General Hospital (GH) is the soap opera synonymous with superstar guests, like Elizabeth Taylor and James Franco, and a wedding that reached a ratings pinnacle.
Having been a staple of daytime television since its debut in 1963, here are the nine moments that defined the ABC soap.
The Full Monty
With GH on the brink of cancellation in 1978, ABC hired Gloria Monty as the show’s new executive producer. She swiftly revamped the soap and turned it into a pop phenomenon, forever changing the face of daytime.
Luke (Anthony Geary) and Laura’s (Genie Francis) 1981 wedding stands out as the most-watched soap episode in U.S. history, with some 30 million viewers tuning in to watch the pair exchange “I Do’s.”
The event even made TV Guide’s list of the 100 Most Memorable Moments in TV history.
When young B.J. was pronounced braindead following a tragic bus accident, Tony (Brad Maule) consented to donate his daughter’s heart to save his brother Frisco (Jack Wagner) and Felicia’s (Kristina Wagner) daughter Maxie in 1994. It was an epic tearjerker.
After watching her boyfriend Stone (Michael Sutton) tragically die of AIDS, young Robin was diagnosed with HIV in 1995. The plot shined a light on and increased awareness of the illness.
When a drunk AJ (Sean Kanan) drove his car into a tree, his brother Jason was ejected from the passenger seat in 1995. He suffered brain damage and permanent memory loss, transforming former promising med student Jason Quartermaine into Jason Morgan, mobster Sonny Corinthos’ right-hand man.
Nikolas Cassadine (Tyler Christopher) arrived in Port Charles in 1996 with his “uncle” Stefan to donate bone marrow to save Lulu Spencer. It was thought that he was the biological child of Laura and Stefan, but unfortunately he really was Stavros’s son.
When Lulu turned up pregnant with Dillon’s baby after a one-night stand in 2006, she opted to have an abortion. The show worked closely with the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy to make the storyline realistic, and it resonated with young viewers.
Sonny (Maurice Benard) shoots undercover cop Dominic/Dante (Dominic Zamprogna) at point-blank range, when he arrives at his home to arrest him in 2010. Afterward, Olivia, Sonny’s ex and Dante’s mother, bursts in and announces that Sonny has just shot his own child.
Spiraling out of control after Ava (Maura West) exchanged his bipolar medication with placebos, Morgan (Bryan Craig) stole Julian’s (William deVry) car, unaware that it had been rigged with a bomb. The vehicle violently exploded, killing Sonny and Carly’s only biological child in 2016.
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