General Hospital alum Kimberly McCullough (ex-Robin Scorpio) made a post on social media in April that had fans hoping that she'd be returning to the ABC soap opera, and it has now been confirmed that the actress is coming back to Port Charles this month!
McCullough tweeted that she had worked on something with old friends that required her to get dressed up, and she also hinted that she and those friends reminisced about an absent dear one. As revealed in the new issue of Soap Opera Digest, that project was indeed GH, and the actress will be returning for the Friday, May 21, episode honoring John Reilly (ex-Sean Donely), who passed away in January.
As Soap Central previously reported, Reilly's real-life daughter, Caitlin, will be appearing as Sean's daughter, Annie, in the tribute that will also delve into a mystery involving Felicia (Kristina Wagner), Mac (John York), Anna (Finola Hughes), Laura (Genie Francis), and Kevin (Jon Lindstrom). At this time, it's unclear how Robin will play into the story, but her presence definitely makes sense, as Sean was a very dear friend of her father, Robert (Tristan Rogers).
"To be a part of a tribute to a man that I personally loved -- and also the character -- was so fun," McCullough shares with SOD about being a part of the episode honoring Reilly. "I can't believe that I got to grow up on TV with all of these wonderful people who I consider my family. It's definitely a home base for me, and it's so nice to be back on set with all of them. I always joke that I forget how to act, but honestly, I don't think I did. I think I've still got it, kinda! [Laughs]"
Just a few weeks ago, GH executive producer Frank Valentini teased that the show would be bringing back a very special blast from the past for the upcoming episode. However, he wouldn't reveal any additional details, teasing that the surprise was "just too amazing to spoil." Was he referring to McCullough (whose return is amazing because the fan favorite has retired from acting), or is there another fun return in store for GH viewers? Rumor has it McCullough actually isn't the surprise guest that Valentini referred to, so fans need to be sure to tune in to the tribute episode on Friday, May 21, to see the special guest slated for a surprise return.
As for what else fans can expect from the hour dedicated to Sean and his portrayer, the most recent issue of SOD features an interview in which GH co-head writers Dan O'Connor and Chris Van Etten reveal what's ahead. Teases O'Connor, "We spent some time making sure that we found a story for the episode that would honor not only the character of Sean, but the type of stories that he was part of throughout his tenure on the show... I'm super-excited to see some of the people who we haven't seen in a while come back to honor their friend."
Adds Van Etten, "We wanted to try to evoke the tone that [Reilly's] stories had back in the height of his tenure, one; and we also wanted to make sure that our long-term viewers, who really remember the rascally Sean who really had a twinkle in his eye and that rough-hewn quality to his voice, we wanted to conjure up that spirit so that our viewers who have been with us long enough got a great blast from the past. But also, [we wanted] those viewers who may be newer and may not be totally familiar with the contribution that he made to the show to really get a sense of how his presence on the show built what the show is today."
Kimberly McCullough became an actor at the tender age of seven months, making her first TV appearance in a diaper commercial opposite Juliet Mills. She joined the cast of GH as Robin Scorpio in 1985, when she was just seven years old.
Reilly made his General Hospital debut in June of 1984 and played the role until 1995, with further sporadic returns in 2008 (for the GH primetime spinoff General Hospital: Night Shift) and in 2013. Sean was paired with feisty former B-movie actress Tiffany Hill (played by Sharon Wyatt) for most of his run on the ABC soap, and the pairing is one many GH fans still remember fondly.
How do you feel about Kimberly McCullough returning to GH for the soap's John Reilly tribute episode? How do you hope that the writers work Robin Scorpio into story during McCullough's return? Who do you think is the surprise guest that Frank Valentini teases will be making an "amazing" return? We want to hear from you -- and there are many ways you can share your thoughts.