In Praise of Justin Deas

I’ve been a fan of Guiding Light’s Justin Deas (Buzz) for a long, long time.

I don’t go back to his days as Bucky on Ryan’s Hope, but I vividly remember him as Tom Hughes on As The World Turns (opposite his real life wife Margaret Colin as Margo) where he was brilliant. I watched him rise to legendary soap greatness as the morally bankrupt Keith Timmons on Santa Barbara. I’ve witnessed him transform Buzz an institution. I think I’ve seen every moment that has won him those 530 Emmy’s he’s picked up over the last couple of decades.

In all that time, I do not think he has given as bold, raw or as an authentic a performance as he did during today’s episode devoted less to the passing of Henry Cooper Bradshaw (John Driscoll) than it was to the complicated love of a father who felt he had failed his children, now faced with the wretched task of having to turn off the life support of one of his most beloved.

If ever the term "tour de force" were appropriate for an actor’s work, this would be it. Instead of posting YouTube clips, this installment of GL and Deas’ performance is best experienced as a whole. Check out the entire episode at CBS’s official website here.

Hand Mr. Deas his 531st Emmy now.

19 Responses

  1. Profile photo of daisyclover1938

    Thanks so much for this J Bernard! I’ve been a HUGE Justin Deas fan since he was on Santa Barbara. In fact, Keith Timmons/JD was my first soap crush :) Alas, I missed him on ATWT but watched him on SB and Ryan’s Hope (thank you SoapNet). And I actually started watching GL back in 1993 specifically because Justin Deas came aboard.

    If it’s okay, I’d like to post something I wrote on the TFO forums in 2007 about Deas:

    He has played such a variety of roles, Bucky on RH, Tom on ATWT, Keith on SB (the BEST character in daytime ever, IMO), and Buzz on GL. These were roles that were so different from each other yet Deas managed to become each character completely. Deas has proven he can play anything from comedy to heartache. His energy gives his comedic scenes a spontaneity and creates an illusion of improvisation. At the same time Deas knows when to hold back and display sincerity and honesty that gives a depth to even the crappiest writing. He raises the bar in every scene he’s in and compliments and improves his fellow actors.

    His lack of traditionally (handsome) good looks hasn’t stopped him from having amazing chemistry with soap divas like Kim Zimmer, Robin Matson, Fiona Hutchison, Crystal Chappell, etc… Far from being overshadowed by these women, he goes toe to toe with them and delivers the goods, always! Deas is extremely low profile and is largely wasted on GL (IMO), but his talent and outstanding body of work cannot be denied :)

  2. Profile photo of Jorpa

    *gives Justin Deas a standing ovation!*

    I just got through watching both shows for this week so far. I’m a blubbering mess now.

    I always knew JD was good, actually better than good, but he outdid himself today.

  3. Profile photo of daisyclover1938

    Thanks J Bernard and McD720!

    I just watched the episode and I’m crying like a baby. He didn’t even need dialogue, it was all in his eyes, in his body language – you could see all his emotions wash across his face. It really doesn’t get any better than that… And yeah J Bernard, Buzz saying good-bye to Coop – heartbreaking – that’s when I started doing the Ugly Cry!

  4. Profile photo of nathan77

    I totally agree with you, J. There were so many moments with Buzz on Tuesday’s episode that just had me misting up. Justin Deas is just one of the daytime greats, and I am so lucky that GL has him. And he will definitely be recognized for his work when Emmy nomination time rolls around again.

  5. Profile photo of blackjack21

    thank you for praising this actor! i’ve loved him from SB and admire his work. i haven’t watched gl for awhile but was flipping around on monday and stopped flipping. besides wondering why gl kills off popular young people, i was enthralled by deas, as usual. i always say if you can flip to a show, having not seen it for months, and the actors have you crying in 30 seconds after you start watching – that is brilliance. mr. deas is brilliance.

  6. Profile photo of soapoperafan

    I’ve always loved Justin Deas! Ever since I first laid eyes on him as Tom Hughes on ATWT and then Keith on Santa Barbara. He did some of his best work with Robin Mattson on that show (which I still miss). But that was before February 17/09. I wish someone would send this tape to Ken Corday. This is how you write off a popular character and give its veteran staff something to do. This was all Justin’s show. Even the overpowering Ron Raines kept his personality in check. It actually began before the accident when Buzz tried to stop Coop from stopping the wedding. He soon realized that it was fruitless and gave him his blessing. The scene between Driscoll n Deas was heartbreaking. And instead of flashbacks we get recreations with the wonderful Finola Hutchison. Deas deserves the Emmy just as Jordan Clarke did when he won it. It shows the industry and younger actors what this genre is all about. Tour de force indeed!

  7. Profile photo of GossipGirl

    J Bernard thank you for showcasing Justin Deas performance during Coop’s death. He was absolutely brilliant yesterday! He has finally gotten material that is worthy of him! He had me in tears and I hadn’t cried while watching a GL episode in a long time!

  8. Profile photo of siomonstuart2003

    I am a fan of Justin Deas work, even though Buzz can be a self-righteous hypocrite. But he make Buzz likable and a good man who works hard for his family and earn his friends respect. I love his friendship with Reva and GL made a big mistake killing off another legacy character, Coop. They should of write him out, but does it make more s/ls for killing him, but I hope the show stays on the air because Jamey is right, that if GL goes, other soaps will go too. So I just the show stays on the air and gets better because this industry can’t afford another cancellation.

  9. Profile photo of naughtytomato

    I haven’t had a good cry over a soap scene in a long time. This actor had me tearing up unexpectedly. I can see why he has so many awards. He just sneaks up on you somehow and you believe him as a father losing a son.

  10. Profile photo of kgbmc

    GL is amazing. I decided to head late into work today so I could watch Coop’s memorial service. I cried and cried, amazing at all the actors from Lillian to Daisy to Buzz to Philip and even Alan.

    Now I cannot wait for Monday. It has been so long since I have looked forward to anything in daytime and I have been watching since 1978.

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