Classic Cover of the Month: August 1999

Classic Cover of the Month: August 1999

The Bold and the Beautiful’s Bad Boy Ronn Moss Lets Us Dip into His Private Life

Ronn Moss looks the part of a perfect matinee idol. Most famous for his role as Ridge Forrester in the The Bold and the Beautiful, the 6’2″ brunette actor with intense green eyes, a determined jawline, high cheekbones and a physique honed by years of martial arts is a casting director’s dream come true. But there’s more to this man than his immediately apparent attributes.

With his show a front-runner in the all-important U.S. Nielsen ratings and at the top of the charts in 80 markets on six continents, Ronn sends millions of women worldwide into a frenzy whenever he appears in public. In Italy and Greece, where the show is number one, police assist personal bodyguards to control the crowds and navigate Ronn safely through them.

Unlike novices stunned by the phenomenon of soap superstardom, Ronn had already experienced wild acclaim before hitting daytime drama. As a singer for the band Player in the late 70’s and early 80’s, he put out two albums and scored a number one record in 1978 with “Baby Come Back.” In the same year, Player was voted to Billboard’s Honor Roll of Best New Artists.

Although his character Ridge, a wealthy fashion mogul, is constantly pursued by beautiful women and has walked the aisle countless times, Ronn has been married only once—to the love of his life, actress Shari Shattuck, with whom he has two daughters. And while Ridge may be the Hamlet of daytime, agonizing over his decisions, Ronn has very definite ideas about life, love, career and family.

An original cast member of the 12-year-old soap, Ronn retains his prominence as one of daytime’s most sexy, popular and hottest stars.

In an exclusive interview, Ronn lets loose to PLAYGIRL about how it feels to be lionized for his appearance, his romantic courtship and life with Shari and what it’s like to take his clothes off for steamy love scenes in unlikely locations—on an office desk, the floor of a chemical plant, a stalled elevator and— surprise!—even in a bed.

Ronn Moss of ‘The Bold and the Beautiful’.

PLAYGIRL: Career-wise, music was your first love. What made you switch to acting?

Ronn Moss: I had been performing and playing with my own bands since I was about eleven years old. There were always four or five guys to consider, and we were always doing things as a group. I loved the bands—the touring and energy of performing to large, live audiences. But after several years together, I wanted to do something that was just me. I wanted to have a solo career and to be responsible for my own success or failure, instead of being part of a group. I thought acting was the logical choice—it would allow me to achieve what I wanted. Also, it would give me permission to escape from the shyness of Ronn Moss.

How does it feel to have achieved major success in two careers?

I feel extremely lucky! Although I did have some hard times along the way. Before my success with Player, there was a series of ups and downs where I was playing for very little money and sometimes for nothing. It was hard to make a living. I was very young, true, but I was out of my parents’ home, on my own, and had to think about supporting myself. Before I got to The Bold and The Beautiful, I did feature films, commercials and some nighttime TV, but there had still been lots of lean periods in between.

Do you regret the change from music to acting?

No, because I never gave up music. I grew up in a home surrounded by music. I had a natural musical ear and from a very early age I was able to pick things up quickly just by listening. I played the guitar, the drums, and at about the age of four or five, I was plunking out little tunes on the piano. Music is very important to me, and I’m still writing, playing, and performing. Player is actively recording and playing live dates. A couple of years ago, we recorded a CD, “Lost in Reality,” and we’re now back in the studio working on another. This time we’re freelancing, which is great because we hope to produce our next CD ourselves, under the names of Peter Beckett (my long-time partner and collaborator) and Ronn Moss.

Did your acting classes prepare you for the steamy love scenes you do on the show?

Not at all. Nothing anyone could have taught me would ever have prepared me for the love scenes I’ve had to do. You can only learn so much in an acting class, because it is not a real working situation. Learning how to do those love scenes was strictly on-the-job training.

Daytime stars receive an inordinate amount of fan reaction. Because you’re such a private person and strive to maintain your privacy, how do you handle all the attention?

I don’t know if you ever learn how to handle it. I deal with it in my own way, taking it in stride and not too seriously. I’m grateful for the fan response, but I expect that’s a transient opinion. They’re going to like what I do sometimes, and not others. It’s always that way with fans’ response, so I try not to put too much emphasis on it. I know they can be done with me just as quickly as they picked me up.

What’s the greatest fan response you’ve encountered and how did it affect you?

One experience was overwhelming and frightening. I was stunned and totally in awe of the outpouring of fans. Seemingly the whole city of Athens—60,000 people—turned out for an advertised autograph signing. I couldn’t imagine that all those people had come just to see me. I thought something else was going on, like a carnival or Papal visit! No one involved with this event had foreseen the size of the crowd and no one was prepared to deal with it. About 10 minutes into the signing, everybody realized there was no way we could continue. Most of the people couldn’t get close enough to get even a glimpse of me. I was the first person from B&B to go abroad on a trip like this and I had been looking forward to meeting the fans. I was disappointed that I wasn’t able to reach out to more of them on a personal basis. I still think it wasn’t fair to those people who had put out a real effort to come to see me, but I still don’t know what I could have done. I did write an apology to the local newspaper.

There was to be another signing in another city, but after what had happened in Athens, it was canceled. When the announcement was made to the thousands of people who had showed up, there was a near riot. A state of emergency was actually declared and the national guard had to be called to maintain order.

Daytime soap operas are such a cult of looks. How do you feel about the constant emphasis on your appearance—face and physique?

The soap magazines make a lot of my cheekbones, but I don’t think people have to be bludgeoned with that constantly. I think that stuff is so obvious, it shouldn’t have to be stressed so much. True, in this business, where looks are so important, I’m forced to spend far more time on my appearance than I would like—or I’m comfortable doing. If it was up to me, I would just sort of get out of bed in the morning and be content to look that way for the rest of the day. I seldom look into a mirror if I can help it. But because of the demands of the industry, I have to take more care about the way I look at all times.

Did you ever have a really ugly duckling period?

Oh, sure! And it lasted quite a while, I’m afraid. Actually, there are still times when I feel I’m in that period. I’m critical of my looks and think I have an obligation to be critical because that’s the only way I’m going to learn and grow. If I just sit back and think, I’m one handsome guy, and get preoccupied with that thought, where do I go from there? As we grow older, our looks change, so how can I put a lot of faith and investment into my looks now?

How do you feel, about all the press references to your sex appeal?

I really dislike being labeled a hunk or a stud, or any other similar adjective. It makes a guy seem like a piece of meat. I wish the industry magazines would deal with us (actors) on a higher plane and try to concentrate on who I am, rather than on my face, shoulders, biceps or abs.

But that’s what soaps so often focus on—and your character, Ridge, is a very sexy man.

True—but that’s Ridge. I don’t have any relationship whatsoever with him, except on the days when I’m on set in front of the cameras.

Are you embarrassed to wear Speedos or do so many steamy love scenes?

Not a bit. Ridge is just a character I play from day to day. Those are strictly things that he does, so all those scenes and the Speedos are never embarrassing to me. That’s the fun part. When I go into ‘Ridge-mode,’ I can do a lot of things I wouldn’t do in my own life: I can sleep with my brother’s wife, make love to a woman who is married to my dad and I can haul off and punch a man because I’m jealous of his relationship with my wife.

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