Daytime Confidential #220: Joseph C. Phillips Interview

On today’s show we have an exclusive interview with Joseph C. Phillips, the original portrayer of General Hospital’s Justus Ward. We visit about his time on General Hospital including his favorite storyline, what it was like to appear in his first major storyline opposite of Tony Geary, portray a member of the Quartermaine family, and work with the wonderful Rosalind Cash.

We discuss his role on the NBC hit comedy The Cosby Show, the two upcoming documentaries he is set to appear in, his work as a conservative commentator and he weighs in on the As the World Turns Nuke controversy.

He talks about his work with Sickle Cell Disease Association of America, his book "He Talk Like A White Boy", and how raising his sons is the most fulfilling roles of his life.

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5 Responses

  1. Profile photo of daisyclover1938

    What a great interview guys! I remember him from The Cosby Show and GH and I’m so happy that he’s found success and real fulfillment with his writing and activism.

    And I appreciated his candor…seriously, you guys have managed to get interviews with some really honest, straight forward people (or maybe it’s your interviewing style that brings that out in them!) I think he did such a good job in expressing the frustration that so many actors must feel when they’re either 1)not being written for or 2)their characters are being written absurdly. I always find it interesting that so many actors, who have been at the mercy of others for most of their careers, turn to writing where in some ways they finally get to call the shots.

    I come from a completely different perspective, politically speaking, and didn’t necessarily agree with the way he framed the Noah/Luke issue, but that said, Mr. Phillips comes across as a fair minded, caring individual. And I truly admire the fact that he has dedicated so much of himself to issues that he believes strongly in.

    **And as an aside, he was absolutely right in saying that ultimately as fans of a show we have the right to turn off the TV if we don’t like what we see or vice versa. So, IMO, we need to convince TPTB at ATWT that for every one person that turns off the show because of a kiss, there will be 50 of us that will turn on the show :)

    Thanks for the great show!!!

  2. Profile photo of KingTV

    I wanted to say that I agree that the interview with Joseph C. Phillips showed him to be an honest, intelligent, thinking person. I am sure that is why is he is asked to comment on so many news programs these days. I was not aware that was a conservative thinker though. I have not seen him myself but he spoke eloquently and defended his positions with clarity and logic. Most of all, his recollections and reflections on his days playing “Justus” on GH were wonderful. The years that Claire Labine wrote GH, I think, helped bring it back to it’s core of family, romance and some action thrown in. Luke, Laura and Lucky were on and the creation of the Ward family was a momentous inspiration. Rosalind Cash was emotionally brilliant as Mary Mae. The revelation of Justus being a Quartermaine was everything a classic soap story should be. And Joseph Phillips played a big part of what made that time so special. I enjoyed his memories as I remembered my own.

    But, he was uncomfortable when the Luke/Noah story was brought up. He did say he was not aware of it or had ever seen any of it so I will give him a pass on not having enough knowledge of the subject to talk about it. Curiously, it seems like he turned the Nuke story into a gay marriage story which it is so far from being…yet. And, he referenced the bible about gay marriage and re-iterated his feelings about it and what his values are. He is allowed to have his own opinions and values and live however he feels free, I am not denying that. But, he was denying gay people’s rights all together. He said, when it was mentioned that Nuke have only been shown kissing very few times, that he would turn the channel and that’s where people’s power come in, by turning off things that they don’t like or that do not jibe with their value system. I mean no offense to Mr. Phillips, but there was a great deal of subtle homophobia which, as a gay man, I am automatically tuned into and turned off by. All of his generous charity work aside, from that point on, it was difficult for me to respect a person who has no respect for me or the “lifestyle” I lead that his values are vehemently against.

    Thank you, Luke and Jay, for a poignant, somewhat surprising but not incredibly so, controversial interview (from my perspective). It certainly sparked a lot of thought from me and talk amongst my friends who all either listen independently or who I played it for. I mean, there are even gay men who do not believe in gay marriage so I do not fault Mr. Phllips his opinion at all. There seems to be a block somewhere in him, though, that separates human beings into different categories. Anyway, thank you again and keep up the good work especially the CBS and DOOL podcasts, which are my favorite. Nothing wrong with talking about the best soaps ever!

  3. Profile photo of DS9Sisko

    I think the interview was….adequate. I’m not a fan of Joseph Phillips at ALL (especially his politics) but I respect him. Not much to add to any of the other comments, but…

    I was bothered by the interviewers’ (Luke, Jay) at times seemingly inappropriate interjecting of their selves or views into the interviews or not actually listening to and responding a bit inappropriately to comments being made.

    I’m not trying to be a hard ass about this, but when Phillips was describing his rather heated feelings about an aspect of a storyline/scene (Tracy handing him her coat) and the treatment of Justus in general, there was this inexplicable chuckling. I know it wasn’t ridicule on the part of Jay or Luke or even meant to be disrespectful, but it still came across as not really hearing the depth of what the interviewee is saying. To that end, there were other comments by Jay & Luke that were made that were centered in “the present” in an interview with someone (Phillips, in this case) who obviously does not follow daytime right now. (To be fair, Jay did ask whether Phillips had heard of the ATWT Luke/Noah controversy and framed it within Phillips’ political purview.)

    Let me say for the record that I think that Jay & Luke and the interviews in general are just fantastic. So my observations are meant to be constructive in nature.

    Just “subtract” yourselves a little bit more from the interviews and listen a bit more carefully. Otherwise, another solid job.

  4. Profile photo of miajere

    I liked the interview… so many times people are in the lime light or fearful of scaring off fans, they give these rosey answers, of how wonderful it was to work with everyone and work for everyone for their brief time, while saying their few lines. I understood his frustration, not just with his character underdevelopment, but ABC’s inability to define many minority characters. People toot their horns for Evangeline Williamson on OLTL, but she was never defined as a character either. Her sister Layla has been on OLTL for three years, and we don’t even know who she is. ABC is notorious for token AA characters.

    AS an actor I would be more than frustrated, if I were passed up for s/l after s/l for reasons that had nothing to do with talent or fans. Just because TPTB just don’t care for my character? Why were these people even writing for the show, if they didn’t love POrt Charles?

    I did cringe abit for the ATWT’s talk, but I think he was trying to say is ‘ the issue with the s/l shouldn’t be an issue, because no one has a perfect relationship’.

  5. Profile photo of Jamey Giddens
    Jamey Giddens


    Thank you so much for your feedback. I agree with you. I myself cringed a bit when I listened and heard myself laughing along with Joseph (because he was actually laughing himself) as he remembered the scene with Tracy at the Q mansion. I will have to learn to bring less "fan" with me to the interviews in order to make sure the subject gets their point across. As for the Nuke controversy, I knew from Mr. Phillips website that he had spoken out on many pop culture things as well as the issue of gay rights, so I posed that question thinking he might have known about the controversy.

    As for my co-host Luke, I have to say I give him amazing kudos being that he is an amateur at this, I have two degrees in journalism so I should definitely know the importance of letting the subject tell his or her story. Sorry if it appeared  I let my inner "fan boy" take control, it’s just that I remembered those scenes so clearly and as an African American male I understood his frustration over how Justus was never quite defined.

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