OWhen ALL MY CHILDREN, the series where Cameron Mathison had spent the better part of 12 years playing Ryan Lavery, ended in 2011, unemployment wasn’t a big concern. He’s had one other gig before (as a correspondent for GOOD MORNING AMERICA), and over the years his professional plate has only gotten heavier, from hosting (ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT, HOME & FAMILY) to grappling from primetime views (DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES, HOT IN CLEVELAND) to a slew of Hallmark films (perhaps most notably, the MURDER series, SHE BAKED, where he starred alongside Alison Sweeney, Sami of DAYS) .
Despite its post-soap opera success, Mathison’s affection for the genre remained strong – and thoughts of GH began to crop up at the oddest time. He explains, “I start my day with a meditation routine, and GENERAL HOSPITAL kept coming to mind. I’d pay attention to that and send positive energy to my friends there,” a list that includes not only actor pals like Maurice Benard (Sonny) and Finola Hughes (Anna), but also the show‘s executive producer. , Frank Valentini. “Frank and I date back to 1997 when I first came to New York and he was working at ONE LIFE TO LIVE. Our lockers were close together at the gym where we both worked out. on the Upper West Side, so I would go to him and talk to him about stuff at ALL MY CHILDREN and he would give me advice.
His story with Valentini inspired him to make a chance call as HOME & FAMILY drew to a close in 2021, creating an opening in his schedule. “I’ve always had so much respect and admiration for GH and the quality of his writing and his actors, but I never wanted to be presumptuous and call Frank up and say, ‘Hey, man! How about you a role for me? That’s not my style. But because Frank and I are friends, I was like, ‘You know what? I’m just going to put it out there!'” To Mathison’s surprise , the executive jumped at the chance to add him to GH’s roster.” When he reacted positively and quickly, I was like, ‘That was way more than I thought would happen! ”
Seven months into his GH run as Drew, Mathison is thrilled to have made the call. “I’ve been lucky enough to be busy all these years on the animation side as well as the acting side, but I started in the daytime and I love it. I love its energy, its pace, the ability to play many different sides of a character. Especially a character like Drew, who is such a good guy but has the potential to be programmed and do things that are out of his element. He has the side adventure, the Navy SEAL side, the tender side with his daughter, the story with Sam – there are so many things that make it really exciting for me.
As eager as he was to sink his teeth into the role, he had a lot of nerves on edge when he showed up to the studio, wondering how he’d handle the workload (“When I left ALL MY CHILDREN, a really big day was maybe 30 items; at GH we do 60-70”), to be ready for an uphill battle to win fans (“I know replacing someone” – in this case , Drew’s original portrayer Billy Miller – “is tricky, and you never know how it’s going to turn out”). Now that he’s more settled, he says, “The damn truth is, I’m so happy there. I tried to be as respectful and humble as possible and I’m very grateful that the fans give me a chance. I’m having so much fun paying Drew and I promise the audience that I’m going to keep coming with respect to the show, the character, the writing and that I’ll keep doing my best.
Having gone through difficult times in his personal life in recent years (he battled kidney cancer in 2019 and lost his beloved mother to brain cancer last year), Mathison is grateful not only for a work he loves, but also for his family, his children Lucas and Leila and his wife Vanessa, with whom he will celebrate his 20th wedding anniversary in July. “We went through some tough times maybe 15 years ago,” admits Mathison, “and she really stuck with me. learn from it. And she’s such an amazing mom, it takes my breath away. I was really lucky. When we met, she was more focused on aesthetics, I was more focused on the aesthetic, we were both a little bad at the party scene, just a little bonkers, and the fact that we both had a will to change and change our approach to life and of what was important to us, it’s really very rare, really rare.
When asked what his younger self, the one who landed his AMC role in 1997 shortly after making the transition from model to actor, would think of the man he’s become, he pauses thoughtfully. , then said, “I think the guy who booked ALL MY KIDS would be so proud of me. I’m not just talking about work or anything; I think it’s really cool to have been able to continue working in such a difficult industry, but I think he would be proud of what I’ve been able to do on a personal level – which is important to me, my morals and my family and my children, me being a loyal and devoted husband and family man. I think that would surprise him! I sincerely believe that deep in my heart at that age, I wanted this in my life, but I was not taking any steps to achieve it! I think he would be really proud of the guy I’ve become.
Keep the “dream” alive?
Fans of the Sam/Drew romance had been hoping to see their “Dream” team reunite with Mathison in the role, but for now, it looks like Sam is sticking with Dante. “I love these two guys, Kelly [Monaco, Sam] and Dom [Zamprogna, Dante]Mathison smiles. “I really like them together too.”
Even though the pair aren’t in the cards, Drew will remain connected to Sam through their daughter, Scout, and Mathison is happy to have the opportunity to share scenes with Monaco. “Working with Kel has been amazing,” he enthuses. “I don’t think it can get any better. We have known each other for a long time but have never really worked together; I think we already had something at Super Soap Weekend or maybe it was something with DANCING WITH THE STARS [they are both alums of the competition show]. Working with Kel, I feel like there’s really good chemistry. She’s fun, she’s playful, she’ll surprise me in the scenes. She had great chemistry, obviously, with Billy [Miller, ex-Drew], but I feel like it’s a good dynamic and I really feel like it’s different from what Sam has with Dante, and that’s important. And Drew is respectful of that. There are definitely feelings there, I’m not going to say there aren’t feelings, but Dante is an amazing guy and Drew knows that and just wants the best for her.
Did you know?
• Mathison holds a degree in civil engineering from McGill University.
• He won the Soap Opera Digest Outstanding Male Newcomer Award in 1999.
•He appeared with partner Edyta Sliwinska on the fifth season of DANCING WITH THE STARS; they came fifth, with the trophy ultimately going to racing driver Hélio Castroneves.
just the facts
Anniversary: August 25
Hometown: Ontario, Canada
We are a family: Married Vanessa on July 27, 2002; they share son Lucas (born April 20, 2003) and daughter Leila (born July 7, 2006).
Puppy Love: Mathison’s beloved doberman, Red, is “the biggest wimp you’ll ever meet.” He looks incredibly dangerous, but he is the worst guard dog because complete strangers could enter the property, find the key, enter the house and he would hide in the bushes. At the dog beach, he gets bullied by little fluffy white dogs.
Locker room neighbours: “Close [Shriner, Scott] is right in front of me, Katey [MacMullen, Willow] is right next to me, and Roger [Howarth, Austin] is on the other side of me. I really dig it. I like his energy, his relaxation; I’ve always been excited, although I’m a little more relaxed these days, and he’s just a little cold. I’ve never seen this guy get upset about anything.
Contact lenses: The actor stays in touch with many of his former ALL MY CHILDREN co-stars, including Rebecca Budig (ex-Greenlee; ex-Hayden, GH), Melissa Claire Egan (ex-Annie; Chelsea, Y&R), Alicia Minshew (ex-Kendall), Jacob Young (ex-JR; ex-Lucky, GH), Thorsten Kaye (ex-Zach; Ridge, B&B), Susan Lucci (ex-Erica), Kelly Ripa (ex-Hayley), Mark Consuelos (ex-Mateo) and Eden Riegel (ex-Bianca). “I set up Eden with her husband, Andrew Miller, my oldest and best friend, so we’re basically a pseudo family.”