On the 29th Anniversary of Lisa Rinna’s Explosive Days of Our Lives Debut, a Loving Tribute to Her and the Impossible Feat She Pulled Off as Billie Reed
NBC/Courtesy of the Everett Collectio
For a short time, she managed to accomplish the unthinkable opposite Robert Kelker-Kelly’s Bo. She had us asking, “Hope who?”
Porn star, stripper, drug addict… When Billie Holliday Reed first showed up in Salem trailing after brother Austin on September 18, 1992, she wasn’t exactly the stuff heroines were made of. But Lisa Rinna imbued her with such spunk, we were instantly hooked.
Upon hitting Salem, Billie was far from a hooker with a heart of gold. However, she did put her heart into everything she did, from her singing to the cocaine habit that cost her that singing gig… Fortunately, her heart also served her well (as, in a way, did that pesky drug habit) when she met her hero, Bo Brady, in one of the most adorable meet-cute stories ever.
It was a dark, dreary night on the Salem pier, where Billie was trying to buy ecstasy off some creepy drug dealer. Bo showed up and arrested her, and Billie tried throwing him off as he wrapped his arms around her in what we have a feeling was not proper police procedure. What it was, though, was electric, and it didn’t take long for a love affair for the ages to blossom between them.
In a short time, the two of them turned Billie’s life around, cleaning up her drug habit, getting her a place to stay and even starting her own cosmetics company — the extravagantly named Countess Wilhelmina. That was all just the prelude, though. Running with the whole law-and-order theme, Billie and Bo’s love only truly blossomed during her trial for the murder of her and Austin’s abusive dad, Curtis. What could be more romantic than that?
Once Stefano DiMera was revealed as the true murderer and Kate Roberts stepped forward as Austin and Billie’s long-lost mother, it seemed like a happy ending was finally in order for this poor, broken young woman who came to Salem struggling to break free of her tragic past. She settled down with Bo and into the charmed life she’d always dreamed of. But it wasn’t to be.
When Hope/Gina returned to Salem, it didn’t take long for Billie to realize Bo’s ex would always have a hold over his heart. It took a couple of tries, but in the end, Billie skipped town to give Bo and Hope their own happy ending. Her first stint in Salem was finished, but Billie’s never strayed far, not for long, anyway.
Over the years, the heroine’s reinvented herself almost as much as her portrayer. She’s run a cosmetics company, enrolled in the police academy, joined the ISA and even faked amnesia after she was hit by a meteor. (OK, after her car was hit by a meteor, but that’s not as much fun to say.) She comes and goes, sometimes with a new face, but more often than not with the irreplaceable Rinna picking back up where she left off.
At this point, we feel pretty safe in saying that Days of Our Lives: Beyond Salem won’t be the last we see of Billie, or Rinna, the actress who first gave her life nearly 30 years ago today.
Speaking of Beyond Salem, why not check out a few of Peacock’s stunning cast photos from the miniseries, complete with plenty of fun little tidbits you may not have known about the actors!