Tuesday, February 9, 2010

50 Greatest Soap Opera Actresses: The Complete List

Late in 2009, We Love Soaps pulled together a panel of 14 soap opera journalists and critics to come up with a list of the 50 Greatest Soap Actresses of All Time list. Below is the complete list from 1 to 50 which includes actresses from a 70 year span dating back to radio soap operas. On Wednesday, look for the equally impressive honorable mention list of actresses that appeared on multiple panelist's list.

NAME: Susan Flannery
SOAP ROLES: Stephanie Forrester, THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL (1987-present); Leslie Stewart, DALLAS (1981); Laura Horton, DAYS OF OUR LIVES (1966-1975)

NAME: Kim Zimmer
SOAP ROLES: Reva Shayne, GUIDING LIGHT (1983-1990, 1995-2009); Joan, MODELS INC (1994-1995); Jodie DeWitt Walker, SANTA BARBARA (1992-1993); Echo DiSavoy, ONE LIFE TO LIVE (1983); Nola Dancy Aldrich, THE DOCTORS (1979-1982); Bonnie Harmon, ONE LIVE TO LIVE (1978)

NAME: Erika Slezak
SOAP ROLES: Victoria Lord, ONE LIFE TO LIVE (1971-present)

NAME: Beverlee McKinsey
SOAP ROLES: Myrna Slaughter, GENERAL HOSPITAL (1994) Alexandra Spaulding (1984-1992); Iris Cory, TEXAS (1980-1981) Iris Cory, ANOTHER WORLD (1972-1980); Emma Frame Ordway, ANOTHER WORLD (1972); Julie Richards, LOVE IS A SMANY SPLENDORED THING (1970-1971)

NAME: Robin Strasser
SOAP ROLES: Dorian Lord, ONE LIFE TO LIVE (1979-1987, 1993-2000, 2003-present); PASSIONS (Hecuba, 2000-01; 2002), Dianne Kirkwood, KNOTS LANDING (1990); Christina Karras Martin (1976-1979); Rachel Davis, SOMERSET (1970); Rachel Davis, ANOTHER WORLD (1967-1971, 1972)

NAME: Judith Light
SOAP ROLES: Claire Meade, UGLY BETTY (2006-present); Karen Wolek, ONE LIFE TO LIVE (1977-1983)

NAME: Jeanne Cooper
SOAP ROLES: Katherine Chancellor, THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS (1973-present); Wedding Guest, GUIDING LIGHT (2009); Katherine Chancellor, THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL (2005)

NAME: Crystal Chappell
SOAP ROLES: Carly Manning, DAYS OF OUR LIVES (1990-1993, 2009-present); Gina Brogno, VENICE (2009-present); Olivia Spencer, GUIDING LIGHT (1999-2009); Maggie Carpenter, ONE LIFE TO LIVE (1995-1997); Jane, SANTA BARBARA (1990); Janie, ALL MY CHILDREN (1989)

NAME: Sarah Brown
SOAP ROLES: Sandy Sommers, THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL (2009-present); Claudia Zacchara, GENERAL HOSPITAL (2008-2009); Julisa Larrabee, AS THE WORLD TURNS (2004-2005); Carly Benson Corinthos, GENERAL HOSPITAL (1996-2001)

NAME: Helen Gallagher
RANK: 10
SOAP ROLES: Maude Boylan, ONE LIFE TO LIVE (1997-1998); Nurse Harris, ALL MY CHILDREN (1994); Hannah Tuttle, ANOTHER WORLD (1989); Maeve Ryan, RYAN'S HOPE (1975-1989)

NAME: Debbi Morgan
RANK: 11
SOAP ROLES: Angie Baxter Hubbard, ALL MY CHILDREN (1982-1990, 2008-present); Jennifer Tartaro, THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL (2006-2007); Ellen Burgess, PORT CHARLES (1997-1998); Angie Hubbard, THE CITY (1995-1997); Angie Hubbard, LOVING (1993-1995); Chantal Marshall, GENERATIONS (1990-1991)

NAME: Jane Elliot
RANK: 12
SOAP ROLES: Tracy Quartermaine, GENERAL HOSPITAL (1978-1980, 1989-1993, 1996, 2003-present); Tracy Quartermaine, THE CITY (1996-1997); Anjelica Deveraux, DAYS OF OUR LIVES (1987-1989), Cynthia Preston, ALL MY CHILDREN (1984-1986), Carrie Marler, GUIDING LIGHT (1981-1982); Judy, KNOTS LANDING, (1980-1981); Madge Sinclair, A NEW DAY IN EDEN (1982); Linda Skerba, A FLAME IN THE WIND (1965)

NAME: Mary Stuart
RANK: 13
SOAP ROLES: Meta Bauer, GUIDING LIGHT (1996-2002); Claire Webber, ONE LIFE TO LIVE (1998); Joanne Gardner, SEARCH FOR TOMORROW (1951-1986); THE FIRST HUNDRED YEARS (1950-1951)

NAME: Linda Dano
RANK: 14
SOAP ROLES: Lena Kendall, GUIDING LIGHT (2005); Gretel Rae Cummings (1978-1980, 1999-2004); Rae Cummings, GENERAL HOSPITAL (2000); Rae Cummings, PORT CHARLES (2000); Rae Cummings, ALL MY CHILDREN (1999-2000); Felicia Gallant, ANOTHER WORLD (1983-1999); Cynthia Haines, AS THE WORLD TURNS (1981-1982); Airline Clerk, ANOTHER WORLD (1976)

NAME: Elizabeth Hubbard
RANK: 15
SOAP ROLES: Lucinda Walsh, AS THE WORLD TURNS (1984-1999, 1999-present); Sair Poindexter, GOEDE TIJDEN SLECHTE TIJDEN (2009-PRESSENT); Estelle Chadwick, ONE LIFE TO LIVE (1983-1984); Althea Davis, THE DOCTORS (1964-1969, 1970-1977, 1981-1982); Carol Kramer, THE EDGE OF NIGHT (1963); Anne Benedict Fletcher, THE GUIDING LIGHT (1962)

NAME: Genie Francis
RANK: 16
SOAP ROLES: Laura Webber Spencer, GENERAL HOSPITAL (1976-1982, 1983-1985, 1993-2002, 2006); Ceara Connor, ALL MY CHILDREN (1990-1992); Ceara Connor, LOVING (1991); Diana Colville, DAYS OF OUR LIVES (1987-1989)

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)

NAME: Maureen Garrett
RANK: 18
SOAP ROLES: Holly Norris, GUIDING LIGHT (1976-1981, 1988-2006, 2009); Elizabeth Jane "E.J." Ryan, RYAN'S HOPE (1981-1982)

NAME: Nancy Lee Grahn
RANK: 19
SOAP ROLES: Alexis Davis, GENERAL HOSPITAL (1996-present); Denise Fielding, MELROSE PLACE (1997); Julia Wainwright Capwell, SANTA BARBARA (1985-1993); Beverly Wilkes, ONE LIFE TO LIVE (1980-1982)

NAME: Susan Lucci
RANK: 20
SOAP ROLES: Erica Kane, ALL MY CHILDREN (1970-present); Hillary Taylor, DALLAS (1990-1991); LOVE IS A MANY SPLENDORED THING (1967)

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)

NAME: Charita Bauer
RANK: 22

NAME: Constance Ford
RANK: 23
SOAP ROLES: Ada Hobson, ANOTHER WORLD (1967-1992); Eve Morris, THE EDGE OF NIGHT (1964-1965); Rose Peabody, SEARCH FOR TOMORROW (1955-1956); THE WAY OF THE WORLD (1955); Lynn Sherwood, WOMAN WITH A PAST (1954)

NAME: Jess Walton
RANK: 24
SOAP ROLES: Jill Abbott, THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS (1987-present); Kelly Harper, CAPITOL (1984-1987)

NAME: Deidre Hall
RANK: 25
SOAP ROLES: Marlena Evans, DAYS OF OUR LIVES (1976-1987, 1991-2009); Barbara Anderson, THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS (1973)

NAME: Marcy Walker
RANK: 26
SOAP ROLES: Liza Colby, ALL MY CHILDREN (1981-1984, 1995-2005); Eden Capwell, SANTA BARBARA (1984-1991); Tangie Hill, GUIDING LIGHT (1993-1995)

NAME: Eileen Davidson
RANK: 27
SOAP ROLES: Ashley Abbott, THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS (1982-1989, 1999-2007, 2008-present ); Ashley Abbott, THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL (2007-2008); Kristen Blake, DAYS OF OUR LIVES (1993-1998); Susan Banks, DAYS OF OUR LVIES (1996-1998); Sister Mary Moira Banks, DAYS OF OUR LIVES (1997-1998); Thomas Banks, DAYS OF OUR LIVES (1997); Penelope Kent, DAYS OF OUR LIVES (1998); Kelly Capwell, SANTA BARBARA (1991-1993)

NAME: Mary Kay Adams
RANK: 28
SOAP ROLES: India von Halkein, GUIDING LIGHT (1984-1987, 1990-1991, 1998-1999, 2002, 2005); Diane Lacey, ALL MY CHILDREN (2003); Neal Alcott, AS THE WORLD TURNS (1992-1993); Death, ONE LIFE TO LIVE (1992)

NAME: Maura West
RANK: 29
SOAP ROLES: Carly Tenney, AS THE WORLD TURNS (1995-1996, 1997-present)

NAME: Victoria Wyndham
RANK: 30
SOAP ROLES: Rachel Cory, ANOTHER WORLD (1972-1999); Charlotte Waring (1967-1970)

NAME: Lisa Brown
RANK: 31
SOAP ROLES: Nola Reardon Chamberlain, GUIDING LIGHT (1980-1985, 1995-1998, 2009); Iva Snyder, AS THE WORLD TURNS (1985-1994, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2003); Carolyn, LOVING (1995)

NAME: Julia Barr
RANK: 32
SOAP ROLES: Brooke English, ALL MY CHILDREN (1976-1981, 1982-2006, 2010-present); Brooke English, ONE LIFE TO LIVE (2005); Serena 'Reenie' Szabo, RYAN'S HOPE (1976)

NAME: Cynthia Watros
RANK: 33
SOAP ROLES: Annie Dutton, GUIDING LIGHT (1994-1998); Vicky Hudson, ANOTHER WORLD (1998)

NAME: Anne Heche
RANK: 34
SOAP ROLES: Vicky/Marley Hudson, ANOTHER WORLD (1987-1991)

NAME: Victoria Rowell
RANK: 35
SOAP ROLES: Drucilla Barber Winters, THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS (1990-1998, 2000, 2002-2007); Nella Franklin, AS THE WORLD TURNS (1988)

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

NAME: Susan Seaforth Hayes
RANK: 37
SOAP ROLES: Julie Willams, DAYS OF OUR LIVES (1968-1984, 1990-1993, 1994, 1996, 1999-present); Joanna Manning, THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS (1986-1989, 2005, 2006); Joanna Manning, THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL (2003); Patricia Steele, SUNSET BEACH (1999); Carol West, THE YOUNG MARRIEDS (1965-1966); Dorothy Bradley, GENERAL HOSPITAL (1963)

NAME: Kate Mulgrew
RANK: 38
SOAP ROLES: Mary Ryan Fenelli, RYAN'S HOPE (1975-1977, 1983, 1986, 1989); Garnet McGee, DALLAS (1978)

NAME: Patrica Pease
RANK: 39
SOAP ROLES: Kimberly Brady, DAYS OF OUR LIVES (1984-1990, 1991, 1992, 1994, 1996, 2002, 2003, 2008); Patricia Fennell, THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS (1996); Cissie Mitchell, SEARCH FOR TOMORROW (1979-1982)

NAME: Melody Thomas Scott
RANK: 40
SOAP ROLES: Nikki Newman, THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS (1979-present)

NAME: Louise Sorel
RANK: 41
SOAP ROLES: Vivian Alamain, DAYS OF OUR LIVES (1992-2000; 2009-present); Dort, PASSIONS (2004); Judge Kay Campobello, ALL MY CHILDREN 2001); Donatella Stewart, PORT CHARLES (2000); Judith Sanders, ONE LIFE TO LIVE (1986-1987); Augusta Lockridge, SANTA BARBARA (1984-1986; 1988-1991)

NAME: Sharon Gabet
RANK: 42
SOAP ROLES: Melinda Cramer, ONE LIFE TO LIVE (1987-1989); Brittany Peterson, ANOTHER WORLD (1985-1987); Raven Alexander, THE EDGE OF NIGHT (1977-1984)

NAME: Denise Alexander
RANK: 43
SOAP ROLES: Lesley Webber, GENERAL HOSPITAL (1973-1984, 1996-present off and on); Sister Beatrice, SUNSET BEACH (1997-1998); Mary McKinnon, ANOTHER WORLD (1986-1989); Susan Hunter, DAYS OF OUR LIVES (1966-1973); Emily Sanders, BEN JERROD (1963-1964); Lois Adams, THE CLEAR HORIZON (1960-1962)

NAME: Vanessa Marcil
RANK: 44
SOAP ROLES: Brenda Barrett,GENERAL HOSPITAL (1992-1998, 2002-2003); Josie Scotto, LIPSTICK JUNGLE (2008); Gina Kincaid, BEVERLY HILLS, 90210 (1998-2000)

NAME: Nancy Addison
RANK: 45
SOAP ROLES: Deborah Brewster Alden, THE CITY (1995); Deborah Brewster Alden, LOVING (1993-1995); Marissa Rampal, ALL MY CHILDREN (1989); Jillian Coleridge, RYAN'S HOPE (1975-1989); Kit Vested, THE GUIDING LIGHT (1970-1974)

NAME: Helen Wagner
RANK: 46
SOAP ROLES: Nancy Hughes, AS THE WORLD TURNS (1956-present); Trudy, VALIANT LADY (1953-1952); Trudy Bauer, THE GUIDING LIGHT (1952)

NAME: Heather Tom
RANK: 47
SOAP ROLES: Katie Logan, THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL (2007-present); Kelly Cramer, ONE LIFE TO LIVE (2003-2006); Kelly Cramer, ALL MY CHILDREN (2004); Victoria Newman, THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS (1991-2003)

NAME: Mary Beth Evans
RANK: 48
SOAP ROLES: Kayla Brady, DAYS OF OUR LIVES (1986-1992, 2006-2009); Katherine Bell, GENERAL HOSPITAL (1993-1999); Sierra Esteban, AS THE WORLD TURNS (2000-2005); Dakota "Koty" Lane, RITUALS (1984-1985); CAPITOL

NAME: Suzanne Rogers
RANK: 49
SOAP ROLES: Maggie Horton, DAYS OF OUR LIVES (1973-present)

NAME: Jacklyn Zeman
RANK: 50
SOAP ROLES: Bobbie Spencer, GENERAL HOSPITAL (1977-present); Lana McClain, ONE LIFE TO LIVE (1976-1977); Bobbi, THE EDGE OF NIGHT (1976)


  1. Interesting list. I think maybe take a couple of them off and replace with Martha Byrne and Beth Ehlers.

  2. You're missing the name/link for Kim Zimmer! :-)

  3. Terrific idea...have really enjoyed checking in everyday to see which actress was being honored. Have loved seeing the old clips from my early soap watching days.

  4. An enormous THANK YOU for the gargantuan labor of love you guys undertook to compile and so beautifully present this list. Whether or not readers agree with the choices and/or rankings, Id like to believe that they all appreciate your dedication to the genre and your generosity in sharing your expertise. I'm proud to have been on the panel and continue to spread the good word about welovesoaps.com.

  5. Where is Finola Hughes on this list? That some have made the list while someone the caliber and talent of Finola hasn't is mind-boggling and has me questioning just what kind of list this really is. IMO she belongs amongst the top 10 on this list.

  6. Eileen Fulton and Kathryn Hays are definitely missing.

  7. As I've said before, I really, really love this list and appreciate all of the work and love that went into it. And I swear that these will be the last names that I will mention that are not on this list. But now that it is official, at the risk of opening up a can of worms, I have to say that I think it's noteworthy that Ellen Holly and Lillian Hayman (who played mother and daughter Carla and Sadie Grey in the original cast of OLTL and for nearly two decades afterward) are not on this list.

    Given their resumes (both performed on Broadway, and Hayman actually won a Tony), I would venture a guess that both actresses had the acting chops to be serious contenders for this list. I would also weigh the social impact of the roles that they played (as the first major black characters on soaps, not to mention the most in-depth and longterm mother-daughter relationship penned by Agnes Nixon between two women of color) as a factor, and I make no bones about that. Acting is, after all, about finding the truth in characters, and some of the truths of Carla and Sadie's experience were not and could not have been captured by most of the other actresses on the list.

    Before I go any further, I have to acknowledge that if this were my list of top 50 soap actresses, I wouldn't have actually been able to list either of them, myself, because I never saw them in action. (Well, I did see Holly in her recurring role on GL as a judge, and she was certainly very good and created a memorable character, but I don't think a minor role like that could have been enough of a vehicle for any actress to make a list like this, with so much competition.) And it would feel wrong to me to recommend anyone for something like this, sight unseen. It seems entirely possible that enough of the panel itself has never been directly exposed to these actresses' performances, either. I know that at least one panelist has written (with great fondness) about watching Carla and Sadie on OLTL, but I know statistically that probably wouldn't have been enough in and of itself, even if that individual had voted for them. I am curious to see if Hayman and/or Holly make the honorable mention list, and what if any explanation is given for how close they came to making the top 50.

    Understandably, with a list like this, it's a given that some actresses, particularly from the earlier years, were bound to slip through the cracks. I raise this issue not to criticize WLS or the panel, but because the fact that EH and LH's contributions to the genre have been largely lost to us was not at all a coincidence. The main reason that their work is not known to much of today's audience is that they have been off of the show for over 25 years, fired by a certain executive producer with a decades-long pattern, on three networks, of failing to showcasing diversity of any kind (or by a parking attendant, on orders from said executive producer, according to soap lore), at a time when Erika Slezak herself called the show on the fact that it had lost touch with its progressive roots an interview, saying "we don't have any more black people..." in Llanview.

    So, I do celebrate the talents and the much earned recognition of so many of these actresses and the entertaining performances that they have brought us over the years. At the same time, though, I can't help but be saddened and outraged (again, *not* at WLS) that the contributions of two actresses who very likely also deserve such accolades have been so completely erased from history.

  8. Fabulous list gentlemen!...thanks so much for compiling it... I look forward to the men's list!

  9. I loved reading this list - but no Eileen Fulton (Lisa) or Ruth Warrick (Phoebe)??? I'm going to have to make my own list now.

  10. Hmmm...for greats not on the 50 best list I'd like to add Rosemary Prinz, Dorothy Lyman, Susan Haskell, Julianne Moore and Judi Evans, Irene Dailey and Maureen Parker and Maeve Kinkead.... Ahh the talent we used/still get on the afternoon.

  11. Drop Finola Hughes, Martha Byrne, and Kristian Alfonso a bone!

  12. This is a great list of esteemed and accomplished actresses. But I'm still incredulous that Ruth Warrick is not on it. Phoebe Tyler Wallingford should be in the Top 10!

    I was very glad to see the gals from Ryan's Hope well represented. They really brought life to their characters.

    I agree with others-- that Erika Slezak should be Number 1. And I've only been watching One Life to Live for the past few years.

  13. How come Robin Mattson is not in the list?
    And I would give Louise Sorrel a much higher place, surely higher than Marcy Walker...

    (you can tell which show I'm a fan of)

  14. It is so difficult making such a list without leaving off several worthy contributors...Byrne, Evans, Ehlers, Alfonzo, and Hughes come to mind and even in this post I am sure I am leaving someone out...but some omissions cannot be overlooked...without FULTON and HAYES the list is in effect rendered meaningless.

  15. interesting...but for me nancy lee grahn definitely belongs in the top 10 and marcy walker should rank much higher, too. deidre hall isn't really a good actress, always the same facial expression. what about ann williams??? she was great as search's eunice and edge's margo, she should be in the list!

  16. BIG Ryan's Hope Fan, but even I can't believe that Sarah Felder is on this list! Especially when actresses like Martha Byrne, Maeve Kinkead and Kathryn Hays are missing.

    And even though she was only a Soap Actress for a short time, I would have placed Kate Mulgrew higher on this list. Her character had great impact and really was an innovation for its time.

  17. Kimberly McCullough should have been included. I started to watch GH when Robin came back in 2005 during the train wrech and gave up DOOL and became a GH fan because the Robin character pulled me in. Kimberly is so real and subtle and make a small scene mean so much. I have gone back and learned the history of the character of Robin and Kimberly continue to amaze me. Truly a great actress Kimberly McCullough and a big mistake she is missing

  18. Maeve McGuire is one of the finest actresses ever to have worked in daytime and should be very high on
    your list.

  19. That lady that played Sally on B&B is missing as well as the lady who played Brooke. How in the world do you leave off Beth Ehlers and Fiona Hutchison and then have the nerve to put Crystal Chappell in the top 10? That is really irksome and makes your list lose credibility.

    1. Agreed. The Crystal Chapel addition is laughable. Kristian Alfonso should be on this list.

  20. the list sucks......The Y&R is the #1 soap...Every single person on that show should be on this list...Eric braeden. jeanne Cooper are #1 and #2...MTS #40???I think NOT......Think you should leave the lists up to the fans.....

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  22. Nice list for the most part. I am scratching my head at Crystal Chappel and Sarah Browns too high ranking. Although both have had some critical acclaim, the ranking is historically inaccurate. Time will show that they are overrated in this post.
    A name I think should be listed is Ellen Wheeler for her creation of Marley/Victoria on AW and then Cindy and Karen on AMC. She won emmys for both shows.

    Other names have been mentioned such as Ruth Warrick and Darlene Conley. Anne Meacham would be another name I would have thought to put on the list. She played Louise Goddard, Iris' maid on AW.
    These women were all broadly played and often for humor as well as drama. Humor is not easily done and should have been represented better and higher (Louise Sorel) in your ranking.
    Maybe just one more name. A little more obscure but she is a great one. Lois Smith (Zoey Sommerset, LOL, The Doctors Eleanor, EON, AW Ellla, AMC Elwinna, OLTL Aunt Betsy. A character actress that has popped up from time to time on daytime but has steadily been a working actress for 50 years.
    Ok one more Nancy Frangione absolutely kicked butts and took names as Cecille on AW. She also played Tara on AMC.
    One more Beverly Pembernanthy who played Pat on AW.
    Ok I will stop now.
    I realize noone could ever be happy with anyone elses top 50.

    1. Beverly Penberthy....I do like your list..

  23. Robin Wright. From "Yellow Rose" to "Santa Barbara" ... and then to "Princess Bride." Oscar nominee. 'Nuff said.

  24. My apologies. Robin Wright is not an Oscar nominee. Golden Globe, yes. Oscar, no.

  25. Marie Masters has to be the most incredible, underrated actress in daytime soaps. She is gorgeous, with those doe eyes, and there was never a better TV drunk than Dr. Susan Stewart. She could have taught Sue Ellen Ewing to drink.

  26. Maeve McGuire should be in the top of this list! She made the character of Nicole Travis on Edge of Night real, beloved and memorable. The soap had some of it's best years with her in the spotlight. When Maeve was replaced by another actor later...I don't even remember her name, it seems the character lost significance along with the soap. I guess they got what was coming to them.

  27. I still like revisiting this list...such a wealth of talent...and true, some are missing from the list...but that just goes to show the depth and breath of talent that has graced the sound stages of daytime dramas for decades.

    You guys are awesome for not only working as you did to put this list together...but also the greatest soap actor list. For us soap fans, being able to come together to debate and reminisce has been enjoyable.

  28. Every young girl in the 70s wanted to be Mary Ryan. Kate Mulgrew should be way up on the list. Why is Sarah Brown so near the top???

  29. Where the eff is Ruth Warrick?

  30. I can certainly appreciate the difficulties that accompany compiling a list like this (and can imagine the debate among your panel as well!) Props for the inclusion of the late Nancy Addison Altman and Beverlee McKinsey and the superb Judith Light, Jane Elliot, Helen Gallgher and Maureen Garrett.

    I have to say though, there are some real head scratchers here.

    Like the poster who doesn't "get" Susan Flannery, I don't "get" Erika Slezak. I've always found her performances to be heavy-handed and prone to the histrionics that reinforce the stereotypes of daytime being filled with actors who don’t act so much as they chew scenery. Personally, I feel some of the years Slezak was racking up Emmys, were some of years Lucci was robbed. Speaking of Lucci I was disappointed to see her ranking on the list and was further disheartened to see such stellar actresses as Finola Hughes, Louise Shaffer, Marj Dusay and Hillary B. Smith relegated to the “Honorable Mention” list, while actresses such as Crystal Chapelle, Maura West, Jacklyn Zeman and Patsy Pease were given spots on the big list.

    All of those mysteries aside, the biggest “huh?” moment of this list was the tale of the Ryan sisters. While I agree that Sarah Felder was outstanding as Siobhan on “Ryan’s Hope,” let’s be honest here: Siobhan was played by a total of five actresses and the one most people remember is Marg Helgenberger (third actress). Were it not for SOAPNet, I doubt anyone would even know who Sarah Felder was. Conversely, Mary Ryan was portrayed by four actresses (not including the various day players they trotted in and out on occasion), but absolutely EVERYONE knows the undisputed Mary Ryan was Kate Mulgrew. Even she can’t understand the public’s enduring fascination with her mere two-year stint on the show. But how that performance endures. How Sarah Felder could be on the list and be ranked above Kate Mulgrew, no less, is mind-boggling indeed.

  31. Lisa Peluso deserves to be on the list! She is not even there! Why?

  32. Where is the greatest Soap Opera villainess of all time?

    Of course it is the great Brenda Dickson, who created the character of Jill Abbott, that is still around today on the #1 soap opera, The Young and the Restless!

    1. Oh crazy Brenda..God I love that knucklehead

  33. Great list, though I am surprised that Irene Dailey (Liz, AW) didn't make the cut. A brilliant actress who always elevated the show (and her fellow actors) with her performances.

  34. Great list, but it seems kind of strange Beverlee McKinsey is # 4 and never won an Emmy, but than again it took Susan Lucci years before she got her's..both ladies were and are awesome!!! I don't get the Emmy's and how they choose the winner's. Crazy.

  35. I think that one of the reasons actresses such as Jacquie Courtney, Eileen Fulton, Barbara Rodell, Ellen Holly and Brenda Dickson are not on the list is simply they are out of sight. I am glad that people did not forget Charita Bauer and Mary Stuart.

  36. Where is BARBARA RODELL??? Surely one of the best of the best. Maybe because it was a while ago when she sizzled on camera, and she didn't get as much studio publicity as the others, so therefore not the honor she so rightly deserves... BUT she was a fantastic actress who made her (certifiable) characters come alive. She made you want to watch again and again... it takes talent to do that.

  37. Don't understand why VM is on this list

  38. Don't understand why VM is on this list

  39. Debbi Morgan needed to be in the top 10 and not Sarah Brown. I agree with those who said Eileen Fulton among others are missing from the list while Vanessa Marcil should not have made the top 50 of all time.

  40. Wow, no Robin Mattson? To me you're a pretty damn good actress, when you can take (like she did with the Heather Webber character on GH) a character, that you didn't originate and make it your own.

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  42. How can Andrea Evans not be on the list: Tina Lord, my favorite villainess! My mom used to tape OLTL to watch in he evenings and I watched with her sometimes but even as a 'tween' in the 80's I thought she was awesome.

  43. Where is Nina Arvessen,Martha Byrne and Kimberlin Brown?

  44. Top 10 soap actresses:
    1.Erika Slezak
    2.Susan Flannery
    3.Beverlee McKinsey
    4.Kim Zimmer
    5.Robin Stasser
    6.Judith Light
    7.Jeanne Cooper
    8.Susan Lucci
    9.Genie Francis
    10.Jane Elliot

    Finola Hughes, Kimberly McCullough and Kristin Alfonso all deserve to be on this list as well!

  45. Along with Jacquie Courtney, Eileen Fulton, Barbara Rodell, and Brenda Dickson another wonderful actress was Tudi Wiggins. Her portrayal of Meg on Love of Life was breathtaking. Bitchy, vulnerable, self-destructive, vengeful...she could have taught Joan Collins a thing or two. Check out this performance from July 1975 when her story helped lift Love of Life back into the top 10 of ratings. Watch this clip https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1lihvTuP1Ks

    1. Great list..I love us mature group..Now those are some names..Meg rocked the rafters...but so did Elizabeth Hubbard as The Doctors Althea Davis. etc etc

  46. She couldn't act her way out of a paper bag..