It's hard to imagine now, but 30 years ago -- back in 1991 -- General Hospital star John J. York (Mac Scorpio) was a regular Joe, working at the Cheesecake Factory and dreaming of a better life as he and his wife, Vicki, prepared for the birth of their daughter, Schyler, who was due in two months. He had recently auditioned for the role of Mac and was hoping beyond hope that this could be the role that sent him to stardom.
"I was working as a waiter at The Cheesecake Factory and I remember getting the phone call like it happened just a couple days ago," York shares with Soap Opera Digest. "I was waiting a lunch shift and I'd bring someone out some cake or some coffee and then I'd go back into the kitchen area and check my answering machine and there were no messages and I was feeling sad, thinking, 'Ah, I didn't get it, I'd have gotten a phone call by now.' I remember bringing the check out to some gals who came in kind of regularly and they said, 'Are you okay? You seem kind of down.' I said, 'I was expecting a phone call, but it's no big deal.' I finished up, filled up all the ketchup bottles and the salt and pepper shakers, got in my car and drove home, and by the time I got there, there were like 13 messages on my machine. It was very exciting. And here we are, 30 years later. It's crazy!"
York also recalls one of the stages of his audition process with then-executive producer Gloria Monty.
"An actor would go in to read in her office while the next actor would wait in her outer office," he recalls. "I was sitting there and it just seemed like forever; the actor before me was in there for 15, 20 minutes. I'm thinking, 'They must love this guy!' Finally, they called me in, I read the scene with Mark [Teschner, casting director] and she looks at me and says, 'Good, very good.' And that was it, like, 'Good-bye!' I was like, 'Wait a minute! I don't want to leave, I can do better! You just spent 20 minutes with that other actor!' But I guess she meant it when she said, 'Good, very good.' Gloria was always very supportive."
Even though Mac is rarely front and center at GH, the writers have given the character some pretty memorable stories over the past three decades, including a critically acclaimed romance with Felicia (Kristina Wagner) that started with a sponge bath in a barn ("We had a blast!" York reports); guiding Robin (Kimberly McCullough) when she developed HIV from her boyfriend Stone (Michael Sutton); nearly burning to death in a fire at the Port Charles Hotel; and dealing with the death of his stepdaughter Georgie (Linze Letherman), who was slain by the Text Message Killer.
Says York, "General Hospital has just been such an amazing gift, and I can never live up to the enormity of what this job has meant to me. It's very special."
For more from York on his 30th anniversary at GH, check out SOD's full interview with the actor here.
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