Constance Towers is beloved as the wicked Helena Cassadine on General Hospital — a role she’s played off and on since 1997, but the actress started her career in Hollywood back in the ‘50s.
Not only did she act in movies, but she also made appearances on television shows such as Designing Women, Fraiser, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and many others. She was also part of the original cast of the CBS soap, Capitol.
Though her character is no longer alive on General Hospital, we still get to see her from time to time, as we recently did in a new “flashback” with Shiloh. From where she was born and raised to her family life, here are five fast facts about the actress.
In The Beginning
Towers was born on May 20 in Whitefish, Montana. Her parents, Ardath L. and Harry J. Towers, were Irish immigrants. When Towers was just 6 years old, she was discovered by talent scouts who were visiting Montana. At a young age, she sang on the radio and was offered a contract with Paramount Pictures at age 11, but her parents said no.
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Her family relocated to New York City when Towers was a teenager for her father’s job. She got accepted to The Juilliard School to study music, leaning more towards the operatic side until musical theater caught her eye. She also studied at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts.
Towers started working in television and movies opposite leading men like John Wayne and Frankie Laine. Throughout her long career on both coasts, she’s starred in shows such as Anya, Show Boat, Carousel, and The Sound of Music. She was also in the Broadway revival of The King and I opposite Yul Brenner.
In Good Company
Throughout Towers’ entire career, she managed to go back and forth between movies and television. In fact, in 1998 she played future (later that same year) Academy Award winner Gwyneth Paltrow’s mother in the movie, A Perfect Murder. The film also starred another Oscar winner, Michael Douglas, as well as Viggo Mortensen.
Towers has been married twice. Her first marriage was to Eugene McGrath in 1959, but the couple split in 1966. They have two children together. She then married actor (Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho) and future ambassador to Mexico, John Gavin, in 1974.
She has two stepchildren from that marriage, Christina and Maria Gavin. They were together until Gavin passed away at the age of 86 on February 9, 2018. General Hospital (GH) airs weekdays on ABC. Check your local listings for airtimes.