Credit: ABC (2), Howard Wise/JPI, ABC/Courtesy of the Everett Collection (2)
In the Beginning…
When Maurice Benard made his General Hospital debut in 1993, Sonny Corinthos wasn’t yet the underworld overlord that he is today. He was but a low-level flunky of big kahuna Frank Smith’s, the proprietor of a strip club where he enticed underage Karen Wexler onto his stage and into his bed.
Moths to a Flame
As Sonny became more of a mover and a shaker in the Mob, he became the target of not just rival mafiosos but Cupid: When the cherub took aim, the smooth criminal fell hard for Karen’s former high-school classmate Brenda Barrett. If only she hadn’t gone and worn that wire on him…
His Right-Hand Man
Over the years, Sonny suffered one loss (wife Lily Rivera and their unborn child) after another (ward Stone Cates). But after brain damage turned would-be doctor Jason Quartermaine into hired gun Jason “Stone Cold” Morgan, the racketeer finally got a BF whom he could call a BFF.
Determined to keep Brenda from renewing her vows with Aussie interloper Jasper “Jax” Jacks, Sonny attended the couple’s ceremony with a surprise guest: the groom’s “late” wife, Miranda. As you can see, Brenda was extremely displeased to have her seating chart thrown into disarray.
One Great Ride Ends, Another Begins
After Sonny won Brenda back — only to leave her at the altar for her safety’s sake! — he got involved with her lookalike, Hannah Scott. Upon learning that his new honey was a federal agent, not a waitress, he wound up having hate sex with Jason’s ticked-off lover, Carly Benson (then Sarah Brown).
Did This Count as ‘Courting’?
After Sonny and Carly married to ensure that she couldn’t be compelled to testify against him, they wound up developing real feelings for one another. But when she tried to “help” him leave the Mob, he showed her the door and knocked up his attorney, Alexis Davis.
Enemies Left, Right and Center
As time went on, Sonny and Carly (then Tamara Braun) broke up and made up like clockwork. All the while, he was beset by threats ranging from half brother Ric Lansing to the Alcazar twins, Luis and Lorenzo. Somewhere in there, Port Charles’ Don Corleone also found time to have affairs with Sam McCall and Emily Quartermaine and discover that he had bipolar disorder.
‘I’m Outta Here’
Sonny thought that he’d managed to leave “the business” in order to start a new life with lost love Kate Howard — until the bride was shot on their wedding day. Reeling, he married back into the Mob by taking as his bride Mafia princess Claudia Zacchara (yep, Brown again).
‘It’s a Boy!’
After stealing away son Micheal from biological father A.J. Quartermaine, and having kids with Carly (Morgan) and Alexis (Kristina), Sonny discovered that he also had a grown child… only after he had shot in cold blood Dante Falconeri, the undercover cop who’d been trying to bring him to justice.
The Ride Continues…
When Brenda returned to Port Charles, Sonny finally managed to put a ring on it — only for her to bail on their new marriage in order to protect newfound son Alec from a stepfather who was so unscrupulous, he’d frame Jax in order to ensure that Carly got custody of their daughter, Josslyn.
Following Brenda’s hasty retreat, Sonny reconnected once again with Kate, who turned out to be suffering from multiple-personality disorder. And to put it mildly, her alternate personality — Connie Falconeri — was not a fan of his. So on their wedding day, she revealed that she was already hitched to Johnny Zacchara. Bazinga!
‘Oops… My Bad’
When Sonny caught A.J. throttling Ava Jerome, he permanently “removed” the longtime thorn in his side, unaware that Michael’s dad had just cause to wring the Mafia donna’s neck: She was framing him for Connie’s murder. In the aftermath, Sonny cheated on new squeeze Olivia Falconeri — you know, Dante’s mother — with Ava, who just happened to also be shtupping his son, Morgan.
Though Carly (now Laura Wright) became engaged to reformed serial killer Franco Baldwin, she threw caution to the wind and strayed with her ex, Sonny. In retaliation, Franco got her made man on the side sent up the river for life for A.J.’s murder. Of course, “for life” really turned out be more like “for a few months.”
Hell Hath No Fury
Nelle Benson hit Port Charles with an axe to grind — preferably in Carly’s back. So she pretended that she and Sonny had slept together, then handed off her son with Michael to Brad Cooper to raise in place of his short-lived baby. Honestly, she was lucky that this was the kind of “hit” that was taken out on her.
Open to Closure
As Alzheimer’s disease took an ever greater toll on Sonny’s estranged father, Mike, the two of them were finally able to make peace with their past. In the end, if they were left with one regret, it was that they hadn’t taken better advantage of the time that they had while they’d had it.
One Big Happy-ish Family
As they are wont to do, Sonny and Carly remarried (again and again) and did their best to keep any more of their children from meeting as untimely a demise as Morgan had. But the fates refused to leave them alone for long. So after Sonny tried to neutralize the threat posed by new Big Bad Cyrus Renault, he was left to struggle to remember who he even was after an amnesia-inducing tumble from a bridge.
Though Nina Reeves discovered that Sonny had only lost his memory, not his life — as Carly & Co. believed — Nelle’s vengeful mom kept that little tidbit of information to herself and accidentally wound up falling for “Mike,” the Mr. Nice Guy that the gangster could’ve been if his life had gone down a different path.
Against All Odds
The fit really hit the shan when Sonny finally made his way back to his family. But after the dust settled, as much as it ever does in Port Charles, Jason was in the grave, Nina was on “Mike’s” arm, and Carly and Michael were pissed. How pissed were they?
An Inside Job
Michael hired Dex Heller to infiltrate Sonny’s “business” so that he could do what the Port Charles PD had never been able to and bring down the godfather’s criminal empire once and for all. Considering how Sonny felt about betrayal, it was a good thing that Dex looked so hot hung from a meat hook.
Hate Means Never Having to Say You’re Sorry
Carly expressed her disapproval of Sonny’s new relationship by withholding from her nemesis the fact that Willow Tait was Nelle’s sister and, therefore, Nina’s daughter. Which saved Willow from the upset of learning that she was the offspring of a woman she didn’t like any more than Carly did, sure… but it also damn near kept her from getting the bone marrow that she desperately needed from a blood relative.