BEVERLY HILLS—This week in Hollywoodland, I caught up with my friend Sam Trammell, who portrays shape-shifting bar owner Sam Merlotte on HBO’s hit vampire series “True Blood.” Although the show revolves around Sookie, Bill and Eric, Sam is one of the most fascinating and popular characters. His portrayer is such a huge fan favorite, that there were lines of people outside the ArcLight Cinemas Cinerama Dome on Tuesday night waiting to meet the handsome thespian, who is always the most gracious “TB” star to the fans.
Exclusive Portrait Of Star Sam Trammell
Truebie Tony Sparano tells Canyon News, “I hope that Sam finds happiness this season in Bon Temps, just like his portrayer has in real life. I think Sam Trammell is one of the coolest guys in Hollywood. Tell him hello for me.”
“In 1998, long before most of us knew of Sam Trammell, he was nominated for a Tony Award. It is no surprise to know that he is a Tony-nominated actor now, after watching his brilliant portrayal as Sam Merlotte on ‘True Blood,’” said fan Cheryl Durst. “The kindness and warmth that he exudes while playing Sam Merlotte is pretty much what you discover if you have the opportunity to meet him in person. He is perfectly cast in ‘True Blood’ as the barkeeper with desperate longing for family ties.”
Family ties are those that bind many of us to real dysfunction. The Merlotte family is no exception. The handsome actor joked about it when I spent time with him on Wednesday on the “True Blood” set in between takes. “Sam tried to shut the door on his biological family last year. But this season, his family comes back to haunt him. They are trouble, real trouble,” said Sam.
Still, one can’t get the sight of the line of hundreds of fans who waited for hours to meet Sam and his “True Blood” co-stars on Tuesday night out of one’s mind. “The audience gets bigger every season, every episode actually. I still believe the show has not peaked quite yet. And if the fans think they have any idea of what is coming this season, there is no way any of us, including the actors who star on the show can stay ahead of this story,” said the talented star. “Alan Ball is simply a genius, and he’s given me such rich and amazing stories over the years, and this year is no exception. I think it’s the most exciting season yet.”
Tommy Survives But Brings More Trouble Sam's Way
Reader Wendy Fujimori in Sherman Oaks is a fan of both Trammell and Sam Merlotte as well. “He has done a fantastic job in acting the creator’s vision of Sam Merlotte. He’s a down-to-earth, caring, and sensitive, normal Joe on the surface,” said Wendy. “I wish Ashley Jones would return! Sam (Trammel) and Ashley Jones had great chemistry in front of the camera. It was nice when Sam (Merlotte) was falling in love with her.”
Though Jones may not be returning quite yet as Daphne, fans can rest assured Sam meets love again this year in the shape-shifter character of Luna. “She’s also very complicated. The actress is great to work with, and this season Sam delves into the politics and the rules of sorts for shape-shifters. Yes, just like the Vampire Authority we learned about last season, there is a group that also deals with the politics and rules of being a shape-shifter. I’m excited to delve into it this season, and fans are going to see a lot of surprises as Sam meets his peers,” said the handsome actor.
Jeff Dean in Melbourne, Australia and his wife Alma are also “True Blood” devotees. Jeff said, “Sam is such an awesome character. He’s always there for his buddies, even when it puts him out. He’s a man’s best friend. Sam may argue and gripe now and then, but you always know he’ll come through.”
Solid and dependable are words used to describe the acting legend Sam Trammell as well. Former co-star Ashley Jones, who stars as Dr. Bridget Forrester Marone on CBS’s “The Bold and the Beautiful,” said, “Sam is one of the nicest people I know. He’s so dependable in his acting, and he’s a good friend to so many of us. I miss working with him, and hope to do so again one day, whatever the project may be.”
Jeff adds, “As we’ve learned more and more about Sam’s past, we’ve seen that he can be a bit of a fox. Not even his closest friends know how ruthless he can be and it will no doubt come as a shock to all of them when/if he ends up fighting for his own survival or to save someone he cares about.”
Part of the shape-shifter’s survival is that of dealing with his biological family. When last year’s third season finale concluded, Sam was holding a gun on his younger brother Tommy, who had stolen money from him. As the scene ended, we watched as an angry Sam pulled the trigger, and we wondered to ourselves if he had indeed shot his own brother or not. “I can say Tommy’s definitely back, along with the other Merlotte clan, and it’s not going to be pretty. But it will be very exciting for the viewers to see their family dynamic play out,” said Trammell.
Exclusive Photo Of Sam At Merlotte's Bar And Grill, A Dangerous Place
Pressed on the relationship with Luna, and whether Sam will ever find true happiness, the star laughed and then commented, “Come on. What’s TV without conflict, without mixed emotions? Let’s just say that it’s better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.”
Cheryl added, “Sam Merlotte is a man who cannot escape his past nor his longing for a future filled with love and peace. Sam has become a loose cannon who is capable of murderous rage as well as great compassion. His character is deep and complex and I adore him.” Cheryl met Sam Trammell and girlfriend Missy Yager in 2010 at The UK Bitten Convention. “He could not have been nicer to fans,” Cheryl concluded.
Unlike most other stars on television, Sam is a classically trained actor, who had a tremendous reputation as a brilliant thespian on the stage. His reputation as an actor rivals that of Sir Laurence Olivier and Sir Anthony Hopkins, both British stage actors who later became huge movie stars as well. Sam’s still young and has all the potential with great talent and leading man good looks, and his future is very bright in Tinseltown.
Asked if he misses his Broadway days, he laughed and said, “Absolutely! You know, there is nothing like the stage. It’s been five years for me since I last appeared on stage and I do miss it. I hope to find time to get involved with a theatre production again in the future.”
Right now, Sam is busy preparing the nursery for twins. “Missy and I are expecting them any day now. It can happen at any time, so I’m on alert,” said the actor.
The actor’s most recent big screen project is a film called “Guns, Girls and Gambling,” which obviously is a western. The movie also stars Gary Oldman, Christian Slater, Dane Cook, Jeff Fahey and Megan Park. It is directed and written by Michael Winnick. The picture most likely will make the film festival circuit later this year. It’s a sensational project and new venue for this handsome star to showcase his amazing acting skills. When not working or spending time with his family, Sam is in this town busy promoting and supporting the environmental groups: Surfrider Foundation and Heal the Bay. “I think it’s important, especially now that I am going to be a father, to take care of our waterways and do all we can individually and as a group to make our oceans clean again,” concluded Sam Trammell.
Actor, Columnist Tommy Lightfoot Garrett
Still, reader and “True Blood” fan Bobby Head hopes for one thing for Sam Merlotte this season. “I hope Sam finally finds true love, much like his portrayer has.”
Sam and his “True Blood” co-stars will appear on the small screen at 9 p.m. on Sunday night on HBO. I’ve seen the first episode, and I promise, you do not want to miss it!
Have a great weekend, see you next week! XOXO
Exclusive Portrait of Sam Trammell by Art Streiber/HBO, Sam and Tommy and Sam in front of Merlotte’s Bar and Grill by John P. Johnson/HBO and Tommy Lightfoot Garrett at Paramount by Inbar Television Productions and Paramount