Saturday, July 14, 2012

50 Greatest Soap Couples: #42 Jeff & Penny From AS THE WORLD TURNS

COUPLE: Jeff Baker & Penny Hughes
RANK: 42
Jeff: Mark Rydell
Penny: Rosemary Prinz
YEARS: 1956-1962

Jeff and Penny met in high school, quickly fell in love and eloped.  Penny's family had the marriage annulled because Penny was underage.  The couple couldn't be forced apart though and in 1959 they married again, this time with their families present.  Much drama would fill their lives as Jeff went on trial for murder, became an alcoholic, and joined his family's business which created a riff between him and Penny (Jeff wasn't a good businessman and his mother, Grace, and Penny both knew it).  Jeff left town and a pregnant Penny lost their baby.  When Jeff returned he had found his niche--as a singer.  He tragically died in a car wreck though causing Penny to develop amnesia.

Penny and Jeff were the most popular couple on the most popular daytime soap opera, AS THE WORLD TURNS, during their run on the show and they had a lot to do with the show's success.  Rosemary Prinz became a daytime superstar with name billing when she agreed to appear on the brand new ALL MY CHILDREN in 1970.  Mark Rydell was the biggest daytime star of his day, receiving 5,000 fan letters a week.   ATWT paid him well, $50,000 a year, to keep it but he couldn't resist Hollywood for long.  Penny and Jeff are considered by many to be daytime's very first "super couple".  Following his stint on ATWT, Rydell acted in feature films and become a well known director.

- Jeff sings to Penny
- Penny confides in Ellen the latest in her troubles with Jeff and the Bakers

Share your thoughts on Jeff and Penny in our Comments section below or on our message board.

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  1. A Big Amen Goes To This Couple--Yay!

    Brian :-)

  2. This would rate a lot higher on my list as it is the 1st TV romance I remember. My grandmother, cousin & I sat & cried when Penny finally remembered Jeff had died (in a car crash?) I watched ATWT from day one. Love you Rosemary Prinz!