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GH’s Maurice Benard & Frankie Loyal Discuss Breaking The Cycle Of Dysfunction

Tough guy actor Frankie Loyal discusses healing the pain between fathers and sons and much more.

maurice benard frankie loyal general hospital state of mind newsMaurice Benard and Frankie Loyal on State Of Mind

GH’s Maurice Benard sat down with actor and producer Frankie Loyal. The actor and motorcycle enthusiast, who portrays Hank “Tranq” Loza on the Sons Of Anarchy spinoff Mayans M.C., opened up about his complicated relationship with his father and what it took to break the dysfunctional cycle that tore them apart on this week’s video podcast episode of State Of Mind. Find out what he had to say and so much more.

Maurice Benard & Frankie Loyal: Father And Sons

As the two men sat down to begin their conversation, it was clear that they have so much in common. The two actors both play intense and sometimes unredeemable characters, Benard as mobster Sonny Corinthos on General Hospital and Loyal as the Sergeant-in-Arms for the motorcycle gang in Mayans M.C. Both grew up with strict fathers, and both learned to exorcise their demons through their acting. Each man struggled with a complicated relationship between father and son. And sadly, both men have faced the pain of losing their father.

Loyal laid down the context of his rocky relationship with his dad. “My father was a Highway Patrolman. CHP. My father was one of the first Latino highway patrolmen. In fact, his badge number was 6332, which was ancient. I mean, it was four digits.” He began sharing more details, “He was an orphan. He was in a lot of trouble growing up. Being an orphan, he lived in a foster home. He was flying around the world when he was 18 because he was in the Air Force. Then he became a CHP, which was tough back then. So, he, in a lot of ways, came from nothing.”

Like his father before him and his grandfather before that, Loyal’s father doled out harsh disciplinary actions for any infractions. “It is strange to think about it in this day and age. Back then, if you stepped out of order, you got backhanded, or you had to apologize to grownups when you did wrong. My father was very strict.”

The burly actor remembered clearly the weapon of choice. “The Highway Patrol belt. If anyone knows anything about those black leather belts…” He paused to let that thought sink in. ”When the watch came off, I knew. And then it got to the point, I was just talking about it with someone a couple of days ago in Goodfellas when the letters come, and young Henry Hill has been delinquent in school, and his dad gets the belt, and he says, ‘There is just sometimes when you just got to take it.’ I kind of got that attitude after a while.”

Getting To The Heart Of The Matter

It wasn’t until his father passed away from COVID a couple of years ago that Loyal began to see the aftermath the actions had caused and where he still needed to heal. “It is strange. It affected me in ways that I didn’t know, honestly, up until a couple of years ago at his passing.” He explained some of the damage he endured. “I have been sober for going on 20 years, and I don’t think I actually got to the heart of it until after he passed. It was interesting when people felt comfortable enough to bring it to the table with me, and I was willing to hear it.”

He shared the emotional moment of recognition. “They said, ‘You have this anger in you that was so there, and it seems like since your dad has passed, you have had some kind of peace.’ [Tears] And I am like, ‘Because it broke me. And I didn’t realize it.’

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“I internalized it after he died and we were filming,” he explained. He described how his body took on the trauma. “One day, I left the gym, and I thought I was fine, and then my body started tweaking out. I didn’t know if I was having a stroke or something really weird. I was running, but I don’t do anything to my body that would trigger this sort of thing. 

“I was admitted into Cedar’s [Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles],” Loyal continued. “And they were like, ‘We can’t understand what is going on with your body. It is in some kind of state of shock or trauma, and the vitals are all over the place. What’s going on with you? You don’t smoke. You don’t drink. You don’t do drugs. What’s going on here?’

“I was like, ‘I don’t know. I was at the gym. You know my dad died about a month ago…’ I just kept talking, not even realizing,” he recalled. The ailing actor hadn’t made the connection until the doctor said, “‘Stop. Do you realize what you just said?’ He left the room, and it really hit me. I just started crying. I had been carrying this around all of my life. I didn’t realize it. It was really heavy. I went through this grieving period.”

Cycling Forward

There was so much more to this interview. The tattooed teddy bear of a guy will win your heart and inspire you at the same time. Frankie Loyal discussed his childhood and growing up in Central California before moving to San Francisco. Find out about how a chance encounter with actor Paul Sorvino inspired him and changed his life. Learn about his punk rock background and his rock star moment at Comic-Con.

The actor talked about the healing power of acting, his early role on Nash Bridges and brush with Don Johnson and Cheech Marin, and how a young autistic fan touched his life and changed his view of the world. Both actors talked about their Barney Miller/Max Gail connection and their love for the tough guy character of Baretta. Catch the whole conversation here.

Fans can follow Frankie Loyal on Instagram and Twitter. Follow Maurice Benard on TwitterInstagram, and TikTok.  To follow State Of Mind and subscribe, go to YouTubeInstagram, and Twitter.

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