General Hospital’s James Patrick Stuart Recalls the Big Break That He Didn’t Even Realize Was One: ‘I Had to Pass On a Taco Bell Commercial’ to Do It
If you blinked, you might have missed him in a certain Hollywood blockbuster.
Proof positive that you never know what will turn up on the Internet: On October 17, a follower of James Patrick Stuart’s tweeted out a clip from Pretty Woman, one in which an all-decked-out Richard Gere and Julia Roberts make a big impression on hotel staff including…
Yep, a baby-faced Stuart himself.
Shot in 1989 at the infamous Ambassador Hotel in LA. Working title was “Three Thousand.” My first gig after 2 years of acting school. I had no idea who Julia Robert’s was & I had to pass on a National Taco Bell commercial because the shoot conflicted with my 3 days on the movie. https://t.co/jrBV879REk
— James Patrick Stuart (@japastu) October 17, 2021
The future General Hospital star was still a year away from his breakthrough daytime role, that of the dastardly Will Cortlandt on All My Children. (Fun fact: He succeeded CBS weatherman Lonnie Quinn in the part.) And Stuart didn’t entirely realize what a big deal the movie was going to be.
It was “shot in 1989 at the infamous Ambassador Hotel in L.A.,” he recalled. (That’s where Senator Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1968.) The “working title was Three Thousand [the number of dollars the titular hooker was offered for a week’s services].”
Stuart, now a General Hospital MVP as Valentin, was happy to be cast as an awestruck bellhop… at least mostly. It was “my first gig after two years of acting school,” he said. But “I had no idea who Julia Roberts was, and I had to pass on a national Taco Bell commercial because the shoot conflicted with my three days on the movie.”
Needless to say, it all worked out in the end. And while you’re here, check out the below photo gallery of soap stars who made it big in primetime and movies, then returned to daytime.
<p>A soap superstar, thanks to her work in the 1980s as Hope on <em>Days of Our Lives</em>, Alfonso transitioned to primetime in ’87 with the series-regular role of Pilar Ortega on CBS’ <em>Falcon Crest</em>. But after the primetime soap’s cancellation in 1990 — and a stint as Sydney’s madam on <em>Melrose Place</em> — she followed her tracks back to Salem.</p>
<p>No sooner had the Emmy winner left <em>The Young and the Restless</em> and his role of Malcolm than he began lining up primetime gigs and movie shoots. Despite the speed with which his star was rising, he returned to the soap in 2004, and even after making it not big but <em>ginormous</em> as the handsomest face on <em>Criminal Minds</em>, revisited Genoa City twice more, in 2014 and — to honor the late Kristoff St. John (Neil) — in 2019.</p>
<p>Following her initial run as <em>General Hospital</em> badass Anna, the Emmy winner continued kicking butt in primetime — in series such as <em>Jack’s Place</em> (with erstwhile <em>Barney Miller</em> Hal Linden), <em>Blossom</em> (with <em>The Big Bang Theory</em>’s Mayim Bialik) and Aaron Spelling’s <em>Pacific Palisades </em>(with <em>General Hospital</em>’s future Jim, Greg Evigan). Yet she came back to daytime in 1999 as Anna’s twin sister, Alex, on <em>All My Children</em> and eventually returned Anna to Port Charles.</p>
<p>The future <em>Knots Landing</em> supervixen spent the late 1960s doing daytime, appearing first on <em>The Secret Storm</em>, then <em>Love Is a Many Splendored Thing</em>. <em>Play Misty for Me</em> made her a movie star in 1971, and, of course, Abby Ewing made her a primetime icon. But in 2014, she returned to afternoon television to play Nina’s Mommie Dearest, Madeline Reeves, on <em>General Hospital.</em></p>
<p>From 1982-86, the Daytime Emmy winner pretty much owned <em>All My Children</em>’s frontburner as “Tad the Cad.” But we assumed that after his charming performance in the feature <em>Date With an Angel</em> (opposite Phoebe Cates) in 1987, soapdom would never see him again. So imagine our surprise — and delight — when he ultimately returned to <em>All My Children</em> (and later joined the cast of <em>The Young and the Restless</em> as Simon and, most recently,<em> General Hospital</em> as smarmy lawyer Martin).</p>
<p>After scoring a major role in 1996’s <em>The Rock</em> — she played Nicolas Cage’s girlfriend — <em>General Hospital</em> fans thought that Marcil was gone for good when she left the soap two years later. And she did score a frontburner role on <em>Beverly Hills, 90210.</em> Nonetheless, she brought Brenda back to Port Charles in 2002, moved to primetime’s <em>Las Vegas</em> a year later, then returned to <em>General Hospital</em> yet again in 2010 (<em>and</em> 2013 <em>and</em>… TBD).</p>
<p>The Daytime Emmy winner actually had a long history in primetime before he took his first soap role — remember Diego on <em>The Young and the Restless</em>? Anyway, after playing <em>General Hospital</em> do-gooder Lucky and <em>Days of Our Lives</em> hero Eric, he returned to evening fare with OWN’s <em>Queen Sugar</em>, only to come back to daytime — and the NBC soap — yet again. So you can’t fault us for hoping that Salem hasn’t seen the last of him.</p>
<p>With four Daytime Emmys sparkling in his trophy case, Lucky’s portrayer was a hot property when he left <em>General Hospital</em> in 1999. In no time, he was starring in major motion pictures like <em>The Deep End of the Ocean</em> with Michelle Pfeiffer and <em>Tuck Everlasting</em> with <em>Gilmore Girls</em>’ Alexis Bledel. Still, a decade later, he reclaimed his old role (recast twice in his absence) and came back yet again for a quick visit when on-screen dad Anthony Geary (ex-Luke) retired.</p>
<p>When primetime mega-hit <em>Knots Landing</em> cast Reckell as Johnny Rourke in 1988, the daytime MVP was on his way. But after only a single season on the <em>Dallas</em> spinoff, he was on his way back to <em>Days of Our Lives</em> and the role of Bo for which he was so beloved.</p>
<p>The ingenue was the toast of daytime during her 1981-84 run as <em>All My Children</em> sweetheart Jenny. And when she moved on, first becoming a series regular on <em>NYPD Blue</em>, then <em>Army Wives</em>, we assumed that she was gone for good. But lo and behold, in 2020, <em>General Hospital</em> lured her back into a lather to assume the role of Jackie, previously played by big-screen big deal Demi Moore.</p>
<p>Already a soap vet when <em>General Hospital</em> cast her as Lois in 1993, Sofer hung her hat in Port Charles for four years before taking Hollywood by storm, appearing on everything from <em>Seinfeld</em> and <em>Friends</em> to <em>Heroes</em> and <em>24</em>. Then, after more than a decade away from daytime, she came back in 2013 in order to sink her teeth into the juicy role of <em>The Bold and the Beautiful</em> scheme queen Quinn.</p>
<p>In the wake of a highly impactful run on <em>All My Children</em> as Nico, the future Daytime Emmy winner nabbed the part of a lifetime when he was cast in 1991 as Desi Arnaz in the TV movie <em>Lucy & Desi: Before the Laughter.</em> Alas, when the small-screen biopic wasn’t a big hit, he was drawn back to soaps, where — well, <em>this</em> has worked out awfully well, hasn’t it? — he accepted the part of Sonny on <em>General Hospital.</em></p>
<p>More than once, this legendary sex symbol returned to her soap roots. After a four-year stint as <em>Search for Tomorrow</em> temptress Jennifer Pace, she struck it big in primetime sudsers like <em>Flamingo Road</em>, <em>Paper Dolls</em> and <em>Falcon Crest</em>. Years later, she helped transform <em>Loving</em> into <em>The City</em> in 1995 by joining the cast as Sydney Chase. Then in 2017, she passed through <em>Days of Our Lives</em> as the latest incarnation of Anjelica Deveraux.</p>
<p>Just three years into his run as <em>The Young and the Restless</em>’ Nick, Hollywood took notice of the then-two-time Emmy nominee and cast him opposite Rachel Ward in the tawdry TV movie <em>My Stepson, My Lover.</em> But — and this makes Morrow a real anomaly for this list — he never left the CBS soap for longer than it took him to shoot the telepic (to date, his only one). <em>That’s</em> dedication.</p>
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