It‘s not being the good guy on a canvas where the heroes just happen to be mobsters! As Ryan Paevey (ex-Nathan, GENERAL HOSPITAL) put it, “You kind of get the short end of the stick when you’re a cop on a soap, because all of the bad guys are super popular characters… I mean, was Nathan West going to take Sonny down? Hell, no!”
Nevertheless, the detective provided balance, both on the show and for Maxie, whose own history was also chock full of questionable behavior. “Everybody likes to see young love — there’s a lot of hope and sweetness,” Paevey maintained. “Everything that Nathan did, he did with Maxie in mind. He knew all of her favorite foods, favorite drinks, favorite shoes, favorite designers… ”
Sadly, the couple would soon go from their wedding… to the groom’s funeral. “I recall everything about my final scenes: coming out of the elevator, being shot by Faison — who recognized the uniform but not [me as his son] — and being operated on by Griffin, who’d had an affair with my first wife [Claudette], so it would look kind of bad if he let me die,” Paevey reflected. “And the last scene that I shot was with Kirsten [Storms] when I tell Maxie that I love her and both of us are crying, and when I go to sleep, my heart monitor codes.”
Just as viewers sobbed buckets of tears, so too did Nathan’s loved ones. “I had to lie there while everybody gave these earth-shattering performances over me,” Paevey recalled of the challenging scene, “and then do my very best not to react as any human being would!” Does that mean that the actor did shed a few tears as well? You bet! “Oh, I was crying. For sure!” he admitted. “They cut around it, so I don’t think you see it in there, but there wasn’t a dry eye in the house for like a week. Everybody was a train wreck!”
The funeral scenes that followed were so memorable that they wound up being on the Daytime Emmy reel submitted by GH for Outstanding Drama Series the next year. For the actor, who’s since gone on to make several movies for Hallmark, it still feels like it happened just yesterday. Despite having “no regrets” about exiting the soap, he remains sad about one thing on behalf of his former character: “I would have liked to have seen Nathan meet his son.”
For more on your favorite GH stars — past and present — keep reading the ABC edition of Soaps In Depth magazine.
This story originally appeared in our print magazine