'General Hospital' Celebrates 60 Years! See Past and Present Stars Gather for Stunning Cast Photo

General Hospital alums and newcomers alike joined forces to commemorate the soap opera's "truly remarkable" milestone

Talk about an epic affair! Several generations of the cast of General Hospital came together to commemorate its upcoming 60th anniversary on April 1.

"It's incredibly rewarding and humbling to be a part of this amazing legacy," executive producer Frank Valentini tells PEOPLE. "When I look back at our show's 60 years, I can't help but think of how much time and effort goes into making just one episode of television. Our cast and crew are some of the hardest working people in this industry, putting in long hours in order to make the best possible show we can."

"The idea of producing over 250 episodes a year for the last six decades is truly remarkable," he added. "It's a testament to the staying power of daytime television and the incredible support our fans have shown us throughout the years."

GENERAL HOSPITAL - ABC's "General Hospital" stars (ABC/Craig Sjodin)
Craig Sjodin/ABC

ABC's Emmy Award-winning daytime drama is both the longest-running scripted drama and the longest-running American soap opera currently in production.

Filmed in Hollywood, California, the show was the brainchild of married soap writers Frank and Doris Hursley when it premiered on April 1, 1963. To date, GH — which aired its 15,000th episode on June 22, 2022 — holds the record for the most outstanding daytime drama wins, taking home the prestigious Emmy Award a record 15 times.

The show will kick off its anniversary programming on March 29 with a special episode honoring the late Sonya Eddy, who played General Hospital's head nurse Epiphany Johnson starting in 2006.

The week of April 3 sees the return of the glamorous Nurses Ball charity event, complete with red-carpet fashion and musical performances. It also marks the first time since 2020 that GH viewers have seen the Nurses Ball, which is organized around HIV/AIDS awareness.

As the anniversary run continues, icons of Port Charles will unite to stop a legendary threat from the past.

"It's always exciting to see our alums on the GH canvas and we love writing for them," Valentini tells PEOPLE. "It can be both challenging and exciting because they have such history which needs to be respected but can also be mined and revisited for great stories."

Luke (Anthony Geary) and Laura (Genie Francis) in an underground factory on ABC Daytime's "General Hospital"
Luke (Anthony Geary) and Laura (Genie Francis) on ABC's "General Hospital," 1981. ABC Photo Archives

And after 60 years of drama, love, chaos and unforgettable storylines, Valentini says GH isn't going anywhere anytime soon.

"The storytelling evolves as the world does," he says. "One of our show's most enduring legacies has been our fearlessness in storytelling to tackle and explore important contemporary topics. We have written successful stories about mental illness, abortion, addiction, AIDS, abuse (spousal, sexual and psychological), Alzheimer's and cancer, among many others."

"Working on GH has truly been a labor of love these past 11 years," he adds, "and I can't wait to see what's in store for the next 60."

General Hospital People Cover

PEOPLE has also released a new special edition to mark this major milestone. General Hospital: Celebrating 60 Years of Love & Drama features insights from soap opera legend Genie Francis, who joined as a teen in 1977, and several of her fellow castmates, including Maurice Benard, Donnell Turner, Rebecca Herbst, Tabyana Ali and Finola Hughes.

The issue also revisits the series' greatest guest stars (superfan Chandra Wilson has made three cameos in different roles) and GH alumni including a pre-Star Wars Mark Hamill and pre-Suits Meghan Markle. The future Duchess of Sussex played a nurse named Jill in a 2002 episode when she was a Northwestern student and her father, Thomas, was a lighting director on the show.

Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories.

General Hospital: Celebrating 60 Years of Love & Drama is available now wherever magazines are sold.

Related Articles