In the history of television, there are only a few shows that have managed to establish themselves as a part of what we called a television canon. While no one can forget how FRIENDS shaped sitcoms, there is one more show that has contributed in shaping the television series we now indulge ourselves in.
It’s been more than five decades since General Hospital launched. The show has been a gateway for many stars. It is through these shows that Demi Moore, Elizabeth Taylor made their way to their remarkable careers. General Hospital is still running successfully and it has got some new entries including Donnell Turner who entered the show as Curtis Ashford.
CelebMix got a chance to interact with Turner over an email interview where he told us about his passion for sports, his acting career and his new endeavor The Turnaround Project. Check out the interview below:
You were a basketball player but then you switched to acting. Please tell us about the journey so far.
I thought basketball was the be all and end all. It was the direction I was taking and I loved it. Then acting came into my life and gave me a whole other passion.
It has been a journey, and one full of incredible life experiences that still surprises me daily. The show so far has been a great new learning experience.I’ve had a chance to work alongside people that inspired me. I’ve met die-hard fans and have gotten to know some of them.
I’ve worked with charities that have auctioned off my T-shirts for way more money that one should ever pay retail. It’s unlike anything that you can really imagine until you get the chance to do it.
One thing that is always mentioned about Donnell is that he has grown up watching General Hospital. Now, you are the part of this iconic series. So, how has been your experience so far?
Yeah, that fact has become a part of my identity for sure. I was recently talking to my team and said to them that working on this show is even more rewarding than I originally thought.
Once you are there with the actors and producers, you realize just how much @GH has been a part of TV history. You begin to realize the number of influential actors that have come through those doors and you then know how lucky you are to be invited to the party. That is a little humbling and also empowering.
How much of Donnell Turner is in Curtis Ashford? How would you like to define your character?
I was invited to @GH to help create a new character. So naturally, there is some Donnell there. And we honestly look for other ways to add more of what I like, such as Martial Arts and boxing. But we are different, you know.
As an actor, I want to create someone new and explore where that takes me. I will say that Curtis has a certain ambiguity. You are not quite sure if he’s a good guy with a sorted past waiting to break out at any moment, or if he’s the guy that will always save the day. I like the complexity of that.
It’s been over 50 years since General Hospital started. Critics believe that it was only after the entry of Gloria Monty that the series started attracting youngsters. As you have grown up watching the series, do you have any special episode that made you the fan of the series?
That’s astonishing that you mention Gloria Monty. I believe it was Fred Silverman who was head of @ABC at the time that told Gloria to turn General Hospital around or the show would be canceled. She did it. And @GH went on to win a series of Daytime Emmy Awards.
I think it was the early 80’s that the Luke and Laura Spencer storyline made the biggest impact on me, and the world for that matter. We followed them. We loved them. We were hooked and I wanted to do what they were doing.
Donnell, we have learned that you are quite passionate about sports. So, do you still participate in sports activities? Please tell us how important is sports for you.
Sports are what first got me on my feet and moving. I played basketball growing up. I studied MartialArts. I tried boxing, golf, and I watch sports every chance I might get. I do my best to workout regularly, but work and travel keep me busy and makes it difficult to make the time for a day on the court. Maybe @GH can set up a court on the lot.
Apart from being an actor, you conduct motivational sessions with youth. Also, you work for your own project the Turneround Project. Please tell us about it.
Would you like to share any special episode from these sessions that has kind of stayed with you till now or motivated you?
The Turneround Project is a dream of mine, under the umbrella of my company, Turneround Productions INC. The Project will be a charity with a heart for the homeless and the underserved. Our mission statement is one that personally encourages me: “It’s Never too late to Turn It Around.” Turner is an acronym that stands for: The Ultimate Rescue Needs Everyone’s Response; calling out other celebs, educators and financial difference makers, to lend their time, heart and recourses.
My heart was warmed while visiting the city of Boston and I learned that, blankets are provided for the homeless in the cold winters. From there the ideas started pouring in, with thoughts of also providing, T-shirts and ball caps in the summer as well as food drives, job opportunities, and skills training, social activities, volunteer work, etc.
In the time of crisis, how do you motivate yourself to rise up and go on? How do you cope up with your bad phases?
Pretty much like everybody else, one day at a time. You know, it’s an unshakeable faith that I rely on. Life presents us with all manner of opportunities. And sometimes they come in the form of challenges and you don’t recognize them in the moment. But when you keep good people around who are an honest sounding board you can tap into a real-life support team. My family, my friends, my team. These are people that help me stay focused and remember that life is a gift. I treasure it.
Do you have any influences in both sports and acting? If yes, who are they and how have they influenced you?
Acting and sports are my life and always have been. I might draw from too many individuals to name as inspiration. I’m of the belief that you can be inspired by anyone at any time if you remain open.
Typically the people who inspire me are the ones who are fearlessly led by their fire and passion for what they do. That too motivates me in my heartfelt pursuits.
You once said in an interview that you are still looking for an answer to the question a wise man asked you “What makes you different?” So, have you found an answer to it or are you still looking for the right answer?
Lol. I now remember that everything you say in print will, in fact, come back to you. I think life is always about learning and becoming more of who you are and who you are meant to be. What made you a standout once in your life will change over time. So by asking the question, you are always looking for that part of you that is expansive, always growing. I know who I am today. But check in with me next year.
Did you like the interview? Do you watch General Hospital? If yes, then, who is your favorite actor? Tweet us your answers over @CelebMix .