Once viewers learn what a character’s backstory is on soaps, they understand why those characters do things — both good and bad. General Hospital star Laura Wright, who is celebrating 30 years in daytime drama this year, recalls a great example of this from one of her previous soaps — Guiding Light — via the character of Jonathan, played by Ozark’s Tom Pelphrey.
Laura Wright and Tom Pelphrey Memories
Wright played Cassie Layne on the CBS soap opera. Stephanie Gatschet played Tammy, Cassie’s daughter, starting in 2002. GL embarked on a controversial story when Cassie’s nephew Jonathan (Tom Pelphrey) came to Springfield, determined to seek revenge on his family because he felt abandoned as a child by his mother Reva (Kim Zimmer). Jonathan seduced Tammy, breaking her heart in the process, horrifying everyone when it was revealed the two were related.
Later, Jonathan was redeemed and he and Tammy fell in love. “I was there at the beginning, but I was gone by the time Tammy died,” Wright recalls of her GL stint that ran from 1997 to 2005. She remembers Pelphrey playing such a complex and dark character.
“Tom was so fantastic [in that role],” Wright says. “People aren’t just evil. It comes from a place of pain. Tom did a really great job of owning who his character was and letting you see that pain underneath. That’s what made it great.” In addition to seducing a naive Tammy, Jonathan went even further by drugging Cassie and letting her think that they’d slept together before her wedding to Edmund (David Andrew Macdonald).
“Tom’s fearless,” raves Wright, who says she’s seen the Daytime Emmy-winner on Ozark. (His performance as Ben, who is bipolar in the Netflix series, is not to be missed!) “He’s not afraid to just go for it. His whole storyline on GL was being in love with his cousin!” General Hospital (GH) airs weekdays on ABC. Check your local listings for airtimes.