Thursday, April 29, 2010

50 Greatest Soap Actors: #14 Robert Newman

NAME: Robert Newman
RANK: 14
SOAP ROLES: Joshua Lewis, GUIDING LIGHT (1981-1984, 1986-1991, 1993-2009); Kirk Cranston, SANTA BARBARA (1986); Prescott Harrell, GENERAL HOSPITAL (1985)

2006 Daytime Emmy nomination for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series
2002 Daytime Emmy nomination for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series
2000 Soap Opera Digest Award nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actor
1998 Soap Opera Digest Award nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actor
1990 Soap Opera Digest Award nomination for Outstanding Super Couple: Daytime
1989 Soap Opera Digest Award nomination for Outstanding Actor in a Leading Role: Daytime

Damon L. Jacobs: It is too easy to undervalue Robert Newman's contributions to daytime television. So let me take a moment to explain why he deserves to be so high on this list. Is it because he broke the mold on the angry-bad-boy-turned-good role in 1982 that has become so formulaic today? Maybe. Is it because his generosity and perfected craft resulted in five of his female co-stars receiving Emmy Nominations for years they shared scenes with him? Perhaps. Or is it because there is no one on the daytime canvas who has personified such consistent adaptability and quiet masculinity? Definitely. Just as there would be no light without dark, no north without south, no yin without yang, there would have been no Reva without Newman's Joshua. He is constantly able to evaluate his romantic partner's temperament and adjust his performance accordingly. He can take the very best and very worst of soap writing and deliver an emotionally gripping performance. If you need further evidence, look back at those Reva-clone clips. Newman was able to take an absurd science-fiction premise and spin it into a grounded portrayal of grief and desperation. So let's not overlook this compelling talent any longer, and instead let's use this opportunity to acknowledge this living legend of daytime and theater. With any luck we will get to see a lot more Newman's contributions in the future.

Roger Newcomb: Newman has three decades of memorable scenes from GUIDING LIGHT, many of which are with the great Kim Zimmer. But the first one that always comes to my mind whenever I think about Newman/Josh Lewis is the scene between Josh and Bert Bauer when he was getting frustrated over his physical therapy and she told him, "It takes time," in the way only Bert could get through to someone.

Patrick Erwin: It takes a strong man to stand toe to toe with force-of-nature Kim Zimmer. Newman did that and more. His soulful Josh was a character I followed through his journeys from mogul to minister (and everywhere in between).

Nelson Aspen: Who didn't love Josh!? He was a durable leading man for decades, but never more so than when GL went off the rails in its later years...almost always relying on Josh & Reva to "jump the shark" du jour. His affable interpretation of Josh Lewis did much to save/sustain GL in its decline.

Michael O'Leary: (worked with Newman on GUIDING LIGHT) Robert is one of those people that just had this charisma. He and Kim were arguably one of the greatest couples in soap opera history. He had that sort of leading man appeal. He's obviously a good looking guy, but Robert had tremendous appeal at the same time.


  1. So pleased to see Robert Newman ranked at such a high number. He acted opposite not only the formidable Kim Zimmer but powerhouses such as Crystal Chappell, Cynthia Watros and Michelle Forbes and always held his own. I still remember his famous recovery scene with Charita Bauer - just wow.

  2. I hope Tom Eplin is on this list.

  3. Yeah..Robert is the reason why I started watching Guiding Light..Wonderful Actor..Just love him!

  4. Applause to Robert for being chosen for #14 on your list. He deserved an Emmy for several of his story paralysis, the clone and Jonathans story..sorry he was overlooked there. His talents certainly helped his 3 major leading ladies each win their Emmys. Awarding winning performance each time he is in front of the camera. The fact that he is handsome helps, too!! WOW!