On the Anniversary of Laura Wright’s General Hospital Hospital Debut, a Tribute to the Emmy Winner’s Accomplishments — and a Look Back at *All* of the Carlys’ Exploits
On November 4, 2005, the soap vet laid claim to what just may be the role of her career.
When Laura Wright was cast by General Hospital as Carly Corinthos, she knew very well the size of the shoes that she was filling. Not only was the character a permanent resident of the frontburner, but she’d been played to great success by three-time Emmy winner Sarah Joy Brown (who’d later return to the show as Claudia Zacchara) and Tamara Braun (who’d later return as Kim Nero). Carly No. 3, One Life to Live vet Jennifer Bransford (Georgie), hadn’t quite fit the bill. So the pressure was on Wright, who aired for the last time as Guiding Light stripper-turned-princess Cassie Winslow only a day before making her first appearance on General Hospital. Nonetheless, she told Soap Opera Digest that her feeling on her first day was, “Look out! Here I come!’
“I had so much… not arrogance,” she added, “but excitement and confidence. I felt like I couldn’t wait to play Carly.” (Watch her introduction below.)
Though Wright had already slayed as Ally Rescott on Loving and The City, not to mention rocked her Guiding Light role, she wasn’t cocky. “I showed up every day ready to kick ass, but as far as feeling like, ‘Haha, it’s mine! I’ve made it!’ I’ve never felt that,” she said during a Michael Fairman TV interview. Instead, she watched as much as she could of her predecessors’ work, because “I did want to honor all the fans and what they loved about Carly,” she mentioned to Digest.
From there, Wright fell in love with Sonny’s on-again/off-again moll just as viewers became enamored of her take on the pivotal character. Immediately, she recalled to Digest, “I absolutely loved the dynamic between Carly, Sonny and Jason. It was so unhealthy and destructive and a perfect soap dynamic, because it creates problems for every other relationship that they have.
“They even know that it’s messed up!” she continued with a laugh. But the trio are nonetheless, basically, “Hey, it is what it is.”
And we wouldn’t have it any other way. By now, Wright, an Emmy winner in her own right, hasn’t just made Carly hers, she’s added so many layers to Bobbie Spencer’s daughter that she probably knows her as well or better than the show’s writers. There’s literally nothing that she can’t do in this part. During a 2021 edition of Maurice Benard’s State of Mind vlog — watch it above — he admitted that when she was cast, “I was done with Carly” as far as Sonny was concerned. “And despite that, Laura came in and said, ‘I don’t care, I’m gonna do this to the best of my ability,’ and she’s made Carly the biggest thing around.”
That, she has. And on this momentous occasion, we’re celebrating her achievements with the below photo gallery that highlights significant moments in her as well as her predecessors’ stints as Carly. Take a look, why don’t you? If this isn’t, ahem, an offer you can’t refuse, we don’t know what is.
Video: YouTube/onexandxonly007, State of Mind
<p>In 1996, Carly Benson (then Sarah Joy Brown) arrived in Port Charles with a chip on her shoulder the size of a hubcap. And rather than merely confront Bobbie Spencer, the mother who in her days as a teenage hooker had given away her baby, the human wrecking ball sought revenge by flashing a little midriff and seducing her unwitting stepfather, Tony Jones.</p>
<p>From the start, Carly had complicated feelings for sometime booty call Jason Morgan. And they only grew more complex after she mistook a moment between him and Elizabeth Webber as more than him comforting her in the wake of boyfriend Lucky Spencer’s “death” and did the one thing that made sense in that moment: Carly had hate sex with her BFF with benefits’ BFF, Sonny Corinthos.</p>
<p>After Sonny helped (cough) “convince” A.J. Quartermaine to give up his rights to his and Carly’s son, Michael, she couldn’t help but fall for the dimpled don. Soon, the two of them were getting married and remarried as often as we get our car’s oil changed. Not that their lives were <em>all</em> weddings and honeymoons, of course. There were also betrayals galore and a period during which Carly (then Tamara Braun) was hooked up with… </p>
<p>As anyone would, after being shot in the head by Sonny while Lorenzo Alcazar was helping her deliver son Morgan — hey, it could happen — Carly began a relationship with the rival mobster. But since his name rhymed with neither “funny” nor “bunny,” it didn’t last. And after another spin on the marry-go-’round with her favorite ex, Carly acted on her feelings for his longtime rival Jasper Jacks by saying…</p>
<p>For a hot minute, it looked like Jax’s marriage to Carly (now Laura Wright) might actually stick. But then she suffered a miscarriage after being caught in an explosion <em>and</em> Michael slipped into coma following a botched hit on Sonny, and she seduced her ex in order to get him to sign away his rights to their remaining children. Taking this development poorly, Jax retaliated by shagging Sonny’s old flame, Kate Howard.</p>
<p>Drawn once more to a mafioso, Carly was just starting to get serious with Johnny Zacchara (Brandon Barash, now Jake on <em>Days of Our Lives</em>) when… Dang it! Wouldn’t ya know? Kate’s alternate personality, Connie Falconeri, forced the baby-faced mobster into not only an affair but a marriage in order to <em>really</em> stick it to Sonny. Sorry, Johnny, no coffee for you, then. Not. Even. Decaf.</p>
<p>… it’s just one of the saner moments at Carly’s wedding to reformed serial killer Franco Baldwin (Roger Howarth, who now plays Austin Gatlin-Holt). Not only did the groom’s maniacal mother Heather Webber take a shot at objecting in her own unique way, Franco expressed his own displeasure at his fiancée’s affair with her ex by revealing that Sonny had murdered Michael’s biological father. So, “Electric Slide,” anyone?</p>
<p>Though Carly and Sonny got a second (22nd?) chance at happily ever after, it was shattered by son Morgan’s untimely demise. Carly had thought that it couldn’t get any worse than when he was carrying on with Sonny’s babymama, card-carrying femme fatale Ava Jerome, but oh, the fates just <em>had</em> to prove her wrong. There would be no more touching moments of family bonding like this for the Corinthoses!</p>
<p>Much like Carly snuck into Port Charles and made mom Bobbie’s life hell, Mrs. C’s sorta half sister Nelle Benson did the same to <em>her</em>, pretending to have schtupped Sonny, <em>really</em> schtupping Michael and basically setting the stage for more heartache and agita than anyone since… well, Carly. And her legacy of pot-stirring would continue even after her death; that’s how you know that Nelle was a grade-A supervixen!</p>
<p>While an amnesiac Sonny was hanging in Nixon Falls and beginning a new life as mild-mannered “Mike,” his “widow” and bestie sought to shore up the Corinthos clan’s hold on their territory by tying the knot. (This apparently really impresses mobsters.) The renewed romance was just supposed to be for show, but we all know how these things go. Before long, Carly and Jason were remembering just how hot a couple they’d once been.</p>
<p>Shortly after Sonny “rose from the grave,” Jason met his maker, and Carly started needing a compass to know which end was up. By the time she caught her husband in bed with Nina Reeves, the woman for whom his Nixon Falls alter ego “Mike” had fallen, she was ready to pound the final nail in the coffin of their marriage herself.</p>
<p>These days, Carly is flying solo, having made the painful decision to end her marriage. Fortunately, Jason stand-in Drew and her son Michael are by her side. And while Carly swears she’s done with Sonny — and probably even thinks she means it — we’ve been down this path before and know that whether she likes it or not, all roads lead back to her favorite ex! </p>
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