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George Gaynes, General Hospital's Original Mob Boss Frank Smith, Dies At 98

Courtesy/ABC

Courtesy/ABC

When General Hospital’s Luke (Anthony Geary) and Laura (Genie Francis) went on the run in the 80′s from the mob boss who caused so much trouble for the duo throughout their lives, actor George Gaynes was playing the despicable villain.

It was one of the most pivotal story arcs in the history of the iconic soap opera.  On Monday, Gaynes passed away at 98 in North Bend, Washington. When Gaynes left the show in 1980, Smith had been sent to prison, but as viewers know the character returned a few times over the next decades played by different actors.

It was Smith who originally hired Luke to run the Campus Disco as a money-laundering operation. Luke was always under the thumb of the notorious crime lord until he managed a way to break free. However, Smith even resurfaced in 2015 and one more time tried to destroy Luke and his family.

Gaynes, who was not only a character actor but a baritone singer, made hundreds of appearances both on TV comedies and dramas, as well as 35 films (counting both features and made-for-TV movies) and many plays, musical comedies and even operas in the U.S. and Europe.

After leaving General Hospital in 1990, Gaynes went on to appear in one of the most notable roles in his career in Tootsie, as the actor with a crush on Dustin Hoffman’s, female alter ego, Dorothy Michaels.

Gaynes, also played the absentminded Commandant Eric Lassard in all seven Police Academy films, and became well- known for his performance as Henry Warnimont on the NBC series Punky Brewster.  The actor also appeared on the soap, Search for Tomorrow.

In addition to his wife, Gaynes is survived by a daughter; one granddaughter; and two great-granddaughters. His son, Matthew, died in a 1989 car crash.

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Share your thoughts on the passing of Gaynes in the comment section below, and if you watched him as the original Frank Smith on GH during the heyday of Luke and Laura’s story?

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Softjohn
Softjohn

That’s harsh, even for him. I would have been cool if he reprised his role for Anthony Geary’s farewell episodes.

Jimh(leave it to beaver)
Jimh(leave it to beaver)

Back in January Meg Mundy who played Mona Aldrich Croft from the 70s to the 80s on The Doctors passed away at the age of 101…in Nov. 2015 Fred J. Scolly who was an original cast member on The Doctors in the 60s and later appeared as Charlie Hobson-the fourth husband of Rachels mother Ada on Another World from 1977 to 1980 passed away at 92…now sadly, here is George Gaynes who played Frank Smith on GH when i was soooooooooooo young has passed away…so many good actors we have lost .

blake
blake

I know what you mean, yesterday I saw a commercial with Florence Henderson and even though she looks great her voice was definitely off. I was like nooooooooooooooo!

nancy dillingham
nancy dillingham

The perfect mob boss–suave, underplayed, Frank Smith was much more effective than an over-the-top protrayal. George Gaynes was a GREAT villain–soft-spoken but sinister at the same time. LOVED his acting. Unforgettable performance–played to perfection. RIP.

BTW, I did find it so ironic that the talk shows made NO MENTION OF HIS PLAYING on a soap opera. What is that about? Playing mobster Frank Smith on Genral Hospital was one of his most iconic roles.

Rose
Rose

Nancy…not just soap backgrounds. Talk shows never seem to acknowledge actor’s roles in the sci-fi genre where they also built up a big following if they have gone “legit.” And the actors never mention it. Two come to mind…Nathan Fillian (Mal on Firefly/Serenity as well as Joey on OLTL) or Jessica Alba (Max on Dark Angel). And I bet we could make a list of other actors this has happened to. It seems soaps and sci-fi are orphan genres as far as respect or career builders.

vintage GH
vintage GH

So true Nancy. He was just as instrumental in the whole “Luke and Laura” machine as Kin Shriner. Luke and Scottie represented Laura’s conflict. Scottie and Frank represented Luke’s conflicts.

Rose
Rose

MF…thanks for reminding us of George Gaynes whose Frank Smith character gave us some great Luke and Laura storylines. Coincidentally I watched Tootsie over Valentine weekend on a movie channel. Always thought George/Dr. Van Horn looked familiar. Now I know why. And I loved it when he serenaded Dorothy/ Dustin in his baritone voice. One of my favorite movies along with Soapdish. Wonder how true they are to the real inside world of soaps.

Timmm
Timmm

Rose, it didnt even click the “Frank Smith” was on “Punky Brewster!”

MBmomof3
MBmomof3

I was in high school and would watch GH with my older sisters during the original Frank Smith saga. Great memories of a great period in American TV history.

R.I.P. Mr. Gaynes. Thank you for the fond memories. Condolences to his loved ones.

Timmm
Timmm

Rest Mr. Gaynes! Sorry to see you go and sorry you had to witness the revival of your character in 2015! That was as bad as Evil “lil” Jake returning from the dead! I just watched one of the “Police Academy’s” recently. He was great in all them and will be missed!

Mo
Mo

I liked him in Tootsie and Police Academy. RIP

blake
blake

Tootsie, another great one he was in.

Bill
Bill

Only one of the FS recasts was worth his salt … Mitchell Ryan. But Gaynes was the MAN! So smooth! R.I.P.

Dean_Morgan
Dean_Morgan

One of those actors who cared more about his craft than being a star. He was committed to all of his work and will certainly be missed. May he RIP.

nicholas
nicholas

I saw him in the 50 th anniversary GH specials online . However Gaynes will always be remembered for the part he played on Punky Brewster by me and many others . Punky was my childhood ! Of course we also remember him on Police Academy but he moved me and he touched me in Punky Brewster .

Llanviewer717
Llanviewer717

I certainly remember and loved him as Frank Smith. I have enjoyed his many other performances too. May he RIP.

blake
blake

Oh man, I liked him as Henry on Punky Brewster and the Police Academy movies. He was in so many thing. And to live to 98! Wow!

Andy G.
Andy G.

He was also great in one of my all-time favorite series, “The Days & Nights of Molly Dodd.”

gloria
gloria

He was 98? Makes me feel old as dirt & I am 55-was a teen when he was on GH (or not far from being a teen, ha) The good old days.

vintage GH
vintage GH

Awww….may he rest in peace. I was in elementary school during his Frank Smith portrayal when soap history was made. The 1980 Frank Smith story was the first time a soap left the studio and did location shoots. Last year I re-watched the Frank Smith 1980 storyline on youtube. It really holds up. He was a very gifted, understated actor. I loved his Frank Smith portrayal because it didn’t really pander to mafia stereotypes. His Frank Smith was a low-key villain and was incredibly gentlemanly on the surface. His portrayal wasn’t as a womanizer. His portrayal wasn’t as a narcissist. It was a different approach and it worked. I also loved him in Tootsie and I remember the serenade scene well. I bet he was proud of that scene. In Tootsie he played a past-his-prime skirt chaser and he played that character half comedy, half heartbreak. You felt sorry for the character he portrayed in Tootsie because he couldn’t remember lines and he bombed trying to sweep Tootsie off of her feet. Thanks for the memories Mr. Gaynes. You will be missed.

Joe
Joe

I watched him when he was on GH. He was forcing Luke to marry his daughter, Jennifer, played by Lisa Marie. He’s the one who hired Hutch to kill Luke and Laura when they went on the run after that great fight scene on the boat between Scotty and Luke. Happened right after Scotty found the letter Laura wrote to Luke, admitting he raped her. Those were truly the best days of GH. George Gaines was always Frank Smith to me. RIP, Mr Gaines!

General Hospital

The Triumphant Return of Kelly Thiebaud As GH’s Dr. Britt Westbourne

When a shocked Nurse Felix Dubois (Marc Anthony Samuel) exclaimed “Dear lord, the Britch is back,” after seeing none other than Dr. Britt Westbourne with her lab coat hovering around the nurses station at “General Hospital”, you knew things were about to go down on the ABC daytime drama series.

Over the past few weeks, Kelly Thiebaud has been in action on-screen on General Hospital as the the trouble-making, complicated, Britt.   Since returning to the canvas, viewers learned that: Britt has been paroled from her previous crimes, seems to say she believes and actually likes her half-brother, Peter August (Wes Ramsey), has confronted her mutter in jail (Liesl Obrecht played by Kathleen Gati), whom Peter framed, and showed up at Brad’s (Parry Shen) hearing to be there for her bestie, who has been in hot water for the baby switch of Wiley.

But, there have been a lot more intriguing things than even that! Britt is now hitting the sheets with none-other than Julian (William deVry), and also let him know in no uncertain terms she knows his part in the whole Brad cover-up.   But what is her true motive?  We also learned in a run-in at GH, that Neil (Joe Flanigan) and Britt know each other from somewhere.  He is trying to put his finger on just where, but does Britt know? Probably!

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However, the best  and most entertaining moment on soaps last week was when Britt arrived in her lab coat to GH and revealed to both Felix and Liz (Rebecca Herbst) that she had worked hard enough to be able to get her medical license restored … and that Monica (Leslie Charleson) brought her on with a provisional acceptance as a temporary replacement for Dr. Kim Nero as an OBGYN for the hospital. Felix says give it two weeks and she will do something to mess things up.

Photo: JPI

Just then, in our favorite scene of the week, Nikolas (Marcus Coloma) and Ava (Maura West) happen by, and when Britt, who is Nik’s ex, sees him she saunters over to him and slaps him hard across the face and spits out, “That’s for Spencer.”  She goes on to berate him for how he hurt his son; by letting him believe that his father was dead for three years!  Britt tells Nikolas it would serve him right if Spencer knew spoke to him again.

Next, Elizabeth chimes in and tells Britt to stop acting all high and mighty.  Britt fires back that she is not surprised that Liz, another one of Nik’s ex’s, would defend him.  Britt says, “The more things change, the more they stay the same.”

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Scene after scene, Kelly Thiebaud has lit up the screen and put the “feisty” back onto the ABC soap opera.  As an actress, Kelly can go from the heavy drama, to the comedic, to the sexy, all with ease.

In the March 30th issue of Soap Opera Digest, Thiebaud said of her return:  “Frank Valentini reached out to me the beginning of the year and mentioned that the writers wanted to bring me back for a bit.  I said,’Of course, I will,  I would love nothing more than that!”‘ I just really connect with Britt and have a blast playing her.”

So let us know, have you been enjoying the return of Kelly as Dr. Britt Westbourne, thus far? What do you think Britt is up to? Comment below.

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General Hospital

GENERAL HOSPITAL: Alexis Breaks Three Years of Sobriety, Carly Locks Up Nelle, Nikolas & Liz Continue to Reconnect

On Friday’s episode of General Hospital, after downing a drink at a bar, Alexis (Nancy Lee Grahn) held off on a second one, but unfortunately and sadly lost her sobriety of three years.  When she called people in her life to come get her out of the bar and home,  no one was available, so she called none other than her ex Julian (William deVry).

And it was Julian to the rescue, who also took the legal eagle to an AA meeting. The car ride between them was not all pleasant, especially when Alexis went down memory lane for a moment and recalled when Julian held a knife at her throat.  After the fallout with Neil (Joe Flanagan), she wondered why she ruins all her relationships … consistently.

CourtesyABC

Elsewhere. Michael (Chad Duell) is trying to get Nelle (Chloe Lanier) to sign and authorize the heart defect surgery on Wiley.  Michael said they  need both parents signature on the consent forms and Nelle is refusing to sign.  When Carly (Laura Wright) finds out she is ready to handle Nelle and goes up on the hospital rooftop to confront her.   Once there, she tells Nelle this is her chance to get people over to her side by signing the consent to let her son have the surgery he needs.  Carly also tells her that Wiley is her leverage.  If she lets her son die, she has nothing to hold over everybody.  And still, after all of that, Nelle refuses to sign.  So, resourceful Carly locks Nelle in and up on the roof so she can’t leave!  Will Nelle come to her senses for a few seconds and sign the papers?  Previously, Nelle told Michael her kidney surgery basically ruined her life, so she does not want to do the same thing to their son.

Courtesy/ABC

Elizabeth (Rebecca Herbst) is worried about Cameron (William Lipton) and so she sets him up with a therapy session with Neil.  Nikolas (Marcus Coloma) happens by the hospital after getting Ava (Maura West) squared away with Franco (Roger Howarth) for his portrait painting of her in the art room.  He runs into Liz and she shares her concerns for Cameron, and how familiar it is to he,r and how traumatized he must be – having two incidents where he was basically kidnapped within a years time.  She bring up how when she was raped when she was younger that Emily, Lucky and Nikolas were there for her.  Are Nikolas and Liz growing closer again?  Are Ava and Franco?

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And … leave it to Britt (Kelly Thiebaud) to get what she wants …. and what she wants is to hit the hay with Julian, after Julian hit her up late after dropping off Alexis.  Is he on the rebound from his car talk with Alexis? Or, is she just so into Britt for some fun?

So, were you upset that Alexis drank? Do you like Britt and Julian hooking-up? Will Carly get Nelle to sign the consent forms  for Wiley’s surgery? And, are you intrigued by a redux of a Liz and Nikolas romance? Comment below.

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General Hospital

WATCH: GH’s Nancy Lee Grahn, James Patrick Stuart and Y&R’s Michelle Stafford In ‘Soaps In Quarantine’ Episode 1

Leave it to General Hospital’s Nancy Lee Grahn (Alexis) to be enterprising, and creative and providing social commentary at this time in our new reality.

Grahn has teamed up with her former GH Now partner, comedian and podcast host, Kaore Bonell for what looks to be on-going You Tube series, while we are all at home experiencing social distancing from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Courtesy/YouTube

For the first episode of the series aptly titled, “Soaps In Quarantine” Nancy and Kaore welcome GH’s James Patrick Stuart (Valentin) and The Young and the Restless Michelle Stafford (Phyllis) as their very special guests.

Topics are wide-ranging, and entertaining from some interesting tidbits about their soap characters and their individual times on different soap operas, to if they have each gone to the grocery store and what they are experiencing from items being MIA and flying off the shelves and more.

As you will see, the actors and the hosts all Skype-in or Face time in which is something we all can do to be within each other’s “comforts zones” while being isolated at home.

Check out “Soaps In Quarantine” episode 1 below and let us know what you thoughts of it via the comment section below.

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DAYS Eric Martsolf and Stacy Haiduk chat with Michael Fairman at Day of Days 2019; during their conversation the on-screen dup talk about the latest developments of Brady and Kristen within the series time-jump and more. Leave A Comment

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Kelly Thiebaud as Britt

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Airdate:3-23-2020

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