Michael Tylo knew he had to land a role on Guiding Light if he ever wanted his family to watch him on TV. GL is his mom's favorite soap and when he was up for the part his aunt told him, "You better get it because I'm not watching any other show!"
Luckily, Michael's now playing mysterious business magnate Quint McCord--and his family and fans couldn't be happier. A few weeks after Michael appeared on-screen, he was spotted in a supermarket. "I was buying some snacks," he recalls. "And all of a sudden, this woman came up to me and said, 'What are you going to do to Nola? Why do you want to kill Alan Spaulding?' A security guard overheard her and reached for his gun. I got so nervous. I kept stuffing bags of munchies in my shopping cart. When I finally made it home I had enough food to throw a party."
To top it all off, Michael ended up signing his autograph on a Wheaties box. But stranger things have happened since he's gained soap popularity. Once he was flying to New York and a lady tapped him on the shoulder and winked slyly. "I know you," she whispered. "You're Quint McCord. Off on another secret trip, huh?" Michael just smiled at her.
He doesn't mind the attention one bit. In fact, he likes to check the postmarks on his fan mail personally. The letters come pouring in from all over the country, and some people write in and say how sexy he is.
"My wife, Deborah, thinks it's a hoot," laughs Michael. "She says my fans don't see the other side of me--drinking beer and lying on the sofa watching football. They only see me dressed up."
When Michael was growing up in Detroit, he never dreamed he'd be getting letters from women who adore him. He never even thought he'd be an actor. Michael started out majoring in journalism at Wayne State University. Then he switched to legal studies, pre-med, political science, and finally to theater.
After graduating from college, Michael went to work for his father in the plumbing business. However, his career was short lived. Michael remembers the day his dad came up to him and said, "You better stick to acting because you make a lousy plumber."
So Michael enrolled in the Wayne State graduate theater program, where he met Deborah. They appeared together on-stage in a production of Charlie's Aunt and their love blossomed behind the scenes. Finally, after three years of dating, it reached the point where they had to decide the future.
"Wen she agreed to marry me, we were at her folk's place in Texas," Michael recalls. "It was late at night. Her parents had already gone to bed. She said yes, and I didn't want her to have the night to think about it and change her mind. I made her wake up her folks. Then I went next-door and told her sister and brother-in-law. I wanted witnesses. I didn't want to give her a chance to back out."
That same streak of determination helped Michael as an actor. When he arrived in New York, he plugged away at the soaps, trying out for eight of them altogether. He did regional theater and appeared in the touring company of The Winslow Boy. He also tried out for the lead role in Raiders of the Lost Ark, a part that eventually went to Harrison Ford.
Glad he stuck it out, he now enjoys being part of the Guiding Light "family." Says Michael, "My approach is from James Cagney: Learn your lines. Plant your feet. Look the person in the eyes, and tell the truth. That's all you have to do."