Leslie Charleson's Health Struggles May Be Why She Was Absent From 'General Hospital'


Jan. 15 2024, Updated 12:16 p.m. ET

Leslie Charleson as Monica Quartermaine in a suit on 'General Hospital.'
Source: ABC

The Gist:

  • Leslie Charleson's character Monica Quartermaine was absent from General Hospital from early 2022, to December 2023.
  • Her absence has been explained by business trips that have kept her away from the hospital.
  • The real reasons for Monica's absence likely have to do with Leslie's physical limitations following several falls.
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Leslie Charleson's character Monica Quartermaine has become one of the most important pieces of the broader General Hospital family since she first debuted on the show in 1977. Leslie was on the show regularly for decades, and her character has experienced her fair share of drama during her time with the series.

Although Monica was absent from the series since early 2022, she made a long-awaited comeback in December 2023. Following the news that Monica would be returning to the show, many naturally wondered why she was absent.

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Monica Quartermaine in a blue shirt on 'General Hospital.'
Source: ABC

What happened to Monica on 'General Hospital'?

Monica's long tenure with the show has transformed the character from one of the show's young upstarts to an elder, and that naturally means that she isn't as involved in the show's regular drama as she once was. She is now on the hospital's board, and the show has explained her absence by suggesting that Monica is doing a lot of traveling for business that's keeping her away from the show.

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In reality, though, it seems that Monica's absence from the show may be better explained by Leslie's health struggles. The actor has fallen several times in recent years and has endured lengthy recoveries. It's possible that she simply can't or isn't interested in taking on the kinds of physical demands that shooting a soap opera requires. Monica is very much still around in the world of General Hospital, but Leslie is simply not available to shoot the way she once was.

Both the show and Leslie herself have chosen not to acknowledge the character's absence, and have instead focused on ways to justify the character's absence from the world of the show. General Hospital seems intent on giving Monica a proper farewell at some point, but both Leslie and the show itself may be committed to bringing her back occasionally, especially as some of the show's other mainstays have passed away.

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Leslie Charleson returned to 'General Hospital' in 2023, and jumped right back into the drama.

Although Leslie did most of her scenes sitting down when she returned to General Hospital, it's safe to say that she didn't miss a beat when she returned to the show. General Hospital hasn't offered any indication of how long Monica's return might be, or when she might be back with the show, but for now, fans can rest assured that Monica hasn't been forgotten about.

Leslie may not be able to handle the demands of shooting daily the way she once could, but it's clear that she's still committed to giving the fans as much as she can.

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