Actor Maurice Benard, born Mauricio Morales, brings his own deeply personal experiences, both high and low, to the portrayal of Sonny, adding color, menace and seduction to an already intricate character. He first appeared in the role on August 13, 1993.
Mr. Benard's multi-cultural upbringing began in San Francisco, where he was born to parents from Nicaragua and San Salvador. Uninspired by the traditional education route, he gleaned an education in the open job market after high school. He began modeling in his early twenties. Following that, Mr. Benard took up acting in numerous theatrical productions in the Bay area.
After auditioning for a role on the ABC drama All My Children, Mr. Benard was cast as Nico Kelly. Two years later, he struck out to find new challenges and moved to Los Angeles, where he was cast as the lead in the much-publicized TV movie, Lucy and Desi: Before the Laughter. He later added a pivotal role in the feature film Ruby to several other prominent film and television credits.
Mr. Benard has been a popular voice in the battle against bipolar disorder. He has been very open about his personal battle with the illness, appearing on television programs such as The View, Entertainment Tonight, and Oprah. He has also been featured in People and LA Life magazines. He also began working with the National Mental Health Association (NMHA) on the "Bipolar Disorder: Do You Know It?" campaign to help educate Americans about the importance of recognizing the signs and symptoms of bipolar disorder.
Mr. Benard lives in the Hollywood Hills area of Southern California. He enjoys the martial arts, working out and playing host to a menagerie of dogs and cats. He and his wife, Paula, are the proud parents of daughters Cailey Sofia and Cassidy Rose and son Joshua James.
PLACE OF BIRTH: San Francisco, CA
DATE OF BIRTH: March 1, 1963
MARITAL STATUS: Married, Paula Smith (August 11, 1990)
CHILDREN: Daughter, Cailey Sophia [Sep 18, 1994]; Daughter, Cassidy Rose [Apr 18, 1999]; Son, Joshua James [Dec 5, 2004]