Helena Cassadine | General Hospital Character

Helena Cassadine
Helena Cassadine (Constance Towers). ABC, Inc.

Witch Without a Broom

You can't get much worse than Helena Cassadine, a harridan straight out of hell. And how many daytime characters can lay claim to have been played by Elizabeth Taylor? Only Helena Cassadine.

The role was taken over by Constance Towers when Helena became a regular character in 1997. But we first met this viper during the Love on the Run days, as Luke and Laura were about to be married.

Madame Cassadine crashed their wedding and, slightly upset that they caused her husband Mikkos' death, put a curse on the newlyweds, unbeknownst to them.

Looking over their lives for the past twenty years, I'd say it worked: Laura's disappearance, Lucky's alleged death in a fire, divorce, remarriage, catatonia, Luke's heart attacks - etc.!

Helena's Eternal Nemesis: The Spencers

When Laura returned to her family after being kidnapped by Stavros Cassadine, Helena's darling son, she revealed that Helena showed her a newspaper stating that Luke had been killed in an avalanche. Now reunited, the couple left Port Charles, returning nearly a decade later.

Luke paid a visit to the dying Helena, attempting to pry information out of her (the actress who played Helena in that episode is not listed anywhere). Not only did he not receive any any information, but Helena lived and moved to Port Charles, where she caused trouble full-time.

Her first order of business was to kidnap Lucky by staging his death; then she programmed him to kill his father.

The Deep Freeze in the General Hospital Sub-Basement

At General Hospital, Helena secretly built a huge underground laboratory a la Mikkos' Ice Princess lab, which she used to have her son Stavros brought from Popsicle to warm human (well, semi-human anyway) form.

For this, she needed a doctor, so she made Lucas Jones deathly ill and held the antidote over his father Tony's head unless he cooperated. 

That sounds like a big deal but hey, on the arrival of Alexis' secret sister Kristina, we found out that years earlier, Helena slit the throat of Alexis' mother, Mikkos' opera singer mistress.

When none of Helena's machinations worked, and Stavros died a second time, Helena had her cousin surgically altered to look just like her (shades of Saddam Hussein) and fool everyone while she escaped to Switzerland. She was supposed to be in prison. Instead, her poor cousin replaced her.

Luke found the real Helena masquerading as Sister Helena in a convent, where she claimed to have seen the light. Luke volunteered her to minister in Antarctica! Thus ended Helena. For the moment.

Helena Never Cared Much for Stefan, Emily...It's Quite a List

Helena wasn't heard from again until her son Stefan's funeral in October 2003. She returned to dance on the grave of her second son, a disappointment to her, and to hurl insults at all of her old enemies. Luke laughed in her face and told her that she was facing a punishment worse than death -- fading into obscurity.

By the way, Stefan had quite a sendoff.

To make sure he stayed dead, Luke drove a stake through his heart.

Helena later returned to Port Charles in order to break up Emily and Nikolas. Emily wasn't wife material for Prince Nikolas, according to Grandma. When the couple didn't heed her warnings, she had Nikolas institutionalized and overmedicated.

Her grandson outsmarted her and went back to his love. Helena then joined with Tracy Quartermaine to have Emily imprisoned for killing Mary Bishop. Lucky Spencer discovered that scheme.

It was time for another Cassadine curse, this one to Nikolas and Emily. It worked, and Emily became deathly ill. A treatment was sought for her; one was found in time.

The head of the Cassadine clan attempted once more to get rid of Emily, waiting until she was walking on the cliffs near Wyndemere. There, Helena tried to stab her.

Nikolas appeared and managed to get the knife away from his grandmother. He then pushed her over a cliff. Her body was never found. That's probably because it wasn't there after a fashion.

Nikolas Gets Into Trouble, Thanks to Grandma

Unfortunately, Nikolas lookalike Connor Bishop saw the whole thing and tried to blackmail Nikolas, who went to the police and confessed to Helena's murder rather than put up with Connor. He went to prison.

Emily convinced Connor to impersonate Nikolas, hoping that Helena would appear, and then Nikolas could be freed. It was a disaster. Helena returned, all right, but Connor raped Emily.

When the old bat shot at Emily, Lucky stepped into her sight line and was shot himself. Helena again disappeared. To find her, Luke transferred $15,000,000 out of the Cassadine bank account. He deposited it into Tracy's account, and it would only be returned when Helena appeared. When she did, she was arrested.

The Hand That Rocks the Cradle

Bars, however, cannot hold Helena. When Courtney became pregnant, there was Helena, trying to find out if the child was going to be a Cassadine, in which case, she would take the child and raise him or her. 

Sonny's half-sister did indeed give birth to Spencer Cassadine, and Helena hired a nanny named Colleen to help her kidnap Spencer. Small problem. The nanny fell in love with Nikolas. This was her pattern - to fall for her charge's father and, when her affections were not returned, kill her boss.

Spencer was kidnapped by Colleen. The nanny wound up dead and Helena wound up with the baby for a short time.

Spencer was rescued by Nikolas and Emily.

The next time Helena returned to Port Charles, she found out that Elizabeth was pregnant, and that the child could be her grandson's or Lucky's. She paid a lab tech for the results before anyone else saw them.

Lucky was the father, which suited Helena...and then didn't suit her. She then paid the lab tech to name Nikolas as the father. Her thought was a Cassadine raising a Spencer would be amusing, and she would teach the child to hate the Spencers.

Tracy noticed a connection between Helena and this lab tech, and dropped some hints that she knew Helena had the test results altered. Tracy found herself chloroformed and in a dungeon. Luke was lured there by Helena, but both Luke and Tracy escaped.

Elizabeth's new baby, Aiden, was not determined to be Lucky's child for nearly a year.

Helena Moves On With a New Plan

Nikolas and Spencer left town, but Helena was okay with it since she had another hobby. She hung out in the Wyndemere tunnels and watched Ethan Lovett canoodling with a woman staying at Wyndemere named Cassandra. Ethan believed her to be a psychiatric patient suffering from amnesia. 

Her real name was Irina, and she was Helena's daughter. She was there under orders from Mommy, and her mission was to seduce Lucky. Helena changed her mind and had her seduce Ethan. She wanted Cassandra to kill Ethan in front of Luke, so that he would know what it felt like to suffer as she did when he got rid of Stavros.

Irina fell in love with Ethan, and when Helena ordered her to shoot him in front of Luke, the young woman refused.

Helena ordered her daughter killed, and her henchmen complied, (thus quickly and mercifully ending one of the worst plots in General Hospital history).

When Holly Sutton arrived and stated that Ethan was not Luke's son, Helena took off.

Lulu Spencer was kidnapped a year later and encountered the matriarch on the Haunted Star. When Luke and Laura found their daughter, Ethan was aboard the ship as well, also a kidnap victim. Helena ordered that Laura be killed, but then decided that Laura should kill Ethan. Her "curse" would be broken with Ethan's death, and it would save Lulu.

It didn't work out for Helena, as Luke, after thirty years or so, was done. He shot her. She died without telling them what happened to Lulu.

At the time of her death, Helena was nursing Stavros back to health on Cassadine Island. He was thought to be dead, and he must have been nearly dead because he fell down a bottomless pit years earlier.  He had been frozen and brought back to life by Helena yet again, after which he became obsessed with Lulu.

Lulu was rescued, but Stavros escaped, eventually returning Helena's body to Cassadine Island and giving her the popsicle treatment. When Luke became ill, he received a video via courier, where Helena admitted that she had infected Luke with a deadly poison, Polonium 210.  He would die unless he could find a cure, and he would not find it in Port Charles.

While Luke was out searching for a cure, Victor Cassadine approached Robin Scorpio. Turns out Helena wasn't the only one in the deep freeze. He revealed that Jason was alive in a cryogenic stasis in addition to two of his Cassadine relatives.

Robin could secretly leave her family to revive Jason and the others or she could remain in Port Charles. However, if Robin refused to provide her medical expertise, Jason's life would be sacrificed.

Robin was torn by Victor's ultimatum but chose to honor her friendship to Jason. She claimed that her medical skills were needed in Africa but her husband saw through her ruse.

Robin told Patrick the truth and asked him to support the difficult position she was in. He begged Robin to put their family first but she remained adamant in her decision. Robin said a tearful goodbye to her family and friends and left Port Charles with Victor. He took her to Jason at the Crichton-Clark Facility in Scarsdale, New York.

While Helena was presumed deceased, Stavros had produced an embryo with Lulu that was frozen by the Spencer family and revived by Robin. Stavros was killed during an altercation with Lulu's husband Dante but Helena retrieved the embryo and vowed that her son would live on through his child.

While Helena planned for her future heir, she kidnapped Jason and Robin. Jason escaped but Helena kept Robin captive and escorted her out of Port Charles.

When Helena returned to Port Charles, she was pleased to discover that Jason had amnesia. Although Jason used the name "Jake" and was unable to recall his memories, the mind control which was programmed into him at the Creighton-Clark Clinic was still in effect.

Helena and her accomplice Luke used "Jake" to make advancements in their plot to destroy Sonny and overtake ELQ,

Under threat of being denied his inheritance, Nikolas agreed to help Helena and Luke to gain control of ELQ. He also tampered with the mayoral election so that Mayor Lomax was re-elected.Helena shared some of her schemes and secrets with Nikolas. She was impressed with the development of his darker side.

Helena informed her grandson that Jason was alive and in Port Charles using the name Jake Doe, suffering from amnesia. Desperate to control ELQ, Nikolas did tell Elizabeth the truth. She was the last person who wanted Jake to remember anything. Jason's presence threatened Nikolas' takeover of ELQ since he would have a stock vote, so he did not tell Sam.

When Helena was arrested for her involvement in the activation of a bomb on the Haunted Star, Nikolas arranged for the charges to be dropped. Afterwards, he banished her to Cassadine Island.

Helena received a visit from Luke. He held a gun on her as he had so many times in the past. She admitted that her feud with Luke no longer gave her a thrill now that Nikolas had embraced his darker Cassadine side.

Luke demanded to know if Helena had Elizabeth's presumed deceased son Jake on the island and Helena handed to boy over. She confessed that Luke's involvement in Jake's accident had been a perfect opportunity for her to inflict long-term pain on the Spencer family. Helena allowed Luke to take the boy back to his family in Port Charles.

Some time later, Helena summoned everyone to her on yet another deathbed. She had made a living will. She left everyone bizarre things that had hidden meaning.

The big question is, is she dead for good?  Well, this is Port Charles. So probably not.