The rumors are true: Billy Clyde Tuggle is alive and well. All My Children has confirmed that Matthew Cowles will reprise his memorable role as Pine Valley pimp Billy Clyde Tuggle.
Cowles's alter ego was first spotted in Pine Valley in 1977. He remained very much the troublemaker for more than a decade when, in 1990, Billy Clyde kidnapped Dixie Cooney. When Tad Martin raced to her rescue, Billy Clyde detonated a bomb that he'd planted on one of Pine Valley's many bridges, and both men fell over into the raging waters below and were presumed drowned. Tad eventually turned up very much alive a few years later. Now, it appears that Billy Clyde has also cheated death.
In a weird bit of irony, 14 years ago it was reports of Matthew Cowles's death that were greatly exaggerated. Miami police reported that Cowles had been the victim of a savage murder, and local news outlets picked up the story. After further investigation -- and Cowles being found very much alive and in Connecticut -- the victim was identified as Max Maislin, a man who had lied to his friends about having played Billy Clyde Tuggle.
"What can I tell you? Death comes to the least of us and the greatest of us," Cowles told the Miami Herald at the time. "One day, it will be true, I guess."
Rumors that Cowles might be making a Pine Valley return first surfaced when the actor walked the Red Carpet at Prospect Park's launch party for All My Children and One Life to Live last month.
According to a show rep, Billy Clyde Tuggle now runs an escort service and will somehow be involved in Jesse and Angie's search for Cassandra -- but it's unclear if he'll be working with or against them. In a nod to history, Billy Clyde will also encounter the former object of his obsession, Dixie Martin.
Cowles will first air on May 16.