Today General Hospital fans watched the final episode of Anthony Geary as Luke Spencer, as the one of a kind character, and actor left Port Charles for good.
While so many tributes and interviews have been printed or posted over the last few weeks to honor Tony for what he has meant to the soap opera genre and its viewers, there have also been so many memorable scene partners along the way during Geary’s 37-year run, some more delicious, playful, wicked, and original than others!
Two standouts to On-Air On-Soaps are that of Tony’s on-screen chemistry with Constance Towers as the villainess Helena Cassadine, and Tristan Rogers, who played Luke’s partner in crime and best friend, Robert Scorpio. We spoke separately with Constance, and with Tristan, to get some insight about working with Geary: the indelible mark and the legacy the eight-time Daytime Emmy winner leaves behind, some of their favorite moments and scenes with him over the years, and what they thought of Luke’s ending, and how GH wrapped up his story in Port Charles. While Tristan is busy over at The Young and the Restless these days as Colin Atkinson, he took a few moments to honor his former colleague and their history, as did Constance, who is always elegant and thoughtful in every way. So here are some of the comments that they shared with us as we put a capper on #FarewellTony!
Constance, you came back for these final key scenes between nemesis’ Helena and Luke, where she basically steps aside in her vendetta against him, and rights the wrong by coping to having Little Jake Spencer (James Nigbor) being held on Cassadine Island all of this time, while Luke believed he killed the boy. What did you think about your final scenes with Tony?
CONSTANCE: GH had called and asked me to come back. I heard that Tony was going to leave, and of course, I had heard that so many times before that you don’t believe it. But this was touching to me to have these scenes, because he really was leaving. I thought the scenes were very simply and nicely written. It was just about two people who had quite a history, but still had affection for one another. It was a farewell, and it was a goodbye. We finished the scene, and I had kind of forgotten that it was our last scene together! Tony ran after me, got me and said, “You didn’t say goodbye.” So then we did have a big hug. I had the opportunity to wish him well. We both feel we will see each other again, whether I go to Amsterdam, or he magically returns. Who knows?
Tristan, were you aware that Tony was truly going to leave GH this time for good?
TRISTAN: Tony started talking to me in earnest at Christmas time about leaving. I heard it mentioned prior to that, but now he was being more specific. I guess he had made up his mind, and all it all, it came as no surprise.
When you look back, what are some of your most memorable moments filming scenes with Tony?
CONSTANCE: One of my favorite scenes was early on, because Tony has a delicious sense of humor, and I’m a giggler! I think it was within the first three years that we worked together, so we didn’t know each other that terribly well. Luke came on to Helena’s yacht. He was wearing a black leather jacket, and he was going to crawl into Helena’s bed, and he was going to stab her. Luke had one of those knives where you push a little button and the blade pops out. We were shooting, and I was in the bed and I could feel he was on the bed. But I heard the knife, and then I heard it go “pop”. Then I heard this “Ouch”! Tony had stabbed himself by mistake. He started to laugh, and I got hysterical. The two of us had to go take a walk around the studio, and then come back in a half an hour and shoot it again, because we just couldn’t do it. That was one of my favorite moments. I loved the time Helena was in jail and Luke brought her a hamburger. She was being starved, and so he took a big bite of the hamburger! Later Helena ends up eating one little piece out of it, and then she is writhing in pain for like a week! We just enjoyed that immensely, and made fun it when we were off camera. We had a lot of fun together.
TRISTAN: One of the best scenes that really sums up Robert and Luke’s relationship was back in 2006 when I went back there, and Luke hadn’t married Tracy (Jane Elliot) at that point, and Emma Samms (Holly) was on the show. We were in a scene at a bar and I said, “Let’s just totally wing it,” and we did, and it summed the two of them up perfectly. I have spoken to a lot of guys in the business who said, “The work that you two did opened the door for a lot of people to take liberties with the script.” In my case, I opened the door for accents, and we had a studied looseness about us that just worked!
Tony had this incredible on-screen repartee’ with Constance as Helena and Tristan as Robert. Much seemed, and was known to be ad-libbed!
CONSTANCE: The thing I loved about Tony is that you could rewrite a little word here and there, and find a joke in your lines. He would get it immediately, and he would then rewrite his lines to make it even better. Tony had the right to do that, which made it even better. So, I was able to slip in a lot of things that I wanted that were funny, charming, so we had more things to play with. Tony is such a good actor, and so sensitive to his fellow actors, that he reacts to what you give him. He will take it and play with it. That is how we found this unrequited sexual tension between the characters. One day I blew a little extra air in his ear in a scene, and Tony went with it. The writers went, “Ooh, what was that?” And from that point on, they always wrote that sexual tension that we were always able to play.
TRISTAN: We had taken the basic script, and we had a producer who allowed us to ad-lib. We demonstrated right from the start that we could do it, and do it in a very entertaining way. Gloria Monty’s (former GH executive producer) role in this was to give us some order for it to make sense. She would say, “OK guys, I need these pieces of information to come out, because they are involved in plot down the road, and a part from that … have fun with it.” And we did! Ultimately what we established was a very unique and interesting relationship between two guys.
What are your thoughts of what Tony meant to daytime? Where he goes from here? And, how he is being written-off the show as Luke makes his exit?
CONSTANCE: He had so many years with the show, and now he has some free time, and not having to be getting on a plane going back and forth. Tony also told me that, “New York is not that far away from Amsterdam. Maybe the theatre will call me, and I will return to where I started.” It will be interesting to see what Tony does. Luke left the show now being a sort of likeable guy. They kind of cleansed him in the end, and explained why he never did anything that somebody might have objected to, and gave it a reason. He came from a dysfunctional home, and then he had all these psychological reasons for doing the things that he did. They sent him off having been forgiven for everything.
TRISTAN: Tony’s contribution to daytime was priceless. He was a commanding figure with a very unique and penetrating acting style that really struck a chord with a lot of people. You could not ignore him. He had a presence in that role that is something you don’t forget easily. He is not a person that could be easily replaced. I was curious to see how GH was going to write him in his final scenes. At least they didn’t kill him-off. But I can imagine if they would have come to Tony and said, “We’re going to kill you!” Tony would have gone: “Terrific! I am all for it!” (Laughs) And that didn’t happen.
Do you agree that Constance and Tristan were two of the more formidable and dynamic scene partners of Tony Geary’s? What did you think of the stories they shared on working on scenes with him? What were your favorite Helena and Luke, or Robert and Luke moments through the years? Share your thoughts below! And sure to come back later this week for more with our chat with Constance Towers. Could there be a Helena Cassadine sighting in the near future on GH?