Performer of the Week: Days of Our Lives Steve Burton
Despite his 9 Daytime Emmy nominations and 3 wins, Steve Burton is one of the most underrated actors in daytime today. Some say, and he himself jokes, that his job is easy because he usually has minimal dialogue. He’s kinda known for playing the strong, silent type, and that’s where the true genius in his acting is found. He can be funny, he can be stoic, he can be tender, and he can be downright scary, but Burton doesn’t usually have a lot of lines to help him convey what his character’s feeling, so he has to tap into more than that and he does, so very, very well.
Steve Burton conveys more with his eyes and his facial expressions than many actors could convey with an episode-long monologue. Those baby blues are more than just pretty, they’re one of the most powerful tools in his acting toolbox and what he’s learned to do with them over his 35 years in daytime is no less than astounding. He can make you melt into a lovesick puddle, break your heart while his is breaking too or strike fear into the baddest of soap opera baddies and he can do it with just his eyes if he needs to. It’s no easy feat in a medium that uses so much dialogue for most of its characters, but he’s mastered it to perfection. He also makes the most of the dialogue he is given with perfect timing and delivery. In all my decades of soap-watching, no one can put a hitch in their voice that can move me like he can. It almost makes you forget his characters usually kill people in cold blood. When they finally close the book on soap operas, hopefully many, many decades from now, Steve Burton’s name will be prominently displayed as one of the best.
This week he debuted on the Days of Our Lives mothership after reviving his long-ago Days character Harris Michaels, last year on the Days spinoff Beyond Salem: Chapter 2. In his very first scenes, we saw him convey anger, frustration, pain, dismay, steely determination, devotion, longing, and hope (pun intended) and he hasn’t even gotten out of lock-up yet! Burton sold Harris’s desire for redemption so well that Hope (Kristian Alfonso) wasn’t the only one saying “Bo (Peter Reckell) who?” when he leaned in for that kiss and we certainly don’t blame her for forgetting that this man almost killed her a few months ago.
Not everyone can make an audience root for a hitman or an assassin to find love like Steve Burton can and it’s not just because he’s a pretty face, although he is that too. Burton hit the ground running as Harris Michaels. We don’t know how long he’ll be in the Salem-verse and we’re pretty sure he won’t end up with the girl (not this one anyway) but we’re rooting for Harris and can’t wait to see what happens next and that is why we’ve named Steve Burton our very first T.E.N. Performer of the Week! Congratulations Steve and thank you for all you bring to our screens!