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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.”

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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
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
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
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
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
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
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 Viki’s half-brother and child of Victor to the ensuing trial with Nora Gannon, who was terrorized by Todd later. Wow! Even up to 1995, when Viki split again, this time into Niki, Jean, and Tommy, all of whom terrorized Dorian down in that basement of the Lord mansion! Such entertaining years, rather like that golden age of storytelling on AMC in the late 80s with the Palmer/Natalie/Ross/Ellen/Mark/Elizabeth/Julie/Nico saga that was storyline gold for about a year and a half. … I too found the OLTL opening during that time to LOOK generic, but never SOUNDED generic! The music that Gottlieb and her music directors used during those years was elegant and riveting and beautiful and really enhanced the drama unfolding onscreen (i.e., the beautiful Pavane for a Princess that played during Megan’s hospital death scenes — how appropriate! That chilling music that would spill out when Alex Olenov would slink down her penthouse steps or appear sinisterly in any scene; the Debussy piano pieces that played in the background as Max and Blair fell in love, Blair first played by an Asian actress before Kassie DePaiva; the theme music for Todd Manning when he was evil) — I still remember it all! Why can’t soaps write and produce like that anymore? I know they don’t have the budgets they used to, but has creativity and engaging storytelling been hijacked as well? #missingmyoldoltl!

Alan
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 Down Syndrome; AMC’s Donna is a teenage hooker; Y&R’s Phillip’s teenage alcoholism; AMC’s Daisy deals with the death of Bonkers; KNOTS LANDINGS’ Olivia’s drug addiction.

dmr
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 of the AIDS epidemic. I remember crying and crying during those scenes with both Cindy and Stone. WOW.

Kevin C
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
Patricio

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

GemmaG
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 as Folk kinda copied the BD storyline, although it was different and also very well done. I hope ABC brings back OLTL now that it has been proven by PP that the show could be streamlined without losing substance or interest.

News

One Life to Live Alum Tuc Watkins Joins Cast Of Showtime’s ‘Black Monday’

Intriguing casting news involving the former David Vickers of Llanview.  Tuc Watkins (Ex-OLTL and Desperate Housewives) is set for a season-long guest-star arc on the second season of Showtime’s 1980’s Wall Street comedy Black Monday, which stars and is executive produced by Don Cheadle.

In it, Watkins will take on the role of Congressman Harris, who said to be “a Republican and leader of the Moral Majority.”

According to Deadline who broke the casting news, “Black Monday takes viewers back to October 19, 1987 dubbed Black Monday.   t’s the fictional story of how a group of outsiders took on the blueblood, old-boys club of Wall Street and ended up crashing the world’s largest financial system, a Lamborghini limousine, and the glass ceiling.”

Andrew Rannells, Regina Hall and Paul Scheer also star in the series.

This marks the return of Watkins to the premium cable network where he last played the role of Malcolm Laffley on Beggars and Choosers.  In addition, Tuc has been working on the upcoming Netflix film adaptation of Boys in the Band from Ryan Murphy.  Tuc appeared in the that show on Broadway.

The 10-episode upcoming season of Black Monday will bow next year.

Excited to see Tuc in a new role? Comment below!

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Mishael Morgan Returns To The Young and the Restless And Shares: “I Hope To Create Something New But Just As Special As That Girl You All Loved To Hate”

Big news was shared today as Daytime Emmy nominee, Mishael Morgan is back on CBS’ The Young and the Restless!

Morgan, who played the role of Hilary Curtis from 2013-2018 ,and then was killed-off the show is now back in Genoa City in a new role.  As fans of Y&R know, Mishael along with Bryton James (Devon) became part of the very popular duo known as “Hevon”.

Back in April of this year, Mishael reappeared on Y&R as a special guest in several episodes where she played Hilary’s ghost.  Since, Hilary was killed, Devon has begun a relationship with Elena (Brytni Sarpy).

In a post today via social media, Y&R announced the return of Morgan to the daytime drama series in a brand new role. (See below)

On her Instagram account, Morgan shared: “That’s right… I’m back!! This has been the hardest secret to keep! I am so happy & honoured to return to #YR. The time off was such a welcomed blessing, as I learned to juggle life, family & career, but I am so happy to be home! I want to take a second and thank all you diehard fans out there, who supported me so fiercely. This opportunity only came about because of YOU. I am so excited to be back home, doing what I love, with all of you cheering me on. I look forward to this new adventure and I hope to create something new but just as special as that girl you all loved to hate. Cheers to this new chapter, with old friends. Now let’s do the damn thing!

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Check out the announcement of Mishael being back on Y&R.  Then, let us know if you are excited that she has returned to the series, but this time in a new role via the comment section below.

 

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GH Head Writers: Chris Van Etten and Dan O’Connor Reveal More Details On Michael E. Knight’s New Soap Role

When daytime favorite Michael E. Knight debuts on General Hospital on September 30th, he will not be coming to Port Charles as his former All My Children alter-ego Tad Martin; but instead will be playing a different character.

EW.com has first look photo of Knight in his new role and spoke directly to General Hospital co-head writers, Chris Van Etten and Dan O’Connor for the scoop on the ever-popular Knight’s return to ABC.  On GH. Michael will indeed play a new role.

According to the scribes: “There are a number of people in Port Charles who are in trouble and his character will have an impact on how their stories are solved or further complicated.”

Both Van Etten and O’Connor shared: “As we were writing his character, we found out that oh, we have even more use for him! It’s helpful to know who the actors are in this situation. We have lots of ideas on how we can expand his character and cross-pollinate his character.”

As to how long Knight will be sticking around Port Charles, that was not offered-up, but what was is that Michael’s new character will mix it up with Valentin Cassadine (James Patrick Stuart) with whom Knight worked with on All My Children when James played Will Cortlandt.

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Because ABC now has the rights back in their possession to use the characters from One Life to Live and All My Children, Van Etten expressed: “We have conversations when we have these actors come back about whether it’s more useful or not to resurrect their characters. “=We’ll continue to have these as the opportunity arises.”

So, what do you think Michael E. Knight’s role will be based on these tidbits from the GH scribe? Share your theories via the comment section below.

 

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