Due to their dramatic nature and constant plot twists shocking viewers of daytime TV, is it really surprising that soap operas are the longest-running shows in television history? Since many of them have had successful careers that are decades long, we can’t help but wonder what soap actors look like now.
Pamela Sue Martin
Dynasty was Pamela Sue Martin’s playground for a steady, 3-year run – from 1981 to 1984. As Fallon Carrington Colby, Pamela was able to mess around with the character of a spoiled daughter of a wealthy businessman, which she landed thanks to her previous role as Nancy Drew in The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries. Once the Dynasty chapter ended, Pamela decided not to return to soaps and instead bounced around various television shows and films. Her last appearance was in McTaggert’s Fortune as Sgt. Jeanine Bowman.
Eileen Davidson appeared on several long-running shows, including Santa Barbara, Days of Our Lives, and The Bold and The Beautiful, to name a few. Since her break from soap shows, Davidson transitioned to play characters in films, but since then she realized her true passion was acting in soaps. Currently, she is acting the role of Ashley Abbott on The Young and the Restless – the same one she has been playing on and off since 1985. It seems that for Davidson, soaps are a way of life.
As The World Turns was Terri Conn’s big break the minute she landed the role of Katie Peretti Snyder in 1998. The gig came when Conn had slim experience in other TV shows, but as fate would have it, Conn continued to film with As The World Turns until 2010 when it went off the air. It didn’t take long for Conn to fit right into a new show, which explains why she signed with the soap One Life To Live.
As a cast member of General Hospital since 1996, Tyler Christopher was associated with the character of Nikolas Cassdine ever since he started acting professionally. Tyler did manage to work on other sets of shows during his time on General Hospital, including Felicity, Angel, and Crossing Jordan, not to mention two years in The Lying Game as Dan Whitehorse. Tyler’s last appearance on General Hospital was in 2016, and since then he claims to be working in the film industry. However, fans still hope to see him return to General Hospital.
Kristen Alderson jump-started her career as a child star on the well-known show One Life To Live. She acted the role of Starr Manning, a job she landed when she was only seven years old, making her the youngest soap star ever to land a contract. Alderson continued to work on the show until 2012, hitting the impressive mark of 811 episodes in total. After the show, Alderson continued to march on the paved soap path and turned to General Hospital for her next challenge.
The longtime soap opera actor known as Doug Savant first appeared in Knot’s Landing, then moved on to act in Melrose Place from 1992 and up until 1997 as Matt Fielding. Since the latter got canceled, Doug appeared in many TV shows including a gig on 24 in 2004 as Craig Phillips. If his face seems awfully familiar, it is probably since you remember him from Desperate Housewives, where he acted as Linette Scavo’s husband, Tom. Savant was on the primetime drama from 2004 to 2012.
Renee Jones did not get her big break on TV until 1980, but it wasn’t until 1993 that she really made a name for herself as a cast member on Days of Our Lives. Before then, Renee appeared in more than 40 varied television series, including soap operas such as Santa Barbara, Knot’s Landing, and The Bold and the Beautiful. Not many know that Renee also appeared in a single episode of The Fresh Prince with Will Smith. She 2012, Renee has not been seen in anything.
Bissett became known for her persona of Jane Andrews Mancini on Melrose Place from 1992 to 1999, but briefly reprised the role in 2009 to revive the TV show. By 2008, Bissett landed a role in The Secret Life of the American Teenager.
Walt Willey had a long time key character on All My Children that went by the name of Jackson Montgomery. Willey played the role of Montgomery from 1987 to 2011, as it was then that the show went off the air. Willey had small roles before All My Children, but the latter was his notable big break. Since then, Willey had a two year run on the show Tainted Dreams where he had the role of Gregory Ashford. He left the show in 2016 and was most recently seen in Butcher the Bakers.
Dr. Dorian Lord Vickers was Robin Strasser’s big break, as she began her career on One Life to Live in 1979 – a character she played on and off until 2013. In between playing the doctor in Llanview, PA, she was also seen making appearances in Knot’s Landing, Passions, and Another World. It seems Strasser had a knack for acting as a medical professional, as she played a doctor on All My Children too. Robin came back to the role during the early 2000’s for infrequent episodes.
John Hensley is mostly known for his long-lived, recurring character of Holden Snyder in As The World Turns but Hensley made his television debut in one episode of One Life to Live during the 1980’s. Following the end of As The World Turns, Hensley landed a role in The Bold and the Beautiful as Dr. Meade, a role he maintained for two years. However, since his run in 2013 has ended, Hensley has not been spotted in any new projects.
The talented Bryan Dattilo played some small roles, and it was this minor televised success that landed him the role of Lucas Roberts in Days of Our Lives. Ever since he was admitted as a main character on Days of Our Lives in 1993, Dattilo has shown no signs of stopping, and he is on the show to this very day. Last year, however, Bryan did take a brief break from the show to play around with the role of Eric in Youthful Daze.
Nancy Lee Grahn
Nancy Lee Grahn appeared in Santa Barbara from 1985 to 1993, where she took the role of Julia Wainwright upon herself. In 1997, Nancy also landed a gig in Melrose Place and was given the lines of a character named Denise Fielding. Nancy already has an impressive resume by the time she landed other TV roles, one of them being Principal Russell in the show 7th Heaven from 1997 to 1999. Nancy also joined the cast of General Hospital and to this day plays Alex Davis Jerome on the show.
Film, TV and stage actor David Selby appeared in more than 60 movies and television shows since his kickstart in the horror-fantasy show titled Dark Shadows. In Dark Shadows, Selby played Quentin Collins from 1968 to 1971. One this gig ended, Selby turned to the show Flamingo Road from 1981 to 1982 as Michael Tyrone from 1981 to 1982, and this relatively short-lived role was soon swapped with the show Falcon Crest, where he played a character by the name of Richard Channing. Since then, Selby has continued his dynamic acting career.
Robert S. Woods
Robert Sosebee Woods is best remembered for playing Bo Buchanan on the soap One Life to Live – the very same role that won him a Daytime Emmy Award in 1983 for Lead Actor. However, his first even jotted TV performance was as Dr. David Spencer in The Waltons – a job he maintained for a steady 3-year period. Woods left the role of a Vietnam War veteran on One Life to Live in 1986, but returned to the role until the show was canceled in 2012. Woods is married to actress Loyita Chapel.
It was the role of Lisa McColl on As the World Turns that put Eileen Fulton on the map – and Fulton remained with the show for its entire 50-year run. That is not to say Eileen didn’t play with other roles – in fact, she acted in several films in 2005, 2008, and 2011. Fulton appeared in Private Lives for four episodes, playing the character of Lisa Hughes. Since then, Eileen has written numerous books, “Eileen Fulton’s Take One For Murder”. Romantically, Fulton was married for three months to a landscape architect in 1989.
Although his first few film roles are largely uncredited, Andrew Shue did manage to pile plenty of 1980’s hits to his resume, the most noted ones being The Karate Kid and Adventures in Babysitting. It was not until 1992 that Shue made his big debut as Billy Campbell on Melrose Place, but he left the show six years later. Since then, Shue was spotted in the 2007 film Gracie with his sister Elisabeth and brother John but has since not been seen on the small or big screen.
Steve Burton was cast in Out of This World in 1987, which was his first notable role and one he continued acting until the show closed the curtain in 1991. After the latter, Burton began a long run on General Hospital, where he played James Morgan right up until 2015. Since 2013, Burton has been acting as Dylan McAvoy in the soap The Young and the Restless, and in 2017 Burton returned to General Hospital under the alias of “Patient 6.” Burton is married and has three children.
Gordon Thomson is a Canadian actor who is mostly known for his work on the soap Dynasty where he played Adam Carrington, but truth be told, the man appeared in almost every soap imaginable. After Dynasty, Thomson went on to play Mason Capwell in Santa Barbara for three years and has since then appeared in shows like Sunset Beach and Passions. Thomson’s latest appearance was in Good Morning Britain, where the actor took upon himself the role of a guest host, covering celebrity events like Wimbledon and Royal Ascot.
Don Hastings had a rich acting career in television before he scored a role in As The World Turns. His debut was as early as the very beginning of television in 1949, where Don appeared in Captain Video and the Video Rangers. After this, Don appeared in infrequent episodes of numerous TV shows, before signing a two-year contract for The Edge of Night as Jack Lane. These days Hastings lives with his second wife in upstate New York. The two have one daughter together.
Saying David Canary’s name, the first thing that usually comes to mind is either his role on Bonanza or All My Children. As a matter of fact, his face is one of the most recognizable ones in All My Children. Canary started his career written into the original soap Peyton Place, where he played Dr. Russ Gehring until 1966. He began his run in All My Children in 1984, when he landed the role of Adam Chandler. This was the last role Canary had, right up until his death in 2015.
Linda Evans is primarily known for her roles on TV, and she made headlines from way back in the 1960’s. To this day, her most well-appreciated role was as Krystle Carrington in the ABC prime-time soap Dynasty. Evans also acted on The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet where she played Linda, Shirley, Sally, and many more. Her latest appearance was in 2009 when Evans won the British TV program Hell’s Kitchen. Evans also has her very own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
It was 1986 when Rebecca Herbst made her television debut, appearing in a single episode of LA Law. After this, Herbst went on to appear in episodes of tremendously successful shows like Step by Step, Beverly Hills 90210, Sister, Sister, and Boy Meets World. Herbst went on to act in Brotherly Love in 1997 under the role of Kristin. To this day, Rebecca acts on General Hospital as Elizabeth Webber Spencer, a role she has had locked down since 1997.
Credited in both daytime and primetime shows, Susan Michaela Sullivan is mostly known for her roles as Maggie Gioberti Channing on the primetime soap Falcon Crest, Lenore Curtin Delaney on the soap opera Another World, and Kitty Montgomery on the ABC sitcom Dharma & Greg. Since Dharma & Greg ended in 2002, Sullivan acted as Martha Rodgers on Castle until 2016 and had a voice role in Big Hero 6: The Series in 2017. Sullivan keeps busy to this day, appearing on shows and films alike.
Thomas Calabro is an actor and, these days, a director as well. A career he built himself after his big limelight debut came in 1984, hand-in-hand with a relatively small role in Exterminator 2. Calabro made his TV debut as Joey Coltrera in Dream Street in 1989 and landed a role as Dr. Michael Mancini in Melrose Place in 1992. After a 7-year run, Thomas decided it was time to leave Melrose Place, and has since then been working consistently in TV and film.
Alison Sweeney, with her all-American baby blues and golden locks, was a safe bet from the start – which is why she began acting from the young age of only 8-years-old. Although she only appeared with small roles on shows like Simon & Simon, it didn’t take long for Sweeney to move into daytime TV, and in 1993 she was cast as Sami Brady Hernandez in Days of Our Lives. Nowadays, Sweeney is also recognized as a host of The Biggest Loser, which she hosted until 2015.
Doug Davidson portrayed the role of private investigator Paul Willims on The Young and the Restless even since 1978. The CBS soap opera marked Davidson as the show’s longest-serving current cast member. His big debut, however, was in the 1977 film Fraternity Row as Collin. In the 1990’s, Davidson appeared in the film Mr. Write as Roger, but since he has had other appearances such as hosting The New Price Is Right in 1994 and hosting the annual Tournament of Roses Parade from 1998 to 2003.
Katherine Kelly Lang
Katherine Kelly Lang began acting when she was 18-years-old. Her initial appearance was in Skatetown, USA as Alison, after which she worked her way going from one small television and movie role to another. Come 1987, Lang landed the role of Brooke Logan on The Bold and the Beautiful, a role she embodied heart and soul until this very day. Lang also had Brooke cross over in soap The Young and the Restless since she was such a dominant character, and a well-recognized one at that.
Another actor who got his professional acting career ignited in the late 1980’s is Matthew Ashford. The actor appeared as Cagney McCleary in Search for Tomorrow for two years and left the show in 1986, only to pursue greater, more challenging roles. He was then offered the gig of Jack Devereaux in Days of Our Lives in 1989, a character he played until 2016. Ashford is the sixth of eight children. Ashford married Lana Buss in 2016, and together they have a son and a daughter.
Hearts and Armour was the film that kicked Ronn Moss’s acting career into second gear, playing the role of Ruggero. Then, in 1987, Moss was given the opportunity to play Ridge Forrester in The Bold And The Beautiful, which he did until 2012. After the successful soap, Moss went on to play diverse roles, such as Ian in Familie and John Blackwell in The Bay. In 2014, Moss appeared on the daytime soap General Hospital alongside his band titled Player. Moss and the band performed their hit “Baby Come Back.”
Known for her role on the daytime soap One Life to Live as Victoria Lord, Erika Slezak always took great pride in her dedication to her work. Her role as Victoria Lord Banks on the show since 1971 and 45 years onwards is living proof of that. In between that, her only other credited roles include Jean Robert in the TV movie FullCircle, which came out in 1996. Slezak won six Daytime Emmys for her distinguished work out of nine nominations in total.
As the World Turns flipped 180 degrees when Colleen Zenk entered the ring, playing Barbara Ryan in the daytime drama from as early as 1978 and right up until it was taken off the air in 2010. During this time, however, Zenk appeared in a periodic film but mostly stuck to As the World Turns. After the series finale, Zenk had a few different acting roles, including both TV and film, as well as a few theatrical roles. Zenk is now in remission after a surgery she underwent in 2013.
Father of the dazzlingly talented and equally as beautiful Jennifer Aniston, John was in the acting game long before his daughter became one of the most recognized faces on the planet. His debut was in The 87th Precinct in 1962, and he worked continuously in TV since then. It was his long-running role on Days of Our Lives starting 1986 that put him on the map. Aniston was said to have retired, but despite the rumors, he can still be spotted on the daytime circuit as Victor Kiriakis on Days of Our Lives.
Actor turned producer John James began his acting career in TV in 1977, the minute he landed the role of John ‘Junior’ Bergman in Search for Tomorrow. After this stint, James had the role of Jeff Colby on Dynasty right up until 1989. James also appeared on The Love Boat, portraying several complex characters, including Robert Di Nardi, Enzo Carducci, and Dr. van Damme. Additionally, James acted in other soaps including All My Children and As The World Turns. His last appearance was in the film Chronology in 2015.
General Hospital featured Zeman as Bobbie Spencer all the way back in 1977, and it is the role she is best remembered for to this very day. Zeman, a New Jersey native, actually kick-started her career as a Bunny in the Playboy Club in 1972, which is why she found working in a show that has a continuously climactic plot so thrilling. Zeman also tried her hand at being a spokesperson for Excedrin aspirin. Currently, she works on the Home Shopping Network as a jewelry presenter.
Heather Locklear has had a productive acting career which was kicked off with CHiPs in 1980. After being cast as Officer Stacey Sheridan in 1982 for the show T.J. Hooker, Locklear quickly became a well-known face on the red carpet, especially since she had a respectable 5-year run on the show. Locklear nowadays is more known for her role on Melrose Place, which she starred in from 1993 to 1999. Locklear also played Sammy Jo Dean Carrington on Dynasty and is currently First Lady Katelynn Christian in Too Close to Home.
Known for playing Chris Kositchek and Roman Brady on the daytime drama Days of Our Lives, Josh Taylor didn’t get his big break until this very casting. After which, Taylor spent his time filming for The Young and the Restless as Jed Sanders, in addition to Jack McKay in Beverly Hills 90210. In 1997, Taylor returned to Days of Our Lives, and in 2004 his character was killed, but the favored actor returned several months later appearing not to have died after all. To this day Taylor is on the show.
Kassia Wesley DePaiva
Kassia Wesley DePaiva booked the role of Chelsea Reardon in Guiding Light, and so her successful career in acting began. Kassia spent five years on the show until 1991, and a year later she was cast in One Life to Live under the role of Blair Crammer Manning, one she aced until the show’s finale in 2013. Starting from 2014, Kassia moved on to appear in the daytime drama Days of Our Lives, where she played Eve Donovan – a role is playing to this very day.
Maybe it’s his sensual glare, or perhaps his rare acting abilities, but it seems Lorenzo Lamas has had more television success than other soap stars. Lorenzo’s first gig was long-lasting, which is very impressive for a TV debut. Lorenzo kicked off his televised career through Falcon Crest as Lance Cumson in 1981 and remained there for nine years. After which, Lorenzo managed to make a name for himself and went on to star in a number of films. Lorenzo also appeared on The Bold and the Beautiful.
It seems there is no Days of Our Lives without the fan favorite that is Deidre Hall – or as she is better known since 1976, Dr. Marlena Evans Black. Hall did take several brief breaks to thicken her resume, appearing in various other shows over the last four decades. Her latest work was in 2011, where Hall had a guest appearance on the season finale of Drop Dead Diva. Hall also received her very own Walk of Fame star in 2014. Hall has been married four times, her longest one being 15 years.
Michael E. Knight
Michael E. Knight is best known for his role as Tad Martin on the ABC soap All My Children, as his run spanned from 1983 and all the way through the show’s finale in 2011. Knight also made cameos on the show One Life to Live as the same character of Tad Martin. When All My Children ended it’s run, Knight moved on to appear in The Young and The Restless. In 2017, Michael also had a surprise appearance on the Home & Family show, where he reunited with several All My Children castmates.
Joan Collins’s name precedes her, as the unique woman has had a long, thriving career that is traced all the way back to the 1950’s. Collins never shied away from roles that were of both smaller and bigger nature, and it was this very driven passion that landed her well-remembered appearances. The most noted ones are the role of Alexis Carrington Colby on Dynasty from 1981 to 1989, Guiding Light in 2002 as Alexandra Spaulding Von Halkein Thorpe, and The Grand Duchess Alexandra of Oxford in The Royals.
His first soap opera appearance was in All My Children as Nico Kelly, a role he had from 1987 until 1990, but it was his character of Sonny Corinthos on General Hospital that really put Maurice Benard on the map. Starting 1993, Benard found his true calling, which explains why he is still on the show to this day. Benard has been honored with six Outstanding Lead Actor in a Daytime Drama nominations and managed even to gain a win in 2003 in this category.
Kate Linder is best known for the role she landed in 1982 as Esther Valentine on The Young and the Restless. In addition to more than four decades on the soap The Young and the Restless, Linder managed to appear in other shows during the last 20 years. In particular, including the role of Katie Bender in A Couple of White Chicks at the Hairdresser, Sandrine Simpson in the TV film Miracle at Gate 213, and more recently, La Vecchia in A Voice for the Living.
Many titled precede Susan Lucci, among them – television host, entrepreneur, and author. However, she is mostly known for her flawless acting skills, and especially her portrayal of Erica Kane on the daytime soap All My Children from 1970 until 2011. The woman is quite possibly one of the most iconic soap opera characters to date, as her career in soaps has been spanning for five decades, not to mention her appearance in over 30 television shows. Lucci received a 4-minute standing ovation for her win of a Daytime Emmy Award.
Cameron Mathison found a steady professional home on the set of All My Children in the year of 1998, where he remained a permanent cast member until the show ended in 2011. Mathison continues to act in both comedic and dramatic roles to this day, having appeared in shows like Castle, Desperate Housewives, Hot in Cleaveland and Drop Dead Diva, to name a few. His latest television appearance was in the Hallmark Channel TV movie At Home in Mitford which was released in 2017.