Credit: Jill Johnson/JPI (3)

If you never wanted to visit Nixon Falls, don’t blame the Emmy winner.

Few and far between are the storylines that have galvanized General Hospital viewers like the one that has found an amnesiac Sonny falling for Nina. And over and over, Maurice Benard, who plays “Mike,” has defended the plot. Hey, he’s been loving it — and why wouldn’t he? It gives him something new and different to play, and opposite someone new (the sublime Cynthia Watros).

But in a recent talk with Michael Fairman, the soap vet made a few things abundantly clear. Starting with? “I know people think this story is my idea, like I needed a break or something,” he began. “It has nothing to do with me needing a break. They came to me and said they were going to do this story. I said, ‘Let’s do this!’

“I’ve been enjoying this,” he added. “It’s a different energy. The energy that Sonny has is dark. It’s like in third gear. Mike is like in first gear — calm, relaxed, happy.”


Benard was anything but those things when fans on social media reacted to his recent Emmy acceptance speech, in which he referred to himself as the star of the show. “I went to Genie [Francis, Laura, afterward] because I thought, ‘I don’t want her to take what I said personally,’ and she’s like, ‘What are you talking about?’

“Sometimes I respond to a negative comment on Twitter with an emoji, which can incite people,” he went on. “So I decided, ‘I’m not going to do that anymore. No more responding.’… I stopped with the child’s play.”

While you’re here, stop off at the below photo gallery, which revisits Benard’s former soap, All My Children — remember his stint as Nico Kelly? — to reveal what its stars looked like then… and now.