Talk of Zander Smith on GENERAL HOSPITAL has some fans fondly remembering the character and others wondering who the guy was! If you’re in need of a refresher, we’ve got you covered! The character first appeared in August 2000 and was played by Marc Brett for about a month before Chad Brannon stepped in and portrayed the troubled young man until his tragic death in March 2004. Brannon did return to GH in 2009, but as Aaron, a look-alike for a brief cameo appearance. And in February 2021, it was announced that the actor would be back on the soap again, though they remained tight-lipped on any details.
Zander Smith was introduced as a drug dealer working for mobster Joseph Sorel and was blamed for the death of an undercover cop. But Zander had actually tried to stop Sorel’s men from killing the cop and Emily Quartermaine as well. Not knowing this, Lucky Spencer, Nikolas Cassadine, Elizabeth Webber, Gia Campbell, and Juan Santiago teamed up to set Zander up for the murder. When the cops arrived, Zander panicked and took Emily hostage at gunpoint. While on the run, the young couple fell in love and when Jason Morgan tracked them down, Emily begged him not to kill Zander.
Emily eventually convinced Zander to turn himself in to the cops since he was innocent and she hired Alexis Davis to represent him. Emily also convinced Sonny Corinthos to help protect Zander as he testified against Sorel, though an assassination attempt landed both men in the hospital. Emily’s family tried to protect her from Zander, shipping her off to boarding school. When that didn’t work, Edward Quartermaine falsely accused Zander of assaulting him. Thankfully, the truth came out and Zander was released from jail so he could take Emily to the prom. With Sorel still after them, the couple tried to leave town but Emily was paralyzed in a bus accident and Zander told her family to send her to rehab and not tell him where.
When Sorel was murdered, Zander was one of the prime suspects but he was innocent. He then went to work for Sonny but when Emily found out he’d forced A.J. Quartermaine to sign over his parental rights to Michael, she dumped him. Spending time with Carly Benson on Sonny’s orders, Zander actually began to fall for her and they nearly slept together but he realized she was just using him to make Sonny jealous. When Jason beat up Zander for selling information on Sonny for revenge, Elizabeth nursed him back to health and after they survived being trapped in a crypt, a romance blossomed.
Zander got involved with Luis Alcazar, the new mobster in town and after being beaten up, lost his memory for a while. When he finally recovered, he tried to turn his life around and began working for Ned Ashton at ELQ. But his past caught up to him when his estranged father, Cameron Lewis, arrived in Port Charles. Zander returned to drugs and when he nearly overdosed, Gia got Cameron to see what blaming Zander for his brother’s death was doing to him. Gia continued to help Zander get back on his feet, making her fiancé Nikolas jealous.
Emily returned to Port Charles and quickly reunited with Zander, who was stunned to learn that his brother had actually committed suicide and his father never told him the truth. When he found Emily injecting herself, he assumed she was taking drugs and helped her go to rehab. But she suddenly dumped Zander and began dating Nikolas, which threw him for a loop. Eventually, he learned Emily had breast cancer and was pushing him away so he wouldn’t have to watch her die. She married Zander on what she believed was her death bed, but then recovered. Their marriage was strained, however, because she was still in love with Nikolas. After finding them in bed together, Zander turned to Elizabeth, who had just had a fight with her husband, Ric Lansing, and their night of passion resulted in a baby she later named Cameron!
Unwilling to give up his career in crime, Zander eventually had to sign over his parental rights to Ric in order to avoid being prosecuted. Having given up, Zander threatened to kill Jason but was instead framed for shooting a cop. Going on the run, he convinced Maxie Jones to hide him for a bit and got shot while arguing with Nikolas over Emily. Zander was then presumed dead in a hotel fire and there was a whodunit as Ric, Elizabeth, Emily, and Nikolas were all accused of causing his demise. But Emily was later shocked to find Zander very much alive, having accidentally killed a janitor at the hotel whose body they believed was his. Zander wanted to spend the rest of their lives together, but Emily realized he was mentally unstable and when the cops arrived, she begged him to give himself up. But as they left the cabin, he deliberately made a move like he was going for a gun so that the cops opened fire! Riddled with bullets, Zander died in Emily’s arms.