Monday, January 11, 2010

50 Greatest Soap Actresses: #36 Sarah Felder

NAME: Sarah Felder
RANK: 36
SOAP ROLES: Siobhan Ryan, RYAN'S HOPE (1978-1980)

Lynn Liccardo: I was so pleased to see Sarah Felder's name on this list. In 1978, Felder originated the role of Siobhan Ryan Novak on RYAN'S HOPE, her first, and last, soap opera role. Her run is just now coming to an end, as SOAPnet airs the spring 1980 episodes, so I expect her inclusion is due more to this fortuitous timing than anything else.

Watching Felder's subtle, nuanced, textured performance over the past year (SOAPnet airs ten episodes a week), I simply cannot comprehend why she’s not found work as an actor since leaving RH, and instead works as a dialect coach. Of course, the writing didn’t hurt either; there’s an episode with Felder and Helen Gallagher in which Siobhan talks with her mother, Maeve, and slowly comes to the realization that her husband, Joe, is indeed part of his uncle’s criminal organization that's a master class in multi-layered storytelling. Felder's firing is one of those events that speaks volumes about the real reasons behind soaps' downward spiral over the past 30 years.

Daniel Hugh Kelly: (played Felder's brother on RH) A talent so awesome it was frightening. A Julliard beauty, who's long hair and soft eyes were as memorable as her scenes. A sensitive yet intense actress, who would push herself to excel in every scene she was ever in....Sarah always gave everything she had, left nothing in the rehearsal room, and employed a work ethic that was truly impressive.


  1. Sarah was divine in this role. Everything a soap actress should be -- complex, yet also easily accessible. You could see every emotion just by looking at her face. She also went all out in her acting, she never held back.

    My favorite work from her was early on, when Siobhan returned to the family and clashed with Maeve over Maeve always judging her and favoring Mary. And Maeve sat on the couch with her in the middle of the night and told her how special she was and how much Maeve had always loved her. It was so honest and touching.

    I also loved her work as Siobhan slowly fell in love with Jack. That story was such a missed opportunity.

  2. Just gotta say, this list is so much fun! After you posted #41, a friend and I decided to make a list of our guesses for who would be on your list (so far I managed to guess only SSH and VR.) We also came up with our own picks and we've had a blast comparing it to your list.

    While I think she's talented, I didn't put Sarah on my own list. I especially couldn't put her above my beloved Nancy Addison, lol! That said, after all these years Sarah still has many devoted fans, and that certainly says something.

    Can't wait to read the rest of the picks!

  3. I'm so happy to see Sarah Felder get some of the recognition she deserves, thirty years after the fact! I will always wish she had continued acting, so that we might have decades of her material to enjoy, but she certainly gave her all to her portrayal of Siobhan.

  4. This whole list is great, but it's a particularly pleasant surprise to see Sarah Felder on it. To think she was only on daytime for less than two years before I was born, but her work as Siobhan still holds up to the best of them all of these years later.

  5. Having only started watching Ryan's Hope on SoapNet about a year ago, I am a newbee to the talent that appeared on the show. Until now, the actors were only vague faces I recall from my mom's soap magazines from the time.

    I always remembered Sarah Felder, though, and it has been a JOY to have watched her in the role of Siobhan, growing from the lanky, quirky long haired vagabond, to the stylish, strong heroine she is in the most recent episodes.

    I dare say, I have fallen in love with her talent. She offers so many expressions at one time. I can't believe she didn't appear in a leading role on other soaps after RH.

    Her ability reminds me so much of my top favorite soap actress, Maureen Garrett. Strong, and with a depth that is so mesmerizing.

    I think today's (1/20/10) episode may have included her "farewell" scene. It sure seemed like it.

    I'm mourning a loss of an actress in a soap role from 30 years ago. Now, that's a great performer.

    Happy to see her included on your list!

  6. this woman was on a soap for only two years and that was 30 years ago... i have never seen her work, but she sure seems to be a memorable actress.

  7. If memory serves, today (9 October) is Sarah's birthday. Happy birthday, Sarah and many happy returns of the day. From one who remembers you with great fondness well before your soap opera role.

  8. I was a big fan of Ryan's Hope and especially of Sarah Felder. She WAS Siobhan, and I loved that character so much that I named my daughter 'Siobhan.' I just found out that these 30-year old episodes are here to watch, and I'm going to sit down with my Siobhan and watch them! Thank you, Sarah Felder!