General Hospital Fan Club Weekend
by Michael Fairman
This year’s General Hospital Fan Club Weekend was held July 16th- 20th at the Airtel Hotel in Van Nuys, California, a new venue for the biggest gathering of fans dedicated to the mobsters, doctors, nurses, and citizens of Port Charles.
Saturday afternoon, the official General Hospital Fan Club Luncheon was held and it produced quite a turn out from the cast including: Steve Burton (Jason), Laura Wright (Carly), Ingo Rademacher (Jax), Bradford Anderson (Spinelli), Kirsten Storms (Maxie), Jason Thompson (Patrick) Carolyn Hennesy (Diane), Lisa LoCicero (Olivia), Brandon Barash (Johnny) among others. During the fan fest, the attendees got the opportunity to ask questions from the stellar cast. One question in particular for actress/author Carolyn Hennesy stood out. When asked, “What literary works would the best-selling children’s author title some of the Port Charles residents?” Hennesy said, “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” for Carly, and “Fear of Flying” for Kate, and “The Picture of Dorian Gray” for Jax, to name a few. The crowd loved Carolyn’s quick-witted responses.
Later, Fan Club President Debbie Morris presented the annual fan club awards given for the actors’ individual achievement, and their popularity with the fan base. And the winners were: Lead Actress: Laura Wright (Carly) Lead Actor: Steve Burton (Jason) Best Couple: Scrubs- Patrick and Robin Supporting Actress: Carolyn Hennesy (Diane) Supporting Actor: Jason Thompson (Patrick) Best Younger Actress: Kirsten Storms (Maxie) Best Younger Actor: Bradford Anderson (Spinelli) Villainess: Constance Towers (Helena) and Favorite New Actress: Lisa LoCicero (Olivia). After receiving their awards and finishing up that part of the program, the actors broke-off for autograph signings for the rest of the afternoon, at different stations throughout the venue.
Many of the stars also had their own individual fan events held throughout the weekend including: Nancy Lee Grahn (Alexis), Bradford Anderson, Sarah Brown (Claudia) plus many more. Megan Ward (Kate) held her very original “Recessionista” brown bag fan event for her “Meganites” fan base. Michael Fairman introduced the actress having been speaking with many of them through his many radio appearances. The group has been concerned for the actress’s lack of airtime. In the middle of Megan’s event, co-star Greg Vaughan (Lucky) made a surprise appearance and announced to the attendees that he and his wife are expecting their second child. Earlier during the GH Fan Club Luncheon Q&A, when asked by a fan, “Who would Megan like to see Kate get romantically involved with?” The actress, said, “Lucky!” and Voila’, the man himself joined her for part of her fan fest and the crowd went crazy with excitement.
Debbie Morris, the GH Fan Club President had this to say about this year’s event. “I was quite happy this being our first year at the new venue. There was a great turn out of the cast. The actors are troupers, they stayed till the end. There were a lot of new fan attendees this year and that is always exciting. When asked about all the different individual soap star events surrounding the weekend, Morris doesn’t’ feel that it takes away from her main event, but enhances it. “We were the pioneers on how these fan weekends are structured, and the other shows followed suit. The great thing about the smaller individual events it gives the actor more time to address their fan bases, which are very vocal and passionate.”
Maurice Benard (Sonny) was unable to make the GH fan fest because he was working on a feature film. Morris said, “Maurice is one of my biggest supporters. This is only the second year he has not attended the event. The only other time was when he had to be taken to emergency room. But this was also the first time in six years that Ingo Rademacher (Jax) came, and I was thrilled for me and for the fans!”
Make sure to check out On-Air On-Soaps video interview gallery with the stars of GH that were in attendance!