The recent episode of Maurice Benard’s State of Mind video podcast offers General Hospital fans a double dose of insights and fun with incomparable Carolyn Hennesy. A Daytime Emmy Award-winner for Outstanding Supporting Actress on The Bay, Hennesy has been a regular in Port Charles since she joined the cast in 2007 as Attorney Diane Miller.
Carolyn Hennesy On Growing Up In The Spotlight
Maurice Benard (Sonny) gave his friend the warmest of welcomes with a huge compliment: “Here’s someone that I consider the Lucille Ball of our generation, and I got to tell you why. Because comedy-wise she is brilliant. She is just perfect. But I believe that she is also great at drama. And I could be wrong…” Hennesy cut in.
“You’re not. You’re not!” she interjected, causing them both to laugh. “That’s the best introduction!” The conversation was quickly ignited with a simple question of where she grew up.
The fiery actress grew up in Encino, California, in the heart of the film industry, and as the daughter of Dale Hennesy, a well-known Art Director, and Production Designer. And boy, did she have tales to tell!
“What was really cool was that I was a studio brat,” she revealed. “Dad was an Academy Award winner and, although I really loved growing up in Encino, I REALLY loved hanging out at Warner Bros., MGM, and Sony. Wherever Dad was, I wanted to be.”
She proudly described some of his accomplishments, “There’s a street named after my father at Warner Brothers. Hennesy Street. He designed it for Annie . He died after principal production finished .”
Hennesy recalled some of her childhood adventures from hanging out with her dad on the sets of some of his movie projects. “I was on the set of Young Frankenstein over at 20th Century Fox,” she shared, “watching the scene where Elizabeth [Madeline Kahn] had just come in on the carriage and Marty Feldman says, ‘You take the blonde and I’ll take the one in the Turbin!’ going up to the big door with the knockers. Meeting Cloris Leachman, and hearing Madeline Kahn warm-up with her singing in the ladies’ room on the soundstage.”
She continued with a story about her and her brother helping with his designs. “I remember being at Sony for the making of Logan’s Run. Me and my brother spent the summer making those little cars going up the tubes. I loved it! From the moment that I first walked on the set of Fantastic Voyage, which is what my dad got his Oscar for. And I just went, ‘This is it!’”
Hennesy was just 4 years old in 1967 when her father took home an Oscar for his work on the classic film, Fantastic Voyage, starring Donald Pleasance, Raquel Welch, and James Brolin. Her nephew found footage of the televised win. Watching her dad receive the statuette as it was handed over by Rock Hudson, and seeing her dad, an Ernest Hemingway-built type of man, a pirate of a guy, with all his hair, the memories came flooding back.
The Darker Side Of Fame
But other memories flooded back as well. “No-holds-barred here,” revealed Hennesy. “Dad was a practicing alcoholic when he died. He used to say if I had my druthers, I would be up in Carmel with your mom and you guys painting the ocean. He wasn’t a happy guy, and as a result, he drank. So I grew up as an adult child of an alcoholic. It transferred to me.”
The talented thespian is 21 years sober and proud of it. Benard and Hennesy took a deep dive into serious subjects and delivered thought-provoking insights with laughter and fun. This episode is 48 plus minutes and is a delicious treat for daytime fans.
Find out more of her journey to sobriety, her family ties to actress Barbara Rush, her varied and sometimes painful experience in the entertainment industry, struggling with loss, life as a single woman, how learning the trapeze was a real stress buster, her first impression of Benard, and much, much more!
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.
While we talk a lot about acting and @GeneralHospital, Carolyn really opens to me about her father, his death and her achievement of being 21 years sober. https://t.co/fJkkKOz4EX pic.twitter.com/Vx3QkPXf8T
— Maurice Benard (@MauriceBenard) December 19, 2021