Soaps TV News

GH Casting News: Livingston Out; Thomason In

Livingston Out; Thomason In

Natalia Livingston is once again leaving General Hospital.

Daytime Emmy winner Natalia Livingston is out at General Hospital as Rebecca Shaw. ABC Soaps-In-Depth is reporting the news, and the show has now confirmed it. “We were thrilled that we were able to get Natalia back for a second run, after her Emmy winning turn as Emily Quartermaine,” said a show spokesperson in a statement. “The character of Rebecca Shaw will soon depart the canvas and Natalia has decided to pursue other projects. A beloved member of the GH family, the entire cast and crew wish her well in all her future endeavors.”

Livingston, who formerly played Emily Quartermaine, the love of Nikolas Cassadine’s (Tyler Christopher) life, was brought back earlier in the year as an Emily look-a-like. Oddly enough, both Nikolas and Emily in their star-crossed supernatural love that spanned time, space, pirate ships and even tumors, both had doppelgangers parading themselves around Port Charles in two different storylines. However, unlike Nikolas’ look-a-like, Connor, Emily’s look-a-like turned out to be her long-lost twin sister put up for adoption and never heard from until after Nikolas’ sweetheart took her last breath at the hands of the “text-message killer.”

Natalia Livingston started acting in high school. While pursuing a Sociology B.S. from Emory University, she took several acting classes and participated in many student films. After graduating from Emory, Livingston made the move out to Los Angeles to pursue acting full-time. She was “discovered” working in a Hollywood Home Depot and transitioned to commercials and eventually earned the role of Emily on General Hospital in 2003, replacing the wildly popular Amber Tamblyn. Livingston was shortly thereafter paired with Tyler Christopher, a pairing that really took off with the fans. Livingston earned a Daytime Emmy in 2005 for her portrayal of Emily Quartermaine during Emily’s rape storyline.

The character of Emily remained on the show after her “death” in November 2007 due to a storyline in which Nikolas saw visions of his late lady love due to a brain tumor. For six months, the audience watched Nikolas and what became known as “ghost Emily” fawn all over each other while Nikolas refused to accept Emily’s death and have his tumor removed for fear that he wouldn’t be able to see his beloved Emily anymore. The storyline dragged on and on while fans guessed if GH would have Natalia return as another character when Emily inevitably disappeared back in May 2008. Livingston eventually returned in January 2009 as Rebecca, while Nikolas’ then love-interest Nadine faded into the background when Claire Coffee was taken off contract with the show.

The character of Rebecca never really resonated with fans. Eventually, the show made her Emily’s twin sister who had come to town to run a con to get money out of the Quartermaine family. The character, who started off as a bad girl with an attitude problem, seemingly morphed overnight into what Emily used to be. She died her hair the same color as Emily, started dressing like her and started behaving exactly like her, but it was too late for fans, who became uninterested in her storyline.

When TVSource Magazine interviewed Livingston back in March, we asked if she had signed a long-term deal with the show and she simply replied “[Rebecca will] be around for a while.” Well, it seems time is up for Livingston at General Hospital, this time anyway. A last airdate is currently unknown. Rebecca will soon learn of Nikolas and Elizabeth’s discretion as Elizabeth volleys between the two brothers, Nikolas and Lucky (Jonathan Jackson) next month.

In other casting news, Soap Opera Digest is reporting that GH has cast Las Vegas alum Marsha Thomason as a mystery woman who will be playing opposite James Franco when he arrives in Port Charles next month as a still-yet-to-be-named character. Thomason’s former Las Vegas co-star Vanessa Marcil (ex-Brenda, GH), is a close friend. It’s interesting to note that yet another actor with ties to Marcil is joining the show. Thomason’s Nessa was written out of Las Vegas in 2005, but that didn’t slow her career down. Lost fans will remember her from her stint as Naomi Dorrit. The British actress also starred in several films since leaving Las Vegas including Caffeine, opposite Mena Suvari and Katherine Heigl; The Tripper, opposite Courteney Cox and Balthazar Getty; and Into the Blue 2: The Reef alongside Michael Graziadei (Daniel, Y&R). Thomason is currently appearing on the new USA Network drama White Collar as Diana, an FBI agent in the white collar crime unit. A first airdate for Thomason on General Hospital is forthcoming.