Filmmakers can take months and years to complete a movie, but daytime directors like retiring General Hospital’s Bill Ludell turnout epic episodes (and more) on a daily basis. Parry Shen, who plays Brad Cooper, is one of many GH actors honoring Ludell as he folds up his director’s chair.
Parry Shen Praises GH Director William Ludel
GH director William “Bill” Ludel began his soap opera career directing Another World in 1983. He moved to the West Coast and directed at Days of our Lives before landing at GH in 1993. Ludel went on to direct other series but never strayed from Port Charles very far — literally. He directed GH spinoffs Port Charles and Night Shift over the course of his career.
Now, after directing hundreds of episodes of daytime drama, winning nine Daytime Emmys for Outstanding Drama Series Directing Team and three Directors Guild of America Awards for directing daytime drama, Ludel is retiring. Many of the show’s cast members turned out to honor Ludel recently at a race track!
“If you’ve watched @generalhospitalabc, you’ve definitely seen his name over the decades in the opening credits — William Ludel. And he is retiring,” Parry Shen began his tribute to a man, as you’ll discover by reading on, he clearly respects. “Bill will always be near & dear to my GH experience because he set the tone for me in a medium where I was very unfamiliar in knowing was ‘permitted’ in Daytime.”
Bill Ludel Let An Actor Tweak A Line
“I first worked with Bill on my 4th episode in April 2013,” Shen continues. “The scene had Brad talking to Spinelli [Bradford Anderson] and referring to Ellie [Trout, played by Emily Wilson] getting hit by a car. To needle Spinelli even more, I decided to make a ‘Beep, Beep’ sound in place of the word ‘car’. Bill let me do it and left it in. Once I knew I could have some fun with the action/dialogue while remaining truthful to the original context of the scene — all the quirks of ‘Brad’ grew more & more during each collaboration with Bill.
“Now, don’t get me wrong,” Shen hastens to add, “Since then, ALL the other directors have allowed me this latitude as well, but since Bill was my first — that first year, I always looked forward to our episodes together knowing how he worked and that I could ‘let loose’. I will always consider that initial, small moment as the birth of Brad Cooper’s personality.
Parry Shen Does A Katherine Bell Impersonation
“Another memorable collaboration was figuring out how Obrecht [Kathleen Gati] would push Brad off the parapet in March 2014. A straight-up push immediately after her dialogue just felt like it was missing…something. After much tooling around in rehearsal (maybe the most I’ve ever had to work on a scene to date), we finally figured out together that Obrecht needed to exit the frame, allowing the audience to believe it was just a threat and that Brad was safe. And then Obrecht would pop back in for the actual shove. Delaying the push not only worked in line with Obrecht’s (then) devious nature, but also added an element of surprise AND levity with that extra beat.
“This is the definition of the term, ‘an Actor’s Director,’ and it’s what Bill Ludel embodies. To say I will immensely miss working with him is an understatement, but I am excited for this well-deserved next chapter in his life,” Shen concludes. “On behalf of all the fans, cast, crew, and myself — Thank you, Bill! #GH #actorsdirector.”
Check out Shen’s Instagram post below, along with one by Nancy Lee Grahn (Alexis Davis), who appears in a photo alongside castmates Wally Kurth (Ned Quartermaine), Genie Francis (Laura Webber Collins), Maura West (Ava Jerome Cassadine), and Lisa LoCicero (Olivia Quartermaine).
General Hospital airs weekdays on ABC. Check your local listings for airtimes. For more about what’s coming up in Port Charles, check out all the latest GH spoilers, and for an in-depth look at the show’s history, click here.
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