Daydream made real Emmy-nominated soap star comes to Secaucus

By the time Cameron Mathison makes his appearance at the Harmon Cove Outlet Center on May 18, he will know whether or not he has won a Daytime Emmy for his role as Ryan in the ABC hit soap opera All My Children.

Mathison, who will greet local fans from noon to 2 p.m., has had roles in movies like Studio 54, The Defenders and the TV movie Any Mother’s Son and the TV series FX, as well as a host of smaller roles and TV commercials. He was once considered one of the highest paid models in the world and two years ago made People Magazine’s list of 100 most eligible bachelors.

Yet oddly enough, he said, his most significant accomplishment had nothing to do with acting. In 1973, then two and half years old, Mathison was diagnosed with Legg-Pertheas disease, a degeneration of the hipbones. He spent six months in the hospital and then three and a half years walking with crutches and wearing steel A-frame brace on his legs.

Despite his early disability, he exceeded in numerous sports at school, and still maintains an active skiing and golfing schedule when he is not walking around Manhattan taking photographs. When asked if this early debility motivated him to exceed, he claimed he hadn’t thought about it until the press brought it up after he became a star.

“I suppose subconsciously it did,” he said, although he makes a conscious effort to support programs of nearly any kind that helps kids with disabilities.

“I get involved with sports programs and things that help disabled children,” he said.

Acting was a daydream

Born and raised in Canada, Mathison thought a career in acting was only a daydream.

“I loved the idea of being an actor, but I didn’t think it was a real profession,” he said.

Good in mathematics and science at school, he eventually pursued what he thought then as the more practical career as a civil engineer. He graduated McGill University in Montreal with a bachelor’s degree and a 3.65 grade point average.

Truth be told, he hated engineering. So when he got a chance to model, he jumped at it, realizing that his daydream as a boy may be possible after all. To broaden his potential markets, he began taking acting classes.

Although he spent his youth living in suburban areas of Canada between Montreal and Toronto, his modeling career allowed him to become urban. He lives on the west side of Manhattan now, and his daytime gig with ABC is televised out of a Manhattan studio.

Although he had put a long day when interviewed in early May, most days he works about four hours, leaving him time to audition for parts in movies and television.

“I’m auditioning all the time,” he said, noting that he would like to get a role in a television sitcom. While Marlon Brando is one of his favorite actors, and he likes movies such as The Godfather and On the Waterfront, he said he hasn’t shaped his own style after any one actor.

A lot of what he does comes out naturally, he said.

“I pick up bits and pieces from other people,” he said.

Putting characters together

Mathison struggled a little when asked what he got out of his own acting.

“I think it has to do with creating a character,” he said. “I like creating what it takes to make a person.”

Although the character of Ryan from the soap opera does not reflect his own personality, he said that over the years, the character has taken on more and more aspects of his personality.

Soap operas being what they are as far as strange situations, Mathison might have had some trouble coming up with a particularly memorable plot twist. But one stood out above all the rest. “My wife on the show gets shot in the back of the head, gets her heart cut out of her and put into the body of somebody else, and she comes back as a ghost,” he said.

Excited about the possible Emmy, Mathison has been recognized by the industry in the past. In 1999, he won the outstanding male newcomer award at the Soap Opera awards in Lost Angeles. He also remembered his being the live host for the world premier of Walt Disney’s animated feature Tarzan, something he found challenging because it was live.

Like many actors, he also wouldn’t mind doing some behind-the-camera work, although rather than direct a film or TV show, he would like to be director of photography.

“I like taking pictures and I do a lot of it,” he said.

Mathison will share some of his tales about All My Children at his appearance in Secaucus. Autographs are free and photos will be provided for the first 1,000 people.

Harmon Cove Outlet Center is located at 20 Enterprise Ave. For more information or directions to the mall call 1-877-688-5382.


© 2000, Newspaper Media Group