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GH’s Maurice Benard & Kyle Oldham On Physical Limitations & Ailing Parents

The two discuss overcoming physical limitations and helping ailing parents.

Maurice Benard Kyle Oldham General Hospital

Daytime fans may not recognize the name of Kyle Oldham, this week’s guest on Maurice Benard’s video podcast show, State Of Mind, but they may recognize her mother, Lee Meriwether (ex-Ruth Martin, All My Children), former Miss America turned actress. Oldham, the oldest daughter of Meriwether and actor Frank Aletter, dabbled in acting herself before landing a dream job as a spokesmodel on and off The Price is Right for 14 years — that is until she was sidelined by multiple surgeries.

GH’s Maurice Benard & Kyle Oldham: Facing Multiple Surgeries

The actress/spokesmodel described how her life was hijacked by ailments that required surgical attention. “I have probably had from 60 to 70 surgeries in my life, and I am only 62. Survived through grace from God. I don’t think I would have gotten through all of them without that, but I also have really high pain tolerance.”

One condition, Morton’s Neuromas of the Foot, led to multiple corrections on her feet. “So when you think about it. Two feet. Ten toes. Ten surgeries on both feet.” She explained, “Because I had neuromas on both feet, which are never supposed to grow back. But it’s me. That is going to be the tagline for my book. But it’s me. Because it seemed like every time, I thought I was cleared of something I wasn’t. Those things kept growing back.” 

And then there was the brain tumor. “Am I thrilled that I had all of these surgeries? No! Did I want them? No. But brain surgery was the easiest one I went through. How does that happen?” Oldham shared matter-of-factly, “But, literally, it was the easiest thing. I was in the ICU for two days, and that second day I got that pole, and I walked around the whole nurse’s station in the ICU. I had on these sparkly green emerald glasses because it was St. Patrick’s Day, and I am doing my best Miss America wave. And I hear the nurses muttering between them, ‘She can go home, right?’ They cleared me from the ICU. I didn’t go to another room. I went home.”

Kyle Oldham: The A-ha Moment

Benard (Sonny Corinthos, GH) was struck by her overall great attitude with which she handled adversity. He wondered where she pulled her courage from. “God and learning from my mother,” she responded. 

The two began discussing how they approached dealing with an ailing parent. Oldham related how her painful experiences led her to exactly where she needed to be to help her mom. “I think back to all of these surgeries that I have had that have kept me from going back to a job that I loved for 16 years. I was just answering phones for a very high-volume insurance business. We would get up to 2,000 calls a day.”

The loving daughter revealed the a-ha moment when she knew she was right where she needed to be and had the tools to deal with it. “I realized that my surgeries caught up with me right about the time I needed to leave there, not knowing what was coming up the pike. And that was mom. I thought, ‘Oh, that is why I had all of the surgeries because God wanted me to sit still.’ That was it. Devoting everything I had to Mom.” 

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Oldham reflected on the obstacles still in play. “Not over-stepping. That is the hardest part. It is also about balance for her, for me, and for conservatorship in general. All of that plays into it. And I am grateful.”

Maurice Benard and Kyle Oldham took a trip down Memory Lane that covered Lee Meriwether’s journey from Miss San Francisco to Miss California and then on to win the title of Miss America, how it led to a career in Hollywood and hobnobbing with such greats as Robert Lansing, Buddy Epsen, and Andy Griffith. Fans will learn how Meriwether’s father’s early death almost derailed her and how her mother stepped in.

Oldham talks about her own career in acting alongside her mother in television and plays, her role opposite Jason Robards in The Day After, her connection to the Westmores, the royal family of makeup in Hollywood, McKenzie Westmore’s (Sheridan Crane in Passions) father Michael, and how Oldham landed a longtime gig on the show The Price is Right. 

The two share an easy conversation with a lot of laughs, some tears, and a lot of mutual respect. Catch the full episode here. Fans can follow Kyle Oldham on Twitter, Lee Meriwether on Twitter, and on her official website. Follow Maurice Benard on TwitterInstagram, and TikTok. To follow State Of Mind and subscribe, go to YouTubeInstagram, and Twitter.

General Hospital airs weekdays on ABC. For an in-depth look at the show’s history, click here.

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