Emmy award-winning actor Christian Jules LeBlanc chatted with HNA’s Markos Papadatos about his 30th anniversary on the No. 1 daytime drama “The Young and The Restless” on CBS.
American track and field icon Steve Prefontaine once said: “To give anything less than your best, is to sacrifice the gift.” Christian Jules LeBlanc embodies this wise quote by the running legend.
On this milestone anniversary, LeBlanc remarked, “It feels like ‘how did that happen?’ I’m the luckiest guy. To be 30 years like that in showbusiness with a cast that you love is incredible. The day of my anniversary was quite emotional, they made cupcakes of the 1991 version of me when I had a lot of hair. They did speeches and it was just lovely.”
“We did a lot of flashbacks in that episode, and I was standing next to the people that I worked with 30 years ago, and they are standing there with you and they are still working there with you. I am a very lucky man,” he added.
“My mother was the first artist I ever met because she was an amazing mother, cook, chef, and artist. It doesn’t matter if there is anyone there, artistry is the passion you do and have. Whatever you are doing, it’s the attitude that you approach it with that raises it to a level of art,” he said.
He is drawn to his iconic character, Michael Baldwin, for several reasons. “Michael was very different from anyone I previously played,” he said. “It was the first dark character that I ever had the opportunity to play in my career. I played mostly good guys and quirky people prior to that. I knew he was going to get dark with the sexual harassment storyline.”
“As an actor, I found out this show allowed me to find out things that I could do that I didn’t know I could do. You are pretty much working in high gear. Playing Michael forced me out of my comfort zone so many times,” he said.
When asked how he handles being dialogue-heavy on the show, LeBlanc responded, “The brain is like a muscle. I always tell people that ‘they put your paycheck in a maze and you are a mouse, and you find your way’. That’s how you get your money, you memorize.”
On his three Daytime Emmy wins for “Outstanding Lead Actor,” he said with a sweet laugh, “I love saying I have three Emmys, I try to introduce that in all of my conversations.”
“The biggest validation in the industry is when your peers (icons such as Erika Slezak and Kim Zimmer, and other actors that were legends to me) come up to you and tell that you do ‘wonderful work.’ The fact that they took the time to do that is such great validation,” he said.
LeBlanc shared that he enjoyed being a part of Maurice Benard’s “MB State of Mind” podcast episode on mental health. “I am so amazed by Maurice as far as how open he is,” he said. “It’s not a light thing for him in his life. Maurice has had to deal with some issues and he has had to deal with them in this industry, which is not particularly kind to people or easy on people.”
“His podcast is a needed show, especially in these times when people tend to feel more alone and that they are less able and less capable to do things. I really admire Maurice for what he is doing with his podcast,” LeBlanc added.
This summer, in New York, LeBlanc shared that he is looking forward to starring as Big Daddy in the Off-Broadway production of “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.” This Tennessee Williams classic play is directed by Joe Rosario. “Joe is great, he has a New Jersey vibe to it, where it feels like I’m being directed by The Sopranos, but Joe is a loving person too,” he said.
“I am playing with Tony nominee Alison Fraser and Austin Pendleton. This is a hardworking theater company,” he said. “I am really impressed by Matt de Rogatis, Spencer Scott, and Joe Rosario. The Theatre at St. Clements is perfect for the play.”
“I am very excited about this show. Big Daddy is a huge character. Tennessee Williams is my Shakespeare, and to do an Off-Broadway show were both bucket list items for me,” he added.
Over the years, he loves hosting the “OpportuniTea” fan events with co-star Kate Linder, which supports March Of Dimes Canada. “Kate has been doing that for over 20 years, and the events are amazing,” he exclaimed.
“The ‘OpportuniTea’ events are a great way to get to know your co-stars outside of the studio. We are able to have so much fun with the fans and the event does so much good for March of Dimes Canada, and you can’t beat that. It is such a great charity. The fans are just amazing.”
On the title of the current chapter of his life, LeBlanc said, “Onward and upward.” “I’m not dead quite yet,” he said with a sweet laugh. “I love this career, I don’t ever want to retire. I would be blessed to do it for another 30 years.”
LeBlanc had kind words about fellow Emmy-nominated actor Gregory Zarian. “Gregory is just the nicest guy. I’ve known him and his twin brother Lawrence for a while. They are both amazing,” he said.
On his definition of the word success, LeBlanc said, “Success is happiness. I am successful when I am truly happy and have love in all parts of my life. Also, passion for anything is happiness.”
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To learn more about “The Young and The Restless” or to stream the show online, visit the official CBS website.