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2-Time Dad & 5-Time Daytime Emmy Nominee Bradford Anderson Talks Finola, GH's Spinelli & The Gold Statuette!

Courtesy/IMDB

Courtesy/IMDB

It’s been an amazing 11 days for former General Hospital star Bradford Anderson, and a lot to take in!  First, Bradford landed his fifth Daytime Emmy nomination in the Outstanding Supporting Actor category for his role of Damian Spinelli! What followed was the birth of his real-life second daughter, Finola!  Talk about getting a double dose of great news!

While Bradford was learning that he had been nominated for the upcoming 41st Annual Daytime Emmys, along with many of his former co-stars and friends in the same category including Steve Burton (Dylan, Y&R) and Dominic Zamprogna (Dante, GH), he was also on high alert and ready to take his wife Kiera to the hospital to give birth to their second child, when the time came.

On-Air On-Soaps caught up with this now two-time dad and five-time Daytime Emmy nominee for a special interview on: new baby Finola, the choice of the name, the killer performance that scored Bradford a nomination, his decision to leave GH and more!  Here now is what Bradford shared with us!

So you have had quite the last week and half!  First, comes a Daytime Emmy nomination, and then comes a baby within basically 36 hours of each other.  What went down at the Anderson home when you found out you scored a nomination from your peers?

Photo Credit: HutchinsPhoto.com

BRADFORD:  Well, I had a lot of big news!  So the nomination came out last Thursday, but we were in baby watch at that point anyway, because our doctor told us she would probably come a week early.  So we were expecting the baby to come the weekend prior.  I wasn’t anticipating the nominations, because the night before I did not have time to think of what was happening the next day.  It was about making sure the bags were packed, and making sure we were set if we needed to get out the front door at a moment’s notice to the hospital.  Thursday morning, my phone lit up with a lot of alerts, emails, and texts.  I kind of thought …“Why would this be?” (Laugh)   Then, the first texts were from Dominic Zamprogna (Dante, GH) and Steve Burton (Dylan, Y&R) which was a cool way to find out.

And then next, you are trying to celebrate the news of your nomination … and Kiera goes into Labor that evening?  And then I try to call you to chat about your nomination the next afternoon … and you inform me you just became a dad again!  My timing is impeccable! (Laughs)

BRADFORD:  (Laughs) Thursday night around 9PM Kiera got contractions.  We had a rough night Thursday night and a sleepless night.  We called our doctor Friday morning at around 7AM and she said come in to the hospital …. and the baby was born that day at 3:30PM.  And then Michael Fairman called around 5PM! (Laughs)

You named your daughter “Finola”.  And everyone immediately drew the reference to the one and only Finola Hughes (Anna) of General Hospital.   How come you and Kiera chose “Finola” for your new little bundle of joy?

Photo Credit: HutchinsPhoto.com

BRADFORDIt’s a great aunt’s name, and Kiera’s Irish heritage is very important to her.  The derivative of Finola we had even talked about for our first daughter which was “Nola”.   And then Kiera said, “What about Finola?”  When we realized we were having a second daughter we played with the name … and having a little girl named “Fin” was so cute.  It was interesting.  Sometimes when you name your kid it’s fun to not have any prior association with it.  We talked about that, because we knew people would say we named her after Finola Hughes (Anna, GH).  It’s a family name, but at the same time, if that’s the association people make with our daughter, we couldn’t be more thrilled.

Did Finola Hughes reach out to you after realizing you named your daughter, “Finola”?  Or, did she already know that was a strong possibility?

BRADFORD:  I went to visit GH a few weeks ago and I saw her.  A couple of friends that are at GH knew I was going to be naming our baby “Finola”.  It’s funny because Finola came up to us a couple of years ago when I told her we were thinking of naming our second child her name.  She said, “Don’t, don’t.  It was the worst name when I was a kid, and people made fun of me.”  I think she was being funny.  So I went up to her and said, “Hey, I know awhile back you told us not to name our baby “Finola”, but … our daughter is going to be named “Finola”.  She had a tear in her eyes and it was very sweet. It will be a great moment when they finally meet.

What happened when your now eldest daughter Juna meet her sister, Finola for the first time?

BRADFORD:  She came to visit at 6PM last Friday night, and she was really sweet. Juna brought a teddy bear to give Finola.  She has been keeping tabs on her, and if she is not in the room, she goes, “Where is my baby sister?”  I think she has more of a sister vocabulary now from watching Frozen a hundred times! (Laughs)  One her favorite things to say in general now is, “Please don’t shut me out…” from the song from the movie!  Juna will be three in July.

Courtesy/ABC

Back to going for the gold at this year’s 41st Annual Daytime Emmys.  I looked at this list of Supporting Actor nominees and it’s a great group, and some of your close friends!  How does it feel to be nominated in the same category as Steve Burton?  The two of you made Jason and Spinelli, or the Jackal and Stone Cold, such a unique friendship on GH.  Now you are pitted against each other for a Daytime Emmy!

BRADFORD:  That was one of the cool things.  I don’t get to see those guys very often anymore, and it’s hard to get Steve Burton out of the house!  (Laughs)  The first thing I asked him was, “You’re going to be there, right?”   But also his wife is due around that time.  He gave a pretty definitive, “I’ll be there”.  It’s weird to be pitted against each other.  Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be in a category with Steve.  In the situation we were in at GH, I never thought I would be in the category with him, because he was a leading actor.  Of course, all of us would like to win, but at the same time, it’s really a celebration of the soap community, and being with all of our friends that makes it more fun.

And this is your Fifth nomination!  Could five times be the charm, Bradford?

BRADFORD:  A fistful of nominations, yup!  I figured how many nominations do I get before Susan Lucci gives you a call? (Laughs)

What episode did you submit that won you the nomination?

Courtesy/ABC

BRADFORD: When Ellie (Emily Wilson) tells Spinelli he is the father of Maxie’s baby, while he is outside the nursery window in the hospital watching Dante with his son.  Dominic Zamprogna was my favorite part of my submission!  So Ellie rehashes the night that Maxie got pregnant, which Spinelli deflects because he believes Maxie used a second embryo.  Then Ellie goes, “No.  She didn’t have to get a second embryo, because she was already pregnant with your kid!”  She convinces him, and in the moment that he processes it.  He kind of walks over to the window of the nursery. Dominic gives us this ho-hum wave like, “Why are you staring at us?”  It’s this nice little moment. Spinelli is having this crazy moment in the hallway, while Dante gives this chummy wave!  It contrasts so much with what Spinelli was dealing with outside the nursery, and when we taped the scene I was worried I was going to laugh!

I remember watching those scenes when they aired.   I truly thought it was one of your best performances … ever!  It gave the character of Spinelli an opportunity to really man up, and not let Ellie, or Maxie, or anyone off so easy for their lies, but also offered the contradiction of the knowledge for him that he is a father … which is something he wanted to be.

BRADFORD:  The reason why I liked it was it has a bunch of different colors in it. It’s “Oh, I am a father!” Then, “Wait, why didn’t Maxie tell me?”  Then Ellie is like, “Well, she wanted to keep it a secret?”  But then he realizes Ellie knows too! And then it’s, “Wait! You lied to me to?  What the hell!”  It’s quite the arc. It was fun to play.  Emmy episodes are tough, because it’s a one episode submission for the actors.  This one kind of made sense because it had a heightened circumstance.  It was good material.  I was happy with how I handled it.  I think sometimes, we are ourselves, are not the best judges of our own material.  You fall in love with certain things and you see it from your eye.   But at the end of the day, you have to think about how other people are going to view it.  My wife is a good judge of that, because I showed her a couple of episodes and she watched the one I submitted first and she said, “Yeah, that’s kind of perfect.”  Then we watched a couple others that I thought were charming and what not.  And she said, “You know what?  I get you see this as charming, but the circumstance of the other one is so heightened that you got to go with that.”  This is the biggest storyline I ever had.  It made sense to use that and just not try to find something that was charming. 

Courtesy/ABC

It did have many twists and turns within the episode for Spinelli.

BRADFORD: Yes.  You get to see Spinelli coming to terms with that he is a father, so there is that element to it.  There is the happiness of it and I felt that was interesting, and then the realization that he was betrayed by two people that he cares about.

So to back-up a minute, is it true that you had already made the decision to leave General Hospital, but decided to stay on to finish out this storyline? 

BRADFORD:  My contract was up in May of last year, and so I could’ve just walked away then.  However, I was so grateful that they trusted me with a story like that, and once you have a kid on a soap there is a legacy there.  I wanted GH to know how grateful I was to be given that story.  I wanted to do right by the show, and by Kirsten Storms (Maxie).  I didn’t want her to have to play a shortened version of the story where it couldn’t reach the potential it could go, and she is having a baby and that story directly effects her.  I wanted to do right by my character and I wanted to handle it with respect, but at the same time doing right by my decision to leave.  So it made sense to just go on recurring until the story wrapped-up in the way that everyone was happy.  I felt like we got the most out of it from the time that we had.

In closing, what do you deep down in your heart of hearts really think about your shot to win the Emmy this year?

Photo Credit: HutchinsPhoto.com

BRADFORD:  Ultimately, it’s bestowed upon by your peers, which makes it really special, but at the same time, it’s not bestowed upon by the “acting gods”, which makes this unique.  It’s the outsiders that watch the tapes that aren’t in the circle of actors that can watch the submissions more objectively, and as much as the actors try to watch objectively, these are our co-workers.  And no one can be blamed for that, and no one can be faulted for who wins every year, because every one that is not nominated deserves to win.  So, you can’t take it too personally if you don’t win, and if I do win, I can’t take it like, “Well, I’m the best!”   If it’s my turn, fantastic!  If not, I got nominated again and that’s pretty cool.  It’s also kind of hard to want to win in my category.  I know this may sound cheesy, but I am rooting for others in my category too!  Dominic Zamprogna has done such great work for a long time.  Steve Burton is someone that I admire so much.  Scott Clifton (Liam, B&B) had been one of my buddies for awhile, but I think he has enough trophies (laughs), and Eric Martsolf (Brady, DAYS) is a good friend of mine, too.  What a group!

So, what do you think of Bradford’s chance to win the gold?  Did you love his performance when he found out that he was the bio-dad of Maxie’s baby?  What do you think about the  choice of the name “Finola” for his second real-life daughter? Do you miss Spinelli on GH big time?  Let us know!

 

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mfarris70
mfarris70

Hoping that the rumors Bradford is coming back are true! I miss Spinelli and Ellie’s quirky romance and would love for Ellie to be Silas and Nina’s daughter!

Patrick
Patrick

theres so much potential… with this possibility

two characters the audience identified with… and easily found there place on the canvas … and we continued to root for

I loved this pairing

should they return… they’d be welcome’d warmly and without question

sometimes I think they overloaded Silas… as he has so much going ON…

but, knowing… that it’s Ellie and Spinelli

jimh(leave it to beaver)
jimh(leave it to beaver)

Id like to see him return…Ellie as their daughter could work…hopes both happens…fingers crossed!!!

Eileen Hargis
Eileen Hargis

Id love to see him win, Bradford is a very unique actor and Spunelli is a gem!

Greta
Greta

Bradford just blew me away with the baby story. I thought everyone in it was spectacular (I still can’t believe his co-star Kirsten Storms wasn’t nominated!!!). Dominic was amazing too, but I feel this is Bradford’s year to take the Emmy. The scenes he submitted were great. Fifth time’s the charm.

Cathy Borruso
Cathy Borruso

I love Bradford from the first I met him he is truly a genuine giving person it would be so cool if he
WINS! ★★★★

Mark
Mark

I hope he wins he was so good in those scenes and he is always good and I hope he comes back for good

Dan
Dan

That’s funny, cause as soon as I saw the headline where it says Bradford talks about Finola, I immediately thought of Finola Hughes, lol. It’s certainly a unique and beautiful name, and congrats to him and his wife!

I always enjoyed him on GH, so it would be cool to see him finally win an Emmy as a way of tying the bow around his time at GH. He submitted some heavy scenes. I remember that episode very well, cause it was so emotional and the acting was so brilliant from everyone. One of the many stand out shows from GH this past year. It could be Bradford’s year.

Of course, it’s hard to guess when you don’t know what the other actors in the category submitted. I know I’ll be rooting for either Bradford or Dominic to take it home for GH!

su0000
su0000

I miss Bradford/Spinelli 🙁
perhaps someday when his personal life would allow time for him to return to GH, I hope he will..

GH50
GH50

Bradford says, “Once you have a kid on a soap there is a legacy there” and “I wanted to do right by my character and I wanted to handle it with respect.” That’s the right attitude for people in the soap world to have. That’s why it is so appalling how TIIC of GH constantly piss on legacy characters. Look at all the “respect” FV and RC have NOT shown AJ Quartermaine and Robin Scorpio.

su0000
su0000

AJ and Robin, both left ..
again;
// SK and KM walked out .. they walked out on FV and RC and GH and their fans //
They deserve no bowing ..
neither are soap gods..

I would have told them both not to let the door hit their ass on the way out!

GH50
GH50

And you absolutely miss the point. The actors left, regardless of why, it is about what FV and RC did to their characters that is at issue. The characters of AJ and Robin have been trashed. That is the point. Get it?

Dan
Dan

I will agree with you that they didn’t do a good job writing AJ after Sean Kanan came back, and I don’t blame him for wanting to leave.

But as for Kimberly McCullough, I think they had a situation where she wasn’t gonna stay long-term, so they had to come up with a story to explain why a woman would leave her husband and daughter after just being reunited with them after 2 years, and think that they did the best they could under the circumstances.

I don’t blame FV and RC for that. I think they did a good job with the storyline of Robin’s return for the short time she was back, but there’s only so much you can do with a character that is only gonna be back for a short time.

andrew hass
andrew hass

GH50 i think everyone including us the fans knew Kimberly McCullough wasn’t coming back to GH full time.So no matter what happened Robin was going to leave her husband and daughter.Plus the way the show wrote Robin off opens the door for future story for when she returns again with her helping Jason.

andrew hass
andrew hass

I do think the show could have done better with Robin and AJ storywise but Sean Kanan asked to be let go from his contract and KMC didn’t want to be on GH full time.I think GH would want Kimberly back as Robin but maybe not if she’s going to leave after a few months.As for Sean Kanan i keep wondering if they didn’t know B&B wanted him back would he have asked GH to let him go?

Betty
Betty

I have been a huge fan of Spinelli since the beginning. The way Bradford cultivated Spinelli and helped him become such a complex character was brilliant. He went from a bumbling computer geek, to a real leading man with a lovable quirkiness. I miss him & Steve Burton so much on GH. I have been a fan of GH since the beginning, and Spinelli was one if my all time favorite characters. Bradford made him what he was. I hope he wins an Emmy. I wish him great success, but selfishly I hope he comes back to GH someday.

Cat
Cat

I totally agree with you. I could have written your post myself. Bradford is a phenomenal actor and I’ve lived his work since day one. It’s his turn to win. He deserves it!

Nick D.
Nick D.

Best of luck to Spinelli on the Emmys and looking forward to maybe seeing him pop up on GH real soon – maybe we will get a peak at his life in Seattle with Ellie and the baby! 🙂

aria
aria

spinelli is so much missed, wish Bradford would come back. Love the name Finola, and Fin is a perfect nickname, and of course he should win the emmy, he was really the heart of that storyline.

Johnny
Johnny

I think he is awesome and I hope he wins the Emmy. He has a beautiful family.

GB
GB

i’m in two minds about this. i do want him to win, because of how good his performance was. what irks me, though, is that this is a “straight” soap storyline. what anderson proved he could do that i’ve seen not many actors pull off is what he did with the regular spinelli material. i don’t know if people realise how difficult it is what he was called upon to do. his job was to sell not just really text-heavy, but really overwritten material (coming from the way Spinelli talked) – and not showing how overwritten it was, but selling it with such ease and, moreover, using it let us glimpse the spinelli underneath was a huge deal. and he never got recognition for that, even though it’s one of the hardest things to do as an actor. if he wins the emmy this year – and again, i hope he does because he deserves it – he will have done so for doing excellent, yes, but run-of-the-mill soap acting. anyway, rant over.

andrew hass
andrew hass

I hope Bradford wins the Emmy because i think last year he did his best work ever.I also hope he returns to GH and maybe not full time but maybe for visits from time to time when the story needs Spinelli.

Timmm
Timmm

As if they dont have enough cast members! Spinelli was Steve Burtons little buddy, Gilligan. Steve is gone and Spinelli should stay gone. The character is a one trick pony. He is annoying and immature. Stay away and keep that fish with you!

andrew hass
andrew hass

For a one trick pony Spinelli was on GH for 7 years.Plus i think Spinelli made a name for himself on the show apart from his connection with Jason.As for bradford Anderson he’s been nominated 5 times for an Emmy in the 7 years he was on the show.Plus as long as he shares a child with Maxie i think there’s always going to be a place fro Spinelli on the show.

Sue Ellen
Sue Ellen

I really hope Bradford wihns this year. The reel he submitted was the best moment of that whole story. I also really hope he returns to General Hospital, Spinelli provided a sense of fun and whimsy that the show needs given all the darker elements playing out in many stories. I would really like to see Spinellli return and reunite with Maxie. Those moments at the end before he left finally sold me on that pairing which I was one of the most vocally opposed to for a long time. Spinelli was a different more original kind of soap character who I always thought they didn’t explore nearly enough, remember, we never learned Spinelli’s parentage, so he could return as Neena’s lost child maybe.At any rate, the show needs Spinelli back. I hope I get my wish and that Bradford gets his Emmie.

Rod
Rod

He BETTER WIN

Jessica
Jessica

I hope you win Bradford. You are missed at GH. Hoping you return for more than a couple of episodes in the future.

Wendelyn Sullivan
Wendelyn Sullivan

I adore the character Spinelli. His scenes when He found out He was a Father were amazing. I love Him and Maxie together. I hope He wins the Emmy. He is truly deserving of it . I am hoping Spinelli’s return is long term. I have missed Him.

Don H
Don H

I hope the Spinelli to come back and stay. He a good actor and an asset to GH.

Pam Page
Pam Page

MY HOPE was always that Spinelli and Maxie would get back together and be a long-lasting couple! Those two played so well off one another and I always enjoyed every one of their scenes together. Having them as parents would have been superb! I still hope for that reunion one day (which means I have to hope for a Spinelli return)! In the meantime I guess I hope Maxie will end up with Detective West and she sends that wacko Levi packing! Come on back to the canvas Spinelli!!!

Breaking News

GH’s Vinessa Antoine Lands Primetime Series Will Make Canadian TV History!

Fantastic news for General Hospital favorite, Vinessa Antoine (Jordan)! The talented actress had landed the leading role in the primetime Canadian series, Diggstown!

The legal drama is scheduled to air this fall.  In Diggstown, Antoine will play Marcie Diggs, a top corporate lawyer who decides to dedicate herself to a legal aid office in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.

This casting news will make Vinessa a part of Canadian TV history as the first Black Canadian actress to star in a prime-time drama on legacy network television, CBC.

Antoine spoke to the Toronto Star about her starring role, “When I first read the script I was really attracted to the notion that she was a corporate lawyer and she believed in the system. And when that crashed for her, life nudged her to do something extraordinary. And because I’m a woman of color, so many things connected. She’s complex, not stereotypical, and that’s refreshing.”

However as suspected, and according to the Toronto Star: “General Hospital fans will not be happy to learn that Antoine, who has been with the show since 2014, will no longer be a series regular when she starts shooting Diggstown in August.”

So, excited to hear Vinessa has been cast in a leading primetime series?  Comment below!

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General Hospital

Dominic Zamprogna Speaks Out On His Decision To Leave GH, His Final Scenes With Emme Rylan & How Dante Exited The Canvas

A few weeks ago, General Hospital fans watched as one of the series beloved stars, Dominic Zamprogna (Dante) exited the show in scenes opposite his longtime on-screen love interest, Emme Rylan (Lulu).  For nine years, Zamprogna brought authenticity, emotion, and heart to the son of Sonny Corinthos (Maurice Benard) and Olivia Falconeri (Lisa LoCicero) to life.  While Dante’s journey started out with a bang, literally (thanks, Sonny!), over the years it appeared he was taking a backseat in meatier storylines.  All the while, Dante and Lulu remained one of the more popular duos with the viewers.

After much reflection, Zamprogna decided it was time for him to walk away from a place that became his second home.  His desire now shifted to play different characters in different projects, but it was not without taking many things into account with his life-changing decision.

Michael Fairman TV talked with Dominic to glean more insight into: if there was anything GH could have done to make him sign on the dotted line again, what went down to make those final scenes seem so rushed, how it was to say goodbye to his co-workers in front of the camera and behind the scenes, if he would consider a return at some point, and how would he feel if GH now planned on recasting Dante, and much more.

For us; we recall meeting Dominic for the first times just six months into his time at General Hospital for our first interview together.  We were instantly struck by his sincerity, humor, and his eagerness to learn from some of the best in the business.  Now exiting as a “soap vet“, per se, it is a full-circle moment that we had the time to conclude his GH journey with this conversation.  Here’s what Dom had to say about it all.

What were the factors that contributed to your decision to exit GH?  Was there a pivotal moment where you were feeling, and recognizing, that you were underutilized that you felt you needed to make a change? 

DOMINIC:  When you named me the “Most Underutilized Actor of 2017!” (Laughs) Well, my plan was never to stay forever.  But half-way through my second contract,  Emme Rylan (Lulu) and I were approached by our producer on set, who said words to the effect of: you guys have been on the sideline, time to get you into the game.  That led to the Dante cheating storyline, which gave us story for about a year … which was great!  But as that ended, so did any subsequent storylines, it seemed.  In the year that followed, I started entertaining thoughts of leaving.  By the next year, I started talking about it with my wife, Linda, who had started to notice that maybe I wasn’t happy anymore, and I wasn’t.  That’s not a good feeling, especially if you’re bringing that energy home with you.  Then, I made the mistake of going on social media, which is a terrible place to go sometimes.  But fans were saying the same sort of things I was feeling.  Was it all due to story or lack-thereof?  No.  I was starting to crave playing other roles, and that’s hard to do when you’re under contract.

Were discussions even had with Frank Valentini (executive producer, GH) and the powers-that-be about your feelings of dissatisfaction over not being utilized more in storylines?

DOMINIC:  The discussions happened late.  Not until the negotiation process, actually.  I’m no squeaky wheel I guess, but I also don’t feel it’s in my job description to be one.  I did put out a few ideas here and there, but they didn’t happen.  I know other actors have tried the same and it didn’t lead to anything for them, either.  I was a creation of Bob Guza (former head writer, GH), and maybe I was spoiled by the amount of great writing I received while he was there.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

There had to be some sadness in walking away from GH.

DOMINIC:  Oh yeah… it was sad.  I built that character, and now here I was walking away from it, and essentially my second family.  That’s been the hardest part.  Lifelong friendships were made, and memories.  However, it’s been over a month and a half since I’ve been at GH and I feel happy.  I’ve been up in Canada shooting Tin Star, which has been a great experience.  I’ve stayed in touch with everybody and I miss everybody, in fact, I just spoke to Mo (Maurice Benard) yesterday, and I’m in class with Emme (she won’t leave me alone).  But, I feel like I made the right choice for me at this moment.

To clarify; were you actually trying to work out a deal to stay put, but both sides just could not hammer things out to a satisfactory conclusion?

DOMINIC:  We did try to work out a deal.  After more talks and conversations, I felt maybe we were going to get things done.  I was being told things would change and maybe shift things in the direction we wanted to go.  But at the end of the day, it’s gotta be in writing.  I feel like I’d been told similar things in the past which hadn’t come to fruition.  I was also reminded that it was me who needed to sign my name on that dotted line and live with that decision, and I chose not to do so.

If someone would have said to you: “We have an “A” story for you, and you are going to be driving it,” would you have been more apt to stay?   

DOMINIC:  There was talk about us sitting down and talking about storylines, but that didn’t end up happening, not sure why.  And even if it did, I don’t know that it would’ve changed my mind about leaving, anyway.   But just to be clear: I have no anger towards anybody.  It’s all a business at the end of the day.  Both sides did what they felt was right.  For me, I just felt this chapter had come to an end.

Photo: ABC

When, and how did you tell on-screen scene partner, Emme Rylan that you were leaving?  Was she happy for you and your decision?

DOMINIC:  Emme knew really early on.  Once January rolled around I was like: “I have been thinking for the last six to nine months that I am going to go.”   I wanted her to know, because we have been a couple for five years on the show.  Emme was very happy for me.  I went, “Wait a minute!  Don’t be this happy.  I’m leaving.” (Laughing)  

What happened when you told your on-screen mom, Lisa LoCicero ?

DOMINIC:  She was sad, but she is also said, “You’re in your prime, go see what’s out there!”   I wouldn’t have done this move if I did not get support at home.  My wife is the rock and the one that makes this household go.  Some things outside the show were starting to happen; I had a nice screen-test for a pilot, and then I booked these four episodes of Tin Star.  When you have choices in life; you have power and control over your future.  I think Emme and Lisa as actors realized that.  That’s what made them happy for me … for the future.  The last nine years were exciting.  However, when you can have a little bit more say in what you are doing on a day to day basis, that is empowering.  So, in saying, “no” to something, and saying, “Thank you, but that’s not what I am looking for right now,” that can feel good.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

It was a shame that through all the regimes that they rarely wrote any scenes between Dante and his father, Sonny.  What was Maurice Benard’s reaction when you told him you were leaving?

DOMINIC:  It has been pretty publicized that he and I were dissatisfied at the lack of  storyline, or scenes together.  Maurice asked the powers-that-be, “Why aren’t we working together more?”  We never had a clear answer as to why.  He didn’t know from one day to the next what was happening with my contract talks.  Mo saw me smiling one day and asked, “So does that smile mean you’re staying?”  And I said, “No, that smile is because I’m leaving.” (Laughs)  I said that more to mess with him, and make him sad.  He said, “As long as you are good financially, then I am all for anybody getting out of here and seeing what else is out there.” Really, Mo talks people into leaving so he can get more screen-time. (Laughs)

Let’s talk about the final airshow, and the story that came out of left field to facilitate your exit.  Was that written quickly to accommodate a shooting schedule or contract completion?  It felt rushed to the viewing audience.

DOMINIC:  Left field is right!  I still had a week and a half left of work when they found out I wasn’t going to re-sign, and within twelve hours I had six exit scenes written.  So, it wasn’t done to facilitate anything but a set (Lante’s house), I think.  My final tape date was May 18th, and Emme and I had scenes on the Wednesday or Thursday before that.  I guess they wanted my last scenes that aired to be with Emme, and that might have been the only scheduling day that worked for the set and the actors, and maybe that’s also why it felt so rushed.  All I could assume is that they didn’t think I was really going to leave so they didn’t plan for it, or they chose to protect themselves in this way, by not making a big deal about it.  I had another week of scenes in the PCPD with Chase (Josh Swickard) and Michael (Chad Duell) that was shot afterward.  But they had nothing to do with Dante’s “secret mission!”

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

I thought, “Wait!  Is that it?  Is this Dominic’s final show?  Dante doesn’t say goodbye to his mother… his father … or his son, Rocco?

DOMINIC:  Yeah, that was tough for me.  After 9 years you think you’re going to get a little bit better of a send off.   You also, hope they’re going to honor the character.  Dante wouldn’t leave to go to the 7-eleven without saying goodbye to his mother and kids.   Maurice and I talked about that.  He said, “I guess, they don’t want people to feel really sad.  You and me doing some goodbye scenes, people are going to be devastated.”   I agree with that.  However, I also think it’s a soap and that’s what fans want … good, ole drama.  I would have loved to have had scenes with Sonny, Olivia, and Dante’s kids, but when you make a decision like this, how you leave on-air is not up to you.  Both parties are going to handle it how it’s best for them.   I was very grateful they gave Emme and I something to seek our teeth into. 

They were very sad scenes.  You are one of those actors that can take the material and connect with it while delivering it in a very subtle and heartfelt way.  How was Emme after your final scenes?

DOMINIC:  She was kind of crying the whole time, going “Damn you! Damn you.”   I was having fun with it, because I love making Emme cry.  It’s not a very difficult thing to do.  (Laughs).  We were both pretty teary-eyed, actually.  Then, when we finished the scenes and I looked over and I saw how upset the crew was, that’s what really got me.  Barbara, one of the camera operators actually jokingly apologized; suggesting that if my last shot was blurry it was my fault!  As an actor, when you make the crew feel something it kind of gives you some extra good feels. That was always the best feeling, talking to Craig (our stage manager), or Donna (head of makeup department) after a scene to get the honest truth on how you did.  I’ll miss them.

Courtesy/ABC

Viewers, watching Dante have this flashback about the guy who was responsible for Lulu going overboard the Haunted Star a few years ago, probably needed a moment to connect the dots.  Some viewers were going, “What?  Dante is going after the guy that tried to drown Lulu from two years ago?”

DOMINIC:  When I read that in the script even I went, “What?” Who’s that?”  I had no idea, either. (Laughs)

Then there was this:  Dante was so hard on Lulu for her pursuing her dream as a journalist and how it inadvertently got Nathan killed.  Then all of a sudden in your final scenes, Dante has a line to Lulu in which he says something to the effect of: I understand now – you got to do, what you got to do.  In story, prior to these scenes it was leaning more towards Dante and Lulu were going to break-up over what had recently transpired.

DOMINIC:  Which, who knows?  If Dante had stayed in Port Charles it could have been the direction they were going in.  It certainly looked like they were building toward conflict, conflict, conflict, but with me leaving it was much sweeter to leave on the note that we left on, instead of Dante leaving, because he can’t deal with being around Lulu. This all leads me to believe that they didn’t want to do anything too permanent to give them time to make the proper decisions.

Courtesy/ABC

What was the last day of shooting like for you?  Was it hard to get through?

DOMINIC:  It felt like a regular day, and my final scenes were up towards the end of the tape day. They had a cake afterwards.  Frank briefly spoke and introduced Maurice; who said a bunch of sweet words.  That meant a lot to me.  I said “goodbye” to everybody and took some photos, and that was it.  I already had my room packed up.  Once you’re ready to go, you’re ready to go.  Afterwards, I went out with Ryan Paevey (Ex-Nathan) and Jeffrey Vincent Parise (Ex-Carlos) for some beers and wings at the bar down the street.  It wasn’t until everybody came back after a two-week break that it felt real, because then I was receiving text messages from people saying, “We’re back.  Why the hell aren’t you here?”

The door has been left open for Dante to return.  Would you ever come back?

DOMINIC:  Of course, at some point.  But it might not be my choice, they might recast.  They told me they won’t, but who knows what’ll be done.  Do I think you can just recast a role?  No, I think it’s always a tough sell, but they’ve done it with bigger names/characters than mine.  I would be a little surprised, only because there hasn’t been much story for Dante in the last three years.  For me, as of now, I’ve moved on, and I’m very happy with my decision and my life.  It’s sad in other respects, don’t get me wrong.  I’ve read things that people have said on Twitter, and I want everyone to know I’ve seen it all and it means a lot to me.  People have been beautiful to me.  I’m truly overwhelmed by the love.  I thought there would be more of, “Who cares?” when fans found out I left.   I must have done something right during the years I was at GH.

Did you think when you made the decision to leave they would kill-off Dante? 

DOMINIC:  No, not at all.  I don’t think killing off Dante would be a good idea, especially after they killed Nathan, and also because of the climate we live in with police involved shootings and violence, in general.  In a perfect world as an actor, you crave the opportunity to have one last moment with the other characters that have been important to your character over the years.  That’s all I would have wanted for myself, and Dante.  I’ll take what I got though.  It was extremely meaningful because of what Emme and I had and built.  I feel we got to the heart and soul of those two characters in a pretty short amount of time in our scenes.

Courtesy/ABC

Speaking of Nathan, I think thus far those funeral scenes, which you were wonderful in, and the story arc revolving around his death, are GH’s best bet for an Emmy in the Drama Series category next year. 

DOMINIC:  I agree.  It was so well-done.  We’d all would like to go out like that!  Tragic, but it made for great TV and great soap.  It was phenomenally well-acted across the board.  Lots of Emmy reel stuff for Michelle Stafford (Nina) and Kirsten Storms (Maxie), and Kathleen Gati (Liesl), and hopefully for our directors and crew, also.  They did an amazing job bringing that to life.

This now leaves Josh Swickard as the lone cop now by default on GH.   he PCPD is notorious for being the worst cop shop in the history of soaps! (Laughs) They can’t ever solve a crime.

DOMINIC: (Laughs) I know!  What is Josh is going to do?   Maybe between Chase and Jordan (Vienssa Antoine) they will solve crimes.  Maybe, they’ll bring on a new cop.  Josh is a great guy and I enjoyed working with him.  At the beginning, we had that contentious relationship between the two guys.  That would’ve been fun if it lasted longer, where they had this continual real dislike for one another.  Who knows?  With Dante gone, maybe they will start solving some crimes! (Laughs) Maybe now the PCPD will be the greatest police unit in the USA.

Courtesy/ABC

Over your nine years at GH, would you still consider that your best storyline was coming on to the show and then having Sonny shoot Dante, only for it to turn out that he just shot his own son?

DOMINIC:  Yes, I think you have to.  That was my intro.  They had this story planned eight months before they even cast the role.  To get to that moment, was a classic soap cliffhanger.  I grew up watching soap operas with my grandparents, and if they had been alive for that scene they would have lost it, because it was something that ‘old school’ soap fans would really dig.  For me, doing that story felt so special.  ABC also pumped it with the promotion, and the promos, and the TV spots, and amped it up.  I didn’t feel it disappointed.  It was actually the audition scene that I had to perform to get the part!  Then six months later you get to say these lines that got you the part, and you hope you don’t whiff on the softball.

While putting together and producing the GH 55th anniversary tribute package for this year’s Daytime Emmys, I included that moment between Sonny and Dante.  I remember watching the complete scene before editing it and the dialog was so good.  It still holds up to this day.

DOMINIC:  My manager was at the Emmys that night, and said what a great moment that was.  I meant to thank you for that, because I really appreciated it being in there.

Courtesy/ABC

Are there any other scenes that come to mind that you are most proud of?

DOMINIC:  I also really loved the scenes with Max Gail (Mike). He is a special guy.  There was so much in our scenes; where Dante finds him with Avery in the stables.  Those moments are going to stick with me for a long time.

On June 28th, the airdate of your last episode, you posted a tweet to the fans that read: “The love you guys have given me over the years and continue to give is overwhelming.  It is I that must thank YOU!”  I thought that was extremely touching and very appreciated by the fans.

DOMINIC:  I was thinking, “Man, I have to thank you, because I would not legitimately be here if you hadn’t liked this guy, Dante.”  It was bringing tears to my eyes reading what people were saying, and seeing how much love I was receiving.

Tell me about your role in the British-Canadian production of Tin Star?

DOMINIC:  It’s a recurring role,  I’ve been working on it since March.  It’s something very different from what I’ve been doing the last 9 years.  Can’t give much away, but I play a hired gun type of guy.  There are some great scenes and moments, and I was lucky enough to work with Christina Hendricks, John Lynch, and the legend, Tim Roth.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Do you feel now that you have had some time away now from GH, and have been playing another role, that the thought of playing Dante for you at this point is like: “Been there. Done that?”

DOMINIC:  I would never say Dante is done forever.  Right now for me, he is.  They left it open, hopefully they left it open for me, but every actor hopes that.  We want our cake and to eat it too!  I want to leave right now, but I want you to want me to come back some day.  No one wants their role to be recast.  But it’s an important character, so I guess we’ll have to wait and see.  Who knows what the future holds.  I left on good terms.  Just so everyone knows; I didn’t spring something on GH on the last day of my contract.  It’s important that I let people know that I didn’t just wake up one day and say, “See ya”.  This also wasn’t about money.  Sure, we want to be paid what we believe we’re worth.  But this in no way was about me asking for the moon, or I was going to leave.  It was a very, very difficult decision.

So, what do you think about how GH wrapped up Dante’s story for Dominic’s exit? Would you like him to return to GH sooner than later?  Do you think the role of Dante was problematic to write for?  What were your favorite scenes of Dom’s during his time at GH? Let us know via the comment section below.

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Breaking News

GH’s Maurice Benard Takes On Role Of Police Captain In New Film, ‘Equal Standard’

While the cast of General Hospital is on their three-week summer hiatus, many of the actors have gone off to do different things with their time … some are traveling … some are on tour or making personal appearances, and some are making movies or filming other projects.

Maurice Benard is continuing to land film roles when he has the time to step away from his role as mobster Sonny Corinthos on the ABC daytime drama series.

Now in an Instagram post this week, Maurice shared an update on the filming of his upcoming motion picture, Equal Standard which also stars Ice-T.

In his post showing him in his character’s police uniform sans jacket, Maurice expressed: “Always great to play different characters.  In New York playing a police captain. Very cool and interesting script.”

In story, Equal Standard tells the story of an off-duty New York City police detective who gets caught in an inner city brawl between undercover cops convinced he is a local street thug. The melee ends in a tragic death followed by an uproar within gangs and cops in neighboring communities and across the city. The movie also features Robert Clohessy, and OLTL alum Tobias Truvillion (Vincent).

So, glad to hear Maurice is getting the opportunity to play more diverse roles?  Comment below.

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This week, Nick lost temporary custody of Christian leading to a defiant and emotional turn by Joshua Morrow (Nick) as he has to say farewell to the little boy he has come to love as his own son, and give him to his father, Victor, who wanted and was granted custody of the child. Watch the hankie-inducing moment! Leave A Comment

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