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Interview with Thom Bierdz (Phillip Chancellor III, 'Y&R')


Thom Bierdz
David Livingston / Stringer / Getty Images
Thom Bierdz portrays Phillip Chancellor III on The Young and the Restless, appearing from 1986 to 1989, returning for a "dream sequence" in 2004, and in a surprising twist, after 20 years returned to the role on May 15, 2009. Thom sat down with Soap Opera Allie in March 2010 to talk about his career and his life, on screen and off.

Soap Opera Allie: Thom, I’m so excited to be doing this interview based entirely on my readers’ questions.
Thom Bierdz: I am excited to be able to be in contact with your readers.

Allie: As you may know, I had a national newsletter on soap operas for a couple of decades before taking over the Soap Operas site on About.com. I can recall watching you on The Young and the Restless in the 1980s. You were a favorite of my readers back then – and you still are today. In any case, thank you for doing this with us. Let’s just jump right in!
Thom: Okay.

Allie: A lot of my readers have questions about your work on the Young and the Restless. Several of them asked if Phillip is back in Genoa City permanently – if you have a long-term contract with Y&R?
Thom: No contract of that sort, but I was told that my “character will be a presence and important part of the fabric of the show for time to come.” There is so much story yet to resolve… and explore!

Allie: Denise P. wants to know if you think that Chance is also gay. (She specifies that she means the character, not the actor)
Thom: No way. I would be really surprised if the writer’s did that.

Allie : DeeDee asks: What is Jeanne Cooper like? She says Jeanne is an icon on Y&R, and doesn’t get her due as one of soaps’ Grande Dames. She wants to know what it’s like to work with her and whether you’ve spent much time with her away from work.
Thom: She is a very intelligent woman, someone very aware of everyone’s needs around her. She has strong maternal instincts and is maternal to many many people. Being the breadwinner in her family, she is also paternal, and a provider. She and I understand each other deeply, and I feel so blessed to be a part of her life.

Allie: Frances would like to know, when you were off Y&R for all those years, did you watch the show? If so, what did you think?
Thom: I only caught glimpses of it.

Allie: Peggy Lofton, who has been a reader of mine for more than 20 years says: Please ask Thom does he think his character will turn out to be bi-sexual? Because he seems to have a true romantic chemistry with Chance’s mother Nina.
Thom: You never know what is around the corner.

Allie: Donna wants to know how the Y&R cast received you when you came back, whether they were welcoming.
Thom: Very welcoming. Patty, head of make-up, had attended my Beverly Hills art show a couple years prior and shared my web site paintings with the cast in the make-up room, which was great. Made me feel very appreciated.

Allie: A reader calling herself “Charlie’s Mom” says: “I’ve always thought it would be really interesting to go back and have an old job of mine (from a long time ago) years later, now that I’m older and wiser. Thom has gotten to do that! I guess I wonder how that is for him. Does it feel different this time around? What does he do differently? Does he appreciate it more, or does he tolerate less B.S.?
Thom: It is a unique opportunity to turn the clock back like this. I have different priorities now. And much more appreciation for the human beings I work with. I know that they have cared about me for 20 years and I have them, too.

Part II - Thom's Personal Life
    Readers also take a very personal interest in soap stars, and several of them had some pretty personal questions for Thom.

Soap Opera Allie: One question that was asked again and again is: Are you single?
Thom: Yep. And ready to date again!

Allie: A reader named Nicholas wants to know your idea of a perfect date.
Thom: A quiet restaurant with a fireplace view. Then a walk in a park. Sitting at a picnic table under the moon.

Allie: A question from Brian will be difficult for me to paraphrase, so here it is: “Would he rather (…How can I put this delicately?…) enjoy a romantic evening with Rupert Everett or Neil Patrick Harris?”
Thom: Neil, but, as far as celebrities, I have crushes on Ryan Seacrest and I think Andy Cohen from Bravo is very attractive.

Allie: Helen asks: “Boxers or briefs (or something else, or nothing at all)?”
Thom: Nothing.

Allie: Another longtime reader, Sharon Clements, wants to know what you wear to sleep in (if anything at all).
Thom: Nothing. Last night it was cold so I slept in a thermal T-shirt.

Allie: Olivia asks: “Phillip was obviously with women before he figured out that he was gay, or before he accepted it. Was that how it was for Thom too? Was he ever with a woman?”
Thom: No, never been with a woman.

Allie: One of my male readers asked how you keep your body in such fantastic shape – what are your nutrition and workout secrets?
Thom: Thank you – man, I eat so little. I am a vegetarian so I eat no meat, and I try to cut out wheat and dairy as well. So, I get up with 2 cups of cold coffee and almond milk, and then my oatmeal with bananas, almonds and raisins, then a couple protein bars if I work out, then maybe some steamed edamame beans, or a salad…

Allie: Molly would like to know how you unwind and relax after a stressful day.
Thom: I'm a reality TV junkie.

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