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Charles Shaughnessy Reveals GH Co-Stars Had Him Starstruck

The GH villain was once tongue-tied on the set.

charles shaughnessy plays victor on general hospital, once played allistair.Charles Shaughnessy shares a great story about his first GH stint.

Charles Shaughnessy has been killing it as evil Victor Cassadine on General Hospital for a while now that it’s hard to remember this isn’t his first trip to Port Charles. That was when he played Holly’s cousin Alistair Durban but what you may not have known was the actor was completely starstruck at the time.

Charles Shaughnessy Looks Back

At a recent Coastal Entertainment fan Zoom gathering with GH co-star and onscreen son James Patrick Stuart (Valentin), Shaughnessy was asked about what it’s like to be playing a second role on the ABC soap and if he remembered anything from his first stint.

“I remember it very well for a couple of reasons,” Shaughnessy shared. “First of all, [it was] very soon after I came [to America], I came out in ’83 May, April of ’83 married [Susan Fallender] my then girlfriend, now wife in May of ’83, and set about trying to start a career. In the meantime, [I was] doing odd jobs and I ended up working in a fabric store, organizing samples. I’d take my lunch from 1 to 2 or 2 to 3. And so we would, me and my colleague, we’d watch One Life to Live or General Hospital.

“I became a complete soap fan immediately after I came to America and was like totally into General Hospital, [it] was all about Holly [Emma Samms] and Robert Scorpio [Tristan Rogers] and all that stuff as well as the One Life to Live crowd,” Shaughnessy recalls. “So then I got an audition for General Hospital to play Holly’s cousin. I auditioned for it, I heard back from my agent that ‘They loved your reading, but you’re not quite the right look, they’re going another way.’

“So, coming from England, I went, wait a minute. What’s that? I don’t, what do they mean, not the right look,” he questioned. “I’m English, and I’m in the right age.” And then the truth dawned on him. “Oh, wait a minute. I said, ‘Does this mean I’m just not handsome enough? Is that what they mean?’

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“And my agent paused and said, ‘Well, I’m not going to answer that. You can talk to the casting director Marvin Paige. He’s very nice. He’ll talk to you.’ So I called him, and I don’t think any casting director would ever have an actor call up and basically say, what’s the matter? Am I just not handsome enough? And I did. I said, ‘Is that what it means?’ And he said, ‘Well, to cut a long story short, yes, you’re not handsome enough.’ Again, coming from England and thinking, I was sort of full of vim and vigor and not in the least bit intimidated. I kind of thought, well, screw that, what do they know? So I said, ‘Well if I go and get myself looking more handsome over the weekend, could I come back on Monday?’

“And he said, ‘Well, if you can, sure.’ So I went on the beach, I covered myself in olive oil,” the actor recollects. “I didn’t bother with sunscreen. I just poured olive oil on myself and got a very expensive haircut and paraded back on Monday in this sort of deep George Hamilton tan and a very neat, very expensive haircut and presented myself to Marvin Paige, who took one look at me and said, ‘OK, well, that’s not bad. Let’s see if we can reintroduce you to [executive producer] Gloria Monty.’

“So we hid in his office until he saw Gloria coming down the corridor and then pushed me out and said, ‘Oh, Gloria, this is, Charlie Shaughnessy as you saw him yesterday. Did you need to see him again?’ And she looked me up and down, and I’m holding my breath, and she goes, ‘Yeah. Okay. Bring him in.’ So I went in and re-auditioned and was clearly now handsome enough and got the job, and that was the week as Holly’s cousin.”

While he got the coveted job, Shaughnessy now had some new challenges to deal with. “I had to contend with walking on the set and being completely tongue-tied because I’m standing there in Scorpio’s townhouse with Holly and Scorpio. And I’m like, ‘Oh my God,’ I had to do scenes with Holly and Robert. So I had to sort of still my fluttering heart and be professional and had a great week. I loved it. I loved Emma loved Tristan [Rogers, Robert Scorpio]. We had a real laugh and stayed friends ever since.

“So then, yes, the passage of time, literally 40 years later, here I am doing scenes with Emma Samms again. Holly and Scorpio,” Shaughnessy concludes. “So, yeah, thank you for that question because it’s quite a story.”

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