This month marks the 40th anniversary of Kin Shriner’s daytime debut as GH’s Scotty Baldwin. His admiring co-stars pay tribute.
Lynn Herring (Lucy)
“I watched GENERAL HOSPITAL in college, and I liked Luke and Laura, but I was fascinated by Scotty. I thought, ‘Nobody gets this amazing guy! How can he be dumped?!’ I thought he was so sexy and interesting and unique and when I started working with him, I would have to catch myself — ‘You’re fanning out! Don’t fan out over Scotty Baldwin!’ Over the years, Kin has become one of my best friends, and what’s funny about it is that we are as different as night and day. I’m a country girl, married with kids; he’s never been married and he won’t come to the ranch because he’s afraid of the dark! How did we end up being best friends?!
What brought us together was our love for what we do and how we never wanted to let each other down in a scene. We talk every day, sometimes for hours, about the entertainment business, about daytime, and I have admired his passion for all these years. At work, we just have the greatest time, but he has stayed my friend whether I’m working in television or not. Kin’s sense of friendship and his loyalty are stronger than most people’s. When I left GH and went to DAYS [as Lisanne, 1992], and told him I was unhappy and missed Lucy, he was the first one to call [then-Executive Producer] Wendy Riche and say, ‘Get her back.’ If you need something as a friend from him, it’s overwhelming, what he will do for you. He does not have a malicious or cruel bone in his body. He’s a mushball when it comes to his friends.
When Kin experienced tragedy at a young age, losing his parents and moving around quite a bit, television was his lifeline, and he knows how much it means to the audience to have that escapism. And so, in every scene, even if he’s had a crazy night the night before or the material is hard to make work, he finds something — a bit, he calls it — to give the audience that’s interesting and different. He finds a way to make it entertaining. He always gives 110 percent, and for 40 years, he’s given that energy and that passion to all of the actors he works with.”
Genie Francis (Laura)
“I had just turned 15 when he joined the show. Gloria Monty had come on as executive producer not too long before that and she wanted to clear the cast of a lot of people she didn’t like, so she created this big hurricane to come through Port Charles. Some people were going to make it and some people weren’t. Scotty and Laura were hidden in a basement somewhere so the hurricane blew over their heads and they were safe. We had a scene huddled in the basement where Scotty is trying to comfort her. He says, ‘Remember your Tennyson,’ and he’s supposed to say, ‘I have asked to be where no storms come.’ Well, during tape, he says, ‘Remember your Tennyson,’ and then I see this look of horror go across his eyes. He’s staring at me and I know what’s going on, so I said, ‘I have asked to be where no storms come?’ And he goes, ‘Yeah, yeah, that’s it!’ That’s my favorite Kin moment [laughs]. Congratulations, my friend. I love you, I always will, and here’s to 40 more.”
Maurice Benard (Sonny)
“Forty years — it takes a really good actor to have that kind of longevity. He’s a great part of GENERAL HOSPITAL and I love working with my friend.”
Jack Wagner (ex-Frisco)
“Kin was not on GENERAL HOSPITAL when I first started but when I returned in ’89, I’d just done West Side Story and Grease, so I had long hair. Kin was back on the show but we’d never met. One day, I was in the men’s room and in walks Kin, and we both kind of looked at each other and I said, ‘I guess we’d better try and get along, huh?’ and Kin said, ‘Sounds like a good idea.’ And from that point on, we’ve been the best of friends.”
Robin Mattson (Heather)
“The first time he ever saw me, I was in a clothing store. He had seen this movie that I was in, Return to Macon County, and he said to me, ‘You’re that girl!’ And I said something like, ‘Okay.’ Of course, I’d heard of him. Kin was a soap opera legend! When I started on GH, he’d gone to TEXAS [in 1980 to play Jeb]. When he was coming back to GH, everybody said, ‘Oh, you’ll love Kin. He’s so fabulous and funny. He’s good at what he does and he’s all about character delineation.’ We became pals pretty quickly. We just clicked. Kin can always make you laugh and occasionally, I made him laugh, as well. We were buddies and partners in crime, on-screen and off. I had no idea when we first worked together that our characters would have such chemistry, or that Kin and I would still be such dear friends after all these years.”
John Stamos (ex-Blackie)
“Kin is a soap opera legend. He’s like a magnet who constantly attracts and encourages new and interesting and talented people. He’s one in a million.”
Maura West (Ava)
“Kin is an absolute icon in this genre. I just think so highly of him and working with him is such a pleasure. We have a really good time together and we appreciate the same things, like old movies. At AS THE WORLD TURNS [where West played Carly], we didn’t work together, but he and Martha Byrne [ex-Lily] and I would sometimes grab a bite to eat on our way home. In New York City, Brad Pitt could walk down the street and people are not going to bother — it’s New York! But Kin could not walk four steps through Grand Central Station without someone going, ‘Scotty Baldwin! Hey, Scotty!’ I mean, he is beloved. People can’t contain their joy around him! He makes people happy. What’s better than that?”
Jon Lindstrom (Kevin)
“A tribute to Kin? God help us. There’s going to be no living with him now. ‘Forty years of Kin Shriner.’ Almost sounds like an ailment. But seriously, a career of any length in show business is impressive. Forty years of a successful career in show business is nearly impossible! So … how did he do it?
He did it by being an original. He did it by making Scotty Baldwin a watchable, entertaining and (this is the kicker) unpredictable character. Never mind that he is always fun to be with, whether on set or in the makeup room. Kin could ingratiate his way into the hardest and coldest of hearts.
My favorite memory of Kin is my very first. I met him on my first series (RITUALS, anyone remember that one?), and on my first day, he took me out to lunch with some of the other cast members. He would do that for newcomers, because he knew it wasn’t easy to come into a show where friendships and alliances had already been established, and he wanted to help smooth a young actor’s way in. Never mind that he also made me late coming back! I said, ‘Gee, I think I should get back. I’m first up after lunch.’ And Kin said, ‘Just tell them you were with me.’ I’m not sure he meant that as anything more than a joke. Kin is naturally very funny, but when I got back to set, late, and certain I was about to be fired halfway through my first day, I exclaimed, ‘I was with Kin!’ The stage manager relayed that info via his headset to the control booth. He listened for a moment, then looked at me and replied, ‘Okay, don’t worry about it.’ And we went on and finished the day.
Years later, I found myself on PORT CHARLES with him as romantic rivals for Lucy Coe’s affections. He was still taking new actors to lunch on their first day, still ingratiating himself with the toughest crew members, all by virtue of being Kin. He’s been one of the most predominate figures in my own career … and my life. And I’m very grateful for that; for the laughs, for the work, for the example he set.
Now, I always try to take a young actor to lunch and help smooth their way in.”
Wally Kurth (Ned)
“Forty years! Wow. I just love Kin. He’s funny, he’s genuine. He’s an icon! Kin is a really good actor who is always working on his material, reworking the dialogue if need be, trying to bring something great to the table. He is an actor who still cares, he’s a good man, and I am proud to stand alongside him.”
Carly Schroeder (Serena)
“I was on a farm in Indiana and Kin saw a commercial that I was on and had me flown up to California to audition to play his daughter on PORT CHARLES. So if it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be an actress — I would be farming corn right now! Having Kin as my dad on the show was probably the best thing I had going for me. He was like my best friend growing up. He was very easy for me to relate to; he has a childlike way of looking at the world. He’s always very curious, very excited and loves to explore.
I have so many great memories of Kin. He would bust me out of school on set and we’d run to the commissary to get ice cream swirls. He taught me how to play basketball. He got me certified to scuba dive at 10. We had so much fun together. I think he never had to have kids because he had me! I was plenty enough for him to try and keep track of.
Kin kind of raised me. I don’t want to say he ‘brought me out of my shell’ because I was a very rambunctious child, but he kind of shaped me into who I am — and I’m very much like him. When we got back together on set [at GH], people were staring at us, because we would pick up our drink and drink at the same time, we would move our feet at the same time. I use the same hand expressions as him. And I am the only one who’s allowed to touch his hair. Even Maurice was like, ‘Who’s this little blonde girl who gets to touch your hair?!’
I will always text him on Father’s Day and text him on his birthday. I will always love him!”
Martha Byrne (ex-Lily, AS THE WORLD TURNS)
“I was a big fan of his before I knew him; I liked to remind him when we started working together that I was in grammar school during the Luke and Laura wedding, just to bust his chops a bit. When he came to AS THE WORLD TURNS [as Keith, 2005-06], we just bonded immediately. He is probably my favorite person to ever cross paths with in all the years that I’ve worked because his friendship and loyalty are so pure and so genuine. He’s the kind of friend who makes you feel like you’re the most important person in the room — and he can do that with 10 people in the same room! He is just a very special person; I’ve never met anyone who has a bad word to say about him. The women who’ve worked with him adore him. We laughed our asses off working together. He was wacky, he was up for anything, and that started a friendship that has grown over the years.
Kin has become an iconic personality. He’s recognized everywhere I go with him. People relate to him. He’s so alive on camera, so present. He never does a scene the same way twice, and to be an actor working opposite him is a joy. He has worked with actors who can play ball with him — Tony Geary [ex-Luke] and Genie, Maurice Benard, Roger Howarth [Franco], Maura — and I can only assume that they feel the same way that I do, which is that when you work with Kin, you know you’re going to have something good at the end of the scene, something worth watching. He is protective of his character and of the show, and his passion shows in his performances. He still cares as much as he did 40 years ago.”
Jacklyn Zeman (Bobbie)
“I love Kin on the set as well as off the set. His sense of humor is amazing. His core values are impeccable. He’s fun to be with. He’s a gentleman and a giving person. He can express his emotions and how he feels, and that is unusual in a man. I have always felt a great connection with him, from the time we were 24 years old, riding around on his motorcycle. When I started on the show, we spent time together outside of work — and we still do — and got to know each other really well. We had a brother/sister kind of thing. We never dated, but it was such a strong connection over the years that I feel like we’re family.
When it comes to bringing Scott to life, he’s very quirky. He’s not predictable. He’s just naturally funny; it’s in his genes. But he also thinks about it, thinks about how to bring humor to the work. He does things in the most dramatic moments where you go, ‘Who else would do that?!’ But it works!
For a lot of people, after working for so long, it can be, ‘Come in, learn your lines, hit your mark, moving on.’ But Kin truly loves acting, and when he gets a new script, he gets really excited and really passionate. His heart is so in it 40 years later. After thousands of pages of dialogue, after thousands of episodes, he remains emotionally invested and really cares about what he’s doing, and it shows.”