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F.A.Q.: The Top 50 Soap Actresses of All Time


In January we will begin our countdown of the Top 50 Soap Actresses of All Time. We have received a number of questions about the list and are answering them here in this F.A.Q.

Where did the idea for the list come from?
We are huge fans of so many of the wonderful actresses who have graced our television screens and continue to do so and wanted to honor them in some way. Many of them have never been recognized by the Daytime Emmys, and in some cases, it's quite surprising.

How did you compile the list?
Along with We Love Soaps editors Roger Newcomb and Damon L. Jacobs we assembled a team of subject matter experts who have covered the industry or worked in the industry (or both) and asked each to submit their Top 25 list. We combined all these lists into one comprehensive Top 50 Countdown.

The judges panel consisted of Alan Carter, Claire Labine, Connie Passalacqua Hayman (aka Marlena De Lacroix), Damon L. Jacobs, Jonathan Reiner, Lynn Leahey, Lynn Liccardo, Mala Bhattacharjee, Mimi Torchin, Nelson Aspen, Nelson Branco, Roger Newcomb, Thom Racina and Tony Calega.

Can one person influence the vote?
Ranking someone #1 on your list definitely has weight but the Top 50 is made up only of actresses that appeared on multiple lists. In fact, there were more than 50 actresses mentioned on multiple lists and we will do an "honorable mention" celebration for those who just missed the cut once the countdown is finished.

Is the list weighted to favor current actresses?
The list consists of actresses from many eras dating back to radio and is quite comprehensive.

What can we expect from the countdown?
For each actress, we'll provide a career retrospective, classic videos where possible, comments from the judges and, in some cases, comments from their directors, producers, writers or fellow actors. Many great classic photos have been contributed by Rob Wargo and Roch Bellefeuille.

40 comments:

  1. I have an issue with Clair Labine being a judge. While she is one of the great soap writing talents of all time, in the interview you posted with her she stated that she never watched shows she was not writing. She further stated she does not watch any shows today. How can she judge what she has never seen?

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  2. She wrote for at least six soaps over 30 years. I don't think any of us have actually watched every soap and know every performance. There are too many years and too many show. That's why we have 14 judges who submitted very diverse lists. No one person's ranking added someone to the list but it was important to get as many different perspectives as possible. Everyone in the countdown appeared on multiple lists. There is no way to have only judges who have listened to and watched soaps since they were invented and continue today. So we chose a mix of current and former soap press and writers who have worked on many shows to cover as many eras as possible.

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  3. First of all, i can't wait to read this list, i'm very, very excited! my only question is, after this list is done can we expect a similar list focusing on the best soap actors (male)?

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  4. I definitely want to do a list of the Top Actors as well. :)

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  5. Good i can't wait to see that list as well!

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  6. And then, after the best actors, we need:
    - best pets
    - soaphunks

    It's time for WLS to get shallow, LOL

    Seriously, though...AMAZING list so far.

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  7. I would watch a discussion amongst this panel forever. It must have been so exciting to be able to hear from all of these heavy hitters and their opinions on soap history. I am very excited and really admire the effort.

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  8. I think after Actress and Actor should come Top 50 Storylines.

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  9. i agree i would watch a discussion with this panel any day. maybe on a future episode of We love soaps tv you could invite some of the panel members back to discuss their picks and why they rnaked their list as they did or just to discuss the people on the list.

    and i agree a list of soap hunks and babes and a list of storylines are DESPERATELY NEEDED.

    maybe you could to a top 10 list of stories from each of the current soaps and a top 5 list of some of the cancelled soaps?

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  10. I can't believe that Maura West is on this list as #29....SERIOUSLY??? She is such an amazing actress. I can't believe she would be ranked so low. I reserve my right to disagree with this panel!!

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  11. I am so pleased that you are doing this Top Actress countdown. I check the list every day to see which actress is next to be selected. Great idea to post clips. So nice to see a cross-section of actresses from the past as well as current stars.

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  12. columbus, I'm glad you're enjoying it. We are too. The actresses on the list range from radio to TV to the internet and cover around 70 years of soap opera!

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  13. Great list. Are all the quotes about the actresses current, i.e., during voting or post-voting?

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  14. Hi Shari, 99% of the comments are new comments that we collected while establishing the list or once the list was set. A couple of quotes we pulled from our recent interviews, but even those are from the last few months. All are original WLS quotes. :)

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  15. What about Ann Flood, Mary Stuart and Audrey Peters???

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  16. So far, I havn't seen my favorite actress make the list. I know they all can't make it, but this one should be. When will the list be complete? I take serious issue with Nelson Branco being a judge. The man is so biased and unpleasant when he doesn't care for someone. His column is terrible. I can't believe he was even considered for this position.

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  18. I can't believe that Robin Christopher, Kate Collins and Kimberlin Brown have not made this list. Three of the greatest, multi faceted and most talented women ever to grace soaps. This is a travesty.

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  19. ... not to mention those egregiously overlooked British beauties of acting brilliance - Fiona Hutchison (the QUEEN of high drama) and Finola Hughes (GH's greatest female character)!

    For shame! For absolute shame.

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  20. Michelle Stafford at 17? WOW talk about overrated! Where is Kimberlin Brown and Sharon Case? They are better than MS.

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  21. I find it hard to believe that #44 made the list. While the super talented Robin Mattson,Martha Byrne and Judi Evans didn't.

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  22. OK, now I am getting nervous. I have given up hope of seeing Robin Mattson and Martha Byrne, but am at least hoping Ann Flood, Beverlee McKinsey, Kim Zimmer, Katherine Hayes and my personal #1, Eileen Fulton round out the top 5.

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  23. And for heaven's sake, what about Erika Slezak, Rosemary Prinz and Ruth Warrick?

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  24. Guys, I am so enjoying this amazing feature. Thanks so much for making me a part of it. You've done a wonderful job in saluting so many of the great ladies of our industry. I had such a difficult time narrowing down my choice to 25 and am so glad you are saluting 50 of these grande dames AND honorable mention. Many will still be overlooked, but this is a great effort.
    Mimi Torchin

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  25. Where the HELL is Lynn Herring?!?!!?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  26. First of all I'm loving this list...and the old clips to go along with it...so thanks :)

    OK...so I picked what I thought would be the top 3 and so far am on the money...although I thought ES would be number one...

    Oh, and where is Tricia Cast?...

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  27. Where the hell is Tamara Braun? She's done more with less than most. From Carly to Ava to Reese, she rocked them all.

    Debbie Morgan #11? She changed the face of daytime and she doesn't crack the top 10?...not sure what your definition of "Greatest" is but that's pretty dang huge.

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  28. Going by where some landed on this list to some really talented actresses missing from it, I would venture to say this list was based more on popularity with the judges then strictly talent. Not to say that it surprises me. :) that's usually how these things go. No offense but Susan Lucci,Jackie Zerman,Susan Seaforth Hayes and Patricia Pease...you can't tell me those weren't based more popularity rather then talent. Martha Bryne, Robin Mattson, Julianna Moore,Meg Ryan and the very so often overlooked Ellen Dolan can act circles around those four.

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  29. Well I can certainly see who is popular with this panel of judges; popularity with them is all that this list is all about, nothing at all do with accomplishments and talent! Some glaring omissions in the top 10 alone has made this list just another one of those forgettable lists that mean NOTHING.

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  30. overall you guys put together a wonderful list. I think it's overall very reflective of the talent that graced daytime over the years. BUT i think there are a few very GLARRING omissions: namely: Deidra Hall, Fionla Hughes, Fiona Hutchison, Robin Mattson, Lynn Herring, Kimberline Brown and Melody Thomas Scott to name just a few... not to mention Kelly Ripa.

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  31. Nelson Branco shouldn't be allowed to judge a dog competition let alone anything related to soaps. What has this guy done except a very biased column that allows him to fawn like a girl over his crushes? The fact that he was a judge negates any credibility this might have had. Many greats were left off, and many over rated one's put on. I guess it's all about who you know and how popular. Sharon Case should have been on that list. Seriously 15 years frontburner on YR, the woman carries her weight and yet she continuously gets snubbed. Kimberlin Brown isn't on the list? Tracy Bregman? Beth Maitland, and VR should have been above MS.

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  32. I particularly care how divers the panel of judges, the very fact that Nelson Branco was on that panel, negates any credibility that list may have had. This man may have a column but very few put any weight into what this simpering, crybaby and mostly fawning fangurl has to say. He very much is biased and pimps who HE loves. Then crucifies who he doesn't. MS up at 17 is a gross over rate imho. While Tracey Bregman, Sharon Case, Kimberlin Brown were left off. These women carried YR before MS ever set her over blown scenery chewing on to the set. It's clear this is bias, and who you know and who you rub elbows with. There were many great actresses left off that list. Claire Labine, writes and never watched. Yet she can say who's one of the best? This whole list should be redone and get some credible judges.

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  33. one suggestion i have is that if you do another list you include some soap actors and actresses on the panel, even former actors because i think they can add a balance to the list that is currently missing.

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  34. The fact that you left Hillary B. Smith and Martha Byrne off the list makes me question its value.

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  35. Chrystal Chappel # 8?! Seems like a choice made due to her popularity in the her last year on GL. If it's talent we are looking for than where are Tracy Bregman, Susan Haskel,Judy Evans, Gina Tognoni & Sharon Case?

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  36. It's also strange that Colleen Zenk isn't on this list. I would have also included Kelley Menighan Hensley (unfortunately she has always been overlooked.

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