With 56 years of television history under its belt, General Hospital has an impact and reach that spans generations. It’s TV’s longest running daytime drama. Among its most die-hard fans are some of the entertainment industry’s biggest and most surprising names.
No matter how long they’ve been in the business, experienced actors will inevitably geek out when they get on set, well except Elizabeth Taylor. We don’t imagine she ever geeked out. For all the shippers and fans who grew watching with their moms, sisters, and aunts, here are General Hospital’s 10 biggest guest stars.
10 CARLA HALL AS COOK 2
ABC loves cross-promotion among its shows, so when it came time to cast the long talked about but never seen Quartermaine cook, they used another ABC daytime star. Celebrity chef and The Chew co-host Carla Hall appeared during the 2018 Nurse’s Ball to ramp up the rivalry between Olivia and Monica.
Hall got to play a classic soap moment when she double-crossed Olivia and used her hotel kitchen to get a better job in France. This angered Monica and made Olivia’s life harder in one fell swoop.
9 STEPHEN A. SMITH AS BRICK
On his ESPN show First Take, Stephen A. Smith often compares the inner workings of locker rooms to the soaps he loves. This led to him getting a guest role as Brick, a surveillance expert who works with mob boss Sonny Corinthos.
As Sonny, Maurice Benard is the unquestioned star of General Hospital, so being involved in any of his storylines, even in the tiniest capacity, is a huge deal for such a big fan. Smith’s appearances are usually short, but important since his information moves the story along.
8 KATIE COURIC AS REPORTER
For her visit to Port Charles, Katie Couric didn’t suspend belief very much, since she played a reporter. Of course, she did play a much more unscrupulous reporter than she is in real life, so that was a huge difference for viewers who were familiar with her as the upbeat host of The Today Show.
Couric pretended to be a nurse so she could get access to a hospitalized Nikolas Cassadine. Nothing gets past head nurse Epiphany, and Couric’s reporter was busted before she could get any real dirt. This cameo was part of the show’s 50th anniversary celebration and Couric seemed to have a lot of fun with the role.
7 CHANDRA WILSON AS DR. LINDA MASSEY
Grey’s Anatomy star Chandra Wilson is a self-proclaimed General Hospital superfan, so with the shows filming on the same lot, it was only a matter of time before she got to work in a different hospital.
Wilson actually made two appearances, first as a patient and then again as a family therapist. She tried to help Jordan, Curtis and Stella iron out their problems before Jordan and Curtis’ wedding. Wilson was so enthusiastic about her time in Port Charles, we wouldn’t be surprised to see her back in town.
6 MEREDITH VIEIRA AS BREE FLANDERS
During her time at The View, Meredith Vieira did the customary crossover and showed up as madam Bree Flanders. She had scenes with daytime legend Anthony Geary as Luke. When someone like Vieira does a guest role, they usually play someone similar to their regular life, such as, a reporter or talk show host.
It was great to see the host play outside her comfort zone and mix it up with one of the most famous names in soaps. She reprised Bree 10 years later when the show wanted to revive its annual Nurse’s Ball.
5 GEORGE TAKEI AS MR. DIEM
In the ‘80s General Hospital explored the Asian Quarter neighborhood of Port Charles. The area was controlled by mobsters and the unofficial mayor was Mr. Diem, played by Star Trek actor George Takei.
Unfortunately, Takei’s time in Port Charles was short lived, which is a shame because there have been plenty of chances for the character to reappear. As a matter of fact, the show hasn’t really visited or mentioned the neighborhood again since that story was wrapped up. With Sonny’s organization running the city, there hasn’t been room for any other mobsters in town.
4 GLORIA STUART AS CATHERINE
Gloria Stuart experienced a career resurgence following her award-winning performance in Titanic. One of her more unexpected guest appearances came in a special New Years Eve episode of General Hospital. As Carly prepared to open a bar in the basement of Kelly’s, Stuart played Catherine, a woman with a tragic history in the original version of the bar.
Her story was then told in flashbacks featuring the current cast playing characters from her past, which coincidentally mirrored the show’s storylines. GH does these special episodes better than any other soap and Stuart made this one particularly memorable.
3 SUSAN LUCCI AS ERICA KANE
It may not seem like a big deal to non-soap fans, but seeing Susan Lucci on General Hospital was a major moment. The one-day appearance was part of a three-show crossover with ABC’s other daytime dramas All My Children and One Life to Live. Fans got to decide which characters they wanted to see interact, so Lucci’s Erica Kane got trapped in an elevator with Sonny Corinthos.
They discussed finding out they had children they didn’t know about and Sonny laid his legendary charm on her. It was the pairing soap fans thought they would never see, are still talking about and wishing for a reprise.
2 JAMES FRANCO AS FRANCO
James Franco is known for taking unexpected projects, but when he did a short stint on General Hospital as artist/serial killer Franco, it was still a big surprise. He acted with many of the show’s major characters, like Sam, Maxie, and Jason. He was uncomfortably creepy and the character made such an impact, it was brought back permanently.
Franco is now played by popular soap actor Roger Howarth and has been redeemed from the crazy serial killer to a quirky artist and is one half of one of the show’s most popular couples. Despite him returning to the big screen, Franco’s GH legacy lives on.
1 ELIZABETH TAYLOR AS HELENA CASSADINE
When it comes to soap opera cameos, there isn’t one bigger than Elizabeth Taylor as Helena Cassadine. The Hollywood legend made her famous appearance at Luke and Laura’s wedding, putting a curse on the star-crossed pair.
The rivalry between the Spencers and the Cassadines is central to the foundation of General Hospital and is still being played out today. Taylor’s guest role came when the show was at the height of its popularity, showing just how big General Hospital is to the entertainment landscape.