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GH’s Maurice Benard & Ex-Alum A Martinez On The Dark Side Of Acting

The two actors get into the darker side of fame.

Maurice Benard A Martinez General Hospital

GH’s Maurice Benard sat down with his good friend and ex-colleague, veteran actor A Martinez on this week’s video podcast of State Of Mind to tackle a subject that both actors know too well: acting, discrimination, and the depression that comes with constant rejection. 

Maurice Benard And A Martinez: The Dark Side Of Show Business

Entertainment journalists, social media influencers, and gossip mavens would have you believe that actors have the world on a silver platter. Everything is red carpets, flashing lights, Hollywood parties, lobster, and champagne, but it involves hard work with much more rejection than selection. These two ex-castmates (Benard as General Hospital’s Sonny Corinthos and Martinez as Roy DiLucca) talk about the dark side of the business that actors have to deal with.

Born Adolph Larrue Martinez — A as he is better known — knew he wanted to act as soon as he saw West Side Story and thought, “That must mean that anybody can do this.” It fueled his passion for theater arts and carried him to UCLA. Martinez landed his first film, The Young Animals, in 1968 at age 20. Though his resume is peppered with steady, outstanding work, it wasn’t easy for the Daytime Emmy Award-winning actor. 

Martinez explained how depression would rear its ugly head starting in his college days. “You go to the parties with all of these kids, and someone sits down at the piano and starts playing all these Broadway tunes.” He continued, “Everybody there is conversant with the language of Broadway, and I am coming from this blue-collar town in the San Fernando Valley. My musical education happened as I would go smoke a joint, and sit in the garage [strums invisible guitar] with my friends. We would be like jamming on our guitars trying to figure out the chords to songs.”

Later, multiple rejections in Hollywood would have the actor questioning his career choice. “The time that I bottomed out, where I literally thought the most dire thoughts you could think of, my wife said, ‘Okay, you lost your job. You have this problem and that problem, and this agent said…you are feeling sorry for yourself. You have been doing it for a while now. So I guess you have decided that I don’t matter. That what I have decided to say about you is not as important as the details of your career.’ Of course, the shame of letting myself get so down. It ain’t easy.”

A Martinez: The Golden Age Of Santa Barbara

Benard was eager to tap into the actor’s award-winning stint on the soap opera Santa Barbara as Cruz Castillo and his star-crossed romance with Eden Capwell (Marcy Walker). Martinez described the behind-the-scenes drama. “It took us six weeks to finish a show. We were in desperate shape. Everyone was losing weight. The ratings weren’t very good. The show wasn’t really working.

“I think it was Brian Frons [television executive] who started asking questions and Jill Phelps [executive producer], who was in the music department at the time, who had just been kicked up to some kind of production capacity. She had just become a producer, and she said, ‘I think you should give A and Marcy a shot.’ Because we were supposed to be with other people.”

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Martinez set the scene of how the actors made Cruz and Eden work. “Jill said to us, I’ll never forget this, she said, ‘You are going to have these three days, and there are all kinds of reasons that you can have it go wrong. They could come up with a lot of excuses later if it didn’t work. Don’t do that. Do whatever you have to do to make it work. If you have to mess with it, I’ll have your back.’

“So, Marcy and I took time over the weekend to conspire about what we were going to do.” He laid out how they worked on the chemistry. “One of the key things we decided to do was get on the floor. To not be sitting up but to see what it would look like to get these two people on the floor. Have one of them on top of the other and let it start being a little bit of a thing.”

A Martinez: A Career To Be Proud Of

Martinez tapped into his humble beginnings growing up in San Fernando Valley, dealing with discrimination, the beginning and the end of Santa Barbara, working with Eileen Davidson, Nancy Lee Grahn, and Kim Zimmer, and the bumpy jump to L.A. Law. Find out more about his John Wayne and B-movie King Roger Corman connection, growing closer to his Native American roots working on the iconic Powwow Highway produced by George Harrison of the Beatles, and his life-changing work on Longmire.

Benard touched upon auditioning for a role in the movie, She-Devil, that he was up for, which meant working with acting legend Meryl Streep, and was ultimately won by A Martinez. The latter actor shared the magic of working with the three-time Oscar winner and the stress of getting it right when you are working with the best. The two men spoke of so much more that fans will love. Watch the entire episode here.

Fans can follow A Martinez on Twitter and Instagram. Follow Maurice Benard on Twitter, Instagram, or State of Mind. If you are struggling with Depression or know someone who is reach out to NAMI.org.

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