Part of “Old Info And News”
David Lee Smith talks about Elizabeth during an interview.
November 15, 1994
Before David Lee Smith moved to New York City from Dallas a little more than two years ago, he learned all he needed to know about Manhattan from a Lou Reed album titled, appropriately enough, New York. “He sings, ‘I’ll take Manhattan in a garbage bag with Latin written on the side that says, “It’s hard to give a s— these days.”‘ When I came here I kind of looked around and said, ‘He’s right; Lou didn’t lie,'” says Smith, who admits to having a love/hate relationship with the city. “There are a lot of great things about New York, and there are a lot of awful things.” Among the great things are Smith’s steady relationship with actress Elizabeth Mitchell (Dinah Lee, Loving), and his role as wisecrackin’ physical therapist Brent Sutton on One Life To Live.
A native of Birmingham, Ala., Smith is a graduate of the University of Alabama. Although his degree is in psychology, “I started acting during the fourth of my five years at Alabama; I did that kind of wandering-from-major-to-major thing. I went to an acting class and started auditioning for plays. And then I auditioned for graduate school, and got a scholarship at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. After I stayed in Dallas and did some theater, commercials and television.”
It was while living in Dallas that Smith met Mitchell. “We met at an audition for an industrial film for Boy Scouts of America. We were playing husband and wife, lying in bed together visited by a ghost,” recalls Smith, who still can’t figure out what a ghost had to do with Boy Scouts. “Then we met at various location after that. That was three years ago.”
Once in New York (Mitchell joined Smith two months after he arrived), Smith was cast in a small part of As the World Turns and All My Children, appeared in the CBS pilot XXXX‘s & OOOO‘s and guest-starred on the late-night series Dangerous Curves. OLTL, which he joined in August, is his first contract role on daytime. (Coincidentally, Mitchell was cast on Loving one week after Smith.)
As Brent, Smith was initially hired to help Luna (Susan Batten) regain the use of her legs, which were paralyzed following an accident. (Luna is pretty much back on her feet, but still has an occasional session with Brent.)
Although the humour Smith injects into his scenes with Batten appears to be off-the-cuff (indeed, during the course of this interview, Smith concludes many of his responses with a quip or two), he says “We stick to the script as much as possible. In certain situations you can’t help but [put things in] because there’s so little rehearsal time, and especially scenes, with a lot of physical action, some of that is ad-libbed. But they don’t like you to go too out of bounds with it.”
While fan recognition has been minimal (so far, anyway), Smith relates a funny incident from a recent trip to Birmingham, where he and Mitchell attended a family reunion. “I went to the local grocery store and I had left the house without money, and I had to buy margarine. Elizabeth was in another store buying something. I run my credit card through and it wouldn’t go, and here I am, I need 68 cents for a thing of butter. And so I left the store to go find Elizabeth, and this man followed me into the next store. He said ‘I saw your dilemma; can I give you $20 and you can just mail me a check for it? I’m a big fan of the show, and my wife’s been watching it forever.’ He gave me a dollar, and it all happened so quick I thought, ‘Wow, thanks.’ And so that’s the only time I was ever recognized. That reminds me, I have to mail a check to him.”
Source: Soap Opera Weekly