The women of General Hospital have always been the driving force of the show, but have never truly been given their due. For the soap opera’s 59th birthday, here’s the beginning of a list celebrating fifty-nine of the great women of GH. They all have made an impact on the city of Port Charles over the years.
Please save your tomatoes for the end and remember that the list is in no specific order. Oh, and I was excited, this was a lot of work and any typos are unintentional.
Lila Quartermaine was heaven on wheels. Seriously, Anna Lee conveyed nothing but kindness, warmth, wisdom, and unconditional love as Lila Quartermaine. The fact that Lila was the matriarch of the most dysfunctional and backstabbing clan in daytime history made her even more of a treasure. Lila softened the hard edges of the Quartermaines, including the toughest of the bunch her malcontent daughter Tracy, the med student turned mob hitman Jason, and nobody more than her husband Edward. The only reason the miserable money-hungry Edward was remotely redeemable (and even that is a stretch) is because of Lila. Anna Lee’s unceremonious firing by Jill Farren Phelps likely robbed the world of a bright light far too soon. Her death left a wound that still stings for GH fans two decades later.
Think of Laura, laugh don’t cry. Laura Collins is the reason GH exists today. No matter the storyline- Genie Francis has brought it as Laura. Beyond the iconic and problematic romance with Luke Spencer, Laura has been so many things: wife, mother, lover, action hero, fighter, murderer, sleuth, and now mayor. No longer a victim but always a legend. Genie Francis doesn’t just bring her A-game – she raises the game of everybody around her in the scenes they share. Best of all, Genie knows Laura like the back of her hand and plays the role true to character. That confidence in her instinct is a hallmark of Laura Collins – and a confidence that runs through the veins of GH whenever the actress is onscreen.
“ANNA👏 DEVANE👏 SCORPIO👏 LAVERY👏 SCORPIO👏 HAYWARD👏CAN👏PULL👏 ANY👏 MAN 👏 IN👏 PORT 👏CHARLES👏in👏 NEW YORK👏 IN👏 PINE VALLEY👏 PENNSYLVANIA👏 PROBABLY👏 ALL👏 THE👏 PLANETS 👏 IN👏ALL👏THE👏GALAXIES👏OF 👏EVERY👏UNiVERSE!”
That is all.
Sure, she’s no Anna Devane- but Holly Sutton has a slick charm to her that’s so powerful that Holly may have conned her way onto this list. In all seriousness, Emma Samms played Holly Sutton’s brand of sneaky vixen disguised as a pouty victim like it was second nature. There was no wonder how Holly could grift men left and right or why Luke and Robert fell hard for the con artist. Holly’s love affair with Robert in particular is cherished by long-time fans as the gold-digger proved she had a heart of gold – at least if the price has yet to be met. Of the women on the list not currently on the show, Holly is the best bet to return to GH this year and I’m looking forward
Amid the iconic Asian Quarter storyline, Kimberly McCullough instantly achieved what few children did on a soap opera. McCullough stood out as Robin Scorpio. The young actress effortlessly performed alongside icons like Finola Hughes and Tristian Rogers and never missed a beat. Robin Scorpio is a little bit of every era of GH rolled into one: product of the super spy 80s, orphaned in the transitional early 90s, the centerpiece of the socially conscious mid-90s, a moral counterweight to the increasingly edgy and morally gray90s/early 2000s era, with her last stretch on the soap an accomplished doctor in the vein of 60s OG Dr. Steve Hardy with a brief dip into the action-adventure, quasi-science fiction, Cassidine fueled era of the late 70s. Robin lost her parents, found love, and learned about HIV/AIDs firsthand, losing love but finding herself despite a diagnosis once thought to be a death sentence. Perhaps the biggest accomplishment was that KM played Robin for her entire run avoiding the Soap Opera Rapid Aging Syndrome, giving viewers a story arc that only could be achieved on a soap opera. Robin is a reminder of everything a soap opera has the potential to be and maybe GH‘s crowning achievement.
Monica Quartermaine began as a doctor’s unfaithful wife, coveting his brother-also a doctor, later carrying on an affair while married to a different husband. This husband was Dr. Alan Quartermaine, also a serial cheater. The two-timing nearly got her killed as Alan had quite a jealous streak and made a (thankfully) failed attempt on Monica’s life. Both Alan and Monica would make a habit out of sleeping around – and they would also be great spouses and parents despite the fact. Leslie Charleson along with the late Stuart Damon managed to portray unadulterated love in all the adultery- and Monica would need the support. The death of her daughter Dawn, her battle with breast cancer, AJ’s drinking, Jason’s accident, Emily and Alan’s drug addiction. Through it all, Monica gave us a woman determined to persevere through all the loss. One thing Monica hasn’t lost: the mansion that Alan gave her.
There’s a bizarre whimsy to Lucy Coe- she’s been a perjuring librarian, a surrogate mother, an accidental psychic detective, a vampire slayer, a cosmetics mogul, blackmailer extraordinaire, doctor’s wife, real estate agent and for much of her life a scheming slut. Lynn Herring brought a quirky authenticity to Lucy that cannot be accurately described in words. And yet, Lucy was more than a one-dimensional vixen with a kooky twist. When Lucy agreed to be Dominique’s surrogate knowing her friend would not live to see the baby felt her heart swell and burst with joy during the birth of Serena and felt it break letting her go. However, the moment that Lucy learns of BJ’s death and accidentally reveals to Felicia the origin of Maxie’s life-saving heart transplant – that’s the moment for me. Oh and every year that Lucy ended up in her lingerie during the Nurse’s Ball is also iconic. And the indignity of wearing that damn red dress to her wedding with Alan. And Sigmund the f*cking duck. Lucy always could make you laugh and cry. 😂🤣😅
If you don’t already know why Trina Robinson is on this list you:
a) do not read my blog.
b) should check out Sydney Mikayla’s iconic run
c) watch Tabyana Ali making Sydney proud.
That’s all I gotta say about that!
Mary Mae Ward
Mary Mae Ward brought diversity to Port Charles, the matriarch of the core family of color on GH. The fact that it took 31 years is only made right by the amazing story that Rosalind Cash helped bring to life. The epic mystery of her son’s tragic death slowly unfolds into Mary Mae’s secret love affair with Edward Quartermaine from nearly 50 years earlier. Cash brought Mary Mae Ward to life on a notoriously white soap opera, an authentic woman of color that never devolved into a stereotype. The talent and creativity were always on full display – especially when Mary Mae sang the blues. The world sang the blues when we lost Rosalind Cash too soon. One wonders what could have been having she not passed.
Dr. Portia Robinson
Had I known that Brook Kerr was serving up iconic daytime performances on Passions, I would have given the NBC soap a shot. As Dr. Portia Robinson, the actress gives us an incredible woman- she’s a devoted mother, raising a daughter to be better than good but also true to herself. The doctor is a more than capable physician, with a bedside manner like Dr. Steve Hardy brought to the hospital all those years ago. Portia is unafraid to speak her mind, especially truth to power but never comes of anything but graceful. The character fits so well on the canvas and feels so essential to the show, it’s insane that Brook Kerr has only been on GH for two years. I can’t imagine the show without Dr. Portia Robinson. This spot on the list is a reminder that she must not ever leave.