How AMC Favorites Got Their Acting Start image

James Mitchell (

Eileen Hurlie with several AMC faves! (

We all know that soap operas are often a first step for budding actors and actresses. But several older favorites actually had long careers before being cast in a favorite soap opera. I thought it would be fun to take a look back at a few of these careers.

Let's begin with fan-favorite Palmer Cortlandt. James Mitchell originated the role of Palmer in 1979 and since then has garnered 7 Daytime Emmy nominations and 4 Soap Opera Digest Awards for the role. Since he arrived at All My Children fans have become more familiar with his gruff, lovable, trouble-making character. Before coming to Pine Valley, however, Mitchell had a long career in the theatre as dancer including several years when he performed with the American Ballet Theatre.

In 1947 he starred in the original Broadway production "Brigadoon". That part earned Mitchell a Donaldson Award as Best Dancer. The Donaldson Award was given before the Tony Awards began. On film, his best-known role was that of Dream Curly in the 1955 musical "Oklahoma".

Eileen Herlie, Myrtle, also came to daytime television from the theatre. She arrived in Pine Valley in 1976 and has never left, although in years past Myrtle was a much greater force in the show. She has received 4 Daytime Emmy awards during her tenure. The role of Myrtle hasn't been an AMC only role; she has also played Myrtle on episodes of One Life To Live and Loving.

Before coming to Pine Valley, she was a popular British theatre actress. In 1948 she landed the role of Gertrude, the Queen in the Broadway production of Hamlet and in 1960 was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical for her role in "Take Me Along".

It seems as if Adam Chandler, played by David Canary, has been wreaking havoc throughout Pine Valley since the soap began. He has actually only been causing trouble, though, since 1984. In the 23 years he has been in Pine Valley, David Canary has been nominated for awards 14 times; he has 5 Daytime Emmy wins and three Soap Opera Digest Award wins! It was the western, however, that gave Canary his start in acting. In 1967 he played Lamar in "Hombre", which led to another role in the famed western "Gunsmoke". He also had a steady role in the western "Bonanza" from 1967 to 1973. As westerns began to lose popularity, David began acting in police dramas. He appeared in "S.W.A.T.", "Police Story" and "Hawaii Five-O" before making the move to soap operas in the late 1970s.

Before joining the cast at All My Children", he played on Search for Tomorrow and was Steven Frame on Another World.

There you have it. A little bit of history on some Pine Valley fan-favorites. Do you wonder about some older stars of the show? Tell us about it in the comments section and we just might focus on your favorite star in our next article!