History of Sonny Corinthos
Sonny Corinthos was first shown on General Hospital on August 13, 1993. The character was only going to temporary, but audience reaction was immediate and strong, and it wasn’t long before Sonny Corinthos was on his way to becoming one of the most memorable characters of General Hospital.
Sonny grew up in Bensonhurst, a neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York. Sonny’s father, Mike, abandoned him when he was four years old. Mike would come back occasionally, but it was only for a brief time. Mike was a chronic gambler and would always spend the rent money, steal something like Sonny's bike, and then disappear again. Adela loved Mike and was excited when he came around. She would play music and dance. Mike would break Adela's heart when he left again and Sonny never forgot how much his father hurt his mother. Occasionally, when Mike would show up again, both father and son would play catch or go to a New York Yankees game, but then Mike would just as quickly disappear again without saying goodbye. Sonny learned to stop getting his hopes up or trusting his father because he had been heartbroken too many times. Eventually, Mike stopped coming around.
After Mike left his family, Sonny and Adela struggled with money and trying to get by. Sonny adored his mother. Adela was a strict Catholic and always took Sonny to church and they said the rosary together. Adela was a beautiful women and it wasn't long before she met another man. Adela married Deke Woods, a New York City Policeman, when Sonny was seven. Adela had grown up in Cuba and had seen a lot of violence, so she always felt safe with a man in uniform. Mike had been in the Army and that is what had attracted her to him as well.
Sonny after Adela's marriage, Deke started to abusive Sonny and his mother. Deke would drink heavily and take his wrath out on both Sonny and Adela. Deke’s brutality would leave lifetime scars on Sonny. Deke would routinely punish Sonny by locking him in a closet and then beating him with a belt. As a result, Sonny suffers from claustrophobia. After a while, Sonny learned to shut down the pain. Sonny would have to listen to his mother's screams from the locked closet as Deke beat her. Sonny started to figure out that, “If I got in enough trouble, he'd have to pick on me, so for a long time he left her alone.” When Sonny started getting in trouble at school and in the neighborhood, Deke focused his wrath on Sonny instead of Adela.
Sonny's neighbor was Lois Cerullo and her family. He was best friends with her brother, Louie. Sonny often stayed with the Cerullo's because they had a lot of kids and he was treated like part of the family. He liked the normalcy of their life, where their father played with them and their mother had a special place in her heart for Sonny. Their household became his sanctuary from his brutal and violent life with Deke.
Although Sonny has only talked lovingly about his mother, Adela asked him to leave home when he was sixteen. Sonny and Deke were continually fighting and Sonny was getting strong enough to fight back. Their confrontations were getting very violent and Adela was afraid they would kill each other. She told Sonny the best thing would be for him to leave. Sonny was living on the streets for a while. He would eat out of garbage cans and do what he had to do to survive. Sonny would come back to visit Adela when Deke was at work. He would buy her nice things and take her out.
Sonny was getting in a lot of trouble living on the streets. He got caught stealing local mobster Joe Scully’s car. He had taken the car for a joyride. Sonny’s fate was changed forever that day. Joe took an immediate liking to Sonny and took him under his wing. He gave him the home that Sonny had always yearned for. He was the father figure that Sonny had always desired. Joe protected Sonny. According to Sonny, Joe saved him from prison or an early death. Sonny rose through the ranks quickly and found his niche in the mob world.
One time, when Sonny goes to visit his mother on her birthday, he finds Adela unconscious on the floor, severely beaten. Sonny rushes her to the hospital. Adela had suffered another beating by Deke. Sonny was very shaken and upset and confided in Joe about how Deke had mercifully beat him and his mother for years. Joe tells Sonny to be seen with a lot of people the next day. Sonny goes to the Cerullo's for a BBQ. The same day, Deke Woods is murdered in an alley, shot in the head and heart, a sign of a corrupt cop. Sonny never asked Joe to do this, but there was an unspoken understanding that Sonny owed Joe for killing his stepfather. Sonny was grateful to Joe. He was able to tell his mother at the funeral that he had nothing to do with Deke’s death. A few years later Adela died. Sonny always felt that Deke contributed to her early death from all of the physical abuse she received.
Sonny sees his father, Mike, at the Belmont racetrack when he’s about 21. Sonny doesn’t recognize him, because it had been so long since they have seen each other. Mike asks how Adela and Deke are and Sonny tells him they are both dead. Mike is surprised and sees that Sonny is doing well, as he has a lot of money and is wearing nice clothes. Sonny gives his father $100 for the track. Mike thanks him, but they don't keep in contact. The next time Sonny sees his father is when Mike arrives in Port Charles to reconcile with his long, lost son.
As the years progress, more back story is added to the history of Sonny Corinthos:
- When Sonny was about five years old, and Mike was not around anymore, his mother was a secretary for a man named Trevor Lansing. Trevor lets Adela bring Sonny to work and also brings both mother and son to Martha's Vineyard for vacations. Trevor hates Sonny from the very beginning. When Adela gets pregnant, Trevor want to marry her, but he doesn't want Sonny to be part of their lives. He tells Adela she has to choose between Sonny or her unborn child. Adela chooses to stay with Sonny and gives up her rights to her unborn baby. Soon after, Adela marries Deke Woods. Years later, when Sonny's grown brother, Ric Lansing arrives in Port Charles, Sonny does not know he ever had a brother. But Ric is spiteful of Sonny and the brother's are never able to bond. Ric has as much hatred for Sonny, as his father Trevor did.
- After Mike is in Port Charles for a few years, he reveals to Sonny that he has a sister named Courtney. Mike tells Sonny that after he left Sonny and Adela on their own, he went from town to town as a grifter. He met Janine Matthews. They both liked to gamble and hit it off, but soon Mike's gambling addiction wore thin on Janine. After being together eight years, Mike stole all of Janine's savings and blew it on a crap game. Janine kicked Mike out. He left for a few days and when he returned, Janine and Courtney were gone. Mike never found them until both Janine and Courtney arrive in Port Charles. Janine had told Courtney that Mike had died. When Sonny meets Courtney, their relationship is strained. Courtney dies during the encephalitis virus outbreak. Right before her death, Courtney delivers a healthy baby boy. Nikolas Cassadine is the father and is raising him.
- Kate Howard arrives in Port Charles and it is revealed that she is really Connie Falconeri from Bensonhurst. She is Sonny's first love. They were going to run away together and leave Bensonhurst, but Connie changes her mind and leaves Sonny waiting for her at their meeting spot.
- Olivia Falconeri is Kate's cousin, also from Bensonhurst. She also dates Sonny as a teenager. Olivia became pregnant with Sonny's child, but does not tell him. She feels that because Sonny is working for Joe Scully, his future can only lead to a path of violence. She also admits that she is jealous of Sonny's relationship with her cousin, Connie. Sonny leaves Bensonhurst never knowing about his child. When Dante arrives in Port Charles as an adult, he is a cop with a vendetta against Sonny Corinthos. Olivia does not have any regrets about her secret. But Sonny is devastated that he never got to know his son.