50 Greatest Soap Actors: #1 Anthony Geary

NAME: Anthony Geary
RANK: 1
SOAP ROLES: Luke Spencer, GENERAL HOSPITAL (1978-1984, 1993-present); Luke Spencer, PORT CHARLES (1998); Bill Eckert, GENERAL HOSPITAL (1991-1993); George Curtis, THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS (1973); David Lockhart, BRIGHT PROMISE (1971-1972)

AWARDS:
2009 Daytime Emmy nomination for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series
2008 Daytime Emmy win for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series
2007 Daytime Emmy nomination for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series
2006 Daytime Emmy win for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series
2006 TV Land Award nomination for Most Wonderful Wedding
2004 Daytime Emmy win for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series
2003 Daytime Emmy nomination for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series
2002 Daytime Emmy nomination for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series
2000 Daytime Emmy win for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series
2000 Soap Opera Digest Award win for Outstanding Lead Actor
1999 Daytime Emmy win for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series
1999 Soap Opera Digest Award win for Outstanding Lead Actor
1998 Daytime Emmy nomination for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series
1997 Daytime Emmy nomination for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series
1994 Soap Opera Digest Award nomination for Outstanding Lead Actor
1993 Soap Opera Digest Award nomination for Outstanding Lead Actor
1983 Daytime Emmy nomination for Outstanding Actor in a Daytime Drama Series
1983 Soapy Award win for Outstanding Actor
1982 Daytime Emmy win for Outstanding Actor in a Daytime Drama Series
1981 Daytime Emmy nomination for Outstanding Actor in a Daytime Drama Series
1981 Soapy Award win for Outstanding Actor
1980 Soapy Award win for Outstanding Actor

COMMENTS FROM THE PANEL:
Damon L. Jacobs:  What leads this living legend to embody the top position?  It's all in the "id," baby!  For over 30 years, Geary's ingenious personification of the most impulsive and exciting psychological apparatus has constantly captured our hearts and our attention.  Luke Spencer says what he wants, goes where he wants, drinks what he wants, has sex with...you get the point.  But at the same time, Geary never allows the audience to forget the damaged and abused child underneath Luke's thrill seeking-bravado.  And this, my friends, is how a daytime anti-hero sustains fanfare, despite committing countless crimes and immoral deeds over the decades.  It is a tribute to Geary's precision, rigor, and mastery of his craft that we are still captivated and fascinated every time Luke is on our screens. 

Roger Newcomb: When he was on BRIGHT PROMISE, Tony Geary gave an interview saying that he didn't think he'd do another soap role. Thank God he did! His masterful performances turned Luke Spencer into a pop culture phenomenon and one of the most recognizable characters in TV history. I am always entertained by Geary because I feel like he'll surprise me as a viewer. You want to watch him to see what he'll do. Never boring, never predictable, always brilliant and on top of his game.

Jonathan Reiner: No one knows, protects and embodies his character better than Geary, sometimes to his own detriment. I still think he has one more knock-em-dead storyline left in him. What do you say, Guza?

Alan Carter: #1. Does it even need to be spelled out or explained?

Patrick Erwin: What could be said about Tony Geary that hasn’t already been said by the press – or by Geary himself? Geary’s inventive, unpredictable take on Luke has sustained his character beyond the initial popularity of Luke and Laura.

Connie Passalacqua Hayman (Marlena De Lacroix): Soaps’ standard bearer for a reason. Over all these years Luke has worked because this actor is whip smart and THINKS. Whether as a phenom with Genie Francis, or in tender scenes with Jonathan Jackson's Lucky, falling apart or a wise guy, Luke's always human -- and cool!

COMMENTS FROM CO-STARS/CO-WORKERS/INDUSTRY:
Kin Shriner: (worked with Geary on GENERAL HOSPITAL) It is wise when playing ping pong play with someone better and it will improve your game. That is what Mr. Geary is to me as an actor. He improves my game and everybody else's and after all these years... I still can't beat him. I have worked with quite a number of actors in daytime on a lot of shows and Tony is the greatest of all.

Jill Farren Phelps: (executive producer of GENERAL HOSPITAL) I remember the first moment Tony walked on the GENERAL HOSPITAL stage all those years ago. He was this magical presence from the start – captivating and fearless and funny and brilliant. With Tony’s entrance into GENERAL HOSPITAL, a legend was born and a new standard was set.

I feel absolutely privileged to work with Tony today. He’s still a magical man – generous and humble and such an incredibly brave performer. I’m not ashamed to say that after all these years, Tony Geary continues to take my breath away.

Jonathan Jackson: (works with Geary on GENERAL HOSPITAL) For me, Anthony Geary is not only the best daytime actor of all time, but one of the best actors of his generation period. Film, television or theatre; Tony Geary is on another planet from the average performer.

His raw, nuanced, fierce and unpredictable craft, along with his natural gift as a storyteller and writer enable Tony to explore the heights and depths of the human experience with passion and precision. He is a truly gifted and dedicated actor as well as an amazing person of grace and humility.

Julie Marie Berman: (works with Geary on GENERAL HOSPITAL) Tony is very special to me. He respects me, never judges me, and in turn, inspires me. I've always talked about my admiration for his work, and more importantly, his creativity and play in the work. But the man, himself, is the reason we love him on TV. He takes risks. He loves life. He's unbelievably funny. His hair is an artform. Tony is an unforgettable, wonderful human being. I truly love that man to death.

Nathan Parsons: (works with Geary on GENERAL HOSPITAL) Anthony Geary is one of those rare artists who is truly fearless in his work. He crashes through boundaries, regardless of the cost, to uncover the truths most are too afraid to reveal. Working with him, I have learned the meaning of integrity. I have learned to fight for what I believe in and to not be afraid to break the status quo. He built a legacy that defined our medium so its no surprise he was voted #1. He's earned it.

Jacklyn Zeman: (worked with Geary on GENERAL HOSPITAL) Tony Geary is the big brother I always wanted. On camera he has star quality and is always interesting and exciting to watch.

Brandon Barash: (works with Geary on GENERAL HOSPITAL) Tony has mastered the art of playing the anti-hero. He has that intangible element of seemingly effortless complexity to his performance...a true gem. I frequently refer to his clips on youtube for inspiration - something I've done since I was cast.

Claire Labine: (wrote for Geary on GENERAL HOSPITAL): I adore Tony Geary! That man is a fabulous actor, and I wish he would take the time to do some stage work. I saw him in one production in Los Angeles and he broke your heart and repelled you and made you love him all at once. And that’s of course his gift as Luke. He deplored what I did with Luke.  But he was so gracious to me, he really was. I’m a great fan and admirer.

9 comments:

  1. What is there to be said that hasn't already been said ? He is the epitome of what a great soap actor should be. I was talking to a friend just the other day trying to figure out who the nbumber 1 spot would go to and neither of us had a problem figuring out that Tony would be it.

    I often wonder if Luke would be the iconic character he is today if not for Tony's ability to bring such a human quality to the character. Whether he's working with GEnie, Jonathan or Julie or trading barbs with Jane or Jackie and Maurice you know that he's giving his all with every scene. He's a joy to watch and I could gush for hours about how special he is. Luke is who he is because of Tony and the number 1 spot is very well deserved

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  2. A true gift to every GH viewer... Mr. Geary is capable of evoking a symphony of emotion between two commercial breaks, from these flat panels in our living rooms. THAT is what art is about. His creations may not be hanging on the wall of the Louvre, or MMA but the conception and execution of his works, is not any less grand. The fact that he can still create it, and make us feel every emotion we are capable of as human beings in the vacuum that GH has become (emulating reality TV, where the only thing they seem to want to make us feel is shock) is a true testament to Mr. Geary's genius. I so want to turn the television off, but I don't want to miss a minute of his performance and hold on hoping for another wonderful story written by Mr. Geary for some of our favorite GH characters. After L&L original tale, his Luke and Laura return story was my absolute favorite. Thank you just doesn't seem to be enough for all the amazing entertainment he has given us over his career, but all I have.
    Thank you Mr. Geary. You have touched our hearts, souls and minds for three decades. We still can't get enough.

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  3. The obvious choice for #1. Though I don't necessarily agree he's the all-time best, I can't deny his cultural impact. And, if he actually got a real storyline again, preferably with Genie Francis, I might watch a show that I haven't bothered with since the Claire Labine days.

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  4. Wow, you guys are really off in many respects with this list...and on a totally different planet with the #1 choice. Tony Geary over Michael Zaslow , David Canary, and Larry Bryggman? The mind reels.

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  5. Tony Geary is the greatest soap actor ever.

    Snapper, why do you feel your opinion carries so much more weight than the 15 panelists that developed this list? That's rather obnoxious of you.

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  6. @zyxwvuts And yet, Snapper is allowed his opinion, just as you and others are allowed his. :)

    If Geary wasn't #1, he'd certainly be in the top 3, at least. I could make an argument for Larry Bryggman being #1, but why? I think we're all going to have our own ranking of the top 50. So if Snapper thinks differently...more power to him.

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  7. I for one am surprised to find Geary at the top spot on this list, whenLarry Bryggman, David Canary, Michael Zaslow, Don Hastings, James Mitchell, Charles Keating, Eric Braeden, Lane Davies, Tristan Rogers, Justin Deas, Chris Bernau and Stuart Damon and more are also being considered.

    It's not that I don't think Tony Geary is fine as a soap actor. It's that I don't think he's shown half the talent of the above mentioned actors, or some not mentioned, nor the long term dedication... how many times has 'Luke' gone awol from GH during the past twenty years or so while other actors kept on working, and working very well?

    Nope, I just don't get this choice of Geary as #1 not at all.

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