There are lots of reasons famous faces appear on soap operas. Sometimes it’s for cross-promotion, giving both the daytime serial and the star’s current project some publicity. Other times, it’s because the celebrity is a fan of the soap. Here’s a look at five famous faces who’ve appeared on General Hospital!
1. James Franco (Franco Baldwin)
Franco was appearing in films like Eat, Pray, Love and Rise of the Planet of the Apes when he and GH negotiated a deal for him to appear on the show as the enigmatic artist known as Franco, who incorporated murder scenes into his art. (Creepy!)
Franco played the part from 2009 to 2012, but the show had plans for the character after the Oscar nominee departed Port Charles. Recast with Roger Howarth, Franco was revealed as the son of Scotty (Kin Shriner) and Heather (Robin Mattson). Time will tell if we’ve seen the last of the recently murdered character.
2. Chandra Wilson (Tina Estrada; Dr. Francine Massey; Sydney Val Jean)
Wilson, an Emmy-winner for her role as Dr. Miranda Wilson on Grey’s Anatomy, has done three (count ’em, three!) appearances on GH. The self-proclaimed daytime fan first popped up on the show in 2014 as Tina, a patient.
She returned to the show in 2018 as therapist Dr. Massey, who tried to help Jordan (then, Vinessa Antoine), Curtis (Donnell Turner), and Stella (Vernee Watson) manage their conflicts. Perhaps her most favorite role was as reporter Sydney Val Jean, who worked the red carpet at the Nurses Ball in 2019, allowing Wilson to interact with much of the cast.
3. Sammy Davis Jr. (Eddie Phillips)
Even before Sammy Davis Jr. appeared as Eddie Phillips, the estranged father of Bryan (Todd Davis), for a week’s worth of episodes in 1982, the singer’s love of soaps was well-known. He not only played Chip Warren on One Life to Live in 1979, but he also appeared as himself on Love of Life in 1975 in honor of that show’s 24th anniversary! On GH, Bryan and Eddie were able to mostly reconcile before the senior Phillips passed away from spinal cancer.
4. Katie Couric (Reporter)
The year 2013 was not only GH’s 50th anniversary, but it was also the year Katie Couric, best known for her run as host of The Today Show on NBC, had her own syndicated self-titled talk show that appeared on ABC stations across the country.
In order to do some cross-promotion, Couric, who reported on GH’s anniversary for 20/20, popped up in Port Charles as a reporter who resorted to some less than ethical tactics. Couric’s character tried to get a few quotes from a hospitalized Nikolas (then, Tyler Christopher) but she was no match for the ever-vigil Epiphany (Sonya Eddy).
5. Elizabeth Taylor (Helena Cassadine)
Taylor, a self-proclaimed GH fan and an Oscar-winner, was invited to appear on the show and GH came up with a doozy of a character for her to play. As the widow of Mikkos Cassadine (John Colicos), Helena came to Port Charles seemingly to make amends for her late husband (who tried to freeze Port Charles!) by making a big donation to the hospital.
In reality, Helena, who had previously encountered both Robert Scorpio (Tristan Rogers) and hospital administrator Dan Rooney (Frank Maxwell), popped in at Luke (Anthony Geary) and Laura’s (Genie Francis) wedding to put a hex on the bride and groom. “My curse on you, Laura and Luke,” Helena hissed.
The character was too important to GH’s story canvas not to bring back, so Helena was later recast with Constance Towers. General Hospital (GH) airs weekdays on ABC. Check your local listings for airtimes.