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26 January 6th, 2015 Alicia Leigh Willis Talks Joining The Bay, Being The Bio-Mom To GH’s Spencer Cassadine, Tyler Christopher & Her Recent DAYS Role!

Photo Credit: Paul Smith Photography

What happens when a seemingly grounded Avery Garrett (Alicia Leigh Willis) comes to Bay City with her younger brother Daniel Garrett (Eric Nelsen) for Marly’s (Martha Madison) secret wedding to Manny and both end up staying for her funeral instead?  Plenty, as fans of the hit web series The Bay recently witnessed in its latest chapter! And it looks like more is ahead for the character of Avery, which gives long time soap opera fans the chance to see the talents of Alicia Leigh Willis again!  The Bay’s creator Gregori Martin says of Alicia’s work: “She can act opposite anyone and the chemistry is just there! She’s perfect!”

Willis known for her roles on Another World as Alli Fowler, a recent guest star turn on Days of our Lives, and her most prominent role that of the late Courtney Matthews on ABC’s General Hospital, the mother of little Spencer Cassadine (Nicholas Bechtel), has been quite the busy bee in 2014 going into 2015, with a multitude of projects including a leading role in an upcoming movie made for television on Lifetime, following some time off to raise her young daughter.

On-Air On-Soaps caught up with Alicia to get her thoughts on: joining The Bay, if she has seen little Nicholas Bechtel performance as Spencer on GH, her thoughts on working with her former GH love-interest Tyler Christopher (Nikolas), if she would ever consider returning to the series … should they resurrect Courtney … and so much more!  Here’s the hardworking and delightful, Alicia Leigh Willis!

So you joined The Bay!  And, you came on to the series at a very important time in the story!

Courtesy/LANYFilms

ALICIA:  Yes.  I play Avery, and I come on with my brother Daniel played by Eric Nelsen. We grew up in Bay City as kids and we moved away, and we were close with my cousins and my aunt played by Mary Beth Evans (Sara).  We came on to the scene during a tumultuous time.  Avery comes to her support Marley, who we were more like sisters instead of cousins.  She comes home to be with her, and we walk into this tornado of things going on, and ultimately Marley’s death!  There will be a big story to come, but mainly it’s building this relationship with Sara, and it’s interesting because the audience hasn’t seen this character before.  I know where Avery is coming from inside, and how I want to play it.  I think there will be a lot of twists and turns. Avery is like the problem-fixer.

When I was watching how you and Eric Nelsen first came on to the canvas in your first episodes of The Bay, I was not sure if you were conniving or just mischievous, but I was intrigued!

ALICIA: Daniel is definitely mischievous, and I think Avery is the straight-laced one and the fix-it person.  Working with Eric Nelsen is so great.  I was really impressed with his work, and he was very off-the-cuff and very natural.  Mary Beth Evans is the coolest, most down to earth person I have worked with in a long time.  I loved her.

How did they get you to be a part of the latest casting additions to The Bay?

Photo Credit: Bubba Loo Photography.

ALICIA:  I just got off of a project, and Gregori Martin (Creator, The Bay) had called me.  I had literally started getting back to work after taking a break to raise my daughter.  He was telling me who else was in the cast, and I realized I knew about 70% of the them from being on the soaps over the years.  I just thought it would be almost like a reunion.  Taylor Stanley, and Sandra Ferguson, and I were all on Another World together.  It was an opportunity to reconnect with these women, and have some fun.  I was excited to do jump in.

But … Avery is truly a good girl?

ALICIA:  We think she is a good girl, but you never know.  Good girls can take a turn! (Laughs)

Recently on General Hospital, your former character Courtney had been mentioned, because you are the bio-mom of little Spencer Cassadine (Nicholas Bechtel)!  Was it your decision to leave GH … or did they decide to kill-off the character?

ALICIA:  It was my decision to leave.  I had my four year contract, and it came up for renewal, and I decided not to renew.  I made a deal with myself when I signed the four year contract that it was only going to be four years.  I really wanted to keep exploring other opportunities in film and primetime.  I just wanted to try everything.  It was so hard though to leave.  I loved my GH family and my character.  I had such a wonderful time playing that role.  I did work a lot at the beginning after I left, and then I took a break to be with my daughter.  There are times in between that I miss being on GH, and then there are other times when it’s nice to be able to play around and do other roles.

Have you seen your “on-screen” son Nicholas Bechtel in action on GH?  He’s an incredible talent!

ALICIA:  I haven’t seen him on camera, but someone sent me a photo of him on Twitter.  I talked to Tyler Christopher (Nikolas, GH) recently as well.  Nicolas Bechtel is adorable, and someone was saying he was quite the scene stealer and really good!  It’s so nice to see this still playing out on air.

Courtesy/ABC

Spencer has wanted a mother very badly.  He even went so far to scheme with schemer Britt (Kelly Thiebaud), whom he wanted as his mother, in order to keep her in his and Nikolas’ (Tyler Christopher) life. For those who may not recall, how did you get killed-off as Courtney?

ALICIA:  They killed me with the “Monkey Flu”.  There was this epidemic in Port Charles.  I think it may have had something to do with Helena Cassadine (Constance Towers).  I honestly don’t remember. (Laughs)  I remember Courtney died in childbirth … I think! (Laughs)

What if they resurrected the character of Courtney as they do so many characters on GH! (Laughs) Would you entertain the thought of going back?

ALICIA: Yes, of course! I would love to go back.  GH was such an amazing part of my life.  I miss a lot of the people.  If the opportunity came up, I think it would be great.

What I think they should do is: have “visions” or the “ghost” of Courtney meeting her son Spencer, and giving him some “motherly” advice!  What do you think?

ALICIA: Yeah, why not?

Courtesy/ABC

How was working with Tyler Christopher as your romantic love interest when you look back at your time on GH?

ALICIA:  I loved working with Tyler.  I think what was so great is that we had such great chemistry on-screen, because we had such chemistry off-screen. We would have each other in hysterics right before we taped a scene, and we had each other laughing on the floor.  We even had the crew cracking up with us!  We could barely get through a scene without goofing off! (Laughs)  I can not say enough good things about Tyler.  He has been such a good friend and a sweetheart.

You have done several guest star turns recently,including some time on Days of our Lives!

ALICIA:  Since I came back, I did a run on Days of our Lives, and I did a lead in a TV movie Dangerous Company.  In the movie, I played a woman with the early onset of dementia. It was a really great challenging role.  I was also submitted for a Daytime Emmy in the Guest Star category for my work on DAYS. . In my role, my character, had been contacted because my ex-husband Liam (Mark Collier) had been stalking one of their friends.   And, so I came into town saying, “Yeah, stay away from him. He’s dangerous.”  I helped them take him down.  That was my first project back after having my daughter Simone, then I did the TV movie, and then The Bay, and that was my year in 2014.

You are a relatively new mom! How is balancing raising a child and your acting career?

Photo Credit: Bubba Loo Photography

ALICIA:  It’s really hard!  You deal with this inner struggle of, “I just want to be home with my baby,” and then you are home with your baby, and then you also think, “I miss working so much.”  So, then you have this constant inner battle.  I am a creative person, and I need a creative outlet, or else I go nuts!  But at the same time, I am so madly in love with my daughter.  It’s hard to be away from her.  My daughter will be three in February and I see the actress in her already, and it’s scaring me! (Laughs)  I am single mom and my ex and I are still friends, so that works.  I never anticipated being a single mom.  I thought it would be a team deal, but we were better off as friends, and we are lucky that way  … to stay in each others lives.  He is a very good dad to Simone.  We are still a family.

You have always been fortunate in that you always seem to work a lot!

ALICIA:  I have been really lucky, and it’s been kind of cool.  I have been fortunate that I have worked a lot, and also that I have been able to stay under the radar, and have a normal life.   I feel like I got to have the best of both worlds, and I am grateful for that. This business has ups and downs  …  and sometimes you are waiting for the phone to ring!

You got your start on Another World.  What were your thoughts on the passing of Daytime Emmy winner Charles Keating (Carl Hutchins)?  Did you work with him?

Courtesy/Twitter

ALICIA:  I did not know Charles Keating died!  I knew him briefly.  He was on the show when I was there, and we only worked together a couple of times.  He was quite a character!

Were you close to the incomparable Linda Dano (Felicia Gallant) during your time on AW?

ALICIA:  I was close with Linda Dano!  I have to say; of all the women I have met in this crazy business …  I have the utmost respect for Linda. What a class act!  I was so young when I was on Another World, and she always gave me the best advice about being in this business.  I really looked up to her a lot.

So, would you like to see Alicia back on General Hospital? Would you like to see Spencer have a visit from his biological mother, Courtney Matthews? Have you checked out Alicia on The Bay? Do you think she might land a guest star Daytime Emmy nod? Excited to see her upcoming Lifetime movie? Comment below!

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  1. Patrick says:

    “that” first pic : at the very top

    reminds me of the hottie Daryl Hannah : in her younger days

    HOT

    Reply

  2. me says:

    OH my gosh no no no no no no…not back on GH.

    Reply

    madluv4u replied

    Agree! Please don’t bring her back. Never was a fan.

    Reply

    Harry replied

    Last time they saw Cornnuts, she was in the frozen food section of the supermarket staring transfixed at the frozen orange juice. Hours later the store manager asked if she needed help. She replied,”Yes,the cans say ‘concentrate.” They never saw her again.

    Love Rebel replied

    Courtney Matthews was the best thing that happened to #GH! I love that Alicia Leigh Willis has a NATURAL cool that’s NOT COMMON like other actresses in Daytime. Unlike most of the current characters in daytime who are strumpets with that hard, cold & bitch personality that’s supposed to be the cool, Courtney Matthews was a strong female who could defend herself with words or her fist, was warm, had heart, ran her own business and was THEE ONLY WOMAN that JASON MORGAN wanted to marry! Woman hate her because she has something that can not be taught! She’s beautiful inside & out & GH needs her back!

    Reply

    Timmm replied

    I would love for Jax to roll into town with her and make Carly spin!

  3. tskyent says:

    Would love to see her everyday again! And will watch her on the bay

    Reply

  4. Cees says:

    Love her on The Bay! She’s got great chemistry with Mary Beth Evans and Eric Nelsen. Totally believable their characters are related.

    Reply

  5. Dola says:

    I would love it if we GH fans found out evil Helena had frozen Courteney! Since she has frozen so many others this wouldn’t be beyond the realm of GH reality lol.

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  6. Laura says:

    Just.say.no.to.Courtney.

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    Love Rebel replied

    Just say no to being rude. If you don’t like the character try just not commenting at all. This article is about Alicia’s work. If you’re not a fan like the rest of us why are you even here? Spend your time better supporting something positive that you love.

    Reply

  7. davidevansmith says:

    I always felt this character of Courtney was shoe-horned into GH during a very rough spot in the show’s history, and too much revolved around her for no reason. She’s a fine actress but Courtney was a somber, sleepy drag.

    Wish her all the best, hope she enjoys The Bay!

    Reply

    Love Rebel replied

    Courtney Matthews came from a time of GH PERFECTION! When it was about friendship & family. Courtney & Carly ruled GH! They were friends who wouldn’t choose a guy over each other like Liz did Emily. Loved how she took on Mob boss Faith, her bond with Sonny & the PURE LOVE she had with Jason. Real love doesn’t cheat like what we see today. Courtney & Jason were pure & actually communicated. They tried to recreate this same Ship with Sam & Jason but it never worked. Sam is no substitute for Courtney. Courtney brought out the best of Jason as Carly did.

    Reply

    davidevansmith replied

    LOL, Courtney’s era was when GH’s core families were being dismantled piece by piece. A Quartermaine was being killed every Sweeps period, Laura was drooling in a chair staring at the padded wall, removing the heart from the Spencer family, and Sonny gained a sister that he ultimately didn’t need and who barely impacted his life. Steve Burton was also vocal about how the marriage of Jason and Courtney basically neutered Jason, and I suspect that’s why they fell apart (wasn’t she drawn to Officer Brian, who was instrumental in a rift with Jason?), she moved onto Jax, and then CHEATED on him with Nikolas, getting pregnant and then dying (mercifully for me) from the monkey flu. The character was a stooge for AJ, a lark for Coleman, and they built a whole episode around her moonily trying to kiss Jason for Thanksgiving. Weak, weak, weak. Probably the best friend Carly ever had (though clearly because she was the only woman who wouldn’t be a threat to her by going after Sonny), but the legacy Coutney left behind was nothing but the back end of the name of a hotel where half the cast currently resides and a precocious kid who probably had a better education and exposure to the world without Courtney Matthews around to drag him down. I don’t think I remember Courtney working a day in her life (did she waitress at Kelly’s? Was that it?) and her mother was probably the most annoying and grating character actresses I’ve ever seen pop up on a soap.

    Alicia Leigh Willis definitely did ME a favor by ditching GH. And if the character was so central and necessary to the canvas, they would have probably made an effort to recast her or leave the door open for a return, rather than the senseless death that they scripted for her by way of encephalitis.

    Again, I wish Willis all the best, but Courtney Frickin’ Matthews (her full legal name, I believe) was probably one of the bigger duds that came out of GH’s 2000s for me. An albatross that GH was lucky to lose.

    True Love replied

    woW, What a dull memory. As much as I love Laura I’d rather her drool in a chair than continue to be a weak woman who was run over by that bastard Luke & then fell in Scotty’s arms instead of completely standing on her own.

    Courtney “Fierce* Matthews I believe is her full name & she represented women well. She is the definition of strength, allowed no one to run over her & was Jason’s first real & positive relationship. If you know the shows history Jason wasn’t a proper man to women until Courtney came along… He didn’t even treat Carly right until much later on, after he lost her to Sonny.

    I also loved seeing Sonny go crazy trying to protect her from AJ, loved how Courtney grew from her experiences with Coleman & AJ. She didn’t become weak, but fought back & still managed to not lose her warmth. I loved that finally Carly had a friend that wasn’t insecure like the typical strumpets in Port Charles who slept around, were hypocrites who judged Carly & had no right. And, if you understood the great writing that constructed her character you would know that it was not her character to be with anyone else except Jason. That was actually bad writing.

    Courtney’s presence & story reminds me of the beauty that Original Carly “Sarah Joy Brown & Sonny created when they were together. Alicia Leigh Willis & Sarah Joy Brown are the most unique actresses & I would actually love to see them both on GH. That would be amazing.

  8. Becky Maples says:

    I would love to see Courtney back on GH, Spencer needs his mom in his life, hope they will bring her back from the dead like they do so many, it would be great to see her interact with Spencer

    Reply

    Harry replied

    She wasn’t very bright. One time she called Nikolas to tell him she locked the keys in the car and needed help. Nikolas arrived to find Cornnuts trapped in her car.

    Reply

  9. Erick says:

    The only people she had chemistry with were Tamara Braun (ex-Carly) and Ingo Rademacher (ex-Jax), who both would have chemistry with doorknobs. Unfortunately, both are gone. Never cared for her and Nikolas, or even her and Jason or her and *Sonny*, for that matter.

    Reply

  10. Gmbenet says:

    Alicia did a nice job on Days. Best wishes to her for whatever she does.

    Reply

  11. Aden says:

    I love the actress! But the writing for her character was terrible!! She started out with promise and.purpose as AJ’s love interest. But then like all GH women ultimately do, she became nothing more than a mouthpiece for the mob. In 4 years she hopped from AJ to Jason to Jax to Nikolas. Its a shame she was so wasted on the show because she is a luminous and talented performer.

    Reply

    Cindy replied

    I think the writing was great for the character until the writers decided to break up the Corinthos/Morgan family. She was very naive when she first came on the show and then the character grew. Courtney wasn’t a mouthpiece for the mob. She was her own person, always has been and didn’t agree with mob business. That’s why she was on the outs with Jason & Sonny. She would’ve only been with AJ & Jason if they didn’t start writing badly for her.

    Reply

  12. Cindy says:

    Yes, bring her back to GH. It would give me a reason to watch the show again. To have real warmth and not the facade that has masked GH for YEARS. Family/Friendship was once REAL and LOVING. Most of the actors they have now convince me of nothing other than the fact that they need acting lessons.

    Reply

    True Love replied

    Please bring Courtney Matthews back. GH needs her presence!

    Reply

  13. Jazmine says:

    Brind her back to GH! I miss her so much. It truly it what Nik needs and Carly needs her best gal pal! ALW was wonderful and still is so beautiful. She brought such a light to GH. She would fit so well back in as she has so many ties to the canvas. I would love if they reunited Nico. Tyler and ALW were just amazing, and the story for NiCo just got started, so beautiful they were. Besides love her or hate her Courtney ALWAYS created a response, NEVER apathy with her character. Plus ALW is a great actress who just got better, really great towards the end. I would tune in full time to GH in a heartbeat if they brought her back. COME ON lets do this! BRING COURTNEY BACK!

    Reply

  14. Shelly says:

    Yes would love to see her back, Spencer needs him momma!! Been such a fan since Journey, she’s soo talented, please make it happen TPTB!!

    Reply

  15. Timmm says:

    You could bring her back as Courtney and explain that her twin actually died, not her. I know its too easy to write but we have a couple difficult stories right now and dont need all the twists. Courtney would fit into today’s GH because Nick is there, Spencer needs his mom, Carly needs a BFF again although I may write them a story where they end up enemies in a triangle with Jake where Courtney eventually finds out is Jason.

    Reply

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