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Meet Donnell Turner: Curtis Ashford on ABC’s ‘General Hospital’ (Includes interview)

Turner portrays Curtis Ashford in the hit ABC daytime drama, General Hospital, who celebrated his four-year anniversary on the show. “I love to be a part of General Hospital. I love playing Curtis,” he said, and he praised his “awesome” executive producer Frank Valentini for introducing the character of Curtis on the show. “I am ready to rock and roll,” he said.

One thing that Turner likes most about playing Curtis on the show is that he is a “shoulder for everybody” to lean on. He also revealed that he enjoys doing scenes with iconic actress Vernee Watson (known from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air), who plays his aunt, Stella Henry, on the soap opera. “She killed the performance,” he said, praising Watson.

Watson won the 2018 Daytime Emmy award for “Outstanding Guest Performer in a Drama Series,” and Turner is featured in the Emmy reel that Watson submitted.

On February 22, 2019, he will be appearing at Governor’s Comedy Club in Levittown, New York, as part of the “Men of General Hospital” event with William deVry and Josh Swickard; moreover, on the following day, Turner will be appearing at Rockwell’s in Pelham, New York. “You can expect fun with the fans and genuine answers. We are a good group of guys, and we like to have fun,” he said. “It will be a good time for all,” he added.

He is an avid supporter of several charities and philanthropic causes that are dear to his heart. “I feel good about being able to lend my name and my voice, in an effort to raise awareness for any charity,” he said.

One cause in particular that he was recently a part of that stood out to him was Toys for Tots. “That was a lot of fun,” he admitted. “I am all about helping children that are less fortunate,” he said.

When asked how he handles being dialogue-heavy (especially since actors on average churn out 40 to 80 pages of script a day), Turner said, “I love it. I have a theater background. I had the privilege of playing the lead role in Ira Aldridge’s The Black Doctor, and I killed it. I learned 14 monologues, and speaking that language was something that I had to go to school to learn. A professor explained to me what I was saying and why. After I learned what I was saying, it made all the difference in the world. Once I conquered that, I felt so accomplished as an actor, and felt I can do anything.”

In a recent episode of General Hospital, Turner showcased his boxing skills, where he boxed with fellow actor Billy Miller. “I have a kickboxing background. We had so much fun doing it.

Speaking of boxing, Turner noted that his alternate career choice would have been a martial arts instructor. “I love martial arts so much and I would love to teach it,” he said.

In 2018, Turner earned the “Best Supporting Actor” award at the LA Live Film Festival for his work on the film Love Interrupted, which was written and directed by Cameron Denny. “I was a part of this great movie, Love Interrupted, by Cameron Denny. It is wonderfully done, and I am honored to have won ‘Best Supporting Actor’. Again, I played the voice of reason, and maybe that’s my calling in Los Angeles,” he said.

Over the last five years, looking back in a rear-view mirror, Turner acknowledged that he sees “growth, mistakes, and I see moments where I applaud myself and what I have done.” “I am harder on myself than anyone,” he said. “I see the need for more. I want to do more. I have been honing my craft for 25 years to be here. I am here to work,” he added.

Each day, Turner is motivated simply by his desire to be better than he was the day before. “I have not lived up to my potential. I like who I am but I know I can do more,” he said.

The advice that he would give his 18-year-old self would be to “move to Los Angeles now.” “I did well in my acting classes, and everyone told me that I was good, but I was really shy. Between martial arts, basketball and doing church plays, I was a performer, so I knew I loved performing,” he said. “I would tell myself to go ahead and do it, and resist the temptation. Have fun but don’t get caught up.”

On staying in good physical shape, Turner said, “As you get older, it becomes more about diet. I’ve never craved sweets and I’ve never had a cavity. I used to be a gym rat, where I would work out five or six days a week. I’m glad established good eating habits as I grew older. It’s about getting that gallon of water in, and vegetables, and I love juicing.”

Digital transformation of the entertainment business

On the impact of technology on the entertainment business, especially with the plethora of streaming services, Turner said, “We have our work cut out to keep up with the streaming services. We need to keep up with the times. I love what they are doing with Curtis and we have other topical events that are happening in society.”

Turner shared that he uses hard copies of scripts as opposed to digital ones. In particular, he finds hard copies helpful with regard to jotting down notes.

He furnished his definition of the word success as “accomplishment,” which deals with options and achievements. “I have a life’s ‘to do’ list when I was 16, and I modified it again when I was 25. I had 50 things on there, and I have scratched off most of those things, and that feels good,” he said. “Success is not money or fame. It is what I set out to do when I was a kid. I am healthy, I am happy and I am living in my passion.”

For his General Hospital fans, Turner said, “Thanks for rocking and rolling with me the past four years. Stay tuned since this year will have more for them to grab on to. Thanks again. Much love.”

To learn more about actor Donnell Turner, follow him on Twitter and on Instagram.

Markos Papadatos
Written By

Markos Papadatos is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for Music News. Papadatos is a Greek-American journalist and educator that has authored over 21,000 original articles over the past 18 years. He has interviewed some of the biggest names in music, entertainment, lifestyle, magic, and sports. He is a 16-time "Best of Long Island" winner, where for three consecutive years (2020, 2021, and 2022), he was honored as the "Best Long Island Personality" in Arts & Entertainment, an honor that has gone to Billy Joel six times.

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