Days of Our Lives' Thaao Penghlis (Tony DiMera) was shocked to find out he'd been nominated for a Daytime Emmy last month. He opened up to Soaps.com about the joy of the moment, working with longtime screen partner Leann Hunley (Anna DiMera), and how his character studies into villainy informed his performances.
When he heard the news, Penghlis admitted:
To be honest with you, I was in bed. I got a call from Florida from a friend who asked, ‘Did you watch The Talk?’ I hadn’t watched because I thought it was going to be preempted. She said, ‘You are in the Best Actor category!’ I said, ‘Really?'
Over the years I’ve put out some work that I’ve been proud of and it didn’t get acknowledged. Yet this work, I had to look at it several times because I wanted to tell a story so that whomever is watching it had a beginning, a middle and an end. It gave it an arc that came because Maya’s [Frangie, Director, Communications and Strategic Initiatives] assistant, Irene, told me I needed a sequence in the beginning to make sense of what happens later. She found it, put it in and it made all of the difference.
One part of life at DAYS that Penghlis loves is working with Hunley. He shared:
There’s heart. There’s a great love, great trust and we never upstage each other — we’re a dance team. We are able to become one. She’s a godsend and she will be here the night of the [Daytime Emmy] Awards, along with Lauren Koslow (Kate Roberts). When she saw me the first time, she said, ‘He’s difficult. Do I have to be with him?’ A producer tried to put Anna with Eugene Bradford (John de Lancie), which would have been a joke. With Tony and Anna, you believe in the love.
And from where does Penglis derive his inspiration for Tony and villainous Andre? He revealed:
What I didn’t realize at the time, I came across a lot of villainous people. I took all that knowledge I discovered and brought it into my work. So when I took a major trip each year, I was able to sustain the character with interest because I just had an extraordinary journey. In my 20s, I planted a lot of seeds from the art world and my travels and I still apply in my senior years. I call it my last renaissance.