What Character Did Elizabeth Taylor Play In General Hospital?

When Elizabeth Taylor made her brief appearance on “General Hospital” way back in 1981 (via Biography), it was a dream come true for the Hollywood icon — who was also a big fan of the soap. 

She got to make an appearance at the wedding of Luke (Anthony Geary) and Laura (Genie Francis), which went on to become the highest-rated soap opera episode in history when 30 million people tuned in (via ABC News). Between the popularity of Luke and Laura and the star power of Taylor, audiences couldn’t wait to see what happened next.

Taylor’s character would live on for another 40 years, with another actress eventually taking over the role. Although that character died back in 2015, she frequently makes appearances as either a ghost or via videos she made prior to her demise. 

But Taylor’s take on the role, however brief, still lives on in the memories of many longtime fans. After all, what she did at that wedding seemed to have an effect on Luke and Laura for years to come.

Elizabeth Taylor played Helena Cassadine

Elizabeth Taylor smiling

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Helena Cassadine is still a name that’s tossed about on “General Hospital,” with the Cassadines still being a prominent family on the soap. When she appeared at Luke and Laura’s wedding for the first time, she put a curse on the bride and groom that seemed to follow them wherever they went for decades (via Soap Opera Digest).

Jacklyn Zeman, who has played Nurse Bobbie Spencer on “General Hospital” since 1977, talked about working with Elizabeth Taylor. She has fond memories of the movie star, especially during a time when it was unheard of to see a celebrity of Taylor’s status on daytime television.

“You have to remember these were very different times. Show business was compartmentalized,” Zeman told TV Guide in 2014. “Soap actors didn’t do primetime. Primetime actors didn’t do movies. So [Taylor] was a big shot in the arm for GH and all of daytime TV. Her guest stint broke the rules.”

The acting legend loved being on General Hospital

Elizabeth Taylor looking

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Despite the fact that it was a short stint on “General Hospital,” Elizabeth Taylor seemed to have the time of her life taping her scenes, recalls Jacklyn Zeman (via TV Guide).

“Ms. Taylor had a spectacular existence — fame, money, jewels, yachts and husbands galore — but being on GH gave her real pleasure,” Zeman said. “It was such an inspiration to see her come on our show and say, ‘I don’t care what anybody thinks!’ She didn’t need anybody’s validation. She was the ultimate cool girl.”

While Taylor sadly passed away in 2011 at age 79, the character she created in 1981 became as iconic as her. Actress Constance Towers went on to play Helena Cassadine on and off from 1997 until 2022; Helena made a video before her 2015 death to play at Luke Spencer’s funeral (via Soaps.com). 

She might make more ghostly appearances again as they are often a delightful surprise for fans.

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