14 Celebrities You Forgot Appeared On General Hospital

Before many actors became the household names we know and love today, they got their starts on daytime soap operas. The longest-running American soap opera, "General Hospital," has been on the air since 1963 and has welcomed all sorts of faces over the years — some of whom have since become A-list stars. Among its thousands of episodes since its premiere six decades ago, there are quite a few characters that fans have completely forgotten ever appeared in its hospital's halls.

Even those who spent their early careers on set have seen how the television series has truly evolved over the years. "It is at a different studio, and only about eight or nine people who are there I remember from before," musician Rick Springfield, who started his early acting career on the soap opera in the early '80s, shared during an interview with The Gainesville Sun.

Including Rick Springfield, the following celebrities once appeared in the long-running soap "General Hospital."

Mark Hamill

Before he graced our big screens as a Jedi Master, actor Mark Hamill joined daytime television as nurse Jessie Brewer's nephew on "General Hospital." Playing 16-year-old Kent Murray allowed Hamill to break into show business and truly catapulted his acting career — and playing the soap opera character is something he will always cherish. As Hamill tweeted, "I spent some of the happiest months of my career on ['General Hospital']."

After appearing on the daytime soap in various episodes from 1972 to 1973, Hamill booked what is most likely considered his most memorable role in 1977 — that of Luke Skywalker in "Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope" and in the later films of the franchise.

While Skywalker's story had to come to an unfortunate end, the actor has hinted that there may still be a chance to reprise his "General Hospital" character's story. In 2018, the soap opera's official Twitter account teased that "Kent needs some closure," with Hamill agreeing that he would "absolutely" be up for one day returning to the set of "General Hospital."

Elizabeth Taylor

It turns out, actor Elizabeth Taylor was a big fan of "General Hospital" before landing a role on the soap opera. In fact, according to People, Taylor requested that the team behind her acting career request that the show's writers create a spot for her on the show — specifically to guest star during characters Luke and Laura's big wedding in 1981. Of course, the cast and crew wanted the iconic actor on their set!

Taylor was given the role of the original character Helena Cassadine, one of the main villains in the series. Though Taylor only appeared in five episodes, her legacy has truly lived on. The role has continued to be mentioned throughout the entirety of the soap opera and has since been played by two additional actresses over the years: Dimitra Arliss and Constance Towers.

The evil character may have lived on long after Taylor portrayed her on our small screens, but Helena eventually reached her demise on the soap opera when poisoned by her grandson in 2015. However, the iconic character has continued to appear in multiple episodes throughout a series of flashbacks on the show.

Rick Springfield

Rick Springfield may be known for his music, but he has made his mark on "General Hospital" over the years as well. His first appearance as Dr. Noah Drake on the soap opera was in 1981 and continued through 1983. However, that wasn't the last time that fans got the chance to see him in scrubs.

In 2005 — a whopping 23 years after his initial appearance — Springfield was asked to return to the soap. "It was originally for four [episodes], and then they called up and said, 'The writers are having so much fun, we want to write some more episodes,'" Springfield explained during an interview with The Gainesville Sun. He went on to appear on the series off and on throughout the next three years.

It seems as though Springfield was in high demand in the soap opera world at the time. Before returning to "General Hospital," he met with the team at "Days of Our Lives." However, scheduling conflicts prevented the star from taking a role on the show.

Ricky Martin

If there's one thing that Ricky Martin would want to tell the former executive producer of "General Hospital," it would be, "I am here today because of you," the musician revealed to Soap Opera Digest.

As Martin was first beginning to build up his music career in real life, he began playing a musician on the soap opera, too. In 1994, he secured the role of aspiring musician Miguel Morez, which he played for two years before focusing more heavily on his offscreen musical career.

Starring as Miguel in the series — and showing off his character's iconic mane — is a memory that Martin looks back on fondly. After all, it marked the very beginning of his acting career, and he never wants to forget about his time on the soap. "That was a time of intense adrenaline," he told Soap Opera Digest. "Living here in Los Angeles and going into that studio every day was very heavy, you know? I really enjoyed it."

Amber Tamblyn

Long before actor Natalia Livingston took on the role of Emily Quartermaine in 2003, "General Hospital" fans may remember that another actor was originally set in the role.

When actor Amber Tamblyn was only 11 years old, she signed on to play the first Emily in the soap opera — and it changed her life. "That cast is like my first family, my first love," she said on "Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen." "It was one of the greatest experiences of my life. I don't have a bad thing to say about it."

Tamblyn essentially grew up on the set, spending the majority of her teenage years working on the series. It was on this gig that she built up her acting career, all thanks to the incredible cast that watched over her throughout her time playing Emily. "Often with kid actors, some really bad stuff can happen on sets and I never had that," the actor said. "It was just the most loving, amazing experience. I love you, GH, forever!" The actor later went on to star in the television series "Joan of Arcadia" and the film franchise "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants."

John Stamos

Just three years before his famous debut on the sitcom "Full House," actor John Stamos had a solid gig in the world of daytime soap operas. On "General Hospital," he played the recurring role of Dr. Rick and Lesley Webber's foster son, Blackie Parrish, in 1982. His character left the series after Blackie was sent to prison for the death of Lou Swenson in 1984.

Throughout his three years on the series, Stamos says he learned a lot about show business. "That was my first job and I had a very powerful producer named Gloria Monty, who was very strict and very smart," he said during an interview with TV Insider.

Stamos' portrayal of the drummer Blackie Parrish even earned him major accolades. In 1983, he was nominated for a Daytime Emmy in the Supporting Actor in a Drama Series category – and he has since solidified himself as a household name. "Without 'General Hospital' I wouldn't be talking to you," Stamos told TV Insider. "I guarantee it."

Demi Moore

More than 40 years ago, actor Demi Moore took her first steps on the set of a soap opera. "I was fully faking it till I made it," she later admitted to Interview Magazine. "I had no clue what I was doing."

In 1982, she signed on for the original "General Hospital" role of investigative journalist Jackie Templeton. During her time on the series, she was searching for her sister and even helped a character named Luke Spencer locate the love of his life Laura, who had also been declared missing. Her character continued to investigate and report on various murders throughout the city before officially leaving the show in 1984.

In 2020, the series surprised fans when it was announced that Jackie Templeton would be returning to town. Instead of fans seeing Moore step back into Jackie's shoes, however, actor Kim Delaney was cast in her place. Meanwhile, Moore spent her time focusing on acting in other projects, such as the film "Songbird" and television series "Brave New World." As Moore told Interview, "The soap opera was not where I wanted to be. It was just a starting-off point."

George Takei

When character Josh Clayton was killed off on "General Hospital" in 1985, actor George Takei signed onto the soap opera as someone to help end the violence in the area. That year, he played the character Mr. Diem — but this character wasn't as honest as the others in the series originally thought. It's quickly revealed that he was working for a mobster in the Asian quarter named Chaing Wu.

After this news is revealed to long-time recurring character Robert Scorpio, Chaing was willing to do anything to stop Diem from revealing any more information about him or his location. A couple of months later, the character Diem was poisoned and died, releasing Takei from the soap opera world and on to new projects. From there, the actor went on to star as Hikaru Sulu in the "Star Trek" series. He also lent his voice to various animated series such as "Kim Possible" and "Phineas and Ferb."

Jonathan Jackson

"General Hospital" makes up a big part of Jonathan Jackson's acting career. He began on the soap opera in 1993 when he was only 11 years old and left the series in 2000. He later returned to reprise the role from 2009 to 2015 (with actors Greg Vaughan and Jacob Young taking his character's place during his nine-year absence). All throughout that time, Jackson became incredibly close with his co-stars. "Over the years, 'General Hospital' has been like a family to me," the actor shared on his band Enation's YouTube page.

In the series, Jackson played the character Lucky Spencer, the son of Luke and Laura Spencer. "Being placed with Tony [Geary (Luke)] and Genie [Francis (Laura)] was just incredible," Jackson said. "It was such a gift for me. I'll carry their influence over me for the rest of my life." Jackson's portrayal of the young Lucky Spencer made him a Daytime Emmy winner. In fact, he won five Supporting Actor in a Drama Series Emmys throughout his time on the soap opera and received four additional Emmy nominations on top of those.

Jackson later went on to star in the television series "Nashville" and the film "Tuck Everlasting." These days, he tours the world with his band Enation.

James Franco

In the aughts, actor James Franco was making a film in which he would play a soap opera star — and then he decided he should actually experience what that was like for himself. "My manager represents Steve Burton [who plays Jason Morgan on 'General Hospital'], and we called them and said I'd like to be on the show," Franco explained at the time during an interview with The New Yorker.

The crew was eager to get the actor on board and asked him exactly what type of role he would like to play on the daytime soap. "I wanted their full treatment, so all I said was that I wanted to be an artist and I wanted my character to be crazy," Franco added. It was then that the character "Franco," an artist and serial killer, was born. (Funnily enough, his character was obsessed with Steve Burton's character.)

The actor initially signed on for 20 episodes of the soap opera in 2009, where he reportedly brought his own film crew to capture clips for his own movie. Clearly, he left an impression on the crew. He was then asked by producers to return to the series to play the character for an additional three stints through 2012. After that, the character's role was passed onto actor Roger Howarth, while Franco's original portrayal of the serial killer can be seen in his since-finished film "Francophrenia."

Meghan Markle

Before she became a part of the royal family as the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle was working on solidifying her first acting gig. For her very first role, she was given fewer than five lines as a nurse named Jill on a 2002 episode of "General Hospital."

Markle's appearance on the soap opera soon led to other roles, such as a briefcase girl on the game show "Deal or No Deal" and an appearance on "CSI: NY." In 2011, she got her big break in the TV series "Suits."

While working on the series, Meghan met Prince Harry — and before long, Markle's acting career came to a halt. Her role in the royal family required her to step away from the acting scene, making her 108-episode run on "Suits" the last time audiences were able to see her recite lines from a script. However, that hasn't stopped her from appearing on the small screen. In 2022, she and Harry released and starred in the docu-series "Harry & Meghan." The couple also signed a massive multi-million dollar deal to continue creating content with Netflix.

Kristin Davis

Actor Kristin Davis entered the soap opera scene in 1991. It was then that she appeared as the character Nurse Betsy Chilson on "General Hospital."

Following Davis' time on the daytime soap opera in the '90s, she secured a guest-starring spot in another fictional hospital's halls in "ER." She also appeared on the sitcom "Seinfeld" before landing the major role as Charlotte in "Sex and the City." Although her career stems back to her time on the daytime soap opera, her "Sex and the City" role earned her a massive following.

In 2012, Davis excited her OG soap opera fans when she took to the stage in the Broadway play "The Best Man" alongside John Stamos, who also happened to get his start on "General Hospital." "But years apart, years apart," the actor clarified in an interview on ABC. "Or I would have been following him around the halls."

Chandra Wilson

"Grey's Anatomy" star Chandra Wilson, who has played the long-time role of Dr. Miranda Bailey in the series, seems to be the perfect fit for fictional medical settings. "General Hospital" also welcomed the actor with open arms four times as three different characters over the years. "They allowed me to go play next door," the actor said with a laugh on "The Queen Latifah Show."

In 2014, Wilson first played one of Dr. Kevin Collins' hospital patients on the show, a woman named Tina Estrada who was diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder. In 2018, the actor returned to the set — this time as Dr. Linda Massey, a marriage and family therapist who counseled Aunt Stella, Curtis, and Jordan. In 2019, she came back as a fashion magazine editor named Sydney Val Jean just in time for the Nurses Ball.

Then, in April 2023, fans got a second look at Sydney as a red carpet correspondent at the same charity gala — an event that hasn't been celebrated on the show since her character last attended back in 2019.

Richard Simmons

Richard Simmons may be known to most for his fitness videos, but in 1979, he fit acting into his schedule, too. For four years, he held a recurring role playing himself on the daytime soap opera "General Hospital." Throughout his time on the series, he was the workout instructor for characters such as Lesley Webber and Monica Quartermaine.

When his time on the soap opera came to a close in 1983, Simmons starred in his own series called "The Richard Simmons Show," which won four Daytime Emmys during its time on television.

It seems, however, that Simmons simply couldn't stay away from "General Hospital." For the soap opera's 50th anniversary in 2013, he reprised his role for a special celebratory episode at the famous Nurses Ball — where his character ends up being carried out of the event at the end of the episode. "Off to do General Hospital this morning," he teased fans on Twitter at the time. "What fun!"