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GH’s Alley Mills Shares Her Respect For Robin Mattson’s Heather

The GH star reveals what she did to play the iconic role.

alley mills did a lot to prepare to be on general hospital in the role robin mattson made famousAlley Mills did her homework on the role of Heather Webber.

Before Alley Mills stepped into the role of General Hospital’s Heather Webber, the role made famous by Robin Mattson, she made sure to do her homework, and in the process, she became a big admirer of the daytime legend.

Alley Mills Talks Heather Webber

At a recent Coastal Entertainment fan Zoom gathering with co-star and onscreen daughter Avery Kristen Pohl (Esme), Mills was asked what she did to prepare for the role and if she knew Robin Mattson or at least if she knew why her predecessor wasn’t available to reprise the part. Mills revealed she had only learned recently about Mattson’s health struggles. She also shared how she prepared to take on the role of one of Port Charles’s most infamous bad girls.

“You know, I don’t know anything about [Robin Mattson] except [that] I watched her and really admire her a lot,” shared Mills. “I know why she had such a big fanbase because she’s just a riot out there. She wasn’t even killing people yet. But then I felt bad, you know, that she wasn’t able timewise to be back for the 60th anniversary of General Hospital because she’s been on for so many years, and it was because of surgery, knee surgery.

“I really did my homework,” Mills laughed. “The first thing I did because nobody told me anything, is I just Googled ‘Heather Webber’ and I went back and looked at every piece of video, everything ever written about the different Heathers that there were since her inception in the 1970s. This was before Robin Mattson, there were two other Heathers.” The role was originally cast in 1976 with Cher’s younger half-sister, Georganne LaPiere. Later, in 1977, the role was recast with Mary O’Brien. Mattson took over the role in 1980.

“I followed the storyline of Heather’s mother [Alice Grant, played by Lieux Dressler], who was a maid, and how [Heather] got to be bad. You know, like her upbringing and everything. Then I started watching Robin Mattson because there’s tons and tons of footage of her. I would go on Safari and put [in] ‘General Hospital, Heather Webber.'”

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Alley Mills was then asked if she studied Mattson’s mannerisms. “No, because I knew right away — I think she’s amazing and wonderful — but I knew right away that I wasn’t going be her. Do you know what I mean? It’s like you could go in, and the fit is so perfect that you would just be that person, and you could just slip right into that. Say if I was replacing her for a month or something like that, then I would copy her to be her.

“But when I saw what she was doing,” Mills continued, “I thought I had a little bit of a different take on it in that, for me, the basis of Heather is things weren’t good for her when she was little. So she’s coming from a place that’s pretty wounded. And I wanted that, and then I wanted her to be really positive about everything — that she found a way to survive in the world. Yes, killing people for her daughter.

“But when I joined the show, [Heather] had already hooked like five people before I even saw a script,” she joked. “They were already doing that [storyline].” The actress admitted that when she started, she did know she was the killer.

“They thought [of making the killer] Heather Webber, let’s see if Robin can come back, and Robin couldn’t come back. And as fate would have it, a friend of mine that my husband [Orson Bean] had worked with on Broadway — a musical comedy guy — is next-door neighbors with [one of] the [GH] head writers in the Catskills. And they were all having martinis one night, and when he found out that he knew me, he said, ‘Do you think Alley would do General Hospital?’ This is what happened. That’s life…life is really crazy. I think it all was just one of those kismet things, you know.”

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