News - Soap Buzz

59 May 24th, 2014 All My Children’s Matthew Cowles Has Passed Away!

Photo Credit: Sue Coflin/Max Photos

Heartbreaking and sad news to report this Memorial Day weekend! Reports are surfacing that none other than All My Children’s Matthew Cowles, who played the one and only Billy Clyde Tuggle passed away on Thursday, May 22nd.

According to manager, Tsu Tsu Stanton, Cowles was surrounded by his family – his wife The Good Wife’s Christine Baranski, and their two daughters by his side.  Cowles was 69 years old.

Tsu Tsu Stanton tweeted the news, “#Matthew Cowles passed away on 5/22. I had the pleasure of being his manager. He was a very gifted and kind man who loved life and everyone.”

Broadway World posted an item on the actors passing citing: “Cowles was born in 1944 and his career spanned both the stage and screen. His Broadway roles include Malcolm (1966), The Time of Your Life (1969), and Sweet Bird of Youth (1975).  His movie credits include The Juror (1996), American Loser (2007), Shutter Island (2010), and many more.  His most recent short film, Family on Board (2014), is currently in post-production.”  Matthew had numerous television credits but none more memorable than Pine Valley’s pimp, Billy Clyde Tuggle!

Matthew reprised his role of Billy Clyde last summer as part of Prospect Park’s online revival of the series.  AMC executive producer, Ginger Smith was instrumental in getting Matthew back to the soap opera.  On-Air On-Soaps had the first exclusive interview with Cowles upon his return, which now would turn out to be the final time we would chat.

Matthew’s former AMC co-star Cady McClain (Ex-Dixie, now Y&R’s Kelly) tweeted on his passing today,  “So sad. What a lovely man… I adored working with him last year. So kind.”

On-Air On-Soaps sends our thoughts and prayers to Matthew’s family, and we are deeply saddened by the passing of one of the most talented actors ever to appear on soaps.   Share your thoughts below!

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  1. andrew hass says:

    My condolences are with his family.Plus i’m glad that his fans were able to watch him at least one more time on the All My Children reboot.

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    jimh(leave it to beaver) replied

    Same here…he was one of my favorites!!!

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    Terry replied

    I agree enjoyed seeing him on the reprise AMC. Rest in Peace.

    Lin replied

    I feel the same way. And Billy Clyde, though he still had the same personality, was a kinder gentler Billy. My deepest sympathy to his family. He will never be forgotten as long as anyone who watched AMC is still kicking around. Rest in peace.
    I did not hear that he was sick. Gone way too soon.

    Reply

  2. davlestev1 says:

    R.I.P. Matthew. Prayers for Christine Baranski and their children. Great entertainer.

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  3. Kat says:

    I loved Billy Clyde and never knew he was married to Christine. She’s one of my favorite actresses. Could we see Mary Anne Thorpe with Billy Clyde Tuggle? Nope but that’s why they are called actors.

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    Harry replied

    Christine appeared with her husband on a few episodes of AMC. They were hilarious together.

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  4. Harry says:

    Oh no, no, no! I love this actor, think he’s brilliant. I always said that Billy Clyde Tuggell was the best villain in soap opera history. He even wrote his own dialogue. I don’t have he words–this is just too sad.

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    Patricio replied

    I agree 100% percent Harry! I wanted to write something but couldn’t have said it better!

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    jimh(leave it to beaver) replied

    There will never be another colorful fun villian like Billy Clyde Tuggles…Mathew Cowles was one of the top greatest actors in daytime ever and one of my top all time favorite soap actor/characters!!!

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    Margie replied

    ITA.
    What a brilliant portrayal. :( .

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    Wendy replied

    I know how you feel . I’m still in shock . Matthew was such the opposite of billy Clyde. I watched him on AMC many years ago when I first began watching soaps . I was just a kid then, but mathew’s billy clyde , left quite an impression !! My heart goes out to his wife and daughters and every fan out there who loved him!!!

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  5. David says:

    An unforgettable soap villain. Sympathy to Christine and family

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  6. su0000 says:

    Matthew Cowles / Billy Clyde Tuggle AMC is a soap opera legend!
    His villain performances has stayed with all the AMC fans for decades!
    He made a mark that will always forever be ..

    Condolences to all who love Matthew Cowles , he will never be forgotten ..

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  7. Omar says:

    Sad news..Rest in peace..He was always riveting and a scene stealer over at AMC.

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  8. Cynthia says:

    I am so sad to hear this! I loved him on AMC.

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  9. Lisa J. says:

    That makes me so sad. I liked him so very much and I will forever miss Billy Clyde. May he rest in peace.

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  10. KateA says:

    Glad I got to see him perform again as Billy Clyde. Prospect Park did something right by bringing him back to AMC. He was wonderful as Billy Clyde.

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  11. Cheryl says:

    So sad to hear. He was tremendous to watch, and I was thrilled to get to see him as Billy Clyde again. Condolences to his family.

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  12. Jan says:

    What a shock to hear this news. On All My Children he was the character you loved despite his mean ways. He will be missed.

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  13. brendaking says:

    I am so sorry for your lost may god be with you a d your family your in my thoughts and prayers to

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  14. Brenda says:

    Such a talent loved him on All My Children glad to see him back on short lived return

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  15. Connie b. says:

    So sorry on Matthews passing. He was excellent actor and character on AMC was much loved. Sincere sympathy to his family ……Billy Clyde, my goodness no one will ever forget him…RIP

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  16. vinman says:

    RIP…Matthew Cowles….Billy Clyde Tuggle….may you rest in peace with the other greats from PineValley,Pa.

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  17. Victoria Pongratz says:

    I am so sorry and offer my condolences ..I remember Billy Clyde way back on All My Children in the Dixie/Tad days …years ago..and then his return last year ..Rest in peace ..you were a great actor and person ..

    Reply

  18. rebecca1 says:

    I hadn’t watched All My Children in ages…and I mean years! But I do remember his character well. Very sad news…condolences.

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    CTwildheart replied

    Rebecca, I hope you try and find the reboot online….he was just as good the second time around!

    Reply

    rebecca1 replied

    I’ll look…thanks!

  19. M Baptiste says:

    Mr. Cowles’ sense of fun playing the role made him “non-traumatic” for viewers, even way back, when we got a less kinder-gentler Billy Clyde. An actor who brought craft to his role, this is how I remember him. God bless his family.

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  20. Linda M says:

    He was a joy to watch. So much talent. My heart goes out to his family.

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  21. Melissa Stott says:

    May God be with his family during this difficult time! He was so talented!

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  22. Ricardo says:

    I am very sad about this, Matthew was a wonderful actor and rip my friend. We will all miss you.

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  23. Cathy says:

    ❤Him can first remember seeing so many years ago on All My Children. One of the best characters to be brought on RIP Billy Clyde deepest sympathy to his loving family!

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  24. Harry says:

    I was so taken aback upon reading of his passing, that I was at a loss for words. I have regained my composure. Billy Clyde Tuggell has had a cult following ever since he left Pine Valley. Many of us started a ‘Bring Back Billy Clyde’ campaign. When Prospect brought him back, and I heard his Southern slurred speech sputtered forth while wearing that three piece white suit with the carnation boutonniere while carrying a cane, I am going to admit something–I chocked up a little. Yes, because when I was about 12 Billy Clyde triggered my imagination while invoking my sense of fear as well as tickling my funny bone. How many soap villains can make you shudder and laugh at the same time? This is only something I can confess to fellow soap fans because only they (you all) get it. This comes from a place which makes us remain steadfastly loyal to a soap despite the fact that it is letting us down in so many ways (see GH). I gave up on AMC about 7 years before it was cancelled because it had gotten so bad it almost seemed like self-sabotage (again, see GH). But when it was finally cancelled, I was sad because I knew I could never go home again.
    Billy Clyde Tuggell represents the best of AMC–he was brilliantly nuanced, he contained literary allusions and he skillfully blended humor with his evil doings. How many soap villains can make you laugh and shudder at the same time? Finally, I think I cried upon seeing his visage on Prospect’s AMC, as well as reading about his passing here on Michael Fairman’s blog, because I think I always sensed that he was truly a good and sweet man on top of being really a damn brilliant actor. I guess I am just going to miss knowing that he was out there somewhere, ready to come back while wielding that cane.

    Reply

    rebecca1 replied

    wow! beautifully expressed heartfelt sentiments that once again shows how characters on TV, in film, literature and the like can effect our emotions and our lives.

    you captured Billy Clyde’s essence while simultaneously paying tribute to the man who brought him to life…

    Reply

    janet replied

    Harry you said it so much better than I could have. I watched him and Donna, on AMC even watched him on AMC on line,I usually don’t like the villains but Billy was a treasure. He made you laugh even when he made you shudder. Rest in peace and our prayers for his family.Think of the talent that was in that house. between him and Christine Baranski .best to them and their daughters.

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    Margie replied

    Well said.
    I can’t thank Prospect Park enough for attempting to give the fans more time with our favorite characters. Billy was great, and Matthew was brilliant.

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  25. Antoinette Schneider says:

    Loved him on all my children .

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  26. Llanviewer717 says:

    I am so very sad to hear this news. His tremendous talent made Billy Clyde a classic, unforgettable character. Rest in peace Matthew. Know that you are loved by millions.

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  27. Trish says:

    Deep love and Condolences to Christine and the girls. A good and kind man, a great actor and the most lovable villain who ever perpetrated evil in Pine Valley! So sorry for your loss, you are in my prayers.
    Love, Trish

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  28. Shay says:

    And with a tip of his feathered fedora, he took the classic “Clydemobile” on one last ride to the “Great Beyond…” Bye bye, BC….still unforgettable after all these years!

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  29. boes says:

    What a shame. Thank God for the PP reboot, if for nothing more than giving us the chance to see “Billy Clyde” one more time.
    I knew he was married to Christine Baranski, but it was news to me that his first wife was Kathleen Dezina who played Estelle on AMC.
    RIP .

    Reply

    Tricia replied

    Me too. No matter what he appeared in…he was always Billy Clyde Tuggle to me.

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  30. Karen says:

    He was a great actor. Watched him for many years on “All My Children” and I was thrilled when he appeared on the online soap. I am so sorry for his loss to his family. Love watching his wife every week on “The Good Wife”. Such a talented family. May he rest in peace.

    Reply

  31. Judith Cottrill says:

    Billy Clyde Tuggle was my favorite soap character of all time. I was thrilled to see him back in the online version of AMC. Such a shock to hear of his passing. My sympathies to his wife and family and all who loved him.

    Reply

  32. Mo says:

    What was his cause of death?

    Don’t know him, but have enjoyed his wife’s acting. RIP

    Reply

    andrew hass replied

    It was reported that his family was at his bedside when he died.So i’m thinking he was suffering from some kind of illness or something and his loved ones knew he was going to die soon.

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  33. sue says:

    One of those actors that you love to hate. He was one of the greats.

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  34. Gail Magid Swartz says:

    What a character actor, he was one of my favorites on All My Children. My sympathies to his wife, also a great actor, and his family and friends. I will miss him as I miss All My Children, but ALL good things must come to an end!

    Reply

  35. Rapids says:

    I am shocked and sad to hear of this news. I remember him from years afo on AMC, fabulous actor. Rest in peace.

    Reply

  36. Doyle Bowers says:

    Well I hate to hear it. I’m a big Billy Clyde Tuggle fan. I loved his character back in the day. You’ll be missed Billy Clyde. P.I.P. “PIMP IN PIECE”!!!!

    Reply

  37. Doris Corea says:

    My condolences to the family on his passing! I watched AMC for many years and all are near and dear to my heart!

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  38. Barbara Mobley-EL says:

    I remember him from AMC back in the day and saw him in other shows.A talented actor gone to soon. My condolences to his family.

    Reply

  39. CTwildheart says:

    I was devastated when I found out last night.
    When I saw him at the premiere of the AMC & OLTL reboots, I was ecstatic! And a little sad, because it was obvious to me how frail he was. I did not know what was wrong, but I am forever grateful that he was able to reprise Billy Clyde and somewhat redeem him. He was horrible and lovable at the same time and oh how he mangled the English language to pieces.
    Harry you said it well, for many of us share your sentiments. And Doyle…Pimp in Peace – I love it, and I think Billy/Matthew would too.

    Reply

  40. JAS says:

    When an actor can arouse such hatred in you for the way he is portraying a character, well, then I must say that that is a VERY FINE ACTOR. He was the best. You could hate him and laugh at him at the same time. I thoroughly enjoyed watching him and when I found out (quite some time ago) that he was married to one of my favorite actresses of all time, Christine Baranski, then that just ‘sealed the deal’. RIP dear Matthew and know that you gave your best and it was even better than that!

    Reply

  41. Shay says:

    Cowles also played a very memorable heartsick hillbilly on Loving!!! I’ll never forget his overall-clad Eban Japes on that hellbent mission to Corinth….to retrieve his ladylove, “Lottiebird!” Given his real-life blueblood heritage, it made his believability as both a white-trash villain and the over-the-top procurer, Billy Clyde, all the more remarkable!!!!!

    Reply

  42. nancy dillingham says:

    A remarkable man and a remarkable character he created in Billy Clyde. Indelible! My condolences to his wife Christine Baranski and his two daughters.

    Reply

  43. Sue Davidson says:

    I really enjoyed al the evil you conjured up on All My children. You were my verybfavorite. My concolences to your wife and family. RIP for you shall be greatly missed!

    Reply

  44. Tony Polar says:

    He was memorable as Billy Clyde on ALL MY CHILDREN both on the abc-tv version and the short-lived Prospect Park horribly botched version.
    It says in the article that Producer Ginger Smith was instrumental in getting Him to reprise his role for the on-line version. It’s a shame Ginger Smith didn’t have the common courtesy to tell the fans what in the world was going on with the On-line version by Prospect Park.
    I am so sorry that he has passed, he was quite an interesting actor – but whenever I hear of anything reminding me of ALL MY CHILDREN, I get boiling mad at how the fans were never entitled to an explanation, no official statement, NOTHING – just empty promises from Ginger Smith saying that “many more faces will be returning” and absolutely NOTHING was delivered to the fans.

    Reply

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