Stuart Damon
Stuart Damon (cropped).jpg
Damon in 1965
Born
Stuart Michael Zonis

(1937-02-05)February 5, 1937
Died (aged 84)
OccupationActor
Years active1962–2013
Spouse(s)Deirdre Ann Ottewill (m. 1961)
Children2

Stuart Damon (born Stuart Michael Zonis; February 5, 1937 – June 29, 2021) was an American actor. He was best known for his 30-year portrayal of Dr. Alan Quartermaine on the American soap opera General Hospital, for which he won an Emmy Award in 1999. Outside the United States, he was known for the role of Craig Stirling in The Champions.

Early life

Damon was born in Brooklyn, New York, the son of Marvin Leonard Zonis, who was a manufacturer.[1] Damon's parents were Russian Jewish immigrants who made their home in America after fleeing the Bolshevik Revolution.[2][3]

Acting career

After a series of roles on Broadway, Damon's appearance as the Prince in the 1965 version of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella starring Lesley Ann Warren helped pave the way to a long career in television soap opera. That same year, he had a prominent featured role in the Broadway musical Do I Hear a Waltz? written by Richard Rodgers (music) and Stephen Sondheim (lyrics). He had earlier appeared in an Off-Broadway revival of The Boys From Syracuse with music by Rodgers and lyrics by Lorenz Hart. Damon is prominently featured on the cast albums of these musicals, as well as the hit Irma La Douce (1960).

Moving to Great Britain, Damon starred in the hit West End musical Charlie Girl with Anna Neagle in 1965,[4] and was selected to appear as American secret agent Craig Stirling, alongside British actors Alexandra Bastedo and William Gaunt, in the ITC series The Champions.[5] He also appeared with Roger Moore in an episode of The Saint which has been credited as the inspiration for the later series The Persuaders!, with Damon's role being played by Tony Curtis. In 1968, he appeared in the BBC TV adaptation of The £1,000,000 Bank Note and played Henry Adams in the starring role. Damon also played magician Harry Houdini in a lavishly staged London musical, Man of Magic.[6]

In the 1970s, he was cast alongside Gene Barry and Catherine Schell for the series The Adventurer, appearing briefly in two episodes. Damon later spoke candidly about the fact that Barry did not want him in the series because of his height:[citation needed] at over six feet, he towered over the shorter Barry. After acting roles in several other British television series, including Thriller, The New Avengers, and children's series The Adventures of Black Beauty where he played a hypnotist, he returned to the United States.

In 1977, he began his best known American role, as Dr. Alan Quartermaine Sr. on General Hospital. He also repeated the role on the short-lived GH spin-off Port Charles (1997–2003).

In 1999, Damon won the Best Supporting Actor Emmy, for his portrayal of Alan, a physician addicted to the painkiller hydrocodone. In 2005, Damon was reunited with Alexandra Bastedo and William Gaunt for the first time in almost 40 years, to provide audio commentary on a DVD release of The Champions. In December 2006, it was reported that Damon had been fired from General Hospital by Jill Farren Phelps, on the orders of Anne Sweeney and Brian Frons,[7] and his last air date was scheduled for February 26, 2007, when his character died. The reason behind his release was not made public.[8] The taping of the final scene occurred on February 5, coincidentally Damon's 70th birthday.[9] Fellow actors on General Hospital spoke to the press about how upset they were over Damon's firing, with Damon's on-show wife Leslie Charleson saying, "This is the 30th anniversary for the two of us, in August. The timing leaves me very discouraged about the way soaps are going, the total disregard for history and the blatant disregard for the veterans."[10]

Despite the death of the character, Damon had remained on the show, playing the ghost of Alan Quartermaine, haunting his sister Tracy about forging Alan's will. He remained with the show until December 23, 2008, when Alan appeared to Monica on Christmas to tell her that he loved her.

On September 18, 2009, Damon began appearing on As the World Turns as Janet and Teri Ciccone's "Uncle" Ralph Manzo, a businessman most likely involved with the mob. He left the series on October 30, 2009, but returned August 23-25, 2010. From March 19–25, 2010, Damon played the role of Governor Jim Ford on Days of Our Lives.

Damon returned to General Hospital for two episodes (August 26, 2011, and August 29, 2011), in which Alan appears in a fantasy sequence of Monica's. He returned again in November 2012 as a ghost when son AJ was announced to be alive, after son Jason's disappearance. He appeared, along with Rick Webber (Chris Robinson) and Emily Quartermaine (Natalia Livingston), as a hallucination shared by Tracy and Monica, for the show's 50th anniversary episode, which aired on April 2, 2013.

Personal life

Damon married Deirdre Ann Ottewill, a former actress, singer, and dancer on March 12, 1961. They had two children, Christopher and Jennifer Zonis. Damon died of kidney failure[11] on June 29, 2021, aged 84, at the Motion Picture & Television Fund retirement community in Los Angeles, where he had lived for seven years.

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Work Result
1982 9th Daytime Emmy Awards Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series General Hospital Nominated
1983 10th Daytime Emmy Awards Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series General Hospital Nominated
1984 11th Daytime Emmy Awards Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series General Hospital Nominated
1991 18th Daytime Emmy Awards Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series General Hospital Nominated
1996 23rd Daytime Emmy Awards Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series General Hospital Nominated
1996 12th Soap Opera Digest Awards Outstanding Actor in a Supporting Role General Hospital Won
1997 24th Daytime Emmy Awards Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series General Hospital Nominated
1997 13th Soap Opera Digest Awards Outstanding Actor in a Supporting Role General Hospital Nominated
1999 26th Daytime Emmy Awards Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series General Hospital Won

Works

Broadway

Off-Broadway

West End

Film

Television

Recording

References

  1. ^ Stuart Damon Biography (1937-)
  2. ^ About GH: About the Actors | Stuart Damon | General Hospital @ soapcentral.com Archived 2008-06-23 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ Quotes Archived 2008-08-21 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Spotlight. 1966. p. 232.
  5. ^ Wesley Alan Britton (2004). Spy Television. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 189. ISBN 978-0-275-98163-1.
  6. ^ The Great Escape: Hollywood's Struggle to Bring Houdini Back to Life by John Cox, MAGIC Magazine, October 2006
  7. ^ "General Hospital Fires Stuart Damon". TVGuide.com. Archived from the original on 2007-10-18. Retrieved 2006-12-20.
  8. ^ "Heartbreaker: Stuart Damon's 30-Year GH Run Ends", December 21, 2006, soapcentral.com
  9. ^ ABC Soaps, March 27, 2007, p. 88
  10. ^ Soap Opera Weekly, February 13, 2007, pp. 1-2
  11. ^ Bosselman, Haley (June 29, 2021). "Stuart Damon, 'General Hospital' Actor, Dies at 84". Variety. Variety Media, LLC. Retrieved July 2, 2021.