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Sonny Corinthos (Maurice Benard)

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Sonny Corinthos
Maurice Benard as Sonny Corinthos
General Hospital
Portrayed by Maurice Benard
Tyler Parker
(young Sonny; 1995)
Aramis Knight
(young Sonny; 2011)
Current status Contract
Duration 1993-97, 1998-present
First appearance August 13, 1993
Created by Bill Levinson
Introduced by Wendy Riche (GH)
Julie Hanan Carruthers (PC)
Jill Farren Phelps (NS)
Book appearances Robin's Diary
The Secret Life
Spin-off appearances Port Charles
GH: Night Shift
What If...
Alias(es) Alex Gaston[1]
Namesake(s) Michael "Mike" Corbin
Michael Corinthos III
Nickname(s) Mike Jr.
Papa Corinthos (by Nina)
Mr. [Corinthos] Sir, The Godfather (by Spinelli)
Gender Male
Born April 21, 1965
(Revised to 1969[2][3])
Bensonhurst, NY
Age 46
  • Head of the Corinthos mob family
  • Coffee importer
  • Owner of Pozzulo's
  • Owner of Volonino's Gym
  • Residence Greystone Manor
    120 Shoreline Road
    Port Charles, New York

    Michael "Sonny" Corinthos, Jr. is a fictional character and the main protagonist on the popular ABC daytime soap opera General Hospital. He is the son of Mike Corbin and the late Adela Corinthos.

    Maurice Benard has played the role, that of a manic depressive mob boss living in Port Charles, since the character's storyline originated on August 13, 1993.[5]


    According to General Hospital casting director, Mark Teschner, Benard was one of the few actors being considered for the role. Benard came in for a meeting with Wendy Riche, and the two immediately clicked. It was only a matter of how long it would take to get Benard on screen.[6]

    Initially, the character was only supposed to last for six months as Benard was not interested in anything more than a year.[7] Benard revealed that after his stint on All My Children, he was not interested in doing another soap. He joined the cast of General Hospital because he had gone broke and acting was all he knew at the time.

    The producers offered him two separate roles, that of mobster Damian Smith, with a two year contract, and that of Sonny. In addition the role being short term, Benard also chose the role because he liked the character's name.[8]

    Benard revealed that just two weeks after starting work, he suffered a manic depressive breakdown. At one point he had stopped coming in to work but expressed his gratitude to the network for keeping faith in him instead of firing him immediately.[9]

    The role of Sonny Corinthos originated in the final weeks of Bill Levinson's tenure as head writer, in August 1993, prior to Levinson's replacement by Claire Labine.[10] The role was originally intended as a six-month stint.[11]

    After four years with the series, Benard vacated the role on September 24, 1997. After a brief return on May 15 to July 8, 1998, Benard returned to the role full-time on December 18, 1998.[5]

    Like the character of Sonny, Maurice Benard also suffers from bipolar disorder.[12] Benard stated, "When I let it be known I was bipolar, we wrote it into the character."[12] During 2006, Corinthos had an onscreen breakdown due to his bipolar disorder. The parallels between the story and Benard's real life experiences had Benard believing he was having his own "fourth break down," though Benard credits staying on his medication as keeping him grounded.[12]

    His willingness to integrate his real life medical condition into Sonny's storylines have raised visibility of the disease, leading to Benard appearing on shows such as The Oprah Winfrey Show to discuss the disease as well as being the spokesman for the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance.[13]

    The name of Michael "Sonny" Corinthos, as well as his occupation, is a reference to The Godfather characters Michael Corleone and Santino "Sonny" Corleone. These characters have a sister named Connie Corleone, which is alluded to in Kate Howard's real name, Connie Falconeri.[14] Similarities have also been noted between Sonny and Tony Soprano from The Sopranos and the characters that surround them both.[15] Vincent Pastore, who portrayed Big Pussy Bonpensiero on The Sopranos, came on the show to portray Maximus Giambetti, father of Sonny's bodyguards Milo Giambetti and Max Giambetti.[16]resww2

    Benard has described cSonny as "unpredictable," and stated that: "You never know from one second to the next what he is thinking, feeling or planning. He's a man in personal conflict who maintains an outward appearance of calm at all times, at any cost." [17]

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