I used to watch "Guiding Light" religiously when I was stationed in Germany. I remember liking Christopher Bernau's performance as Alan Spaulding. Based on his last name, I knew he was a German-American. When I was in Bernau, Germany, which is in Bavaria, I picked up a postcard of the town, addressed it to Mr. Bernau c/o the show, and forgot about it. Imagine my absolute astonishment when I got a lovely Christmas card from him, thanking me for the postcard (which I'd put in an envelope, so as not to spoil it). He said, much as he'd liked it, his ancestors came from the town of Bernau next to Berlin. Oops! Back then, Bernau was in E. Germany, and I couldn't go there to get a postcard of the place. Somehow, I managed to contact someone in the town of Bernau-bei-Berlin, who took some pictures for me, got me a postcard, and sent me everything. I forwarded everything to Mr. Bernau, who wrote again to say that he had showed the photos to his family members, who were thrilled (his word, not mine). I was working as an assistant director at the Bavarian State Theatre in Munich, so kept in loose touch with him. I had planned to meet him the next time I came to New York. By then, he was too ill, and he died before we could meet. I was very sad.
Christopher Bernau was a class act. He treated his role in "Guiding Light" as if it were Shakespeare's Lear, versus just a soap opera. The show has since replaced him, but it's never been the same.
I wish Mr. Bernau had been featured in other shows that could have showcased his talent more. This is an actor who died before his time.