Gold Star: Max Gail (Mike)
Mike’s memory loss led to an unforgettable performance by Max Gail
GENERAL HOSPITAL’s Mike is a proud man whose memory is failing him. As he lost both his girlfriend and his independence, portrayer Max Gail dove into the character’s anger, fear and confusion to win this week’s Gold Star.
A Devastating Blow
When Mike came downstairs, he tried to play it cool, even laughing off the idea that Rita had broken up with him. Once Carly revealed that his girlfriend knew he was sick, his energy shifted. Stunned, he stumbled to call Rita, only to have Carly explain that she’d walked away from his disease. Mike looked her in the eye, as if hoping he’d heard wrong, and then looked at Sonny. As reality hit, his eyes welled up, and he lowered himself to the couch to cry. “What am I supposed to do now?” he whimpered.
At first, Sonny was able to get Mike to laugh through his tears, and it seemed he’d agree to move into the Corinthos manse. Instead, Mike pulled himself together and refused the offer. As he liter-
ally backed away, Gail played both his character’s desperation and gratitude. But when Sonny pushed, Mike pushed back. And Carly’s softer approach didn’t play any better. Mike tried to negotiate and make his getaway before falling on his guilt over the father he’d been.
Thanks to Gail’s incredible chemistr y with Maurice Benard — not to mention Sonny’s impatient barbs! — the scene escalated quickly. With Mike in defensive mode, he vacillated between smiling awkwardly, fighting tears and angrily attacking his son. One minute, he was suggesting that his death would be a gift to Sonny; the next, he was begging to go home. With Carly playing peacekeeper between the volatile pair, Sonny finally mentioned calling in a judge, and Gail let his character’s voice fill with fury.
With one word, however, everything shifted. Mike laughed angrily that he didn’t need Sonny’s people watching over him… because he had Tammy’s help! When Carly and Sonny balked, fear filled Mike’s eyes as he searched his brain for Rita’s name. Gail played the excruciating confusion perfectly as Mike begged Carly to explain. His defenses down, Mike became calmer. He was even able to empathize with Rita. “What’s happening to me now?” he asked, finally accepting his fate.
A Performance To Remember
Unaware he had just thrown a huge fit over moving in, Mike fell into the same debate yet again. This time, however, it was heartbreakingly easy for Carly to convince him to let family take care of family. With the issue resolved, Mike — having been through a whirlwind he couldn’t even remember — was suddenly tired. As he went to his room with a smile and a chuckle, we were left in awe of Gail’s painful performance.
Gail’s portrayal of Sonny’s father was painfully real.