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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
Guest
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

GH’s Michael E. Knight Chats On: Taking on the Role of Martin Grey, Friendship with James Patrick Stuart, and All My Children’s Tad

Last Thursday night during a livestream interview, General Hospital’s Michael E. Knight chatted with Michael Fairman on You Tube’s Michael Fairman Channel about returning to daytime in the role of legal eagle Martin Grey, and mixing it up with some of the most famous notables and actors that currently and historically have graced the screens on the ABC daytime drama series.

In case you missed it, the replay of the conversation with three-time Daytime Emmy winner is now available.  During the chat, Knight reveals what is has been like to play the on-screen half-brother of Genie Francis (Laura), if he enjoys the courtroom scenes in which Martin had to defend some of the most notorious in town including Nelle Benson (Chloe Lanier), and more.

Courtesy/ABC

Fans of GH are also enjoying the romantic pairing of Lucy Coe and Martin, pairing Knight with another soap vet, Lynn Herring.  Michael shares that it’s nice to see, and appreciates, the writers creating a fun relationship for a couple that is middle-aged instead of always seeing the younger sets escapades all of the time on daytime TV.

All My Children fans, of course, recall Michael’s memorable performances through the years as Tad Martin, where he became synonymous with Pine Valley.  After AMC came to its conclusion in 2011 on ABC and 2013 with Prospect Park, Knight finally returned to soaps in 2015 in the recurring role of Dr. Simon Neville on The Young and the Restless before joining the cast of GH in 2019.

Photo: JPI

During the interview, Michael shares behind the scenes stories of working with his on-screen parents, Mary Fickett (Ruth) and Ray MacDonnell (Joe), his enduring on-screen love story with Dixie (Cady McClain), and the heyday of AMC in story, with his on-screen sister, Jenny played by Kim Delaney. When Michael came to GH, viewers recall he actually got to share an inside moment with Kim and the fans, when Martin met Jackie Templeton, then played by Delaney.

During the livestream, Michael recalled several of Tad’s wives, and when one fan asked if Cady McClain might come to GH as Dixie, and that maybe she could be a woman from Martin’s past, Knight shared that it could be interesting.

Photo: ABC

In a surprise appearance later in the livestream, James Patrick Stuart (Valentin, GH), who has an enduring friendship with Michael, and happened to be at Knight’s house, shared some memories of his time as Will Cortlandt on All My Children. Now decades later, things have come full-circle for the good friends as they share screen-time on General Hospital as Valentin and Martin.

Stuart is a Daytime Emmy nominee this year for the Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series category at the upcoming 49th annual Daytime Emmy Awards, and we took a moment to congratulate him on being acknowledged by his peers for the second year in a row.  Currently, James is pulling double duty shooting his Disney+ show, Villains of Valley View, while also taping GH.

Photo: JPI

Watch the replay of the livestream with Michael E. Knight below.

Then let us know, are you enjoying Martin and Lucy together? What do you think of the idea of Cady McClain coming to GH? Do you want to see more Valentin and Martin scenes? And, what are your favorite memories of Michael’s time as Tad on All My Children? Share your thoughts in the comment section.

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Breaking News

General Hospital Tapes 15,000th Episode; Featuring Genie Francis with Almost Every Single Cast Member Appearing in It

On Thursday, ABC’s General Hospital reached yet another milestone in its illustrious history. The daytime drama taped its 15,000 episode.

During the tape day, the cast, crew and creatives posed for a photo on set to mark the occasion with cake.

GH’s 15,000 episode will air next month on June 17th.

ABC 7’s entertainment guru, George Pennacchio was on set with a first-hand report, interviewing the likes of Genie Francis (Laura), Maurice Benard (Sonny) and the show’s executive producer, Frank Valentini.

From the sounds of it, the 15K episode will center around the character of Laura, and according to Valentini, “It will be happy, it will be sad, it will be dark, it will be scary, it will be fun, it will be thrilling and it will be exciting, but most importantly it will have almost every single cast member in it.”

Check out the segment and on set report from Pennacchio below.

Now, let us know if you are excited to see the 15K episode of GH via the comment below and congratulate the long-running soap for another historic milestone.

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General Hospital

TONIGHT: General Hospital’s Michael E. Knight Live! – 8 PM ET/5 PM PST

General Hospital’s Michael E. Knight stops by to chat with Michael Fairman for a very special conversation on The Michael Fairman Channel streaming live beginning at 8 PM ET/ 5 PM PT.

The three-time Daytime Emmy-winner and beloved daytime veteran will talk on his role of Martin Grey on the ABC daytime drama series, working with the likes of Genie Francis (Laura), Chloe Lanier (Nelle), Jeff Kober (Cyrus), James Patrick Stuart (Valentin), Lynn Herring (Lucy), and more.

In addition, Knight will discuss his time as Pine Valley’s Tad Martin on All My Children.  A role that started his career, and that he played for decades, that made him a household name in daytime.  Michael will share inside stories of working with some of his favorite co-stars on the former daytime drama and much more.

To watch the livestream check out the video below, or head on over to You Tube’s Michael Fairman Channel and make sure to ‘subscribe’.

If you have any questions for Michael, you can post them here, or join us in the live chat and comment there.  We look forward to tonight’s conversation with Michael.

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Cameron Mathison talks with Michael Fairman on taking on the role of GH’s Drew Cain, the latest developments in Port Charles for Drew. his busy career outside of soaps and the loss of his mother and his public battle with cancer.Leave A Comment
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