Maurice Benard was born Mauricio Jose Morales in Martinez, California, to hard-working parents, Humberto, a baking superintendent, and Martha, a bank attendant. Of Salvadorian and Nicaraguan ethnicity, Benard grew up in the San Francisco area in a very diverse community.
After high school, Maurice took the non-traditional route in his job search. He participated in a lot of theater in the Bay area and modeled to pay the bills. When he was ready, Benard headed to New York in 1987 to audition for All My Children. He didn’t get that particular role, but they hired him for another role, Nico Kelly.
His stint in Pine Valley ended in 1990, Maurice decided to take a chance in Los Angeles. He landed roles on television such as DEA, Her Wicked Ways, and Stat, before scoring the pivotal, much-publicized role of Desi Arnaz in Lucy & Desi: Before the Laughter in 1991.
Maurice Benard followed that role with another widely publicized role in Ruby, a behind-the-scenes story about Jack Ruby with an all-star cast that included Danny Aiello, Arliss Howard, David Duchovny, Sherilyn Finn, and Jeffrey Nordling. Maurice played the pivotal role of a Cuban exile named Diego, who was one of Ruby’s contacts.
In 1993, Maurice booked the Emmy award-winning role of Sonny Corinthos on General Hospital, forever changing the canvas of Port Charles and the trajectory of Benard’s life in the process.
Maurice Benard’s credits include Dark Justice, Mi Vida Loca, To Face Her Past, Operation Splitsville, Restraining Order, Confession, Joy, Castle, The Ghost and the Whale, A Lover Betrayed, Hold On, Duke, Equal Standard, Nightmare Cinema, and as John Gotti in Victoria Gotti: My Father’s Daughter, all while he juggled his day job as fan-favorite mobster Corinthos.
When he is not on a set, Benard enjoys a private life with his family, wife Paula, and four children, Cailey, Cassidy, Joshua, and Heather, and their menagerie of exotic animals, in Temecula, California. Benard is also an outspoken activist on the diagnosis and treatment of Bipolar Disorder, something he has been struggling with since his early twenties.
General Hospital (GH) airs weekdays on ABC. Check your local listings for airtimes. For more about what’s coming up in Port Charles, check out all the latest that’s been posted on General Hospital spoilers, and for an in-depth look at the show’s history, click here.
- March 1, 1963 — Birthdate
- Did some modeling work in his early twenties.
- Auditioned for the soap All My Children in 1987; did not get the part he tried out for, but producers were so impressed they created the role of Nico Kelly for him.
- Played Desi Arnaz in the 1991 TV-movie Lucy and Desi: Before the Laughter.
- Diagnosed with bipolar disorder when he was 22; in 2006, asked General Hospital producers to make his character also have bipolar disorder.
- Is a spokesperson for the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance.
- Enjoys boxing and is a fan of martial arts.
- Is an animal lover and owns many pets, including cats, dogs, birds, chinchillas and rabbits.