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article imageKathleen Gati talks 'General Hospital,' inspirations and fans Special

By Markos Papadatos     Dec 30, 2018 in Entertainment
Acclaimed actress Kathleen Gati (Dr. Liesl Obrecht on "General Hospital") chatted with Digital Journal about her career. She offered her advice to aspiring actors, discussed the impact of technology on the business, and shared her New Year's resolutions.
On being a part of the hit ABC daytime drama General Hospital, Gati said, "I absolutely adore playing the role of Dr. Liesl Obrecht. What started out as a simple two-day acting job on General Hospital, as a Swiss-German head of the psychiatric clinic in Switzerland, turned into a (thus far) over six and a half years (350 episodes) amazing role that keeps me on my toes."
She continued, "I have been blessed and spoiled with this fun role where I get to play such a wide range, including the comedic and very dramatic, singing, dancing, and you name it. It is every actor's dream role."
Dr. Liesl Obrecht
Gati is drawn to her character on General Hospital due to Dr. Obrecht's "strength, determination, tenacity, loyalty, and passion." "I dislike it when she convinces herself and tries to convince others of something she is so wrong about. Worst of all, starving Peter/Henrik (played by actor Wes Ramsey) while having him kidnapped. That nearly killed me having to eat in front of this poor, starving, tormented prisoner of mine," she said.
On working with a talented cast of daytime actors on General Hospital, Gati said, "I love the challenge and variety of getting to work with almost everyone on our show. Each actor brings such different skills, different 'flavors' and challenge me to keep me on my toes, as they say. Finola [Hughes] and Michael [Easton] 'bring it' as actors and we do have a lot of fun. Cat and mouse time," she said.
Each day, Gati is motivated as an actress simply due to the fact that she loves "entertaining people." "I am an excellent audience member and love to be drawn into a film, or television story. I get lost in it, and want to be transported. I feel as an actor, we are 'tour guides' to people's emotions and it is a responsibility I take very seriously each day," she said.
Gati continued, "I want to make sure that if I am doing a dramatic role or very serious role, the audience will feel my pain, and they can commiserate and connect. Or if it is a comedic role, I must ensure that the timing is right, the body language and physical humor of the role are correct, that the accent is on point, that I hit the right 'notes' so the audience will laugh. That is a huge responsibility."
Biggest influences
A native of Montreal, Gati noted that she grew up with the "amazing" comedy queens Lucille Ball and Carol Burnett as her greatest role models. "I have big shoes to aspire to wear," she said. "To be able to make people laugh or forget their problems for an hour is the best gift I can give and also receive. When a fan tells me that I helped them forget about their painful chemo treatments, their heartaches, and their worries for an hour, it makes all the hard work worth it."
Speaking of fans, Gati enjoys being a part of fan events, especially events that support notable charitable causes. "Knowing that we touch the hearts of our fans, and give them joy and time out from their sometimes difficult and challenging lives is very gratifying. Doing fan events gives us a chance to connect with our amazing General Hospital fans. Doing an event that has an honorable charity attached to it makes it even more rewarding," she said.
The actress continued, "The fans see us in their living rooms five days a week. We are family to them as they know us so well. At these fan events, we get to 'climb through your television set' into your living room and get to meet our wonderful fans. It is truly a fantastic experience and I never get tired of it. It is actually an energizing and uplifting experience to meet the fans."
Emmy nomination for 'Outstanding Actress in a Digital Daytime Drama Series'
In 2016, Gati earned an Emmy nomination for "Outstanding Actress in a Digital Daytime Drama Series" for her acting work in Winterthorne. "It was a huge honor and a surprise. I was having a mani-pedi when I got the phone call and burst into tears," she said. The poor manicurist thought she had hurt me, and I had to explain that I was crying from sheer joy."
Gati continued, "We don’t act for nominations or awards, but when they are offered, it feels terrific. In particular, I loved my role as Valentina Winterthorne, an evil queen of a candy empire, and I so enjoyed working on this series with the very talented creator of this series, Michael Caruso, who, in addition, wrote and produced the Ladies Of The Lake series that I was also a part of."
She acknowledged that going to the Emmy Awards was a "fabulous experience." "In one year, I was invited to attend both the Daytime Emmy Awards for my nomination for Winterthorne, and shortly after, I attended the Primetime Emmy Awards when I was in the Emmy-nominated ensemble cast series, Fear The Walking Dead: Flight 462. The excitement and energy at the Emmy Awards is absolutely amazing. Everybody there is recognized for their talent, their contribution to the industry, whether you go home with a statue or not. It was wonderful."
Advice for hopefuls who wish to go into acting
For aspiring actors, Gati's advice is as follows: "Study with everyone. Do as much theater as you can, and work very, very hard and don't expect it to happen overnight. I studied with everyone and did theater in New York for 10 years to get a solid acting background."
"Many aspiring actors want immediate success," she said. "I don't know how to address that when they ask me how to be famous overnight, and please, only be an actor if you absolutely have to. It is a truly difficult and challenging career, and everyone wants to be an actor, or at least everyone wants to be famous. It is not the same thing. It can be an extremely frustrating, challenging, humiliating and traumatizing career; however, sometimes it is an amazing career."
Digital transformation of the entertainment business
Regarding the impact of technology on the entertainment industry, especially with the preponderance of streaming services, she said, "There is so much content being done as the demand and the ease with which shows can be made and accessed is pretty incredible. Everyone is now watching on their phones, iPads, and computers. I want to go to the movies. That's where I still prefer to watch and have the complete experience of 'getting lost'."
New Year's resolutions for 2019
The actress revealed that her New Year's resolutions for 2019 are "to try and be the best person that she can be." "To try and make people laugh or feel deeply, help them forget their worries for a bit, try to be satisfied and to 'bloom where I am planted,' wherever that may be and whatever I may be given to do," she elaborated.
Success and fans
Gati defined the word success as follows: "Knowing that I have made someone's day better through my acting or actions, that is a wonderful feeling." "Getting good material to perform, that people trust me with their writing that many times has been written specifically for me, trust me to do my job well, getting recognized at Trader Joe's (in my sweats, while sampling some food) by an amazing fan. Those are some of the meanings of success to me," she explained.
For her loyal fans and supporters, Gati concluded, "Thank you for all the continuous love and support over these past years and I wish you all a healthy, happy, satisfying 2019."
To learn more about Emmy-nominated actress Kathleen Gati, follow her on Twitter, and check out her official website.
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