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EXCLUSIVE: All My Children Matthew Cowles Interview! Here Comes Billy Clyde Tuggle!

Photo Credit: Sue Coflin/Max Photos

In true soap fashion look, when we recently visited the new All My Children studios in Connecticut, we were in for the shock of our soap life, when we saw none other than Matthew Cowles (A.K.A. Billy Clyde Tuggle) looking the same as when we saw him decades ago strolling in the hallways!  We came to find out that Matthew is set for a stunning return to the new AMC in all new streaming episodes starting on Thursday May 16th on Hulu and iTunes.

So, just how will Billy Clyde be a critical part of the story arc?  Well, from what we can tell, the former pimp turned born-again-Christian is back to cause trouble including a face-to-face encounter with Dixie Martin (there is no love lost in that department) and look for Tuggle to be instrumental with long time foes, Jesse and Angie, who are trying to find their missing daughter Cassandra, who is now embroiled in a horrific sex-trafficking scheme and scandal!

In this exclusive, and in his first interview back to All My Children, we sat down with the oh-so-talented Cowles to talk about the heyday of AMC (where Billy Clyde was the town pariah), how he managed to make the character one of the most memorable of all-time, and what we can expect in upcoming episodes!  Here now is what Matthew had to share!

How did this shocking return come about?  How did you end up back here on All My Children so many decades later?

Photo Credit: David Russell/TOLN

MATTHEW:  My manager called and asked me if would consider doing Billy Clyde Tuggle on All My Children.  I said, “I certainly would!”  I didn’t know this format, the Internet format, nor do I have the capability of watching it myself.  I am not much of a techie, but I love to play this part!  And so I said to my manager, “Yes, I would be interested.”  So, I signed the contract and here I am.

Billy Clyde Tuggle is one of the most delicious and quirky roles in the history of soaps!  He perpetrated horrible things on the poor citizens of Pine Valley!  I so remember the scenes between Billy Clyde and Estelle, played by the amazing Kate Dezina!

MATTHEW: Oh boy, do I remember Kate Dezina!  I remember those days, and I can almost remember the dialog of every scene we played.  Now that is an exaggeration, but not too far off the moolah. (Laughs)

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In your opinion, why is Billy Clyde such a great character?

Courtesy/ABC

MATTHEW: That is because the initial AMC producer, a man called Bud Kloss said, “We would like you, Matthew, to be in charge of the development of this character.  If you want to oodle with the lines and tweak them, that’s OK.  You are not going to write storyline, but the dialog in your scenes is pretty much in your department.”  When you can use the words to prompt the action to get where the character wants to go, it is memorable, and that is for anyone.  I was very fortunate.

Now Billy Clyde is back, and from everything we have read from the teasers thus far, he is once again going to be a real troublemaker!

MATTHEW: A “troublemaker”?  (Laughs) I suppose that is a good way to describe him as a troublemaker, but he doesn’t perceive it as that, necessarily.  But, he takes himself, and is out for himself … first.

When they asked you to come back was it just for a short-term story arc?

MATTHEW: I have no idea what their plan was.  I said, “Let’s just do it.”  They threw a bunch of numbers at me, but really the numbers are not what’s important.

Long time fans also remember your scenes with Benny Sago, then played by Vasili Bogazianos!  They were so tension-filled!

Photo Credit: Getty Images

MATTHEW: This is true! And people do remember him.  My wife said to me, “You’re the star.”  And my wife, Christine Baranski, is a very successful actress!  I don’t make any comparisons.  She does The Good Wife, and she is terrific!  Oh my goodness, my wife is a good actress.  And … she makes beautiful babies!

Prior to landing back on All My Children, what was the most recent acting role you had?

MATTHEW: I did Taming of The Shrew last year and I loved that, with a terrific director, Arin Arbus.

Who have you gotten the opportunity to work with on All My Children?  I know for sure your old buds, Debbi Morgan (Angie) and Darnell Williams (Jesse)!

MATTHEW: They are so wonderful.  I am supposed to be the archenemy of Jesse, but Jesse was the one who called me “Billy Clyde” the other day, and I could almost throw my arms around his neck and kiss him for that.  But that was not in the script, and that would have been very misunderstood, because in the script I was referred to as “Rob Gardner”.   That was the code name to keep my return to AMC a secret from everybody.  This new style of shooting here is not shot episode-to-episode; the way this is shot is like a jigsaw puzzle!  You will have to watch the story.  It’s been exciting to do!

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Why did Billy Clyde and Jesse become enemies in the first place?

Photo Credit: Sue Coflin/Max Photos

MATTHEW: They operated on the other side of the fence.  He has an ax to grind for Jesse.  I am working with some great actors.  I worked with an actor by the name of “Thorsten” the other day.  Holy Cow!   I’m impressed with his strength and humanity, and he is an “actor”!  And so too is Darnell and Debbi!  You know, I still see a lot of Mark Lamura (Ex-Mark Dalton, AMC) too, and he is doing great.

Matthew, you were part of the heyday of All My Children!  What is it like now being back to see the revival of the show?

MATTHEW: Well, I am waiting for Susan Lucci (Erica, AMC) to come back!  I enjoyed working with her.  She hit me with a bottle once in a scene, a bottle is made of sugar, but there is one hard seam part to it.  Susan hit me with the hard part …. she hit me with the seam! (Laughs)

Fans used to be very vocal in their venom towards Billy Clyde!  Did you have trouble walking down the street, as some soap stars have encountered in the past, when there is no separation for some fans between reality and fantasy?

Photo Credit: Sue Coflin/Max Photos

MATTHEW: I think only one or two people that took it seriously would say, “That’s a bad man.”  Most people thought that is a funny guy doing unexpected stuff.

What is it about you that makes you so good at playing a type of character like Billy Clyde?

MATTHEW: Every human being has their own strengths that are unique to them.  And I just was blessed enough to find out what I was good at.  Then, blessed enough to get hired to do something I find great joy in doing.

So AMC fans, what do you think will happen when Billy Clyde arrives on the scene in Pine Valley?  Will he be up to no good? Will he turn a new leaf? What did you think of Matthew’s comments on working with Darnell and Debbi again? And getting to step into the shoes again of one of the all-time villains in soaps? Let us know your thoughts!

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Debbie Harris
Debbie Harris

Should be fun having Billy Clyde back on AMC! He was one villain we loved to hate!!!

TV
TV

One day in 1977 I walked into the kitchen of our ‘hippie farmhouse’ in Holsopple, PA. and there sitting at the kitchen table was this wild looking guy. What a fun time it was knowing Mathew during the filming of Slapshot in J-Town, PA. I have followed Mathew’s carreer since then.

em
em

Thanks – Billy Clyde was the best thing that ever happened to All My Children. I stopped watching after his character left.

ISN
ISN

He will be the pimp trying to pimp Cassandra!

BTripp
BTripp

This is great! We just need to get Tad and Erica back now. Tad is gonna need to protect Dixie from Billy Clyde!

takeitish
takeitish

I love it! Welcome home Mr. William Clyde Tuggle! We missed you and the soap world is ecstatic you’re back!

Jody
Jody

Haha…..if I had wishes to use I would also ask for the return of Mark Lamura as Mark Dalton; ahhh, the memories!

Georgette
Georgette

Billy Clyde is my all time favorite soap villian. I cannot believe he is coming back. I am so thrilled. Matthew Cowles- Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

Edna Barefoot
Edna Barefoot

Billy Clyde was a mean man but you always wanted to see what he would do next. I can’t believe he has turned over a new leaf but will be great to find out. My question is we saw him die. There was a body. Tad was the body that disappeared. Maybe I’m wrong but I can still see his body laying on the rocks. It should be exciting having him around again. And by the way I have a brother who could be Billy’s brother.

Rhonda
Rhonda

The return of Billy Clyde Tuggle will be epic!!! I was so excited when I heard the news. I may not be able to wait until lunch on the 16th to watch…might have to get up early to see his return. Loving the new show!

nancy dillingham
nancy dillingham

What a great character–so glad Matthew Cowles is coming back. Wish ABC had not taken AMC and OLTL off air, but glad they are back on the Net. Too bad so many people are shortsighted. A serial with great actors/characters will always endure.

su0000
su0000

Bring it home! Matthew Cowles//Billy Clyde..
You are da`man!

Beacon
Beacon

There’s a great scene on youtube of Natalie (Kate Collins) banishing Billy Clyde from the hospital as he is attempting to see Donna. Kind of makes you wonder how Billy Clyde Tuggle and Janet Green would have gotten along LOL

CTwildheart
CTwildheart

That would be an interesting duo!

jane
jane

I love the character of Billy Clyde! I saw the sweet part of him when he was with Estelle. He just cracked me up half the time. Loved Benny Sago too. His relationship with Pheobe Tyler (the Dutchess was what he called her) was so sweet. Cant wait to see Billy Clyde on AMC again! Great coup, Prospect Park!

Denise
Denise

I am simply delighted that “Billy Clyde” will be returning to Pine Valley! Thank you for another fantastic interview Mr. Fairman.

CTwildheart
CTwildheart

I am simply gushing over this news! Matthew Cowles is one of my all time favorite actors from AMC. I have always loved to hate Billy Clyde Tuggle and yet, looked forward to see what he would do next. It was a pleasant surprise to see him at the premiere and I ended up in tears after we talked. Even though he LIED and told me no when I asked if he was returning to Pine Valley 😉 I understand why he did – and I am glad for the surprise. I can’t wait to see him again!

RICKIE
RICKIE

Daaaang… I’m old! I remember when Billy Clyde first popped on the scene — he became Donna’s pimp after Tyrone (the wonderful Roscoe Orman) fled the scene. And, of course, there were Donna, Estelle, and Lettie Jean (Delphi Harrington) — the hookers of Locust Street. This should be fun!

Dez
Dez

Billy Clyde???? One word…HILARIOUS. This spells big fun and great summer entertainment!

Mk
Mk

I have been waiting for 23 yrs for his return. If tad survid the btidge fallc, so couldid bc. I loved his scenes with phoebe and adam. I remember when he buried estelle alive!

Shrona
Shrona

This reboot keeps getting better and better! Welcome back, Matthew! You made me laugh and cringe at the same time. I hope your alter ego, Billy Clyde, has his ‘persuadiator’ with him!

Teresa blue
Teresa blue

I love billy Clyde’s return and have fond memories of him & donna beck. I hope he gets to stay a very long time ! I want to see him and Dixie together! Oh…I have a brother who could be his brother! Seriously . He acts the same way all the time! Xxx BCT 4-ever!

Nancy Wizner
Nancy Wizner

Matthew Cowles MADE the character of Billy Clyde Tuggle what it was. No one else could have ever played that part as well. He was a such an excellent actor, and this comes a such a shock. So very very sad. Sending my sympathy to his family. RIP Matthew!

lenafreed
lenafreed

So sad to read the news of Matthew Cowles untimely death. So glad I got to see him and Billy Clyde one more time last year during the late lamented reboot of All My Children.

All My Children

Cameron Mathison Reveals Cancer Diagnosis and Shares Heartfelt Message

One of our the best guys we know, Cameron Mathison (co-host, Home & Family and Ex-Ryan Lavery, All My Children), revealed over the last 24 hours that he has been diagnosed with Renal Cell Carcinoma – kidney cancer, but treatment for him will be underway and the prognosis is good.

Cameron first shared the news on Monday’s Home & Family in a special announcement enlightening viewers on his health condition (watch video below) and later took to his Instagram and social media to share more details.   Of note: Mathison’s healthy lifestyle has indeed helped, and shown, that his cancer has not spread.

In addition, Mathison wrote: “About a month ago, I had an MRI for some gut issues I’ve been having, and during that MRI they fd a tumor on my right kidney. It’s consistent with Renal Cell Carcinoma … or kidney cancer. The good news is that it hasn’t spread to any other organs🙏🏼 They say my healthy lifestyle and diet has no doubt helped keep it from growing and spreading to other areas, as doctors think it’s been growing in me for minimum 10 years🙏🏼. I am extremely lucky that we found it early.” He thanked his doctor and his family, saying, “[wife] Vanessa, [kids] Lucas and Leila have been absolutely amazing with their love and support… as have my mom, dad, brother, and everyone at Home and Family, Hallmark, and ET❤️ My surgery is scheduled on September 12th, I was hoping to receive positive thoughts, prayers, or whatever you feel comfortable with, on 9/12 (my surgery is at 1pm PST) 🙏🏼.” He concluded, “Feeling very grateful and optimistic!”

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Send positive vibes Cameron’s way as he goes through his medical procedure this week, share your comments below.

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8 Years To The Day Of All My Children & One Life to Live Being Canceled; Still Considered By Many Worst Move For Daytime

It’s hard to believe that 8 years ago today on April 14th, 2011, the soap world, its fans, and the cast members, learned of the heartbreaking news that ABC, in one swift move, decimated its daytime line-up when they announced the cancellations of long running series, All My Children (which would end at its 41st year), and One Life to Live (which would ends its run in its 43rd year).

At the time, ABC announced it would move to more lifestyle/entertainment series to replace these dramas.  In its place came The Chew and The Revolution, neither show is still on the air today.  Executives at that time pointed to research saying that times are changing and that their decision was “guided by extensive research into what today’s daytime viewers want,” and blame, in part, “the changing viewing patterns of the audience” for the axing of AMC and OLTL

Then ABC Daytime President, Brian Frons had joked to Deadline about the big announcement that he: “Pre-entered the witness protection program prior to today’s events.”  He added that “The demise of the two venerable soaps was actually a year in the making.  A year ago, we started to look at our projections where the ratings for the soaps would go.  When those projections came in pretty discouraging, the network began to aggressively develop replacement shows, 15 of them.  Four of the 15 were picked up to pilot: The Chew and The Revolution and two others, a talk show and a dating show. Originally, the idea was to cancel only one daytime drama.  The way the ratings developed and the pilots turned out, the ratings developed negatively and pilots developed positively, so we decided to make a bigger shift.”  Of note is that when it went off the air, One Life to Live was in third place among its competitors in the ratings.

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The press release that came with the cancellations stated: “To honor the core, passionate audience and their rich history both shows will conclude in a manner that respects their legacies and the longstanding hopes of many of their viewers.”

Following the cancellations daytime reeled. The mainstream was sure it meant the endings of the soaps, period.  However, four shows illustrated that is not true at all.  For Days of our Lives, General Hospital, The Bold and the Beautiful and The Young and the Restless all remain, and still whether they are up or down in their numbers/ratings, they remain relevant and important to the enduring daytime viewing audience.

Sadly, as with any shows, the end of ABC’s AMC and OLTL meant loss of jobs for so many working in front of the camera and behind the scenes. One Life was the last soap opera in production in New York at the time.  AMC was already being shot in LA to cut costs to save it.

Still in 2019, if you venture on to social media, especially Twitter, you see fans constantly missing its stars and the towns of Llanview and Pine Valley, wanting this wrong rectified.  Although Prospect Park tried to revive the show with their online versions, eventually after legal battles that went on for a few years, ABC now retains the right to these properties,

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The good news is that many favorites from AMC and OLTL have found success and been hired on other soap operas, bringing their followings with them, whether it be on-screen, or in the writing, producing, directing or crew departments.

So, do you think the loss of AMC and OLTL consolidated daytime and made the remaining shows stronger so they would not be touched or canceled?  Do you think ABC should try to mount a resurrected AMC and OLTL or an amalgamation of the two?  Do you remember where you were when you learned the two soaps were cancelled? Was this the worst misstep of all-time for daytime? Share your thoughts and theories via the comment section below.

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George R. R. Martin’s “Leak” Of New Hulu Series WILD CARDS Featuring Eden Riegel, Thorsten Kaye. and Greg Rikkart

April Fool’s Day started off with a bang today when Eden Riegel (Ex-Bianca, AMC) posted a photo of herself with Thorsten Kaye (Ridge, B&B) and Greg Rikaart (Ex-Leo, DAYS)  in a very intriguing image.  See above pic!  As it turns out, it’s said to be from behind the scenes from some leaked footage of the upcoming Hulu series, Wild Cards.

The premise of Wild Cards is based on the sci-fi anthology series edited by George R. R, Martin, best known for writing the “Song of Ice and Fire” novels, on which HBO’s Game of Thrones is based.  Riegel’s husband, Andrew Miller is the showrunner attached to the upcoming series.

On Martin’s website he teases the set-up of the “leaked” video clip:  “This was not supposed to go public.. Everybody (Well, everybody that has been paying attention knows that we are developing two Wild Cards as a series for Hulu  Andrew Miller has taken the reins as showrunner, a writing staff has been hired, and they have been hard at work for months.  What was NOT supposed to be known is how far they’ve come.  Not only have some scripts been finished, but the first show has gone into production and has been shooting.  That was supposed to be a deep dark secret, however.   We wanted to surprise the world. It’s hard to keep secrets in Hollyweird, however.  And now it appears that some of the rough footage has been leaked by person or persons unknown”

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Meanwhile, Riegel sent out a series of tweets: “Hooo boy…cat’s out of the bag! Fans, please don’t judge our show based on these leaked videos!! The effects are going to knock your socks off. And my costars, and , are doing the best work of their lives!”  That was followed by, T”hank you for the chance to work with you on your first foray into soaps! I am humbled and honored. We won’t let you down.” And then, “I’m probably not allowed to share this with all the NDAs I signed, but damnit I’m just so proud of the team!  think we are breaking new ground for soaps. So proud to work with you!”

Now below, check out the Wild Cards “leaked footage” and let us know if you think of the …. um … drama! Comment below.  And one more thing … Happy April Fool’s!

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