COUPLE: Michael "Stone" Cates & Robin Scorpio
SHOW: GENERAL HOSPITAL
Stone: Michael Sutton
Robin: Kimberly McCullough
YEARS: 1993-1995, 2010
Stone was the brother of Jagger Cates who worked for mobster Sonny Corinthos when he met Robin. She developed a crush on him and the two fell in love, much to her Uncle Mac's chagrin. When the couple had sex, Stone told Robin he had been tested for HIV and was negative. They were safe but over time did engaged in unprotected sex. Stone never followed up on his AIDS test six months after the first but it was eventually revealed he had the disease. Robin tested negative for HIV once but her follow up test revealed she was positive. Stone eventually lost his battle with AIDS in one of the most touching death scenes in television history.
When a story from 17 years ago continues to resonate to this day, it had an impact. Several daytime soap operas told AIDS stories in the late 1980s, the best of which involved ALL MY CHILDREN's Cindy Parker (Ellen Wheeler) and Stuart Chandler (David Canary). But the best AIDS story ever told on a soap was Stone and Robin. But it also was a story about about family, friendship, and the power of love. Robin Scorpio became the only ongoing HIV-positive character in daytime and the issue would continue to be brought up and remembered until this day.
The story of Stone and Robin was daytime television at its best with writing by Claire Labine, and lead by brilliant executive producer Wendy Riche, with top-notch performances by McCullough and Sutton. Must-see-entertainment that is also educational is hard to pull off, but this story did it. This is the power daytime soap operas can have. Those involved probably have said it best in our interviews:
Claire Labine (2009): The degree of ignorance of AIDS in that era was stunning! People really thought you could catch it by shaking hands. I did feel impassioned about that story. I got the fastest approval for that story ever. We were at a retreat with Pat [Fili-Krushel, head of ABC daytime from 1993-2000]. We were at breakfast and Wendy said, “What we really need is a Romeo and Juliet story.” And it just came to me: “Stone is HIV positive and he and Robin become lovers and she’s infected.” Pat looked at me and said, “Can you really make a story out of that?” And I said, “You bet we can.” And she said, “Approved!” And she let us do it!
At the very end, just before Robin’s diagnosis, Pat called and asked, “Does she really really have to be HIV positive?” And I said, “Well, if she isn’t the whole story is pointless.” She said, “Alright, but this is breaking my heart.” I said, “Good! That what it’s intended to do!” So if it depressed people, I’m sorry. Was it what we intended to do? You bet!
Michael Sutton (2010): "It effected me on a molecular level. You’re dealing with the importance of the meaning of life and what we are doing here and how you effect and interact with people. I think that is what this journey is all about. So the material was treated so delicately and accurately. They were so sincere in the time in which they allowed the story to be told. They did not rush it. They really took you through a nine month AIDS storyline from beginning to end and how it effects the people all around. I think that’s why fifteen years later people remember it and can’t forget it. It touched your soul. I don’t think there are a lot of films, short stories, books, that touch your soul that way."
Wendy Riche (2010): And I will never forget Stone opening his dying eyes, saying to Robin, “I see you.” Right before he dies he has clarity of his love and of his purpose. It was extraordinary.
- Robin tells Stone she loves him
- Stone tells Robin he is HIV-positive
- Stone's Death: "Oh, Robin, I see you." (1995)
- Robin has a vision of Stone while trapped in a well (2010)
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