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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
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!

Breaking News

General Hospital Casts ‘Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’ Alum Janet Hubert As Mike’s New Love Interest

Intriguing casting news out of Port Charles on Sunday. The ABC daytime drama series has tapped former Fresh Prince of Bel-Air star Janet Hubert to play the character of  Yvonne,who is said to be a love interest for Mike (Max Gail) at the nursing home he is now in.

According to EW.com, Yvonne will end up having a connection to someone or someones on the canvas.

Hubert’s first episode is slated to air on December 7th.   Sitcom fans remember Janet from “Fresh Prince’ in scenes with Will Smith in the series in the role of Vivian Banks.

GH is not Janet’s first soap, either.  She appeared on One Life to Live as Evangeline Williamson’s (Renee Elise Goldsberry) and Layla Williamsom’s (Tika Sumpter) mother, Lisa.  The actress also appeared on All My Children as Alice Dawson.

In another twist, Hubert will reunite with Vernee Watson (Stella)om GH.  The two appeared together on “Fresh Prince”, where Watson played Will’s mother.

So does this mean that Yvonne and Stella are both going to be romantically interested in Mike Corbin?

What do you think of the casting news?  Interested to see this next leg of Mike’s story as he declines from Alzheimer’s, but may find love?  Comment below.

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Days Of Our Lives

LISTEN TO THE REPLAY: Soap Nation Live! with Jon Lindstrom, Beth Maitland, Freddie Smith, Linda Dano & Maura West

Photo: ABC/CBS/JPI Studios

Listen to “Soap Nation Live November 2018 Episode” on Spreaker.

If you missed Thursday’s night’s Soap Nation Live! with Michael Fairman, you can hear the replay of the broadcast right here in the audio player above.

The November episode of the monthly podcast featured special guests: Soap icon, Linda Dano (Ex-Felicia, AW, Gretel, (OLTL, GH, Port Charles, AMC), and Cynthia, ATWT), General Hospital’s Jon Lindstrom (Kevin/Ryan), The Young and the Restless’ Beth Maitland (Traci), Days of our Lives Freddie Smith (Sonny), and listeners were in for a surprise when GH’s Maura West (Ava Jerome) called-in as well during the show.

During this fun night of chat, Linda Dano kicked-off the show as she and Michael reminisced about the night she won the Daytime Emmy in 1993 for her role as Felicia Gallant on Another World.  Then, the duo talked about: her soap career as Gretel “Rae” Cummings on the ABC Daytime line-up, her incomparable fashion sense, and how fans can see her first acting project in 12 years when The Chronicle Mysteries debuts with Alison Sweeney (Sami, DAYS) in March of 2019 on the Hallmark Channel.

Next, General Hospital’s Jon Lindstrom discussed taking on and revisiting playing the dual roles of Kevin Collins, and his serial killer twin brother, Ryan Chamberlain.  In addition, Jon talked about his leading ladies, Genie Francis and the #KevLaur hash tag, and Ryan’s interest in Ava Jerome.  Then, after answering some questions from listeners, Maura West surprised her scene partner and called-in to chat with him.

Beth Maitland came on to Soap Nation Live! next, and she discussed finally having the opportunity after 36 years to explore Traci’s relationship with her siblings, Jack and Ashley, that came about in Eileen Davidson’s exit storyline.  The Daytime Emmy-winning actress also revealed her favorite Y&R storyline over the years. Maitland has received critical-acclaim for her recent work on the CBS Daytime drama series.

The final guest of the night was Freddie Smith.  The popular DAYS star talked on the latest developments of Sonny and Will, where now the two can be together since Paul and Will broke up, but will their happiness last long?  Freddie gives the listeners a preview of what’s to come.  Then, a listener calls in revealing how through watching Days of our Lives and the Sonny and Will story and romance, how it helped him come out and to have a family.

Last, during our Game Show segment, a lucky caller eventually wins the Sonny Kiriakis-centric trivia game and will receive a Days of our Lives swag/goodie bag and an autographed personalized photo of Freddie Smith.

To hear archived and past episodes of Soap Nation Live, you can go to the official show page on Spreaker.com here.

Now, listen to the broadcast with Linda, Jon, Beth, Freddie and Maura, and then let us know via the comment section below what was your favorite moment in the broadcast.

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Breaking News

Soaps Lift Boycott Threat Of Daytime Emmys

In a key move to allow those performers in front of the camera and behind the scenes crew and creatives to be acknowledged for their accomplishments this calendar year, the four daytime dramas collectively have decided to lift their threatened boycott and participate in the upcoming 46th annual Daytime Emmy competition.

This comes after the four network soaps (Days of our Lives, General Hospital, The Bold and the Beautiful, and The Young and the Restless) banded together after being unsatisfied with snafu’s coming out of the 45th annual Daytime Emmy Awards earlier this year in April, and a list of grievances and concerns they asked to be addressed by the organization that administers the Emmy contest.

Then, following an internal investigation by NATAS by the law firm of Fletcher, Heald & Hildreth of Washington, DC, the results which were released on November 8th, and being in receipt of their findings, the soaps decided to move forward while still having concerns they want addressed.

In a statement from the group, a spokesperson related to Deadline, who broke the story late Friday: “As a group, we are not in agreement with all of the conclusions that NATAS reached.  However, in the spirit of working with NATAS and the TV Academy on improving the integrity of the Daytime Emmys, we have lifted our boycott. We look forward to meeting with NATAS to discuss their findings and our concerns in greater detail.”

On Saturday, someone close to the situation said to Michael Fairman TV: “Our participation doesn’t mean we accept their proposal moving forward, we still have major issues that we will be discussing with the Chair and President (of NATAS), but as a collective whole, we don’t want to penalize our actors for NATAS’ mis-management.”

The 46th Annual Daytime Emmy submissions began earlier this week on November 12th, with the Daytime Emmys slated to be handed out in early May of 2019.

So, are you glad that the network soaps have lifted their threatened boycott so that your favorite performers, whose performances you have loved over the last 11 months can be acknowledged for their talents and hard work? Share your thoughts via the comment section below.

 

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GH icon Genie Francis chats with Michael Fairman about her return to the soap as Laura after being taken off-contract earlier this year. Leave A Comment

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Beth Maitland as Traci

The Young and the Restless

Airdates: 10-24-26-2018

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