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Michael Sutton Reprising His Role Of Stone Cates On General Hospital!

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Photo Credit: Getty Images

A major exciting return is on tap in August at General Hospital.Michael Sutton, who is fondly remembered for his heart-wrenching performance as Stone Cates, the character which succumbed to AIDS in 1995, is reprising his role.

According to TV Line, while Sutton’s encore is top secret, it is apparently triggered  by Sonny (Maurice Benard)when the mobster is going through a time of great crisis.

This isn’t the first time Sutton has revived the deceased Stone – his acclaimed role.  He previously made a brief appearance in 2010, when his love, Robin (Kimberly McCullough) was conjuring up his image and needed to talk to him.

So, what will happen to Sonny that he needs to see Stone? Excited for a brief Sutton return? Comment below!

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Jovin
Jovin

Although no one can ever write for Stone the way Claire Labine did, it is always a treat to be reminded of one of the greatest Daytime love stories ever told! I wish soaps would tell epic love stories like that again, but alas, the age of the supercouple is long gone!

Wanda
Wanda

So true what’s wrong with the soap show today they should take a look at that Novelas and learn from them we love love story and great couples

su0000
su0000

This Stone guy died 1995 .. 22 years ago!

So–
Now we will know the secret, never told, Do Ghosts Age ..

Has Michael Sutton/Stone aged in 22 years??
How will an aged ghost look like?

This is crazy! moreso Stupid!!!

Celia
Celia

We do not age in death, su. So, this Stone person, if he is an angel, will look as he did when he died. Double LOL.

rebecca1
rebecca1

Hey Su0000

They already had an “aged” Stone appear to Robin a few years ago. If he’s returning in Sonny’s head…and he’s actually playing the part and it’s not a flashback…then, yeah, he’ll be aged. Just another “it’s a soap..go with it…moment!” For those of us who remember Stone and that absolutely beautiful, gut-wrenching story…ugh…tears…it’s worth the “overlooking the aging thing..” Unless, maybe…Sonny is going to imagine that Stone never died and in his mind will be seeing him having lived his life, enjoyed his life…at the age he would have been now had he lived. That works!

nancy dillingham
nancy dillingham

A memorable story, su. I always wondered why the actor who played Stone didn’t act more.

Rebecca1
Rebecca1

Hi Nancy…

Michael has been in projects throughout the years but he’s very involved, from what I understand, in his own very high-profile entertainment publicity firm (I think it was founded by his father). He’s quite successful; seems like he wasn’t looking to get into acting full time.

Steve
Steve

If you check out Sutton’s twitter feed, you’ll see he’s heavy into real estate and selling legalized pot.

Rebecca1
Rebecca1

Ha Steve! I do remember he has his own real estate company (very high-end); I think he still does promoting as well. (didn’t know about the legalized pot.) Either way, he’s really an impressive guy! Quite the entrepreneur as well as being a talented actor!

Shay
Shay

@Steve…In that case, perhaps Stone will appear in a vision to offer Sonny a new business opportunity…investing in medicinal weed! (Hey, “Dimples” says he’s now going “legit!” Could be just the thing to pad his transition to his new life!…Plus, he does have a history in providing such a service….remember when he sent a sheepish Spinelli over to ChezAlexis for that laughably ludicrous scenario where she ended up spaced out with the screaming munchies??? Ah, yes, just another example in the long list of indignities for which this character has become famous…)

Max Daddee
Max Daddee

Reading thru the posts, I see some excellent thoughts here for a future legit business for Sonny. Since he’s working on a career change, he could be a medicinal pot broker. Or how about a pot farm down at his island? Sonny could give summer jobs there to kids like Joslyn. Summer camp’s been a bit rough for her with Spencer’s kidnapping there. A summer job at the pot farm might be just what she needs!

Michael Sutton did a great job in the role of Stone Cates. But it’s become GH’s style to pull in former cast members for brief periods of time or ones from other soaps. There’s alot of hype and marketing done for these brief stints that only last a day or two. I can only guess the motive is to get ratings up. They’ve done so much of this on GH that I just find it tiring and predictable.

I was super-disappointed in that they brought in very talented actress Hilary B. Smith in only for a few days as Nora Buchanan. First their was speculation she’d be the new D.A., then she ended up being Valentin’s lawyer for a few days. Big bummer.

JMER
JMER

Love Stone but if it’s for a scene with Sonny, I won’t turn on the show just for that.

Celia
Celia

AhHaHa, JMER. Too funny!!

Brenda Garces
Brenda Garces

How Rude yall have no respect for GH

Tina Gray
Tina Gray

Oh how wonderful!!! The BJ story and the Robin and Stone story are two of the best stories I’ve ever seen on daytime…………

Nettie
Nettie

Agree! Those 2, and when Lucky supposedly died in the fire. Gut wrenching. On OLTL – the entire week Megan died from lupus.

nancy dillingham
nancy dillingham

“Classic” soap! (Sigh!)

SZima
SZima

Wasn’t watching back then, so I could care less!
However, I”d like to know why the current writers have to resuscitate DEAD characters to tell a current story. They are really reaching if they have to go back to that time…IMHO.
I’m not a fan of “ghostly” returns…for ANY character. Even more so if Sonny is involved!!

Brenda Garces
Brenda Garces

How Rude

su0000
su0000

hi SZima.
It could be cool IF they played the creepy spooky music and had him looking like a ghost all white and creepy and floating around …. LOL looking like a scary dude.

I know nothing of the Lee man so no heartstrings for me, either..

Nonetheless.. I’m looking forward to seeing the scene… And his fans are excited to see him, and that is their moment of nostalgia, so happy for them..

Rebecca1
Rebecca1

I like your last sentence, su0000…nice sentiment.

Sue M.
Sue M.

Stone died of AIDS! How can they bring that character back? He died a long time ago.

su0000
su0000

Hi Sue,
Well, he is going to be a ghost that aged 22 years ahahaaa!
yes in deedy! a ghost that grows old, we know will know the secret of death/aging when a ghost ahaaa!

And it broke my bubble of believing ghosts never age 🙁

nancy dillingham
nancy dillingham

Guess Sonny is going to have a psychic “break.” You think? But just for one day–LOL!

Joel
Joel

He will obviously appear in spiri formt to Sonny, not as a real person… exactly the same way he appeared to Robin in 2010 when she fell in a well while escaping from Lisa Niles.

Joel
Joel

spirit form

Ethel
Ethel

Sonny gets Stoned…

Kevin O.
Kevin O.

LOL!

Brenda Garces
Brenda Garces

No Sam shoots him

su0000
su0000

oww oww!
now I hope Sonny will shoot and kill Sam!
that’s the way business is done. bullet for bullet.
please please let me write Sam’s death!!

Rebecca1
Rebecca1

LOL, Ethel! Then maybe he’d FINALLY get busted for something!

Shay
Shay

Even though you know he’d rather get “Stoned Cold!” Sonny just cannot get over that past bromance!

gh'er
gh'er

Sure, why not.
Welcome back, again.

Liz
Liz

I bet Sam shoots or stabs Sonny and Stone comes to him while he’s unconscious and near death’s door.

Celia
Celia

I said as much a couple of weeks, or so, ago….that Sam was going to do Sonny “in”. But, I figured by stabbing him. Now “Sammi’s got a gun”. I cannot fathom how she can go in and out of reality in a snap.
Incomprehensible. I would think an episode would last longer than a blink. Ahh, well….go with the flow….
I did not anticipate this Stone person….must have been important to Sonny for him to appear as a vision, as Joel said. But how? He has aged….spirits do not.
I will reserve a comment after the fact.

Steve
Steve

Since MB is obviously not leaving, the best we can hope for is a month-long coma. Let Maurice – and the viewers – have a nice vacation.

Shay
Shay

Up that to six months, and we’ve got a deal, Steve!

Steve
Steve

It will be nice to see Michael Sutton again, but of course, it has to revolve around Sonny.

Are they going to imply people keep aging in heaven. It’s been 22 years!

Celia
Celia

It will be weird, Steve. As I said to su, angels do not age. How will ‘they’ manage this scene?

Shay
Shay

Probably will be a hallucination…Sonny has had those before, CeeCeeGirl!

Celia
Celia

@Shay.
It must be, Shay….unless Stone did not die? I do not know enough about this character or his story. Just marginally. I looked him up, not because of Sonny (lol), but because of Robin.
However, as Sue M said; he died of AIDS.
Well, Shaybelle; I will not wrack my brain over it….not really interested; however rude I may be. LOL.

rebecca1
rebecca1

My suggestion, Steve, was that Sonny has some kind of revery, hallucination (caught Sam’s hallucination snydrome? lol) where he imagines Stone never died…and thus he’d be the age he is today…perhaps living his life married to Robin.

Steve
Steve

I like that idea Rebecca. KMc is probably on maternity leave, so I doubt we’ll see her for a few months at least.

nancy dillingham
nancy dillingham

Yes!

Rebecca1
Rebecca1

LOL, Steve. Maybe they superimposed Robin’s face on to Lulu’s body and voila! A pregant Robin having Stone’s baby (in Sonny’s mind). See? I have a contingency plan for everything! 😉

James R. Poissant
James R. Poissant

I still remember how I cried my eyes out the day Stone died. I will be glad to see the character on the screen no matter what’s going on because I never stopped missing him.

rose
rose

Ho Hum. Not excited about the upcoming Stone and Sonny story. Wasn’t a big Stone/Robin fan before. And Sonny, Sonny, Sonny….enough front and center already. And the writers will probably have to bring up Morgan again. Then we also have to have Carly being the the “perfect” person and mother in both Michael and Josslyn’s lives.

Wanda
Wanda

I thank the real Cary should come back and pay for all the bad and wrong thing she did she is no angel evil should always have to pay the price

Brenda Garces
Brenda Garces

Then maybe you should not watch GH Then

rose
rose

Ahhhh…but here’s what I do like that keeps me watching GH. Lately Ned/Olivia wedding; Anna /Andre dancing segment; possibilities with Joss/Issac; Valentin getting his “get out of jail card”/Nina; really liking Lucy/Scott scenes (I’m also a Lucy fan and like it when they can stretch Lynn as an actor): Spencer’s “revenge;” even Amy/Nathan advise column story.

Daisy Day
Daisy Day

I loved the Sonny and Stone storyline. One of the very best of GH.

rebecca1
rebecca1

I think, as I mentioned under one of Su0000’s comments, that Sonny might have some type of dream in which Stone never died. This way, if he’s imagining, he could picture Stone as the 40-something year old man he’d be today had he not passed. He could be imagining all the things he’d wished for Stone…maybe Robin will be in the scene and Sonny will be so confused he’ll imagine what their life would have been like together had he not died…

Joe
Joe

Aren’t there enough under appreciated current actors on GH that they have to keep bringing back the dead from decades ago? Stone Cates. Why? Robin and Sonny have moved on. His brother Jagger and sister Gina have moved on. Please don’t tell me that Oscar kid is Stone’s son.

Dan
Dan

The Stone AIDS story was one of the best storylines in daytime history, written by the best head writer GH has ever had in my opinion, the late great Claire Labine. 22 years later it still brings tears to my eyes, going back and reliving some of those scenes. They don’t do stuff like that anymore, not just on GH but on any show. Michael Sutton was robbed of an Emmy that year. The people that weren’t watching back then really missed out. A lot of the pivotal scenes from that storyline are up on YouTube, do yourself a favor and check them out. They are the definition of excellence in storytelling.

I’m not sure how Stone appearing as a ghost will play into current stories, but any opportunity to see Michael Sutton on screen again I’m down for. People complaining that Sonny is involved, get over it. Stone and Sonny were best friends, Sonny was a father figure to Stone. So it’s very appropriate that he would come to Sonny as a ghost, or whatever the exact story is gonna be.

Celia
Celia

Very informative post, Dan….as yours are, unfailingly, wont to be….great writer, you are.
But, ‘they’ should just let the dead rest in peace.
This sounds more and more that the “apparition” ( if it is that) will be to accomodate a new story centered around who else? Sonny. And then Carly…
If this will be the case, TPTB are really going out of their way to convince us how good, but, misunderstood Sonny is. Well, no matter how diligent the effort, nothing will make me feel, not a scintilla of, sympathy for him.

Shay
Shay

@CeeCee….The words “Sonny” and “sympathy” don’t even belong in the same sentence! Total oxymoron…..

Timmm
Timmm

I agree C, let the dead rest in peace! These writers will muck up a brilliant character that was in a legendary story. Write something NEW!

Celia
Celia

@Timmm.
It is amazing to me that many steadfast, loyaf GH fans, also, see what I see and think.
I thought only su and I could care less about characters who died as they exited the show…..that’s understandable because we did not know Stone; thus, not invested in him, dead or alive.
So, thanks for agreeing, T.

nancy dillingham
nancy dillingham

You got that right, Dan! “The definition of excellence in storytelling.”
They don’t write them like they used to. Claire Labine wrote heartfelt, heartwarming stories.
You’re right also about the fact that viewers today don’t know what they missed.

Rebecca1
Rebecca1

True Nancy and Dan…And Michael Sutton’s acting…I get tears in my eyes thinking about him lying in bed, reaching for Robin…ugggg…tissues…I need tissues!!!

Timmm
Timmm

Dan, the Sonny bitching and complaining is the same with Victor. People can despise these two characters but they are the captains of their ships and their ship is carrying a lot of history with each others shows. Its the way it is. I love both of them BUT I do admit their moral compasses do tend to spin out of control at times!

Dan
Dan

CeeCee, thanks for your compliment on my writing. I always try and present my views as well written and well thought out as I can, whether people agree with them or not. That’s the journalism major in me, lol. Different strokes for different folks, as they say, when it comes to Sonny. I always enjoy reading your thoughts, even if we happen to disagree on a particular topic, you always provide thought provoking reading material.

Well said, Timmm! I know a lot of people don’t like Sonny, he’s always been one of my favorite characters. And a complex character to me as well, much like Victor as you mentioned. They’re not black and white characters, all good or all bad, they’re a mix of both. Also much like Valentin on GH currently.

Rebecca and Nancy, you’re right about that, they definitely don’t write them like that anymore. Just going back and watching some of the clips on YouTube brought me right back to 1995 and the emotion those scenes made me feel then, and still do to this day. I would love to be able to get emotionally invested in a story like that today. Those are the all-time stories, the ones that stick with you in your heart and mind forever.

Celia
Celia

I reciprocate your thanks and kindness, Dan.

Timmm
Timmm

This is flat out stupid! Stone is DEAD! He was part of a legendary story. Leave it ALONE! Bring back live characters like Robert, Nick and Jax! Whats next B.J.’s evil twin?

su0000
su0000

hi Timmm,,

Shelly excels in Stupid !!
A real bonafide ghost, eeeee can’t wait !!

Steve
Steve

BJ’s evil twin — I love it!

Celia
Celia

Thanks, Steve.
I will certainly do that. It’s two in the morning, LOL….my little girl woke up with a stuffed, little nose……it’s going to be a long night!!!!!

Celia
Celia

BJ….I just looked her up. What a heartbreaking story!!!!
And, Maxie has her heart? She is as strong as Victor Newman—-must take powerful meds. Never in distress.
Now, T…..your humor always hits the spot. Why? You don’t seem to try too hard to be funny…just happens naturally. Yup!!

Timmm
Timmm

Tony Jones was awesome!

Yeah C, I know, go to GH or Y&R if you want a miracle transplant!

Humor is my rock!

Steve
Steve

Celia

If you have the time, watch the YouTube episodes about BJ’s death. You’ll get sucked into one of the best storylines in soap history. As Timmm mentioned, Tony was outstanding. The story brought out the best in all the actors – including current cast members Bobbie, Felicia, Mac and Lucy.

Monica must be an amazing heart surgeon because there’s never been a scar seen when Kirsten Storm wears a low cut top 🙂

dmr
dmr

As much as I enjoy Michael Sutton, and the character of Stone Cates, if he is brought back only for a reprise/resurrection of yet again, another hour of the “Moron Hour”-I’ll be tuning out.

Dzzdee
Dzzdee

The Storyline will do nothing for me. Didn’t care about that story back then and don’t care about it now.
Just do it and move on.

Rebecca1
Rebecca1

I, for one, am really looking forward to Michael Sutton’s episode (s). He was a wonderful character and actor…and though he’s obviously going to be a figment of Sonny’s imagination it could be a nice view into how Stone might have been had he lived. The Stone story back in the day was one of the most heartbreaking stories I’ve ever seen on TV or film. Just ripped me to pieces…

nancy dillingham
nancy dillingham

Yes, Rebecca, me too! Was a great and (obviously) memorable s/l.

Sandy J.
Sandy J.

While I was also enthralled with the Robin/Stone love story more than 2 decades ago, I am now officially tired of ‘stunt casting’. We long-time fans are very good at complaining about not seeing the characters and actors we’re so familiar with on our screens today, but no one who runs the show pays much attention. They’d rather hire a high-profile actor/actress for a couple of days’ work so that ratings go up during those specific periods than do what the show’s long-time fans want. I’m sure I’ll enjoy seeing Michael Sutton again, however he appears, but I’d rather see more of the Quartermaines or, before I forget them entirely!, the Scorpios. These are characters who still presumably LIVE in Port Charles, except we very rarely see them. I’m just fed up … sorry.

Timmm
Timmm

Great post! I cannot stand Franks pets using GH as a revolving door AND I dont want history screwed with!

Breaking News

GH’s Maurice Benard Takes On Role Of John Gotti In Upcoming Lifetime Movie

Who better to use their mobster experience playing the iconic role of Sonny Corinthos on General Hospital, and put it to good use, when taking on the role of a real-life mobster than Daytime Emmy winner, Maurice Benard?

As revealed over the past weekend, Maurice Benard is hard at work filming a Lifetime Movie based on the life of Victoria Gotti called “The Victoria Gotti Story”.

Sharing the news via his social media, Benard expressed: “Thank you lifetime and everyone involved 4 a Beautiful opportunity.”

Recently, John Travolta played the notorious New York mobster in the movie Gotti released earlier this year.

The infamous Gotti, had a wife and a daughter both named Victoria.  So as to which point of view the film is focusing on is yet to be released.

So what do you think of the casting of Maurice as John Gotti? Intrigued to see the Lifetime Movie when it debuts? Comment below

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General Hospital

General Hospital’s Max Gail Opens Up On Portraying Mike’s Battle With Alzheimer’s & Making A Difference In People’s Lives

“What happens the day I wake up, and you guys are the strangers,” says Mike to his son, Sonny and his wife Carly (Laura Wright). “I left you before to my everlasting regret, but it’s going to happen. I’d do anything if I didn’t have to do it again, but it’s going to happen – one way or the other.  At least this way I could leave some good feelings, instead of disappearing before your eyes.”  Those words were said during a gut-wrenching scene on Friday’s episode of General Hospital, as Mike tries to come to terms with his deteriorating mental state in his battle with Alzheimer’s, and the hard realization that he may be better off in a care facility, instead of at his son’s home.  These scenes, as all the scenes in this storyline, have been exquisitely played by Max Gail (Mike) and Maurice Benard (Sonny).

When Max Gail arrived on the GH canvas as the recast Mike Corbin in a role made soap-famous by Ron Hale, viewers did not know what to initially expect.  What they did know was that Max is an accomplished actor with a body of work from primetime dramas and comedies, film, and the stage, and that if he is coming to GH, he must be coming on board for something major.  Before GH, suffice to say, Gail is most remembered for his role as “Wojo” on the ABC sitcom Barney Miller that aired from 1975-1982.

In story on GH, Mike, who abandoned Sonny as a child, once again re-enters his son’s life, but soon we learn that he is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and that the soap is tackling a story that is an important medical, social, and familial issue of our time.

Gail has been a revelation in this role.  A clear frontrunner for an Emmy, playing the facets, the levels, the characteristics, and the heartbreak of a person who is slowly losing everything they know near and dear to them, as in the end they are ultimately stripped of their dignity from this most horrific of diseases.

On a personal note, and as part of this conversation with Max, it was important for him and for me to share, that I lost my mother at the end of April of this year to Alzheimer’s.  So his work hits close to home, this story hits close to home, as it has also resonated for many viewers who have shared their stories on social media and when Max makes personal appearances.

Here now is this very special interview for Michael Fairman TV with an actor whom we can all agree is touching all of our lives.

You’re portraying a person suffering from Alzheimer’s and play the progression of the disease.  Do you feel pressure as an actor to get it right for those who have loved ones, or person’s afflicted with it?

Courtesy/ABC

MAX:  It’s more like an urge, or a calling to find some kind of truth in it that I can connect with.  One of the things I’m inclined towards showing is someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia often just drifts off somewhere else.  “Where am I going?”  This has happened to me many times in life.  For instance, when I was a youngster, I can remember getting in my car, and I’d driven a long way from some party or something like that, and I’d been drinking, and I didn’t remember it.  I knew I’d gotten home somehow.  So, it’s not out of my realm.  I’ve learned that there are no set behaviors really… other than that it usually ends up being really difficult for caretakers, and seemingly really painful for many, if not most people suffering with Alzheimer’s, and losing connection and losing the ability to just function.  We are kind of on the cusp of that in story at GH.  I think it was originally proposed that I would play the part for just a few months, and to give me an out if it wasn’t working.  Maybe, there was a placeholder idea to ship Mike off to a home or something, but the storyline has touched so many people that it has been continuing.

The story has been so effective.  You’ve done such an amazing job, and the fans love Mike and what you’re doing with the character, and they’re on board on this journey.  It’ll be interesting to see how far they will take this with Mike.  Will we actually see him not being able to communicate anymore?  How far will the writers go to show the horrific aspects of Alzheimer’s? 

MAX:  I’m not sure.  You know, I’ve had times where I’ve got the scene, I get the writers, and I get the heart of it.  Other times, I find where that transition is from where Mike is lucid and clear, and other times what that state of mind is and that switch is, and what that is in behaviors and energy level.  I think there’s an ongoing downturn for Mike, and for me as an actor finding something in the moment and finding how it works with things that he does remember.  They’re trying to find a place for Mike within all of the interwoven drama of General Hospital.  I, frankly, had no idea how complex the range of storylines was.  Mike doesn’t really have control over his story.  I don’t want that as an actor.  Mike has some intentions that are really important to him.  I’m trying to find that balance where there are times when he has a pathetic, very sad remorse about what he has missed.  I think that underlies his feelings for his son, who he never could quite reach, because of his own failings as a father.  Sonny’s formative experiences growing up were then with his abusive stepdad.  Finding all of that is really important to do in a way that doesn’t make Mike just this sweet older man with Alzheimer’s.   It’s a wonderful challenge to be presented with.

Courtesy/CBS

You brought up that Mike is seemingly very sweet in his demeanor now.  My mother, who I shared with you died a few months ago from Alzheimer’s was a strong-willed, feisty woman.  As the disease took hold of her, she became very sweet.   She became almost childlike.  The fire had gone out of her eyes.  You knew she didn’t know who you were, and so, all of that, as you know is so tough to witness as her son.  In terms of Mike and his ultimate care, everyone says they love him and want what is best for him, but that he needs to be taken care of because he gets confused, doesn’t know where he is sometimes. etc.  Sonny has been grappling with putting him in a care facility to be looked after, or to keep him with the Corinthos family under their roof.  However, Mike has come to a realization that he may need to be in facility all on his own, and doesn’t want to burden his son by living with him anymore.  That was a poignant moment, and another one of the best scenes has been when Mike couldn’t remember that Sonny was his own son. 

MAX:  Right and he doesn’t know if he’s around friends or around enemies.  This can be true of Alzheimer’s patients.

I had that happen with my mother when she came out to Los Angeles to see me for the last time.  She was out of her element, she was confused, and she broke down and cried in the hotel room.  She asked my father, “Why did you bring me here?” and he told her, “We came to see our son.”  It was heartbreaking.   Later, she had a moment of clarity and realized more of what was going on.  I think it’s those in-and -out moments that you portray so well on-screen.  I feel that they are very realistic to what I, and others, have experienced.

Courtesy/ABC

MAX:  I appreciate that and sharing that with me, because you never know as an actor.  That place of “Where am I?  What is this?” makes me think of that “Summer Wind” moment from the Nurses’ Ball when it wasn’t just, “I’m embarrassed.  I don’t remember the words.”  It was, “I don’t know where the f**k I am.  I thought there was a band there, but there’s not.”  So, in a way, I just had to be there on this big soundstage and just feel this big space around me.  I could barely see that there were people out there.  It’s kind of a terrifying thing to a lot of people, but I think Mike has something in him that makes him want to be okay with all of this.  He doesn’t have to freak out and get accusatory.

Courtesy/ABC

What has it been like working with Maurice Benard as your on-screen son?  Do you watch back your scenes together and ever go, “Oh, that was great!?”

MAX:  Yes, there have been a lot of those!  There are some scenes that are so emotionally focused, and we get a lot of delight in each other.  He has been playing this character in this situation for so long, so it’s just kind of in him.  Maurice has presence.  I think when I went in to read for the part of Mike, I had gone through pilot season and had gone in for some interesting pilots.  I didn’t feel like I was really connecting in the readings, because most things are by tape these days, anyway.  When this part came up, a soap hadn’t really been on my radar.  I knew I’d be going in to read with the actor, so I said, “Okay,” and I looked at the material, and then I checked out Maurice on IMDB.  One of the things that got my interest was that he has been diagnosed and takes medication to deal with bipolar disorder, and that’s become a part of his life, and it’s become part of his character.  I thought, “Wow, that’s really interesting.  This is a survivor, and he’s risen to something that takes a certain kind of balance and courage.”  I watched some clips, and when I went in for the reading of this kind of an amalgamation scene of what the story elements were going to be, I felt like we connected before we’d even started the dialogue.

Well, Maurice certainly loves working with you! He has been very supportive and vocal about that.

MAX:  It’s mutual.  We can take really little simple moments, and we can find something deeper in it, and it doesn’t have to be an, ‘I’m going to start crying now’ moment.  Although, I would love for Mike to have a moment of self-observation where he goes, “Gee.  I cry a lot more than I used to.”  I think there are people who are like that, and it’s okay for certain people to cry, and for other people it is not.

Courtesy/ABC

There was a part of my mom that knew something was wrong.  She’d go, “Why am I crying?  I don’t know why I’m crying.”  She got confused as to why she was feeling that.  She couldn’t connect it all, and at times she kept saying, “I don’t understand.  I don’t understand.”  Those were the things she would try to express.

MAX:  I have a feeling that Mike has those moments too, but he finds a way for it to be okay.  There may be a point where someone with Alzheimer’s can’t pull it off anymore, but how we find those and those specifics, I don’t know.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Working on a classic sitcom such as Barney Miller is vastly different than working on a daytime soap opera.  While now being at GH, have you found any commonality within the experience?

MAX:  If I can take a moment and reflect on Barney Miller, because it was a great experience and one that I found was not so easy to find again over the years.  One of the things that really resonates is that when we started shooting the studio audience laughed too easily.  We would end up retaking the scenes.  Sometimes, we didn’t have the end of the show written, because they tended to let certain things start to show up in the earlier parts of the script.  Danny Arnold who was the writer, creator and producer of Barney Miller would always take over the way Frank Valentini (executive producer, GH) does in a way … looking to be respectful of the director, but still seeing things on his own.  Frank has a really wonderful eye.  He’s much more connected into the overall storylines, the motivations that went into the writing, and what he sees in the moment.  I always welcome him on the set because the directors, who have a range of talents and sensibilities, are tasked with coming up with a whole lot of shots to cover, a whole lot of tricky angles, and all of that.

Courtesy/ABC

Vernee Watson has been amazing as Stella, who is also Mike’s social worker.  Does Mike have romantic feelings toward Stella?

MAX:  Vernee is wonderful.  I didn’t know Vernee had been on the show when I came on board.  She won an Emmy, and I’m not surprised.   She is so present and so specific, and she’s very bright and gets what all of these elements are, and so, I think they have a connection.  For whatever ways Mike has lived in his like, there isn’t some strange, exotic draw that she is black, and Mike is white.  I like that because both my first and late wife, and my second wife, with whom I’ve had children (and we’ve been separated for awhile, but have a great relationship) are African-American.  So, in my world that is not a big deal.   I think there’s an affinity there between Mike and Stella.  You know, he’s alive.  He’s old, but he’s not dead.  There’s an ease with women he likes.  I think there are a whole lot of reasons for them to not get involved.  One is just professional, and she’s a social worker.  We just shot something where I say something to somebody else about, “back when I still had all my marbles,” you know, he’s in another stage of life, which many people go into gracefully, while many don’t.

 

What do you think about how Mike knows about who was buried at Charlie’s Pub?  He was trying to keep the truth about Charlie Delaney from coming out, which turned into a gas leak that blew up the bar!  This storyline ties in to Sonny’s mobster dealings as well.

MAX:  Well, this is where they put this effort in the storytelling to connect Mike in some way and be intertwined with Sonny.  Of course, it reveals certain things about Mike that he’s never revealed to anybody before.  So, that’s kind of cool.  I think when he knows what and how much sometimes is not clear.  That’s why I started talking about Barney Miller because the other thing was a lot of times when we go together for the table reads, they didn’t have the end of the story.  They had a first draft, maybe. Dan would talk about it, and they’d say, “Next week, the main story is going to be this man in his fifties who is coming to terms with the fact that he is gay,” or whatever those underlying themes may be with the different characters reactions.  So, we knew elements going into it and that sometimes I  didn’t know what the writers are really intending.  In terms of Mike, he’s kind of back and forth in certain moments.  I have to resist the idea that they trap me by just being careless.  I’ve learned that just trying to fix the script often gets you into a place where you “rehearse yourself out of it,” as they say.

Courtesy/GoodDayLA

You appeared on the morning show Good Day LA  a few months back with Laura Wright (Carly), and Maria Shriver, who has founded the Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement.  What was that like meeting Maria, and helping get the word out about the effects of this disease and the work Maria is doing?

MAX:  It was great to do.  Maria had sent out a tweet that is was wonderful what was going on, on General Hospital.  On Good Day LA, she talked about her work, particularly focusing on the fact that more women are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s than men.  So, then Laura and I sat down and did an interview alongside Maria.  We actually had a nice conversation before.  They did a web interview also as a follow-up.  That was very cool, because Maria is very smart, and I’d never met her, but it was great to see what she was doing.  Whatever we are dealing with in the show is sort of my opportunity in the real world to bring awareness and shed light on the subject.  I’d love to see an ongoing conversation online amongst people who can share their stories with each other.  That’s a lot of what they’re doing.  They’re raising money for research, but people need to be able to talk to each other when you’re a caregiver.  Coming out of the early sixties and early seventies when I was playing a cop on TV, I never was a fanatic activist.  I certainly got the behavior of the Chicago police at a certain time in terms of the energy and conflicts of the time.  There was something to think about, but at the same time, I had opportunities to kind of share that all cops aren’t bad, just look at the show, Barney Miller.

Courtesy/ABC

You were my favorite character on Barney Miller as Detective Wojciehowicz!  I think for many who watched the show you were, too!

MAX:  I think “Wojo” ended up being the heart of the show.

Max, you’re helping people through your beautiful performances including me.  Congratulations on that.   I’ll continue have to have a box of Kleenex handy as I watch how it all unfolds for Mike.

Photo: IMDB

MAX:  Well, I really appreciate your questions.  I’m just planting that seed.  That is really what I would like to do after talking to you and so many people.  That’s something I’d like to put out there.   We each have our own domains and responsibilities and all of it overlaps, and you can kind of get in touch with that; if you just go around the circle and share it, and then go around again.  I’m looking to help people out there in the world who are watching and are looking to share in the conversation.

So, what did you think about the heartbreaking scenes on Friday’s episode of GH between Mike and Sonny?  What have you thought of Max Gail’s performance throughout his GH run?  Have you experienced the loss, or are watching someone you love, or care about slip away from Alzheimer’s?  Share your thoughts via the comment below.

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General Hospital

ABC Names William Burton As The New Head Of Daytime

Over the years there have been several changes to ABC Daytime, and now comes word over the last 24 hours that William Burton has been promoted to Senior VP and Head Of Daytime, Sports and Syndicated Development/Production for ABC.  Burton starts in his new role immediately.

Deadline first reported the executive level move by the network.  Burton had previously been overseeing the business operations of ABC Daytime since earlier this year as SVP Daytime following the departure of former Daytime head Rebecca Campbell.

Courtesy/ABC

Those duties have now been formalized in Burton’s expansive new role,  In terms of General Hospital, the creative aspects from the network are still being handled by ABC head of current programming, Vicki Dummer.  Burton has been behind the business operations of ABC Daytime including the daytime drama.

In addition, Burton will oversee the creation and production of syndicated programming across ABC platforms including the upcoming daytime talk show from Tamron Hall that is in development for a potential debut in the fall of 2019.

So, share your thoughts on Burton being named the new head of Daytime for ABC via the comment section below.

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Video du Jour

This weekend we mourn the loss of General Hospital’s beloved Susan Brown who played Gail Baldwin. Here is her final scene from 2004 when Gail and her husband Lee (the late Peter Hansen) showed up at Lila’s funeral and had an exchange with Alan and Monica. Share your thoughts on Susan’s passing via the link below. Leave A Comment

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