People across the nation are celebrating the fact that October is finally here (pumpkins and sweaters and Halloween, oh my!), but the thing that makes today extra special for General Hospital fans is the fact that it marks Kelly Monaco's 15th anniversary playing Sam McCall.
The popular actress made her debut on this day in 2003 in a story that had Samantha arriving in Port Charles in search of a set of cards called the "Dead Man's Hand," which had brought her family years of bad luck.
Fortunately for Monaco, her run on GH has given her the opposite fortune from the one the "Dead Man's Hands" brought to the McCall clan; the Pennsylvania native quickly became a fan-favorite in the soap opera world and even garnered a Daytime Emmy nomination for her work as Sam in 2006.
"Please join me in recognizing the wonderful Kelly Monaco as she celebrates her 15th anniversary here on General Hospital," tweeted the series' executive producer, Frank Valentini, in honor of the actress' noteworthy anniversary.
Monaco's costar Billy Miller (Drew Cain), who is celebrating four years at the ABC soap opera, also honored the actress' GH anniversary with a heartfelt message about what makes his Port Charles cohort so special.
"Kelly's commitment is to be admired as one of the hardest workers in the building. She's always looking to improve," he shares. "In a medium that demands so many hours of hard work and emotional toll, many of us in soap operas do not want to spend more time offstage to stretch and grow as performers. Kelly continues to go to class, even during heavy work weeks. She will ask to go through scenes over the weekend or during vacation breaks. She has guilt-tripped me into many such study sessions -- the scenes, and I, were always better for it. You can find Kelly in her dressing room hours before her call time and she is known to stay many hours after she finishes her day, all because she wants to get it right for the show, for her co-workers, and for the fans."
He continues: "To act is a privilege not to be taken for granted, especially on a show as iconic as General Hospital, which has entertained generations of fans. I hope Kelly understands that 15 years is quite a feat and that she is interwoven into the fabric that makes GH so special."
#BillyMiller's tribute to Kelly Monaco in celebration of her 15th #GH anniversary was beautiful. One can spend more time with co-workers than family, so when a friendship like this is forged it's invaluable. He speaks of her with such reverence and love. ❤️. #DreamGH pic.twitter.com/TOCL9NEkrE- ryan. 🧜🏾♂️ (@SourceRyan) September 28, 2018
As Soap Central previously reported, Monaco was recently sidelined by a hip surgery she opted to undergo after suffering extreme pain for most of the time she's been playing Samantha.
"After over a decade of suffering from chronic, excruciating pain from a torn labrum in my hip, I have finally taken the first steps in bettering my health and myself," she shared in August. "Looking forward to many positive changes coming soon!"
Would you like to congratulate Monaco on 15 years as GH's Sam McCall? What are your favorite memories from her time as the Port Charles character? We want to hear from you -- and there are many ways you can share your thoughts.