Last August Rebecca Herbst celebrated her 25th year playing Elizabeth Imogene Lansing Spencer Baldwin and boy has she come a long way from the cigarette-smoking, condom-planting bratty teenager who showed up in Port Charles determined to wreak havoc. Even though Elizabeth wasn’t born onscreen her connection to Grandfather Steve Hardy (John Beradino), one of the original characters on General Hospital, makes her an almost legacy character, and GH fans certainly see her that way.
In her 25 years in PC, we have watched her grow from a bratty teenager to Head Nurse at General Hospital, with stops as a waitress, artist, and model, along the way. We’ve watched her deal with being raped, kidnapped, shot, poisoned, held hostage, suffer a nervous breakdown, the death of her first love, 4 of her 5 marriages falling apart, miscarriages, who’s the daddy’s, a child dying (and then coming back to life), cheating and being cheated on, cover up other’s crimes, commit more than a few crimes herself and even kill someone! And through it all, she’s remained one of the show’s most beloved heroines and that’s mostly due to her portrayer, Rebecca Herbst.
This week Herbst, yet again, showed us what keeps GH fans adoring her when Liz was hit with the double whammy of having to say goodbye to her oldest son when he left to pursue his future at Stanford and saying goodbye to her mentor who died after treating an accident victim. Her ability to cry and put the perfect inflection in her voice to capture what Liz is feeling at that moment is a talent that not all actors have but Herbst has in spades.
Her tears of joy with her son Cameron (William Lipton) were heartwarming as she told him he had already done so much for her and his brothers and it was time to go after his dreams. The bond between Herbst and Lipton, while evident in all of their scenes was particularly evident in their goodbye. Rebecca’s maternal nature spills into all of her scenes with her character’s children and really gives you the feeling that you’re watching the actual inner workings of a family play out onscreen.
The scene of Liz calling Epiphany’s (Sonya Eddy) phone only to be told by a state trooper that there was bad news about her friend was heartbreaking but so powerful. No dialogue was needed as we watched her digest the news and convey to the audience what she was being told by the emotions she was displaying in her movement and expression. Her moving eulogy at the funeral and the moments after when she got the news that her late friend wanted her to succeed her as Head Nurse were just as wonderful for the audience to get to experience.
She is always phenomenal, but these amazing scenes really stood out and are why we’re naming Rebecca Herbst our Performer of the Week. Congratulations, Rebecca!