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bestfriends3.jpg (8772 bytes)The Art of Living
According to General Hospital's John Reilly
Soap Opera Update, Sept. 24, 1990

"There's a theory that you can tell a lot about a person by the books he or she reads, and others claiming that personality is revealed through everything from handwriting to people's pets. There doesn't seem to be much of John Reilly in either his books, set within built-in bookcases, or his long-haired cat. But if anyone wants to propose a link between interior design and personality, Reilly would make a fine example. In a number of ways, the Hancock Park home is a three-dimensional reflection of its creator, his wife and his family.

As you drive up to Reilly's white stucco corner home, the term old money comes to mind. For this isn't the trendy Malibu Colony of billionaire celebrityhomes nor the finely-manicured Beverly Hills where mansions sit back on tree-lined streets. Reilly's three bedroom home is in an area of established Southern California moneymakers rather than nouveau riche. 'Come on in,' greets a smiling Liz, John's wife for the past nine years. 'John will be right back... he went to the store. It's so hot, can I get you some water, tea, anything?' Granted, it's one of the rare humid days in Los Angeles, but once inside this 1932 Spanish charmer, a coolness settles in. 'Here, let me show you around.'

One feels like a real estate agent looking at a prospective best selling home when following the gracious hostess from room to room. In both the dining and living rooms, your eyes glance at the many family photos that hang on the walls and are strategically placed on antique tables. 'There used to be more,' admits Liz. 'Here's some of my family in Sweden, where I'm from.' Throughout the house are bleached hardwood floors, French doors and windows, and antique wood furniture that compliments the wood beamed ceilings. One's curiosity peaks as you look at the dining room chandelier. Liz offers: 'It's made out of reindeer horns... that have fallen off.'

Animal rights consciousness appeased, we continue up the Spanish terra-cotta stairs with hand-painted Mexican inlaid tile into 'my favorite room... our bedroom. It's so cool and private.' An all-white color scheme set amidst pine furniture immediately sets the focal point to the canopied bed. 'The bed's made out of willow trees, and when we have earthquakes, the bed really rattles. But I bet if you were to ask John, he'd say his favorite room was the solarium.' Okay, let's go ask John.

'Daddy's baby girl,' says debonair 6'1" John Reilly to his 10-month-old daughter Caitlin as he enters the solarium/den, Caitlin in tow. Known to millions of General Hospital viewers as Sean Donely, 'an Irish lover with a twinkle in his eye,' Reilly sets about to describe his TV altar ego. 'He's an adventurer, a romantic, sensitive, caring person, who when he gets angry, can really get angry. He can be devious and very secretive, but conditions sort of dictate that.' Asking him if that's a pretty accurate description of himself, he laughs, 'No, I don't get that angry anymore.'

Away from personality parallels, or lack of, what is the best way to describe Sean Donely's living quarters in Port Charles. 'He lives in a penthouse, very elegant, with a balcony overlooking the entire city. But John Reilly really doesn't like Sean's apartment. It was very high-tech and gray for a long time, and now we've got a little bit of Chinese, a bit of Ralph Lauren... very eclectic, but as far as I'm concerned, I look at it and go... Ummm.'

In a city reowned for creating illusions, the notion that appearances can deceive is hardly news. But few first-time visitors to the Reilly home are rarely prepared for the imagination and details that lie behind its exterior. As lifestyles of the rich and famous go, each home reflects a person's particular lifestyle as it does in the case of Sean and John. 'I can appreciate the Ralph Lauren look of Sean, but as far as the rest goes, I really don't care for it. My home is much more comfortable. People walk in here and they want to stay. We've lived here for four years and there's just an ambiance of being comfortable and elegant all at the same time. And that's what I like... elegance and being comfortable. It's a Spanish house with a little Southwest, a little traditional, light and airy. Over the years, we've added and discarded things... it's like one lamp at a time. But Liz created the entire look and we have very similar tastes. We even had the same exact sheets before we got married and we didn't even know it.'

'When we got married, everything sort of blended,' adds Liz, 'but I made him throw out his bicentennial sheets.' John's attention is momentarily distracted to Caitlin. 'You're just a little character, aren't you?' Her big round eyes twinkle, much in the same manner as daddy's do. 'She's an addition that we really wanted,' referring to daughter, not any particular room. 'She's such a good baby... she's curious, bright and very active. I think she's definately made us more tired. But we take her everywhere with us... Hawaii, New York, Sweden. She has her own frequent flyer card. We try and take all the kids with us as often as we can. They appreciate that and it makes for memories.'

Back to our original question of John's favorite room. 'I guess I'd have to say this whole area of library, solarium. I feel very comfortable sitting here and studying my lines. When the family all gets together, we always end up here too. We have a very beautiful living room, but we very seldom use it since we added on this room last year. The house lacked a family room, so this has become one. It's a great party house with this room. Tristan (Rogers) threw a baby shower for me here... great idea.' High ceilings, overstuffed floral couches, and a profusion of angled windows that look out onto a backyard and jacuzzi area. It's no wonder that this is the place for Pictionary and TV viewing.

'I very seldom watch myself on the show,' Reilly admits, glancing over to the big-screen TV. 'I stopped that years ago.' Pausing to sign an autograph for one of Liz' friends, he continues. 'We have so many great actors on the show that it's hard to accomodate everyone. After the summer storyline, I think we'll be going back to the nucleus and the hospital setting. I mean, I've been in the hospital four times after being shot. I always thought Port Charles was a small town and everybody knows what's going on with everyone else and that's the way it should be. We lost sight that everyone really does care about each other and that they're friends... even though they get miffed at each other. And I don't know exactly in what direction Sean is going into. I would like to see him become more vulnerable... reveal more of his feelings. I'd even like to see a rupture in his marriage... maybe his wife gets another man because Sean's never around. You never know.'

'I've made Sean into my own so to speak. I've molded him, and knowing what I know about him, he definately has some of me... like our sense of humor. But I'm a mellow person and don't really rush into anything. I'm doing what I want to do... I enjoy and love acting. And fortunately, people enjoy and like my acting.'"


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