Remembering a General Hospital Legacy Character on the Anniversary of Her Death — Plus, How to Unmake the Fatal Mistake
November 14, 2007, is a day that lives in infamy in the minds of the ABC soap’s fans.
No one can say that it wasn’t a dramatic twist, the murder of General Hospital legacy character Emily Quartermaine on this day more than a decade ago. But was it a smart move? Erm…
In a word, no. Both the heroine and her Emmy-winning portrayer Natalia Livingston were well-loved. The actress had chemistry with everyone from Tyler Christopher (ex-Nikolas) to Maurice Benard (Sonny). And Emily, the adopted daughter of Alan and Monica Quartermaine, was key to the show’s future; not only was she tied to one of its core families, but she was a med student to boot.
So sure, it was a shock when Emily was strangled to death by an assailant that we first believed to be Nikolas (suffering from a rage-fueled blackout) but who turned out to be the Text-Message Killer (aka Diego Alcazar). However, as with all shocks, this one wore off. When it did, we were left with a big hole in the canvas. And for what? A momentary thrill?
Shortly before Emily’s murder, you’ll recall, the soap had killed off veteran actor Stuart Damon as her dad, Alan. Quartermaines, it seemed, were dropping like flies. (Steve Burton, who plays Alan’s son and Emily’s brother, Jason, famously weighed in on the decimation of his on-screen family in September of 2020.)
Eventually, General Hospital realized the mistake that it had made and rehired Livingston in 2009 to originate a new role, Emily’s twin Rebecca Shaw. “I remember when they first told me about her, she was gonna be this completely different character,” the actress said during an episode of That’s Awesome With Steve Burton & Bradford Anderson, “so I came in that first day with all these ideas about how she was going to be different, and one of the writers came down at the end of that day and said, ‘Keep this character just like Emily.’”
In the end, the only difference between Livingston’s old character and her new one was that in her new one, “they put me in a lot of leather,” she recalled. That, and con artist Rebecca didn’t prove to be nearly as popular as Emily had. So less than a year after Livingston was brought back, she was let go again.
Now, that doesn’t have to be the end of the story. Rebecca wasn’t killed off — as if that matters in Port Charles, anyway. She just left town to study abroad. If the show wanted to really throw a monkey wrench into the complicated marriage of Nikolas and Ava, it could simply bring Rebecca back to town and let nature take its course. Nikolas wouldn’t be able to help himself; of course he’d be drawn once again to the woman who’s the spitting image of the ill-fated love of his life.
Since Rebecca also has a past with Ethan, she could be reintroduced as part of the storyline in which he and Robert are desperately seeking answers about the “late” Holly. (See what we mean about “death” being meaningless on General Hospital?)
What do you think? Would you like to see Livingston back in action? On your way to the comments below, check out this photo gallery of actors like her who played two roles on the same soap.
Video: YouTube/General Hospital