I found Alan-Michael Spaulding to be a rather interesting character. He was the first natural son born to the wealthy Alan Spaulding and his wife Hope Bauer, but he always felt like he came in second to his big brother Phillip. Even Gus Aituro, when it was discovered he was Alan’s son, was treated with more love and respect than Alan-Michael! Which explains a big hallmark character trait of his, the desire to prove himself to his family. Whether it be that he was not at manipulative and cold as his father or that he is just as savvy in business as his Aunt Alexandra and brother Phillip. While Alan-Michael wants his father’s love this is often in conflict with the contempt he feels towards him. Despite being from one of the wealthiest families in Springfield Alan-Michael is considered to be the “black sheep” of the Spaulding family.
1. Jessica Zutterman: Alan-Michael Spaulding was born on-screen on September 23, 1981 and was portrayed by a female baby actor which is actually quite common in soap operas. The marriage between Alan Spaulding and Hope Bauer was brief, and Alan’s womanizing ways contributed to Hope’s decent into alcoholism. Alan’s affair with Vanessa Chamberlain was the end of the line for these two and they divorced when Alan-Michael was two. Hope Bauer moved to New York with a young Alan-Michael in October 1983. A rare family portrait featuring: Phillip, Hope, Baby Alan-Michael, Alan, and Amanada Spaulding.
2. Carl T. Evans: A now eighteen year old Alan-Michael made a big impression when he literally parachuted into the annual Bauer bar-b-que July 4, 1987 and he would continue in this role until June 1990. Alan-Michael was hoping to build a relationship with his father but was also jealous of the closeness between Alan and Phillip. In his senior year of high school Alan-Michael dated Dinah Marler and bribed star student named Cameron to do his homework. Out on his motorcycle with Dinah, Alan-Michael crashed into Frank Cooper’s car and was forced to help deliver Frank’s sister Harley’s baby. A typical high school student Alan-Michael was a fun-loving party guy which quickly irritated Alan who grew tired of his behavior. In 1988 Phillip gained control of Spaulding from Alan which increased Alan-Michael’s hatred towards his half-brother. Phillip insisted Alan-Michael would have a place in Spaulding one day, Alan-Michael told Phillip that Spaulding belonged to him anyway since he was Alan’s true son. Also during this time Alan-Michael planned to marry Harley Cooper to gain access to his $1 million dollar trust fund. The Spaulding’s did not approve of Harley because she was poor and Phillip tried to break them up but in 1989 they ended up marrying. Though Alan-Michael did not gain access to his trust fund he and Harley did fall in love and he began working at her family’s diner. Harley and Alan-Michael’s marriage would end with the return of Haley’s ex-boyfriend Dylan, the father of the baby she gave up for adoption. Desperate to hold on to Harley he helped kidnap her daughter, Susan. Harley tried to take sole responsibility and Alexandra tried to help through the Spaulding lawyers but Alan-Michael took his share of the blame, and ended up receiving community service. Harley and him grew apart with her developing feelings for Dylan and Alan-Michael began sleeping with Blake. Wanting to once again gain access to his trust fund he blackmailed his Aunt Alex with the knowledge that she was the one who arranged Vanessa to be fired from Spaulding and not Phillip. Carl T. Evans was great in the role of a teenage Alan-Michael. Not a child but not yet a man Alan-Michael was a typical teenager with the typical growing pains (school troubles, friends, young love, etc) but he had the additional weight of knowing he came second in Alan’s eyes. This anger would foster a rivalry between Alan-Michael and Phillip that would remain throughout Alan-Michael’s tenure on Guiding Light.
3. Rick Hearst: Perhaps the best known in the role he portrayed Alan-Michael from July 1990 until June 1996. Blake and Alan-Michael eventually married until he learned that Blake faked a pregnancy test. Despite her pleas for forgiveness they divorced. When Phillip and Beth left Springfield early in 1991 Alan-Michael was finally able to step outside of his brother’s shadow. Also in 1991 Alan-Michael learned that Roger Thorpe had stolen money from Spaulding and therefore a new president was needed. Alan-Michael nominated himself though Alexandra didn’t feel he was ready. A contest between himself and Vanessa ensued with Alan-Michael hiring Blake to help gain information he could use to his advantage. However, Vanessa would be the victor and Alex became obsessed with Nick McHenry believing him to be her son. Alan-Michael had played second fiddle with Alan and Phillip, he didn’t want to come in second to Alex as well. Alan-Michael fell in love with immigrant Eleni Andros. Though Eleni was promised as a bride for Frank, Alan-Michael decided to win her for himself. He dated her and impressed her with his wealth but Eleni rather saw him as a friend and comfort for Frank’s lack of interest for her. He set up Frank with a prostitute so that Eleni would catch the two together and when Eleni was unable to reenter the country he convinced her to marry him. Soon Eleni’s feelings for Alan-Michael grew and the pair married again in a dream wedding at her family’s home in Greece in February 1992 and the Andros’ welcomed Alan-Michael into their family. Alan-Michael continued to scheme to gain control of Spaulding and switched Eleni’s birth control pills with placebos. When Eleni became pregnant in 1993 Alan-Michal was overjoyed…until he learned that Eleni had slept with Frank Cooper and the baby could be his. When Eleni left Alan-Michael for Frank he was devastated and along with Gilly and Nick took over the floundering Springfield Journal and met Lucy Cooper. In 1994 he began dating Lucy but remained hopeful that Eleni would return to him, even comforting her when her relationship with Frank hit a rough patch. As a result Lucy broke up with him. In 1995, Alan named Alan-Michael president of Spaulding (his life-long dream) and Lucy was hired as his secretary. When Lucy began dating Brent Lawrence, a Spaulding executive, Alan-Michael was forced to admit that he loved Lucy. However, Alan-Michael finally found out that Brent raped Lucy and flew into a rage and fired him. After terrorizing months of Brent stalking them, faking his death, then terrorizing them as “Marion” Alan-Michael and Lucy married in May 1996. It was at their wedding where Phillip made his big return, though Alan-Michael wanted him to leave until Lucy stopped him, hoping the two brothers would make peace for one day. Rick Herbst will forever remain my favorite Alan-Michael. Alan-Michael was more manipulative around this time but it was always directed at two things, Spaulding Enterprises and his quest for love. He wanted to be president of Spaulding and was constantly having to prove himself worthy. And though Alan-Michael thought he found love with Eleni it was with Lucy that Alan-Michael found his soul mate. Here is a clip from Lucy and Alan-Michael’s wedding in 1996. And Jezzfanatic is uploading the Alan-Michael and Lucy story on YouTube. Here is a great clip of theirs featuring Rick Herbst as Alan-Michael. As for why Alan-Michael and Lucy worked, it was partly because Alan-Michael didn’t lie or manipulate Lucy. In fact it was Lucy who always felt they destined to be together. Their pairing (LAM) was popular among fans and many were upset when Rick Herbst left Guiding Light after six years on the show. And Rick Herbst was able to balance the more grey aspects of Alan-Michael’s personality perfectly. Which is why, even today, Rock Herbst is considered by many Guiding Light fans to be THE definitive Alan-Michael Spaulding.
4. Michael Dietz: In July 1996 Michael Dietz took over the role of Alan-Michael, right in the middle of the A. Spaulding story. Alan-Michael accidentally overheard Alan telling Amanda how he was manipulating Alan-Michael and would still destroy Buzz and demolish the Diner, so Alan-Michael disowned his father again. He and Lucy moved out of the Spaulding house and teamed up with the 5th Street occupants to rescue 5th Street. Though Alex begged Alan-Michael to make up with both Alan and Phillip, Alan-Michael refused and believed that Phillip had only returned to get Alan-Michael’s assets. Alan-Michael helped Buzz to save the Diner by collecting enough money for the mortgage after a successful auction for dances with women. Though Alan was allowed to destroy the rest of 5th Street, when Shayne Lewis was missing in a building, Alan rushed to save him and fell through a broken staircase, Alan-Michael and Phillip teamed up to rescue him before the building was destroyed. Meanwhile, Phillip wanted to find the “A. Spaulding” who had set him up to be charged for Neil Everest’s murder five years earlier and he suspected Alan-Michael. Alan-Michael was trying to prevent Phillip from returning to Spaulding and this lead to tension with Lucy, who liked Phillip and reprimanded Alan-Michael’s behavior. Amanda offered Phillip and Alan-Michael her Spaulding shares to pay her debts. Alan-Michael wanted to buy her shares to prevent Phillip from returning to Spaulding but Phillip got the shares anyway. Soon Alan-Michael was prime suspect as “A. Spaulding” in Phillip’s eyes because he had collected newspaper articles of Phillip over the years and there was also a photo of Alan-Michael and Neil although Alan-Michael claimed that it was taken during a business trip. Still obsessed about getting rid of Phillip, Alan-Michael pretended to reunite with his brother and wanted to set him up by arranging a fake business deal to California for Phillip so that he would be able to incite the board against him. Bitter over Phillip, Alan-Michael vowed to destroy him. His first move was to sabotage one of Phillip’s business deals and to blame him for it but Phillip realized Alan-Michael’s actions and Alan, who reprimanded Alan-Michael, wanted to reunite his sons. Suddenly Alan was rushed to Cedars due to pains in the back and he confessed to the family that he had actually been “A. Spaulding”. As a result, Alan-Michael and Phillip finally made up and both disowned Alan. Alan was paralyzed and lost his will to live, So, to give Alan the will to live and to encourage him to fight Alan-Michael and Phillip teamed up. Finally tired of all the power struggles at Spaulding, Alan-Michael gave his shares of votes to Amanda and left town with Lucy. Moving to France in February 1997. Though his time on the show was brief and was basically to wrap up Alan-Michael’s story and usher him out-of-town, he wasn’t too terrible in the role. Though he was no Rick Herbst (excuse the fangurl moment) and the Alan-Michael and Lucy magic had been dimmed to focus more on the Phillip and Alan-Michael rivalry I still liked the character and actually enjoyed his interactions with Phillip. Michael Dietz and Grant Aleksander had some good sibling chemistry. I particularly like this scene. It not only shows the Spaulding dynamic but Alan-Michael and Phillip briefly reunited, and Alan admitting he loves BOTH his sons (Even if it is a dream). And this scene shows some good Alan-Michael and Lucy love from this brief time period.
In 2004 Alan-Michael was informed of Phillip’s “death”. He declined to return to Springfield since he didn’t want to watch his father mourn his favorite son.
5. Michael Dempsey: In November 2005 Michael Dempsey was brought in as the new Alan-Michael. In 2005 the Coopers and Spaulding’s learned that Alan-Michael and Lucy had separated and then in November Alan-Michael returned to Springfield solo. In a play on history Alan-Michael almost ran into Marina in his car (which is similar to when Alan-Michael almost ran over Lucy years earlier). But unlike Lucy, Marina threatened to arrest him. His first stop was to Spaulding Enterprises to see the newly appointed CEO–Harley. After telling Harley that he and Lucy divorced amicably, he assured her that he had no interest in running the company and she had his full support. As a newly divorced man, all he wanted to do was enjoy his life. (You can see part of that clip here). Next up, Alan-Michael went to the mental hospital where Alan (having confessed to be the one who shot Phillip) was staying. There, he finally met his other half-brother, Gus Aitoro, and the two bonded over their apparent hatred of Alan and what he’d done to Phillip and to the Cooper family. Though Alan begged Alan-Michael to help restore the Spaulding’s to power Alan-Michael refused and backed Harley as CEO. Alan-Michael continued to flirt with Marina he finally accepted a job at Spaulding, he was secretly working with Alan to oust Harley as CEO. It wasn’t anything personal, it was Alan-Michael claiming what he felt was rightfully his. Alexandra called Alan-Michael on his plan to oust Harley from power. Although he denied it, she didn’t believe him and warned him that his relationship with Marina could be a liability. Things looked dicey weeks later when Marina found documents naming Alan-Michael as CEO but Alan-Michael covered by telling her that one of Alan’s cronies was trying to engineer a power play–which he did not support. Later, Alan-Michael lied to Harley that the old guard at Spaulding wanted her out as CEO and him in. In 2006 when Alan-Michael learned that Harley had slept with Mallet after learning Gus was dead, he used the information to his advantage. He pushed Harley and Mallet to be alone together despite Mallet and Dinah being in a relationship together, then sent Dinah after them. When the truth was revealed his relationship with Marina ended. Harley stepped down as CEO as long as Alan-Michael kept Dinah as VP. Fast forward to 2007 and his relationship with Ava Peralta. Another waste of time. Ava was working as a waitress at Company when Alan-Michael was rudely talking on the phone while ordering. She grabbed his phone away and he was intrigued. Alan-Michael offered her a high-paying job at Spaulding, Ava unexpectedly accepted Alan-Michael’s job offer when he truthfully confirmed that he only offered her the job because he wanted to sleep with her. A Coop/Ava/Alan-Michael developed with Coop and Alan-Micahel fighting for Ava’s affections. The fight turned physical when Coop accidentally pushed Alan-Michael over a balcony. Alan-Michael used this to his advantage, he claimed he couldn’t feel his legs, that he was paralyzed. When Alan was shot the day of his wedding to Doris Wolfe the gun found at the scene where Alan had been shot was registered to Alan-Michael. However, Alan-Michael insisted that he did not shoot his father. Beth learned that Alan-Michael wasn’t paralyzed but kept silent. When Ava learned the truth she was hurt but forgave him, until the trial. Her parents Olivia and Jeffery kidnapped Alan-Michael who threatened Alan-Michael to stay away from Ava, with Jeffrey even trying to pay him off. (Can see that Here). To get revenge, Alan-Michael spied on Olivia and snapped photos of her kissing Jeffrey on the day she was to marry Buzz. Alan-Michael wasted no time sending the photos to Buzz. When a self-satisfied Alan-Michael began publicly gloating that his family owned the town, Alan himself arrived and defended Buzz. When Buzz left, Alan informed his son that a large sum of money was being transferred from the company into a personal account in Alan-Michael’s name–in other words, Alan was framing him for embezzlement. Alan-Michael’s only salvation was to skip town. that he would not lose another son to a vendetta. Upon Alan’s death Alan-Michael is to receive one penny from the Spaulding estate. Talk about an unpopular guy! Michael Dempsey’s version od Alan-Michael was the product of the David Kreizman era as Head Writer (think Cassie and Josh pairing) and one and a half years was enough to completely destroy a character. Alan-Michael could be devious at times but the writers seemed to forget that Alan-Michael’s true nature was that he didn’t want to be like his father while simultaneously yearning for Alan’s love. This Alan-Michael was truly on the dark side and he showed no real remorse. His relationship with Marina was, for lack of a better word, icky. That was the child that COULD have been his when he was married to Eleni. And the pointless Ava relationship was just that, useless plot filler. No one cared. Indeed Michael Dempsey never really caught on with the fans and was let go in 2007 for “lack of Character direction”.
The Alan-Michael and Lucy fan in me imagines that he found his way back to France, back to Lucy. Of course he once again resembles Rick Hearst and acts like the Alan-Michael who felt he was unloved until he found his better half. Sad the later writers lost that aspect of the character. Perhaps if they hadn’t the recast Alan-Michael would have made more of a mark on fans.