Parry Shen has been a part of the General Hospital cast since 2013 as Port Charles bad boy, Brad Cooper, but he hasn’t had much of a chance to just sit down and really chat with Maurice Benard. This week, on his video podcast State Of Mind, Benard corrected that and the two men had a real conversation.
Maurice Benard And Parry Shen: Finding His Way To Port Charles
Benard (Sonny Corinthos) gave Shen a warm welcome. “I think he is very underrated as an actor. I think I know why. He is very subtle but it’s my kind of acting that I love. And I remember watching him do a scene and I said, ‘Damn! This guy is deep, subtle, and good.’”
Shen, a versatile actor with extensive credits in voiceovers, television, and film, described how he found his way to daytime. “It’s been great. Unexpected. When I first got the audition, I remember telling my wife, ‘I’m auditioning for General Hospital.’ I had never been on a soap before. I didn’t know anybody on a soap opera in my own personal circle because I had a lot of Asian American friends. Which is kind of great, because I went into it with no expectations at all.”
The audition was intimidating. “So, I went in there going, well here we go, and I see all these guys, gorgeous, good-looking Asian men. I’ve seen them all in magazines. They are all like a foot taller than me. I thought, ‘all I have to offer is I have to outact all of these b**tards.’ And I just let her rip and I guess that was just different enough from what they were seeing.”
The Shens: A Love Story
Sometimes mental health is more than an issue, illness, or what you are doing wrong. Sometimes it is about what you are doing right. Where you find your peace of mind. Shen talked about how he met the love of his life, Kim Hollands, a school teacher he has been married to for 20 years this August.
“We worked at a boarding school at Ojai, California. It’s about an hour and a half from here.” The actor set the scene. “I was in charge of the boys’ dorm and she was in charge of the girls’ dorm and we were parents to like 80 teenagers. Basically, that’s what we did. Our jobs started at 3 o’clock when they got out of school. We made sure they did their homework and their activities. And, on weekends, we took them on trips.
“It was great because, during that time, I had the morning until 3 pm to go to L.A. and do my auditions, try and get an agent, and all that kind of stuff,” Shen explained, revealing the perks of the job. “And I had this 123-acre compound, hanging out with the kids. No stress. No bills to pay because all the room and board were covered. We had salary and benefits and were able to save money and not have to have the stress of having to hustle why you were doing an acting gig. My wife got her credentials during the daytime.”
The road to wedded bliss wasn’t completely without obstacles. Shen had a couple of hurdles to master. The first was a pretty big challenge to overcome.
Parry Shen: The Friend Zone
His Story: “I saw her and was like, ‘Hey, did you see that new co-worker we got. Wow!’ but we became very good friends because we had the same sensibilities, the same sense of humor, but she never saw me that way. We were in the ‘friends’ zone.”
Her Story: “She would tell her friends, ‘Why can’t I find a guy as cool as Parry?’ and they were like, ‘Why don’t you go for Parry?’ Ultimately, after three years of us working there, I, finally, poured everything I felt for her into this letter, four pages back and front, so like eight pages.”
Shen suffered a setback. “Then she called me about a half-hour later and said, ‘I don’t know how to process this. You are my buddy and I love you,’ but she couldn’t see herself in that space. I felt rejected. So then the kids have a winter break. I was going back to New York. And I just said, ‘I’m sorry. Let’s just go back to the way things were. Come out to New York. We can hang out. I will show you the city.’ That kind of stuff. All my old stomping grounds.
“And I think when we were out of that environment, just being ourselves, away from the kids saying, ‘Mr. Shen, I am checking out.’ I think that’s when it turned.” He recalled the tides turning in his favor. “I got her on my turf. She didn’t have a chance! She started coming around. It became like this one-week-long date, basically. I wasn’t expecting to woo her in New York.”
The couple recently recreated their wedding photos after a recent visit for a benefit to the same place they married years ago. Check out the photos here.
The two castmates had lots more to say in the engaging sitdown about their shared celebrity acting coach, Howard Fine, Shen’s past connection with Lydia Look (Selina Wu), growing up in Queens, New York, the nuances of voiceover work, his work on all four Hatchett movies, and much more!
Benard warned Shen to be prepared for fan reaction to his State Of Mind visit. “You’ll see. It’s a community. You’ll see the love you are going to get. Love them back.” Check out the full interview here.
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.
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Parry has appeared in 350 film + television roles. His voiceover resume includes video games and audio books.
— Maurice Benard (@MauriceBenard) May 29, 2022
— Maurice Benard (@MauriceBenard) May 30, 2022