TV Scene interview

6th edition, 1990
Janette Hyem
TV Scene

Forty two years of age, married with two children, Michael confesses he never wanted to become an actor. Residing in California at present, Michael will soon be playing the Alcalde again in "Zorro" out in Spain.

"I never wanted to become an actor.In the sixties I worked with Sir Tyrone Guthrie and was then a directing student. I always wanted to direct, but I had one of those faces that at 35 years old, I could still play an 18 year old. For example at that age, I played Lesley in 'The Hostage,' and when you look like that, no-one wants to trust their budget to someone who looks like they just walked out of public school. But I decided to act anyway."

Michael has been seen in 'The Molly Maguires' [and] the TV mini series 'Lonesome Dove' followed by stage plays in New York and playing in Shakespeare. "I've played everything from Petruccio to Othello - well playing in it. I couldn't be Othello because I'm not black. I also appeared on 'The Guiding Light' and 'All My Children,' both soap operas filmed in New York. Then in Los Angeles I appeared in 'General Hospital'. On 'Guiding Light,' I played an English educated guy and on 'General Hospital' I played an English lord that came over to the U.S. to claim his inheritance."

[The name] Michael Tylo doesn't sound American, so I delved further to find out his background. He was born in Detroit, but his mother is Welsh and his father Hungarian - hence the name Tylo. Growing up in the inner city of Detroit, Michael worked hard to lose his accent. As a result Tylo believes he has limited himself roles he can play. His voice is extremely deep and cultured and it's only the pitch that betrays his years. Consequently he has landed many roles of the aristocracy breed.

So to the present as Tylo takes up his Alcalde role in the second season of "Zorro". "To get the role I went and read for it. The show was already in pre-production and they didn't have an 'Alcalde'. I was only supposed to do half the shows and ended up doing them all. I just re-negotiate every year. I really enjoy working with Duncan. He's a very intelligent actor and has a good physical presence. The only thing is I don't like working out in Spain. Besides the language barrier, I'm very much a homebody. My sons are nine and two and I hate leaving them behind. My wife is an actress and this time she is working, so I'll be on my own. I'm basically a lazy person. I like to lie on the sofa watching sports on TV. I don't go partying at all. I enjoy pottering around the house and doing the plumbing. My father was a plumber and I used to support myself doing plumbing. My father once told me they will always need plumbers. People will always need to go to the bathroom, but they won't always watch television. I did come awful close to staying a plumber."

As a side, while not playing in 'Zorro'. Michael is writing a book about daytime television. It should appeal to people of all ages. But'Zorro' does take many months to shoot and takes a lot of Michael's time.

"When I play the Alcalde, I try to play him as a little evil. He is a man who doesn't want to be there, so I use the fact that I don't want to be in Spain and it works well. He wants to get out and go back to Mexico City. The Alcalde or Louis Ramon, as is his name, has a character all of his own. The costumes they pick for me, but I gave him the distinction of wearing gloves - smart ones, not military ones, and of course I wear my hair long, both in the series and out of it. I know I have some good scripts coming up in the series and it is good, clean family fun. I can sit with my kids and watch the show.

Michael Tylo, although cast as a villain, is an extremely good, clean living man. He abhors violence and sex on TV and in real life is a far cry from the villainous Alcalde. A golfer and fencer, the latter sport coming in useful in 'Zorro', Tylo is also a good rider.

The last word goes to Michael. "I hear that Zorro has a new Daddy - Henry Darrow. I like him a lot. I've always admired his work. Oh and I'm so looking forward to throwing him in jail!"

taken from (with permission)