GENERAL HOSPITAL changed the mold for soap operas," said Karen Herman, director of the Archive of American Television, part of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation. The archive has collected oral histories of nearly a dozen actors from the show, including Francis and Geary.
"It became one of the first soaps to go on location for shoots, they introduced younger characters and they tackled sensitive issues like cancer, AIDS and rape," Herman said.
Unlike older soaps, which were produced in New York, "General Hospital" has long been a West Coast production. The hulking hospital exterior in the opening credits is familiar to Los Angeles residents because it is an image of the landmark USC Medical Center, east of downtown L.A.
Over the years, the show helped give rise to several stars, including Demi Moore, Ricky Martin, Rick Springfield and John Stamos. Mark Hamill appeared on the show, as did Elizabeth Taylor in the program's heyday of 1981.
Exercise guru Richard Simmons still pops up on the show, lending a comedic splash of 1980s charm, said Roger Newcomb, founder of the We Love Soaps website.
"It's always been the No. 1 soap in terms of pop culture," Newcomb said.
Former soap star Dylan Bruce takes on sci-fi
"Working on a soap opera is such good training for the novice actor. No rehearsal, 120 pages of dialogue per week, and one take to get the scene right, no room for error," says Bruce, who had a blast playing Dr. Chris Hughes on AS THE WORLD TURNS. "I think sometimes soap acting gets an unfair label for being bad and over the top. The lessons I learned there were so valuable. Seeing yourself every day on television you learned what worked and didn't work, what was bad acting and what wasn't, memorizing scripts became second nature."
How Kevin Sorbo Stays Grounded in Hollywood
Hollywood has changed dramatically since Kevin Sorbo began his acting career with a small role as a delivery man on the soap opera SANTA BARBARA in 1986.
ABC’s ONCE UPON A TIME Spinoff Casts Alice, Gets Title
English-born Australian actress Sophie Lowe has landed the lead in ABC's ONCE UPON A TIME spinoff project, which now has a title, ONCE: WONDERLAND. Also cast in the presentation, from ONCE UPON A TIME creators Eddy Kitsis and Adam Horowitz is Brit Peter Gadiot.
Michael Socha Cast In ONCE UPON A TIME Spinoff
The story is told through the point of view of Alice, who is surrounded by two major characters, The Knave of Hearts (Socha), a sardonic adventurer, a man of action, a loner and a heart-breaker; and Amahl, described as exotic, soulful and optimistic.
Debra Messing Talks SMASH Cancellation Rumors: There's "No Tension" on Set
"Oh my gosh, I haven't heard any of those rumors!" she exclaimed when asked about the supposed drama on set amid rampant cancellation reports. "It is a glorious place to work and everyone really gets along fabulously, so you might have insiders giving you information that I'm not privy to."
She continues, discussing the show's potential for a third season, "If we come back for a season three, I'm sure that the creative discussions have yet to be had about what that season three would look like," while adding that she and her costars "don't know" if the season finale will be the show's last episode.
Katharine McPhee Chops Off Her Hair
The AMERICAN IDOL alum cut off her hair this week, debuting a much shorter 'do than what she's kept for her Smash alter ego over the last two seasons.
The GLEE Cast Gets Their Archie Makeover
The kids look good in ink.
What's Next for THE WALKING DEAD?
[SPOILER ALERT - highlight to read] The megahit plans to kill 27 characters in its finale - and that's just for starters.
ONE TREE HILL's Hilarie Burton joins GREY'S ANATOMY
Burton has signed on for a recurring guest role as a craniofacial specialist who visits the hospital to work on a case.
Susan Olsen, BRADY BUNCH and THE BRADYS Star, On Gay Marriage, TV Dad Robert Reed
"Because it was so taboo, he could never make peace with himself. He never allowed himself to have a genuine love. He was forever taunted by his own disdain for the natural inclinations that he was BORN WITH. Bob was a family man. Had he been allowed to form a relationship with another man, he would have been the best husband ever and might still be alive.
"To me, the vilification of homosexuality is exactly like the primitive practice of people who killed babies who were born with cleft palates or birth marks. It is a worship not of God but of fear itself in the form of a God who hates."
Eric Ladin To Recur On HBO’s BOARDWALK EMPIRE
Ladin is set to play young J. Edgar Hoover.
GAME OF THRONES in 9 Minutes
Catch up on the first two seasons of the impossibly dense HBO series.