Maurice Benard Biography
Maurice Benard was born in Martinez, California on March 1, 1963. His birth name is Mauricio Morales. His parents are from San Salvador and Nicaragua. He married his wife Paula on August 11, 1990. He has four children: Cailey Sophia, born September 18, 1994, Cassidy Rose, born April 18, 1999, Joshua James, born December 5, 2004, and recently adopted Heather Ann Smith Benard.
Maurice was popular in high school, but by his own account, he was a troublemaker. He tells of getting into a lot of fights and wasn’t too interested in school. After graduation, he tried some modeling jobs. He also started to perform in some local theater. In 1987, he auditioned for the role of Nico Kelly on “All My Children.” He played in the role for two years.
Maurice made his first appearance on "General Hospital" as Sonny Corinthos in 1993. For his portrayal of Sonny, Maurice received an Emmy nomination in 1996 for Outstanding Lead Actor. During that same year, Maurice received the Outstanding Lead Actor trophy at the nationally televised Soap Opera Awards ceremony. In 1997, he received an Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Dramatic Series. On March 10, 2000, he received the Soap Opera Digest Award for Favorite Lead Actor.
Maurice went public with his manic-depressive illness in 1996. In recent years he has become an advocate for helping others with the same diagnosis and reaching out to educate the public. He has revealed many painful experiences about his personal journey. Maurice suffered his first mental breakdown when he was in his early twenties. He went through many years of struggling with his illness and suffered from two more breakdowns. He feels that discussing it publicly will erase some of the stigma that is associated with mental illness. In July 2001, Maurice received the Lionel Aldridge Award from NAMI (National Alliance for the Mentally Ill), for “courage, leadership, and helping others with mental illness. Maurice has bipolar disorder. He is one of the first Hollywood actors and Hispanic celebrities to speak publicly about his illness, helping to fight stigma and discrimination." Maurice was also the keynote speaker at the National Depressive and Manic Depressive Association (NDMDA) annual conference in Boston, on August 13, 2000.
Maurice is also a member of the Pacific Shores Hematology-Oncology Foundation’s Board of Directors.
More about Maurice . . .
- Maurice has a lifetime membership to the prestigious Actors Studio Workshop.
- Maurice had a low rider in high school. He drove a ’76 Monte Carlo.
- Ron Hale recommends to all the new actors that when they’re acting with Maurice, “don't look right into his eyes because you get lost in them."
- Maurice was the Best Man at Real Andrew’s wedding.
- Maurice entered a series of "Most Watchable Man" contests and won the title of "Most Watchable Man in America" in his twenties.
- Maurice memorizes his lines forward and backwards and writes notes on the scripts for how he will play a scene.
- Maurice likes to work out, jogs, and boxes.
- Maurice and his family love animals and have dogs, cats, snakes, birds, and an aquarium full of exotic fish.
All My Children 1987-1989
Role: Nico Kelly
Lucy & Desi: Before the Laughter 1991
Role: Desi Arnaz
Her Wicked Ways 1991
To Face Her Past 1996
Role: Jesse Molina
General Hospital 1993-1997, 1998-present
Role: Michael “Sonny” Corinthos, Jr.
Lethal Charm 1990
Mi Vida Loca 1993
We Married Margo 2000
Role: Father Thomas Rourke
Restraining Order 1999
Crystal Clear 2000