Daytime veteran William deVry is speaking out regarding his bad boy Julian Jerome's deadly swim with the fishes on General Hospital. For seven years, the actor called GH home as the former mob boss who couldn't stay on the straight and narrow. Finally, last month things caught up to ol' Julian in the form of a bullet, courtesy of Cyrus's (Jeff Kober) henchman, and Sonny's (Maurice Benard) shot to the chest and dip in the river. How did deVry discover Julian was making a trip to the upper room (well, the basement in Jerome's case)? deVry spoke with the Toronto Sun's Nelson Branco about when he knew Julian's days were numbered.
How did you learn of your exit?
I personally could feel it coming on in Sept of 2019. I didn’t really see a big investment in the character. I loved my pairing with Tamara Braun (ex-Kim), but she was sort of brought on for Billy Miller (ex-Drew) so they never invested long term in the Julian/Kim story. It was just something to do short term. Then, they paired me with Kelly Thiebaud (Brit), but that never went anywhere because Kelly wasn’t available at the time. I was hoping Olivia (Lisa LoCicero) and Julian could rekindle something, but that never happened, either. Nancy [Lee Grahn] and I were open to a reunion, but that never happened despite the fans pleading for it. At that point, I just felt I should prepare myself for not being re-signed. I had always told Frank [Valentini] to not string me along once they knew I’d be gone. And to his credit, he let me know. It is possible that it wasn’t so much ‘me’ per se. It could have been COVID-19 expense related. Or it could have been story related. They just needed to tell another story and I was the conduit to that story. I’ll never really know.
How did deVry's colleagues take the news? The actor explains how his co-stars took the news of his exit.
Was the cast surprised you were leaving?
Roger Howarth (Franco), who doesn’t do a lot of talking, said to me on the set one day: 'I was shocked when I found out they’re writing Julian off. I have to say, you were not on my list of expendable actors.' I appreciated him saying that. Some actors don’t handle being cut very well and it makes it uncomfortable for everyone around them. But I really was fine with the whole thing. I pulled my friends aside, told them what was going down, told them I was totally OK with it. I had a good run on the show. There are never any guarantees and I was excited to move on. I was genuinely touched that on my last day everyone who was there stopped by and hung out for a bit to say goodbye and wished me well. Keep in mind, there was no onset good-byes, no cakes, not much of anything because of COVID regulations. So I’d like to give a warm shout out to everyone who swung by to say goodbye or help me pack up (which took four hours!): Dom Zamprogna (Dante), Laura Wright (Carly), Josh Swickard (Chase), Kin Shriner (Scotty), Lisa LoCicero, Kelly Monaco (Sam), Jeff Kober and Genie Francis (Laura). Genie was so genuinely shocked — she thought it was an ugly rumour! James (Patrick Stuart, Valentin), who wasn’t there on my last day, was positive I was lying. He felt there was NO way they would write me off. It took him like two weeks to believe me. I think Dom finally told him and then he finally believed what was going down. Nancy found out on set and her mouth just about hit the floor. Eden McCoy (Josslyn) and Katey MacMullen (Willow) gave me big heartfelt hugs on my last day. All very sad. I have to say the crew, who I have SO much respect for were the really shocked ones. I just think everyone felt Julian was a big part of the GH fabric. Goes to show you, everyone is expendable. Well almost. [Laughs]
What's on the horizon for deVry? The actor explained he's departing L.A. and is returning to his native Canada.
You’re leaving LA; why?
Yes, I’m leaving Los Angeles for now. Various reasons, I suppose. Before GH, I had a really good career going doing U.S. shows up in Canada. But, I was away from home for 9 months out of the year while Rebecca stayed home. Now Rebecca [Staab, deVry's girlfriend] is away for 9 months out of the year working on her shows in Canada! We have five dogs and we just felt it was too much of a disruption in our lives to keep the house while working all over the continent and never being home. We just felt the time was right to be together and move to Canada. Financially, we can always come back and buy a house if I get another series in Los Angeles, but nobody ever works here anymore. So why struggle to keep the whole operation afloat when moving to Canada is a much better solution?