Ain't he supposed to be dead? TV Guide Magazine can exclusively report that Chris Robinson has been added to the list of General Hospital greats returning for the soap's 50th anniversary.
The veteran actor, who played heartthrob doc Rick Webber, rocked the '70s and '80s as part of the sizzling Rick-Monica-Alan-Lesley quadrangle. In 2002, the writers suddenly villainized Rick and the character was killed, seemingly by his stepdaughter Laura (Genie Francis), though the real killer turned out to be Scotty (Kin Shriner). But that hot mess won't stop Robinson from hitting the air April 1 in scenes with Rick's former love Monica (Leslie Charleson). Just how GH will pull off the trick is hush-hush.
"I could never have predicted I'd be rejoining the group but I guess anything is possible on a soap, even when you've been dead 10 years!" says Robinson, who was working in Arizona (where he now lives) on the western film The Forsaken when ABC paged him to return. "I looked pretty scruffy when I showed up at GH," he says. "I had long hair and a flavor saver on my chin because of the movie, so they tried to clean me up. They wanted me to look as much like Rick as possible, so they bring out this old photo they found in the files. It was me 35 years ago before I was cast on GH! I said, 'You want me to look like that?'"
But the makeover worked like a charm, according to Genie Francis. "I arrived at work and spotted this man across the soundstage and I'm thinking, 'Who is that? Who is that?' and I suddenly realize it's Chris!" says Francis. "He looks absolutely fantastic, and it was so great to have him back."
Robinson isn't returning just to help celebrate the 50th. GH head writer Ron Carlivati also felt the need for damage control. "I grew up loving Rick and Monica — to me, as a young fan, they were what GH was all about — and I really wanted to find a way to bring Rick back despite his death," Carlivati says. "I also couldn't imagine Rick would do some of the horrible things he did in his last appearance. That wasn't the Rick Webber I remembered!"
Carlivati insists he "doesn't want to critique" the writing regime responsible for the character assassination or rework the story of Rick's death. "But we did figure out a very surprising and appropriate way to incorporate him into the anniversary," he says. "There will be a nice, emotional payoff for the audience."