"Who The Hell Was Mark Valley?" They're the Words Days' Newest Star Never Wants to Hear!

by Lucille Giordano from Daytime Digest 'Inside Days of our Lives'
July 1995

During the course of an interview, there are times when your subjects can throw you for a real loop, leaving you totally unprepared for the comments or suggestions that will follow. A wisecracker myself, I stood tall against the funny remarks that came from Mark Valley (Jack) and, against all 'editor' protocol, found myself giving lip right back! What transpired was one of the funnier interviews I have conducted in a long time, and not to ruin the context of what was said, sit back and eavesdrop on my conversation uncensored!

Question: I just finished watching Jennifer (Melissa Reeves) slap you in the face. It looked like she hit you pretty hard!

It was a real slap too! (laughs) Missy was great about it, but she felt bad afterwards, asking if I was okay. It added some realism to the scene, but the next time, I think I'm going to fake it!

Question: Do you normally add realism to your scenes?

I try to, when I can. I can't really think of other instances, but you try to make your work as realistic as possible. When two guys are going to argue, they're really going to start fighting. They're not just going to start shoving each other. You kind of have to trust the producers and directors that things will work out.

Question: It seems that you've settled into the show now. Do you feel more comfortable with the role now than you did, say, a month ago?

I think that every month, I will get more and more comfortable with the role. It gives me new challenges and things to think about. Easier? Now I know where Studio 2 and Studio 4 are, I know where the bathrooms are, the productions offices and where to get my mail. I also know where the commissary is.

Question: Speaking of mail, how has the fan response been?

I got a letter from a fan, Brenda Patton, who told me I was doing a great job. She said, 'Just hang in there and everyone else will come around to you, you'll see. If there was anyone who loved Matt Ashford, I did. I left Days because of him and I have just come back because of you and the great job you're doing.' Isn't that nice? It's great to get letters like that. People are generally wishing me luck. They want to give me a chance, whatever the heck that means.

Question: It's hard because a new actor in an established role is hard for people to accept. Robert (Kelker-Kelly, Bo) had that problem when he started on the show, and now, many viewers can't see anyone else playing the part.

When I leave, people are going to say, "Who the hell was Mark Valley?" (laughs)

Question: Actors bring themselves into the role they play. Are there any characteristics of Jack that remind you of yourself?

I have to tell you, when I first came on the show, people would ask me, 'What's the difference between you and Jack?' Nothing! Jack is me! You have no time to be yourself. You're trying to memorize your lines and get everything done and you have to make some quick choices about your character. What does Jack have that reminds me of myself? We have the same teeth, hair, he's in the same physical condition as me, which I find pretty interesting.

Question: Okay, so some of these questions are odd! As fans, that's what we want to know!

(Smiles) Okay. Jack's had a much different education than I had. He's educated in politics, business and journalism circles. He has a different kind of elocution. I came from West Point and served some time in the army. I lived in New York, so there is a different background there.

Question: Jack's cynical, devoted, persistent. Do any of these apply to you?

I think persistent. I'm persistent and stubborn in my own way, when it comes to something I want.

Question: Do you still keep in touch with your friends in New York?

No, I've totally cut them off! (laughs) Yeah, I've got friends from when I was in the army that I still keep in touch with. That's the cool thing about it. Being on the show has even helped me re-establish some old friendships with people who have contacted me.

Question: When you started on Days, was there anyone who showed you around to make you familiar with the routine of daytime?

MARK: Yeah, Jason Brooks (Peter) showed me around a lot when I first got here. He also told me about the swimming pool on the roof, which I never found!

Question: What kind of work did you do before daytime?

MARK: I worked in a coffee shop in Manhattan behind the coffee bar, slinging espresso until about three or four months ago! Since it's by where you work, you should go in, tell the owner you know me, and you'll get a free espresso!