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

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 .

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!

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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!

I liked him in Tootsie and Police Academy. RIP

Tootsie, another great one he was in.

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

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.

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 .

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

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!

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

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.

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.

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

Johnny Wactor’s Co-Worker, Anita Joy, Speaks Out For First Time Since His Fatal Shooting and Saving Her Life

Those who knew Johnny Wactor (ex-Brando Corbin, GH) were well aware of what an upstanding man he was. As tributes poured in when news that the General Hospital alum was shot and killed by one of three car thieves, they all spoke to his qualities as a human being.

Over the first 24 hours since his passing, the public learned Wactor lost his life putting himself in front of a female co-worker when confronted by his assailants, following their shift at a downtown LA bar. The thieves were attempting to steal his catalytic converter from his vehicle.

Now. Wactor’s former co-work, Anita Joy, has spoken out for the first time via her Instagram account of what happened on that fateful morning and her remembrances accompanied by photos and videos with Johnny.  As many now know, Johnny died a hero.

Photo: AJoyInstagram

Anita began, “I’ve needed to take some time to collect myself and my thoughts. I was with Johnny in his last moments and I’m here to be his voice after such unimaginable events. His story is in this post as it happened, please swipe through the top photos and read it. Early Saturday morning (May 25) after our bartending shift Friday night at Level 8 in DTLA.”

“He was killed senselessly by a coward who reacted without care of the gorgeous life he was taking,” Joy shared.  So, I’m angry, I’m sad and I’m all of the feelings and once … but above all, I am here for Johnny’s justice. My friend of 8 years went from laughing together, working side by side, leaving our bartending shift and walking to our cars, to him dying in my arms in the street of DTLA in the dark hours of 3am.”

She went on to say, “Everything happened in an instant. I’ve come to describe it as a glass of water that gets tipped over and you’re scrambling to grab it and save it from spilling out completely but it just runs through your fingertips and is gone.” Joy said that she and Wactor, “cautiously approached the men questioning what they were doing, at first thinking the car was being towed.”

Photo: ABC

“We were no threat and Johnny kept his cool as he always did, simply stating that it was his car and for them to leave. Hands open to his sides in peace, Joy recounted. “Johnny was between me and the man who shot him – as I heard the shot ring into the night, he forcefully tumbled back into my arms as I grabbed for him I shouted, ‘Hunny, you OK?’ And he only responded, ‘Nope! Shot!’ Joy went on to say that she and Johnny “toppled onto the street” where she was trying to hold his body up as she was screaming for help and screaming at Johnny to “stay with me.”

Next, Joy details that a security guard named Bryan ran into the street and phoned 911. Anita wrote, “I’m so thankful for Bryan showing up, trying with all his might to save Johnny. My only peace is that I was him and this didn’t happen to him alone. My other peace will be seeing these awful men brought to justice.”

Speaking on Wactor’s character, Joy added, “Johnny had this incredible ability that was truly just his genuine nature – to make anyone and everyone feel so special in his eyes. No matter how well you knew him, he treated everyone like he truly cared about you. He lit up any room – you couldn’t not smile around him. His energy was magnetic and pulled you in so effortlessly – you were safe with him. He treated everyone with love, respect, compassion and he really ‘saw’ you.”

Photo: ABC

“He was beautiful, goofy as hell, full of work ethic and values, he never put people down, even when joking, he never made you feel unsure of yourself – he knew how to be hilarious in such a positive way and it just made him that much more lovable. It just filled your heart to be around him,” she recalled.  Johnny made you love him instantly,” Joy added. “Absolutely one of the best men I’ve ever known. I’m so grateful to have been a part of his world and him, mine. My heart is shattered with his loss but I believe l have gained the best guardian Angel out there.  I love you Johnny Wacky.”

Anita then addressed the crime that took Johnny’s life and how Level 8 did not provide parking for its late night shift workers.  Joy explained, “These criminals need to be caught – Level 8 needs to provide parking for their late hour staff as they originally promised- This cannot be something that isn’t responded to with action, it needs to be addressed in a manner to prevent anything like this ever happening again to the best of their ability – Level 8 needs to contribute to Johnny’s family to honor and respect him for all the hard work and effort he did for them.”

Photo: AJoyIG

Speaking on GoFundMe page that has been set for Wactor, Anita spoke about Johnny’s family, expressing, “They are on the other side of the country and it’s going to be a lot on them emotionally and financially to get Johnny home to them.”

What do you think about Anita’s account of Johnny dying in her arms after shielding her from the thieves who were trying to steal his catalytic converter in his car? Her remembrances of the man she became friends and co-workers with? Comment below.

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General Hospital

Elizabeth MacRae, ‘General Hospital’s’ Meg Baldwin, Passes Away at 88

Veteran actress, Elizabeth MacRae best-known as the third Meg Baldwin on General Hospital and as Gomer Pyle’s girlfriend, Lou-An Ann Poovie, in Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C has died at the age of 88. MacRae passed away in Fayetteville, North Carolina, where she grew up.

On General Hospital, Elizabeth played Meg Baldwin who had a young son, Scott (Kin Shriner) from a previous relationship and who married Lee Baldwin (Peter Hansen). The role was originated by Patricia Breslin from 1965-1969. Breslin was temporarily replaced by Jan Shepherd for three weeks in the summer of 1967. MacRae took over the part from Breslin full time from 1969-70 and again from 1972-73.

In story, the character of Meg suffered a nervous breakdown and Lee had her committed to an institution. In 1971, Meg was released and came home, but suffered from severe hypertension. In 1973, Dr Lesley Webber was assigned to her case. Meg became jealous of Lesley and began to think that she was trying to get to have sex with Lee. During an argument with Lee, Meg died of a stroke and soon after Lee adopted Scott.

Photo: ABC

MacRae also appeared on other notable soaps, having roles on Another WorldDays of Our LivesGuiding Light, and Search for Tomorrow.  Elizabeth’s career spanned over two and half decades having also appeared in classic TV shows and countless movies such as: Route 66Surfside 6RendezvousThe FugitiveJudd for the DefenseGunsmokeBonanzaI Dream of Jeannie, and The Andy Griffith Show.

Photo: CBS

She is survived by five stepchildren, Terry Halsey, Peter Halsey, Hugh Halsey, Cate Halsey, and Alex Halsey Topper.

Share your remembrances of GH’s Elizabeth MacRae via the comment section below.

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General Hospital

LAPD Continue to Seek Johnny Wactor’s Killers Who Remain At Large; Asks Public for Tips and Leads

The Los Angeles police department is ramping up its search for to the whereabouts of the three thieves, who got away after one fatally shot former General Hospital cast member, Johnny Wactor (ex-Brando Corbin) in the early morning hours of Saturday, May 26th in downtown Los Angeles.

Law enforcement sources told the LA Times that police are trying to pull fingerprints from Wactor’s vehicle and are looking for video from the area. They also are checking to see whether there are any connections to other nearby catalytic converter thefts.

The thieves were attempting to steal the catalytic converter from Wactor’s car at the time of his death. Sadly, the LAPD investigators shared they have seen an uptick in violence when these types of thieves are confronted.

Photo: ABC

Catalytic converters contain precious metals in which thieves can make hundreds of dollars selling them to auto parts suppliers or scrap yards, where they can be melted down and the valuable metals extracted.

In addition, on Tuesday May 28th, the LAPD shared more on the incident that took Wactor’s life, stating, “Without provocation, the victim was shot by one of the individuals. The three suspects involved were wearing all dark clothing and driving a dark-colored sedan. The suspects fled northbound on Hope Street. Central Bureau Homicide is investigating this case and is requesting the public’s help.”

Photo: ABC

If you have tip: y0u are urged to call LAPD Detectives Gonzales or Martinez at Central Bureau Homicide, at (213) 996-4142. During non-business hours or on weekends, calls should be directed to (877) LAPD-24-7 (877-527-3247).

In addition, Anyone wishing to remain anonymous should call the LA Regional Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-TIPS (800-222-8477) or go to http://www.lacrimestoppers.org.

Wactor played General Hospital’s Brando Corbin from 2020 to 2022. According to the LA Times, “Wactor recently had been exploring opportunities in screenwriting while working as a bartender.”

Share your thoughts on this developing story as the LAPD tries to seek justice for the death of Johnny Wactor via the comment section below.

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