Bill Spencer Jr has been Mr Mean on The Bold & The Beautiful for 11 years and he is the stereotypical soap villain. Bill is good looking. He is sarcastic. He is a ruthless media mogul who will squash anyone in his way. He’s physically domineering and won’t lose a fist fight… and he throws a lot of punches. And he’s rich – really, really rich.

But actor Don Diamont sees a very different side to his character, who is currently in the middle of another feud in The Bold & The Beautiful S31 on weekdays on Eva (141) at 17:30.

Bill has just been shot by a mystery figure in hiding in the shadows, and when you think about it, it could be any number of characters who want the Dollar Bill dead. Don’t worry if you miss an episode – you can use DStv Catch Up and there’s an omnibus on Eva too, on Saturdays at 16:00.

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Home body

While Bill Spencer is most comfortable behind his desk, ruling over his publishing empire with an iron fist, Don is happily locked down at home in LA. Although for the 57-year-old actor, the Coronavirus lockdown is a lot less strict than here in South Africa. “We’re certainly staying indoors a lot, but I don’t think to the extent of you guys. We’ve got our orders but we’re allowed to walk our neighbourhoods, go to the market, pick up take-out food.” Being at home has allowed Don to catch up on his binge-watching and one of his favourites is Chasing Life with Sanjay Gupta (currently airing in SA on Tuesdays on BBC Earth, 184, at 19:00), which the actor says has been informative. “You hear contradictory things. I don’t know, I really don’t know – but when an expert speaks, you listen.”


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The evolution of bad-boy Bill

Don has had a decade playing “Dollar” Bill Spencer and he is in tune with everything that Bill says and does, which has made it easier to approach Bold’s head writer and executive producer, Bradley Bell. “We have an incredible human as a head writer, and I appreciate that I can go to Brad with any concerns I may have with an individual script and he is always open to listen and often willing to change something.”

The actor makes no excuses for Bill or the way that he is, because it is a great deal of fun since there is more to explore with the character. “Bill was introduced as the ultimate billionaire misogynist playboy. He certainly still has his emotional challenges, he is quick to temper, but he has evolved, I think importantly, as a family man,” says Don, who has seven sons – the subject of his 2018 family story/self-help book My Seven Sons And How We Raised Each Other.

“Bill was a playboy and then he got involved with Katie Logan (Heather Tom), who sort-of showed that Bill has a heart. Then he had the introduction of his two adult sons Liam (Scott Clifton) and Wyatt (Darin Brooks), sons he never knew he had. Then there was Will with Katie, so we have seen an emotional evolution in this guy. But he still certainly battles with the emotional life he grew up with. He wrestles with the things that made him successful, and those things bleed into his personal life.”


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Bill versus the world

Make no mistake – Bill loves being a father, but he’s not going to let that get in his way, explains Don. “Bill didn’t become one of the most powerful, most successful men in the world without his past guiding him. He has a winner-take-all, kill-or-be-killed attitude.” One character willing to face off with Bill is Ridge Forrester (Thorsten Kaye), but Don knows the outcome of their feuds – “These two are going to be fighting until they’re old and grey. Ridge will be in a wheelchair and have a walking frame, but Bill is going to be standing strong still.”

While fans see Bill as a baddie, Don has an entirely different view of his character. “I don’t see Bill as a villain. He is a combative personality. It has made him extraordinarily successful in life. That can make him at odds in his inter-personal relationships. But there are people in life in the position of making the difficult decisions, having to walk the walk and that’s who Bill is. He almost always believes he is doing the right thing, and occasionally his business will flow over into his personal life. But he thinks he is making the best decisions for that particular circumstance although it might be the difficult choice and there might be collateral damage. It is just a very real part of being a decision maker.”


Don in his den

You will never catch Bill Spencer in the kitchen, but Don on the other hand loves slicing and dicing his way through fresh produce and standing behind the stove for his wife Cindy and their brood. “I am definitely no gourmet chef. But there’s a bolognaise that I am fan of. They boys and I are ‘meat and potatoes’, my wife is not as much. And pastas. Chicken, steak… so I have a good time in the kitchen. I get it done.”

Don also skips the public gym (not just because of COVID-19) but “because I had three gyms, you know – the gym near our studio, the gym in my neighbourhood and a private gym at home – and I got to the point where I didn’t want to be working out in a gym with other people. I wanted my equipment, my music, my time with my boys. So, I have this wonderful facility at home that allows me to do everything I need, even when the world returns to normal”.

Watch The Bold & The Beautiful S31 on weekdays on Eva (141) at 17:30.

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