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The Young and the Restless and General Hospital Actress and Writer, Meg Bennett, Passes Away at 75

Meg Bennett, who had played Julia Newman and later became a writer for the top-rated daytime drama, The Young and the Restless has died at the age of 75.  The news comes from her family who shared that she lost her battle to cancer back on April 11th.

Daytime fans remember fondly, Meg’s portrayal of Victor’s (Eric Braeden)first wife. Bennett joined the show in 1980, after her first soap stint for two years in the role of Liza Walton on Search for Tomorrow.

Impressed by her story notes, the late Bill Bell, then head writer of Y&R, had Meg doing double duty acting and writing on the show from 1983-1987. When he decided to write off the character of Julia, he also wanted Meg to stick around as a writer.  Not only did this begin a whole other daytime career for Bennett, but she was not done playing Julia either. Throughout the decades, Julia would still come back to Genoa City for a visit. Most recently, Y&R fans saw Julia in 2018, and again in 2020.

Photo: JPI

Bennett also appeared on Santa Barbara and was a writer on that show as well from 1991-1993. She played the role of Megan Richardson. It was next that Meg had her longest writing stint coming to ABC’s General Hospital. Meg wrote for GH from 1993-2011.

In 1995, Bennett won her first Daytime Emmy for writing and her personal life changed after falling in love with nine-time Daytime Emmy winner, former GH head writer, Bob Guza Jr. In addition, GH also utilized Bennett for her acting skill when she was cast as the villainess Allegra Montenegro.  Meg and Bog Guza were officially married in 2004 and purchased a home once owned by Boris Karloff and Gregory Peck.

Photo: JPI

Additionally, Meg wrote for The Bold and the Beautiful 1987-1989 and later served as a executive story consultant to Brad Bell from 2002-2004.  She also wrote for Sunset Beach, Generations and GH: Night Shift throughout her writing career. She went on to win five WGA Awards for GH and Santa Barbara.

Meg is survived by her husband of 19 years, Robert Guza Jr., two stepdaughters, four grandchildren, a brother and a sister.

Share your remembrances and condolences for Meg Bennett via the comment section below.

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General Hospital

GH’s Finola Hughes Chats on Her Lead Actress Daytime Emmy Nomination, New Directions for Characters in Port Charles, and Anna’s Love Life

In four out of the last five years, General Hospital favorite, Finola Hughes (Anna Devane), has almost become a perennial nominee having once again scored a Daytime Emmy Nomination for Outstanding Performance by a Lead Actress for the upcoming 51st Annual Daytime Emmy Awards.

Hard to believe, but Hughes won her one and only Daytime Emmy back in 1991, and has amassed a total of 11 Emmy nominations during her enduring daytime drama career. As those who have watched GH know, throughout any calendar year, you can find numerous stellar performances by Finola that could be tops on any Emmy reel.

Michael Fairman TV chatted with Finola during the 10th annual Daytime Emmy Nominations Special to get her reaction to landing in the field of six fantastic women vying for gold, what scenes went on her now Emmy-nominated reel, what she thinks of how GH is shaking things up under new head writers, Patrick Mulcahey and Elizabeth Korte, and the future of Anna’s love life. Here’s what she shared below.

Photo: ABC

What scenes did you wind up submitting that landed you in the running for the Daytime Emmy in this year’s Lead Actress category?

FINOLA: The whole Charlotte (Scarlett Fernandez) shooting and the accident and that whole thing. Then, talking about that with Sonny (Maurice Benard), and then a bit of the breakup with Valentin (James Patrick Stuart), and then finding out that Valentin had lied.

Who helped you put the reel together?

FINOLA: One of our producers at GH, Michelle Henry. We have these amazing producers. They’re sort of the unsung heroes. They’re in the booth all day when we’re shooting. They do this wonderful thing where they earmark something, if they think that it’s been a good performance. So, they just have this sort of little list (that helps come Emmy time). So, that’s how that worked with Michelle.

Photo: ABC

Now you’ve had a string of recent Daytime Emmy nominations. Do you think GH is  writing more for your strengths in the last several years?

FINOLA:  Yes, and I think it’s become stronger recently. I think writers really take the lead sometimes from an actress or an actor who’s going through something or moving through something in their life. Maybe, that’s they were just seeing, you know, different layers and colors and so they started to write to that.  I’m not sure. It certainly felt like I’ve had some things (material) that resonated with me.

What I have loved about Anna is that she is very complex. She often wrestles with herself over her past as a double agent, or certain guilt that she carries around. It’s interesting when the lines are blurred for her and things get messy.

FINOLA:  I do well with complex and I like messy.

So, what do you think about the nominees in the Lead Actress category with you?

FINOLA:  They are great. I don’t know Annika Noelle (Hope, B&B) very well, but I hear she did wonderful work and she sent me a lovely message. Katherine Kelly Lang (Brooke, B&B) I obviously reached out to, Tamara Braun (Ava, DAYS) reached out to me, and Michelle Stafford (Phyllis, Y&R) and I just got on the phone last night and congratulated each other on our nominations, and of course, Cynthia (Watros) is here with me at GH.

Photo: JPI

You do like do like the fashion of it all for Emmy night, correct?

FINOLA: God, I I live for it. I’m as shallow as that. I might play some complex on television, but I’m that shallow in real life.

So, do you go by the trends of what to pick out to wear for a red carpet, or you just kind of go off what you think looks good on you?

FINOLA: I do like the trends. I really like the fact that the sleeve is having a big moment right now since the film Poor Things. It sent it into the stratosphere.

It’s been 33 years since you won your last Emmy. Do you think you’re a better actress now than when you were even 10 years ago?

FINOLA: I have no idea. It feels like a game of golf always for me, because get on set, like today, I was doing some work this morning and I just doubt myself.  I’m like, “Did I really bring it?” I do think I’m harder on myself now than I was when I was younger, because I really didn’t know what I was doing at all.  It’s a very hard question to answer. I feel like it’s different, but I’m constantly in battle with myself as to whether something works or not.

Photo: ABC


What are your thoughts then on being Emmy-nominated, at times, for more than three decades?

FINOLA: At this point in my life, I just find the whole thing encouraging and extraordinarily sort of affirming, and sweet and lovely. It’s extraordinary to even be acknowledged. That’s the truth.

Currently, on-air, Anna is taking a harder line with Sonny. There’s been a shift.

FINOLA:  Yes. That’s been really interesting. I was talking about this with Steve Burton (Jason), and we actually were working together today. We found like this level between the two of us when it comes to Sonny. It was just really like another whole level as to what I’m doing. I think what’s happened is people’s roles in Port Charles are becoming delineated, you know, where there’s less gray. It’s like we’re sort of moving into areas, right? All of us. That’s kind of great because then you’ve got the hospital, you’ve got the police station, you’ve got the mob, you’ve got the Quartermaines you’ve got Curtis’ nightclub, and so there’s these different areas. Then, your character becomes very specific.  I had those scenes with Genie Francis (Laura) that aired the other day, and it makes sense that we are sort of waking up because unfortunately Sonny’s going through something which we don’t know about, but he’s not behaving well. So, therefore we are like, “If he would do that, then we need to wake up to that Sonny has always been like that.” But, it’s not true. Sonny hasn’t always been like that. We still deal in the gray, because we are searching for the gray in ourselves, which is interesting. And then we have to make a decision, such as, “Where do you stand? Who are you actually?” I think posing those questions to the actual characters is kind of interesting.

Photo: ABC

Now, who’s going to be the man in Anna’s life?

FINOLA:  Well, I want to do some more stuff with James. Obviously, James and I text all the time about how we’re not working together. We all know what Valentin’s up to. However,  Anna doesn’t quite know.

I was originally thinking they might put John “Jagger” Cates (Adam Harrington) in a romance with Anna?

FINOLA: Oh, I know. I love Adam. He’s so wonderful, and so is Charles Mesure (Brennan). Obviously, Laura Wright (Carly) has been working with the two of them as well. They’re both looking like they are in love with Carly, so what can I do?  I’ll just take the leftovers. However, I’m hoping that I get to play Valentin. The thing that’s interesting is that he’s a Cassadine. His father has now passed on, so he’s now at the front of the wagon of the Cassadines. It’s in his blood. So, I don’t know what they’ll do.

Photo: ABC

What was our family’s reaction when you told you are an Emmy nominee? 

FINOLA: We had just taped three days of a very big event on the show. I was really tired yesterday and I was sort of laying down pretending to take a nap, as I never can nap in the middle of a day. Then, Frank Valentini (EP, General Hospital) called me to say that, Cynthia Watros and myself, had been nominated for Lead Actress. So, I actually got up and I walked outside and my three kids were sort of wandering around doing kid teenage stuff. I sort of told each of them individually. I was like, “I got nominated.”  They actually said, “Congratulations!” So, I think it actually resonated through the haze of online extravaganzas that teens are looking at it.

Make sure to check out the 2024 Daytime Emmy Nominations Special from this past Friday night below, where several of this year’s Daytime Emmy nominees stopped by the Michael Fairman Channel to share their reactions and more on going for gold come June 7th.

Now let us know, are you happy Finola was nominated for Outstanding Performance by a Lead Actress in a Daytime Drama Series? Who do you hope Anna winds up with romantically down the line on GH under new head writers, Patrick Mulcahey and Elizabeth Korte? Share your thoughts in the comment section.

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News

‘Tracker’s’ Justin Hartley on His ‘Passions’ Soap Start, “They’d Have Me With No Shirt Walking Around a Hospital for Three Weeks. It Was Ridiculous, but I Loved It.”

While Justin Hartley’s freshman drama Tracker on CBS is a bonafide smash hit, the man who is now executive producing and the lead of the complex procedural drama, had his humble show biz TV beginnings on the cult favorite soap opera, Passions.

From 2002-2006, Hartley became beloved by young soap viewers everywhere for his performance of Nicholas Foxworth Crane, better known as “Fox.”

Throughout his run on the former NBC soap opera, Hartley’s co-stars now read as who’s who of the soaps including good friend, Eric Martsolf (ex-Ethan, Passions, now Brady, DAYS), former real-life wife, Lindsay Korman (ex-Theresa, Passions), Brook Kerr (ex-Whitney, Passions, now Portia, General Hospital) and even the late, great Andrea Evans (ex-Rebecca, Passions, and ex-Tina One Life to Live).

Photo: JPI

In a look-back at some of the memorable roles of his career at TV Insider including as Adam Newman on The Young and the Restless, the feature has some notable quotes from Justin.

The one that struck us the most was when Hartley was speaking about his time on Passions, which for anyone who knows the show, saw him most of the time shirtless in a scene for absolutely no apparent reason. Looks like Justin agrees with that assessment too, sharing, “They’d have me with no shirt walking around a hospital for three weeks. It was ridiculous, but I loved it.”

Photo: CBS

Meanwhile, tonight on an all-new episode of Tracker (9pm ET/PT) titled “Aurora”, when a widower offers a reward to find his only daughter who disappeared three years ago and is presumed dead, Colter (Hartley) agrees to help track her down. After the missing girl’s father shows Colter a newspaper photo from a recent county fair he’s convinced is her, Colter’s search leads him into the world of amateur ghost hunting and paranormal activity.

“Aurora” is directed by none other than Hartley’s former This Is Us co-star Jon Huertas (ex-Miquel).  In fact, Huertas told TV Insider, he wouldn’t wait to direct Justin again, as he did on the former NBC drama in which they both appeared.

Photo: CBS

Huertas expressed: “I’ll be honest, Justin was one of my favorite actors on the show to watch, to work with, and to direct. I was able to do all of that on This Is Us. And so when the opportunity came up, Ken Olin was like, ‘Hey, you interested in directing on this show, Tracker?’ I was like, “Absolutely. I get to work with Justin again.”‘

So, do you remember Justin as Fox Crane mostly walking around plenty of times shirtless in story as soap hunks do, but for no particular reason? Are you going to catch ‘Tracker’ tonight which features a behind the scenes reunion and collaboration between Jon Huertas and Justin? Comment below.

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