Robin Mattson "General Hospital" Set The Prospect Studios ABC Studios 10/07/14 © Howard Wise/ 310-657-9661 Episode # 13175 U.S. Airdate 11/05/14
Credit: Howard Wise/JPI

Jaws dropped just before Halloween, when General Hospital viewers found out that the mystery role in which Bold & Beautiful vet Alley Mills (Pam) had been cast was none other than Heather Webber, the mad-as-a-hatter villainess that Robin Mattson had played off and on since 1980. Why hadn’t the fan favorite just come back to stir the pot herself? In a Facebook post, Mattson explained.

“As nice as is to be missed, and so many of you have wondered what happened to me, I just want to let you know that I’ve been recovering from my knee surgery,” she shared on November 11, “and today I’m going to have hip replacement surgery. 

“Thank you all for your love and support!” she added. “Looking forward to a fast recovery!”

Although Mills, a primetime legend owing to her 1988-93 stint on the original Wonder Years, has been doing a bang-up job as Heather, it’s understandable that folks might long to see Mattson in the character’s orange prison jumpsuit. She wasn’t the first actress to tackle the role (that was Cher’s sister, Georganne LaPiere back in 1976) or the second (that was Mary O’Brien, who wreaked havoc in the late 1970s), but Mattson is the soap icon most closely associated with the part.

Even Mills was like, “Why isn’t Robin Mattson coming back to do this?” she told Soap Opera Digest. Once Mills found out that the daytime drama’s regular Heather was N/A, she rose to the challenge of stepping in, first by watching old scenes. “I started watching her when she was really young — and Robin, you’re gorgeous, by the way!… I just crammed General Hospital… It was so much fun to do this research because Robin has been on the show since she was, you know, a child, and I got to follow all the crazy shenanigans.”

THE GUIDING LIGHT, (from left): Stephen Yates, Robin Mattson, Don Stewart, (ca. mid 1970s), 1952-2009.

Guiding Light was kid stuff for Mattson, with Stephen Yates (aka Ben).

Credit: Courtesy of the Everett Collection

Mattson’s other soap credits include Guiding Light (where she was a baby-faced Hope Bauer), Ryan’s Hope (where she replaced Ilene Kristen as Delia Coleridge), Santa Barbara (where she made the role of Gina Capwell her own) and All My Children (where she sent viewers into orbit as “Janet From Another Planet” Green. She also recurred as Sugar on Bold & Beautiful, Cheri Love on As the World Turns and Lee Michaels on Days of Our Lives.

Kimberlin Brown and Robin Mattson"The Bold and the Beautiful" SetCBS Television City9/15/03©Jesse Grant/JPI310-657-9661Episode# 4149

“You should meet my friend… Heather.”

Credit: Jesse Grant/JPI

Review all of the latest exits from General Hospital in the newly updated photo gallery below.