This & That
 

GH’s Dominic Zamprogna Talks Dante & Lulu’s Break-Up And Future & The Support Of The Cast During Difficult Time!

Speaking of Maurice Benard, I know he has been extremely supportive throughout your career at GH.   What can you say about your relationship, especially during the difficult time of your mother’s passing?

DOMINIC:   The scenes with Maurice in the boxing gym were really difficult.  They were my first scenes back to work since my mom died, and it was supposed to be emotional, and he and Lisa and I went out to lunch beforehand.  I said, “Listen, I have never been through anything like this in my life.  They want these scenes to be emotional and I just don’t know what’s going to happen.”  I felt so screwed up.  Maurice is the most supportive actor I have worked with in my life, bar none.  That guy has been a friend and mentor to me since day one.  And those scenes were real, and when he put his hand on my arm in that scene and said, “You got me.”  It was Mo telling me I had his support and love.  So, we are stronger than ever.   My mom got ill very quickly.  She went into the hospital on September 1st and passed away on September 25th.  It was devastating.  You know who your friends are at a time like this.  I consider Maurice one of my dearest friends for the rest of my life.  He makes you a better actor.  He has been doing amazing work.  Since I have gotten to GH, Maurice has reached a whole other level, and his ego is completely removed.  He is not concerned about Maurice anymore, he is just there.  You can tell by the end of the week he is just exhausted, because of what he puts into it.  I am so honored to be able to work by his side.


General Hospital celebrates its 13,000 episode. 2/14

Mix & Mingle With Maurice!

It's been several years since GENERAL HOSPITAL star Maurice Benard (Sonny) has made a public appearance outside of the GH Fan Club Weekend. But that's all about to change come January: Not only does the fan favorite have several events lined up, but the actor -- who has publicly confessed to a fear of flying as a result of his bipolar disorder -- is going all out by making his return to the East Coast! Soaps In Depth recently chatted with the multiple Emmy winner all about it!

Soaps In Depth : When was the last time you did a fan event on the East Coast?
Maurice Benard: It's been about eight years. I think the last time I flew was when I did THE OPRAH WINFREY SHOW in 2004. I've had a problem flying, but I'm bringing my whole family and they're going to be seated with me. I think it's going to be much easier for me. I'm going to do an appearance in Hollywood, FL, and we're going to spend a couple of days in Disney World. And from there, we're going to go to New York, and I'll do my appearances there. We're going to see some Broadway plays while we're there. My daughters have a whole list!

In Depth : After all this time, what are you most excited about for these events?
Benard: I used to love doing appearances. I love interacting with the fans. But then I couldn't fly for a long time, so I just can't wait to get back out there. I've got to be honest with you, I'm nervous to do it. I want to be great! I think I've got some nice surprises for the fans.

In Depth : Do you expect to get a lot of feedback from the fans, like you get at the GHFC Weekend?
Benard: At the weekend, right there, the fans tell me what they love about the show, what seems to be working for them and maybe what isn't. Usually some fans might like this, some others might like that. But I just like interacting with them. I get up there and do my own thing -- sometimes we're having fun, sometimes it's serious. I don't BS. I tell the truth. Well, as much as I can!

In Depth : Do you think you'll do more appearances in the future?
Benard: Yeah, if this goes well. I think I'll start doing more of them. I like doing them, and I miss doing them. I can't wait to get back in there and meet the fans.

In Depth : Maybe you can go on the road with Port Chuck next!
Benard: Uh... I think I'll pass on that one! I think it's great what they're doing, and they're having a great time. But no, no, no, no... I only sing at home!

Benard will be visiting Florida, New York, New Jersey and Connecticut from Thursday, January 6, through Sunday, January 9, 2011. While the NJ event is sold out, tickets are still available for his other appearances. For more information, visit www.mauricebenard.tv.

Thursday, January 6
Improv Comedy Club
5700 Seminole Way, Hollywood, FL
(954) 981-5653
Showtime: 7:00 p.m.
Tickets: $100 VIP -- limited to 200 people, includes meet/greet, photo op; $65 show only includes Q&A

Friday, January 7
Treehouse Comedy Productions
Edmund Town Hall, Newtown, CT
(203) 268-5857
Showtime: 7:00 p.m.
Tickets: $150.00 VIP ticket includes photo op; $75.00 show only

Saturday, January 8
Governor's Comedy Club
90 Division Avenue, Levittown, NY
(516) 731-3358
Showtime: 10:00 a.m.
Tickets: $167.00

Saturday, January 8
Uncle Vinnie's Comedy Club
520 Arnold Avenue, Point Pleasant, NJ
(732) 899-3900
Showtime: 5:00 p.m.
Tickets: $150 + tax SOLD OUT

Sunday, January 9
The Lane Theater
168 New Dorp Lane, Staten Island, NY
(718) 667-3500
Showtime: 10:00 a.m.
Tickets: $150.00 VIP -- includes photo op; $75.00 show only


Drew Garrett on his reaction to his Daytime Emmy Nomination!

by Michael Fairman On Air/On Soaps

http://michaelfairmansoaps.com

5/12/10

Drew on how he found out he was nominated: “I found out through the east coast from some family members who were not taking the time change on the west coast into consideration, because it was 6AM in L.A.  I woke up very early.  And my day began after that, because I could not go back to sleep, because it was such awesome news.  My mind was spinning.  Thee best thing to wake up too! Later, I spoke with Maurice Benard (Sonny) who was my on-camera dad, but I felt like he was my off-camera dad at times.   One thing that he said that reminded me of how he is such a great guy… was when I said to him, “Oh Maurice. I was bummed you did not get nominated!”   But he said, “You know what man? Even if I had my nomination, I would give it up as long as you got yours.”


How was it working with Maurice Benard? (July 2009)

"It's been great. We're very similar actors in the way we go about our business and I think it's working out well for our chemistry on screen. He was in an interview the other day and he called me into it, and answered a question [similar to the one just asked] about me and he described it as [that] we have the same kind of motor, and the same kind of process. Even in the audition, it was a crazy, adrenaline-filled scene. He told Lisa LoCicero afterwards that he thought I was going to hit him in the scene! Which obviously I wouldn't have done, but it's been like that ever since. Every time we're doing a scene together, there's an intensity. I mean you can't not have an intensity working with him. He's an intense guy. If you match him, or at least try and find a way for your character to get what they want out of the scene with him, he's going to play with you. There's a lot of actors who don't actually play -- they lose the honesty of the scenes ... they are just waiting to speak their line. Like we all do in real life, people just want to think about what they're going to say next instead of actually listening to the words coming out of people's mouths. So when you work with someone that's actually [listening and reacting] ... It's like "Wow, that's kind of cool." I changed the line and you were listening because you changed things too. You throw him a fastball, he'll throw you a curveball. When you can play catch like that, it makes working fun." Dominic Zamprogna, who plays Dante on GH. Courtesy of SoapNet.


Soaps In Depth-Happy Father's Day (June 2007)

Wife Paula may be the love of his life, but it sounds to us like kids Cailey Sophia, 12, Cassidy Rose, 8, and Joshua James, 2, are the apples of Maurice Benard's eye. "Being a father is the greatest thing that's ever happened to me," proclaims the Emmy-winning actor. "My children make it easy for me to keep in mind what is important and what life is about." While Benard thought that life was as good as it gets when the house was full of his "girls," the addition of a son to the family was just the icing on the cake, especially considering that before Joshua was born, the Benards were told the baby would likely be a third daughter! "The doctor said it was a 90 percent chance that it was a girl. I accepted that, and it was fine. I love my girls! But I did want a boy," he confesses. Now that little Joshua is developing more of his own personality every day, the additional testosterone in a house full of females has slightly evened the playing field for his Dad! "They loved ganging up on me, because I was the only boy in the house," he shares. "And they wanted another girl to make it worse for me!"


Soap Talk-Soap Net Interviews Ron Hale (August 02, 2006)

Ty and Lisa welcome Ron Hale, who plays General Hospital's Mike Corbin. After making a name for himself playing resident bad guy Roger Coleridge on Ryan's Hope, Ron found new fans playing Sonny's father. Ron reveals the secret to the scenes he plays with Maurice Benard; the two men don't run lines with each other, preferring to go on instinct and live in the moment when the cameras start rolling.

As sad as Ron was to see Alicia Leigh Willis leave General Hospital, he says he's happy for her, knowing she's moving on for all the right reasons. Plus, he jokes, he knew he'd get to work a lot once Courtney was killed off the show.

Ty asks Ron if there are any plans for a love interest for Mike, and gives his suggestion: Ilene Kristen (OLTL's Roxy). Ron is on the same page for that one; he's still good friends in real life with his former Ryan's Hope co-star.

Ron reminisces about his Ryan Hope days, in particular the death scene with Frank Latimore, who played his father. Turns out Ron spent the whole scene trying to keep Frank's toupee in place.

Ron fills Lisa and Ty in on his role in the classic film All the President's Men Ron met with Robert Redford, who liked Ron but said he wasn't right for the role; Redford needed him to be 20 years older and 40 pounds heavier. A few weeks later, Ron got a call from his agent with a message from Redford: "Get down to Washington, age 20 years, put on 40 pounds and you've got the job!"

Christmas Rapping (Soaps in Depth. 12/20/05).

“Amazing.” “Incredible.” “Fantastic.” “Unbelievable.” These are but a few of the adjectives that General Hospital’s Maurice Benard uses to describe his mammoth Thanksgiving this year. Since both his and wife Paula's families converged on the Benard home, there was, to put it mildly, no shortage of good cheer. However, the Emmy winner was equally excited about spending Christmas with his immediate family.

Since firstborn son Joshua had only made his grand entrance into the world last December, Dad is looking forward to "seeing his eyes light up" now that he is old enough to better appreciate the hoopla, Benard says. "And the girls, my daughters, Cailey and Cassidy, are so great with him. I know they'll be helping him open his presents."

Of course, the Benard sisters will have gifts of their own to tear into as well. "They're always so happy, no matter what they get," Pop marvels. And elder daughter Cailey has a special treat in store for her father this year: The young pianist will be playing "Silent Night" for him and their loved ones.

Wanna bet the moment will be, among other adjectives, beautiful, delightful, tuneful and unforgettable? We'd take that bet, too!


Maurice and Joshua Benard 7/05


Car bombs, gun fights, blown-up exes...ah, but a few of the hair-curling horrors that soap star Maurice Benard has faced in his nearly 12-year career playing Sonny Corinthos, the hot-blooded don of General Hospital's mob. Offscreen, happily, the Daytime Emmy-winning actor's life is slightly less Sopranos-esque--though it's not necessarily without its daunting tasks. There are, after all, dirty diapers once again in his California household, now that son Joshua James, five months, has joined Benard, wife Paula and daughters Cailey, 10, and Cassidy, six.

"I'm not going to lie," grins the actor, "I think I've changed maybe one diaper this time around. I mean, I've done maybe seven in my whole life." Benard is nonetheless a devoted dad, especially of late. "I love all my kids," he stresses, "but I'm doing a little bit more with [Joshua], as far as holding him and playing with him and talking to him and singing to him." 5/05 (iVillage Entertainment)


Maurice visits Disneyworld with his family (5/04).


Real Andrews comments in SOD 4/04
 
In talking about hitting it off with his ATWT castmates . . . "whose warmth reminds him of the only person from his old show who he keeps in touch with, an old friend and best man at his wedding, Maurice Benard (Sonny). "It’s interesting because the way Maurice received me on my first day at General Hospital is the way everyone received my here," he says. "I thought I was in the best situation you could ever be in on GH, but I didn’t know any different. (ATWT) has been above my expectations. It really is a family, right down to the crew."

Real life mob daughter, Victoria Gotti comments on Maurice Benard (from Soap Dish) 4/04

. . . "I'm out to dinner with a bunch of friends," she says of a recent gathering at Elaine's, "and the subject of dating came up. I said, 'There really are no good guys out there,' and Lynne [White, WPIX/Ch. 11's morning anchor] said, 'Who do you think is the perfect man?' Sonny Corinthos, [played by] Maurice Benard, from 'General Hospital' pops into my head. She said, 'I have to ask you, does it have anything to do with the fact that he's a mob boss?' I said, 'Absolutely not. That's the one trait about him I don't like. But we can work around that.' She was hysterical."

So ... what is it, then?

"He just has this dark look about him, this vulnerability, that makes every woman want to run up and hug him and set him on the right road. He's something else!"


Father and Son (SOD 2/3/04)

Ron Hale (Mike) and onscreen son Maurice Benard (Sonny) were captured on film chatting outside the GH studio.


Babes In Arms (SID 10/28/03)

"He's going to be trippin' a little bit," says Maurice Benard of the upcoming birth of Sonny's baby with Carly. However, if Benard's bonding with the other youngsters in his life is any indication of Sonny's parenting future, he's got a good thing coming. His TV son, Dylan Cash (Michael), is a prime example of his communication skills with tots. "I love that kid," he says of Cash. "I'm telling you, he's such a good actor. His father says 'Listen to Maurice. Whatever Maurice says, do.' So I'll say, 'Dylan, okay, when I say this line, you just look at me and whatever is coming from my eyes, let it go into your eyes.' And every time he's right there." Then there's the playful tease he becomes when he talks with his four-year-old daughter, Cassidy. "I study my lines now with Cassidy. She's in the back seat (of the car) and she's like, 'Papa, who you talking to?' So I play with her. I say, "Uh, it's my friend Michael." Her response? "Can I meet him?"


Whoa, Mo! (SID 10/21/03)

"The first day I worked here, I had scenes with Maurice Benard (Sonny)," Rick Hearst (Ric) recalls. "I knew I had to be on my game for several reasons. I wanted to be able to not be locked into the script; I wanted to be able to listen and become involved with what he was doing and also bring some strong viewpoint because he respects that. He's very strong. If you do not come in with something in mind, you're going to look really bad. But I could see that he appreciated me. It was an aweseome feeling. We knew we had a commitment. He brings up the game."


Fun Factoids (SOD, Summer 2003)  

The wardrobe department has about 15 dark suits for mobster, Sonny. "Sometimes, it is a very subtle variation," laughs Costume Designer Lori Robinson. "So, no, he doesn't wear the same suit every day."


Pop Idols-Top Job (SID 6/24/03) 

"It's hard to put into words, but you really can't have a bad day when you have children," says Maurice Benard (Sonny), who is the father of two daughters, Cailey, 8, and Cassidy, 3. "Today I sat on my bed with Cassidy and told her the story of Little Red Riding Hood. Afterwards, she said, 'More, Papa. More, Papa.' Then Cailey came in, and I was doing cartoon impressions, like, 'Hey, Yogi.' I just look at them and go, 'Wow, it doesn't get any better than this.' There's nothing better than being a father." Although Benard is one of the busiest actors in daytime, he makes it a point to spend quality time with his girls. "You have to bond with your kids. When you don't spend time with them, you feel it. Not that they forget you, but they're not as close to you. As they get older, you learn the importance of it."


On working with Maurice Benard . . . 

Cynthia Preston: Maurice, well, he is amazing! He is one of those people that has so much charisma, projects an aura of intelligence and intensity, and charms you with a little smile and a glint in his eye. Whew. He generates an emotional response when you focus your attention on him, and when you are an actor (i.e., me!) looking for just that, he's perfect.

Ric Hearst: I also remember when I was on Guiding Light catching a couple of scenes, and it was the first time I ever saw Maurice (Benard, Sonny). It was a scene he had with Stone, the whole AIDS story. He had one of his many monologues, and he completely levelled me. This man is an amazing talent, because he drew me right in. And now I get to work with the man.


Write What You Know  

Port Charles' Co-Head Writer Karen Harris didn't have to dig deep when writing the Sonny/Karen scenes that aired recently. Harris, who was on the GH writing team under Claire Labine in the mid-90's, wrote the original Sonny/Karen scenes when Karen was a stripper at the Paradise Lounge. "I wrote Sonny's first backstory about the father who was the gambler who abandoned him and the abusive stepfather, Deke," Harris says. "Claire Labine allowed me to write that. It was my first long story for the show. So they have a special place in my heart." And in her home-sort of. "The inspiration for the story was my husband's military stepfather, who had an abusive streak. And his real father, who had abandoned the family, was a gambler and always had some get-rich-quick scheme in the works. This was the inspiration for Mike, and the backstory for the abusive stepfather/cop. We created the mentor (Joe Scully) who introduced Sonny to the mob, then had the stepfather killed. My husband had no such mentor, and he never had anyone murdered in his family-that we know of."


A Man's Best Friend 

Maurice Benard has a very special pal, who even shares his dressing room!

On screen, he's the much-feared Sonny Corinthos, but in real life, Maurice Benard is a kind-hearted lover of animals. The newest addition to his family is a Conga African Grey parrot "named Tito, after a great boxer, Felix 'Tito' Trinidad, who I got to meet when I was in Puerto Rico," explains Benard. "Tito has a perch in my living room and I take him to work with me," where Tito also has a perch in Benard's General Hospital dressing room! "The only times the bird is in his cage is a nighttime," laughs Benard, whose daughters Cailey and Cassidy absolutely "love to hold Tito."


Declaration of Love

No woman forgets the moment when the man that she loves announces to the world that they are getting married-especially after hearing about it for the first time, too! Just ask Paula Benard, the wife of GH's Maurice Benard (Sonny).

"For my 21st birthday, we had a big party," she tells Soaps in Depth. "It was at this country club, and he gets up and starts giving this speech about me. I'm in tears," she continues. "It was just beautiful. And all of a sudden, he says, 'I want to announce our engagement.' He knew it was what I wanted, but we had never talked about it, so I've always teased him about it."


Bird's-Eye View

"They can have up to a 300-word vocabulary," says Benard of his new pet parrot."

Recently, Maurice Benard (Sonny) welcomed a new addition to his family: a four-month-old African Grey parrot. "He's the second-best-talking bird in the world," says Benard, who gets a grin on his face like a boy talking about his first puppy. "They don't talk in front of strangers, they only talk in front of family. It's kind of a trip." Although he's only had his red-tailed, feathered friend for a short period of time, the actor boasts that the bird is already potty-trained. But the rest of Benard's menagerie of pets haven't adjusted quite as quickly. "I don't put him with the dogs because I think they might want to get him," he relates. "But, I have cats. They're cool with him. He'll be on his perch, and they're right there staring at him."


Though often at odds off-screen, General Hospital rivals Maurice Benard (Sonny) and Wally Kurth (Ned) proved to be quite chummy at a Los Angeles theater premiere.(SID 4/30/02)
Maurice's New Look! (SID 4/16/02)
 
 The GH brass might not yet know about it, but the co-stars of Maurice Benard (Sonny) are praising the actor's new look . . . a tattoo. Setsiders say that Benard is proudly displaying it, especially to friends who share his interest in body art, such as Real Andrews (Taggert), Billy Warlock (A.J.), Coltin Scott Martines (Nikolas) and Jacob Young (Lucky). The tattoo, on Benard's left upper arm, features a cross and a special reference to his wife.
Outstanding performer for the week of March 11-SOW (4/9/02)
applause, applause
Maurice Benard
Sonny, General Hospital
Sonny Corinthos is a man known for his power and fury-and Maurice Benard's steely gaze and subtle gestures never let you forget it. At Carly's club opening, Sonny was given little to say, but his eyes and mannerisms told a riveting story.
 
 When A.J. made his grand entrance with Courtney, Sonny greeted them ominously-stone-faced and trying to suppress his rage. The upturned corners of Benard's mouth hinted at the tension inside. Sonny swiftly turned on the charm and the forced smile to lure Courtney away. When she shot him down, Benard rubbed his ear, his trademark tic belying Sonny's composure.
 
 "How do I stop myself from going after A.J.?" he asked Alexis after returning to his corner. But the question seemed almost rhetorical; his tormented body language made it clear no quarter would be given. When A.J. upped the ante and started kissing Courtney, Sonny's darker side took over. Benard's eyes raged like a bull seeing a red flag as Sonny marched over to the couple in slow motion, so angry and obsessed he could no longer even hear.
 
 A man of true influence, Sonny didn't have to get his hands dirty. The sheer force of his look propelled Zander to jump in and knock out A.J., and Sonny was satisfied. Benard stood proud, hands on hips, indicating that Sonny was back home in the power seat.
 
 But his victory was short-lived. His inability to sway Courtney was reflected in the softened, concerned look on Benard's face; Sonny's failure to protect the women in his life haunts him. Thanks to Benard and his subtle signals, this "monster" of a mobster also seemed endearingly human-Joanne Gallo

Guys and Dolls-Soap Opera Weekly (4/2/02)

Soap fans know their favorite characters better than anyone-just ask General Hospital’s Real Andrews (Taggert). “One of out fans made these dolls of me and Maurice (Benard, Sonny), which was really cool,” He reports. “My doll has this hand sewn leather coat and briefcase, too. I was fooling around with it and showing it to my son and the briefcase popped open. There were little pictures of Sonny in there!” he laughs in amazement. “They went to all that detail. There were also pictures of (Steve) Burton (ex-Jason Morgan) in there, and all the guys that Taggert would chase down. Andrews agrees with the fans assessment of his character. “He sleeps and dreams Sonny,” nods Andrews. “You never see his house, but if you did, there’d be pictures of Sonny everywhere.”


Viewers’ Voice-Soap Opera Weekly (3/26/02)

General Hospital: Should Sonny forgive Mike?
50% were adamant that Sonny forgive his father. In fact, "Mike should be asked to forgive Sonny. It can't be fun having the mob boss for a son."

50% didn't consider forgiveness an option. "Why should Sonny forgive him? Mike refuses to take responsibility for any of his actions."


The Thin Red (Liptstick) Line-Soap Opera Weekly (3/26/02)

General Hospital’s conniving Janine Matthews and her louse of an ex-husband, Mike Corbin, never share a kind word but off screen, DeLane Matthews and Ron Hale enjoy a much closer relationship. “I like to use his dressing room and pretend I’m a stalker,” cracks Matthews. “He comes into his dressing room and wonders, ‘Who moved that? Why are there lipstick stains on my wardrobe?’ It makes him feel wonderful. He talks about his ‘stalker,’ and I don’t say anything. I just look very compassionate and worried for him.” Why is Matthews shadowing her co-star? “Because when you work with Maurice (Benard, Sonny), you gotta feel special about a man sometimes,” she asserts. Matthews adds that her character could make Mike feel pretty special as well. “I really do think that Janine and Mike should get into this bombastic argument and then start making out,” she muses. “The line between love and hate . . . If you’ve got some hate going on, it could flip-flop right around. And she calls him a loser just a little too often.”


ABC Gossip -GH’s Maurice want to be one of the guys. Soap Opera Digest (3/26/02)

Male Call: While screen time with the ladies has never been lacking for Maurice Benard (Sonny), he feels that his criminally inclined character could benefit from some guy time, as well. "You could get Mike, Ron Hale, to come in more-as long as he (says more) than, 'Son . . . you all right? Sonny, how's it going?” grins, Benard. "And I'd like to see Real (Andrews, Taggert) more often, too. There's a history there with Taggert (and Sonny) that's not being taken advantage of. So, I want to work with both of them. That would be fun."


Soap Opera Digest (1/1/02)

If Maurice Benard (Sonny) were ever to write a book about his real-life battle with manic depression, it would no doubt be a compelling, warts-and-all read. "When it comes to manic depression, I want people to know everything," he relates. "I'm an open book when it comes to stuff like that because I know that the more open I am, it truly does help other people. That makes me feel good. It makes me feel like I am contributing something in this world.


Who is your favorite TV character?

"Baretta, [played by] Robert Blake. I loved him. He would do different characters, and he was so real; He was deep. [Blake] was a Method-type actor. He would have deep scenes. I was a kid, but I remember feeling for him when he would have one of those scenes. He got me, man. And with that Cockatoo-forget it." (Maurice Benard in SOD).


Have Shovel, Will Travel

Ron Hale (Mike, General Hospital) has a secret ambition: He'd like to be an archaeologist! But while his frequent forays to the Desert Southwest have yet to turn up anything of real significance, Hale hasn't given up hope. Next on his agenda? An honest-to-goodness dig! "I have brochures and stuff from the Internet, and I've even talked to a few people about it," he reveals, ruminating that he has yet to find the right time to go. Besides, he still hasn't pinpointed his dream destination. "I could go to the jungles of the Amazon or to Central America looking for Mayan or Incan ruins, or I could spend weeks working on a pueblo site in Arizona or New Mexico," he muses. "There are so many areas that I'd like to go to get down on my hands and knees and see that stuff. I just find it absolutely fascinating!"