On Wednesday, October 19, GENERAL HOSPITAL viewers will finally find out what the heck happened to Holly Sutton when her portrayer, Emma Samms, makes a triumphant return to the ABC soap. Not only is Holly’s reappearance on the GH canvas a big turning point in the show’s storyline — Robert had believed for over two years that his ex-wife was dead when she was secretly being held captive — but it’s a major milestone for Samms as well. The British actress hasn’t worked since before the pandemic when she contracted coronavirus in March 2020 and has been suffering the debilitating effects of Long COVID ever since.
Speaking with People about her return to the soap, Samms confessed that heading to Los Angeles to work for the first time since she fell ill had her feeling “massive trepidation” and she warned GH producers of her limitations. “I told them if I stand still for too long, I might fall over. I might lose my voice if I talk too much. I sometimes sound gaspy,” she reported. “I said, ‘Basically, think senior citizen and not a fit one. Just think in those terms when you are writing for me.’”
The ongoing symptoms of Long COVID affect a patient’s lungs, heart, and brain, so Samms is constantly battling fatigue, shortness of breath, blood pressure changes, and ear ringing. “I’m so cautious now,” she admitted. “If I look at a distance to walk, I think, ‘How unwell will I feel if I walk?’ I’m always clocking, ‘Where’s the nearest hospital?’ For me, it’s been a battle of the wills to accomplish anything.”
Luckily for Samms, GH executive producer Frank Valentini was willing to make whatever accommodations the actress needed in order to make her return work and pick up where Holly’s storyline left off. After hammering out the details (like Samms not filming every day), the actress returned to the soap’s set last month to begin taping episodes — and was even given Valentini’s personal parking spot, which is closer to the studio entrance. “You would never know there’s anything wrong with her,” the GH showrunner raved. “She puts every ounce of energy into it.”
And Samms is grateful for all the extra consideration she’s been given. “I feel really lucky that people are willing to accommodate me in order for me to work,” she said. “I feel desperately sorry for people who don’t have bosses who are as sympathetic.”
We are so glad that Samms was finally feeling well enough to come back to the soap and can’t wait to see what comes next for Holly!
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