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Appearing on General Hospital from 1994 to 1996 was not Ricky Martin’s first brush with a soap opera. The Puerto Rican actor-singer, who just scored his first Emmy nomination — for FX’s The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story — had appeared in 119 episodes on two Latin American telenovelas beginning at age 15, in 1987. (Martin launched his career at age 12 as a member of the all-boy pop group Menudo.)
In a recent interview with Soap Opera Digest, he gave a shout-out to the ABC soap’s then-executive producer, Wendy Riche (“I love you, Wendy. I’m here today because of you”), who hired him to play the long-haired, frequently shirtless bartender-singer Miguel Morez. A major plot point involved Morez getting a crime boss’ daughter pregnant. The gangster puts out a hit on Morez, who is forced to flee.
Besides introducing him to the North American TV market, the gig put Martin in the long line of stars with Hospital stints on their résumé, including Demi Moore (1982-84) as reporter Jackie Templeton; Mark Hamill (1972-73) as nurse Jessie Brewer’s nephew; and John Stamos (1982-84) as problem foster child Blackie Parrish.
“What I saw in Ricky was a focus and commitment to his work that is always authentic,” says Riche. “I wish he’d stayed on the show forever, but he had bigger things to do. I’m so proud of him.”
This story first appeared in an August stand-alone issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.