Monday, January 18, 2010

50 Greatest Soap Actresses: #21 Ilene Kristen

NAME: Ilene Kristen
RANK: 21
SOAP ROLES: Roxanne "Roxy" Balsom, ONE LIFE TO LIVE (2001-present); Madeline Thompson, ANOTHER WORLD (1995); Norma Gilpin, LOVING (1990-1991); Georgina Whitman, ONE LIFE TO LIVE (1982); Delia Reid, RYAN'S HOPE (1975-1978, 1982-1983, 1986-1989)

2005 Daytime Emmy nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
2004 Daytime Emmy nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
2003 Soap Opera Digest Award nomination for Favorite Return
1989 Soap Opera Digest Award nomination for Outstanding Villainess: Daytime
1988 Soap Opera Digest Award nomination for Outstanding Comic Performance by an Actress: Daytime
1978 Afternoon TV Award win for Best Actress

Lynn Liccardo: I know she’s talks about how much fun she’s having playing Roxy on ONE LIFE TO LIVE, but it was her portrayal of RYAN'S HOPE heartbreaking, and infuriating (often at the same time), Delia that put her on my list.

Connie Passalacqua Hayman (Marlena De Lacroix): Jill Larson and Ilene Kristen. Notice how both actresses started in (comic) character parts on their current shows (AMC and OLTL) and have now become the hearts of and truthtellers of these shows? That takes terrific acting skills. (And for your LOL pleasure--remember Kristen as RH's immortal Delia?)

Roger Newcomb: I have been an Ilene Kristen fan for decades so when I had the opportunity to cast her in my film, Manhattanites, I jumped at the chance. Seeing her up close and personal on set crying on command, playing a huge range of emotions and making every scene she was in better, I couldn't have been more impressed. But what I love most about Ilene is her unmatched heart, her passion and her desire to make the world a better place. It is with her in it.

Damon L. Jacobs:  I have always been awed by the insights and talent this phenomenal woman has displayed.  As Delia on RYAN'S HOPE, she knew how to channel every subtle nuance of a woman struggling with Borderline Personality Disorder, before such disorder had been classified in the manuals!  Fans are aware of what a dazzling actress/singer/songwriter she is.  But what they may not know is how intelligently and thoughtfully she approaches every character choice.  From Delia's anguish to Roxy's wisecracks, there is a brilliant intuitive mastermind behind it all.  And as the person who gave me my first soap interview, I am eternally grateful for her generosity as well!  

Daniel Hugh Kelly: (worked with Kristen on RH) Never a dull moment. A wonderful listener with a built-in joy of life. Never one to avoid a challenge, or shy away from committing 1000% to a scene, a song, a show, no matter how difficult. Absolutely fearless. Ilene was not one to ever let grass grow under her feet, always curious, always growing, always warm and fun. Another beautiful and talented actress from RYAN'S who never walked through a scene in her life and whose interests still run the gamut from rock music to new age vitamins.


  1. Ilene is great on OLTL (my favorite era for her was her marriage to Max). She was incomparable on RH. Delia was a raw nerve, yet I could never hate her. I usually rooted for her over the "good" people around her, like Faith, or Frank. Even Ilene Kristen, I believe, said that she never really met anyone who hated Delia. How could you hate her? And then Ilene showed her comedy chops with the stock market story, and those delicious fantasies.

  2. IK has been fabulous in showing the range that both Delia and Roxie exhibit. She can be the ultimate bad vixen, that you can't hate, as well as the comediac wonderfulness that is Roxie. She plays comedy as well as the Greek Chorus. She's wonderful. Thank's for the soap characters IK!

  3. Loved her as Roxy, but she'll always be my Delia

  4. Loved her as Roxy, but she'll always be my Delia

  5. Did Ilene play a role opposite Troy Donohue in an early soap? I seem to remember her being in love with a character named Keefer. Does anyone else recall this role?