'The Bold and the Beautiful's John McCook on His 35-Year Run and Turning 78 (Exclusive)

ET spoke with McCook about his long run on the show, his Daytime Emmy nomination and more.

John McCook is celebrating more than just his birthday! ET's Matt Cohen spoke with the Emmy-nominated The Bold and the Beautiful actor, who turned 78 Monday about his 35-year run on the show and his hopes of continuing to play the role of Eric Forrester, as long as his health allows.

While McCook knew the show had "good bones," he told ET that he was expecting a five-year run, maybe 15, tops, not the 35 years the soap opera has been on air since its premiere in 1987.

"I knew the show would run five years or so. The show that was there in our time slot and in our studio was there for five years, and then was gone. So, my wife's comment when I was reticent to do it, she said, 'If it fails, it'll run for five years,'" McCook said of the long-running show. "It's a good job, and I knew that. I mean, I had done Young and the Restless before, so I knew that it was a good job and it had good bones. It had Bill Bell and Brad Bell and CBS. It was solid to begin with, and had a good -- Susan Flannery was the leading lady. 

He continued, "I was paired with her and that was solid. So, I trusted that it would run for five or 10 or 15 years and so, now, it's 35. It's cool, very cool."

While he's been on the show from the start, McCook said his birthday wish would be to continue on The Bold and the Beautiful until "they don't want me anymore."

"My wish, my selfish wish, is that I can do this job until they don't want me anymore, until I don't want to," McCook shared. "I don't want to get to a point where I can't remember lines anymore. Or I can't do the job. I want to stay healthy enough and well enough, even 10 more years or 20 more years." 

He added, "To stay there, that's my wish for me, personally."

Sonja Flemming/CBS via Getty Image

McCook is up for a Daytime Emmy Award for his work as the family patriarch and head of the haute couture fashion dynasty Forrester Creations -- his fourth nomination since starting the show. Finally taking home the win is something the 78-year-old actor said would just be the "cherry on top" to his storied career in daytime television.

"It would be a cherry on the top. It would be the frosting on the cake," McCook gushed. "I have 35 years on The Bold and the Beautiful and more in in other shows, and I wanted to be an actor when I was a kid. From 18 years old on, I've been an actor."

He continued, "And so, everything I've done is being an actor. The blessings in my life are because I'm an actor. I earned my living. I raised my kids doing that. I bought my house doing it, and theater, and all over the country and in New York and L.A., and the blessing of being on this show for so long."

While the win would mean the world to McCook, the TV star said he feels like he's already won because he's been able to live out his life-long dream of being an actor.

"So, getting an Emmy for it, is just, I mean, I've already won, you know? I win, because I'm an actor. Period. That's my win, and so being close is close enough," he said.

Find out whether McCook takes home the trophy, when the Daytime Emmy Awards air June 24 at 9:00 p.m. ET on CBS.