“My curse on you Laura and Luke … my curse on both of you!” And with that, fans of General Hospital are still to this day seeing the evil Helena Cassadine continuing her revenge vendetta against the Spencer clan, and almost every one else in Port Charles!
Of course, that classic line was uttered by the late Oscar winning motion picture star Elizabeth Taylor, the original Helena Cassadine, now played by Constance Towers.
Today, November 16th marks the anniversary of the beginning of the two-part episode from 1981 where a record breaking 30 million people stopped what they were doing in the afternoon to watch the nuptials of Luke (Tony Geary) and Laura (Genie Francis)!
Now, TV Guide Magazine’s Michael Logan has a chat with none other than Geary, and his on-screen sis, Jackie Zeman (Bobbie) to get a few remembrances of what it was like having a star of the magnitude of Elizabeth Taylor come to the ABC soap opera, and how it impacted the genre. Here are a few excerpts below!
Tony Geary: “I’m sure nobody from the network went to Elizabeth about this unsolicited, because the possibility that she’d do GH was just too crazy to even imagine. Someone from her team must have floated the idea first. This was back when she was married to Sen. John Warner and wasn’t very happy sitting on the farm in Virginia. She told me that GH — especially the Ice Princess story — took her out of her lethargy every afternoon. Luke and Laura’s love story made Elizabeth feel very nostalgic. She said it reminded her of her youth and the great romance films of the old studio system.”
Jackie Zeman: “You have to remember these were very different times. Show business was compartmentalized. Soap actors didn’t do primetime. Primetime actors didn’t do movies. So (Taylor]) was a big shot in the arm for GH and all of daytime TV. Her guest stint broke the rules.”
Tony Geary: “After her appearance, we suddenly had a glut of big names wanting to be on GH but (then-executive producer) Gloria Monty wasn’t biting. Her attitude was, ‘I don’t need stars. I make ‘em!’ It’s a testament to Elizabeth’s star power that her character (now played by Constance Towers) is still with us all these decades later. Helena has died and come back more often than I’ve had a glass of wine. There’s a reason for that longevity — the character was born of magnificence.”
Watch the “I do’s” from Luke and Laura’s wedding, and then the classic moment when Helena (Elizabeth Taylor) puts the “Cassadine curse” on the young marrieds! Then let us know, where were you watching Luke and Laura’s 1981 wedding? What did you think of Elizabeth Taylor coming to General Hospital for her guest star turn as Helena? Was it the biggest shot in the arm for the soaps? Comment below!