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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.

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
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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)
Guest
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
Guest
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
Guest
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
Guest
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
Guest
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
Guest
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
Guest
Timmm

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

MBmomof3
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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
Guest
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
Guest
Mo

I liked him in Tootsie and Police Academy. RIP

blake
Guest
blake

Tootsie, another great one he was in.

Bill
Guest
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
Guest
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
Guest
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
Guest
Llanviewer717

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

blake
Guest
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.
Guest
Andy G.

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

gloria
Guest
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
Guest
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.… Read more »

Joe
Guest
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

GENERAL HOSPITAL: What Does Franco Have Planned For Peter … The Ultimate Revenge?

This week on General Hospital, the story picks back up on the night of the double-wedding debacle for Maxie (Kirsten Storms) and Peter (Wes Ramsey), and Anna (Finola Hughes) and Finn (Michael Easton).

Last week’s Friday cliffhanger saw Franco (Roger Howarth) taking a crowbar to Peter’s head and knocking him out after realizing the voice in his head was that of Peter’s.

Meanwhile, Maxie who is in the hospital trying to ensure the safety of her unborn baby with Peter, is getting an earful on how far his deception has gone, and from all the people she knows and trusts.  Now, Anna (Finola Hughes) comes to see her God-daughter in the latest promo from ABC.

But the twist that many may, or may not, have seen coming is that Franco has taken Peter and tied him up which looks eerily familiar from when Franco’s mind-mapping took place and he was turned into Drew.

With Franco’s growing brain tumor, what is he capable of doing to Peter? Will he exact the perfect revenge on the guy?

Watch the latest teaser below.

Now weigh-in: what do you think Franco will do next? Share your theories in the comment section.

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General Hospital

GH’s Michael Easton and Finola Hughes Deliver the ‘Power Performances of the Week’

It was an emotional week of episodes on General Hospital as the double-wedding of Finn (Michael Easton) and Anna (Finola Hughes), and Peter (Wes Ramsey) and Maxie (Kirsten Storms) took a double nose-dive.

Each installment left us wondering if either couple would actually get hitched, but when Finn and Anna were the first to combust and not Peter and Maxie, it set the stage for two beloved soap veterans to once again, remind us all, why they are always at the top of the game when required to play high drama that tugs at the heartstrings.

In story, Finn is gut-punched, (and no one can play that better than Michael Easton), when Anna reveals that she knew that Peter was not her biological son and had done all the horrific deeds he has been hiding, in an effort to stop Maxie from marrying Peter.  When Finn realizes Anna confided in Valentin (James Patrick Stuart), and they were working together to bring Peter down it was too much for him to take.

Finn walks out on their wedding.  Alone and with tears welling up in his eyes, Finn feels his chance at love is dashed again.  Add to the fact, he has DNA results to prove if he is Chase’s (Josh Swickard) father and not his brother, or not, and the guy has been through the wringer of late.

As for Anna, she has literally imploded her own life, while trying to save others, after realizing the error of her ways; constantly putting her faith in Peter.  When she comes to visit Finn, she knows no matter what she says to Finn it looks bad.  She sees how she has hurt him, and hopes they can still repair their now fractured relationship, but she has to stop Peter and help her God-daughter, Maxie from making the biggest mistake of her life, so she leaves him to go back to the scene of the double-wedding.

Later in the week, Anna shares a heartfelt scene with her ex Robert Scorpio (Tristan Rogers), whom she knows she can have an honest conversation knowing her life of espionage and their shared history.  Meanwhile, Jackie (Kim Delaney) and Finn’s pull is there as well, as it appears Jackie’s attraction to Finn still remains all these years later when he visits her shortly after being blindsided by Anna at the nuptials.

Throughout the week, Easton and Hughes played all the nuances of their character’s emotional life, as the audience witnessed which just might be the end of the line for Finn and Anna.

For all of these reasons and more, Michael Fairman TV names Michael and Finola’s work, The Power Performances of the Week.

So, let us know, what did you think of what happened to Finn and Anna? The double-wedding fiasco? Did you enjoy Michael and Finola’s scenes? Comment below.

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General Hospital

GH’s Wes Ramsey Makes Statement on Criticism, Social Media, and Professionalism

General Hospital’s Wes Ramsey, who portrays polarizing character, Peter August on the ABC daytime drama series, responded to a recent take on his role from cast mate, Tristan Rogers (Scorpio) when a video made its way through social media.

The video was from a Cameo appearance, where Rogers offered an assessment of the Peter August storyline and expressed that while he knows Ramsey is a strong actor, he felt he was “wrong for the character” being that Peter was the son of the evil Faison played by Anders Hove.

Rogers also came to the defense of Ramsey and shared: “Don’t be too hard on Wes Ramsey. He’s got himself into a horrible storyline, and the storyline is the fault of the show. What they’ve literally done is they’ve painted themselves into a corner, and they don’t know how to get out of it.”

Currently, Peter’s story is front and center on GH with his wedding to Maxie (Kirsten Storms), and the fallout from all of the character’s dirty deeds.

Now Ramsey took to his Instagram account to address what transpired and his thoughts on the perils of social media, professionalism and acting, expressing: “Actors are storytellers, shapeshifters, chameleons. We’re also in the business of cultivating trust bc that’s how the best work is brought to life. We have to trust our imaginations, our instincts. We have to trust our fellow actors, because without them, there’s no scene to play. In the collaborative efforts of bringing any show to life, we also have to trust our directors each day to steer the arch of our story (like a conductor with a symphony) & trust our writers who are tasked with composing the symphonies we play out. I came up in a world of classical theater, where trusting the play, text, story is essential to the tightrope balancing act of making magic.  You will never hear me critique (on any public platform) the people responsible for the creative opportunities I enjoy each day. Without the trust of my writers, directors, producers & fellow actors, it would be impossible to live out my dreams. My job (& my only job) is to bring fearlessness, playfulness & passionate conviction to what has been created for me. My aim is to stretch myself (beyond the limits of where I think my boundaries may lye) each time I’m entrusted with material that allows those boundaries to be tested.

 

Every actor must believe they are the right person for their part or they will never achieve their potential, let alone surpass it. I was raised a gentleman & have two wonderful parents to thank for that, however, my polite personality (while rendering me easy to get along with on set) should have little bearing on my caliber of performance nor my castability as a professional.  I am leery of the pitfalls of social media & believe there are advantages to maintaining some mystery (even as a public figure) but I will always defend & protect what I hold dear (my job & my career) when they are publicly challenged, especially by those closest to me, whom I love & respect. Please know I bear no ill will. As a society, we are all still learning the full ramifications of living in an internet dominated culture. To all my many fans out there who offer encouragement & support, I hear you & am grateful for you. I’m having a blast… 🙂. Onward we go.”

Share your thoughts on Wes’ statement on playing the role of Peter August and more via the comment section below.

 

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A post shared by Wes Ramsey (@wes_ramsey)

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B&B’s Matthew Atkinson chats with Michael Fairman about the wild ride of the Thomas/Hope Mamnequin storyline currently on The Bold and the Beautiful.Leave A Comment

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Power Performance

Michael Easton and Finola Hughes as Finn & Anna

General Hospital

Airdates: 3-4/5-2021

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