Wally Kurth of General Hospital and Days of our Lives

Image: ABC

Days of our Lives actor explains the challenges of being a legal eagle onscreen.

Recently Days of our Lives actor Wally Kurth, who plays Justin Kiriakis on the NBC soap opera as well as Ned Quartermaine on General Hospital, spoke with Soap Opera Digest on what it’s like playing a lawyer on television. When asked what makes Justin such a good lawyer, Kurth said, He seems to be able to quickly see where the problem is in a case, to see where the opening is and where the cracks are in a case.” However, he explains Kurth the actor would make a terrible lawyer in real life. “My wife [Debra, an attorney] says it, and she’s absolutely right: I can’t keep a secret. As a lawyer, you have to really hold your cards close to your vest. You have to be able to take people into your confidence, and I would say too much … I’m a spiller.”

Kurth went on to reflect on some of the courtroom scenes that stand out to him over the years, including his most memorable case, defending Hope Brady (Kristian Alfonso) in Stefano’s (Joseph Mascolo) murder trial. During one scene he had a three or four-page monologue that proved more than he could handle. “Albert [Alarr, the co-executive producer] came up to me and said, ‘Wally, I’ve never said this to anybody else, but do you need a teleprompter?’ I said, ‘No, I think I can do it.’ Well, I tried to do it. I’d get through a page and then another page. To make a long story short, I got the teleprompter.” As for his most problematic client, that would be Gabi Hernandez (Camila Banus). “Gabi was a problematic client, when Abigail was trying to bring her down when she had the alternate personalities. Gabi kept interrupting, and Justin had to keep holding her down and telling her she had to keep quiet or was going to be thrown out of the courtroom and be held on contempt charges. She was more boisterous than Sami [Allison Sweeney] was.”

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As for what the best thing about playing a lawyer on a soap opera. Kurth explained, “You get to work with a lot of different actors and characters, and that’s great. And I’m usually the one who is asking the tough questions in some very emotional scenes, because [the client] is having to deal with the consequences of being in jail or emotionally distraught. As a lawyer, I have to bring them back from the ledge or comfort them physically.”

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