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HOME > Biographical > 100 New Yorkers of the 1970s > EASTSIDER TONY CRAIG
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Star of The Edge of Night


Although Los Angeles has long since taken over prime-time TV programming, New York is still the headquarters for daytime drama — also known as soap opera. Of the 13 "soaps," 10 are filmed in New York, and of these 10, five have been on the small screen since the 1950s, including The Edge of Night, which debuted in 1956.

The show's crime/mystery format has not changed much over the years, but one thing that has changed, of course, is the cast of characters. Tony Craig, who plays attorney Draper Scott, joined the show in November, 1975, and since then he has become one of the most popular male stars in daytime television.

Tony owes his success not only to his good looks and his acting ability, but also to his likable off-camera personality. Upon meeting Tony on the set of The Edge of Night during a busy shooting session, I cannot help noticing the affection that the other cast members display toward him. His ability to get along with everyone involved with the show — especially producer Nick Nicholson, and headwriter Henry Slesar — has enabled Tony to develop the role of Draper Scott into one of the four leading characters.

"I was given a piece of advice when I started," says Tony. "One: keep to your business and do what you're told, and two, answer your fan mail. I answer all my fan mail with a very personal response. … In the National Star, I once said I was looking for Miss Right, and I got inundated with letters. Some people sent plane ticket, asking me to come and see them."

As we sit down to talk in one of the dressing rooms, Tony puts on a tie and jacket for an upcoming bar scene, but because only his top half will be shown on camera, he does not bother to change out of his blue jeans and running shoes. Tall, athletically built and boyish in appearance, he discusses his work with an infectious enthusiasm.

"The closer I get to the character, the more I see that he and I are very much alike," says Tony in his rapid speech. "It's funny, the way I've assimilated him and he's assimilated me. It's like the dummy in Magic. The character has gone from a very impetuous, aggressive, almost nasty young man to a very quiet, strong, very reserved lawyer. It's changed to the point where I'm a pillar of the community. Whenever there's a problem, call Draper.

"I think I allow Tony a little more anger, a little more frustration, than Draper allows himself. … I'm very normal, I'm very average, I'm very aggressive. Some people would say pushy. But I do what I have to."

Approximately 260 half-hour shows are filmed e............
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