‘General Hospital’: Every Actor to Play Carly Spencer
After a decade of being known as Carly Corinthos Jacks on General Hospital, the iconic GH soap character has chosen to adopt her mother’s maiden name as her own surname. Thus, Carly Spencer is carrying on the Spencer last name shared by her mother, Bobbie Spencer, and uncle, Luke Spencer, both legendary characters on the soap.
However, name changes are nothing new for Carly, as the character has used half a dozen surnames from Benson to Roberts to Quartermaine to Alcazar and more since jumping on the canvas in 1996. Along with name changes, the character has been portrayed by an assortment of different actors over the last three decades. Here’s a look at every actor to play Carly Spencer over the years.
Laura Wright has been the staple Carly on ‘GH’ for years (2005 – present)
While there’s been a handful of actors to play Carly Spencer, there’s only one true Carly, and that’s Laura Wright. In 2005, Wright took over the role of Carly on GH and has maintained the role for nearly two decades. According to IMDb, Wright was no stranger to the soap world before establishing herself as Carly Spencer.
Wright’s acting career in the soap world began in 1991. The actor began portraying the character of Ally Rescott Bowman in Loving, a character she continued to play in both All My Children and The City from 1991 to 1997.
In 1993, Wright was nominated for a Soap Opera Digest Award in the category of Outstanding Younger Lead Actress for her portrayal of Ally. In 1997, Wright landed the role of Cassie Layne Winslow on the CBS soap Guiding Light. In 1998, she won a Soap Opera Digest Award in the category of Favorite New Character for her portrayal of Cassie.
In 2005, Wright made the decision to leave Guiding Light in order to take over the role of Carly Spencer at General Hospital. The career change turned out to be ideal for Wright as she went on to win a Daytime Emmy Award in the category of Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series in 2011 for her portrayal of Carly. In addition, Wright’s previous soap, Guiding Light, was canceled in 2009.
Sarah Joy Brown was the first actor to play Carly Spencer (1996 – 2001)
Before Wright established herself as the rightful Carly Spencer, Sarah Joy Brown portrayed the character from 1996 to 2001. Brown originated the role of Carly and quickly made a splash in the soap scene, winning three Daytime Emmy Awards for her portrayal of Carly. According to IMDb, Brown won two Daytime Emmy Awards in the category of Outstanding Younger Actress in 1997 and 1998. She went on to win an Emmy in the category of Outstanding Supporting Actress in 2000.
After leaving GH in 2001, Brown made guest appearances on several TV series, including Crossing Jordan, Strong Medicine, and Without a Trace. However, she quickly returned to the soap scene, portraying Julia Morrissey Larrabee on As the World Turns from 2004 to 2005.
In 2008, Brown returned to GH. However, instead of reprising her role of Carly, Brown took on a new role, portraying the character Claudia Zacchara from 2008 to 2009. After leaving GH for a second time, Brown went on to portray the character Aggie Jones on The Bold and the Beautiful from 2009 to 2011 and Madison James on Days of Our Lives from 2011 to 2012.
Tamara Braun has played multiple ‘GH’ characters (2001 – 2005)
After Brown initially left GH in 2001, the role of Carly Spencer was taken over by Tamara Braun. According to Fandom, Braun portrayed the role of Carly from 2001 to 2005. After leaving GH, Braun guest starred on a handful of tv series, including Freddie, House, Cold Case, Ghost Whisperer, and Without a Trace, before landing the role of Ava Vitali on Days of Our Lives. According to IMDb, Braun has continued to portray Ava on and off over the years, including in 2008, 2015 to 2016, and 2020 to 2022.
Similar to Brown’s career path, Braun made a return to GH years after portraying Carly Spencer. However, just like Brown, Braun took on the role of a new character while on GH. In Braun’s case, she took on the role of Dr. Kim Nero upon her return to the soap. Braun portrayed Dr. Nero from 2017 to 2019 and won a Daytime Emmy Award in the category of Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for her work.
In addition, to Laura Wright, Sarah Joy Brown, and Tamara Braun, Jennifer Bransford briefly played Carly in 2005 before being fired six months into her role. Eden McCoy, who currently plays Carly’s daughter Josslyn Jacks, has also portrayed the character of Carly Spencer in flashbacks.
Source: Cheat Sheet
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