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Ryan Phillippe On His Groundbreaking Role As OLTL’s Billy Douglas 25 Years Later: "I’m Proud That That’s Something I Can Say Was A Part Of My Career."

Photo Credit: HutchinsPhoto.com

One of the most memorable social issue storylines in the history of One Life to Live and daytime television occurred in 1992-1993 when the show brought in the teen-aged character of Billy Douglas, who turned out to be gay.  The actor who portrayed Billy was none other than motion picture star Ryan Phillippe in his then first professional acting role.

The tapestry of the gay storyline on OLTL also featured Billy’s relationship with a priest which was put into question, and that dove-tailed into the AIDS quilt appearing on the series, when it became part of a heart-wrenching storyline.

Promoting his new film, “Wish Upon”, Ryan chatted with TooFab,  where he discussed his role in Llanview some 25 years ago: “I remember the fan mail that we would get, my mother and I would get, from gay teenagers or from parents of gay teenagers who found a way in to relate to or talk to their child through the show.”

Ryan spoke to the power of the TV medium and how can impact people’s lives: “It can make people think differently or see a different side of something and I do remember and appreciating that — even back then when I was only a teenager myself.”

The talented star admits that at the time he did not have a full understanding of what playing Billy Douglas meant at the time, but he does so now: “In terms of like the larger view, I didn’t have a full understanding of how important it could have been. But I’m proud to have done it, I’m proud that that’s something I can say was a part of my career.”

Watch Ryan talk OLTL and the Billy Douglas storyline after the jump. Then let us know if it was one of the best social issues stories ever told on soaps in the comment section below!

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Llanviewer717
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Llanviewer717

I have very fond memories of the Billy Douglas story. The story was told very sensitively and courageously. Ryan and the entire cast did a terrific job. As always, our beloved One Life to Live informed and generated thought while keeping us entertained. I miss One Life to Live every day.

Iakovos
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Iakovos

OH, I miss OLTL too, especially when the series delved into social issue stories. Agnes Nixon created such wonderful programs that served as platforms for entertainment and discussion. They say this is a golden age of television but it seems daytime drama is being left out. Only four soaps left on the air. Shouldn’t the genre be enjoying a revival with all this opportunity for original programming on broadcast, cavle, and streaming services?

Jamesj75
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Jamesj75

So happy that this snippet of the interview has been posted here!

My admiration for Ryan Phillippe has been further cemented… The gay teen storyline was a major groundbreaking, influential effort; it was an incredible experience. Over the years, OLTL broke ground on occasion and, needless to say, had some terrific storylines and characters. This was one of the show’s finest hours. I am so thrilled I was exposed to, and affected by, it…

Steve
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Steve

As a gay man in his 20s at the time, I was proud that OLTL had the storyline.

I seem to recall the original idea was for Joey Bucanhan to be gay. The writers got Agnes’ blessing, but the network wasn’t ready for a legacy character to be gay. The compromise was the introduction of Billy.

Other than the dull theme song, the Linda Gottleib years on OLTL were darn good.

Llanviewer717
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Llanviewer717

You are so right. That theme song was a tremendous let down after the wonderful Tour of Llanview.
“Here’s what to do when you don’t find the rainbow’s end, this time……”

Chad Graeber
Guest
Chad Graeber

The Linda Gottlieb/Michael Malone/Josh Griffith years of OLTL (1991-1995?) were truly some of THE best years of soap storytelling. I was just remarking on Daytime Confidential site how engrossing, engaging, and energizing was the writing during that era, from the Billy Douglas coming out to priest Andrew Carpenter story to Viki’s growing attraction to Andrew’s father General Carpenter and the break-up of her marriage to Clint (who became a bigot at the time in response to Billy) to the introduction of Marty Saybrooke and her eventual gangrape at the hands of Todd Manning, who only later was revealed to be… Read more »

Alan
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Alan

Not really a fan of the storyline but then I wasn’t a fan of either of Michael Malone’s stints as headwriter. I preferred the coming out stories of AMC’s Bianca, DOOL’s Will, ATWT’s Luke, and OLTL’s Oliver. The best social issue storylines in my opinion are: GL’s Roger/Holly marital rape trial; GH’s Stone dies from AIDS; ATWT’s Margo pulls the plug on Casey; GH’s Monica’s breast cancer; AMC’s Cindy contracts AIDS; OLTL’s Shane is bullied; AMC’s Mark’s drug intervention; AMC’s Michael Delaney reveals he is gay to his students and nearly loses his job; GL’s Holly learns her baby has… Read more »

dmr
Guest
dmr

Alan, all of those storylines you mentioned were executed with heart and soul. They were told with such love and sensitivity. They were not rushed, and they were topics that so many of us could relate to, even if they did not hit our homes, per say. They were real, adult topics that we could relate to because perhaps our friends, family, neighbors, dealt with these issues, and because they were the focus on news programs and in society. I miss the days when daytime television focused on real, human element storylines. Both AMC and GH did an astounding portrayal… Read more »

Kevin C
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Kevin C

Alan and dmr, oh how I so agree with both of you and I so miss those days…That is what great soaps/daytime & night time drama’s are all about.

Patricio
Guest
Patricio

What a great memory you have Al! I do remember many of those stories and yes they were groudbreaking!

GemmaG
Guest
GemmaG

Nice! Ryan Phillippe went on to have a great career and it is great that he remembers his start. He is sooooo good looking! OLTL had many new young actors as well as provocative and educational storylines. GH is no where near as good, although they have double the cast. If I remember correctly, when Billy Douglas came out his father was terrible to him (RP did an amazing job in this role too). Marty Saybrooke then started a rumor about Andrew, the priest, because she had a crush on him, and that almost got Andrew thrown in jail. Queer… Read more »

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B&B’s Matthew Atkinson On Gaining Custody of Douglas: “Thomas Just Wants to Take His Rightful Place”

On The Bold and the Beautiful, Thomas (Matthew Atkinson) wants to be more of an active father to his son, Douglas (Django Ferri), who has been living with Hope (Annika Noelle) and Liam (Scott Clifton).

When confronted with this news, Hope is not too happy, because she could lose being mother to the little boy, who she has come to love as her own.

Photo: JPI

In the latest issue of Soap Opera Digest (on newsstands now), Atkinson shared on the story: “Thomas just wants to take his rightful place. He’s not saying they are no longer a family. It’s just the opposite.  He’s not prying Douglas away from Hope.  He knows Douglas has bonded with Hope, Liam and Beth, and he believes they can all make it work.”

The question is, will Thomas resort to extreme measures as he has in the past to get what he wants, or will he work this out with Hope and Liam?

Check out the latest promo for this week’s action on B&B below.

Now let us know, do you want Thomas to have more of a relationship with his son, Douglas? Should the boy live between all three ‘parents’? Should Douglas fight for solo custody? Comment below.

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Breaking News

AW and OLTL Alum, Robyn Griggs Dead at 49

In more heartbreaking soap news this weekend, Robyn Griggs had lost her battle with cancer.  The actress, best-known to daytime viewers as Stephanie on One Life to Live and Maggie on Another World, passed away at age 49.

The news came on Saturday via Griggs’ official Facebook posted, where in a statement it noted: “Hi everyone, With a heavy heart, I am saddened to announce Robyn’s passing. However, she is no longer suffering and would want us to remember that and the good memories. I will never forget how open she was to telling her story, and accepting of me helping her tell it. She wanted to help people and spread the word of her story to do it. I was honored to do so. RIP my friend, I love you and smile when I think of you.”

Photo: RGriggsFacebook

From 1991-1992, Griggs found her first soap success playing the part of One Life’s Stephanie Hobart.  Later, in 1993-1995, she played AW’s Maggie Cory.  Robyn was also a singer and signed a recording deal with RCA Records.

Robyn had been battling stage 4 Endocervical Adeno cancer.  Back on July 7th, Griggs had taken a turn for the worse, sharing on Facebook, “Unfortunately, I have 4 new tumors …2 new tumors on my liver, one on the abdominal muscle, and a large one on the right side lymph node.” On August 11th, her father shared Robyn was put into hospice care.

Share your remembrances and condolences for Robyn Griggs Riley and her loved ones in the comment section below.

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Breaking News

Anne Heche, ‘Another World’ Alum and TV and Film Star, Dead at 53

Following a catastrophic brain injury from crashing her car into a home last week and suffering severe burns, actress Anne Heche has been declared brain-dead at the age of 53.

In a statement from a rep for Heche’s friends and family, they expressed: “Today we lost a bright light, a kind and most joyful soul, a loving mother, and a loyal friend.  Anne will be deeply missed but she lives on through her beautiful sons, her iconic body of work, and her passionate advocacy. Her bravery for always standing in her truth, spreading her message of love and acceptance, will continue to have a lasting impact.”

Heche is legally dead according to California law, although her heart is still beating she has not been taken off life support in order to allow for organ donations to take place and to find the right recipients.

 

Photo: AHInstagram

Anne’s eldest son, Homer 20, said in a statement to PEOPLE on his mom’s passing:  “My brother Atlas and I lost our Mom. After six days of almost unbelievable emotional swings, I am left with a deep, wordless sadness. Hopefully my mom is free from pain and beginning to explore what I like to imagine as her eternal freedom. Over those six days, thousands of friends, family, and fans made their hearts known to me. I am grateful for their love, as I am for the support of my Dad, Coley, and my stepmom Alexi who continue to be my rock during this time. Rest In Peace Mom, I love you.”

The talented actress is best-known to soap opera fans for her Daytime Emmy-winning dual roles as twins, Vicky and Marley Hudson on Another World.  She had two sons, Homer with her ex Coley Laffoon and Atlas, 13, with actor James Tupper.

Throughout her career Heche appeared on TV shows and films includingL Men in Trees, If These Walls Could TalkDonnie BrascoI Know What You Did Last SummerSix Days, Seven Nights, and Gus Van Zant’s 1998 remake of Psycho. Back in 2020, Anne became a celebrity contestant on ABC’s Dancing with the Stars.

Heche’s stormy relationship with Ellen DeGeneres made headlines throughout her career, and today, DeGeneres shared: “This is a sad day. I’m sending Anne’s children, family and friends all of my love.”

Michael Fairman chatted with Anne back in 2020, in a memorable conversation for You Tube’s Michael Fairman Channel touching upon her career start on Another World, being a champion for the LGBTQ community, her relationship with DeGeneres, the ups and down in her career, and her demons and childhood past.

You can watch the conversation below.

Now, share your thoughts, condolences, and remembrances for Anne Heche via the comment section.

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GH’s Nicholas Alexander Chavez (Spencer) talks with Michael Fairman immediately following his Daytime Emmy win for Outstanding Younger Performer in Drama Series. Leave A Comment
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