At first bite, I was so excited to do a new interview with True Blood's Dale Raoul, but what really brightened up this interview, was the joining of Dale's husband, Ray Thompson, nine-time Daytime Emmy Award winning Lighting Director on The Young & The Restless. From their first date to marriage to working together, Dale & Ray give us the succulent details of their Hollywood romance!
1. How did you two first meet? What did you do for your first date?
Both: We met doing summer theatre together. On our first date, we went to a cast party.
2. How long after your first date did you marry? What was the proposal like? Dale, were you surprised? Ray, were you nervous?
Both: We were actually together a long time before we got married – about eight years. Now we can’t remember why we waited so long!
Dale Raoul: I was very surprised. We had talked about getting married but were happy with the relationship the way it was. But when he proposed, I knew it was the right time. I always knew he was the right guy.
Ray Thompson: I took her out to dinner and did the whole thing down on one knee – I was fairly certain she would say yes but you never know…yes, I was nervous anyway.
Dale Raoul: I would say humor is our key to a good marriage. Ray makes lots of puns which are pretty terrible but I still laugh.
Ray Thompson: Well, I’m always late so for me, my secret to make Dale happy is to be early. I’m still working on it.
4. You both work in Hollywood. Dale, a successful actress, best known for your role on the hit HBO series True Blood, and Ray, you are a 9-time Emmy Award winning Lighting Director at The Young & The Restless. Have you ever worked together, meaning, Ray, have you ever designed a show that Dale was on? If so, what was that experience like?
Ray Thompson: I have never lit a TV show or film that Dale has worked on but I have done the lighting on plays she’s been in. We love that as we both started out in the theatre. And it’s so fun to work on a project together. I was an actor in college so I understand the process and enjoy watching rehearsals and seeing the show come together. Dale seems to want my opinions of her work as we’re going along and fortunately, she’s usually good at whatever she’s doing, so I don’t have to give her too much criticism.
5. Dale, most recently, you guest starred on the hit Emmy Award winning Nickelodeon show Nicky, Ricky, Dicky, and Dawn. What made you want to be on this show? How is filming a kids show different than filming a more adult sitcom or drama?
Dale Raoul: I loved being on NICKY, RICKY, DICKY AND DAWN! I auditioned for it just like I would for any other show. I hadn’t really done many other kids’ shows so I wasn’t sure what to expect. In this case, the kids were total professionals. They were all terrific actors and the producers and director kept the tone very light during the week of rehearsal. It’s a sweet, easy job because the union doesn’t allow child actors to work for than eight hours per day. This is not the case on adult shows which can go on for hours and hours every day. I had a lot of fun and I would love to go back on it. They will be doing one more season but the kids are growing up so fast I’m not sure how much longer they can do the show.
6. Ray, what made you want to be a lighting designer?
Ray Thompson: I studied acting in college and had a minor in theatrical makeup which is very similar to lighting as it’s all about shadow and highlights. When I got out of school, I wanted to get a job that would give me the income to be an actor/waiter, not a waiter/actor. I got a job at CBS on a stage crew and learned all the aspects of production. I suddenly realized that I really loved the creative, technical side of the business. And I also figured out that I’m not a person cut out for the uncertainty of the actor’s life. I want to be in a bit more control of my future. I had a wonderful mentor at CBS who taught me lighting design. It was the right fit.
7. Ray, you just won your ninth Emmy (your fifth in a row) for Outstanding Lighting Director of a Drama Series for The Young & The Restless. Let's go back in time for a moment. What was it like the first time you got nominated & then won the Emmy? Now, that you have won nine times, five times in a row, what do the wins mean to you now? Since you've won so many times, do you feel added pressure during the season?
Ray Thompson: My first Emmy win was in 1994 and all I really remember is being very nervous! And when I got up to accept the award, I pretty much forgot everybody I wanted to thank. Over the years, I’ve been fortunate to be able to remedy that mistake! Every time I win, I am amazed, quite honestly. I work hard but so does every other lighting director in our business. It’s a roll of the dice every time. I was just as surprised to win my 9th Emmy as my first one.
8. Ray, as a lighting designer, you are the actors best friend, making them look great, or you can be their worst enemy, should they make you mad. Who have you enjoyed lighting the most? Can you tell us a time (maybe without naming names, but I leave that up to you) when you either purposely or jokingly kept someone in the dark? What is one behind-the-scenes story of The Young & The Restless you can tell us?
Ray Thompson: Sorry, I can’t give away any trade secrets or gossip about anybody! Of course I do have my favorite actors. Over the years, there have been a few actresses who insist on doing their own makeup – it’s always a mistake. It drives the makeup people crazy and it’s tough for me as it’s always done incorrectly for the camera and for the lighting. Just because it looks nice in real life does not mean it will look good on camera.
9. Dale, as an actress, what do you look for in a lighting designer when you are on a show? Do you ever chat them up with tips on how to light you best? Has there ever been a time you came home from a set and said to Ray, "Why couldn't they hire you?" That designer almost made me look like the bride of frankenstein the way he shined those lights on me!"
Dale Raoul: Whenever I’m working on a show, I try to meet the lighting people as sometimes Ray will know them and it’s fun to talk with them. It’s a small world. The only time I’ve ever had bad luck is when it’s a low-budget project and the lighting designer or cinematographer might be very young or inexperienced. You just hope for the best! And now that I’m older, I don’t care as much.
10. Dale, I have a new segment in my interviews called, "I Can See Clearly Now," where I try to clear up misconceptions. What is the biggest misconception out there about Dale Raoul?
Dale Raoul: I just attended a fan convention and several people mentioned that they were surprised that I seemed nice! I guess it was because of my role on TRUE BLOOD – they thought I would be nasty and mean and horrible! But guess what? Those are the most fun roles to play. I just try not to bring them home with me…
11. On "Call Me Adam" I have a section called One Percent Better, where through my own fitness commitment, I try to encourage people to improve their own life by one percent every day. What is something in your life that you want to improve by one percent better every day?
Dale Raoul: Take my dogs on a longer walk!
Ray Thompson: Get more sleep!
Ray Thompson has been a lighting designer at CBS Television City for 30 years, honored with nine Emmys, in addition to the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award for excellence in lighting. Prior to his work on The Young and the Restless, he worked on CBS This Morning, The Bonnie Hunt Show, Face the Nation, Archie Bunker’s Place and other TV pilots, game shows and news programs.
More on Dale:
For six seasons Dale Raoul enticed television audiences as "Maxine Fortenberry" on HBO's True Blood. A veteran character actress, Dale has been entertaining stage, film, and television audiences for the past three decades.
Dale began her professional acting career at the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego, CA appearing in Hamlet and Taming of the Shrew. From there, she performed at such regional theatres as Indiana Repertory Theatre, Arizona Theatre Company, the New Mexico Repertory Theatre, and the Montanta Repertory Theatre, the state's first and only professional acting company. A Montana native, Dale was thrilled to star in their production of A Moon For The Misbegotten. Dale later moved to California where she continued to dazzle theatre goers at the Pasadena Playhouse, the Los Angeles Theater Center, the Odyssey Theatre, and the Cast Theatre. Amongst her many awards, Dale won A Drama-Logue Award for her work in Steaming at the Ivy Substation.
Dale's foray into television began in 1986 when she booked her first television appearance on Murder She Wrote. Earning a formidable reputation as a character actress, Dale appeared in numerous television series including The Middle, The Office, Six Feet Under, Friends, NYPD Blue, Seinfeld, Mister Sterling, The Drew Carey Show, Sabrina The Teenage Witch, Unhappily Ever After, Nash Bridges, Party of Five, Knots Landing, Valerie, Who's The Boss, and LA Law.
In addition to series television, Dale has starred in such made-for-television movies as Mending Fences, Net Force, A Match Made In Heaven, Death Benefit, Favorite Deadly Sins, and Here To Remember.
Dale's feature film credits include The Mexican, Beautiful, Seven Pounds, Forfeit, Save the Mavericks, Love Stinks, Out to Sea, amongst others.
When not performing, Dale dedicates much of her time to many charitable events such as Truman Capote's "A Christmas Memory," which benefited Five Acres Orphanage and Caring for Babies with AIDS.