Find out how bringing joy to others healed her broken heart.
Fans love and adore Emma Samms as Holly Sutton on General Hospital, but few know the tragic story that inspired her and her cousin, filmmaker Peter Samuelson, to create the Starlight Children’s Foundation to bring joy and happiness to seriously ill children and their families the same year she landed in Port Charles.
On this week’s episode of GH’s Maurice Benard’s video podcast, State Of Mind, the two co-stars talk about her journey from experiencing grief to healing her broken heart and bringing hope to others.
Maurice Benard and Emma Samms: Loss and Inspiration
Samms was only nine years old when Jamie, her younger brother, died from aplastic anaemia at the age of eight. “My mother in particular suffered quite a lot as a result,” my mother said. When asked how being a mother enhanced her response, the actress said, “And since I’ve had kids of my own, I can understand what she was going through.
But it also inspired me to make myself useful as soon as I began my work and had a platform like yours that could be helpful. And because I was aware of the struggles these families were through, I founded the Starlight Children’s Foundation.
Early in her profession, she received the inspiration for her charity from another little boy. “I played a Princess in my first film, an Arabian Adventure, which I performed in the UK when I was 17 years old. The premiere was held to raise money for the London hospital where my brother had been treated, Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital. On the same day that Princess Margaret visited the hospital, the hospital’s children were shown the movie.
Sean, an 11-year-old kid who was undergoing surgery for a brain tumour, was among the children. She explained his state, It was bored into his skull here and here [she gestures to opposing sides of her forehead] and then enormous metal bars were drilled into his pelvis because they were performing the procedure via the back of his mouth, immobilising him entirely. He had every tube imaginable inside of him.
I poked my head around the corner and asked, “Did you watch the movie yesterday?,” to which he replied, “Yes!” I then asked, “What did you think of it?” to which he replied, “Well, it was rubbish!’ [Samms and Benard both chuckle]
One of the nurses called me at home that evening and tracked me down to ask me to pledge to return after Sean’s operation since it really cheered him up after we had had this amazing discussion in which he was really terrible to me.
Samms soon bonded with the ailing boy and his family. And when doctors were unable to remove all of the tumor, they knew they had to make the most of his time.
Emma Samms: Welcome To Los Angeles!
She moved to Los Angeles as a young actress who wanted to try her luck in Hollywood and had a conventional start. I was a waitress in Los Angeles after moving there. A timeless tale. A deli was there. I don’t believe that is still there, and I only worked during lunch. They allowed me to eat while I was there, so I did so the entire time because I couldn’t afford to eat anything else the remainder of the day.
However, the vivacious actress never forgot the young child and his family who were abandoned in the UK. She teamed up with her cousin, the director Peter Samuelson, to fly Sean and his mother to California for a trip to the Magic Kingdom just before she got the role of Holly Sutton on General Hospital in 1982. “I led him outside.
That was the thing, especially at that time, so I flew him and his mother out and took them to Disneyland. As I was walking through Disneyland, I thought, “Gosh! This really has changed things. Not just for him, but I was also seeing his mother’s expression as she observed him having fun.
The Port Charles fan favorite covered her invitation to primetime and working on the Aaron Spelling classic shows Dynasty, The Colbys, and Models, Inc. She even shared some relationship advice that is not to be missed if you are thinking about giving up on love. Fans will not want to miss this episode!
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