"Clink, Boom." With those two barely audible noises Lilly Melgar and her character Lily Rivera Corinthos were forever immortalized in the pages of General Hospital history books and You Tube clips alike. Now some 14 years since Sonny's (Maurice Benard) tragic, pregnant first wife blew up before his and fans eyes, just as other woman, Brenda (Vanessa Marcil-Giovinazzo) was sayng her vows to Jax (Ingo Rademacher), Melgar is back in the spotlight, thanks to a juicy, bitchy part in Gregori J. Martin's independent soap opera The Bay.
I recently caught up with the striking actress, who this weekend will be hosting ACME Saturday Night, to dish about what it was like working with Benard and Marcil-Giovinazzo all those years ago on GH. Was Benard as blunt with Melgar as Marcil-Giovinazzo has said he was with her?
Melgar also reveals what it was like to be a part of what many consider to be one of the show's best eras, under the tutelage of Wendy Riche. Has she tuned back in to the antics going on in Port Chuck since Marcil-Giovinazzo's much-heralded return?
We also talk about pop singer Ricky Martin, who played Lily's first love Miguel on GH. Melgar shares if she is still in touch with the Latin heartthrob. How did she react to his decision to come out as a gay man earlier this year? Has she met his children? Read on to find out.
Daytime Confidential: First off, let me say a hearty welcome back to soaps! Have you been hearing from a lot of General Hospital and The Bold and the Beautiful fans who are happy to see you on their laptop screens in The Bay?
Lilly Melgar: Thank you! Happy to be back. Yes my fans have been incredibly supportive and excited about my return. I am so grateful for their loyalty.
DC: You're hosting Daytime Confidential's favorite sketch comedy show, ACME Saturday Night, this weekend. What can you tell us about the sketches that have been prepared for you?
LM: The sketches that have been prepared are very funny and we have a good variety going. I don't want to spoil the fun, so I'll leave you with that.! [Laughs] I am honored to be hosting and working with them.
DC: Are you nervous about doing sketch comedy live?
LM: Of course I'm nervous! [Laughs]Yet, I'm just as excited.
DC: ACME has become the place to be seen for soapers on Saturday nights in SoCal. In addition to your The Bay family, do you anticipate seeing co-stars from other soaps you've appeared on show up to see the show?
LM: I would love to have some of my old co-stars show up to support. We're all so busy that it's hard to keep in touch as often as we'd like.
DC: In The Bay, your character, Janice Ramos, is the arch rival of lead character Sara Garrett, played by Mary Beth Evans. What's it like working with Evans?
LM: I love working with Mary Beth. I love her positive attitude and sunny disposition. Not to mention that we have great chemistry. She's a very special lady and actress and I feel very fortunate to work beside her.
DC: Janice is none-too-pleased when her daughter Lianna (played by Passions' Jade Harlow) starts dating Sara's son Peter (Kristos Andrews). Why doesn't she want Lianna involved with the Garretts?
LM: The Garretts are trouble. Janice wants Lianna as far away from them as possible. Sara is my arch nemesis and I don't put anything past her. I can only keep Lianna safe by keeping her away!
DC: You know, you and Jade Harlow look more like sisters than mother and daughter! How is it that you're still as strikingly-beautiful as when you portrayed Lily Rivera Corinthos almost two decades ago on General Hospital?
LM: You are way too kind! Thank you so much. I think I'm representing many young moms that have managed to age gracefully through the very difficult task of raising a teenager, alone.
DC: Speaking of GH. Lily's former onscreen nemesis Brenda Barrett (Vanessa Marcil-Giovinazzo) recently returned to the show. Have you tuned in to see Brenda's return?
LM: I love Vanessa! I tune in as often as possible. She's doing great as always.
DC: When you were a part of the whole Brenda/Sonny/Lily/Miguel love story in the early 90's on GH, did you ever think that in 2010 the story would still be resonating with fans?
LM: I had no idea! I am so honored to have been part of a time considered by many as one of the best times of GH. It was such a special time in my life and what I learned shaped me as a person and actress. We all really took our storylines very seriously and were lead by the great Wendy Riche. It's so rewarding to know that our hard work was enjoyed by so many and remembered as fondly as it is.
DC: Marcil-Giovinazzo has said in interviews that Maurice Benard was blunt with his scene partners, yet taught them a lot. What was your experience like sharing scenes with him?
LM: Maurice has been one of my greatest and most loving teachers. Blunt but kind and always on your side. I am truly blessed to have had that experience. It certainly shaped me as an actor.
DC: At the time, did you ever think Benard would go on to become the show's leading man, not to mention one of daytime's most powerful actors?
LM: I never doubted it. Not for a second. He is by far, daytime's greatest.
DC: After Ricky Martin (ex-Miguel) left GH, did the two of you stay in touch? If so, have you met his kids?
LM: Ricky and I have always remained close. We have a very special bond. We spent some quality time in NY right before the babies came but we have not met each other's angels yet.
DC: Were you surprised at all when he came out as a gay man earlier this year?
LM: I was incredibly proud! I support him 100 percent.
DC: I'm going to say two words, and you tell me what comes to mind: "Clink, Boom".
LM: One of the most talked about deaths on daytime? [Laughs]
DC: In addition to GH, you also appeared on The Bold and the Beautiful as Claudia Cortez. What do you think webisoaps like The Bay can do to attract the millions of displaced soap fans who are mourning such shows as Passions, Guiding Light and As The World Turns?
LM: Well, that remains to be seen. It is our intention to give all of our fans a new forum in which they can continue watching their favorite TV genre.
Not in SoCal this weekend? Watch Lilly Melgar hosting ACME Saturday Night at www.acmecomedy.com.
Photo by Antonio Isambert