Fans today know Stephen A. Smith as Brick on GENERAL HOSPITAL, but the sports journalist and broadcaster actually made his first appearance on the soap back in 2007 as a reporter! It wasn’t until he made his love for soaps, and particularly GH, known on his own show that he was invited back to play a character that turned into a recurring role.
“I made a cameo appearance in like, 2007, and it was like, some 10-second stuff where I had one line, they pushed me out of the way, and that was it,” Smith confided to Tamron Hall. “And then I was on my show, FIRST TAKE, on ESPN, talking about what a big-time soap opera fan I am. And the folks on there were teasing me about it.
“And the executive producer for GH, Frank Valentini, was watching it,” he continued. “And the next thing I know, I received an invitation to come and do a scene with Maurice Benard, who plays Sonny Corinthos. And the next thing I know, Frank Valentini came running down the stairs, and he says, “Do you have time to do this?’ I said, “What do you mean?’ He says, ‘We want to make this a recurring role for you.’”
This was a dream come true for Smith, who has been a fan of GH going back to the ‘80s heyday with Luke and Laura, the Cassadines, and Frank Smith. He was in school for AMC and OLTL, but got out at 3:00 just in time to rush home around the corner and dive into Port Charles!
Of course, while being on GH is so much more exciting than just watching it on TV, it does come with its own fair share of challenges! “There’s not much time to rehearse,” Smith admitted. “They send me the lines a couple of days before I tape. And I memorize those lines sometimes the night before and I’m ready to go.
“The first time I did it, I had a few lines,” he added. “the second time, they gave me about 20 lines. The third time, I did like, six different scenes and I said, “Whoa!” And I remember I forgot a couple of lines in one scene and I held up the entire cast. Because you’ve got to do it over. From that day forward, I don’t mess around. The first order for me is to make sure I know my lines.”
In the end, though, it’s all worth it, and the sportscaster is happy to put on his acting hat whenever GH calls. “I’ve been blessed and fortunate because I do scenes with the star of the show,” Smith declared. “And we’ve developed an incredible friendship, Maurice Benard and myself.”
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