From battling wisecracking, drug-injecting parasites to fanning the flames of passion in one of daytime television's most enduring dramas, Emmy award-winning actor Rick Hearst has transcended his genre roots to become one of the most respected actors on the small screen. A first-generation American and the product of an Italian mother from a close-knit family, Hearst was fascinated by aquatic life as a young boy and initially dreamt of a career in oceanography. His attentions shifted toward acting at the age of 12, however, when his mother remarried and the family relocated to Texas. Upon graduating from high school, Hearst was awarded an acting scholarship at the University of Texas in Austin, with numerous roles in summer stock serving to help him hone his chops on the stage. While the professional experience there was invaluable, Hearst's stint on-stage in the Lone Star State also proved a personal blessing, as it was there that he met his future wife, Donna. Soon realizing that he would need more experience if he had any hope of becoming a professional actor, the ambitious Hearst relocated to New York City, hired three agents, and began studying at the Circle in the Square conservatory.
While Hearst's first substantial screen role was the lead in director Frank Henenlotter's splatter comedy classic Brain Damage (1988), it was his bit part on Days of Our Lives that served as the catalyst for his successful soap opera career, and in the following years he could be spotted on such popular shows as Guiding Light, The Young and the Restless, The Bold and the Beautiful, and Beverly Hills 90210. In 2002, Hearst landed his most regular daytime role up to that time, as the passionate Ric Lansing on General Hospital, a role which has earned him three Emmy nominations and two wins. Of course, Hearst is no stranger to accolades -- he had previously earned five Daytime Emmy nominations and one win for his role in Guiding Light, as well as numerous Soap Opera Digest Award nominations and wins. In 2005, Hearst appeared in the comedy Carpool Guy, which was directed by his General Hospital co-star Corbin Bernsen.