’s ability to play under the wire, as I’d discovered about Tamara Braun and her subtexural acting choices of reading between the hideously written, sophomoric script writing of Robert Guza Jr. When he excused himself from the table and that photo of a former love we came to know as Sophie St. Germaine fell out of his pocket, Ted began connecting with me. I’d have to say it was on a sub-level of seeing what made Lorenzo Alcazar tick, as it were. What made this man different from his brother Luis, also played by Ted King. And that was the dicotomy. He could play two different characters on the same show, separating out the traits of both to create two different men. I was not able to see Ted as Luis, much to my chagrin. I stopped watching General Hospital for a time, which I’ve explained in my tribute to Tamara Braun on my website TAMARA OBSCURA. I missed out on those four months where I’ve heard, Ted King’s scenes with Vanessa Marcil as Brenda Barrett, were explosive. I’ve been able to through a birthday gift from a friend of almost all of Tamara Braun’s scenes as Carly for the first three and a half years, some of Ted’s work as Luis. While the character was sadly written as a one-note hoodlum, Ted imbued Luis with a sense of a tortured man using his anger and his menace to cover for something else. What that somethinge else was, we never really found out, though we glimpsed it when Ted showed up the next year as Lorenzo. We saw through Lorenzo what Luis couldn’t show us. That is skill in acting. Yes, both men were played by the same actor, but with another actor those differences could have easily fallen into a sameness of intention. That never happened with Ted. He never lapsed into making the two seem as one. Each twin had his own movement, his own speach and his own thoughts. One could clearly see that through Ted’s ability to make each one their own entity. Though with a knowledge of that ‘twinning’ behaviour, Ted managed to convey through Lorenzo, part of Luis’ struggle to perhaps, make us understand Luis’ intentions and his actions. Of course, the beard he donned as Lorenzo helped greatly in allowing us, the viewer, to separate the two and identify each one individually. Did I mention that beard? More on that one later …..
THE SOUTH AMERCIAN SWING & THAT SHAVING SCENE
Throughout that summer of 2003, Ted along with Tamara Braun began to craft something unique and special. When Carly began to go into premature labour, Lorenzo was forced to land his plane to take Carly to a clinic. There both actors, in this person’s humble opinion, with their full background of the theatre behind them and Ted’s writer’s heart, gave me scenes I could only hope for in the world of soaps. They gave me the hope of a supercouple…. Screeeeeeching halt here! Have I mentioned at this point I was still a Sonny Corinthos fan? Or at least I thought I was. I was aching for that reunion between Mr. and Mrs. Corinthos. I wanted my Carly and Sonny back together. This Lorenzo Alcazar was a minor hindrance to this desire. I really believed Tamara and Maurice Benard had that once undefinable chemistry, but in hindsight, seeing that inevitably as it always has on General Hospital all roads and stories lead back to Sonny. All feelings are Sonny’s. All stories have to be about Sonny’s pain and Sonny’s feelings and Sonny’s needs. It’s never about the character who is going through that pain, feeling, need. All that summer while Carly earned to be reunited with her husband and family, it wasn’t about Carly’s needs, Carly’s wants, Carly’s feelings…it was… now say it with me: All about Sonny. So now you’re asking where does Ted fit in with all of this? Good question. I’ll answer it. I began to see how Ted as Lorenzo was fashioning Lorenzo’s layers. You could see how he feared for Carly when he thought she was miscarrying. You could see how he anguished over the decision of whether to tell the doctor to give her the medicine she needed that could possibly cause Carly to loose her baby. Through his eyes and his body, Ted King managed the impossible: To begin to turn me away from Sonny and thereby Maurice Benard and come over to the newly dubbed Lorenzo’s Conquistadores.
Even after Carly was found by Sonny, Jason and Ric at that clinic and taken back home, I realized that Lorenzo was indeed in love with her to the point of yes, distraction. He’d fallen in love for the first time since Sophie’s tragic death and wanted this woman with all his soul. So much so, he began gaslighting Sonny with the ghost of his dead wife Lily in order to make him unstable. This instability led to a house outside of Port Charles in a house where Carly had fallen down the stairs and was due to give birth. Lorenzo learned where she was from Courtney. He arrived in time to see her through labour, confessing his love to her before being shot through by Sonny who entered believing Carly was in danger. When Lorenzo stumbled out of the house and into the rain with Sonny’s bullet in him, then seeing his ‘Carly’ come to him to help him. I think by that time I was just about bought on Ted and his Lorenzo. However as most things on this show, I stopped watching because of the stupidity of once again, it being all about Sonny. I was tired of it. Completely and totally. I missed out on some amazing stuff from Tamara and Ted.
SO, WHAT DID I MISS OUT ON?
I missed out on the majority of Carly’s Alternate Reality storyline. The one where she’s living another life with History Professor Lorenzo Alcazar. She and Sonny were just mere acquaintances, not lovers, nor husband and wife. He was the watcher of her life, not a participant. Through the brilliant acting of both Ted King and Tamara Braun, we were able to see how two trained actors work and feed off of the other. We saw Caroline and Lorenzo begin their relationship, court, become engaged, marry, become parents, then in a beautiful, poignant scene which to me, surpassed anything I’d ever seen on a daytime soap opera. The scenes of Lorenzo and Caroline as elderly man and wife at General Hospital, with Caroline watching as Lorenzo breathed his last breath was sublime. The magnetic energy I felt from watching Ted and Tamara act in those scenes made me appreciate Ted as Lorenzo. A man who was trying to make amends to the woman he’d fallen in love with. Their scenes felt real, not acted, rather…happening. Certainly the most die-hard Carly and Sonny fan were angry at the possibility of someone coming between their ‘golden couple’, but the point of it all was that Ted and Tamara were forging something unique. Something never seen on daytime television before. And all this I was able to see through the good fortune of a very good friend and a birthday gift. That’s what I missed when I left General Hospital. I missed magic in the making.
In a desperate moment, Carly gave herself to him. Lorenzo was overjoyed at the possibility of Carly wanting him, though he did know about her condition. Realizing she was sick, Lorenzo pulled back from Carly, refusing to allow her to ruin her family for his sake. He sacrificed his love and his want for her, by telling her to go. Lorenzo’s pain at watching Carly leave the panic room closing the door behind her, he was crushed…and we felt Ted’s anquish through his body. His pain and his devastation fell upon Ted’s shoulders, almost crushing his being. And Ted made us feel fro Lorenzo. Ted’s role of Lorenzo also became rescuer and knight errant when he found Carly in a heavily drugged state at Ferncliffe Mental Hospital where she’d checked herself in. She was having dreams of being with Lorenzo, making love to him. Lorenzo took Carly to a safehouse where he could detox her and get her well enough to go back to her life with Sonny. And he was willing to let her go, allow her to go back to that life she loved. Sonny happened upon a goodbye kiss that would prove to be fatal to her marraige. Leaving Lorenzo to go after her husband, Carly caught Sonny in a hotel room with the newly arrived Samantha McCall (Kelly Monaco), where the two were engaged in what could losely be classed a soft-core pornographic tryst. Hurt and feeling betrayed, Carly returned to the safehouse and the safety of Lorenzo’s arms. Alchemy came together as Ted and Tamara showed why they were to become the next supercouple to emerge from General Hosptial‘s hallowed corridors. Their first love making scene was not only counterpoint to the harshness of the Sam/Sonny scene, but it was beautiful, passionate and beyond anyone’s imagination or doubt that Carly and Lorenzo would be something to reckon with. And with Ted’s ability to show not only Lorenzo’s inner turmoil at knowing he’d helped in the breakdown of Carly’s marriage, but that Lorenzo had finally won against Sonny. He’d triumphed without hurting Carly to the point of irrepair.
For some reason, one this webmaster will never understand, Ted’s considerable talents were made to lanquish for most of 2004. Sure Carly and Lorenzo were together, but not for long. As always, Sonny Corinthos cannot be made the fool nor can he be made to lose. Writing being as it is on General Hospital, Lorenzo was made to be something less than what we the viewers knew him to be. Carly left Lorenzo and went back to Sonny. Lorenzo briefly romanced Lois Cerullo (played by Leslie Kay), the ex-wife of Ned Ashton (Wallace Kurth). While uneventful, Ted did his best to struggle with the material given him. We found out that Lorenzo had an affair with a woman named Maria Sanchez and produced a son, Diego (Ignacio Serrachio). While the addition of family should be a reason to rejoice for an actor engaged in a long-term storyline on a soap opera, the powers that be at General Hospital just never seemed to know what to do with Ted’s considerable talent. It seemed Lorenzo would always be relegated to second-fiddle to uber-mobster Sonny Corinthos. Negating the obvious chemstiry with Tamara Braun, Ted seemed to struggle through the sub-standard material given him. It seemed though, we Carly and Lorenzo fans were finally going to get what we wanted in a definite attempt to bring together Carly and Lorenzo in ernest.
At the beginning of 2005, Carly had left Sonny and it seemed as though that break was permanent. Lorenzo seemed to be waiting in the background for Carly as she got her life back together after divorcing Sonny for the last time. Devastation came for Carly when she and Sonny had their sons abducted by Faith Roscoe (Cynthis Preston) in a plot arranged by AJ Quartermaine (Billy Warlock) to regain custody of his son, Michael (Dylan cash). It seemed as if there was hope for Carly and Lorenzo and both Tamara and Ted that we’d finally get what we’d been waiting almost two years for: A future for the couple…. That was short-lived as Tamara Braun announced she was leaving when her contract came up in March of 2005. Devastating in that Ted had decided to re-up for another two years. What would a recast hold for the future of Carly and Lorenzo, and for Ted King outside of the magic that was Tamara Braun and Ted King?
RECAST OF A RECAST OF A RECAST
Probably one of the worst moves those in charge at General Hospital had done, mid-storyline they chose to recast the role of Carly Corinthos. Hiring stage actress Jennifer Bransford, it looked as though Ted as Lorenzo would be getting what he’d earned for, a real storyline for Lorenzo and something he knew the fans had wanted: A marriage, at last, for this couple. Throughout most of the reast of 2005, it seemed as though Lorenzo seemed to disappear as once again, Carly fell victim to the needs of Sonny and his latest squeeze. While Jennifer Bransford tried to fit into the role of Carly, there was never a desire on behalf of the writing team to actually invest in Lorenzo and Carly Alcazar as a real team as it looked like they would in the waning days of Tamara Braun’s tenure. Soon, viewers were loathe to warm to Jennifer Bransford due in part to the uneven writing and the lack of actual development of the character of Carly on her own. By the end of the summer and some big time off-screen time for Ted, Carly was once again hurled into a recast as Jennifer Bransford was let go and former Guiding Light star Laura Wright brought in.
If the saying that ‘lightening strikes twice’ is indeed correct, then the news that Laura Wright was coming onto General Hospital as the second recast of Carly within a year should have been the news Ted King was awaiting. Ted and Laura had previously been coupled on both ABC soap operas Loving and it’s off-shoot The City as Danny Roberts and Ally Bowman respectively. Should is the operative word. General Hospital should have capitalized on Ted and Laura’s previous chemistry, but for some unfathomable reason, chose instead to have Carly turn on Lorenzo and return, yet again, to her obsession with Sonny Corinthos. At this stage, Ted had been all but rendered moot as both an actor and character on this show. He lanquished in the background as did his next leading lady, Robin Christopher throughout most of 2006 and early 2007.
After the complete decimation of all of Alcazar’s familial connections in Port Charles, including the deaths of his niece Sage (Katie Stuart), son Deigo, Maria Sanchez and the total refutiation of Carly, a half-hearted attempt was made to give Lorenzo another love interest with a twist. Skye Chandler De-Qued and just as under-used as Lorenzo, were paired. Due to the real-life pregnancy of actress Robin Christopher, a baby was finally given to Lorenzo. The hope that this new pairing and the newborn Lila Rae would entice Ted to re-sign as his contract came up was soon quashed when again, Lorenzo was made to play second fiddle yet again to Sonny Corinthos and Jason Morgan. Skye was turned against Lorenzo and in a final slap in the face to Ted King’s contribution to General Hospital, Lorenzo was made out to be a kidnapper who kept Skye’s child from her for ‘positional’ manipulation. Skye began working with Sonny in order to get rid of Lorenzo…and by extension, Ted King. Ted announced his descision to give up the part of Lorenzo Alcazar in early 2007. In an interview with Soap Opera Weekly‘s Carolyn Hinsey, Ted had this to say: “I’ve gotten to a point where I’m not enjoying myself. My role on the show is confined to being the foil of Sonny, and it has been that for a long time. Every time I try to break out of that, I get put back into it. I need to stretch.”. Further, Ted believed Lorenzo’s death knell came sooner than it actually did with the decision in 2005 to recast the part of Carly. On May 23rd, Skye allowed Jason into Lorenzo’s home and shot him, albeit off camera, to death. Thus marked the end of the Alcazar dynasty on General Hospital and Ted King’s presence.
AFTER GENERAL HOSPITAL & GENERAL OBSERVATIONS
I’ll admit, I’d barely heard of Ted King before he joined General Hospital. I think I’d barely remembered him as Jack Logan in the ABC spin-off of the Jean Claude Van Damme actioner Timecop. I also remembered Ted briefly as the FBI agent who got ripped a new one by “LOST”‘s Terry O’Quinn as Darius Michaud in the big screen adaptation of The X-Files: Fight The Future. I’d come to realize I’d seen him much earlier than I’d thought when as a fan of the CBS Vietnam era series Tour of Duty, Ted played a ‘blink and you’ll miss him’ kind of role as an radio operator alongside Stephen Caffery as Lt. Myron Goldman in the final episode of the series titled “Payback”. I also never came in on the Charmed bandwagon, so most of my exposure to Ted’s role as Andy Trudeau has been through the DVD’s I purchased. But what I’ve seen, Ted was very charismatic in the very limited part. There certainly was something in that part that has propelled Ted forward into his role as Luis and Lorenzo Alcazar. Certainly that charisma has been turned up a notch..or ten. Sadly I noticed something while collecting the clippings and articles for this website. There was never the attention to Ted’s time on General Hospital as there was for his co-workers Maurice Benard and Steve Burton. And I think that bears some focus. Ted never made any of the polls for the Best Performer or there were never any major articles dedicated to him as there were for Benard and Burton. It’s as if ABC were playing favourites with their ‘golden boys’ and negating the class and considerable talent Ted King brought to General Hospital. By that very nature of exclusion, it was almost inevitable that Ted would want to leave a show that obviously refused to see what gold they had in Mr. King’s contribution. The long dry spells in between the various storylines did nothing to warrant a ‘warm fuzzy’ feeling that Ted felt he was a valued member of the cast.
And even in light of emergency throat surgery, Ted showed his stamina and dedication by coming back to GH within days of having the surgery. The consumate professional that is Ted King is a better man for his enduring the slight from a show that clearly didn’t appreciate what he had to bring to the table. He’s a director, a writer and an actor. HIs leaving GH means he can dedicate more time to those endeavours. And certainly with his continuing column in Soap Opera Digest, King’s Spin, Ted proves what kind of a thespian he truly is with his love of music. Ted King is a true renaissance man. Someone who can slip easily between the various mediums he’s chosen to engage within the acting profession. If truth be told, Ted has the kind of charm and presence of a big screen actor along the lines of a Hugh Jackman or a George Clooney. His good looks and enigmatic presence that captured many a hearts with his “Mrs. Corinthos” with an emphasis on the rolled ‘r’ in Corinthos, could possibly become something bigger if he chose to go there. But I have the feeling Ted is more content doing work that makes him happy. I don’t get the feeling from him that he’s in it for the ‘household’ name value. No, not Ted King. He’s humble and resillient to the point of a not so subtle humility. And that’s what I think I keyed into with Ted King. That man who just wants to do good work that enhances his profession. It’s to that immeasurable talent and humility that I decided to create The Ted King Portal, a clearing house of images, articles and information about Ted King and his work. If you happen to read this Ted, I hope you know what kind of a mark you’ve made on your public. They and I certainly know what kind of a gentleman you are. We also know that no matter what you do in front of or behind the camera, it will be of the highest excellence becaue of your dedication and your intelligence.
Dianne B. Dee
— 13 November, 2007
— Ontario, Canada