Credit: CBS/Courtesy of the Everett Collection (3), George De Sota/JPI, John Paschal/JPI
Back in 1958, the Hughes family’s kitchen was the place to be. Here, close talkers “Pa” (Santos Ortega), Nancy (Helen Wagner), Penny (Rosemary Prinz), sweetheart Jeff Baker (Mark Rydell), Don (Richard Holland) and Chris (Don MacLaughlin) enjoy coffee, one another’s company and a time before social distancing. Which was all well and good, but… would there be pie?
The Queen of Mean
Southern belle Lisa Hughes (Eileen Fulton) earned the wrath of the soap’s audience of housewives simply by hiring a maid to do the dishes and a little light dusting. OK, maybe that wasn’t the scheme queen’s only offense… But viewers really were legit pissed about the cleaning lady.
Three’s a Crowd
From the looks of this 1997 photo, Lily Snyder (Martha Byrne) has figured out that husband Holden (Jon Hensley) has a past with besotted buddy Molly Conlan (Lesli Kay). Needless to say, this marked the last time that Lily brought home any friends that she made in prison.
In 2007, As the World Turns detonated a “Nuke,” making history by airing daytime’s first kiss between two men, specifically Lily’s son Luke (Van Hansis) and crush Noah Mayer (Jake Silbermann). You’re welcome, Days of Our Lives’ WilSon.
The Last Word
Following a remarkable 50-year run as stalwart Dr. Bob Hughes, Don Hastings was given the final line ever spoken on the CBS soap: “Good night.” He forgot “… and good luck,” but otherwise? Nailed it.
A Colossal Mistake
When fans balked at As the World Turns creator Irna Phillips’ decision to have Kim Reynolds (Kathryn Hays) seduce brother-in-law Bob in 1973, the legendary writer was fired and passed away that same year. In the decades that followed, Kim and Bob became one of the soap’s most beloved tentpole couples, as reassuring a presence as the spinning globe.
We’ll Drink to That
Worldwide power player Lucinda Walsh (Elizabeth Hubbard) and dastardly doctor John Dixon (Larry Bryggman) really never should have split up. Even before they fell into a hot tub while arguing and crossed the line between hate and love, the sparring partners were as perfect for each other as ever two imperfect people were.
The Way They Were
As the World Turns launched more careers than we can count, including that of Law & Order: SVU mainstay Tamara Tunie, whose Jessica Griffin was paired with Michael Swan’s Duncan McKechnie despite what looked like it should have been a deal-breaking height difference. (Kidding aside, she’s sitting on a stool. We think.)
The Kids Are All Right
After playing baby-faced supercouple Gwen Norbeck and Will Munson — and striking this singularly sassy pose on the soap’s set — Jennifer Landon and Jesse Soffer moved to primetime, where she’s bopped from one series (Animal Kingdom) to another (Yellowstone), and since 2014, he’s starred on Chicago P.D.
Peter Parros left behind not only Dr. Ben Harris’ stethoscope but also his halo when he left Oakdale. In 2013, the soap vet was cast on The Haves and the Have Nots as a judge so morally compromised, he was in no position to decide whether anyone was innocent or guilty.
And the Winner Is…
… usually going to be Julianne Moore, we’ve learned over time. Decades after scoring a 1988 Outstanding Ingenue Daytime Emmy for her work as twins Frannie and Sabrina Hughes (opposite, among many others, Bill Shanks as Casey Peretti), the actress nabbed an Oscar for Still Alice. To her credit, the big-time movie star reprised her soap role as the show neared the end of its storied run in 2010.
When Steve Met Betsy
Doesn’t have quite the same ring to it as When Harry Met Sally, does it? Nonetheless, future romcom queen Meg Ryan and Frank Runyeon were a smash in the early 1980s as Betsy Stewart and Steve Andropoulos. In fact, they were such a smash that their characters’ wedding remains daytime’s second-highest-rated (after only the nuptials of General Hospital supercouple Luke and Laura).
The Way They Were
Playing ditzy Marcy Thompson in the mid-’80s, future Oscar winner Marisa Tomei was hooked up on screen with future Daytime Emmy winner Christian Jules LeBlanc (Michael, The Young and the Restless) as rich kid Kirk McColl. Though they made the cutest of couples, Marcy’s fairy tale wouldn’t be complete before she’d married an actual prince. To be clear, that was not Kirk.
Young and Restless
Wrong show, it’s true. But that was kinda what future The Fast and the Furious leading lady Jordana Brewster’s Nikki Munson and Scott DeFreitas’ Andy Dixon were when more developed between John’s photographer son and Hal Munson’s daughter than just pictures. Ironically, DeFreitas had better chemistry off screen with another castmate…
She’s All That
Upon being cast in 1995 as pot-stirrer Carly Tenney, Maura West (now General Hospital femme fatale Ava) took As the World Turns — and daytime — by storm. She also made quite an impression on DeFreitas, to whom she’s been wed since 2000; needless to say, they’re included on our list of soaps’ longest-married real-life couples.
No man in Oakdale could resist the charms of Kelley Menighan’s seductive Emily Stewart (seen here “taking a meeting” in 2008 with Billy Magnussen’s Casey Hughes, who honestly didn’t seem to be trying at all hard to resist). But behind the scenes, the actress only had eyes for one fella…
Hunk, a Hunk of Burning Love
From 1996 to 2015, Menighan was hitched to As the World Turns’ foremost heartthrob, Jon Hensley, whose Holden Snyder had actually been involved with and even married to Emily before his future ex-wife took over the role from Melanie Smith.
Married… With Problems
Despite having the kind of chemistry that no lab could conjure up, Paul Ryan (Roger Howarth, now a General Hospital regular as Franco) and Rosanna Cabot (Cady McClain, aka Days of Our Lives’ Jennifer) never could get it right. Not for long, anyway. However, the show more successfully played matchmaker for the actress and someone else…
Though Rosanna’s union with Craig Montgomery probably belongs on our countdown of daytime’s most toxic marriages, it did introduce to McClain the actor who became her real-life husband: Jon Lindstrom, a venerable soap-hopper arguably best known for his General Hospital roles of Kevin and his evil twin, Ryan.
Go On, Pull the Other One
Stop us if you’ve heard this one before: Married supervillain James Stenbeck (Anthony Herrera) was totally going to leave his wife for mistess Margo Hughes (Margaret Colin) — or at least John’s naive daughter thought so in the early 1980s. Go easy on her; it was a simpler time.
Obviously, Margo really belonged with future better half Tom Hughes — on screen and off. In 1988, Colin tied the knot with castmate Justin Deas (who’d go on to play Keith on Santa Barbara and Buzz on Guiding Light and win about a gazillion Daytime Emmys). Editor’s note: It was actually six.
No matter how many times the Hugheses cheated on one another — was there something adulterous in the water in Oakdale?!? — or how many times they were recast — in this 1986 shot, they’re Gregg Marx and Hillary B. Smith — we considered them lifers. Still do, come to think of it.
To Infinity and Beyond
This is the way that we like to remember Margo and Tom: happy, together and being played by Ellen Dolan and Scott Holmes, the long-running cast members who inherited the parts in the late ’80s. Not pictured — deliberately: homewrecker Emily!
Let’s Get This Party Started
Looking as ready to cut loose as they were ever going to in 1961 were “Pa,” Chris, Nancy and James Lowell (William Johnstone), who only looked like he was #judgingyou because he was, in fact, a judge. But wait… if they were all hanging around in that hallway posing for pictures, who was in the kitchen?!? That coffee wasn’t going to drink itself; this wasn’t Passions, for Pete Wendell’s sake!
Like Diamonds… Forever
Viewers were so enamored of the pairing of Casey’s daughter, Katie (Terri Conn), and Aussie jewel thief Simon Frasier (Paul Leyden) that they were made the central lovers in the novel Oakdale Confidential. You can still find used copies on Amazon, by the way; we checked. Also, you’re welcome.
Baby, You Can Drive My Car
In 1994, future Days of Our Lives star Shawn Christian (ex-Daniel) made more than just motors rev when he was added to As the World Turns’ cast as Oakdale’s answer to Speed Racer, Mike Kasnoff.
Dressed for Success
Penny and Jeff’s romance so captivated viewers that her portrayer became a bona-fide soap superstar. But behind the scenes, there was said to be major tension between Prinz and boss Phillips. When the actress left the show in 1968, she swore she’d never do another soap… and then, two years later, agreed to help launch All My Children as Amy Tyler — provided that she got above-the-title billing and her character would, as she did, oppose the Vietnam War.
We’re going to be painfully honest here. We have no recollection whatsoever of why Paul was dressed like this in 2009. None. (If you do, please, by all means, drop it in a comment.) It was just too amazing an image to exclude. Even Howarth would have to agree. Like, WTH?
As a teenager, Lily had thought that she had it rough, what with the way that she couldn’t so much as blush at a boy without drawing the attention of her overbearing mother, Lucinda. But Lily was even more upset when she learned that she was adopted, and her biological mother was the sister of her true love, Holden. Thankfully, it turned out that Iva had been adopted, too. Whew.
So Full of Promise
In 1999, As the World Turns’ younger set included two actors who’d be lost to us far too soon: the late Nathaniel Marston as Eddie Silva, a teenager whose mother detective Margo killed in the line of duty, and Ben Jorgensen as Chris Hughes, Bob and Kim’s oft-recast son.
Get Outta Town
When Bob finally wised up and gave Lisa the heave-ho in 1965 — as if the housekepper hadn’t been enough! — she took off for Chicago and her own primetime spinoff, Our Private World. Yes, that’s how much viewers loved to hate Fulton’s alter ego; she got her own damn primetime spinoff — and, we might add, the first of its kind!
New Address, Same Headache
No sooner had Lisa blown into the Windy City than she’d engaged in her favorite hobby — getting married — and tied the knot with John Eldridge (Nicolas Coster, who’d years later appear on As the World Turns as husband No. 7, Eduardo Grimaldi). Next, the strumpet engaged in her second favorite hobby — straying — and had a fling with brother-in-law Tom (Sam Groom). All the while, movie star Geraldine Fitzgerald looked on as Helen Eldridge, as you’d expect, disapprovingly.
‘Uh, Bartender… ?’
Hashtag this photo “awkward.” While Jack Snyder (Michael Park) was pining for Carly but dating Julia Lindsay (Annie Parisse), Carly was pining for Jack but married to Hal (Benjamin Hendrickson). No wonder they needed a drink!
Bad girl Carly found the tables turned when romantic rival Julia was revealed to be nuttier than a jar of Jif. (Not pictured: the tables, only the chairs.) Before all was said and done, the madwoman had raped Jack and weaponized quicksand. Yes, quicksand. How would you do away with the woman your man wanted way more than you? Poison their coffee? Actually, that’s not a bad idea.
Another Fine Mess
What did Lisa do to land herself in the hot seat again in 1961? Bake a cake from a mix? Hire a sitter? Order takeout? We jest. Lisa was actually so rotten that no less than Time magazine once referred to her as a “superbitch” and “the most hated woman on television.” Yikes!
Holden got a formidable rival for Lily’s affections in the mid-1990s when Paolo Seganti was cast as Italian stallion Damian Grimaldi. Sure, he lacked the cerulean-blue eyes that had made Brian Bloom’s Dusty Donovan such a threat. But on the plus side, he didn’t plot Lily’s murder the way that Derek Mason had. Other people’s murders, yes, but Lily’s? Not so much.
What Child Is This?
Eager to give a baby to younger-man husband Larry McDermott (Ed Fry) in the mid-1990s, fellow doctor Susan Stewart (Marie Masters) recruited daughter Emily to donate an egg, which her stepfather subsequently fertilized and Mom carried to term, resulting in the birth of Alison, who would forevermore have the world’s most interesting answer to the question “Where do babies come from?”
Between her movie career (in films like the classic Citizen Kane) and her signature soap role (that of All My Children’s snobbish “Aunt Phoebe”), Ruth Warrick helped make As the World Turns an insta-hit as strong-minded Edith Hughes, whose affair with married man Jim Lowell set tongues wagging from one end of Oakdale to the other.
The Odd Couple
The romance between designing woman Barbara Ryan (Colleen Zenk) and pseudo-reformed rat bastard John surprised no one more than them. Note: These are not their shocked expressions. Unfortunately, their marriage wasn’t able to survive the death of their son, whose premature birth his doctor father had OK’d in order to save Barbara’s life after she ran afoul of an explosion.
‘Flapper? I Hardly Know ’Er’
The Great Gatsby only seemed pretty good after Lily and Holden donned period garb for a Roaring ’20s-themed party in 2000. Or… hold on… was that Lily’s twin sister, showgirl Rose D’Angelo, with Holden? For a few years there, it was hard to tell unless a headdress and tassles were involved.
Lisa’s 1965 hairdo wasn’t just stylish, it was sensible: The Machiavellian minx needed extra head room to store all the plots that she was hatching. And she was always hatching plots.
Thanks for the Memories
CBS may have cancelled the show in 2009 — its final episode aired on September 17 of the following year — but in our minds and in our hearts, the world will always turn. We just wish we could’ve had one more cup of coffee in Nancy’s kitchen. Maybe someday…