Soap Opera NOW! 4/22/96
  • EXTREME CLOSEUP: Maurice Benard
    It's been a year of heartache and happiness for General Hospital's dark and brooding Sonny Corinthos, a man who has had more ups and downs than the little brown horse on a merry-go-round. That's why, of many of the nominees for this year's daytime Emmys, the reserved and somewhat shy MAURICE BENARD, who constantly turns in moving and powerful performances, is more than worthy of this nod and could very well walk home (well, not walk ... Los Angeles is a little far from Radio City Music Hall) with the prize.

Sonny is a complex character who is very unpredictable and Maurice likes the fact that you never know what he is thinking or planning from one minute to the next. This provides the actor with a complexity of material that is the most fun for him to play and those diverse scenes has given the actor a wealth of scenes from which to choose to submit for his Emmy reel.

Even with all of this superb work under his belt, Maurice still had quite a case of nerves before the nominations were announced. "I felt very relieved and excited after I got the call," the actor shares. "I couldn't sleep the whole night. I woke up at about five in the morning because I knew that the nominations would be announced at about 5:30 and I couldn't go back to sleep. I thought that this was so hard because you just sit there and wait. It was very cool when I got the call though."

The waiting for the phone call was enough cause for the nerves to work overtime, now comes the big moment for nervous jitters--spending the next month in anticipation of the big moment. It's easier said than done, but this actor can somewhat relax, knowing that he has given his all and has been recognized by his peers, having been on the show only two and a half years.

In the past year, Sonny formed a partnership with Luke (ANTHONY GEARY) in the blues club, was happily involved in a relationship with Brenda (VANESSA MARCIL) which ultimately ended due to the secrets he kept, was caught up in the mess with Joe Scully and Luke, and eventually became involved with Lily (LILLY MELGAR). But it was his work with Michael Sutton (ex-Stone) and KIMBERLY MCCULLOUGH) that stands out, by far, as his best work.

"All of the emotional scenes that I had with Michael and Kimberly was among the best," Maurice explains. But those weren't the only ones the actor is proud of. "Earlier in the year I had some scenes with Tony (Luke) and Robert (Joe Scully). It was really hard for me. For instance, I remember one day I had a three page monologue--just me talking. It wasn't one of those things where I had to get very emotional or I had to yell. I just had to talk for three pages. That, I think, was one of my favorite scenes."

The scenes with Michael will probably not be among the work submitted, but that storyline will be included. "Actually," the actor reveals, "the reels that I'll submit, will be from Stone's memorial. I don't know yet which ones. Michael won't be in the scenes," Maurice adds laughing, "but his ashes will be. Then I will probably submit some scenes where Sonny was angry, like when he was breaking up with Brenda."

With the reels picked out and the range of emotions displayed within them, Maurice has a great chance at coming out the victor in this race. Hats off to the actor for his great performances and nomination. Best of luck, Maurice. You sure deserve it.

--Reported by Bill Libengood