Working for ABC has proved mightily fortuitous for Rib Hillis. Not only did it enable him to launch his acting career as original PORT CHARLES castmember Dr. Jake Marshak (the poor intern who was found hanging at the Nurses Ball), but it also brought him back into living rooms as a carpenter on ABC's EXTREME MAKEOVER: HOME EDITION. However, most importantly, Hillis has the network to thank for meeting his bride, champion ballroom dancer Elena Grinenko from DANCING WITH THE STARS.
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"I met her at an ABC [press] event... I saw her walking around and she was gorgeous," Hillis recalls. "We ended up having a date, and that was five years ago... we're getting married August 17!" This won't be just any wedding either; The bride's a former professional partner of DWTS' Tony Dovolani and Maksim Chmerkovskiy, and counts them, as well as other big names from the ballroom world, amongst her close friends. "It's gonna be a large, Russian-style wedding with a buffet, bottles of vodka and whiskey on the tables, and lots of fun and dancing!" he confides. In addition to trying to learn Elena's native language so he can converse with their guests, Hillis has also been learning some of her moves! "I think dance is the greatest combination of athleticism and artistry," he enthuses. "You're expressing yourself with your instrument, which is you!"
The Idea Man
Hillis now produces and co-hosts DanceJunkiesTV, a YouTube program that provides insightful commentary and interviews with the stars of shows like DWTS and SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE. "I have gotten way more credentials in the dance world than I deserve just because of being with Elena," he admits. Having discovered the thrill of working behind the camera, Hillis also produced the award-winning short, Groom's Cake (in which he stars as a gay man preparing for his wedding), and next became involved as a co-producer on the upcoming horror flick, Sorority Party Massacre. "You sit around a lot as an actor, but in production, there is always something to do or some challenge to overcome," he explains of the draw.
However, we're excited to announce that Hillis is finally returning to soap operas when he assumes the role of Nurse Mathew Johnson in THE BAY's summer special, DARKSIDE OF THE BAY, premiering Thursday, August 9. "I'm on this boat where everyone goes to enjoy the nefarious nightlife that the bay offers, and I guess I'm a hustler," Hillis previews of his closeted gay character. How does the performer feel about coming full circle? "There's nothing that makes you better at acting than acting and working with talented people," he concludes.