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GH’s Maurice Benard And Michael E. Knight On Healing And Friendship

Michael E Knight and Maurice Benard GHMichael E Knight and Maurice Benard GH

In entertainment, fame and friendships can be fleeting, which is one of the reasons this week’s State Of Mind episode was extra special. Long-time All My Children and General Hospital fans can enjoy 52 minutes of love and laughter between old friends and colleagues, Maurice Benard and Michael E. Knight, as they maneuver through their personal and professional struggles and triumphs.

Maurice Benard And Michael E. Knight: The Early Years

Benard (Sonny) gave his old friend a welcome that would make any actor blush. “I met him on a show called All My Children [in 1987]. He is one of the three funniest people I know. One is Tony Geary [ex-Luke Spencer, GH]. The other is Steve Burton [ex-Jason Morgan, GH]. And this guy. Acting-wise? I put him up there with like Jack Lemmon. He could do comedy great and drama great. And that is who this person is. Enough with kissing his a**. His name is Michael Knight and he played Tad.”

The three-time Daytime Emmy award winner shared how it all started. “I was right out of school. I had maybe done a movie of the week and some commercial stuff like that.” Knight (Martin, GH) went on to explain, “I was like you. When I got the gig I was like 22 years old. So I was like right out of Circle in the Square [Theatre & School]. I had no idea how lucky I was.”

Knight’s Pine Valley experience placed Tad with many AMC fan favorites. “Seriously, they put me with a number of people. Darnell [Williams; Jesse Hubbard], Debbi [Morgan; Angie Baxter], Marcy Walker [Liza Colby], I mean they threw me into the pot with Marcy Walker, Kim Delaney [Jenny Gardner], Dorothy Lyman [Opal Gardner], and the storyline was amazing.

“I remember,” Knight continued. “I don’t know what it was like for you but I had no idea.” He recalled his first press tour. “They shipped us out to do AM Chicago with Oprah, before she was Oprah. We just said let’s go down to Rush Street, let’s go to dinner and being with Kim Delaney and Dorothy Lyman was like being one of the Beatles. I had never seen anything like that. The audience response.”

Looking back on his early days, Knight was appreciative of the experience. “So, from the age of 22, I knew what it was like to pay the rent as an actor while a lot of my friends struggled for a long time to get where they are. I knew what it was like to make a living.” After a break from the show in 1986, he returned to a warm response. “The second time around [1987], when I came back, they treated me like the second coming, when you and I started working together. It was great.”

Help Was A Phone Call Away

The two friends had a lot to laugh about through the years but there were a couple of times when Knight needed a little more and Benard was just a phone call away. “I had two points in my life, there is no other way to say it…the train came off the tracks.”

Knight went on to explain. “My particular thing is that I have suffered, I can suffer, and have sought care for obsessive, compulsive anxiety disorder. Which is where…short story, a scenario, a scene, a story keeps running over and over and over again in your mind and it takes over everything. To where you can’t eat, can’t sleep. I had it really really bad in New York at 40. And then I had it in the middle of COVID and that’s when I called you.”

Knight knew his pal would know how to respond. “I remember you saying, ‘Have you gotten to this? Blah, blah, blah. Are you eating?’ I remember, and I will never forget, you said, ‘Does food taste like metal?’

“Only someone who has been there, in the gift shop of hell, knows that,” explained Knight. “You get to the point where it starts to affect your nervous system. I remember I would have to make myself eat a couple of hot dogs at night just to get protein in my body. And I think I dropped about 20 pounds. My weight just plunged.

Michael E. Knight: Right Side Up

“And I don’t know about you but I felt like the world turned itself completely upside down,” Knight said. “We are living through Biblical sh*t non-stop. If you have a proclivity for something…it’s like an option for you.” The actor took it a step further and sought medical advice. “I suffer from dysthymia. In the dark ages, they would call it melancholy, which means I can go down. I actually sought a doctor’s care. I was on medication for a while and I was very happy to do it.”

The buddies in drama and in life shared so much more in this down-to-earth and entertaining glimpse into their shared histories. Michael E. Knight talked about his early days on the set of All My Children, working with director and producer Henry Kaplan, crossing over to the big screen, and his early successes and failures.

Fans can catch a glimpse of their longtime friendship, which includes stories of Paula and Maurice Benard’s early relationship, Catherine Hickland (Lindsay Rappaport on One Life To Live, Tess on Loving and The City, Julie on Capitol) and her advice to Knight, early stalking experiences, a funny fan hiccup at Disneyland, a dangerous hike in Ojai, and the road to Port Charles. Click here for the full episode.

If you suffer from or know someone who suffers from OCD or Dysthymia, reach out and find out more at NAMI. Follow Maurice Benard on Twitter, Instagram, or State of Mind.

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 GH spoilers, and for an in-depth look at the show’s history, click here.

For more about what’s happening on your favorite soaps, join the conversation over on our Facebook Page, check out our Twitter feed, or look for an update on our Instagram stories. See you over there!



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