Roger Howarth | General Hospital Actor

Franco and Carly
Franco (Roger Howarth) and Carly (Laura Wright). ABC, Inc.

Roger Howarth shook things up on General Hospital as Todd Manning. The soap veteran now has a second notch in his belt; because of legal difficulties, he is now portraying the role of Franco instead of Todd.

The 46-year-old actor is best known for the role of Todd. He made a splash when he played the part on One Life to Live initially from 1992 until 1995.

His story is reminiscent of GH actors Carolyn Hennesy (Diane Miller) and Tristan Rogers (Robert Scorpio) in that Todd Manning was intended to be a day player part (Rogers was originally signed for six episodes and Hennesy was hired for two days of work).

Howarth, with his brilliant smile, energy, and quirky delivery caught on big time, and the producers put him on contract. He won a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Younger Actor in 1994, and two Soap Opera Digest Awards. However, due to the road the character took, he became increasingly unhappy with Todd.

Soccer and Politics

Howarth was born very near New York City, in Westchester County, in 1968. With a playwright dad, he became interested in theater early on.

He divided his time in high school between the drama department and soccer, which he played not only in the U.S. but, under the aegis of the Puma Shoes U.S. National Soccer Team, in Europe and Brazil until he was well into his teens.

Once in college, he majored in political science…for one semester. Then he dropped out of college and joined an acting program at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center in Connecticut.

A Gifted Talent

Howarth’s soap career began on Loving, in the role of Kent Winslow, for which the producers saw many actors.The role didn’t last long, and he became Todd Manning on OLTL in 1992.

Like General Hospital's Luke Spencer, Todd has a rape in his history.The character began as a heroic type, but then he raped the character of Marty Saybrooke.

Over time, this incident made Todd's portrayer increasingly uncomfortable, so much so that he left the show in 1995. He returned in 1996, and now, Todd was more of a villain.

He left the show again in 1998, returned in 2000, and left in 2003, thought at the time to be for good.

Howarth had other acting opportunities. In prime time, he did four episodes of a series, Prey, playing a murderer, and appeared as Greg Hetson on Dawson’s Creek for nine episodes.

On stage, his credits include: The White Rose, Spalding Gray: Stories Left to Tell, Henry IV, Passions, You Touched Me, Mother Courage, and Orestes. On Broadway, he played Philip in The Lion in Winter in 1999, starring Stockard Channing and Laurence Fishburne.

After his last sojourn as Todd, Howarth took the role of Paul Ryan on As the World Turns. He was the fourth Paul Ryan, from 2003-2010, and was nominated twice for am Outstanding Lead Actor Daytime Emmy Award.

Will the Real Todd Manning PLEASE Stand Up!

In the meantime, Trevor St. John was playing Todd on One Life to Live, but in a daring move, the writers decided for the last few months of the show to bring back the original Todd  -– but as a second Todd.

The question for the characters of Llanview would be, which one is the real Todd and which one is the phony? When the two men had matching DNA, the problem grew deeper and kept viewers on the edge of their seats.

With One Life to Live off the air, its head writer Ron Carlivati and producer Frank Valentini moved to General Hospital and decided that the quirky Manning belonged there too, especially since the character of Starr Manning, his daughter, was there already.

Alas, that pairing in Port Charles was not meant to be; due to the same legal issues that Howarth and Michael Easton faced with the Prospect Part suit, Kristen Alderson was now playing a new role, Kiki Jerome.

As Todd on GH, Howarth did a terrific and often hilarious job in his dealings with Heather Webber (his cell phone announced her as “Crazy Calling”) and Carly Jacks, and sparred well with Johnny Zacchara. When Spinelli yelled out “J’accuse!” on an episode, Todd sputters, "I’ve been j’accused all over the place!”

As Franco, audiences, at first, didn't know how to take him, and naturally, they're disappointed that Todd could not continue.

The role of Franco was created for James Franco, a darker presence, but Howarth's character is going for redemption. Well, he was. He's pulled some pretty crazy stuff since then.

Roger Howarth on the Home Front -- and New Jobs!

Howarth is married to an actress, Cari Stahler, and they have two children.

The actor won a recurring role on The Flash, a series from CW about the superhero created by DC Comics in 1940. The new series debuted October 4, 2014, starring Grant Gustin as The Flash. Howarth played Mason Bridge, a journalist and the boss of Iris (Candice Patton). Jesse L. Martin, Howarth's close friend in real life, also appears on the series as Detective Joe West. 

The actors appeared on Guiding Light (as Keith and Jory) and One Life to Live, when Martin played Quincy, whom Todd attempted to hire for his paper. Martin is actually the godfather of Howarth's son. 

This isn't Howarth's first foray into prime time. He was a recurring character for one season of Dawson's Creek, and appeared on Californication in 2014.