Friday, January 22, 2010

50 Greatest Soap Actresses: #17 Michelle Stafford

NAME: Michelle Stafford
RANK: 17
SOAP ROLES: Phyllis Summers, THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS (1994-1997, 2000-present); Joanna Hadley, PACIFIC PALISADES (1997); Frankie, TRIBES (1990)

2008 Daytime Emmy nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series
2007 Daytime Emmy nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series
2005 Daytime Emmy nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series
2005 Daytime Emmy nomination for Special Fan Award Irresistable Combination
2005 Soap Opera Digest Award nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress
2004 Daytime Emmy win Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series
2003 Daytime Emmy nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series
2003 Soap Opera Digest Award win for Outstanding Lead Actress
2001 Soap Opera Digest Award nomination for Outstanding Female Scene Stealer
1997 Daytime Emmy win for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
1997 Soap Opera Digest Award win for Outstanding Villainess
1996 Daytime Emmy nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
1996 Soap Opera Digest Award win for Outstanding Female Newcomer

Alan Carter: Psychos come and go, but rarely do they make us love them...She pulled off making fans want Nick to be with her instead of sweet Sharon. THAT's acting!

Nelson Aspen: She may just be the most fun actress to watch in all of daytime. No matter what the scene is about, "Phyllis" always has our attention. I hope she sticks around Genoa City forever. Y&R has so many OTT women that are better suited to community theater than soap opera, but Michelle can seemingly play anything and keep it in context.

Tom Casiello: (writes for Stafford on Y&R) In the very short time I've written for Michelle, I am constantly in awe of how unpredictable her choices as an actress are -- and she's always right. I write a scene picturing pure rage in my head - and Michelle delivers the words a thousand times better than I imagined, subdued and haunted. I envision a Phyllis who is resigned and eerily frustrated, and she explodes on-screen with a fury I never saw coming. And it's always better than I saw in my mind's eye. She's taught me so much about real human emotion in the last year, just watching her on screen. Even though I know what's in the script, I never know Phyllis will do next, or how she will react. There's so much going on in a look, a word, a hundred different beats in a thirty-second scene, and it makes her infinitely rewatchable.

Michael Muhney: (works with Stafford on Y&R) Michelle is a riot!

Ian Buchanan: (fellow actor) I love Michelle Stafford. Have done for years! She brings intelligence and vulnerability to the very complex character of Phyllis. Someone you could so easily hate if Michelle didn't expertly play the damaged child subtly under the sophisticated surface. I find her compelling. I am a friend and fan.


  1. She easily should've been in the Top 10. Boo on you guys.

  2. Love her, she's amazing. I think she is the best in daytime period. Glad to see she made it so high up on the list, she'll always be number 1 for me.

  3. I completely agree Tegan. Michelle is the finest actress on Daytime or Primetime, period. The woman makes me believe whatever she's portraying. No one delivers it more emotionally and 'soapy' than Phyllis.

  4. She is amazing for all the reasons given. She has taken a character who has done unbelievably bad things and made us root for Phyllis. I agree, she should be in the top 3 at least!

  5. Sorry, very over rated. Way way too much scenery chewing. It's not that she compels you to watch, she demands it by making every scene about her. What could easily be and should be someone else's scene becomes hers. Give me Tracy Bregman, Stacy Haiduck, the terribly under rated Sharon Case and the emotionally gripping Beth Maitland. These women were carrying YR before MS and during her absence.

  6. Wow, haha you wrote on the other thread that Sharon Case should be included and now you come over here to attack the choice for Michelle Stafford. There is nothing overrated about this woman, she has mastered the soap opera style, and can take on any other style. If you see her other works and also Y&R, it’s clear to see that she is one of the best, right up there with Susan Flannery In my opinion of course. She can take cues, and hold up any other actor who can’t. You are right she is scene stealer and that’s why people are always drawn to her. However, you are also wrong because she also knows how to share a scene with the best of them like Peter Bergman, Christian Le Blanc, Greg Rikaart, Michael Graziadei, Tracey Bergman, Joshua Morrow, and even younger actors like Kevin Schmidt, and the list goes on.

    It’s understandable that not everyone will appreciate her style. However, it’s tactless to bash her work, because you don’t appreciate her style, a style that has been dominant on soaps since they began. Michelle has so much range and she can play any scene in many different ways, a number of ways you have missed out because of your generalization about her acting. Victoria Rowell had the same acting style, only thing is IMO she always stuck to it, yet I didn’t see that you made this same comment about her, I wonder why? I’m guessing that it’s a personal issue you have with Michelle Stafford.

    Also I am going to address this belief that Sharon Case is underrated, I’m so tired of hearing that. For one thing, I agree that she has a different style, and she is good with that one style, but it doesn’t stand out. Nevertheless, she only has this one style, and everyone on this list can conjure it up when the scene calls for it. Melody Thomas Scott has the same style as well, and she does stick to it most of the time, and yet her name of that list. Clearly Mrs. Case is not doing something right here. IMO Sharon is not on the list because she only has that one style, and uses it again and again, after 15 years it gets boring. You need to have range when you are on a soap, and she has been doing the same thing for many many years. There are many other Y&R actresses, who are unrated, and Sharon Case is not one, she’s had front burner stories for the past 2 years, and she’s still showing me the same thing.

    Lastly, I would like to say that Michelle Stafford is really unappreciated by Y&R, and it’s sad to see that she is always the one to come in last minute and push a story in the direction the writers want it to (example- Daniel and he case, and now Adam and his baby stealing) And if I am not mistaken no one here claimed that MS carried the show, she’s being recognized for her work on the show, when she was around. I am glad to see her on this list and her ranking, she definitely deserves it. Also Melody Scott is also in the same boat, given this woman a story Y&R! She can do so much than stand in Eric Braden’s shadow!

  7. Michelle Stafford is brilliant and deserves to be on this list! Phyllis Summers will forever be my favourite character on Y&R. I remember when she first came on, and I hated her. But that’s the mark of a great actress, she had so much passion, it was hard to not be captivated by her work. She continues to prevail to this day, and I hope that continues for her. If this list is compiled again many years from now, I suspect that Michelle will be in the top 10, she just keeps getting better! Bravo Michelle Stafford!

  8. She is truly a great talent. I couldn't stand Phyllis, but that meant she was doing her job. Love Michelle to pieces.