general hospital maurice benard kelly monaco sonny sam

Images: John Paschal/JPI (2)

A past plotline of Sonny’s took an even greater toll on his portrayer than that of Mike’s death.

That Maurice Benard is a phenomenal actor will come as news to absolutely no one. But what even the General Hospital star’s most ardent admirers might not realize is that the Emmy winner does some of his best acting when the cameras aren’t rolling. So when he began to struggle emotionally during Sonny’s nervous breakdown of a few years back, no one on the set could tell.

“The storyline went on for like three, four months,” he recalls in his latest State of Mind vlog. “The producers would ask me if I’m all right” — and he’d assure them that he was. But “deep down, I knew I wasn’t.”

More: Take the ultimate Sam McCall quiz

As the troubled don’s condition deteriorated, so did that of his portrayer. “By the end of it, my wife [Paula] knew that I wasn’t doing well, so she called the producers and said, ‘Cut it,’” he shares. “I remember the last scene where I heard my [real-life] mom and dad talking… They live in San Francisco” — and weren’t visiting — “so probably a good thing they stopped it.”

More: The real reason the death of GH’s Mike matters

Elsewhere in the episode, Benard reveals what was “the hardest set to work on” in his entire career, the horrifying instance in which his missus’ thyroid-cancer diagnosis had him imagining the worst, and the words of wisdom that he received from castmate Kelly Monaco (Sam). As the story goes, he was explaining in the General Hospital makeup room one day that when he felt good, he didn’t want to go to therapy. Monaco — who Benard pointed out “won Dancing With the Stars la di da di da, but she’s cool” — told him, “Maurice, when you’re at your best is when you absolutely need therapy. I said, ‘Damn, Kelly, I’m gonna use that on State of Mind.’”

And indeed, he did. You can watch the whole video above, and when you’re done, maybe you’d like to check out the below photo gallery, which previews all the ways that General Hospital might be shaken up in the wake of Mike’s death. How Sonny will be impacted is just the tip of the iceberg!

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