Maurice Benard On GH: “I Actually Didn’t Want To Do Another Soap”

General Hospital thespian Maurice Benard chatted with We Love Soaps on what made him sign on with the popular sudser after his stint on All My Children.
WE LOVE SOAPS TV: In 1993 you took the role of Sonny on GH. How did that part come about? Did you want to do another soap at that point?

Maurice Benard:  I actually didn’t want to do another soap but I had run out of money! I was studying acting like crazy at that time. But GH came up so I went in and met with them. I didn’t want to sign a long-term contract. There were two roles – Damian, a mob guy with a two year contract, and Sonny, the head of a night club which was a six month role. So, I said I liked Sonny because I liked the name and it was a short-term part.

Six months turned into seventeen years of being the smooth-talking mobster with dimples.

50 Responses

  1. Profile photo of Mia22

    Can we mention the fact that he hasn’t been able to talk SMOOTHLY in years?! ::Sigh:: MB, you were great short term. You need to learn when to let go. My Christmas wish is for those GH writers to get a CLUE. Bad acting, bad story lines mean you get rid of actors not applaud them! Maybe we can take donations to send him back to acting classes because I swear he could act years ago.

  2. Profile photo of doodleynoodle

    ICAM vicki…

    I remember watching him on AMC…Nico Kelley(sp?)…is that right? I thought he was a good actor then.

    Heck, I love MB…I even love Sonny…I just hate, hate, hate everything about what the current GH regime stands for and in the process they’ve ruined every character on the show including (especially) Sonny.

    I’ve been on vacation all week and haven’t watched the show 1 time. Is that not pathetic? That being said…in my heart of hearts I know that if they would make the right adjustments it wouldn’t take much for me to become a GH whore again.

    In the meantime, I am drooling over the awesomeness of Ted King and the news that OLTL has scooped him up. Here’s hoping the OLTL writers will give him what GH was too afraid to…a good storyline. Can’t Wait.

  3. Profile photo of thecourt99

    i have told this story many times on many message boards, but I was FURIOUS when he left AMC to go to GH. I declared I would NEVER watch GH because MB had betrayed ME! (I was young and in love with the dimples).

    Needless to say, 2010 is my first time watching GH since that happened.

  4. Profile photo of TomZulawski

    For the sake of the future of the show, I hope he does decided to leave. I dont dislike the actor or the character, but its like eating the same thing for dinner every night for the past ten years. Im sure you started out loving the dish but by the end of that ten years the very sight of it makes you want to vomit.
    If this show is going to survive they better find a way to revive Alan Quartermain and rebuild this family, get Bobbie Spencer back, return the true power house and heart of the show Genie Francis, rebuild the core families of the show and give the viewers back what they have invested decades into. Guza and Phelps tried it their way for ten years and the show is on the edge of going under. Its time for a drastic change otherwise GH is finished for sure. Besides is Gh is cancelled, the character of Sonny will be history.

  5. Profile photo of

    [quote=jlafferty23]I love Maurice Benard! His portrayal of Sonny is brilliant!
    I hope he sticks around for years to come![/quote]

    I could not agree more with you. Like his character or not, he truly is a great actor as the head mob boss. Good acting = good entertainment.
    Do I think ENOUGH with the mob?? Yea they need to tone it down a bit already. But he is brilliant. I must agree with that! :star:

  6. Profile photo of

    MB can’t leave. However, they could cut his hours down. Hopefully with the desmise of VM in March, the writing will be more geared toward family stories which will leave little room for mob stories. But I like him. Good actor. Can’t afford to lose him. He looks so much like a Godfather it is a hoot to watch! :D

    I don’t think anyone of us on here would debate that Guza has ruined the show. >)

    Laura is coming back and Luke is leaving. Which opens up lots of possibilities!! Hopefully. A Scott return??
    I will never stop wanting a Monica & Jason reunion. Love those moments.

    I only ask that GH bring in writers who have a history with GH of the past. There is no reason we can’t see a recast of the Webber family. Frisco & Felica recast.
    Let’s find out who Jake is. It will not only drive Tracey crazy, but Monica will have a grandchild. So much material, and so little creativity!!

  7. Profile photo of GHvetfan

    BBH – I hope you mean the demise of Brenda and not the actress.

    This show could do with a crew of writers who are forced to get creative and write about something other than mob shootouts and Sonny. I wish Maurice Benard a very happy retirement.

  8. Profile photo of josser

    I hope Maurice stays with GH. He’s a good actor and seems like a sincere person. Furthermore, I admire his bravery for being an open advocate and activist for people afflicted with bipolar disorder and other mental illnesses. Viewers don’t give the man enough credit for how much he’s had to overcome because of his illness.

    In terms of General Hospital, why blame an actor for the misbehavior of the head writer? Bob Guza could easily write a more balanced, realistic portrayal of Sonny and the rest of the GH characters. Look at how Guza bungled Brenda’s return. Instead of an exciting reintroduction of the character, he gave us a convoluted mess that wasted valuable time and fan good will.

    Again, people need to realize that Maurice Benard is just an actor. He is given scripts and acts them. If you have issues with the balance of characters, look to the writers and the producers of General Hospital.

  9. Profile photo of alstonboy4315

    Maurice ain’t going nowhere!!

    He’s a LIFER!!

    And I still enjoy Maurice’s work, although I appear to be in the minority here. I truly believe he’s gonna be with this show for many more years to come. I just hope that GENERAL HOSPITAL will be around for many more years to come!!!

    And even if Maurice DOES go on recurring status, Guza will just give ALL that airtime to Dominic Zamprogna/Dante or bring on another mobster to continue to eat up the show.

  10. Profile photo of

    [quote=GH LOVER]BBH Where where You when I needed you :(
    Please keep posting :love: :love: :love: :love: :love:[/quote]

    I’m here for you!!!!!!!!! :beer: :bigsmile:

  11. Profile photo of

    [quote=GHvetfan]BBH – I hope you mean the demise of Brenda and not the actress.This show could do with a crew of writers who are forced to get creative and write about something other than mob shootouts and Sonny.I wish Maurice Benard a very happy retirement.[/quote]

    Of course I meant the character. She is portrayed as a 14 year old stuck in a women’s body. I don’t enjoy watching that.
    GH does need new writers. I hope they bring on someone with some knowledge of the past with GH. And when I say past, it goes back further than Brenduh Barrett. That story didn’t turn out so good, did it??
    Did I miss something?? Did Sonny (MB) say he was retiring?? :(

  12. Profile photo of TomZulawski

    If Bob Guza decides that its the mob or nothing for General Hospital, ultimitly its going to end up being nothing. I do not see the mob remaining the focus if the show has any intention of surviving. If Maurice Bernard decides he is going to stick around, and Guza decides to let Dante eat up the balance of the air time, the show is over for sure

  13. Profile photo of dwood37

    Sonny Sucks!!! I’m so happy to see others agree that Bob Guza and Phelps have RUINED GH. It’s nothing more than a mob crapfest!!! Guza needs to seriously GO!!!! The only interesting story (Lisa/Robin/Patrick) is actually set in ***gasp*** a HOSPITAL!!!!! I agree that the core families should be focused on and re-built, with a particular focus on the Quartermaines. I mean, Guza can’t even BRING himself to write a single line for Monica who SHOULD have been at Luke and Tracey’s wedding! It’s Monica’s HOUSE for godsakes!!! I could go on and on about how much I can’t stand Guza as a writer and I STILL haven’t forgiven Phelps for needlessly killing off Maureen Bauer, which was the beginning of the end of Guiding Light!!!

  14. Profile photo of professor-chaos

    I had to stop watching GH (which should be renamed the Sonny, Jason & Carly show) once I realized that I was watching a soap opera version of Ground Hog Day where every year for the past decade they have had the exact same mob affiliated person (Sonny) in the exact same mob affiliated stories with the exact same mob affiliated characters and the exact same mob affiliated dialogue on and on and on…….

    It was like poison watching this show and being one of the many fans who watched it’s downfall into Guza hell as he killed off/got rid of so many core characters from the GH we all grew up with and hoping upon hope that the madness would eventually end and and things would return to the days when things were adventurous (Luke saving Laura from a Cassadine, Robert rescuing Anna from Faison) and heartfelt (focusing on Robin’s HIV, Maxie’s heart transplant). But I realized how impossible that was and that MB’s bromance with Guza would never allow that to happen. And that this show would continue to make a mockery of it’s fans by shoving him and never ending spawn in our faces with stories so implausible and even laughable by soap opera standards that it was not really a soap opera after all but a love story from one head writer to one actor/character day in and day out.

    So thank you MB (& Guza) for finally allowing me to come to terms with my utter disdain for what you have created and be assured that me and many other fans will never watch this show until you both write your own pink slips and disappear from ABC daytime for good.

  15. Profile photo of GH LOVER

    BBH :) :) :) :love: :love:

    I am also one of Sonny&MO fans I think Mo is really talented actor, The problem is and that is not his fault is the writing! this is not the Sonny I used to love I myself Sonny Fan ,find myself wanting someone to kick his @## he is not the classic sonny of the 90’s early 200’s. and if I hoped for Brenda to redeem him i was wrong. it became worse.. Sonny&Brenda are awful!! they both acting like 15 years old kid with no brain.. I hoped carly will throw something at them J)

    What GH needs is a change of writing!! they need to limit the mob factor because the stories are boring and watching the same characters again and again with the same dialogue is BORING!!!
    a change needs to be done but you can’t take this on the actors that really just doing their job :(

  16. Profile photo of

    Not sure I am a “fan” of Sonny’s, as I enjoy his character and how well he portrays a Mobster!! He is brilliant at it. Do I think they could cut down on the Mob scene? YES. Have the violence cut down, but to keep those mobsters as a “side show” would still be fun!!!
    I love Jason how he “takes care” of those he loves. I was so proud of him when he went to see his grandfather!! And he is a killer??
    Please do not get me started on Brenduh. >) |( I will get thrown off this site if I truly told you what I think of her.
    I “heard” her last air date is in March. I am counting down now!!!

    How can I change my screen name here?? I go to another site, and to be funny I took this name. (being sarcastic) Now its not funny anymore!! lol

  17. Profile photo of

    [quote=GH LOVER]BBH :) :) :) :love: :love: What GH needs is a change of writing!! they need to limit the mob factor because the stories are boring and watching the same characters again and again with the same dialogue is BORING!!!
    a change needs to be done but you can’t take this on the actors that really just doing their job :([/quote]

    Guza/Fronz need to go. It isn’t even funny what they have done to this show. Gloria is rolling in her grave right now!
    I believe Guza has EGG on his face with what he pulled with Brenduh. And nothing makes me happier!!
    L O S E R!!!!!!!! >) |( >) |(

  18. Profile photo of EricasEvilTwin

    Josstheguy – GREAT POST…I dont understand blaming the actor for the writing…I doubt Mo went in to Guza’s office and demanded that his character set a car bomb to go off, almost killing his daugher. I doubt Mo asked for all those scenes where he attacked Claudia verbally. I doubt he asked for Sonny to dump Kate and virtually never speak to her again. I doubt he asked that Sonny abandon his guards so that he could be responsible for getting his one son shot in the head and to be the guy that shot his other son in his own living room. I also doubt he asked for the destruction of the Q family either.

    Sonny hate is so high these days because of the choices made by the writing team over the last 3 years or so. The fact that the character has retained such a large fan following in spite of those choices is a testament to MB’s talent. I might also add that a panel of soap experts assembled by We Love Soaps named him one of the top ten actors in daytime (I think he was #3)

    I hope they redeem sonny and develop more balance with the stories they tell. If that happens, I say LONG LIVE SONNY!

  19. Profile photo of

    [quote=Jon]I think MB is a good enough actor when he has time to rehearse, otherwise not so much. That’s not really his fault, though….[/quote]

    You mean when he forgets his lines and stutters?? lol

  20. Profile photo of

    Nice post josstheguy
    I forget myself often that it is the writing and not the person who is doing what they are told.
    What bothers me, is when an actor (character) is “shoved down our throats” and that person is not a good actor. IMO it shows thru their character. I know the difference between a good actor and a bad character. Take Spinelli. I dispise his character. I have been FFing thru him for years. However, he has to be a great actor to pull off what he mumbles about. The writing for him is old. Would like to see his character change.
    He has ability.

    I honestly hope, as I have said before, that with bringing back VM, Guza is wearing EGG on his face. I don’t think she is “up” for acting anywhere right now. She don’t look good. JMO. Plus the storyline. Plus she was shoved down our throats in every scene. Everyone wanted her or was jealous of her in the storylines. Sickening.

    Let’s hope TPTB are listening. And they bring in a writing staff that is familiar with the history of GH. When I say history, I don’t mean just 5 years ago, I am talking 20 years ago. Recast family members. Let’s get back to what is real in life. GH got away from that with there illusion of Brenduh, and not utilizing what few talent that is left on the show.

  21. Profile photo of

    [quote=EricasEvilTwin]I hope they redeem sonny and develop more balance with the stories they tell. If that happens, I say LONG LIVE SONNY![/quote]

    NICE comment!! ;)

  22. Profile photo of Jon

    [quote=BrendaBarrettHospital][quote=Jon]I think MB is a good enough actor when he has time to rehearse, otherwise not so much. That’s not really his fault, though….[/quote]

    You mean when he forgets his lines and stutters?? lol[/quote]

    Yeah, he really had trouble sputtering out the name LORENZO the other day….

  23. Profile photo of

    [quote=GH LOVER]BBH EET josstheguy :beer: :beer: :beer: :beer:
    I agree with your posts 100%[/quote]

    GREAT minds think alike!!

  24. Profile photo of GHvetfan

    I am willing to bet that Maurice Benard is one of the highest paid actors on the show. His paycheck should include him learning his lines and a little enunciation. The man looks as bored with his character as I am. Wake up and do your job or retire!!! I used to like Sonny but not so much anymore.

  25. Profile photo of jockteen10

    I think it’s great that he stayed on for so long and don’t get me wrong I love Maurice and Sonny, but he should leave (and Guza and Phelps should be fired) so that the show can focus on the Q’s and the hospital onece again.

  26. Profile photo of

    [quote=GHvetfan]I am willing to bet that Maurice Benard is one of the highest paid actors on the show. Wake up and do your job or retire!!! I used to like Sonny but not so much anymore.[/quote]

    I believe Luke is the highest paid. Then Brenduh. The Sonny. Luke needs to take less vacations, Brenduh needs to stop whispering and mumbling….I guess there is no perfect actor.

  27. Profile photo of

    [quote=jlafferty23]Wow guys, making fun of how he stutters? You guys forget to separate the Sonny character with MB! He is a human being, thats low guys, really low.[/quote]

    Thank you! :bigsmile:

  28. Profile photo of GHvetfan

    He isn’t stuttering. He is trying to remember his lines. Please do not take my posts as me attacking the actor. His acting is fair game and he is bored and it shows. I have been watching this show for more than 30 years and Sonny was never a stutterer. The actors ability to act isn’t in question. I don’t believe the actor actually shows up everyday. He is phoning it in and has been for a few years. I can understand his boredom because the writers haven’t given Maurice Benard anything new to do in years. He has the same silly conversations with Jason and Carly every few weeks. Why learn the lines when he can try to remember them from the last time he read the exact same material? Unfortunately, he is stumbling with it. My point is that regardless of whether he is telling Carly for the billionth time that Michael is his son and needs him it would be nice if he actually read the material before going before the camera and collecting the paycheck. He can act. I just wish he would.

  29. Profile photo of

    Different strokes for different folks I guess.
    MB is probably one of the best actors on the show. His only fault, is perhaps he is “too comfortable” in his role, and doesn’t prepare for the scenes like he should. However, who else could carry out this role as brilliantly as MB?? Nobody. So he isn’t perfect. Dang near close in this role! :bigsmile: :glasses: :)

  30. Profile photo of cem

    Sigh! I am not surprised that Maurice really didn’t want a soap role after AMC. During his first run of GH was he was really great actor. I think when he left in the fall of 97 he really didn’t want to come back, but he didn’t book anything big with a family to support came running back within 14 months. During the beginning of his return he could still lay it down, but after Tamara Braun left the show he really began to phone it in. There have been exceptions, but his acting has really gone downhill.

  31. Profile photo of pumpkin

    To watch GH you have to like Sonny/Jason and Company. I couldn’t take it anymore. I just wanted to go to the yard and scream. Seriously, sooner or later ABC is going to have to cut one soap to compete with the other two networks. I prefer AMC/OLTL. They are more traditional. To watch GH you have to like the whole Sonny saga. That is a no brainer. It is the whole show.

  32. Profile photo of alstonboy4315

    The role of Sonny has been very one-note and unchanging over the past few years!! It seems to be the same lather, rinse, repeat garbage for this character year after year!! Sonny needs an EXTREME MAKEOVER!!! Can the man leave the mob and do something else??? Anything else??? Become a nurse at GH??? A fashion editor at Kate’s magazine??? Okay, of course I am being silly, but Sonny needs something NEW and EXCITING to do other than just have people killed, yell, boss people around and then whine when his kids get hurt by his actions!!!

    I definitely believe that Maurice wants something more challenging and multi-faceted to play. And there are soooo many other stories that COULD be written for this character and actor, but Guza refuses to allow Sonny Corinthos to grow or change!!!

    And I also agree that this show has probably just become a means to an end for Maurice—a way for him to pay the mortgage and put the kids through college until something better comes along. The problem is that I doubt that at this stage in Maurice’s career that anything “better” or “more lucrative” is going to come along!!

    The odds of him developing a MEGASUCCESSFUL film career at his age are slim to none, and most of the prime time opportunities are being swallowed up by all of this reality TV garbage, so it seems that Maurice is STUCK, like countless other soap stars who PRETEND that they are content working in daytime but would MUCH rather go elsewhere or do something different!!!

    But as I said before, I enjoy Maurice’s performances, and I always have. So I have no problem with him resigning, which I am 99.9999999% sure he will do.

  33. Profile photo of EricasEvilTwin

    Pumpkin, yes, AMC may be more traditional, but its lousy soap. I find myself now sometimes 4 and 5 episodes behind and watching them feels like an obligation to an old friend that doesnt really fit into my life any more, but I feel I have to make time for given the history of the relationship. I keep hoping AMC will improve but as you say GH is all about CarSaSon, AMC is all about Rylee these days, and I would take the former over that latter any day of the week and twice on Sunday. I disagree that MB stutters or mumbles but lets say that he does, again in a head to head comparison, I would take MB’s speech patterns over Ryan’s bug eyed expressions in virtually every scene – there is NO contest between CM and MB as an actor. On the female side, again there is no comparison in the acting talents of LW vs. RB…RB seems like a sweetie as a person, but she hasnt infused any of her personal likeability into the character in years. LW is my least favorite of the 3 Carlys (I dont count JB) but all 3 women that played the role have made Carly watchable even when she is acting horribly. Looking back on RB’s recent tenure, I cant remember one scene where she really moved me, but I can recall any number of Carly moments that felt gut wrenching. In terms of the writing, yeah GH has a number of plot points that get brought up out of nowhere only to disappear the same way, yes the use of characters is way out of balance, and yes the dialog is tremendously repeatitive, but at least when there is a pay off, its big. The upcoming bus story I suspect will be one of those big pay off stories, and I know I am excited to see how it plays out. I dont feel that way about hardly any of the current amc stories. Erica on trial AGAIN…YAWN. Cara probably has a secret threat or a secret child like we arent seening that same story on GH – its a relatively weak storyline on both shows…YAWN. Angie about to give birth – great actress, lame story thats dragged on forever with few beats played out along the way YAWN. Brot and Natalia STILL circling each other…YAWN. I was really interested in JR/Annie but not happy that he now seems to be looking at her as the mistress…waiting to see what the return of Scott does with that…and I am sort of interested to see what the Kendall/Griffin dynamic might be. David being written into a corner and Liza being lambasted by everyone in town for prosecuting a case where EVERYONE thought David was dead (except the viewers) annoys me and Rylee is a hot mess.

    Plus, I might add, from a business perspective, there might not be a major difference in the nielsens between AMC and GH, but not only does GH do slightly better in that category, it attracts more viewers than AMC both on Soapnet, on DVR and on line.

    If tptb drop a soap, of the three, it should be AMC hands down.

  34. Profile photo of

    Who better to portray a Mob Boss other than John Gotti himself??

    Like any job, MB character is comfortable. Yes it may be over, but knowing the “good run” is over, and leaving are two different matters. He is comfortable. HE can do what he wants with the show. Call in sick, forget his lines, etc. He don’t care. He is wanted by GH. And me!!

    He will leave. When he is ready. Financially.

  35. Profile photo of sassysdreams

    EET – Well said and I totally agree. AMC is a total snooze fest and has been for a very long time. I will take GH over AMC any day of the week!! I’m enjoying OLTL as well. If ABC/Disney does cancel a soap, which I doubt, AMC is definitely the one to go.

  36. Profile photo of timepass

    [quote=jlafferty23]Wow guys, making fun of how he stutters? You guys forget to separate the Sonny character with MB! He is a human being, thats low guys, really low.[/quote]

    I agree, separating the person from the character is important and respectful.

    Guza is to blame for too much Sonny and the lack of balance in GH; not the actor.

  37. Profile photo of aramis270

    Guza is to blame for sure but I also found Maurice being less and less convincing in his acting. Last time I liked him as an actor and didn’t find him “one note” was the Skate storyline …. And even at that time, that was not the great MB we have known at one time…
    That’s one of the reasons I am less than convinced by Brenda/Sonny version 2010 …. Even with VM, I don’t find back the magic of Maurice Benard when he joined GH and until he left GH. I agree that since he came back, probably for financial reasons, which I will NEVER blame him for, the acting level has never reached the same level.

    I agree that Maurice is a great actor. We have seen it. However we have not seen it for the past 10 years for sure.
    He is now a pretty good actor but far from his top level. IMHO

    I would bet my house that he will of course renew his contract (where would he go ?). But GH would certainly benefit from him at least taking a break as Guza would then be forced to write for other characters (even if I am sadly convinced he would just give half of the show to Dante …).

  38. Profile photo of GHvetfan

    aramis – Look at that!!! We agree on something. I have a lot of respect for the past performances of Maurice Benard. I just think that he isn’t really in it to win it anymore. I was thinking about when the last time was that Sonny had something new and interesting to do that would keep the actor interested and involved. The only thing that I could come up with was his relationship with Kate. I liked that. I liked that she challenged him. My take is this – if the writing doesn’t challenge or interest the actor, it isn’t likely that it will interest the audience. Most actors speak about the challenge of a new role. I believe that MB isn’t challenged but he is paid and we are his consumers so he should show up regardless of his interest level and entertain me or find another job that does interest him. I think he is talented and I don’t believe he has a stuttering problem. I also recognize that he isn’t even a fraction of the problem that I have with the show. He is the topic of this thread so he is the one getting the focus of my frustration at the moment. The show’s issues are so much bigger than one actor’s performance.

  39. Profile photo of GH LOVER

    Aramis GHvettfan I have to say I agree with you..
    the problem is the writing more than MO himself who sometimes I have to agree tends to over act But I still think he is one of the best actors on the show!!! I thought he was amazing in 2010 in the dante shooting and Kris Abuse S/L he had some amazing scenes there!!!

    But when you compare him to the past You don’t see any growth with Sonny You only see him turning back the clock and becomes teenager boy and not a grown man over 40 that has kids that did wrongs..
    Look at Jason who is in the same level as Sonny regarding his character, but with Jason you have to admit you see some growth,you see him realizing his life and the mistakes he did… All this year we see him taking the fall blame on Michael, You see him letting go of his Dante hate,You see him after all this time going to Edward talking with him calling him grandfather,that is something that shocked me and we could see how hard it was for Jason going there admitting his mistakes .. that was growth..

    Sonny is not,he just becomes worse.. As I said I wanted Brenda to redeem him But what we got a 15 years old that only cares about himself,that the minute he can run and see her he goes,not thinking about his children.going to a wedding of one of his best friends and announce that he is getting married..

    That is the writing not Mo.I don’t think they need to let Sonny go, but they need to make him grown up!!if they did it with Jason and even with Carly-some of the time- and Michael,they can do it with Sonny…

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