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.

Bipolar Disorder Links:

NAMI: Bipolar Disorder

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA)

Mental Health America (MHA)

Bipolar Disorder: About.com

Bipolar disorder - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Mental Health Net

Web MD Bipolar tv

Maurice Benard-Coming Out of the Nightmare-Bipolar Disorder

Maurice Benard-Bipolar Disorder-Family Support

Maurice Benard, Bipolar Disorder

Soap star Maurice Benard: This Rebel has a Cause

Maurice Benard's Bipolar Disorder Awareness PSA

More about Maurice . . .

Credits

 
Television

All My Children 1987-1989

Role: Nico Kelly

Lucy & Desi: Before the Laughter 1991

Role: Desi Arnaz

Her Wicked Ways 1991

Role: Steve

To Face Her Past 1996

Role: Jesse Molina

General Hospital 1993-1997, 1998-present

Role: Michael “Sonny” Corinthos, Jr.

Film

Lethal Charm 1990

Role: Steve

Ruby 1992

Role: Diego

Mi Vida Loca 1993 

Role: Creeper

Splitsville 1999
Role: Frank

We Married Margo 2000

Passions

Role: Father Thomas Rourke

Restraining Order 1999

Crystal Clear 2000

Confession 2010