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ATWT’s Jon Hensley talks to Greg In Hollywood about Holden and Lily, Luke and Noah and his future

For fans of As the World Turns, the end of the beloved soap after more than 50 years is still something a few months away as the show continues to air throughout the summer.

But its end was really brought home on Emmy night when winners Michael Park (actor), Maura West (actress) and Julie Pinson (supporting actress) grew emotional talking about the end of an era.

I got that same feeling from Jon Hensley when we talked before the show. The man who began on ATWT as Holden Snyder  back in 1985 talked about the final days of shooting last week.

“The last day was kind of nice because we were all just hanging out together and there wasn’t a lot to do,” Jon told me on the red carpet. “But the lead up to it, the month up to it, was really the hardest because we had a lot of stuff to do and you knew the end was near. Everybody was just wanting it to be over with and move on, not being able to deal with this idea of it all going away.”

Holden was been engaged to Molly and was set to marry her but, Jon reveals: “I’ll tell you this much: Holden and Molly don’t make it, that’s all I can say.”

But he would not say whether he and Lily, one of daytime’s super couples, will end up together when the final credits role or whether his onscreen son Luke (Van Hansis) will end up with Noah (Jake Silbermann) or Reid (Eric Sheffer Stevens).

Jon acted opposite Emmy winner Martha Byrne as Lily for much of the show’s run but in 2008, Byrne left the show and was replaced by Noelle Beck. I wondered how he felt about such a change after acting for so long opposite Byrne.

“[Noelle] is very sweet and I liked her from day one,” Jon said. “I don’t know that it was easy for her because she was coming into a situation where, you know, Martha Byrne was a big deal. She always was afraid that she would never fill those shoes. But as far as I’m concerned, I think she did an incredible job. I think we had pretty decent chemistry and it was great having her for two years.”

So what does Jon think of Dr. Reid Oliver who has arrived on the show and turned Luke and Noah’s world upside down?

“I love the character of Reid,” he said. “He’s got the best character in daytime. I thought it was a great way to mix it up for those two characters. I like them together. But it’s like Holden and Lily, you want Luke and Noah to be together ultimately in the end.”

I beg to differ! But Jon is speaking as a father!

As for the future, Jon and his wife Kelley Menighan (Emily on As the World Turns), are moving to California with their three kids.

“We just need a change,” said Jon.

The actor is now 44 years old and is coming off of a 21 year stint as a major character on a daytime soap but confesses that professionally “my window of opportunity is shrinking. I’m getting old! I’ve been around a long time.”

I remind him that Mark Harmon was 52 when he landed NCIS which is set to begin its eighth season this fall as one of the most popular prime time dramas on television.

“A nighttime show that goes a good 10 years,” Jon said, smiling. “That would be fantastic”

FILE UNDER: Daytime TV, Interviews


(All comments are reviewed before being published, and I review submissions several times per day.)

29 Remarks

  1. as a child the two soaps my mother watched were Guiding Light and ATWT. I would come home and catch the tail end of ATWT. She worked hard at home, it was the one break she would allow herself. She passed away three years ago. Guiding Light ended last year and now ATWT, in an odd way it is like losing a small part of her again.

  2. Jon and his wife Kelley are both great actors and will hopefully land great new gigs in California. I’ve had a crush on Holden for over 20 years and would love to see Jon tackle a new role. Kelley has played the hell out of the looney Emily and seems like the polar opposite in real life. r.i.p. ATWT…

  3. “you want Luke and Noah to be together ultimately in the end.””

    I really don’t want Noah and Luke end up together….

  4. Jon and I are about the same age, so I largely grew up along with Holden and Lily. Although I didn’t watch much over the years (work/family), I always followed via recaps, and it was comforting to find familiar characters and stories even after an absence of several years. I began following ATWT recaps religiously when GL went off the air last year, and was so captivated by Luke and Reid’s story that I was compelled to seek them out on YouTube, and have completely fallen in love with their story ever since. As Jon says, Reid is “the best character on daytime.”

    I know this is a Jon interview, so I do not mean any disrespect in posting here – I think Holden’s character has always been a voice of reason on the show and a core part of the show’s moral compass. I’ve recently been watching a lot of touching Holden and Luke scenes while working on a fanfic and found Jon’s portrayal to be very genuine.

    But as you, Greg, point out, “I beg to differ” on wanting Lilden and Nuke to end up together.

    I would hope no father would wish the misery on Luke that were virtually the last 10 months of Nuke, and the intermittent unhappiness and breakups that preceded. Both supercouples of course have their fans still, but I’m not quite sure people realize just how big the LuRe fanbase is. Reid Oliver has attracted many new and neutral/casual viewers like myself, but also includes an increasing number of converted loyal Nuke fans.

    So I just wanted to pass that along, as I think people will read Jon’s comments and, will either wonder (like me) who the “you” who want Lilden and Nuke are, or assume that he is correct.

    Greg: I can understand if you decline to post this, in which case, I just want to point out that the credits will “roll” in the end, not “role.”

    Enjoy your column. Thanks for the interview.


  5. Well, for my part I don’t want Luke anywhere near Noah at the end…

    Luke and Reid belong together and it’s not true Luke and noah are more popular… Luke and Reid is the supercouple now!!!!

  6. Thanks so much for this interview. I’m a slightly younger soap viewer, and I remember coming back to this show in more recent years, and being so delighted that the same Holden who was on when I used to watch with my mother when I was little, was still on the show.

    I adore Jon Hensley. I’m pretty sad about the show coming to an end, but I sincerely hope he and Kelley find much luck in California.

    Also… I know I may seem in the minority, but there are still those us of around who want Luke and Noah together. Even without some sort of familial bias. Reid is a wonderfully snarky addition to the cast, but he is not my preferred choice for Luke, in the end.

  7. Aww Jon! I will miss him! I love his Holden with Martha Byrne’s Lily and I love love LOVE his on screen relationship with Van Hansis’ Luke Snyder. Truly feels like a father/son connection with those two.

    And I think Lilden will end up together in the end. Or at least start finding their way back to each other by the end. Same with Luke and Noah. These are two couples that just fit, no matter who comes along. I’ve enjoyed watching both couples on my screen and will miss them.

  8. I don’t understand how anyone who likes Luke even a little could want him to end up with Noah. Sure, Noah can be a nice enough guy when everything in his life is going well, but anytime the going gets the littlest bit rough, he turns into an emotionally abusive bastard. Luke needs someone who can weather life’s rough spots with him, not by pushing him away and blaming him for causing them!

  9. I wish all of the best for Jon and Kelly in the future. They are two very talented actors and will hopefully fine work easily once they arrive in LA. I would love to see both/either of them on a Primetime show!

    I will dearly miss the character Holden. He is the epitome of a soap hero. Although things have been rough for them lately, the Lilden love story was one of the most compelling in daytime history. I will never forget the way I felt the first time he jumped down from the loft and laid eyes on Lily. Things were never the same for these characters or their viewers again

    It is, however, quite obvious that Jon does not watch daytime TV if he things Reid Oliver is the best character on daytime. Funny? Sure. Interesting? Slightly. Luke Spencer, David Hayworth, David Vickers, Adam Chandler, Zack Slater, Palmer Courtland, Stephan Cassidine, Ric Lansing caliber? Not even on Eric Sheffer Stevens’ best day. I will say that I was impressed that the writers at ATWTS were able to write such a dynamic character. It is just a shame they haven’t been able to maintain the writing and have turned him into your stereotypical dull soap character. It will be interesting to see ESS in the future if given a role where he can actually put his obviously impressive acting skills to use.

    As for whether or not Lilden and Nuke should end up together, I am going to have to agree with Jon. There are large loyal fanbases for both of these couples that want to see their couples reunite and get their happy ending! These two couples have been through a lot together and at the end of the day it always brings them back together stronger than ever. It would only make sense that this would continue to be true after this last round of obstacles, which is all this storyline has been for both couples.

    PS. Greg, not meaning to point out the obvious here, but Jon isn’t Luke’s father. He is the actor that plays the role, so to brush off his comments on what he wants to see happen at the end for Luke and Noah as fatherly concern is a bit demeaning. Did you ever stop to think that maybe the actors actually have opinions on the storylines?

  10. UHMMM?… NO JON!!! The majority of the fans do not want Noah and Luke together.
    What is it that makes the actors think they know what ?
    Also… What is it with the double atundra? I love reid but nuke sould be together? N.O.T NOnuke is a horrid couple and the fans hate them. It may be a hard pill to swallow but it’s the truth

  11. I love Luke, for Luke, and I feel like a lot of his growth the past few years have happened because of his relationship with Noah. I agree with Jon, Reid has been good to mix things up, but ultimately it’s Luke and Noah who belong together in the end. Reid’s a bit too selfish and wishy-washy to be long term. Luke and Noah have been through a lot, Luke and Reid have only been through a couple months- I think it’s pretty telling of who really should be together through that alone. Both Luke and Noah have made their share of mistakes but have always come back together. Their love has always, and will always, prevail.

  12. Dear Jon,

    I neither want Holden and Lilly or Luke and Noah together.

    Both couples S.U.C.K

  13. I’m with you, Beth. And I have been watching ATWT since 1971. I don’t want Lily and Holden in the end (unless Martha Byrne came back, I can’t STAND Lily ever since Noelle Beck took over) and I definitely don’t want to see Luke with Noah. Why would I? Their relationship has been a pushing and pulling train wreck!

  14. Excuse me? Who wants to see Luke end up with Noah? Did you guys actually see the results of latest polls and stuff? I, for one, truly can’t comprehend how anyone could want Luke and Noah back together. Luke has been crawling after Noah since day one while Noah acts like he is doing Luke a favor by being with him. I get that the idea of “first love becoming simultaneously the last one” is attractive, and clearly, can be beautiful to watch BUT. Really, in this case? Come on, you can be an optimist but honestly, to think their (“Nuke’s”) relationship would last and actually be satisfying to any of them (especially to Luke) is just delusional. Not after months (or years, to be perfectly honest) of constant push-pull action.

    Reid actually wants to be with Luke and values him.

  15. Great interview with Jon! I have always loved Holden despite his bouts of self righteous Snyderyness. And he will really be missed. He was a great example of a father on soaps and I will miss his relationships with his kids the most (especially Luke).
    As for him wanting Luke and Noah together in the end I completely agree. They may not be perfect men (though people often treat Luke as if he is) but to me they are perfect for each other. They get each other on a deeper level and balance each other out. Where Luke pushes Noah and forces him out of his comfort zone and fear, Noah is a calming presence for Luke loving him still through some of his wilder antics. They have made a huge impact in my life and the lives of many others and I very sad to see them go.

  16. I love Jon and I’m gonna miss him as Holden. I wish him and his wife Kelly all the luck in the future!

    As for Luke/Noah and Holden/Lily thing I’m with you Greg. I don’t want either of these couples reunited. I’ve moved on to greener pastures (ie Holden/Molly & Luke/Reid)

  17. I am going to miss this soap so very, very hard.
    I have watched for 40 years. YES!!! 40 YEARS!
    I’m going to miss all of it.
    I have been in the lives of these characters for almost all of my life.
    I love Reid too.
    He has made the last months enjoyable.
    As I sit here crying over the end of ATWT.
    I can’t help but wonder why the actors would bother to comment on a couple that viewers look upon so negatively?
    Do they not watch the show? I love Holden and Lilly. Always have from the very first day. Unfortunately they are toxic.
    I’ve never liked Luke and Noah. They bore me to tears.
    Reid is a far better man for Luke.
    Carly and Jack… Why do the writers hate the Snyder’s?
    Jack was so cool way back when :(

  18. Oh, goodness. Articles like this really make the end start to actually hit me. :(

    I like Jon a lot, but I’m not sure I really want Lily and Holden back together though… hm. I never really fully warmed up to Noelle Beck’s Lily, though I’m sure she’s a lovely woman. But it’s like a different character to me.

    And I still like Luke and Noah. It’s that whole tortured couple thing for me, and contrary to (apparently) popular belief, I don’t think Noah is an asshole. He’s just had a really hard life thus far. So I’m going to be waiting for my Nuke redemption story right up until the end.

    I also think it’s sort of hilarious that some might consider Reid to be less of an asshole than Noah, somehow. He’s entertaining sure, but that’s why I like him! He’s a snarky, harsh, sometimes mean man! Except he seems to have lost his snark as of late. Him being indecisive and pining over Luke is not nearly as fun.

  19. I like that Jon wants Luke and Noah to end up together. Hopefully Lily and Holden do as well. I think that Luke and Noah deserve to be together, they’ve been through so much in these past 3 years and to not have them together. That is a slap in the face to all the Nuke fans. Sure I like Reid but he is just an obstacle. Nuke deserve to be together and they are adorable.
    I have to wonder though, is Molly going to stay after she and Holden break it off?

  20. so disappointing. I was rooting for Molly and Holden. Also I’ll rather see Luke alone than reconciled with Noah at the end. There’s just not enough time for them to deal with their many issues enough for me to believe them as endgame.

    As for Holden and Lily, I’m not looking forward to them getting back together. I wasn’t expecting Holden/Carly to be endgame when they started their affair but after recent events involving Lily and Jack I really want them to reunite.

  21. LOL!
    Good thing the actors don’t write the soap :P

  22. ummm, no jon. i love ya as holden and all that, but i disagree. i like lily (im probs the only one, but i kinda prefer noelles lily cause i wasnt that keen on Martha :S dunno why *please dont kill me*) and i like holden, but i do not want them together in the end. i want lily and holden alone or with other people (not molly, im glad they dont work out). and i REALLY dont want nuke to reunite. i dislike nuke too much. luke has grown and stopped being a whiny brat with reid, and im sorry but no way in hell is nuke a supercouple! they’ve been together three years? they dont have the passion, it was all rushed (how many episodes was it luke admitted to loving noah, like, two after they got together?) and it was too toxic even in the beginning. lure has been handled slowly and more realistically, and i love the writers for that! luke and reid balance eachother out, and like i said, luke is more himself and more mature. he doesnt whine, he doesnt take any crap from the relationship and he doesnt apologise all the time for stuff that isnt even his fault! so no, i dont want nuke together. i want lure. like the majority of the fans!

  23. July 3rd, 2010 at 3:12 am
    nuke/loah/lover says:

    “you want Luke and Noah to be together ultimately in the end.””

    thats so totally true for me<3

  24. I’ve been watching ATWT for 50 years — started watching with my mother when I was little. Since she was an only child and I’m an only child I can honestly say that Kim and Bob, the Snyder clan, and Lisa with all her husbands were my “adopted” families. I don’t want to think about September when the show ends. Thanks to all the wonderful actors who have made their characters come alive for all of us at home in front of our TV’s and VCR’s. XOXOX!!!

  25. May 31st, 2011 at 3:20 pm
    lilrouleau says:

    I grew up in the same little town of Bucks county and went to school with his stepsister at Lenape. I miss the show and the funny stories Debbie told about her big brother.

  26. Look, Reid was fun and even sometimes sexy. Noelle’s Lily was beautiful and very sweet. The kissing told it all, though. Reid and Luke had mushy kisses that never really turned anyone on, and Luke and Reid’s eyes never sparkled like Luke and Noah’s eyes did when they looked at each other. Noelle’s Lily and Holden’s kisses always seemed a little forced, where Martha’s Lily and Holden’s kisses were natural and real. For any true romantic at heart, it was Luke and Noah and Martha’s Lily and Holden who would end up together.

  27. Jon and Kelly – Wish you Jon were on more of the B&B – Hope they see fit to bring you both to the B&B – You were both good actors

  28. August 17th, 2014 at 4:42 am
    Nuke WilSon Fan says:

    Of course, Luke and Noah belonged together. They had written three years of TV history before that dumb new head writer that had just killed Guiding Light made it his personal agenda to pimp Dr. Housewannabe by totally distorting Luke’s character and trying to marginalize Noah or that is, Jake Silbermann. They even lied about Jake not being available for more frequent appearances in 2010. My impression is that this was really on the edge of mobbing against a wonderful actor who had attracted millions of new fans for the show, toegether with Van Hansis. And it was an incredible disrespect towards yearslong fans and viewers. It was so ridiculous to suggest that Luke – or anyone who truly loves his partner – wouldn’t have understood that Noah just couldn’t be himself when he had lost his sight. Luke and Dr. Housewannabe had zero chemistry and everyone who had watched the three previous years of ATWT knew that and wouldn’t fall for a second for all these horrible distortions. Luke and Noah forever!!

  29. I always loved the characters on As The World Turns. They were like an extended family to me. I especially adored Holden and Lily together. I used to love watching Steve and Betsy, too. So sorry the show ended. I wish all the actors happiness. Am sorry to have just read that in real life Jon Hensley and his wife Megan.

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