Until very recently Ronnie Dimistico (Ronnie Marmo) was a good, hard-working man on the right side of the law in Port Charles. His goal – to bring down ‘mobster with the heart of gold,’ Sonny Corinthos.
The story took on a shocking twist when it was revealed that Ronnie was the man behind the attacks on the strippers of Port Charles.
Not only was Ronnie’s dark side revealed, the character was shot dead at The Haunted Star, ending Marmo’s tenure on ‘General Hospital.’
Ronnie Marmo is a friend to many of us here in Detroit. The actor hosted a fan weekend here in the summer of 2010. I was lucky enough to get to know this very talented writer, actor, producer, director, and all-around exceptional man.
When Marmo’s character was killed off, I reached out to the actor for some reaction. As expected, he was more than gracious, offering up his feelings on the show and the character who was near and dear to so many of us here in Detroit.
SOAPDOM: Was your exit from the show a surprise or did you have a feeling it was coming?
RONNIE MARMO: It was a little bit of both. When you’re an actor, you always gotta have one eye open….. So I had some idea -- after they changed writers -- I had a feeling that potentially something could happen. The complement was that I realized that a lot of people on soap operas walk up the stairs and they don’t come back down. So I was very grateful that they gave me something to do on the way out. What was good about my character was he was well known enough so people had an opinion about him where the story would matter. But he wasn’t loved so much that it would be a big problem for me to leave the show. In some ways, he was the perfect character to do this with…. Ronnie was right in the middle – people knew him and had an opinion about him.
SOAPDOM: Did you think the reveal was out of character for Ronnie?
MARMO: It was hard playing such a different twist on this character. It was a little shocking to me. I had to find a way to justify it or I wouldn’t have done a good job. The choice that I made was that he was very sick, as opposed to bad. And whether or not that came across on screen, at least it gave me something as an actor to play truthfully. It was shocking. It was a little surprising. But that’s a soap opera. I love the fact that the fans care as much as I care about what happens to a character. Soap fans love what they love and they don’t want anybody messing with it.
SOAPDOM: How much did you like playing the ‘bad guy’ in the end?
MARMO: I did like it because that’s not something I ever played. It was such a fresh scene for me to do, so that was fun.
SOAPDOM: Is there something you miss about working at ‘General Hospital?’
MARMO: Here’s the thing – I’ve never had a job for two years anywhere in my life (laughs). It was kinda like leaving summer camp. The good news is some of my co-workers are still my good friends. I miss the gig – the steady job is nice.
I’m a pretty spiritual guy. I believe that things happen for a reason. I’m really trying to hold onto that.
SOAPDOM: You have great respect for Steve Burton (Jason) and Maurice Benard (Sonny) – talk a little bit about them.
MARMO: The genius behind both of those guys is that they still care so much. All these years later they’re just fantastic. They were always very kind to me. I have nothing but love for those guys.
SOAPDOM: Can you share a little bit about your last day on set?
MARMO: They treated me really warmly in my last scene – it was so nice. My last scene was very moving. I was laying on the floor in the body bag. The crew stopped and clapped for me when it was over. they made me feel really warm… and a few of them were crying. So it was beautiful.
SOAPDOM: If it were left up to you, is there something you would have added or changed about Ronnie’s exit?
MARMO: That’s a really hard question. At the end of the day, I don’t think I would want the ending to be different. I think it was great. I would have added more scenes with Dominic (Zamprogna, Dante) at the end. I would have nurtured our friendship on the way out. I would have added scenes with him about why I did it and why my life turned out this way.
SOAPDOM: So you enjoyed the soap opera experience?
MARMO: I loved it. It’s very rewarding. It’s very fulfilling as an actor when what you’re doing is what people want to see, even if they hate you (laughs). The actors on ‘General Hospital’ are so grateful for the support they get from the fans.
SOAPDOM: What’s keeping you busy right now?
MARMO: As Artistic Director of both theatres, I’m back and forth between Los Angeles and New York on a regular basis. I just wrapped a play in Los Angeles. We’re getting reading for the LA premiere of ‘The Late Henry Moss.’ I’m doing back to back plays. It’s been a Hell of a year on stage for me. I have a lot of plans. My dream is to take ‘Lenny Bruce’ to Broadway – that’s my goal.
You’ll be seeing much more from Ronnie Marmo coming up. His independent film, ‘Truck 20’s Location’ (shot in Detroit) is currently in post-production.
Marmo is the Artistic Director for Theatre 68 in Los Angeles and New York. Click here for more information.
If you’re in the Los Angeles area on Sunday July 22, Marmo is hosting a fan event during the ‘General Hospital’ Fan Club Weekend.
Thanks to my friend Ronnie Marmo for speaking with Soapdom.
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