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GH"S Daniel Benzali speaks on being revealed as The Balkan!

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

So, as we all now know and has been confirmed, the hypochondriac patient that wheeled into GH and sought help from Robin, Patrick and Steven is really the international crime lord, The Balkan.  And famed character actor, Daniel Benzali is playing Theo Hoffman aka The Balkan for all he is worth.

In his first interview since assuming the pivotal role, Benzali spoke with TV Guide on his first foray into soaps and more!  Here are a few excerpts below!

Benzali on The Balkan’s theatrical style and if the crime lord is a frustrated stage star:  “[Laughs] We actually created a bit of a back story for the character and decided he probably did have some stage experience in the past in some limited way. He’s very good with accents. As Theo, he’s British. As the Balkan, he has sort of a New York street accent. And then there’s even a third accent coming up. I loved Theo’s introduction to the show as a hospital patient — it was way out there.”

Benzali on what layers of The Balkan might be revealed in his emotional life: “What I liked about playing all that subterfuge in the hospital with Robin is that it provided such a contrast to the real character and his goals and feelings. We just shot some scenes where we will see some very strong emotions come to the surface with him — really relatable emotions concerning his family.”

Make sure to listen to the new holiday episode of the On-Air On-Soaps Podcast where we name Benzali as the Power Performance of the Week.

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This man is PHENOMENAL! I was amazed when it was revealed that he was The Balkan & his ability to get you frustrated as a hypochondriac, engaging as a brilliant attorney, hate him in that street sounding voice he takes on as the Balkan and even gaining my sympathy as he hears how Alexander died ( his son ) is indicative of the brilliance of this actor! I hope that he can keep his “Balkan” identity a secret for a very long time to come so we can all enjoy this mans performances on GH. An excellent choice!

General Hospital

GH’s James Patrick Stuart in the Cast of Disney Channel’s Super-Villains Pilot ‘Amy From Amarillo’

Casting news was recently announced for the Disney Channel’s upcoming half-hour live-action comedy pilot with a working title of Amy From Amarillo.

According to Deadline, while the series has named actress Isabella Pappas in the title role of Amy, none other than General Hospital star James Patrick Stuart (Valentin Cassadine) is also noted to be a part of the cast.

In story, the project follows a family of super-villains who must go on into hiding in Amarillo, Texas when they fall afoul of the League of Villains and are about to be liquidated.  Production on the pilot is set to begin this month.

Those joining Stuart and Pappas in the cast include: Hilda Spellman, Patricia Belcher, Kayden Muller-Janssen, Malachi Barton, Reed Horstmann and Lucy Davis will plays Amy’s mom, Eva aka Spark, a feisty supervillain who shoots electrical current out of her hands.

Production on the pilot is set to begin this month.  Stuart will be continuing his role on GH as per usual.

Furthermore, James took to Twitter this morning to clarify for inquiry GH fans who were concerned about the status the project might cause for his role on the ABC daytime drama series: “I am currently working on a Disney Channel comedy pilot. We film 15 minutes from the GH stage so, should the show get picked up for series, and while it would create scheduling headaches for some very cool people, I have no plans to hang up Valentin’s dancing shoes any time soon.”

So, intrigued by this pilot and what role James will have within it? Share your thoughts via the comment section below.

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General Hospital

GL Alum Kimberly J. Brown Joins the Cast of General Hospital

Another daytime favorite is coming to General Hospital.  This time its Kimberly J. Brown (Ex-Marah) of Guiding Light fame.  She last appeared on the soaps during her from 1993-1998 and then a brief return in 2006

According to Soap Opera Digest, she will make her GH debut next week in a mystery role.

Kimberly worked with two GH powerhouse actresses during her tine on Guiding Light. 

She noted to SOD about her time in Springfield: Cynthia Watros (Nina, GH, Ex-Annie Dutton, GL) was my stepmom for a bit, and Laura Wright (Carly, Ex- Cassie, GL) played my aunt.”

Brown has appeared in numerous primetime television shows and motion pictures over the last few decades.

Now the question becomes, who will Kimberly play on GH? Share your theories via the comment section below.

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General Hospital

General Hospital and ‘H.R. Pufnstuf’s’ Billie Hayes Dead at 96

She was one-of-a-kind, and now actress Billie Hayes has passed away at the age of 96.  Hayes’ family announced her death from natural causes on April 29th at Cedar-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles.

Hayes was best-known for her unforgettable role as Witchiepoo on the 1969-70 Saturday morning live-action children’s classic H.R. Pufnstuf from Sid and Marty Kroft.

However, daytime fans will remember that then General Hospital executive producer, Gloria Monty, hired Hayes to play the recurring role of the street-smart international spy, Brighton O’Reilly, back in the 80’s series hey day.

GH’s Tristan Rogers (Robert Scorpio) took to Twitter to mourn the loss of Hayes on Monday sharing; “My dear wonderful Billie Hayes has died. Sadly I only got to work with her on GH but it was a magical relationship. Right away Gloria Monty saw something unique and ran with it. I cannot tell you how her passing saddens me.”

Photo:ABC

In story, Brighton O’Reilly was shot and killed by Victor Cassadine back in 1981. Billie told Soap Opera Digest back in 2003 about her time as an agent on GH, and her exit from the series: “I asked Gloria why she killed me off, and Gloria said, ‘To tell you the truth, Billie, we really hemmed and hawed at it. But I decided to do it for selfish reasons. I knew if I killed O’Reilly there’d be such an abundance of sympathy and love for Scorpio that his stock would go up. And he’s my new leading man!’ I understand why Gloria knocked me off, but I would have loved to have gone on with it because I feel it could have been developed into a fascinating character.”

Photo: JPI

Sid and Marty Kroft also took to Twitter and expressed:  “Margaret Hamilton (Wizard of Oz) once told us that Billie Hayes was “one of the best witches ever” We couldn’t agree more. Rest in Peace dear friend.”

Billie’s career spanned decades including Broadway, television, motion pictures and voice-over work. In addition, she founded the Los Angeles-based animal rescue nonprofit organization Pet Hope, a cause she had championed since adopting a puppy abandoned in the basement of Broadway’s St. James Theatre during the run of Lil’ Abner in which she was featured in the role of Mammy Yokum.

Share your remembrances of Billie Hayes and your condolences for her family and loved ones via the comment section below.

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