Why Maurice Benard's Sonny could be leaving General Hospital soon

Maurice Benard initially took up his General Hospital role for a six-month stint (Image via YouTube/State Of Mind with Maurice Benard , 0:59)
Maurice Benard initially took up his General Hospital role for a six-month stint (Image via YouTube/State Of Mind with Maurice Benard)

Over his career, Maurice Benard - who has been playing General Hospital's beloved character Sonny Corinthos since August 1993 - has made several references to his potential departure from the program.

Maurice Benard was supposed to play mobster kingpin Sonny Corinthos on General Hospital for six months, but he stayed on further because of financial reasons and acting was all he knew. The producers offered him two roles: Sonny and Damian Smith, with a two-year contract for Damian.

It has now been many years that he has stayed on as Sonny on the soap. On Sunday, November 19, 2023, Soaps She Knows suggested that Maurice Benard might retire from General Hospital. The conversation he recently had with a General Hospital fan on Facebook served as the basis for this report.


Is Maurice Benard leaving General Hospital as Sonny?

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Actor Maurice Benard, who portrays Sonny Corinthos on General Hospital, has hinted that he might be leaving the show. November 16, 2023, saw Benard warn his fans about imposters and ask them to spread the word about the fake Benard in a Facebook post.

Below it, as per Soaps She Knows, a fan commented,

"Please retire... the Sonny Corinthos legacy is ruined, anyway."

Benard replied,

"Be careful what you wish for."

Fans of the soap opera, who have been invested in this character for more than 20 years, are afraid that he may leave after this exchange. The actor has only ever taken one long break from the GH set, which was in 1997, and he has voiced his unhappiness with the acting business.

He told Soap Opera Digest in 2023,

"I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with acting, but now, I’m learning to appreciate the [work] family that I have. That’s a big, big deal for me. GH is not just a job. It’s like my second family."

The character's ongoing conflict with Julian Jerome and his complex relationship with Carly Corinthos, are among Benard's recent storylines as of April 2024. The actor has made passing references to leaving the role in the past, notably in 2014 and 2022, but he hasn't made an official announcement.

Benard signed a new contract with GH in 2014 and tweeted,

"It's great to stay home for a little while longer doing what I love to do thanks for all your support couldn't do it without you."

He might be thinking about retiring soon, though, based on his recent remarks. To find out if Benard stays on the show that has been his second home for more than 20 years or leaves, fans will have to wait and see.


General Hospital star Maurice Benard's focus on mental health advocacy

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The fan evidently made a negative comment about Sonny's legacy being destroyed. Benard's reply can be read as a reminder of the harm that disparaging remarks do to mental health advocacy as well as the value of compassion and understanding when having conversations about mental health.

Maurice Benard's advocacy for mental health is closely linked to his personal experiences and the effects that mental illness has on actors and people in general. Benard has been candid about his fight with bipolar disorder and his commitment to the cause of raising mental health awareness.

Maurice Benard said in an interview with Good Housekeeping on March 21, 2023,

"Your mental health is everything – prioritize it. Make the time like your life depends on it, because it does."

Benard has been open about his own circumstances and has used lithium to treat his bipolar disorder. He has also been using his celebrity to raise awareness of the mental health crisis by hosting the "State of Mind" weekly podcast on YouTube.


Maurice Benard plays Sonny Corinthos on General Hospital, which airs on ABC.

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Edited by Meghna M
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