Drake stars as "John Black" on NBC's daytime soap opera "Days Of Our Lives". In his youth, Drake Hogestyn had designs on careers in dentistry and professional baseball before he joined the cast of “Days of our Lives” as the heroic John Black in January 1986. In 1994 he won the “Soap Opera Digest” Award for Hottest Male Star. Hogestyn attended the University of South Florida in Tampa on a baseball scholarship and majored in pre-dentistry. After graduation, he was drafted by the New York Yankees and played third base for one of the Yankees’ farm teams until he was injured in 1978. Hogestyn then began his acting career by entering a Columbia Pictures national talent search that included 75,000 hopefuls. Hogestyn was among the 30 selected, and his first starring role was on the primetime series “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.” Donald Drake Hogestyn was born on September 29, 1953, in Fort Wayne, Indiana. He’s married to his childhood sweetheart, Victoria( from 1984-present), and they have 4 children: one son Ben, 21, and three daughters, Rachael, 23, Whitney, 17, and Alexandra, 14.
Desperate in love Drake Hogestyn
Drake Hogestyn has been playing the complicated, complex John Black since early 1986. An Indiana native, Hogestyn dreamed of life as a professional baseball player, but majored in microbiology at University of South Florida and also considered becoming a dentist if all else failed. Hogestyn achieved his dream of playing with the New York Yankees, in one of its minor-league farm teams in Oneonta, NY. After years in the minors — and a knee injury — Hogestyn decided to switch careers, which is how he got into acting.
He landed commercials, as well as the CBS series SEVEN BRIDES FOR SEVEN BROTHERS. After a year, the show was canceled. Hogestyn was about to apply to dental school when he got a call for a part on a soap, which was to play a recast Roman Brady on DAYS. Hogestyn won the part, which he initially thought would last mere months. Seventeen years later, he is one of daytime's most popular stars.
Hogestyn, a devoted family man, has his own off-screen romance that would rival the best soap storyline. He met his wife, Victoria, when he was 15 and she was 12 going on 13. They were together until 1975, then split on July 4 of that year. In 1981, Victoria called a shocked Hogestyn; eventually, they reconciled and married in 1984. Today, it isn't hard to get the actor to talk about his family. "I'm desperately in love with my wife and children."
HIS MEMORABLE QUOTES:
"I'm the only person in my family who didn't have to get braces. I'm also the only one who didn't get a bicycle or baptized. The three B's."—DIGEST, 11/4/86
"Each one was different. One was a spring shower in a forest, one was a walk along the beach and another was a full moon through a leafless tree." —On his leading ladies, DIGEST, 4/12/94
"I've been on the show for 10 years, and I guess what I keep thinking is that the 'leading man' tag is slowly being peeled off."—DIGEST, 2/13/96
"I feel a little guilty sometimes because what did I do? I came out here, never having been to California in the off-season, and the proverbial spin on the ball changes. My body was all torn down from the season, and I needed some rest and rehabilitation and to get away from baseball, get it out of my mind. And I got this job."—DIGEST, 8/3/99
"Wanna know how my contracts work? First of all, I've signed four-year deals. The way it comes about is, I'll run into Ken [Corday, executive producer] in the hall, and he'll say something like, 'Hey Hogie. How many years do you have left on your contract?' and I'll say, 'I don't know.' He says, 'Wanna re-up?' and I say, 'Okay.'" —DIGEST, 6/17/03
Drake Hogestyn, the sexiest and most romantic of all day-time men
Back in his hometown of Fort Wayne, Indiana, Drake Hogestyn, who stars as John Black on NBC-TV's Days of our Lives, had every intention of becoming a dentist. He figures it's still an option if he ever needs one, though it doesn't look as if he will, given his popularity on the soap opera. Drake rose to the top of the polls for all of the more than seven years since joining the daytime drama. Most recently, he signed an unprecedented four-year contract to continue his role.
Drake's early years were spent in the Midwest, filled with baseball, his first love. A gifted athlete, he was tapped by the St. Louis Cardinals after high school, but chose instead to attend college on a baseball scholarship. After graduating from the University of Southern Florida, Tampa, in microbiology, he was drafted by the New York Yankees and played the glamorous position of third base for the farm team in Oneonta, New York until he was sidelined by an injury in 1978. At almost the same moment, destiny intervened and Drake was discovered by Joshua Shelley, then running the Columbia Pictures national talent search program.
Applying to the program was the result of a few bored baseball players sitting around the clubhouse during a rain delay with nothing better to do than respond to an ad Columbia had placed in the local paper. But of the 75,000 aspiring actors who were submitted to the studio, Drake was among 30 whom were finally chosen. He was flown to Los Angeles to participate in an intensive three month training workshop, and while he was new to the stage, he found himself once again perfectly at home in the spotlight. Just like third base.
After completing the talent training program and realizing that his ball playing days were probably numbered anyway, he decided to stay on the West Coast and pursue an acting career.
Drake's first starring role was the series Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, in which he played the taciturn sibling with few lines but a compelling presence and a lot of attitude. The series lasted one season, after which Drake starred in an unsold pilot and finally, in January 1986, landed the plum role of John Black on Days of our Lives.
At least he started out as John Black. Well, actually he started out as a kind of mummy. But when he was unwrapped he was John Black. And then, miracle of miracles, he wasn't John Black. Just as he was being dropped off a cliff to certain death, it was revealed he was really Roman Brady, the presumed-dead brother of Bo Brady, the man who was dropping our hero off that cliff. Fade out ...
Fade in as the current storyline unfolds, Drake's Roman Brady, who for five years has been Salem's chief crime fighter and all-around good guy, but who for those same five years has been the luckiest man alive in terms of a love life, is now revealed to be no! Not Roman Brady at all, but in truth, John Black.
Well, it's a very long story. Let's just say that the fans love him. In fact, they love him so much that they voted him Hottest Male Star at the Soap Opera Awards two years in a row, 1994 and 1995. He does miraculous things with the most outlandish storylines and he's considered one of the sexiest and most romantic of all daytime's leading men.
Accidental Actor Drake Hogestyn
He never pesters his agent. He avoids parties and award shows. He'd rather undergo surgery than give an interview. Yet Drake Hogestyn, who plays white knight John Black on NBC's Days of our Lives, is the most popular actor on what is--according to the People's Choice and TV Guide awards--the nation's most popular soap.
This was not supposed to be. Sitting in his DAYS dressing room , the 48-year-old, Fort Wayne, Indiana-born Hogestyn says he studied to be a dentist back in the early '70s but wound up in baseball, playing third base for a New York Yankees farm team in Oneonta, New York. And if truth be told, he stunk. Recalls Hogestyn: "One day the manager sat me down and said, Hogey, you look like a ballplayer. You scratch like one. You spit like one. But you just don't f---ing play like one.'"
So Hogestyn slid through a crack into showbiz. In 1979, he was one of 30 to land a Columbia Pictures contract in a much-hyped nationwide star search. They'd told the media they would hire people who'd never acted before, but 29 already had SAG cards, so I was picked to legitimize the talent hunt," he says. "The only acting I'd done was trying to act like a ballplayer."
After three years on the periphery of Hollywood (he taught a young Rob Lowe to play baseball for a TV commercial), Hogestyn landed the short-lived CBS series Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. He joined DAYS in '86--teaming magnificently with Deidre Hall--and since then has shown no interest in greener pastures. "I'm satisfied here," insists Hogestyn, who goes to the dressing-room door and slips his plastic name plate out of its holder. "See this?" he says. "It slides right off, and it slides off fast. I never forget that."
But why the reluctance to make a splash? "I see actors all around me trying to create 'heat' for themselves, and that takes too much energy," he says. "My energy goes into trying to be a hero in my kids' eyes." (Married to his childhood sweetheart, Victoria, he has a son and three daughters.) "Even my agent thinks I'm weird. He called me up and said, 'How come we never hear from you? Don't you want to do movies?' I said, "It's 20 years too late for that conversation."
At least Hogestyn is vicariously famous, thanks to Joey, the struggling actor played by Matt LeBlanc on NBC's Friends, who periodically gets work on DAYS as Dr. Drake Ramoray. LeBlanc's performance is said to be a takeoff on Hogestyn, right down to the trademark stare--a look of confused suspicion with one archly raised eyebrow--that Hogestyn usually displays right before a commercial. (In one memorable episode, Joey admiringly called it "Smell the Fart Acting.") "I don't know why I do that," Hogestyn says with a laugh. "I even do it at home when something strange happens. My daughters are always busting me. They say, 'daddy, why are you making that soap opera face?'"
Drake Hogestyn: In The Jeans
The crew of DAYS got an eyeful when Drake Hogestyn (John) came to a show party in his regular clothes. "It was a pair of jeans and a white shirt," he laughs. "They were boot cut, but John has always worn straight leg Levis or something a little older, not so fashionable, not designer. Just your basic Gap. When I came back to work (after the party), Richard Bloore (costume designer) brought me a new pair of jeans and said, 'Well, George (in wardrobe) was just raving about this party and what you were in, so we had to go out and get this for you.' But jeans are jeans and you really have to try them on. So, they didn't fit really well. They just weren't right and I didn't feel comfortable in them. The next day I brought my jeans (from home) in, so I've been wearing them. That's kind of different.
Sometimes, I will go out and buy jeans, but I will wear them for the show only and never take them home. But these jeans, the girls got me and I wear them and it's kind of funny, because they're mine. I feel like it's a Saturday morning, lounging around the house."
Drake Hogestyn: Supercouple story
DAYS OF OUR LIVES's Deidre Hall (Marlena) and Drake Hogestyn (John) have been a fan favorite duo for 16 years. Here, the duo reveals the inner workings of their on-screen relationship.
Soap Opera Digest: Is it hard being part of a supercouple, knowing that the fans really only want you two to be together? Does it prevent you from having other storylines?
Drake Hogestyn: I think it's possible to be part of a supercouple and keep them alive and interesting and stimulating. It most definitely is. It takes work on our part sometimes. You need airtime, good story... it all starts with good story.
Deidre Hall: I think the good part about it is we know we get to be a supercouple. There is a comfort and a confidence in that... "Okay, you want to try me over here for a while? Alrighty, fine. Wanna try me with Roman for a while? Alrighty, go ahead." You just know that this show does supercouple like nobody ever has and nobody ever will and there's a chemistry.
Drake Hogestyn: When she's there and vice versa, everything slows down and it's very comfortable. John can yell at Marlena, Marlena can yell at John, they can fight, they can have the issues and get it out, but even in the disagreements, the anger, there's still that love connection that keeps them together. That's a very volatile part of their relationship, too. They're both very stubborn people, opinionated and head-strong. There's an attractiveness in that.
Soap Opera Digest: What was your toughest scene?
Drake Hogestyn: Personally, it was just recreating the past with one of the writers. It was the dungeon stuff. It was finding Johnny Black, 1985. When I took that name off the Vietnam War Memorial and I stumbled into the soup kitchen, that was all I knew about this character. I walked in, dusted the name off, John Black, there it is. January 10, 1986, airdate January 23. Now in Maison Blanche, I'm seeing Johnny Black, 1985 and they just explain it away. I see Father Francis and he says "John Black," when he sees me. I went upstairs [to the production office] and I'm like, "How does he know me?" They said, "He taught you in the seminary." I'm like, "I understand that, but didn't we have this whole thing with reconstructive surgery, the whole bit I don't look the same..." Everything that I'd based the character on was explained away with a rewrite, "Well, maybe it was all a lie," they said. Okay. That was hard. It still is. That was huge. That was only two beats, but the rest of it has all been good. Even the times when you're called to load the bases for someone else to hit the home run.
Deidre Hall: A baseball analogy. How surprising. My hardest scene was the airplane scene.
Drake Hogestyn: You were fabulous in that.
Deidre Hall: We'd been working and working and right before our scene, Elaine Bromka [ex-Stella] had a scene and [a producer] came out and was giving her a very bad time. Something about the height. She was terrified of the height, it was over an open pit. He had sort of unloaded on her a bit. Then we did the airplane scene, which was a love, rape, love scene.
Drake Hogestyn: Was it all in the same time? John was leaving Salem. I remember he was like, "It's not gonna work, I just can't be in town with you anymore. Something really bad's gonna happen here."
Deidre Hall: We did the scene a number of times and we did it perfectly -- push, slap, shove, cry, scream, coat, rape, kiss... it was all there. The producer came out on stage and said, "Quit phoning it in. Now go do it for real." What was he thinking? I finished the scene and then couldn't stop crying, and then went right into the next scene. Couldn't even clean up, just went right into the next scene. Roll tape again. I don't remember much about it, except it was uncomfortable.
Drake Hogestyn: Why would you say that? Because you broke through a different wall?
Deidre Hall: There's a place where I think of as an acting indulgence that you want to say, "Buck up here, it is a performance."
Soap Opera Digest: Do you adlib or change things?
Drake Hogestyn: Maybe a few ifs, ands and buts.
Deidre Hall: Not much.
Drake Hogestyn: They'll step on you. They'll say, "We definitely need this said. We need this line just the way it's written. We need it like that because we're gonna build on something." We're okay with that.
Deidre Hall: I paraphrase a lot more than you do.
Drake Hogestyn: But we listen to each other so it doesn't matter. They've worked with us so long in the booth that they know we listen and we respond well off of inflections and how we relate to each other. We're also good in laying it out there in the reaction shot. We know the scene's taken on a different flavor and we'll take the beat and see the cameras go left and right and go back again and pick right up on it and move into a different direction. It's all listening and relating and acting off each other, which is very comfortable.
Deidre Hall: I think that when the director gets what's happening, they'll adlib shots, like, "Okay, they're going off in a different direction, let's all go along for the ride."
Drake Hogestyn: We feel it too. It's all the synergy between us and the booth and it all works really well. It runs smooth. That's a given. They don't feel it until we feel it. That's when the scenes come alive. You can rehearse them all you want here, in the dressing room, on the floor, when the red light starts playing, different things start happening, energy starts taking off.
Drake Hogestyn Inks New Deals
Things in November 2004 are much different than things in November 2003. Unlike a year ago when Days of our Lives fans were worried whether their favorite star would fall victim to the Salem Stalker, there seems to be more news this year about which performers are staying with the show.
Lauren Koslow (Kate Roberts), who joined Days of our Lives in 1996, will remain with the how for the foreseeable future. Prior to joining DAYS, Koslow appeared on CBS's The Young and the Restless and The Bold and the Beautiful.
Meanwhile, 18-year DAYS veteran Drake Hogestyn (John Black) has also reupped with the show.
"Both of these actors bring an enthusiasm and professionalism to Days of our Lives in their individual ways. On and off the screen, they are exemplary representatives," said a show spokesperson in a statement.
"We are excited that both Lauren and Drake will continue as core members of the DAYS family," the spokesperson continued. "And we know the fans will share in our enthusiasm."
The terms of Koslow and Hogestyn's contracts were not released.
Don't Believe It: Hogestyn Isn't Going Anywhere
In another example of how you can't always believe what you read, an Internet rumor that circulated earlier this month has caused great concern at the Days of Our Live studios.
Over the Labor Day holiday, a rumor began circulating that Drake Hogestyn (John Black) had been let go. Within days of the initial post, the story of the 17-year DAYS vet's firing was all over the Internet.
With the recent firings of Matthew Ashford (Jack Deveraux), James Reynolds (Abe Carver) and Peggy McCay (Caroline Brady), it didn't seem out of the realm of possibility that Hogestyn could be fired. But this time the Internet chatter was just that - nothing more than idle chatter.
According to a spokesperson for Days of our Lives, the 'net rumors are "not true." How, where or why the rumors started isn't entirely clear, however, this is not the first time that DAYS has been the subject of "mass firing" tall tales. In March 2001, the firing of Bryan Dattilo (Lucas Roberts) set off a wave of "who's next?" speculation.
DAYS newly re-instated head writer James E Reilly has admitted to wanting to pare down the size of the show's cast, thereby being able to focus on fewer characters and produce higher quality storylines. There have also been behind-the-scenes changes
As for whether or not there will be additional cast cutting measures in the near future, a DAYS spokesperson had no comment.