Photos: Maurice Benard’s 25 Years on GH Honored in Special Episode
Image: Jill Johnson/JPI
Celebrating a quarter of a century on daytime.
Updated August 15: In addition to the videos celebrating Maurice Benard’s twenty-five years on General Hospital, view a gallery below of his costars and family at the celebration held at the GH studio on Monday August 13.
Updated August 14: Eyewitness News ABC7 stopped by the General Hospital set where the cast and crew were celebrating Maurice Benard’s 25 anniversary on the soap. Laura Wright (Carly), Steve Burton (Jason) and Eden McCoy (Joss) all spoke about Benard, and his parents were also interviewed about their son. Soaps.com readers can look forward to a special episode dedicated to Benard’s 25 years on GH in September.
First reported on August 13, Soaps.com congratulates General Hospital’s Maurice Benard on his twenty-fifth anniversary with the show. Benard debuted as Port Charles’ mobster Sonny Corinthos on August 13, 1993. Sonny was a nightclub owner and working for fellow mob boss Frank Smith (Mitchell Ryan). This led to his meeting and becoming lifelong friends with fellow nightclub owner Luke Spencer (Anthony Geary). The character of Sonny was only supposed to be a short-term role, but his popularity resulted in him becoming a staple on the soap. He’s been nominated for six Daytime Emmy Awards, winning for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Daytime Drama in 2003.
Over the years Sonny has been involved with many women, most notably Brenda Barrett (Vanessa Marcil). Sonny and Brenda remain one of GH’s and daytime’s most popular couples. He’s also had a record five marriages to Carly Corinthos (Laura Wright, Sarah Brown, Tamara Braun and Jennifer Bransford). Other past romances included Alexis Davis (Nancy Lee Grahn), Lily Rivera (Lilly Melgar), Claudia Zacchara (Sarah Brown) and Connie Falconeri (Kelly Sullivan and Megan Ward). He’s evolved from running a nightclub for a mob boss, to running his own empire, Corinthos Coffee and being a mob boss. Family is everything to Sonny, who is often described as the mobster with a heart of gold. There is nothing he won’t do to protect his loved ones, which include best friend Jason Morgan (Steve Burton) and his children Michael Corinthos (Chad Duel), Avery Jerome-Corinthos (Ava and Grace Scarola), Dante Falconeri (Dominic Zamprogna), Kristina Davis-Corinthos (Lexi Ainsworth) and step-daughter Joss Jacks (Eden McCoy).
Benard was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder at the age of 22. He has become an advocate for the treatment of the disease, making appearances to speak about it on Oprah, The Dr. Drew Show and most recently Maurice Benard discussed Bipolar Disorder on Dr. Oz. The actor’s struggle with the disorder was written into GH when Sonny was diagnosed with the disorder in 2005, and suffering a breakdown in 2006. Years later Sonny’s late son Morgan Corinthos (Brian Craig) also battled the disease. Another one of Sonny’s most notable stories was his involvement in Robin Scorpio-Drake (Kimberly McCullough) and Stone Cates (Michael Sutton) romance and diagnosis with HIV. Sonny took Stone in, saw him through his battle with HIV/AIDS until his death, and gave his son Morgan the middle name Stone in his honor.
Benard has been happily married to wife Paula Smith since 1990. The couple has four children together, Heather Anne, Cailey Sofia, Cassidy Rose and Joshua James.