From General Hospital to American History X – And Beyond

Ever heard of John Martinuzzi? Unless you’re a absolute soap opera fan from way aback in the 1980s, you’ve allegedly not heard of him. Anytime heard of John Morrissey? Unless you’re an aficionado of blur and apperceive who produced which award-winning blur of this or that year, you’ve allegedly not heard of him, either.

In fact, as a customer of TV and cine entertainment, you’re acceptable not any added familiar, by name, with Mr. Morrissey than you are with Mr. Martinuzzi. Yet if you’re a approved customer of TV and cine entertainment, be assured, you are acquainted of the articles put out beneath these names.

In 1982, John Martinuzzi originated the role of the deliciously-evil Stavros Cassadine on ABC’s GENERAL HOSPITAL, and went on in 1984 to play David Preston on CBS’ THE GUIDING LIGHT. John Morrissey is the acclimatized ambassador of acclimatized and acclaimed films, namely the critically-acclaimed AMERICAN HISTORY X, a allotment of others, both for the big awning and television.

What makes this absorbing is that Martinuzzi and Morrissey is the aforementioned man. Actor, producer, writer, photographer, accouterment designer-these are his professions in just the aboriginal 50 or so years.

It’s in the alteration from one name to the other, one anatomy of afterimage to another, that the meat of the adventure is revealed. For all applied purposes to anyone who may accept followed his awning work, John Martinuzzi seemed to abandon from the face of the earth, and at that time, his just-growing “fan base”-as John Martinuzzi aka Stavros-was larboard apprehensive if he, like Stavros, had anesthetized abroad . . . or at actual least, alone out of the industry to become, say, a car salesman.

What did happen?

John Martinuzzi, the man, is animate and well, active in Los Angeles, but the name is no more.

Using Martinuzzi as his endure name, the amateur came to accessible ablaze in 1983 as Stavros Cassadine on GENERAL HOSPITAL, a allotment which he had no way of alive would reside on in soap history. And admitting Stavros reportedly died during Martinuzzi’s tenure, the appearance was eventually resurrected, with addition amateur in the role. This is if John Martinuzzi boring began to morph into abeyance – or so it appeared to the accepted accessible who’d appear to adore his acute assuming of such a complicated character. Admitting Martinuzzi took on addition nationally-known role on THE GUIDING LIGHT a few years later, that appearance never affective admirers in the aforementioned way. Then-he was gone to circadian visibility. No added John Martinuzzi.

It didn’t absolutely appear that fast, though. Things were alteration in John’s life. Lots of things. To alpha from the beginning-what originally brought John into the ablaze lights of stage, television, and film, and what came about to accompany about his change in personas?

He was built-in in the 1950s. At a point area there was no macho bulk in his life, his mother formed as abettor to the acclaimed Eartha Kitt, and she and John lived with her. He alleged Eartha the “head of the household,” and said she was “stubborn and advancing in her way, but actual smart.” It was a “unique” atmosphere, aback the arch of their home “was a atramentous woman.” John became acclimatized aboriginal on to “women and blacks in positions of power.”

He, his mother, and Eartha went from amphitheater to theater, and, as he put it, acting “just seemed like . . . what developed ups did.” So if he grew up, John followed suit. He went to college, afresh to ball academy in London. He did a ample bulk of bounded theatre afore traveling on to Broadway.

How did he accomplish the alteration to soap operas?

He auditioned. As John Martinuzzi, he auditioned six times for the role of Stavros Cassadine. Admitting he had been built-in John James Morrissey III, his parents afar and his mother ultimately remarried. He was adopted by his stepfather and lived as John Martinuzzi able-bodied into adulthood-and ballyhoo as an American actor, a time which had started with these auditions.

John said, “By the time it got to the end” of the casting activity for the allotment of Stavros, “I had appear to be what they imagined, and they afflicted some chat for me and if I would improvise, they would add some of what I said.” Stavros was abnormally his, and even admitting he captivated that allotment for alone a year or so, he put an alluring brand on the appearance . . . so abundant so that, over 25 years later, admirers still allocution about “John Martinuzzi” and his assuming of Stavros Cassadine. And the next affair they wish to apperceive is, “Whatever happened to him?”

After his assignment on GENERAL HOSPITAL, and afresh THE GUIDING LIGHT, and added less-visible roles, John confused from in foreground of the cameras to abaft them as a cine producer. During this time, he fabricated the accommodation to acknowledgment to his roots. Now the name change. It came about if he fell in adulation and asked his sweetheart to ally him.

“Will you yield my name?” he asked her.

“Not the Italian one,” she replied, “but I’ll yield your absolute name.” He acquiesced, and alternate to his bearing name. For about 14 years, John James Morrissey III was a affiliated man with a family, alive consistently as a cine producer. He helped accession his wife’s babe from a antecedent alliance whom he calls “a amazing girl,” with benevolence in his voice, and John Martinuzzi slipped into the past.

By alteration his name, John didn’t apprehend he was finer acid abroad one allocation of his accessible persona. It didn’t even cantankerous his mind. Amazingly, he was absolutely blind he even had a following. If the affair of the Stavros re-cast was brought up, John was surprised.

“I don’t anticipate the role was recast. Relatives were chosen. I don’t anticipate Stavros himself was recast.” He hesitated. “Maybe I don’t even know.”

He didn’t know. He was told Stavros was brought aback in 2001 with Robert Kelker-Kelly in the part, and he asked pointedly, “Was Genie on the show?”

“Genie” referred to Genie Francis, the extra who originated the role of Laura Spencer, and went on to become bisected of Luke and Laura, one of the a lot of acclaimed soap couples of all times.

When abreast that Genie was on the appearance at the time, John’s acknowledgment was short. “Genie would’ve adjoin me advancing on to do it.”

This brings us to the absolute history amid not alone the characters-Laura and Stavros-but aswell amid the actors-Genie and John.

“I accept not followed GENERAL HOSPITAL,” John explained. “I did not chase GENERAL HOSPITAL if I was on it.”

After alone a slight hesitation, it was axiomatic he had fabricated a decision, a accommodation to acquaint his story. “I fell in adulation with Genie Francis and we lived calm for several years.” This explained the accuracy abaft their electric onscreen chemistry. “We did some plays afterwards our plan [together] . . . had a acceptable time. She was anxious about acceptable a bigger extra . . . so we went to New York-she capital to abstraction with my acting teacher. We went to New York; I was casting in some plays, she was belief . . . .”

He chock-full for a moment to aggregate his thoughts, as if aggravating to adjudge how best to chronicle the next allotment of their aggregate drama.

“I was an alcoholic, I am an alcoholic, and I didn’t absolutely apperceive it but she did. She had been apparent to alcoholism with her father, and she had had her own activity with drugs and booze even admitting she was absolutely young. She accepted a lot added about alcoholism and A.A. than I did, so I anticipate that I was not a applicable accomplice for her, really.”

Anyone who’s followed GENERAL HOSPITAL‘s history has heard the rumors that Genie and her arch man at that time became an offscreen item. What happened to that romance, however, has been about as abundant of a abstruseness as the abode of that arch man aback he larboard daytime TV. Actuality he was now, alone acknowledgment all that had gone on abaft the scenes.

“It was absurd to backpack on and so afterwards a few years, we bankrupt up. She left, and it was actual abashing to me.” His articulation brave with regret. “. . . she became affronted with me because I was agitated with her.” They did things adjoin anniversary other, as so generally happens if adulation gets hurt. John articulate afraid at the abyss of his recollections all these years later. “I don’t even almost bethink the things I did that agitated her but, apparently,” he laughed uncomfortably, “she’s still upset, I apparent years later. She’s one of the few women I’ve had a austere accord with that I didn’t abide actual acceptable accompany with . . . and for whatever reason, I accept not remained accompany with Genie.”

So the bitter accuracy of the Laura and Stavros/Genie and John adventure is assuredly revealed. He lived with his abjure and went on afterwards Genie, admitting still not toning down his lifestyle.

“I did two years on THE GUIDING LIGHT, as John Martinuzzi.” The name change hadn’t yet taken place-the dematerialization was still a few years into the future. “That was interesting,” he continued, “but I anticipate my alcoholism began to blaze added during that time . . . soap opera acting just wasn’t what I was absorbed in. It was a little too limiting.”

John sighed heavily. It articulate as if he hadn’t visited this aeon in his activity in absolutely some time. “I was actual adolescent and acutely abashed of demography a footfall abroad and aggravating to get about added on my own, go in whatever administration I absolutely capital to go as an artist, on any level. . . . I did some plays while on the show. And appropriate afterwards my arrangement ended, I came to L. A. in 1987. I had acted on a agglomeration of anecdotal television but begin I was at the aiguille of my alcoholism and still in denial, still not acquainted it, but it was interfering in my life.”

What happened? Adulation happened. “I met this woman, and I admired her a lot . . . and I met some added humans who were blur producers, and blur assembly began to absorption me. . . . Acting is ego-oriented. Even [for] actors who are not decidedly egotistical.”

The abruptness actuality was that John didn’t assume to be an egoistic man. If the apple has but one or maybe two personas on which to abject an impression, and if those personas are egoistic and not-so-nice, it’s an adverse aberration to apprehend the getting abaft the characterizations to be similar.

The man himself was absolutely the opposite. “It’s constantly, ’til you are a star, accepting to anguish about how you attending and accepting to run about block work. Self-focused. And the locations of oneself that aren’t necessarily the a lot of interesting. So I was ailing of it. I was admiring to bearing films. I hadn’t decidedly chock-full acting, I hadn’t carefully chock-full acting, but I got added and added complex in producing.”

When asked if he’d accede acting again, he replied, “I like acting. It’s absolutely fun. It’s the best of lifestyles that . . .” he laughed, the complete happy, young, impish, ” that I’ve lived. You appearance up on the set, everybody treats you absolutely accurately and you get a lot of privileges. Nice ego-boosting things happen, afresh you go out and play and . . .” afresh he laughed, “that’s all that’s accepted out of you. It’s emotionally-challenging but I like that. But I’m not so acquisitive to accompany that because I don’t wish to anguish about active about searching for work. It’s a affliction in the ass.” Added animated laughter. “So,” in final acknowledgment to the aboriginal question, “if humans ask me to act, I do.”

It was actuality in his story, at a time area he was in adulation and affective abroad from acting and into producing-a accurate activity change-where he proposed, and his adult said, “Yes.” She capital to become Mrs. Morrissey, though, not Mrs. Martinuzzi. John afflicted to the name accustomed him at birth, and this affairs formed able-bodied for a time, continued abundant for him to get acclimated to getting a bedmate and a father. While he was married, he produced the well-accepted AMERICAN HISTORY X with Edward Norton, Edward Furlong, and Stacy Keach.

“I’ve produced 14 or 15 movies and some television stuff, and I accept an advancing career as a ambassador and a lot of believability and a acceptable position in the industry, so I anticipate I’m in acceptable shape, and I can accomplish acceptable money accomplishing it.”

Unfortunately, admitting his able apple was traveling well, his claimed activity went through addition above change. By 2001, with a solid career as a blur producer, he and his wife had split. John was afresh on his own . . . and this seemed to animate a admiration for something new in his able life, as well.

“I was activity I’d developed bound by what I was accomplishing as a producer,” he explained. “Producing is so depependent on such a huge accumulating and array of humans it can be monumentally frustrating. I can absolutely accomplish a acceptable active and get a lot of movies made, but I’m no best absorbed in authoritative movies that don’t bulldoze me, like American History X did. I’ve fabricated some movies just to accomplish a living, and I don’t decidedly wish to do that.”

He bare to aggrandize again. He had the means, and he ” . . . started autograph more, I’m a photographer, and I shoot for a array of publications. A few years ago I absitively I was absorbed in women’s accouterment so I started to design. My band is starting to yield off. . . . I just fabricated a above auction to Sears in Mexico. Sears in Mexico is partnered with Sachs, and they’ve bought my line, alleged John Morrissey, as able-bodied as a amount of added boutiques in Mexico City. I’ve started to advertise in Miami. I’m putting all my absorption on this Mexican activity because my clothes go on auction there in September.”

What led John to yield his accouterment adventure south of the United States border?

“At the time I breach with my wife, I absitively to apprentice how to allege Spanish. I’ve had an accretion absorption in Central and South America, and accept travelled to Mexico, Spain, Venezuela, Argentina, and Uruguay.” Costa Rica, Guatemala, Colombia, and Chile are on his account of approaching biking spots.

John’s journey-emotional as able-bodied as literal-painted the account of an entrepreneur, a man with assorted but affiliated interests, and a assurance to not absolute himself to alone one but, instead, excel at all of them.

When it was appropriate that he was an entrepreneur, he anticipation for a moment afore responding. “Producing is entrepreneurial. I anticipate what I am is an artist, and I acquisition altered media or venues in which to accurate or convenance or advance my art. For me, it all comes from the aforementioned place. . . . Designing clothes and autograph and demography pictures and bearing movies and acting, and all of it is array of the aforementioned thing. I apperceive it isn’t, it requires altered accomplishment sets, but the actuation comes from absolutely the aforementioned place. I anticipate of myself as an artist. Some of the getting I do requires ambitious skills, of which abundance are actual limited.” He laughed, as if he couldn’t absolutely see himself in that role.

Yet, in audition his story, there seemed to be little about this man that could be declared as “limited.” He gave off an air of one who was confident, yet not oversure. Capable but not arrogant. Someone who knew his way about affair but who absolutely prefers getting in adulation with one appropriate lady.

Which brought about a absolute animadversion from John. In talking afresh about his aboriginal absolute civic role, that of Stavros on GENERAL HOSPITAL, he said, “It was absolutely absorbing to me because it array of afflicted my appearance of myself. I anticipation of myself as a character, affectionate of a weird-looking guy, and I got casting as a actual adult guy. It had a abundant appulse on my self-image.”

Sometimes that’s what it takes. Perception accompanying with accepting and action. John went for the role, it was accustomed to him, he abstruse to play it, and he excelled.

That could, in fact, be John Morrissey’s modus operandi these days. Not alone has his name changed. In his own words, “On September 17, 1993, I chock-full bubbler and accomplishing drugs and I’ve been apple-pie and abstaining anytime since. In 1996 I abdicate smoking.” Anniversary time he’s gone about addition ambit in life, he has begin a new role. Up for every new challenge, he’s ample out how to play anniversary one. Seems that for every bend John will turn, he’ll abide to appropriately abruptness himself.

But accomplish no mistake. If you wish to accumulate an eye on this artist, from actuality on out you charge to be watching for John Morrissey, not John Martinuzzi!

John Martinuzzi may be gone but there’s no affliction there. Morrissey is actuality to stay!