General Hospital star Mark Lawson is paying tribute to his late acting coach and fellow ABC soap opera alum Stan Kirsch. Following the Highlander actor's Jan. 11 death at the age of 51, Lawson, who portrays Dustin Phillips in the soap, took to Instagram to pay his respects and reflect on the impact Kirsch had on his life and his career.
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"Stan. I'm reeling," Lawson began. "All the way back to my first year in Los Angeles. Had a roommate I didn't like. Was terrified to make a left on red. I needed the big break NOW so I could leave this terrifying town and go home and somehow work the Hollywood machine from there."
"I was in a Lesly Kahn Bootcamp class with another teacher and heard your voice coming into the Studios on Cole (that's how far back we go)," he continued. "I was star-struck. I was the biggest goddamn nerd for Highlander. I couldn't even talk to you the first time I was introduced to you. And somehow I ended up in your Ongoing class."
Lawson went on to reflect how Kirsch helped him prepare for his first audition, revealing that the actor "had to teach me nuance first. Stillness" and how he can "walk my closet right now and pull out the wardrobe I wore to the first job I booked."
"You would coach me for nothing. You even let me be your trainer for a minute. You were my first big brother here. I'll never forget that. And that's how you'll stay," he wrote. "But then what happened? Not a goddamn thing."
"I didn't work for four years," Lawson wrote. "I was in class with you and so many of the people I shamefully have lost touch with when I announced 'I'm done, guys. I'm quitting.' And I did. But somehow I stayed. Somehow I always had a toe in. And a few years went by before I booked the greatest job I've had to date. Four years on a soap."
Lawson went on to write that he visited Kirsch "every now and then when I was back in LA" and that he was "already that kid who would drop in on his teachers. His mentors. His heroes."
"When I returned for good, I got to see you in YOUR studio. Doing things YOUR way. I got to be your student again," Lawson concluded. "You were brilliant. I miss you."
Kirsch passed away on Saturday, Jan. 11 at the age of 51, his wife, Kristyn Green, confirmed. Along with starring as Richard H. "Richie" Ryan on six seasons of Highlander from 1992 to 1998, Kirsch had a 1992 guest spot on General Hospital.