There really isn’t any title that could do justice to the amazing half-hour you can see this week (thank goodness more is coming) on Maurice Benard’s video podcast series, State Of Mind, in which he sits down with veteran soap star Catherine Hickland and her husband, Todd Fisher. They discuss their relationship, but also his sister Carrie Fisher — mental health trailblazer and iconic actress.
Maurice Benard — In Awe
Benard, who General Hospital viewers adore as Sonny Corinthos, was incredulous at the Las Vegas home of Hickland and Fisher — which is basically a museum that pays tribute to their careers as well as to his legendary family — mom Debbie Reynolds, dad Eddie Fisher, and of course, Carrie Fisher, who is beloved not just for her many Hollywood roles, especially as Leia in the Star Wars saga, but also her uncompromising honesty as a novelist and mental health advocate.
It was about the latter that would, of course, be foremost in Benard’s mind. After all, it’s what he’s dedicating himself to with this series, bringing the struggle with mental illness out of the shadows and into the light — removing the shame often associated with it. Carrie was all about that too, especially with two of her no-holds-barred books, Postcards from the Edge and its sequel, The Best Awful. The latter, especially, gave readers a birds-eye view of what it’s like to be living life on the roller-coaster of bipolar/manic depression.
But her life as a novelist wasn’t what they discussed in the first part of the interview. Benard, who goes way back with Hickland, admitted he would probably be talking more to her husband for the moment, due to his front-row seat watching his famous sister, as well as his father — which Maurice Benard was surprised to learn was also bipolar — deal with mental illness. Todd’s insights were fascinating, and his backstage tidbits, like a talk they had with Cary Grant about acid, will definitely keep pop culture fans on the edge of their seats.
Todd also discussed the doctors’ attempts to help his sister regulate her moods as he explained she wasn’t as much trying to get high but rather level things out. Seeing the role drugs and alcohol played in the lives of his family, he saw himself more as the ‘designated driver,’ never indulging in it. It allowed him to have a clear mind as he saw things around him unfold.
Of particular note is when Maurice Benard and Hickland discuss the idea of a mental health version of Alcoholics Anonymous, allowing those who may not have the money to engage in therapy to still be able to access a support system. Todd talked about what worked for Carrie and his mom, where Reynolds was more about love than tough love, and why it worked for them. It’s a quick 28 minutes in length, and you’ll find yourself cursing the short length as it’s a fascinating conversation. Don’t miss it. You can watch the whole thing by clicking 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.