Monday, March 25, 2013

Actors Who Played Different Roles On The Same Soap: The Good and The Bad

According to a new story in TV Guide Magazine, ONE LIFE TO LIVE actors Roger Howarth, Michael Easton and Kristen Alderson, who have been playing their OLTL characters on GENERAL HOSPITAL for the past year, will be returning to GH as brand new characters soon. Confusing? It's not the first time this has happened, although it may be the first time it's happened with three major roles around the same time. Check out some good and bad results below when actors returned to a daytime soap as a brand new character.

1. Beverlee McKinsey played Emma Ordway on ANOTHER WORLD in May 1972. The producers liked her so much they cast her as Iris Carrington six months later. She debuted in December 1972 and Iris became one of the most memorable roles in soap history. NBC even gave the character a spin-off series, TEXAS, in 1980. If producers had worried viewers might remember McKinsey as Emma, we may have never been able to watch her brilliant performance as Iris.

2. Jordan Clarke played Dr. Tim Ryan on GUIDING LIGHT in the mid-1970s. In 1983 he returned as Billy Lewis, a role he would play on and off until the show ended in 2009.  Clarke won an Emmy for his second role in 2006.

3. Renee Jones played Nikki Wade in DAYS OF OUR LIVES in 1982 then returned as Lexie Carver in 1993.  She would successfully play Lexie for the next 19 years.

4. John Considine made waves as Vic Hastings on ANOTHER WORLD from 1974-1976.  Vic came to Bay City to run Steve's company while he was prison.  Hastings returned as the evil Reginald Love in 1986 and became a memorable supervillain, who loved torturing his family.

1. Josh Taylor was popular for a decade as Chris Kositchek in DAYS OF OUR LIVES. In 1997 the soap brought him back to play Roman Brady, a role he's still in today. Some fans have never accepted him as Roman.

2. Sarah Brown was incredible as Carly Benson in GENERAL HOSPITAL in the 1990s. Her return to the soap as Claudia Zacchara did not have nearly the same impact.

3. Lewis Arlt was a good "bad guy" as Kevin Thatcher on ANOTHER WORLD who was killed in 1984.  But when he returned six years later as Ken Jordan, it was a boring mess.  Remember the Red Swan?

4. Wayne Northrup was the ultimate hero as Roman Brady in DAYS OF OUR LIVES. His Roman "died" in 1984 then returned in the early 1990s.  Having him play Alex North on the same soap in the late 1990s was confusing, especially with Josh Taylor playing Roman at the time, and Drake Hogestyn (a former "Roman") on the canvas.

Many other actors have played more than one role on a single daytime soap. THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL and THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS regularly feature crossovers with some actors playing the same role on both shows (Eileen Davidson's Ashley) and others playing different (John McCook played Lance on Y&R, Eric on B&B, and just visited Y&R as Eric and not Lance.  Make sense?). The late Linda Cook played three different roles on AS THE WORLD TURNS.

ANOTHER WORLD may have had the most actors return as new characters including John Aprea, Judith Barcroft, Doris Belack, Lewis Arlt, Linda Dano, John Bolger, Robin Christopher, Carla Borelli, Ed Fry, Christine Jones, Robert Kelker-Kelly and many, many more. The show even brought the popular Sam Groom back as a priest for the series finale in 1999. He had played Russ Matthews in the show's early years opposite Robin Strasser's Rachel.

Which actors who played more than one role on the same soap did you like and dislike? Weigh in below in our Comments section.


  1. I liked Judi Evans as Bonnie and Adrienne on DAYS.

  2. Of course, there's always "Dark Shadows" where almost everyone played more than one role! I think Nancy Barrett, Louis Edmonds, and Grayson Hall got the most variety among the troupe!

    One I recall with fondness on Y&R was Melinda Cordell - who originally played the rather dowdy, snooty Dorothy Stevens (April's mother) in the early 80s; then returned in the mid-90s to play Drucilla's tough, dictatorial ballet instructor with a heart, Madame Estelle Chauvin.

  3. Finola Hughes played Anna on GH, then Alex on AMC and then Anna on AMC before eventually going back to GH as Anna. An she never mentions Alex.

    Also Jon Lindstrom was the evil Ryan and GH decided to bring him back as Ryan's twin Kevin.

    And Tony Geary played Luke's look-alike cousin Bill briefly in the early 90s.

  4. I don't remember Linda Dano (Felicia) or Robin Christopher (Lorna) playing more than one role on AW ??? Both played the same role on different ABC soaps. What were the other roles on AW? Don't remember Ed Fry more than once either.

    I think it is significant when actor successfully takes on new role just months after the first role (Beverlee McKinsey) but 10 years between roles doesn't seem to be that much of a stretch. The actor has aged, the audience has changed to some degree, and majority of the cast is different over 10 years. In case of John Considine- I believe only 3 actors (Victoia Wyndham, Constance Ford, Douglass Watson) remained on AW in 1986 that were also on the show during his first role in 1976.

  5. Ed Fry returned in the 90s as Chandler Haines. Robin Christopher (groupie) & Linda Dano (airline clerk) had minor roles on AW before.

  6. ok thanks. I am embarrased to call myself a huge Linda Dano fan and I didn't know that!
    I would say it also makes a difference for an actor to play 2 major roles on the same show or at least a role important enough to have a proper name ;)

  7. It is about the right story, a capable actor, and understanding fans. Judi Evans is great as Adrienne and was entertaining as Bonnie on DOOL. I thought Robert Kelker Kelly was good as Sam and equally interesting as Shane on AW. Howarth, Anderson, and Easton are good actors and Ron is a great writer. Fingers are crossed this works..but it is disappointing that ABC and PP couldn't work out something better. I do hope fans do not allow the feud between ABC and PP to keep them from supporting OLTL and GH.

  8. The actor who played Sloane Carpenter on OLTL during the 90's had previously appeared on OLTL as mobster Alex during the 80's.

    Joan Copeland played the role Gwendolyn "Aunt Gwen" Lord on OLTL in the late 70's/early 80's. Copeland later returned as Nora's mother, Selma, in 1995.

  9. In fairness, Beverlee McKinsey's stint as Emma Ordway was one day long. So, this isn't really a good example.

    Plenty of actors were day players on a show before getting cast in the roles that made them famous. Walt Wiley had several day parts on AMC before being cast as Jack Montgomery. In one retrospective, AMC even aired clips of him in those day roles. I believe one was a ski instructor, another a police officer.

  10. Beverlee was never a dayplayer on AW. She was on the show for three days as Emma in a pretty significant plot point, trying to convince Steve to help Willis. She was way too established by 1972 to be a dayplayer.

  11. Roy Thinnes..great example, David J! Oh, and if memory serves me right Nicholas Coster played two different roles on "As The World Turns".

  12. Dean, great one with Nic Coster. He's played so many soap roles it stands to reason he did some twice. LOL