Tuesday, August 28, 2012

50 Greatest Soap Couples: #6 Roger & Holly From GUIDING LIGHT

COUPLE: Roger Thorpe & Holly Norris
Roger: Michael Zaslow, Joel Fabiani, Dennis Parlato
Holly: Lynn Deerfield, Maureen Garrett
YEARS: 1971-1980; 1989-1998

Much to her mother's chagrin, Holly went to work for her father, Stanley Norris.  Stanley wanted to keep Holly busy and out of his hair and asked his employee, Roger, to date her.  Roger saw this as an opportunity to move up the corporate ladder.   Holly began dating Peter Wexler, but couldn't fight her intense attraction to Roger and eventually lost her virginity to him.  Roger was smitten with Janet Mason and Holly was jealous.  Seeing Roger leaving Janet's apartment one night, Holly ran off and was hit by a car and became paralyzed.  At Cedar's Hospital, she met Dr. Ed Bauer who treated her and the two of them began a relationship.  During a trip to Las Vegas, Ed got drunk and married Holly.  Roger Thorpe returned to town and Holly was still fascinated by him.  The two began a torrid affair and Holly became pregnant.

Holly tried to pass baby Chrissy (later Blake) off as Ed's but eventually the truth came out.  Ed divorced Holly.  Roger was married to Peggy at that point so Holly was left alone.   Holly went out of town for a while but returned to Springfield and began working as a reporter for the Journal.  She dated Peter Chapman but ultimately lost him, and married a now-divorced Roger for Chrissy's sake.  Roger began having an affair with Hillary Bauer.  Holly knew he was cheating but wasn't sure who the woman was, and turned to Ed for comfort.  Roger raped Holly and she had him arrested.   Ed's new wife, Rita, admitted Roger had raped her as well.  When she saw Ed and Roger fighting in Roger's office, Holly grabbed the gun Roger kept there and tried to make them stop.  When Roger came towards Holly she flashed back to the rape and shot him three times.  Roger "died" and Holly went to jail.  Roger turned up alive but had become incredibly dangerous and unstable, trying to kidnap Chrissy.  When Roger learned Holly and Chrissy were hiding out in Santo Domingo he went after them.  He ended up taking Holly hostage but fell off a cliff and "died" again.   Roger turned up alive again in 1989 and was exposed at Blake's (a grown up Chrissy) wedding to Phillip Spaulding.  Over the next several years Roger and Holly would date and marry others (Alexandra Spaulding, Fletcher Reade, etc.) but their complicated feelings for each other were always in their hearts.  They became lovers again and Roger even proposed but she turned him down because of his manipulative ways.  Roger left town and, years later, Holly learned from a man named Sebastian Hulce that Roger had died.

Roger and Holly probably had the most complex relationship in soap opera history.  The dynamic changed over the years but it was always complicated.   And no matter how awful things would get, fans continued to be fascinated.

Zaslow was nominated for four Daytime Emmy Awards for his work as Roger, winning once.  Garrett was nominated three times and, unbelievably, never won.    They received eight Soap Opera Digest Awards combine with Zaslow winning and Editor's Choice honor in 1999.  Each were named to the We Love Soaps 50 Greatest Actors and Actresses lists in 2010.

"Roger Thorpe: The Scandal Years" was released on VHS in 1994 featuring many Roger and Holly highlights.

Lynn Deerfield, the original Holly, passed away last year at age 61.

From Patrick Erwin (A THOUSAND OTHER WORLDS): Probably the most complicated relationship in all of daytime, with two of the most complex characters ever to grace soap screens. Roger and Holly were never star-crossed lovers in the traditional sense, but their scenes, especially the tentative reconciliation they had in the early 1990s, were beautiful to watch. Roger’s flaws always made his good intentions fall flat, while Holly’s complicated feelings about Roger made matters even messier.

Roger rapes Holly; Later, Holly shoots Roger (1979)
Roger "dies" in Santo Domingo (1980)
Michael Zaslow classic clips
Maureen Garrett classic clips

Share your thoughts on Roger and Holly in our Comments section below or on our message board.

- 50 Greatest Soap Opera Actors: The Complete List
- 50 Greatest Soap Opera Actresses: The Complete List
- THE COMPLETE LIST: 25 Biggest Blunders In Daytime Soap Opera History


  1. Don't forget: Bridget & Jerome Dobosn created and wrote the Rape's storyline.... ;)

  2. Great job guys, when I think about Roger & Holly is great acting team again from Guiding Light, and I always great sl.

  3. Pier, the Dobsons wrote for many of these couples, either creating them or writing story along the way.

  4. I firmly believe that the day they fired Roger Zaslow was the beginning of the end of Guiding Light. At the time, Roger had his kids, Blake & Hart in town. There was a deaf woman in town and they could have dealt with Zaslow's illness by doing the redemption of Roger Thorpe. Instead they fired him & did the Evil Clone of Reva Shane & the show was never the same again.

  5. I just liked to remember this. ;) You are doing a great job. Congratulations ..

  6. AW, my tormented all time fav couple...Roger & Holly. I loved when those two were on screen together and complicated as stated is right. What drove the story then and for years to come was complication of relationship, being Holly never quite trusting of Roger. The chemistry...WOW not duplicated to that degree on any soap.

  7. YES! I didn't think any other GL couple could outrank Josh & Reva; I'm so happy to be wrong! I love love love that they are in the top 10. They will always be #1 in my book. Michael Zaslow and Maureen Garrett are BY FAR the best acting team of any acting medium--Tracey and Hepburn, who?

    That little blurb up there got it wrong, though. Roger & Holly WERE engaged, for a hot second, right after Holly finally figured out that Roger didn't sleep with Alex. She proposed to him to assuage her guilt over having an affair with Fletcher. Unfortunately, their happiness didn't last long because they changed writers around that time, and the new writers gave Holly a new brain that made her think that Fletcher was her "true love forever," and she left Roger in the middle of the masquerade ball, in full view of all the people of Springfield. Barf. Roger and Holly were on their way to a reunion when Michael got sick. Not only does it make me sad that we lost such a great talent, but I can't help thinking what could have been for Roger & Holly had he lived a long, healthy life. The Roger and Holly story could have had a beautiful ending during the GL finale, just like all the other GL supercouples.

    Oh my lovelies, how I miss them! I do hope you'll post some more clips, other than the ones you have listed. I know the rape and kidnapping were big events in their lives, but since this is a list about couples, I would hope that you'd include some happy moments in their lives as well. The Cliff House and their Valentine's Day reunion rank high in the Roger/Holly happiness meter.

  8. To redeem Roger, uniting him with Holly and his kids would have been an incredible story/character arc that would have strengthened the show. It's too bad the writers couldn't see that. The lack of footage from GL in his Daytime Emmy's memorial spot was all the more painful. I'm glad One Life to Live welcomed him back and worked with him. This is GL's shame.

  9. Also, I find it hilarious, amazing, and awesome that the photo above isn't of Roger and Holly, but the actors Michael Zaslow and Maureen Garrett posing together at a function. What makes this couple so amazing? The actors really LOVED each other even when the cameras were off. Maureen even attended the wedding of Michael's daughter a few years ago, even though he'd been gone for over a decade. You can't fake the kind of chemistry that those two had. The love between them was genuine.

  10. Two of my favorite actors in all of daytime and a great acting duo in Michael Zaslow & Maureen Garrett. I still have the NY Times obit of Michel Zaslow. May he rest in peace.

    I am in such agreement with James and Ana (and WLS' 25 Biggest Blunders" list) about the firing of MZ from GL being one of the worst things to happen in daytime soap opera history.

    Michael Zaslow and Maureen Garrett were an amazing acting duo but Roger & Holly were not the 6th greatest couple in daytime soap operas, especially given how the pair was not a couple for the majority of their time on the show. I just don't understand this list's compilation. Greatest Duos_YES, Greatest Couples_NO!

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  12. OMG--Roger & Holly--Another Memorable Couple From GL--Yay!

    Brian :-)

  13. Roger and Holly, they were amazing to watch. MZ was an amazing actor. I am also glad that OLTL worked with him. That was a compelling story in itself.

  14. You've made my day! Roger and Holly were my favorite television-show couple ever. MG and MZ had great chemistry, and as actors they could pull off anything (and frequently had to). In the early 1990's, when I watched, they always played an underlying theme of two damaged people who needed healing. While I had hoped the characters would find that together, we all know what happened next--fan fiction writers are still trying to sort out the mess! Well, maybe it's like my 12th grade English teacher told a snarky classmate, "Hamlet is more alive than you are."

  15. YEAH!! Loved them. Let's see...5 spots left:

    1. Luke and Laura (GH)
    2. Doug and Julie (DOOL)
    3. Jessie and Angie (AMC)
    4. Victor and Nikki YR)

    Who get spot #5??