Maurice Benard as Sonny Corinthos
|General Hospital character|
|Portrayed by||Maurice Benard|
|First appearance||August 13, 1993|
|Created by||Bill Levinson|
|Introduced by||Wendy Riche|
|Book appearances||Robin's Diary
The Secret Life of Damian Spinelli
GH: Night Shift
120 Harbor View Road
Port Charles, New York
Michael "Sonny" Corinthos Jr. is a fictional character on the ABC soap opera General Hospital. Maurice Benard has played the role, that of a manic depressive mob kingpin living in Port Charles, since the character's storyline originated on August 13, 1993. Sonny is also known for supercouple pairings with Brenda Barrett and Carly Benson.
The role of Sonny Corinthos originated in the final weeks of Bill Levinson's tenure as head writer, in August 1993, prior to Levinson's replacement by Claire Labine. The role was originally intended as a six-month stint. After four years with the series, Benard vacated the role on September 24, 1997. After a brief return in the Spring of 1998, Benard returned to the role full-time on December 18, 1998.
Benard was nominated for several Daytime Emmy Awards, including the Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor (1996, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2011) only winning in 2003. Benard was also nominated in the Supporting Actor category in 1997. Benard also won two Soap Opera Digest Awards for Outstanding Lead Actor in 1996 and 2003.
Like the character of Sonny, Maurice Benard also suffers from bipolar disorder. Benard stated, "When I let it be known I was bipolar, we wrote it into the character." During 2006, Corinthos had an onscreen breakdown due to his bipolar disorder. The parallels between the story and Benard's real life experiences had Benard believing he was having his own "fourth break down," though Benard credits staying on his medication as keeping him grounded. His willingness to integrate his real life medical condition into Sonny's storylines have raised visibility of the disease, leading to Benard appearing on shows such as The Oprah Winfrey Show to discuss the disease as well as being the spokesman for the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance.
The name of Michael "Sonny" Corinthos, as well as his occupation, is a reference to The Godfather characters Michael Corleone and Santino "Sonny" Corleone. These characters have a sister named Connie Corleone, which is alluded to in Kate Howard's real name, Connie Falconeri. Similarities have also been noted between Sonny and Tony Soprano from The Sopranos and the characters that surround them both. Vincent Pastore, who portrayed Big Pussy Bonpensiero on The Sopranos, came on the show to portray Maximus Giambetti, father of Sonny's bodyguards Milo Giambetti and Max Giambetti.
Benard has described Sonny as "unpredictable," and stated that: "You never know from one second to the next what he is thinking, feeling or planning. He's a man in personal conflict who maintains an outward appearance of calm at all times, at any cost." 
Michael “Sonny” Corinthos Jr. is born on April 20, 1969 in the blue-collar Bensonhurst neighborhood of Brooklyn. His father, Michael “Mike” Corinthos Sr. is of Irish and Greek descent and his mother Adela is Cuban. Due to his gambling addiction, Mike believes Sonny would be better off without him and he abandons him and he later divorces his wife and changes his surname to Corbin to hide from loan sharks, according to Sonny. During his time away from Sonny he would have a child with another woman named Janine Matthews and the child's name was Courtney Matthews. Mike would not see Sonny again until he Sonny was an adult.
In 1984 Sonny would have a short relationship with Olivia Falconeri which would lead to the birth of his illegitimate son Dante Falconeri. Olivia kept this a secret from Sonny due to violence that was in Sonny's life. Sonny would not find out Dante was his son until he shot him in January 2010. After his relationship with Olivia, Sonny with move on with her cousin Connie Falconeri (aka Kate Howard) and was planning on spending the rest of his life with her. Connie promised that she would never leave Sonny, but would later leave him after she was raped by Joe Scully Jr. and she change her name to Kate Howard ; and said she was born in Connecticut instead of her birthplace in Bensonhurst. This would make Sonny more depressive and would get him deeper in the mob world under the influence of Joe Scully Sr.
Adela later becomes involved with her boss, attorney Trevor Lansing. When Adela is pregnant with their son Ric Lansing, she accidentally falls down a flight of stairs and Trevor blames young Sonny for the accident. Trevor forces Adela to choose between her sons, but Adela can’t bear to abandon Sonny, so she leaves Ric with Trevor. Adela later marries, Timothy Deacon “Deke” Woods, a police officer. Sonny and Adela are constantly abused by Deke both physically and mentally, including locking Sonny in a closet which eventually leads to his developing claustrophobia. When a beating from Deke lands Adela in the hospital, Sonny goes to criminal Joe Scully promising to work for him if he gets Deke away from his mother. After Deke is murdered, Sonny starts doing odd jobs for Scully despite planning to runaway with Connie after her 18th birthday and get a legitimate job in Trenton, New Jersey. However, on the night they are to leave, Connie suddenly disappears and Sonny starts working for Scully full-time. Scully favors Sonny much to the dismay of his son, Joe Jr. When Sonny is sent to Atlantic City to run a strip club, The Sea Breeze due Joe, Jr. ruining it, he befriends one of the strippers, Theresa who Joe, Jr. is infatuated with. In a jealous rage, Joe, Jr. kills Theresa and Scully helps him disappear. Sonny lies to the cops, one of which is Theresa's brother, then FBI agent, John McBain about the murder.
After the whole mess in Atlantic City, Sonny relocated to Port Charles in 1993, running a strip club for Frank Smith. He becomes involved with Karen Wexler and gets her addicted to drugs to get her to work for him. Meanwhile Sonny begins dating the young Brenda Barrett, the beginning of a popular Supercouple for the soap. He also befriends Stone Cates, Robin Scorpio and Frank's longtime employee, Luke Spencer. Brenda, who is more attracted to Sonny than to his mob ties, introduces him to an old Bensonhurst friend, Lois Cerullo, who needed Sonny's money to finance a record label, whose first artist is Lois's husband. The romance of Sonny and Brenda takes off amidst their new business relationship as partners of the record label, L&B. Sonny travels to Puerto Rico to work security for L&B's artist, Miguel Morez. Sonny travels to Puerto Rico and informs the locals that Miguel, a second artist on the L&B label, is under the protection of Frank Smith's organization. Miguel soon begins flirting with a now-model Brenda, which makes Sonny jealous. While Brenda and Miguel bond, Sonny opens up to her about his abusive childhood at the hands of his step-father, Deke. The two reconcile.
In November 1994, Luke kills Frank (to protect Sonny) and Sonny informs Frank's partner, Hernando Rivera, that he is taking over Frank's organization. Rivera kidnaps his daughter, Lily, and Miguel, Sonny and Brenda; they later escape and return to the U. S. After they are rushed to safety, Sonny plots his next move, pretending to leave the mafia.
Due to mafia ties, Sonny and Luke's club is blown up in 1995; that same night, Sonny discovers that Luke's driver, Mike Corbin, is actually his father, Michael Corinthos, Sr.. After Stone is diagnosed with AIDS, Sonny takes him in.
It is soon learned that Frank's son, Damian is actually working with Joe Scully to sabotage shipments from Deception cosmetics. Sonny is reticent to take action against Scully, as he is the man responsible for saving Sonny from his abusive step father. During a confrontation at the docks, Mike is shot, and Sonny kills Scully, who was attempting to finish Mike off. Scully's henchmen go after Brenda, Stone and the Spencers looking for revenge.
Later, Lily learns that Brenda is planning to record Sonny discussing his mob business and hand it over to the police (Mac Scorpio). Sonny furiously throws Brenda out and begins dating Lily, though they take their relationship slowly. Sonny wants to forgive Brenda because her intent was never to turn him in.
In November 1995, Stone dies from AIDS and his girlfriend Robin learns she has contracted HIV. After Stone's death, Sonny illegally pays for Stone's hospital bills. Sonny is arrested and Lily turns to her father, reconciling with him in exchange for his help. Rivera makes a deal that he will keep Sonny out of prison if he marries his daughter, Lily. Sonny marries Lily in February 1996. Lily realizes that Sonny still loves Brenda and offers a divorce. But Sonny refuses to leave Lily even when she offers him a divorce because he fears reprisals from Rivera, though he finds it hard to deny his feelings for Brenda. Instead, he takes Lily on a second honeymoon. After being trapped in an avalanche at a ski resort on the honeymoon, Brenda and Sonny agree to reconcile. But Lily reveals she's pregnant before Sonny can ask for a divorce. Brenda lets Sonny go acknowledging his need to be an available father. Sonny and Brenda kiss passionately and declare their undying love for each other. Much to Sonny's dismay, Brenda moves on with Jasper "Jax" Jacks.
While Jax and Brenda wed, Lily takes Sonny's car keys and starts the car, which activates the car bomb planted by Rivera to kill Sonny, instead killing Lily and the baby. Sonny later kills Rivera upon finding out and searches for her first child with Miguel, Juan Santiago. Upon Lily's death, Sonny inherited 30 million dollars, which he donated to General Hospital to create a hospital wing in Stone's name.
Jason Morgan, who has suffered brain damage after his brother A. J. Quartermaine injured him while driving drunk, sells Sonny his stock in his family's company, ELQ, and joins the Corinthos-Rivera Organization. Jason would later become Sonny's hitman and closest friend. Sonny becomes involved in the various intrigues at ELQ, as does Jax who is working with Ned's mother Tracy Quartermaine to take over the company. When Jax tries to gain control of ELQ through nefarious means, Sonny decides to go after him. Also, because he believes Jax is undeserving of Brenda.
On Jax and Brenda's re-marriage date, Sonny brings home Jax's undivorced wife, Miranda Jameson. After Jax leaves Brenda to make sense of it all, Brenda and Sonny reconcile. When attempting to save Brenda, Sonny is drugged. When Sonny is brought to the hospital, Sonny tells Brenda he loves her. Believing her marriage with Jax can work, she rejects Sonny. Lily's former lover, Harry Silver, arrives in town causing problems for Brenda and Sonny, leading Sonny to kill him. Fearing the mob life is too dangerous for him and Brenda, he offers to marry her and leave town together. Sonny declares that he loves his life and has worked hard for it, but he loves Brenda more. After a nightmare where Brenda is blown up in a car bomb, Sonny decides he'd rather lose Brenda than see her die. On September 22, 1997, Sonny sends Jason to the altar to end things for him, leading her to have a mental breakdown and reconcile with Jax. Sonny leaves town soon after his aborted wedding with Brenda.
Sonny returns to Port Charles in December 1998 and is devastated to learn Brenda died months before. He is later approached by Robin who wants help getting Carly Quartermaine, the wife of Jason's brother, A.J., away from Jason. He soon begins dating waitress, Hannah Scott who looks a lot like Brenda. Sonny is devastated to learn that his new love is actually an undercover FBI agent and he feeds her false information until November 1999 when he dumps her. Sonny and Carly later have a one-night-stand and she learns she is pregnant.
Sonny digs up dirt on A.J. and forced him into granting Carly a divorce and signing over his rights to their son Michael, whom A.J. had been threatening to take away. After Carly miscarries their child, she and Sonny bond and marry in September 2000; they renew their vows in February 2001 after realizing how much they love one another. Sonny divorces Carly after she tries to force him out of the mob and sleeps with his attorney, Alexis Davis. Sonny and Carly reconcile and remarry in June 2002. Meanwhile, A.J. marries Sonny long lost sister, Courtney Matthews hoping to use her to get Michael back. Luis Alcazar soon arrives in town and brings Brenda back to Port Charles. Luis, jealous of Brenda's past with Sonny nearly kills Sonny outside the church where she and Sonny almost married. Attorney, Ric Lansing after Jason and Brenda are accused of Luis's murder. Ric gets them acquitted and he soon reveals that he is Sonny's half-brother who was given up by their mother Adela. Ric blames Sonny for his wife Elizabeth's miscarriage, despite Faith Roscoe pushing her down the stairs, and kidnaps a pregnant Carly in the fall of 2003, planning to give the child to Elizabeth. Carly is rescued by Lorenzo Alcazar, Luis's brother who tries to use Carly as leverage against Sonny. When Sonny comes to rescue Carly, he accidentally shoots her and she falls into a coma shortly. Sonny begins an affair with Sam McCall who gets pregnant. Carly recovers and to keep her from learning about the affair, Sam moves in with Jason and pretends he is the father. Sonny and Carly after they realize they've both been keeping secrets; Carly had learned that Alexis's daughter, Kristina was actually Sonny's child. Sonny and Sam's daughter, Lila McCall is stillborn in November 2004 and her stem-cells are used to save a sick Kristina. A.J. with assistance from Faith Roscoe kidnaps Michael and fakes his death. Carly suffers a severe psychotic break and Sonny must have her committed. Michael is later rescued from A.J. Sonny begins a relationship with Jason's sister, Emily Quartermaine. They have been seeing each other secretly until Jason finds out about them two together. So Jason takes the matter to his own hands and forces Sonny to choose between his organization or Emily. Sonny chooses Emily and Jason relucantly takes over Sonny's business, leaving Sonny forced to retirement. Emily forces Sonny to confront his bipolar disorder. Fearing for Emily's safety, Sonny stages a kiss with Carly convincing Emily to leave him.
In February 2006, Courtney dies shortly after giving birth to her son, Spencer during an encephalitis outbreak. Sonny is very much jealous when he learns Carly and Jax have become engaged. In January 2007, after Carly witnesses Sonny shooting Lorenzo, he convinces her to marry him so she can't testify against him. In February 2007, guest at the Metro Court Hotel are taken hostage by James Craig, who is actually Jax's brother, Jerry Jacks, who has rigged the lobby to explode. Sonny tells Carly he still loves her and they make love after the hostage crisis, but she still divorces him to marry Jax. Sonny soon reconnects with his first love, Connie Falconeri now known as Kate Howard. Soon Ric's father, Trevor comes to town with Anthony Zacchara and his son, Johnny. After Diego Alcazar kills several citizens, including Sonny's nanny, Leticia and Emily, as revenge against Jason and Sonny, Kate rejects his marriage proposal fearing for her safety; in turn Sonny sleeps with Anthony's daughter, Claudia. Sonny's attempt to keep Michael away from the mob ends in tragedy when a botched hit puts Michael in a coma. Sonny decides he wants Jason to take over the organization and Carly forces Sonny to sign over his parental rights to Michael in order to keep him safe. Sonny and Kate get engaged and plan for a fall wedding. Sonny brings Kate's cousin, Olivia to town for the ceremony. Anthony shoots Kate at the altar and frames Andrei Karpov for the shooting; Sonny kills Karpov in November 2008. In December 2008, Sonny marries Claudia to get his power back while Jason warns that she may have been involved in Michael's shooting.
Sonny and Claudia actually bond and eventually make love. When Claudia realizes that Jason may reveal her secret, she attempts to get pregnant believing a child would save her life if Sonny ever discovers the truth. Michael recovers after a surgery and moves in with Sonny and Claudia, temporarily until to keep Carly from getting stressed during her high risk pregnancy. Claudia discovers she is pregnant but is ran off the road by a teenage Kristina and she miscarries. Sonny later hires Dominic Pirelli as the new bodyguard for his kids. Sonny begins to trust Dominic after he saves him from a bullet and Morgan from being hit by a speeding car. In October 2009, just before Claudia's birthday party, Jason informs Sonny that Claudia was indeed behind Michael's shooting and Sonny calls her out at the party. By the end of the night, Claudia is dead, thanks to Michael hitting her with an ax handle to stop her from stealing Carly's daughter, Josslyn. Sonny is willing to take the blame for the murder to protect Michael.
In January 2010, Sonny learns that Dominic (Dante) is actually an undercover cop and when he comes arrests him, Sonny shoots him. Sonny is shocked to learn that Dominic (Dante) is actually Olivia's son, Dante and also his son. Dante survives and his hatred for Sonny becomes even more evident. When Sonny is put on trial for Claudia's murder, Michael attempts to confess. Jason, Carly and Sonny send him to Sonny's island to keep him from confessing. Meanwhile, Jax determined to put Sonny away for good, brings in federal agent, Claire Walsh to prosecute Sonny. Sonny is devastated when Kristina is beaten and she claims Luke's son Ethan as her attacker. Sonny attempts to kill Ethan, but Dante stops him after a plea from Kristina. It is soon revealed that Kristina's real attacker was her boyfriend, Kiefer. In May 2010, as the verdict for Sonny's murder trial is about to be announced, Dante puts Michael on the stand. Sonny, Carly and Jason are devastated when Michael suddenly admits to Claudia's murder and he is sentenced to five years in prison. Kristina begins acting out and pretends to date Johnny Zacchara; Sonny retaliates by planting a bomb on Johnny's car and nearly kills Kristina; Sonny and Alexis team up to co-parent Kristina so she can get to know Sonny better. Claire teams up with Johnny to put Sonny in prison, but the plan falls apart. Sonny has a brief romance with Claire before Brenda returns and they reunite. In December 2010, Sonny and Brenda announce their engagement.
In February 2011, Sonny and Brenda finally marry, but the ceremony isn't without its share of surprises. All are shocked when Carly reveals that Dante and Brenda had a child when he guarded back in 2007. Dante reveals that he only pretended to be the child's father to keep it away from its crime figure grandfather, Theo Hoffman; Brenda then reveals that she miscarried her baby. As the couple is about leave on their honeymoon, Sonny watches in horror as their limo explodes and Brenda's body is nowhere to be found. Sonny, Jason and Dante rescue her from Hoffman. When Suzanne Stanwyck returns with Brenda's son, Lucian it causes problems for the new couple. After Sonny convinces Brenda to get a DNA test, Suzanne kidnaps Lucian forcing Dante, Sonny and Carly to rescue him; they find Brenda's real son Alec and bring him back to Port Charles. Brenda wants Sonny to adopt Alec, but he refuses. In June 2011, Sonny and Alexis rush to the Dominic Republic believing Kristina is about to marry Ethan but he is only divorcing his current wife. During Carly and Jax's custody battle, Sonny sends someone to drug Jax, and plants drugs in his room. When Brenda learns of Sonny's betrayal, she leaves town with Alec. Sonny is furious when he learns that Brenda left with Jax and sabotages Jax's plan leading everyone to think he's dead; Carly is devastated and sends Morgan away to military school to keep him away from Sonny. Sonny reconnects with his first love, Kate Howard after divorcing Brenda. At a New Year's Eve party, Michael reveals that Jax is alive and Carly knew.
In early 2012, after Sonny is shot, he blames Johnny and shocks everyone by revealing a birth certificate which confirms that Claudia wasn't Johnny's sister, but his mother. In February 2012, Sonny saves Dante from getting shot and goes after Anthony believing he was behind it. Dante arrests Sonny after he is accused of shooting out Anthony's tires, and causing the deaths of Cole Thornhart and Hope Manning-Thornhart, the boyfriend and daughter of Starr Manning. Though Sonny maintains his innocence, he is arraigned and forced to go on trial. After Sonny is granted bail, Starr's father, Todd Manning shows up and attempts to kill Sonny until he is stopped by Sonny's old nemesis John McBain, who blames Sonny for Theresa's death after Robin's death. After Sonny is acquitted, Starr kidnaps him at gunpoint and threatens to kill him but Michael talks her down. Meanwhile, Kate throws Sonny a birthday party and disappears leading to Sonny finding her in bed with Johnny. Todd later blackmails Sonny and Michael into changing their statements so Starr can get released. Sonny later learns that Kate's alternate personality, Connie actually slept with Johnny to ruin the relationship. Sonny comes clean to McBain about Theresa's murder while he supports Kate through her mental illness and is shocked to learn that Joe Scully, Jr. raped Kate that resulted in her pregnancy.
In early summer of 2012, Kristina returns from Yale and is angry at Sonny and Alexis for pulling strings to get her into Yale. She announces to everyone that she quit school and is planning on starring on her own television show, "Mob Princess". Sonny meets Kristina's boyfriend and show director Trey Mitchell. Sonny plans on marrying Kate in September 2012. At the wedding, it is revealed that Connie is actually in control and is already married to Johnny Zacharra. Sonny fights to get Kate to come back but Connie remains in control. Later, Jason is shot and thrown into the harbor and presumed dead by Cesar Faison who came back from the dead 12 years later after Jason shot and killed Joe Scully, Jr. before the return of the Nurses' Ball. Sonny is devastated by the loss of Jason that even Delores Padilla could've protected Jason if she would've stayed in Port Charles longer against Faison.
Sonny manages to get closer to Connie. In February, Sonny and Connie give into their feelings and sleep together. Kate returns and is furious at Sonny for sleeping with Connie. Sonny is forced to admit that he loves both Kate and Connie and talks her into seeing a psychiatrist to get integrated. On the night before the Nurse's Ball, Brenda returns to Port Charles and visits Sonny. She announces to him that she is marrying Jax. Sonny believes that Brenda is using this engagement as revenge against him for never reading her letter that she left. It is clear that Brenda wants to be with Sonny. At the Nurse's Ball, Carly finds Brenda in bed with Michael. When Michael tells Sonny about this, Sonny is devastated and furious at Brenda. Brenda admits to Sonny that she did not sleep with Michael and only made it look that way to get revenge on Carly for ruining her engagement with Jax. At the airport, Brenda admits that she loves Sonny and asks him to move to Rome with her. He tells her that they will have a shot one day and kisses her goodbye. After Franco reveals he is alive, Sonny and Carly order Shawn Butler to perform a hit on Franco. Sonny later calls off the hit, but Carly goes behind his back, and orders the hit herself. Olivia Falconeri takes the bullet that is meant for Franco, accidentally, causing Shawn to think that he missed the target and shot Olivia instead. Later, it is revealed that there was another shooter aiming for Franco, and that Shawn was not responsible. On August 21, 2013 Sonny became a grandfather through his son Dante.
On August 26, 2013 Connie Falconeri was shot and Sonny found her lying in the Crimson office with blood on her,Sonny begged Connie to tell him who shot her but she died before she had the chance to tell him.Sonny then realized how much he really loved Connie and plan to get revenge on the person that shot her. She would instead write on a piece of cloth in blood the letters "AJ" which made Sonny believe that his longtime enemy AJ Quartermaine shot her; and Sonny would then head to the Quartermaine Mansion to kill AJ. AJ had no idea that he may have killed Connie and begged Sonny to spare his life, but Sonny then hit him with his handgun and held him at gunpoint. Dante and Michael would stop Sonny from killing AJ with Michael saying that he will never forgive Sonny if he kills his biological father. Sonny would leave and left a letter to Olivia saying he can't go on anymore. Olivia freaked out and called Michael, Morgan, Dante to tell them about Sonny's suicide letter. Sonny was seen at the Haunted Starr talking to himself with a gun in his hand ready to pull the trigger on him. A ghost version of Connie appeared and convinced Sonny to put the gun down and even ask Sonny to marry her since the 2 weddings before that ended in catastrophe. Sonny and Connie would finally marry before Connie would disappear again and telling Sonny that she will always be in his heart. After that Sonny decided to kill himself but Olivia came running in there to beg him to not commit suicide. Sonny said that he has caused so much pain for the people around him that it would be the best thing if he takes his life. Olivia told Sonny that most of the people that he has hurt has forgiven him and even tells him that Dante has forgiven Sonny for shooting him 3 years ago. Even after all that Sonny still wanted to kill himself and put the gun on his chest, but just then Dante, Michael, and Morgan came running in there to convince their father to not take his life. Dante told his father that his daughter needs her grandfather around to be there for her. Sonny finally put the gun down and left the Haunted Starr with his sons and Olivia and went home. Sonny has since got off his meds again and even revealed at Morgan and Kiki's engagement party that he knew all along that Kiki wasn't a Quartermaine and that Morgan ask him not to tell anyone. Morgan lashed out at Sonny and told him that he and Carly always favored Michael over him and that he always came 2nd to his brother Michael. He also later told Sonny that he was no longer his father and Morgan said that Sonny was dead to him. Sonny had no idea what he just did and Carly confronted him about not taking his meds and was able to convince Sonny to start taking them again. An emotional Sonny admitted that he stopped taking his meds, because he missed Connie so much and he felt like he needed to punish himself; because he blames himself for Connie's death. Sonny started taking his meds again, and is currently trying to make amends with Morgan, and is also investigating the Jerome crime family for blowing up his shipments at Pier 52.
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