All My Children’s Matthew Cowles Dead at 69

Legendary actor and playwright Matthew Cowles (ex-Billy Clyde Tuggle, All My Children) died on May 22. He was 69. Cowles' manager Tsu Tsu Stanton announced his death on Twitter, stating:

Cowles was born on Sept. 28, 1944 in New York City. He was the son of the late Chandler Cowles, part of the Cowles Publishing family.

He started off on Broadway as the lead in the Edward Albee adaptation of James Purdy’s novel, Malcolm. Cowles went on to star in the 1969 series NYPD. He later landed his breakout role as con artist pimp Billy Clyde Tuggle on AMC in 1977.

Cowles netted two Daytime Emmy Award nominations for the popular role he played initially from 1977-1980, reprising in 1984, 1989-1990 and when AMC moved from television to the Internet in 2013.

In 2010, Cowles nabbed a supporting role in Martin Scorsese’s film Shutter Island. He also wrote the plays Mexican Standoff at Fat Squaw Springs, Noblesse Oblige and Our Daily Bread.
Cowles is survived by his wife,  The Good Wife actress Christine Baranski, and their two daughters Isabel and Lily.

17 Responses

  1. Profile photo of Puertoricanlips

    RIP Loved you as Billy Kylde Tuggle you scared the shit out of me in the role as a child back in the days. It was so good to see you back for the reboot. Thank you for the memories!!!!

  2. Profile photo of EricasBlackSon

    So sad to hear this. Such a brilliant actor and an original character. I can still clearly hear you plotting to get your “Honey ‘Stelle.” Thank you, Mr. Cowles, for sharing your talents with us all.

  3. Profile photo of stefanstavros

    My earliest memories of AMC were of Billy Clyde terrorizing Estelle! He was a joy to watch. I just spoke to my (far-removed) cousin Wisner Washam and asked him if he wrote those storylines. He said he did along with his talented writing team. He added that Mr. Cowles was very funny and could take any outrageous material written for him and even improve upon it!

  4. Profile photo of rabbit on the moon
    rabbit on the moon

    I’m sure some of you are still bitter over what Prospect Park did to us. And you have every right. But if anything positive came out of those reboots, viewers got to see him come back one last time after being gone for years.

  5. Profile photo of SparkleLJJ

    Wow, this is really sad news. His character was one of the first I remember on AMC. He had kidnapped his “Dixie Bird” and Tad was desperately trying to find her. He was was so funny then and he was just as funny on the reboot. So sad that we will never get to see Mr. Billy Clyde Tuggle again. :-(

  6. Profile photo of katy kennicott
    katy kennicott

    How sad! I loved Billy Clyde. So did my mom. She thought that he was just delightfully horrible. She named her last cat Billy Clyde. I took him after my mom passed away. He’s till going strong.

    The one good thing about the reboot was the chance to Matthew Cowles again.

    I still remember him as Lemon Head on Law & Order. He was just a superb actor. My condolences and thoughts are with his family.

  7. Profile photo of slick234

    Wow such a great actor. A piece of my childhood just died. Matthew cowles did such good work with cady mcclain and others in the 80′s and it was so good to see him on the short lived all my children revival. Condolences to ms. Baranski and their kids.

  8. Profile photo of maxsmom

    Billy Clyde Tuggle was 1 of the Top 3 villains of all time, along with Ray Gardner and the original Mitch Lawrence.

    Mr. Cowles was a fine actor. May he rest in peace.

  9. Profile photo of Ryan-Scott

    Billy Clyde Tuggle was frightening. A real sleaze and greaseball. Matthew Cowles played him to perfection. What an original villian he, Agnes Nixon & Wisner Washam & Lorraine Broderick all made together. How wonderful we got to see him one more time.

    RIP sir. Praying for his wife and daughters.

  10. Profile photo of ANGELWENDY15

    What sad news. I remember those glory days of AMC with Billy Clyde and Estelle. He used to scare me with his evilness, but that is why he was such a great actor. That’s when the soaps were great. I remember I couldn’t wait to get out of school and watch my ABC soaps, and see what Billy Clyde would do next. RIP Matthew!!!

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