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General Hospital and ‘H.R. Pufnstuf’s’ Billie Hayes Dead at 96

Photo: JPI

She was one-of-a-kind, and now actress Billie Hayes has passed away at the age of 96.  Hayes’ family announced her death from natural causes on April 29th at Cedar-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles.

Hayes was best-known for her unforgettable role as Witchiepoo on the 1969-70 Saturday morning live-action children’s classic H.R. Pufnstuf from Sid and Marty Kroft.

However, daytime fans will remember that then General Hospital executive producer, Gloria Monty, hired Hayes to play the recurring role of the street-smart international spy, Brighton O’Reilly, back in the 80’s series hey day.

GH’s Tristan Rogers (Robert Scorpio) took to Twitter to mourn the loss of Hayes on Monday sharing; “My dear wonderful Billie Hayes has died. Sadly I only got to work with her on GH but it was a magical relationship. Right away Gloria Monty saw something unique and ran with it. I cannot tell you how her passing saddens me.”

Photo:ABC

In story, Brighton O’Reilly was shot and killed by Victor Cassadine back in 1981. Billie told Soap Opera Digest back in 2003 about her time as an agent on GH, and her exit from the series: “I asked Gloria why she killed me off, and Gloria said, ‘To tell you the truth, Billie, we really hemmed and hawed at it. But I decided to do it for selfish reasons. I knew if I killed O’Reilly there’d be such an abundance of sympathy and love for Scorpio that his stock would go up. And he’s my new leading man!’ I understand why Gloria knocked me off, but I would have loved to have gone on with it because I feel it could have been developed into a fascinating character.”

Photo: JPI

Sid and Marty Kroft also took to Twitter and expressed:  “Margaret Hamilton (Wizard of Oz) once told us that Billie Hayes was “one of the best witches ever” We couldn’t agree more. Rest in Peace dear friend.”

Billie’s career spanned decades including Broadway, television, motion pictures and voice-over work. In addition, she founded the Los Angeles-based animal rescue nonprofit organization Pet Hope, a cause she had championed since adopting a puppy abandoned in the basement of Broadway’s St. James Theatre during the run of Lil’ Abner in which she was featured in the role of Mammy Yokum.

Share your remembrances of Billie Hayes and your condolences for her family and loved ones via the comment section below.

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Charday
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Charday

Rest in Peace Billie Hayes. You gave us so much entertainment.

Carrie
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Carrie

I loved her as O’Reilly. She, Robert, Luke and Laura were a blast together. Her improv skills were terrific and she was fantastic on GH. She was also hilarious in any scenes she shared with the character of Slick Jones. 1981 was a golden, hilarious year on GH. Gloria cast a lot of character actors and let them improvise. Thank you for the memories. Rest in peace.

Llanviewer717
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Llanviewer717

I am so very sorry to hear this news. Billie Hayes was absolutely fantastic in all the roles she played. I so loved her as O’Reilly and was just heartbroken when they killed the character. She was great as Mammy Yokum in the Lil’ Abner film. And all of her witch characters through the years were wonderful.

Thank you Ms. Hayes for sharing your remarkable talent with all of us. Rest in peace.

Carrie
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Carrie

She looked much younger than 96. She seemed like a joyful person. What a nice life she lived. She will be missed.

nancy dillingham
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nancy dillingham

Loved her and Scorpio. I agree with her. She should have remained on the show as Robert’s surrogate mother. 🙂

Carrie
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Carrie

Very true Nancy. She and Robert were great.

Lawrence P Gerkin
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Lawrence P Gerkin

Awesome lady ! RIP

General Hospital

General Hospital Alum Annie Wersching Dead at 45

In very sad news on Sunday, actress Annie Wersching, who starred in the series 24, Bosch and Timeless, and portrayed Amelia Joffe on General Hospital, passed away this morning from cancer.  Annie was only 45-years-0ld.

Deadline broke the news of Annie’s death.  In a statement, Wersching’s husband, actor Stephen Full, shared: “There is a cavernous hole in the soul of this family today. But she left us the tools to fill it. She found wonder in the simplest moment. She didn’t require music to dance. She taught us not to wait for adventure to find you. ‘Go find it. It’s everywhere.’ And find it we shall. As I drove our boys, the true loves of her life, down the winding driveway and street, she would yell BYE! until we were out of earshot and into the world. I can still hear it ringing. Bye my Buddie. ‘I love you little family…’ ”

Wersching’s first major role came as Amelia Joffe on General Hospital.  She played the role from May to September of 2007.  Amelia came to Port Charles to seek revenge on Sam McCall (Kelly Monaco) and wound up lovers with Sonny Corinthos (Maurice Benard).

Later, she went on to star as Renee Walker in Seasons 7 and 8 of 24.  She also appeared in The Vampire Diaries, Runaways, Extant, and The Rookie.  One of her last roles was in Star Trek: Picard which came two decades after she made her screen acting debut in an episode of Star Trek: Enterprise.

Annie is survived by her husband and children children Freddie, 12; Ozzie, and Archie, 4.

Share your condolences and remembrances for Annie in the comment section.  But first, check out some scenes from her time on General Hospital below.

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General Hospital

Kelly Thiebaud Opens Up on Her Exit from General Hospital, Taping Britt’s Tragic Death Scenes, and Parting Thoughts on Co-Stars

Just a few weeks ago on the January 4th episode of General Hospital, viewers were left devastated when Dr. Britt Westbourne succumbed to a fatal poisoning after a confrontation with ‘The Hook’.

While it was revealed that Daytime Emmy winner, Kelly Thiebaud, was exiting the ABC soap opera at the end of 2022, many thought the story would see Britt leaving Port Charles to deal with her declining health due to Huntington’s Disease in private, in order to keep the door open for a possible return down the line.  However, that was not meant to be.  When a report from Deadline surfaced back in August of 2022, it indicated that Kelly was returning to her primetime role on ABC’s Station 19, which caused some confusion and rumors of just what would Thiebaud’s ultimate status be with the daytime drama series.

Photo: ABC

Now, in a very special exit interview for You Tube’s Michael Fairman Channel, Kelly chats with Michael Fairman and clarifies what led to her decision to leave her role as Dr. Britt Westbourne.

Talking with Fairman direct from London, Kelly, who won a Daytime Emmy in 2022 for the Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series, reveals how it came to pass that GH would kill-off the character of Britt by becoming another victim of ‘The Hook’, and more.

Photo: KThiebaudIG

During the conversation, Thiebaud shares her thoughts on working with her former GH co-stars including: Steve Burton (ex-Jason), Parry Shen (Brad), Kirsten Storms (Maxie), Kathleen Gati (Liesl), Cassandra James (Terry), Roger Howarth (Austin) and Josh Kelly (Cody), as well as some of her favorite memories throughout her run on the series which began in 2012.

Photo: ABC

Kelly took the character from being the manipulative ‘Britch’ as an interloper in the romance of Patrick (Jason Thompson) and Sabrina (Teresa Castillo), all the way to becoming a well-loved character to root for.

Courtesy/ABC

While, GH viewers witnessed Britt’s shocking death scenes, Kelly weighs-in on taping those moments, as well as Britt’s emotional goodbye birthday party, and having the opportunity to portray a character who was trying to navigate her life, while suffering from the effects of Huntington’s Disease.

In addition, Thiebaud gives a very special ‘thank you’ and shout out to the fans for their enduring support as she looks forward to new roles and new adventures ahead.

Photo: NATAS

Check out our heartfelt farewell interview with Kelly below, and for upcoming celebrity features, interviews, event coverage, music videos, and more, make sure to ‘subscribe‘ to the Michael Fairman Channel.

So, what did you think about Kelly’s decision to depart GH? Will you miss her as Britt? Share your thoughts on our conversation in the comment section below.

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General Hospital

Denise Crosby Makes a Return to General Hospital

After a major fallout with her parents, Carolyn (Denise Crosby) and Jeff Webber (William R. Moses), Elizabeth (Rebecca Herbst) was devastated, in particular because they concocted a plan to make her forget all about the tragic situation earlier in her life. That being, when Finn’s (Michael Easton) late wife, Reiko, fell down a flight of steps and eventually died after she struggled with Liz.

Apparently, the story is not over, when Denise Crosby reprises her role of Carolyn beginning the week of January 23rd on General Hospital.

Talking about her return in the latest issue of Soap Opera Digest on newsstands now, Crosby previewed, “She (Carolyn) wants to make a connection with her daughter and try to make amends for something that is almost impossible to make amends for. She knows it could go really wrong, but she can’t live with herself if she doesn’t take the shot.”

Photo: ABC

Something tells us there is more to the story of why Carolyn could have returned to Port Charles? Any thoughts?

Let us know your theories about Elizabeth’s mother upcoming return to Port Charles in the comment section below.

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DAYS Billy Flynn (Chad), Greg Rikaart (Le0) and Mary Beth Evans (Kayla) talk with Michael Fairman on the series move to Peacock and their latest storylines.. Leave A Comment
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