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DAYS: Bart Spoiler/Steve Blackwood Interview

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Days of Our Lives bids bloody goodbye to Bart

Death of DiMera henchman ends Steve Blackwood's 10-year run on series

In a "Days of Our Lives" episode scheduled to run Aug. 3, actor Steve Blackwood's character, Bart Beiderbecke, is killed in a sword fight.

LOS ANGELES - Last week, Steve Blackwood of Days of Our Lives was caught up in a four-car accident on Vine Street in Hollywood and walked away without serious injury.

The next day, Blackwood's character, Bart Beiderbecke, was far less lucky: In baroque soap-opera fashion, the bumbling henchman for the wayward DiMera family was killed in a sword fight. His demise ended Blackwood's nearly 10-year run on the NBC series.

There wasn't a dry eye on the set, Blackwood said after wrapping the episode, scheduled to air Aug. 3. But there was a lot of dried blood on my shirt. I spent the day with a half-sword sticking out.

He left with the satisfaction of having died a good on-screen death and with farewell hugs from star Deidre Hall and other cast members.

Back as Bart briefly

But it wasn't what Blackwood expected when he rejoined the show three months ago, after about 18 months away. His absence coincided with a stretch in which Days of Our Lives downplayed the long-running DiMera-Brady clan rivalry.

Blackwood was glad to return as Bart. The actor, who admires comedic actors including Cary Grant and Dick Van ****, had enjoyed injecting a touch of humor into the usually straight-faced world of daytime TV. He'd made the supporting role his own.

Even Bart's last name, a nod to the great jazz cornetist Bix Beiderbecke, was due to Blackwood. The writers bestowed it after hearing the actor, a singer and composer who's put out several CDs scat singing on the set.

The steady paycheck also was something any actor appreciates, especially one who's a family man (the Detroit-born Blackwood and wife Karen, an artist, have a daughter, Nicole) with a mortgage.

You're gonna be killed off

About a month ago, he casually asked a series producer what was ahead for Bart. The answer was a stunner.

He said, Steve, I gotta tell you, you're gonna be killed off. It's gonna be exciting, Blackwood recounted. But he wasn't excited; he felt a chill, not a thrill.

The actor thought back to the orchids and welcome-back note sent by executive producer Ken Corday (A great guy, Blackwood said fondly) when he rejoined Days of Our Lives.

I didn't realize the flowers were for my funeral, he said wryly.

He's keeping his exit in perspective as he moves on to other work, including a Sept. 28 opening at the Beverly Hills Playhouse in Neil Simons Prisoner of Second Avenues and club performances. He's also eager for a shot at prime-time TV.

I've been this guy for 10 years

But he would like those in decision-making positions to appreciate how difficult it is when an actor's longtime role is abruptly yanked away.

When I read the script where I say my final lines, I got very sad and teared up. My wife did, too. It's very sad because it's not you, but it is you. I've been this guy for 10 years, Blackwood said.

That's what I hope that not only this show but other shows remember: We as actors have an attachment to the characters ... When they're killed, part of us dies, too.

He understands that producers don't owe him anything, he said. Then he pauses, weighing his words: Maybe I want to blow up a cliche. ... People don't owe each other anything, but common respect is owed. I love those guys, but we could all use work on our people skills. Communication is key.

(Series producers and the network declined comment.)

Death of Days not far off?

Add Blackwood's character to a growing number of ill-fated TV inhabitants, including a parade of Lost islanders and, spectacularly, Christopher and Bobby on HBO's, The Sopranos, and police Detective Curtis Lemansky on FX's The Shield.

If the producers knew Bart was destined to die, telling Blackwood when they hired him back would have allowed him to schedule auditions and club dates. So why didn't they fill him in?

"A major possibility might be negotiations, because if myself and my agent knew it was just going to be a three-month arc we would have negotiated differently," he said, adding, We did renegotiate in the middle of this and they were very kind.

It's possible the venerable show, which debuted in 1965 and like other daytime serials has slipped in popularity, won't long survive him. NBC Universal chief executive Jeff Zucker has said that Days of Our Lives is unlikely to continue on the network past 2009.

As for Blackwood, rumors of his death have been circulating online. Fans railed against the loss, some offering to launch a Bring Back Bart campaign.

Many of them say, Don't worry about it. Stefano DiMera (Joseph Mascolo) rises like a phoenix. He's been dead nine times and come back, Blackwood said.

So might Bart return?

It's possible, Blackwood said. But Steve Blackwood the actor, the person, could have more lives than this. I'm hoping that we go on from here.


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I'm going to miss Bart and his antics and one liners.

Just another example of Ken Corday and Steve Wyman being two of the worst producers in soaps. These guys don't know how to truly run a show.

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When I saw Bart getting into the car with Tony a few days ago, I got sad. He doesn't know what he's in for. He is such a well-meaning character, just looking to fit in and for approval. I have no doubt I'll be surprisingly touched when this finally airs.

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I for one won't miss Bart (reminds me of the Reilly era), but I respect those who like the character and wish Steve nothing but the best in his future projects. (Watch that Hollywood traffic, especially when Lindsey's driving)

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I always liked Steve and Bart but agree he isn't needed.

It seems like he was kept in the dark and that sucks. They should've never brought him back in the first place though. This death sounds heartbreaking and I am puzzled by the fact that he is getting a better exit then so many other more prominent characters.

The line that mentioned the Dimera/Brady feud being downplayed puzzled me. Last month, the vets were on but it seems like now the vets are on every day in some fashion so perhaps that line is referring to that and how it took awhile to get this story going. That line in the article just caught my eye.

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Not sad Bart is leaving. I could take him or leave him. He's entertained me in the past, and I admit that I've enjoyed this recent run with the show. He was funny, but you could tell that the writers give him his edge back. He was a lot darker than he was in the recent past. It was like how he was back in '97 when he first came on. That's the Bart I like.

Oh well... It sounds like he gets one helluva exit though.

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Poor Bart! I didn't see this coming from ANYWHERE!

Two things: How AMAZING is it that Dee HUGGED him? THE DEE HALL?!!! :o Lucky guy!

Also: I'm pretty sure that this site's filter bleeped out "Dick Van Dyke's" name, lol. Look, it's says "Dick Van ****"

What the heck?! :lol:

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I am going to miss Bart and Steve. Despite how minor his role is on the show, he is already great for comedic relief especially considering his character is a villain and working with the supervillains on the show.

I am kinda pissed that the show did not tell him what was happening before he came back. Its like getting a kid excited to go to Disneyland and then the day before going, saying "We are not going! I never intended to actually go".

I will be sad to see Bart killed off....perhaps he can come back...if Dr. Rolf can come back after being killed off on screen, so can Bart!

Farewell Steve, thanks for all the outstanding performances you have given...you will be missed!

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