Thom Bierdz Coming Home

Out actor Thom Bierdz returns to The Young and the Restless in a hush-hush story line 20 years after he last appeared on the top-rated soap. Is he playing gay? That's the million-dollar question.

BY Michael Fairman

May 18 2009 11:00 PM ET

THOM BIERDZ 02 X390 (GETTY) | ADVOCATE.COM

I read a quote a while back that you would consider coming back to Y&R if they incorporated your artwork and being a gay man into the story. I did say that a couple of years ago. I really don't know the twists and turns this character is going to take. I'm hoping with a progressive head writer and co-executive producer like Y&R 's Maria Arena Bell that all kinds of opportunities are explored here. I think it's all really encouraging and exciting.

So we are all left wondering if you are this character named Langley or really our beloved Phillip Chancellor. But all will be revealed soon? Absolutely. I am Langley at the moment, but I could be Phillip Chancellor III.

How was it coming back to the show? It was really cool coming back to the show, since it's almost been exactly 20 years since I was on as a principal player. That is shocking and amusing to me; the fact that time goes by so quick. So to come back now as an out gay man and to know that I don't have to hide anything about myself is a great feeling. But in my 20s I felt I had to have this charade and felt like I had to say I was straight. Now I don't feel that. I feel that I am appreciated for my sexuality. I think it's a very exciting time, all over the place and especially in my life.

When you were on the show in the late '80s, was it difficult being a younger leading man in soaps, when you were gay? My agent had told me not to come out. I spoke to my manager about it and he did not think it was a smart idea. Also, in the later '80s when I was on Y&R. this is when AIDS was becoming prevalent, and a lot of people thought if you were gay that meant you had AIDS. It was a scary time to come out, and I think since then we realized gay does not mean AIDS. We have had so many more homosexuals on TV and in our lives through reality TV and with shows like Ellen that people are not stereotyping homosexuality as much as they used to. It's a whole new era, and it has shocked me how open young people are today.

When you spoke with Maria Arena Bell about returning to the soap, did you speak to her about the things you wanted to do this time with your character? When the opportunity arose -- it's a time in my life where what I do I have to feel good about, and I do feel good about the direction this character can take.

Have you worked yet with the other Y&R heartthrob, Daniel Goddard, who plays Cane? We have been led to believe for the past few years that he is the real Phillip Chancellor III. It looks like from the top-secret material that these two are in cahoots! If I met him the day I was filming, I forgot. You know, I don't know. We have not done scenes together, but it was put together in editing. It may appear like I have worked with him.

Working with former love interest Tricia Cast (Nina) again must be something down the line you are excited about! I adore Tricia Cast, and she is so real and down-to-earth. It's like I told her when I was so down on my luck years ago ... when I was bartending, and I found myself doing so at the Soap Opera Digest Awards 10 years after I was a soap star. A lot of the soap opera stars were there and they avoided me because they did not know what to say. Tricia came behind the bar and hugged me from behind, and she was so happy to see me. The fact that I was a bartender was not the least bit embarrassing to her, as it was to me at that moment. And that's how real she is, and I so appreciate who she is as a person.

Tags: television

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