Ryan Phillippe Broke TV Boundaries Playing the First Openly Gay Teenager on Daytime TV in ‘One Life to Live’

by Jeremy Spirogis
Ryan Phillippe smiling, holding a microphone

Ryan Phillippe is understood for his lengthy marriage to Reese Witherspoon and his many movie roles. Still, few notice that he obtained his begin on the cleaning soap opera One Life to Live enjoying Billy Douglas in 1993 and has the excellence of being the primary overtly homosexual teenager on daytime TV. While One Life to Live is not on the air and is vastly missed by followers, Phillippe’s position, and its groundbreaking historical past, survive. Phillippe has an thrilling historical past from daytime teen heartthrob to today, as does One Life to Live, and the way it paved the way in which for LGBTQ roles on daytime tv.

Ryan Phillippe smiling, holding a microphone
Ryan Phillippe | Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images

Who is Ryan Phillippe?

Phillippe was born in New Castle, Delaware, in 1974. Billy Douglas was his first position, and he performed the character from 1992-1993. When requested in regards to the significance of the half by TooFab, he stated he wasn’t actually conscious of the impression on the time, however “I realize it now, certainly. At the time I was 17,” There had by no means been a homosexual teenager portrayed on tv at that time. It was earlier than Will & Grace earlier than Ellen got here out, it’s earlier than any of that stuff.” 

He performed some small elements on TV earlier than being solid within the iconic ’90s movie, I Know What You Did Last Summer, then onto 54 in and, Cruel Intentions. His new fame as a heartthrob made him a bit nervous and he was uncertain the right way to deal with it. But he persevered making a number of films, together with Crash (2005), which gained the Oscar for Best Picture, and the conflict movie Flags of Our Fathers, directed by Clint Eastwood.

In 2014, Phillippe centered on his directorial debut, Catch Hell, an indie thriller, earlier than returning to TV as a recurring character on Damages. In 2015, he starred in Secrets and Lies. His subsequent main position was within the thriller drama collection Shooter earlier than being solid in February within the new ABC crime drama collection Big Sky.

One Life to Live-A brief historical past:

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RELATED: Why Did Reese Witherspoon and Ryan Phillippe Divorce?

One Life to Live was a well-liked daytime cleaning soap opera airing on ABC for over 40 years. The present occurred within the fictional city of Llanview, Pennsylvania, and was one of the numerous daytime cleaning soap operas of its day. Over its 40-year historical past, One Life to Live explored financial inequality, psychological sickness, interracial marriage and was the primary to have an overtly homosexual teenage character.

Billy Douglas was a groundbreaking character

Phillippe was warned by many to not play the character on the peak of the AIDS disaster and practically declined. According to Soap Central, Phillippe stated “I thought, ‘What is my family going to think? What about my friends?’ But I realized that for [the character] Billy, the torment is a hundred times that.” The character was caught between the homophobia of his father, Walter Douglas, and his feeling for Rick Mitchell (Joe Fiske).

When Phillippe performed the character, homophobia was rampant within the US. Being the primary teen character to return out on tv, he opened the door for different iconic characters like Rickie Vasquez, who was portrayed by Wilson Cruz on My So-Called Life, and Ross Werkman (Mitchell Anderson) on Party of Five. Opening the door for a technology of younger individuals to return out of the closet, however with out Billy Douglas main the way in which, it might have by no means occurred.

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