Helena Cassadine on General Hospital

Image: Sean Smith, Howard Wise. Jill Johnson/JPI

General Hospital’s number one villainess is never truly gone.

With Constance Towers reprising the role of Helena Cassadine on General Hospital today, though only in a flashback, Soaps.com thought it was the perfect time to revisit the history of Helena Cassadine. She’s the ABC soap opera’s most notorious villainess, whose wrath has even been directed at her own family members at times.

1. Helena was created for Elizabeth Taylor

The role of Helena Cassadine was specifically created for Elizabeth Taylor, who was a self-proclaimed super-fan of General Hospital. She asked then Executive Producer Gloria Monty for a role on the show, and Helena was born. She was the widow of villain Mikkos Cassadine (John Colicos), who was thwarted by Luke Spencer (Anthony Geary) and Laura Webber (Genie Francis) in the Ice Princess storyline, resulting in his death. Helena crashed Luke and Laura’s wedding on November 10, 1981 to deliver a gift to them, The Haunted Star, and a curse upon their relationship. She only appeared in a handful of episodes initially.

2. Helena existed off screen for years

Helena was often mentioned by various Port Charles residents, including some of her family members, though never seen for years after Taylor’s brief appearance in 1981. In 1983 Stavros Cassadine (John Martinuzzi) was introduced as Mikkos’ cousin. It was later revealed he was, in fact, Helena and Mikkos’ eldest and favored son. Stavros was obsessed with Laura, whose death he faked so he could kidnap and marry her, then keep her hostage on Cassadine Island.

3. The second Helena

Actress Dimitra Arliss appeared briefly as Helena on July 25 and 26 in 1996 to facilitate the introduction of Alexis Davis (Nancy Lee Grahn), Laura’s secret son with Stavros, Nikolas Cassadine (Tyler Christopher), and Helena and Mikkos’ youngest son Stefan Cassadine (Stephen Nichols). At the time Helena was sickly and bedridden.

4. Helena kidnapped Laura’s mother

In 1984, Laura’s mother Lesley Webber (Denise Alexander) was believed to have died, but her death was faked and she was kidnapped and held captive by Helena. Stefan rescued her years later and reunited her with Laura.

5. The Towers era

Constance Towers took over the role of Helena Cassadine on December 19, 1997 and has been the actress to play the villainess the longest. She came to town in order to take control of the Cassadine family and exert her influence over her grandson Nikolas.

6. Helena killed Alexis’ mother

Alexis Davis eventually learned she was the illegitimate daughter of Mikkos and her mother, Swedish opera singer Kristin Bergman. Alexis witnessed Helena slit her mother’s throat as a child, causing her to blackout most of her childhood and past as a Cassadine. Helena never addressed Alexis by her taken name, but her given name Natasha. In her will, Helena her left the dagger she used to kill Alexis’ mother.

7. Helena framed Laura for murder

Helena killed Katherine Bell (Mary Beth Evans) by pushing her off the Cassadine estate parapet to her death to keep her from trapping Nikolas into a marriage based on a fake pregnancy. She then framed Laura for Katherine’s murder. When Laura was clear, she tried to frame Faison (Anders Hove).

8. Helena tried to kill her own son

Helena and Mikkos’ youngest son Stefan, who Helena saw as a weakling and disappointment, poisoned his mother and put her into a comatose state for months. After she recovered she returned the favor in 2000, poisoning Stefan and dropping him overboard to drown in the waters of Port Charles. Stefan survived.

9. Helena tampered with DNA tests

In order to take over Cassadine Enterprises, Helena faked a DNA test to show that Nikolas was actually Stefan’s son, not Stavros’ child, and thus not the true Cassadine heir. Her shenanigans were later revealed, and Nikolas was Stavros’ child with Laura from the time he held her captive. Years later, Helena tampered with Elizabeth Webber’s (Rebecca Herbst) test results to make it appear that Nikolas, not Lucky Spencer (Jonathan Jackson), was the father of her unborn son Aiden.

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10. Helena’s first brainwashing

Helena kidnapped Luke and Laura’s son Lucky Spencer (Jacob Young) after he was believed to have died in a fire. She brainwashed him into doing her bidding, which included poisoning Lucas Jones (Logan O’Brien) and his own father Luke.

11. Helena revives Stavros

In 2001, Helena Cassadine brought her son Stavros back to life. The Cassadine, who was believed to have died in 1983, was put into cryogenic suspension until medicine could revive him. Stavros (Robert Kelker Kelly) set his sights on Laura’s daughter Lulu (Julie Berman) until he was killed again when Luke pushed him into a bottomless pit. Stavros returned several more times briefly, later being revived by Tony Jones (Brad Maule), who was forced by Helena to bring him back after she poisoned his son Lucas.

12. Helena kidnapped baby Spencer

In 2006, Helena conspired with a nanny Colleen McHenry (Amanda Tepe) to kidnap Nikolas and Courtney Matthews (Alicia Leigh Willis) infant son Spencer. Helena managed to get him to Russia and was about to baptize him with a different name when Nikolas and Emily Cassadine (Natalia Livingston) found and stopped her.

13. Helena reveals another Cassadine child

In 2009, a deathly ill Helena told Luke that there was another illegitimate Cassadine spawned by one of many of Mikkos’ affairs, and this one was plotting revenge against both the Spencers and the other Cassadines. His name was Valentin, and even Helena feared him, calling him the worst of the Cassadines. It would be years before Valentin actually appeared on General Hospital.

14. Helena killed her own daughter

Helena kidnapped Luke in 2011 and let his family believe he was just missing and on one of his adventures. She then plotted to have her own daughter Irina Cassadine (Alyshia Ochse) pretend to be Cassandra and seduce Luke’s son Ethan Lovett (Nathan Parsons), only to dump him and break his heart. However Irina claimed she had fallen for Ethan, so Helena produced a badly beaten Luke and announced one of them would die. In the end, Helena opted to shoot and kill Irina.

15. Poisoned earring

Helena Cassadine once poisoned Luke Spencer in a unique way. She poisoned his infamous earring with the radioactive toxin Polonium 210.

16. Helena becomes frozen too

In 2013, Helena returned and kidnapped Lulu and held her captive, along with Ethan. She tried to orchestrate Lulu’s safe return if Laura shot and killed either Ethan or Luke, but Luke was able to turn the tables on Helena and shot her dead. Helena’s body, however, was frozen so she could be later revived by Robin Scorpio-Drake (Kimberly McCullough), who was being held hostage by Victor Cassadine (Thaao Penghlis) at Crichton-Clark at the time. Robin was forced to revive Helena, Stavros and her friend Jason Morgan (Steve Burton).

17. Helena created a baby

Lulu Falconeri (Emme Rylan) went in search of her lost embryo orchestrated by Stavros in order to produce a child between her and the crazed Cassadine. The embryo was last in Helena’s possession. Lulu and her husband Dante (Dominic Zamprogna) were having trouble conceiving a second child and felt the embryo was her last chance for another child. She was stunned to learn Helena had helped Stavros with the creation of the embryo, though by then Stavros had become sterile and couldn’t father the baby. Instead, Helena used Valentin’s (James Patrick Stuart) sperm to fertilize Lulu’s egg and hired Claudette Beaulieu (Bree Williamson) as a surrogate. Valentin learned of this and raised his daughter Charlotte Cassadine (Scarlett Fernandez) as his own and never told her about Lulu until Lulu discovered the truth.

18. Helena made a super-soldier

Helena was determined to have her own super-soldier just like Sonny Corinthos (Maurice Benard) had in Jason Morgan. Because Jason had suffered brain damage, the brainwashing techniques she perfected on Lucky would not work on him. She discovered he had a long lost twin, and conspired with Faison to put Jason’s memories in the twin Drew Cain (Billy Miller) and brainwash him into being her soldier. Helena got a hold of Drew in Afghanistan, and Jason was believed to have been killed by Faison, who shot him on the pier and pushed him into the icy river waters and his body never found. Helena performed the memory transfer on Drew, while the real Jason was then held in a Russian clinic drugged and sedated. For several years Drew worked for Helena doing things still unknown to him. It was Drew who Robin unknowingly revived, and because of the memory transfer, he believed he was Jason Morgan.

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19. Helena and Luke once teamed up

Sworn enemies Luke Spencer and Helena Cassadine teamed up as part of Anthony Geary’s exit storyline in 2015. What initially seemed to be a Luke imposter working with Helena turned out to be Luke, who was suffering from D.I.D. brought on by his father’s abuse and death as a child. Helena and Luke plotted to blow up The Haunted Star, which had many Port Charles residents on board at the time, but the plan failed. Helena ordered Drew, who was still susceptible to her brainwashing, to plant the bomb on the boat. Nikolas had his grandmother locked up in the Cassadine compound in Greece as punishment.

20. Helena’s death

Helena grew ill and died on Cassadine Island in November 2015. It was later revealed that Nikolas was slowly poisoning her, which she knew of. Some viewers have long speculated Helena faked her death and may one day return.

21. Post-death appearances

After she died, Sam Morgan (Kelly Monaco) was regularly haunted by nightmares of Helena, who on her death bed cursed her. She also appeared in a videotaped reading of her will, leaving several items to various Port Charles residents. She again resurfaced when it was revealed years ago she had kidnapped Jake Webber (Hudson West), who was believed to have died when a drunk Luke ran him over, and raised him on Cassadine Island to eventually return to Port Charles and unleash a deadly toxin, the Chimera, on the town at the Nurses’ Ball.