General Hospital is celebrating it’s 50th anniversary this year, a long history that includes storylines with plenty of love, lust and law-breaking! But that’s not all, the ABC soap opera has featured a number of Latinos in important roles, including Ricky Martin and Lilly Melger, daytime’s first leading Latino couple. To commemorate GH’s rich history, we’re taking a trip down memory lane at our 23 favorite Latinos in the fictional town of Port Charles, including a couple of high-profile guest stars.
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Maurice Benard, 1993–97, 1998–Present
It’s hard to imagine modern-day General Hospital without Maurice Benard. The 50-year-old Salvadorian- and Nicaraguan-American actor has portrayed beloved mobster Michael “Sonny” Corinthos, Jr. on the daytime sudser since 1993. Despite portraying a gangster, Benard – winner of the Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series in 2003 – has managed to win the hearts of America with his multi-layered performance as a bipolar disorder-afflicted rebel with a heart. “In my mind, I always said, ‘I’ll make this guy bipolar.’ He started out being a bad guy, a really bad guy. And I thought to myself ‘How can I make this guy come off in a way where it’s justified, in his head, what he’s doing?’ I had always thought about the history of the character, what happened to him as a child,” Benard told BP Magazine in an interview. “When I let it be known I was bipolar, we wrote it into the character.”
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Teresa Castillo, 2012–Present
Sure, Teresa Castillo has appeared on shows like How I Met Your Mother, iCarly, 90210 and The Secret Life of the American Teenager. But the Latina actress really “arrived” in Hollywood when she landed the role of stunning student nurse Sabrina Santiago on General Hospital. Most recently, she’s been spotted canoodling with widowed Dr. Patrick Drake (Jason Thompson). Hot couple alert!
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Vanessa Marcil, 1992–98, 2002–03, 2010–11, 2013–Present
Brenda’s back… And, General Hospital fans couldn’t be happier! Maybe that’s because the character of Brenda Barrett, portrayed by Vanessa Marcil, was once part of what the media proclaimed “the hottest love triangle in soap opera history" in the mid-1990s, with Sonny Corinthos (Maurice Benard) and Jasper Jacks (Ingo Rademacher). The 44-year-old Mexican American actress, who won a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series in 2003, has managed to return to the show three times, including returning from the dead in typical soap opera fashion in 2002.
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Daniel Benzali, 2010–2011
Daniel Benzali first appeared in Port Charles in December 2010 as patient Theo Hoffman at General Hospital in December 2010. But the much-acclaimed Brazilian-American actor’s character wasn’t really ill; he just wanted to exact revenge on Brenda Barrett (Vanessa Marcil) for the death of his son Aleksander Janáček at the hands of her bodyguard. But like any good soap, Theo met his maker before he could complete his mission.
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Florencia Lozano, 2012
Florencia Lozano originated the role of Téa Delgado on One Life to Live. But after the soap opera’s cancellation by ABC, Lozano brought her popular character to General Hospital in May 2012, earning a new legion of fans after bringing some serious pregnancy-related drama to Port Charles.
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Adrianne León, 2004–06, 2010–11
She may have started off penning music for General Hospital, but it wasn’t long before Adrianne León landed a role singing songs on the hit daytime drama. The 26-year-old Puerto Rican actress, singer and songwriter landed the role of punk rock teen Brook Lynn Ashton on GH in 2004. A year later, she earned an Outstanding Female Newcomer Award nomination from Soap Opera Digest, as well as a Daytime Emmy nod for Outstanding Younger Actress.
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Ricky Martin, 1994–96
Call it a case of art imitating life… In 1994, Ricky Martin joined the cast of General Hospital, portraying Puerto Rican singer Miguel Morez, a tall, dark, handsome and talented protégé at L&B Records. If that wasn’t enough, Martin was one-half of daytime television’s first Latin leading couple alongside Lilly Melgar.
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Lilly Melgar, 1994–96, 2001, 2003
Talk about a real soaptastic tragedy… Lilly Melgar portrayed Lily Rivera Corinthos, the estranged daughter of Puerto Rican crime boss Hernando Rivera (Ismael ‘East’ Carlo). After a failed attempt to rekindle her adolescent romance with Miguel Morez (Ricky Martin), Melgar’s character ended up marrying Sonny Corinthos (Maurice Benard), only to end up accidentally blown to bits by her own father in a bomb-rigged car intended for her husband! But that wasn’t the last we’d see of Melgar on GH. She returned in 2003 for a short stint, portraying Marcella Montoya, a former prostitute and look-alike of her original character.
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A Martinez, 1999–2002
He may not have originated the role of mobster and FBI informant Roy DiLucca on General Hospital, but A Martinez did manage to bring a little extra spice to the role, especially while romancing Bobbie Spencer. From 2000-2002, the 64-year-old Spanish & Mexican American actor – who also starred on Santa Barbara – won three consecutive ALMA Awards for his performance on GH
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Christian Monzon, 2012
He may not have lasted long on General Hospital, but Christian Monzon did manage to leave quite the impression in Port Charles, just not the kind his character probably wanted to leave. The 35-year-old Mexican and Spanish actor and model’s character Eddie Cabrera, who was married to police detective Delores Padilla, was framed for beating up local strippers.
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Marisa Ramirez, 2000–02
Marisa Ramirez originated the role of Gia Campbell, a former-law-student-turned-internationally-acclaimed-model who would go on to become “The Face of Deception” on GH. The ALMA Award- and NAACP Image Award-nominated actress would leave Port Charles in 2002 to appear in a short-lived drama on ABC.
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Michael Saucedo, 1999–2001
Michael Saucedo’s character on General Hospital could be called a “Latin love child.” The 36-year-old Mexican-American actor’s character, Juan Santiago, was the biological sonce of Lily Rivera Corinthos (Lilly Melgar) and Miguel Morez (Ricky Martin). Juan, the cousin of Sabrina Santiago (Teresa Castillo), set off for South America in 2001, but not before romancing rich girl Emily Quartermaine.
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Ignacio Serricchio, 2004-06, 2008,
Go, Diego, Go! Ignacio Serricchio portrayed the oh-so-troubled Diego Alcazar on General Hospital from 2004-2006. The Argentine actor would return in February 2008, only to be offed less than a month later.
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Erik Valdez, 2012-13
Death becomes Erik Valdez. The Latino actor portrayed troublemaker Trey Mitchell on General Hospital. Valdez’s character manipulated reality TV star Kristina Davis into marrying him as a way to get to her dad, Sonny Corinthos (Maurice Benard). But Valdez’s life would come to a dramatic end… Left brain-dead after a car accident, Valdez’s character died after being taken off life support. Despite his short stint on GH, Valdez managed to make a big impression, earning an NAACP Image Award nomination this year for Outstanding Actor in a Daytime Drama Series.
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Rebeka Montoya, 2011-2012
During her brief stint on General Hospital, Rebeka Montoya portrayed Port Charles P.D. detective Delores Padilla. Her character, who was married to Eddie Cabrera, tried to gather evidence against Sonny Corinthos (Maurice Benard) and failed.
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Eddie Matos, 2006-2007
Eddie Matos may have originated the role of Ricky Garza on ABC’s GH spinoff Port Charles, but he’d end up in a different role later. Three years after the sudser’s cancellation in 2003, the 40-year-old Puerto Rican actor was cast on General Hospital as Pete Marquez, a professor at Port Charles University and good friend to Dr. Patrick Drake.
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Julio Iglesias, 1994
During the height of his English-language crossover, Julio Iglesias made a cameo appearance in two episodes of General Hospital in 1994. The Spanish legend not only shared screen time with Lois Cerullo (Rena Sofer) and Miguel Morez (Ricky Martin), but he even treated GH fans with a performance of Patsy Cline’s classic tune “Crazy.”
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Sammy Davis, Jr., 1983
The late Sammy Davis, Jr., the son of a Cuban tap dancer mother, was such a huge General Hospital fan that he reportedly asked the show’s producers to cas him as Eddie Phillips, the alcoholic father of Bryan Phillips on the series.
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Ismael ‘East’ Carlo, 1994–96, 1997
Oh father! Ismael ‘East’ Carlo is part of General Hospital’s most explosive storylines. The 71-year-old Puerto Rican actor portrayed crime lord Hernando Rivera, the father of Lily Rivera Corinthos (Lilly Melgar). In his attempt to kill his daughter’s mobster husband Sonny Corinthos (Maurice Benard) with a car bomb, Carlo’s characters ended up inadvertently killing his pregnant daughter. When Sonny shows up in Puerto Rico, Hernando suffers a heart attack after learning he’d murdered Lily instead. Later, he commits suicide with a gun given to him by Sonny.
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Adrian Alvarado, 2005-08
Adrian Alvarado is apparently a good sidekick! He portrayed detective Cruz Rodriguez from 2005-2008. Alvarado’s character served as Lucky Spencer’s partner at the Port Charles Department.
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Gonzalo Menendez, 2005
Gonzalo Menendez portrayed the ill-fated Javier Ruiz on General Hospital in 2005. The 41-year-old Miami-born actor’s character, the son of Hector Ruiz and brother of Manny, met his maker after being gunned down at the Metro Court Hotel by Jason Morgan.
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Reni Santoni, 2005
There’s apparently no loyalty in Reni Santoni’s character’s family on General Hospital. The 73 Spanish-American actor portrayed Miami mob boss Hector Ruiz, a man murdered by his own son Manny for refusing to exact revenge on Jason Morgan for the shooting death of his son Javier.
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John Vargas, 1990
Back in 1990, John Vargas portrayed the dastardly Rico Chacone, the man who didn’t take “no” very well. The 53-year-old Latino actor’s character not only raped Carla Greco when she refused his marriage proposal, but he also took several people in Port Charles hostage. But he’s end up being killed by the same woman he raped. Karma, it gets you every time!