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Thaao Penghlis Tells Maurice Benard He Made Sal Mineo His Last Meal

The two men cover classic Hollywood stories, world travel, and discovering your spirit within on State Of Mind.

maurice benard thaao penghlis state of mind general hospital days of our livesMaurice Benard and Thaao Penghlis

On this week of his YouTube video podcast show, State Of Mind, GH’s Maurice Benard sat opposite veteran daytime actor, writer, and world traveler, Days of our Lives star Thaao Penghlis. Also known for his stint on General Hospital from 1981 and 2014 as Victor Cassadine and his 40-plus years on DAYS playing Tony DiMera and Andre DiMera, for which he earned three Daytime Emmy nods, Penghlis had a lot to say about his old Hollywood connections, his wanderlust spirit, and his metaphysical journey.

Maurice Benard and Thaao Penghlis: Classic Hollywood

Penghlis’s longing for travel and knowledge of other cultures would take him from his native land of Sydney, Australia, to Hollywood and, eventually, many other parts of the world. Still, it was Hollywood where he would find his calling. As an actor, he found himself studying with one of the greats — Milton Katselas, the late great director of Butterflies are Free and 40 Carats.

“I think that working with Katselas developed my perceptions,” he told Benard. Looking back, he recalled how it shaped his life and career. “That was one of the things that I realized that I used my intuition to sharpen those tools. I remember he was directing P.S. Your Cat is Dead with Kier Dullea [2001: A Space Odyssey] and the actor from East of Eden, Sal Mineo.” 

One vivid memory stuck out in his mind. “I was with Sal Mineo the night he was murdered. We were rehearsing. I was assisting Milton, and he said to me, ‘Will you make that Greek Lemon Soup for us because we are going to rehearse into the night?’ So, I went into the kitchen, and we were at the Westwood Playhouse, which is the Geffen now. So, I made my Greek Lemon Soup, and that was his last meal.

“When we finished, we had to go to class, so I went with Milton, and I remembered, at 11 o’clock at night, I turned on the television and learned that he had been murdered,” Penghlis recalled. He remembered other details from that tragic night. “He had stepped out of his car, and somebody was waiting to rob…whoever it was stepped out of the garage. It was an open garage. And I remember the guy came running at him and stabbed him right in the heart.

“But they didn’t know who killed him until years later when the guy confessed in prison for something else he did.,” Penghlis shared. The actor had nothing but warm memories of the Academy Award-nominated actor. “But [Sal] he was such a wonderful guy. We replaced him [in the play], but it was one of those times when we realized the fragility of life. Here you are, and who would have known that was the last meal he would ever have? Milton and I used to talk about it.”

A Storyteller At The Heart Of It

Thaao Penghlis is a man who you could listen to for hours and be mesmerized by every word he says. He spoke of working with Omar Sharif, Sir John Gielgud, and having a private tea one afternoon with the late Jaqueline Kennedy. And his travels? Find out what he had to say about being on an acid trip riding a camel to the pyramids, meditating in a tomb, his homeland of Australia, and other travel tales.

Daytime fans will enjoy his behind-the-scenes stories, including working with fellow Aussie, Tristan Rogers, and the writer that lured him over to Days of our Lives. Learn about his metaphysical journey, his mentors along the way, and how he utilizes all he has learned. He has written two books, and has another on the way. He also has a video podcast in the works about treasures found in life — it doesn’t have to be gold. Benard and Penghlis also discuss the best beaches in the world and how to differentiate between spirit and ego.

This State Of Mind episode is not to be missed! Catch the full episode here. Fans can follow Thaao Penghlis on Twitter and Instagram. Follow Maurice Benard on TwitterInstagram, and TikTok.  To follow State Of Mind and subscribe, go to YouTubeInstagram, and Twitter.

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