All Of The Actresses Who Have Played Carly On General Hospital

Carly Corinthos is one of the most iconic characters on our generation of "General Hospital" — known for her fierce loyalty to her family and her decades-long on-again-off-again romance with notorious mobster Sonny Corinthos (Maurice Benard) and her longtime friendship with the late Jason Morgan (Steve Burton).

When Carly first landed in Port Charles in 1996, she was a woman on a mission to ruin her biological mother's life by stealing her husband. She soon found herself pregnant by Quartermaine heir A.J. (Sean Kanan) and leaning on her new friend Jason for support (via SoapCentral). The rest is, as they say, history.

Though her younger life was quite tumultuous, battling mob wars, the law, and pretty much every woman in Port Charles, she has mellowed out in recent years — well, as much as Carly can mellow out. Between meddling in the lives of her older children, raising her younger daughters, and running the Metro Court hotel, Carly stays pretty busy. But don't think for a second that she doesn't have the time to destroy your life if you cross her or anyone she loves. (Good luck, Nina!)

Sarah Joy Brown was the first Carly

In one of her first TV roles, Sarah Joy Brown debuted the character Caroline "Carly" Benson in 1996. An adoptee from Florida with a chip on her shoulder and a magnet for trouble, viewers quickly fell in love with Carly and her nefarious ways. Brown was beloved by "GH" fans during her five-year stint on the show, during which she received three Daytime Emmys. It was during these years that the epic saga of Sonny-and-Carly first began, and when they were married (for the first time) so she wouldn't have to testify against him in court. Brown left significant shoes to fill when she exited the soap in 2001 (via IMDb).

In 2008, viewers were thrilled to see Brown return to "GH" portraying a new character, Claudia Zacchara. Claudia was the daughter of crime lord Anthony Zacchara and she came to town with the intent of taking over her father's business. Brown was able to reunite with costar Maurice Benard when Claudia fell into bed with rival mob boss Sonny, whom she eventually married in a twisted business plot between their two organizations. Claudia was killed a year later by a teenage Michael Corinthos (Drew Garrett) when he witnessed her trying to steal his baby sister Josslyn and then clonked her on the head with an ax handle.

Tamara Braun's Carly was traumatized by mob politics

Tamara Braun had only been cast in guest-appearances on television before she took on the monstrous task of portraying Carly Corinthos (via IMDb). During the next few years, Carly found herself entangled in a love triangle (and a mob war) between Sonny and his rival Lorenzo Alcazar (Ted King). After becoming collateral damage from the mind games and violence of these two powerful men, Carly experienced a significant decline in her mental state and was committed to a mental institution. Much to fans dismay, Braun made the decision to leave the soap in 2005 to pursue other acting roles (via Soaps in Depth).

Braun followed in Brown's footsteps and found herself returning to the set of "GH" in 2017 as Dr. Kim Nero. Kim first appeared on the show at the Corinthos family Christmas, visiting her teenage son who was in a relationship with Carly's daughter Josslyn Jacks (Eden McCoy). Soon after, she discovered that Oscar's father Drew Cain (Cameron Mathison) was residing in Port Charles, though he believed himself to be Jason Morgan at the time. Kim and Drew eventually became friends and they supported each other through their son Oscar's cancer diagnosis and subsequent death. Braun left the show again in 2019, and her character was written out by becoming pregnant by Julian Jerome (William deVry) and deciding to leave town.

Jennifer Bransford was fired as Carly

Actress Jennifer Bransford, who had previously played Georgie Philips on "One Life to Live," was brought on to portray Carly after Tamara Braun's exit, though she only managed to stay in the role for a few short months. She received quite a bit of backlash from viewers who desperately missed Braun's version of the blonde firecracker, but was shocked when "GH" decided to let her go. A spokesperson for the show said only that "Jennifer's casting in the role of Carly did not work out," according to SoapCentral. Bransford hasn't had any acting credits to her name since 2005, so it's safe to assume she decided to take her career in another direction (via IMDb).

Laura Wright is the Carly we all know and love

Soap opera alum Laura Wright was brought in to replace Jennifer Bransford as Carly in 2005, and she has remained in the role ever since. She began her career in 1991 as Ally Bowman on the ABC soap "Loving," a role which she carried over to its sister show "The City." In 1997 she began portraying Cassie Layne on "Guiding Light," where she remained until she joined the cast of "GH." Wright has received six Daytime Emmy nominations for her work portraying Carly, and won in 2011 for Outstanding Lead Actress.

In her time on the show, Wright has brought Carly through an enormous amount of life changes. She's walked down the aisle four more times (twice with Sonny), given birth to her daughters Josslyn and Donna, suffered a miscarriage, mourned her son Morgan who was killed in an explosion, became a grandmother, lost her best friend Jason, and single-handedly took over the mob when Sonny was presumed dead — and gave everyone a piece of her mind while she was doing it. Not to mention the eighteen on-air slaps she's delivered (via Soap Central).

If there was ever a force to be reckoned with in the city of Port Charles, Carly is it. Whether she's a character you love to hate or hate to love, nobody can deny that Wright has brought Carly's universe to life over the past seventeen years. Since Wright recently shot down rumors that she was leaving "GH," you can be sure there is plenty more drama to come.