days kristian alfonso mashup
Credit: John Paschal/JPI, NBC/Courtesy of the Everett Collection, Paul Skipper/JPI, Brian Lowe/JPI

On April 14, 1983, a green newcomer made her daytime debut — and went on to take the genre by storm.

Hard as it is to believe, Kristian Alfonso almost didn’t play Days of Our Lives’ Hope Brady, the heroine she made not only beloved but iconic over the course of her four-decades-and-counting run. When she was first offered the part in 1981, she turned it down and let it go to Tammy Taylor. “I was still in school at the time,” the Massachusetts native told We Love Soaps in 2013. If she’d accepted the role, it “would have meant everyone in my family would have had to move to California. So I went back to Boston, and two years later, the character of Hope came up” again, and this time, she was free to take it on.

THE STAR MAKER, (clockwise from bottom left) Melanie Griffith, Cathy Shirriff, Kristian Alfonso, Suzanne Pleshette, April Clough, Teri Copley and Rock Hudson, 1981.

Alfonso (next to The Bob Newhart Show’s Suzanne Pleshette in the top row) made her small-screen debut in the TV movie The Star Maker, with as its lead a bona-fide star, Rock Hudson.

Credit: Courtesy of the Everett Collection

More: Hope and Bo’s epic love story [PHOTOS]

In the Beginning…

Back then, Alfonso was a television newcomer who had more experience on the ice than she did on the set. (As a tween, the figure skater had won a gold medal at the Junior Olympics.) But she had something that just can’t be taught: charisma. Still, it wasn’t a seamless transition from Vogue covergirl to soap-opera ingenue. “When I look at the tapes of those first shows I did,” she told Soap Opera Digest in 1984, “I think, ‘My God, why did they ever hire me?’”

Again, charisma — and chemistry with leading man Peter Reckell that made Hope and Bo one of daytime’s hottest supercouples in approximately… mm, a nanosecond. Watch them in action below.

About Fancy Face

As many a soap starlet would, Alfonso eventually grew interested in spreading her wings. So in 1987, she left Days of Our Lives to try her luck in primetime. As polished a performer as she was by then, her luck was awfully good. She not only guest-starred on everything from Full House to Melrose Place, she was recruited by the primetime soap Falcon Crest to play a new love interest for Lorenzo Lamas (later Hector, The Bold and the Beautiful).

She was, in short, in demand.

More: Soaps’ longest-serving actors — in order [PHOTOS]

But as Alfonso started a family, she was drawn back to the one that she already had in Salem. When at last she returned for good in 1994, she kept Hope front and center until 2020, when she rejected plans to remove her from the canvas for several months in order to facilitate the start of a new storyline. “It was the perfect moment to make that decision” to leave, she told Entertainment Tonight.


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Ever After

After making her “final” appearance on Days of Our Lives — in an episode that, since it was taped before she walked, couldn’t have satisfied her fans — Alfonso worked regularly. Besides reuniting with soap castmate Alison Sweeney (Sami) for Chronicle Mysteries: Helped to Death, the MVP has shot two V.C. Andrews movies for Lifetime.

Then, something altogether unexpected happened: She came back, first reprising her role on Days of Our Lives spinoff Beyond Salem, then on the soap itself in its new home on Peacock. (This is why most actors never say never!)

On this momentous occasion, look back at Alfonso’s adventures as Hope via the below photo gallery, a collection of images that’s sure to spark memories you didn’t even realize you had!

Video: YouTube/DOOL Flashbacks