Ilene Kristen Predicts Bringing Delia Back To General Hospital (& Our Fingers Are Crossed)

It's always fun when characters cross over from one soap opera to another, so it was a pleasant surprise when Ilene Kristen appeared as Ava Jerome's (Maura West) mother, Delia Ryan, on "General Hospital" back in 2013. Kristen originated the character on the ABC sudser "Ryan's Hope" in 1975, and although a handful of actors later appeared as Delia, she went back to the soap in 1986 and continued playing her until its cancellation in 1989. Delia was a prolific schemer, recurring to help Ava through some of the craziness in her life — although she hasn't been seen in Port Charles since 2015. 

During a current storyline on "GH," Ava and Dr. Austin Gatlin-Holt (Roger Howarth) were manipulated by his cousin, Mason Gatlin (Nathanyael Grey), who threatened Ava that something bad would happen to her mother if she didn't follow his orders, teasing fans that Delia was potentially about to return. Kristen subsequently appeared on Michael Fairman's YouTube channel with author Tom Lisanti to promote his new book, "Ryan's Hope: An Oral History of Daytime's Groundbreaking Soap." 

During the live interview, fans expressed that they were holding out hope Delia would come back to "GH," with Fairman exclaiming, "Delia lives!" Kristen was touched by the interest in seeing her reprise the role someday, responding, "It would be nice if Delia lived for real. It's like Delia in people's imaginations. We'll see. I'm sure I will be making some kind of appearance on that show at some point." Naturally, our interest was piqued. 

Kristen felt that Delia was underused on General Hospital

Elsewhere in the interview, Ilene Kristen spoke to the fact that she felt Delia Ryan was underused on "General Hospital," pointing to a possible missed opportunity. "It's too bad," she admitted, "Because Delia could be causing a lot of trouble there as well. They never exploited [Ava and Delia's relationship] for what it was worth." Bad guy boss Cyrus Renault (Jeff Kober) recently ordered Mason to kidnap Ava so Austin would fall in line and do his bidding. He did exactly that and even testified for Cyrus so that the criminal was released early from jail due to health issues. 

On the October 17, 2023, episode, Cyrus honored his end of the deal and instructed Mason to release Ava. The frustrated henchman decided to kill her anyway, dragging the terrified woman to the edge of a cliff. Fortunately, Dex Heller (Evan Hofer) showed up, and before Mason could get the drop on him, Detective Dante Falconeri (Dominic Zamprogna) shot and subdued him.

Now that the threat of Mason has temporarily subsided, it would be a good time for Delia to return to Port Charles to help Ava work through the emotional turmoil she just experienced. Even though mafia don Sonny Corinthos (Maurice Benard) has been helping uncover this gang, Ava's going to require all the help she can get, and Delia's scheming could be exactly what she needs.