Laura Wright as Carly Corinthos Jacks
|General Hospital character|
|First appearance||April 8, 1996|
|Created by||Claire Labine
Robert Guza, Jr.
|Introduced by||Wendy Riche|
|Book appearances||The Secret Life of Damian Spinelli|
|Aliases||Caroline "Carly" Roberts|
657 Harbor View Road
Port Charles, New York
Sarah Joy Brown as Carly Corinthos
Tamara Braun as Carly Corinthos
Caroline Leigh "Carly" Corinthos Jacks (née Benson; previously Quartermaine and Alcazar) is fictional character from ABC Daytime soap opera, General Hospital. The role was originated by Sarah Brown who portrayed Carly from 1996 to 2001. Brown was then replaced by Tamara Braun who vacated the role in 2005. Braun was replaced by a short lived recast before Laura Wright assumed the role in the fall of 2005.
Created by co-writers, Robert Guza, Jr., Karen Harris, Patrick Mulcahey and Claire Labine, Carly is a "love to hate" character who constantly brings excitement to storylines because of her devious ways. Carly is the illegitimate daughter of reformed bad girl, Bobbie Spencer given up during Bobbie's time as a teenage prostitute. Since the character's 1996 introduction, Carly has become one of the show's most prominent, vital, and popular characters largely due to her romantic pairing with Sonny Corinthos, and her friendship with Jason Morgan. Carly's destruction of Bobbie's marriage and her near lethal vendetta against A.J. Quartermaine, biological father of her son, Michael remains two of the most revered, controversial and discussed story arcs in the show's history.
Soaps In Depth hailed the character as "the hellcat viewers loved to hate as well as the underdog they couldn't help but love." By the time of Brown's departure, the once "duplicitous vixen" had developed into a "woman who would do positively anything to protect her child and the man she loves." Carly's "shady" agenda upon her introduction is reminiscent of Bobbie's days as a schemer in the late 1970s.
Casting and creation
The role was originated on April 8, 1996 by Sarah Joy Brown, who "quickly became an overnight sensation" and received three Daytime Emmy Awards for her portrayal of Carly. She won for Outstanding Younger Actress in 1997 and 1998, was nominated in 1999, and won again for Outstanding Supporting Actress in 2000. Brown appeared on the cover of Soap Opera Digest 19 times during her run in the role, and won two Soap Opera Digest Awards in 1998 (Younger Lead Actress) and 2000 (Favorite Actress).
In January 2000, it was reported that Brown would be exiting General Hospital when her contract was over in March of that year. Brown's character was put in an important storyline and the show had already lost several of its actors, including Jonathan Jackson (Lucky) and Steve Burton (Jason). Brown agreed to stay for one year and General Hospital began to create an exit in December 2000 if Brown decided not to renew her contract. Gina Tognoni was rumored to replace Brown. Brown decided to stay with the series for a month. "My contract expired today, but I will stay with the show 4 more weeks to wrap it all up for them," she said. "I am not leaving because of money issues or contract issues. I am leaving because my heart is telling me I'm done." She departed the series on April 23, 2001.
Fans protested Brown's departure, and sent emails to Jill Farren Phelps in an effort to get the actress rehired. However, actress Tamara Braun was hired as Brown's replacement. She first aired on-screen on May 2, 2001. In a November 11, 2001 interview with Soap Opera Digest, Braun commented on being a high profile recast: "I really didn't know about the uproar, which was good. But I was informed about it before I started working. I thought to myself, 'Holy guacamole ... I'm going into something here. But all I can do is the best that I can.' I think on some level, a lot of people were waiting for me to fail." During her tenure, Braun was the first actress to play Carly to take the character into the lead actress category, garnering herself a Daytime Emmy Award nomination for Lead Actress. Braun didn't win, however, she did bring the character of Carly into a different strata in terms of the character's place on the soap. For the first time Carly would be considered in the same league as General Hospital's other lead females such as Laura Spencer, Felicia Jones, and Bobbie Spencer.
In early 2005, speculation grew over Braun's possibly future with the soap due to previous Brown's exit from CBS Daytime's As the World Turns. In February 2005, it was announced that Braun was cast out in the role of Carly, due to her decision not to renew her contract with the show. In March, it was announced that actress Jennifer Bransford was hired as the third actress to portray the role of Carly, replacing Braun. Melrose Place actress Jamie Luner was also up for the role of Carly, but lost out to Bransford.
Braun departed the role on April 15, 2005, with Bransford assuming the role on April 18, 2005. Phelps released a statement on the recast: "[The audience] will eventually accept a new Carly, especially if Maurice is determined to make it work." During Bransford's tenure, Shayne Lamas also portrayed the role as a teenager in several flashbacks. In September 2005, rumors arose that Brasnford had been let out of her contract with the show. Weeks later, it was confirmed that Bransford was let go from the show. A representative from General Hospital released in a statement, Jennifer's casting in the role of Carly did not work out. [...] She is a consummate actress and she's good at what she does. We wish her all the best in her future endeavors." Following Bransford's exit, rumors began to arise that CBS Daytime actress Laura Wright, who was at the time portraying Cassie Layne Winslow on Guiding Light was planned to takeover the role of Carly.
On September 12, 2005, ABC made an official announcement confirmed that Wright had been cast as the fourth actress to portray the role as Carly. ABC Daytime executive Brian Frons stated in a statement, "Carly is a complex character, and we are excited to bring Laura's talent, beauty and intelligence to this role. [...] Fans can look forward to high drama between Sonny, Carly and Alcazar this fall." In a statement, Wright said:
|“||As sad as I am to leave a wonderful place that I called home for a long time, it is time for me to go," Wright said. "This was not an easy decision. But my husband and I talked about it and we said, 'What the Hell! Let's live on the West Coast for a few years!'||”|
In 2009, Wright announced through her official Twitter page that she had signed a four-year contract with the series, ensuring her stay as Carly until sometime in 2013. Wright's new four-year deal, when completed, ensured her to become the longest actress to portray the character for a total of eight years. At the fan club weekend in July 2013, Wright confirmed she had signed another four-year deal with the series. Should she fulfill the contract, it ensures her stay with the series until 2017, a total of 12 years time.
In 2011, after 20 years on soaps, Wright was nominated for a Daytime Emmy Award for her portrayal of Carly in the Outstanding Lead Actress category. Wright won the award at the 38th Daytime Emmy Awards. Wright was later nominated again in the Lead Actress category for the 39th Daytime Emmy Awards. She lost the award to Heather Tom for her portrayal of Katie Logan Spencer on The Bold and the Beautiful.
|“||If you mess with Carly, be prepared to pay the consequences. Having once held her own as the wife of a mob boss, she now lives by her own rules. And while she makes life miserable for those who've betrayed her, those closest to her have her undying loyalty.||”|
Carly represents a modern archetype in soap opera, of mysterious outsiders with secret blood ties to core characters. To drive the plot forward, they often ingratiate themselves to their birth parent's family, only to cause destructive havoc later on, as revenge for their perceived abandonment. Her predecessors in this can be seen first in Donna Ludlow of EastEnders, and then Kendall Hart of All My Children.
In 1999, writer Patrick Mulcahey noted that the character of Carly had been somewhat of a work in progress at first. "Worse yet, we the writers didn't really know what Carly was supposed to be," he said. "That may sound like a horrifying confession, but in daytime, a successful character is always a collaboration between the writers and the actor." Mulcahey said the writers discussed who they felt Carly, as a character, is and that "the actor finds certain other decisions have to be made and makes them, sparks fly between the actor and another actor, we see what's happening on-screen and start playing around with it in the writing- that's how a character takes shape". He further stated:
Carly was different. We were afraid of her. I started [on the show] right around the time Sarah did, but it's my understanding that there was quite a hullabaloo about Carly before she was ever cast. I was told a writer (the one I think I replaced) had even quit over it. The issue was this: Carly was coming to Port Charles for the purpose of haunting Bobbie and making her life miserable, out of supposed anger at having been 'abandoned' by her. But of course, she wasn't abandoned, she was given up for adoption, and the network and producers were rightly concerned that we might be 'sending the message' (that phrase that soap writers dread) either that adopted children were hateful and full of rage, or that their adoptive parents were neglectful or otherwise inadequate enough to instill this smoldering resentment of being adopted in their kids... I need not go on. The pitfalls are obvious, and I imagine Bob [Guza, the headwriter] promised Wendy [Riche, the executive producer] and ABC that we had no intention of falling into them.
Carly is born off-screen on November 5, 1973 in Jacksonville, Florida to a 16 year old Bobbie Spencer; Bobbie, a teen prostitute, is forced to give up her baby. Carly is adopted by Frank and Virginia Benson as Caroline Leigh Benson, in Pensacola, Florida. Frank abandons Caroline and Virginia shortly after. As a teen, she is best friends with Charlotte "Carly" Roberts. Carly's father Dan manipulates Caroline into sleeping with him and Carly's parents end up divorcing. Caroline is devastated when Carly is killed in a car crash. After discovering her true heritage, Caroline comes to town in order to get revenge on her biological mother, for giving her away.
Caroline arrives in Port Charles in April 1996 under the name Carly Roberts, in honor of her best friend. Carly sets her sights on Bobbie's husband, Dr. Tony Jones. While she falls for Tony, Carly begins a friendship with Jason Morgan, and the two also sleep together. After a fight with Tony in April 1997, she has a one-night-stand with Jason's alcoholic brother, A. J. Quartermaine. She learns she is pregnant and convinces Jason to claim the baby as his; she gives birth in December 1997 and the baby is named Michael Morgan after Jason's best friend, mob boss, Sonny Corinthos. In February 1998, Virginia comes to Port Charles during Michael's christening and Carly's true identity is revealed. Tony kidnaps Michael to protect him from Jason and Sonny's mob lifestyle. When Tony manages to beat the kidnapping charges, Carly snaps and shoots him in court; she is then sent to a mental hospital. Jason helps her get released. Fed up with Carly being so dependent on Jason, his girlfriend, Robin Scorpio tells A.J. that he is Michael's father. Carly plans to a future with Jason while she and A.J. marry on May 26, 1999. In November 1999, after Carly witnesses a close moment between Jason and Elizabeth Webber, she and Sonny sleep together and she ends up pregnant.
Sonny blackmails A.J. into signing over his parental rights to Michael and granting Carly a divorce. He hangs him on a meat hook until he agrees to it. Carly and A.J. have a huge fight on the Quartermaine staircase and she falls and suffers a miscarriage in May 2000, of course Carly says A.J. pushed her. Carly and Sonny bond after this, and they marry in September 2000 so she can't testify against him in court. In 2001, after Carly tries to force him out of the mob, Sonny files for divorce. Carly then witnesses his tryst with Alexis Davis and is presumed dead in a car accident. After Carly returns, the couple reconciles, and remarries, only for Sonny's vengeful half-brother, Ric Lansing to drug Carly and make it look like they've slept together. In late 2003, Ric kidnaps a pregnant Carly only for her to escape and be taken hostage by Sonny's rival, Lorenzo Alcazar. Alcazar assists Carly in giving birth to Morgan and Sonny mistakenly shoots her in the head, instead of his intended target Alcazar, leaving her in a coma. Carly recovers and in the spring of 2004, she meets her biological father, prosecutor John Durant who is looking to send Sonny and Alcazar to prison. She falls in love with and marries Alcazar, choosing him over Sonny, much to the dismay of her new best friend Courtney, Sonny's half sister. Alexis confesses to Carly, when the two are trapped in an elevator together and thought they would die, that Sonny is Kristina's father not Ned. Carly keeps mum about Kristina's paternity fearing she will lose Sonny. When Alexis' daughter Kristina Davis is deathly ill, Carly reveals that Sonny is the girl's father. Sonny angry over the betrayal files for divorce. Despite their impending divorce, Carly stands up as Kristina's godmother.
In February 2005, A.J. and Faith Rosco kidnap Michael and his siblings, and Michael is presumed dead. Meanwhile, Sonny's new girlfriend Reese Marshall is revealed to be Carly's presumed dead friend, Charlotte. In June 2005, Carly marries Alcazar to spite Sonny, but the union is short lived. The combined stress causes Carly to suffer a nervous breakdown, and she is sent to Shadybrook for psychiatric care. Afterwards, Carly begins rebuilding her life and starts working at the Metro Court Hotel that she co-owns with Jasper Jacks. In 2006, her best friend, Courtney Matthews, (Sonny's sister and Jason ex-wife) dies giving birth to her son, John. Carly offers to help Jax (Courtney's ex-husband) raise the baby. Later, Robin reveals that John's biological father is actually Nikolas Cassadine with whom Courtney was having an affair. Carly and Jax bond over losing John and become engaged. However, their wedding is put on hold when Carly again must marry Sonny to keep from testifying against him in court. Meanwhile, Jax's estranged brother, Jerry Jacks holds the guests in the hotel hostage and then blows up the lobby. After surviving the ordeal, Carly and Sonny make love, only for Carly to proceed with the divorce and marry Jax in April 2007. In September 2007, after her nanny Leticia Juarez is found murdered, Carly attempts to lure out the killer during the Black & White Ball, and is nearly killed. The killer is soon revealed to be Carly's former stepson, Diego Alcazar. Carly becomes pregnant, but miscarries after she and Michael get caught in an explosion in March 2008. Later, Michael is shot and rendered comatose after a botched hit on Sonny. Carly seduces Sonny into signing over his parental rights to both Michael and Morgan. After Jax discovers their tryst, he has an affair with Kate Howard. They reconcile and Carly learns she is pregnant, only for Michael to wake up from his coma with severe anger issues. Due to Carly's high risk pregnancy, Michael moves in temporarily with the Quartermaines. In October 2009, at Sonny's wife Claudia's birthday party, it is revealed that Claudia was behind the botched hit that put Michael in a coma, and she kidnaps Carly at gunpoint just as Carly goes into labor. Claudia helps Carly deliver her daughter, Josslyn and then attempts to steal the infant, but Michael to accidentally kill her. While everyone covers up Michael's part in the murder, Carly kicks Jax out of their home after learning that he knew of Jerry and Claudia's involvement in the shooting.
In 2010, when Sonny is arrested for Claudia's murder, Michael is sent into hiding. After Sonny's son, detective, Dante Falconeri brings Michael back to Port Charles, Michael confesses to killing Claudia and is sentenced to 5 years in prison. Carly then pays Brook Lynn Ashton to seduce Dante for revenge, but her plan fails. Distraught over Michael's sentencing, Carly and Sonny have sex again, and her marriage to Jax begins to implode. Carly continues her crusade against Dante when Michael admits to being raped in prison. Meanwhile, Jax & Sonny's longtime love Brenda Barrett returns and Carly tries to blackmail her into leaving town, threatening to reveal her supposed lovechild with Dante; although her theory is wrong, the revelation puts a strain on Dante and Lulu's relationship. When Jason's enemy Franco resurfaces, threatening his family, Carly get a new bodyguard Shawn Butler, much to Jax's displeasure. Meanwhile, Carly eventually accepts Michael's relationship with ex-stripper, Abby, who helps him come to terms with his rape. When Jax bribes a court official to get custody of Josslyn, Carly turns to Sonny who plants drugs in Jax's hotel room and Carly is granted full custody. Jax tries to skip town with Josslyn, but changes his mind and lets Shawn take her back to Carly. Sonny sabotages Jax is plane leading everyone to believe he is dead. Shawn comforts a devastated Carly, who sends Morgan to military school to keep him away from Sonny. She later learns that Jax is alive but keeps the secret to protect him from Sonny. On New Year's Eve, Michael, distraught over Abby's sudden death reveals that Jax is alive. In 2012, Carly gives up pursuing Shawn and gets involved with Johnny Zacchara, grateful to him for keeping Michael out of the mob. She is shocked when she finds Johnny in bed with a mentally ill Kate Howard. Johnny explains that Kate's alternate personality, Connie backed him into a corner, and they reconcile despite warnings from everyone, including her new friend Todd Manning, that Johnny will hurt her again. In order to move forward with Johnny, Carly divorces Jax, but Johnny is blackmailed into marrying Connie. Heartbroken, Carly confronts Todd over his knowing of the marriage, and expresses her deep hurt for divorcing Jax in favor of her relationship with Johnny. Carly is further devastated by Jason's death. She is then shocked to discover A. J. Quartermaine is alive. Todd and Carly later make love and become a couple briefly, before Carly ends things with him after the truth about him and the baby switch comes out.
On April 2, 2013, Jax returned to reveal that he and Carly are still legally married since the paperwork can't be found, but they sign the papers so that Jax can marry Brenda, but Jax and Brenda end up not getting married. In June 2013, after Franco comes back from the dead, Sonny, Carly, and Shawn plot his murder, but Sonny calls it off. Carly disobeys these orders, and plans for Frnaco to get shot at their 'date' at the MetroCourt. Sonny spots Carly with Franco, and goes over to see why they are together. Olivia has a vision of Sonny having blood all over his shirt, and runs to save him. Shawn accidentally shoots Olivia. Or so is thought.
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