Credit: Images: Jill Johnson/JPI (2), Michael Germana/Courtesy of the Everett Collection, Priscilla Grant/Courtesy of the Everett Collection
A soap superstar, thanks to her work in the 1980s as Hope on Days of Our Lives, Alfonso transitioned to primetime in ’87 with the series-regular role of Pilar Ortega on CBS’ Falcon Crest. But after the primetime soap’s cancellation in 1990 — and a stint as Sydney’s madam on Melrose Place — she followed her tracks back to Salem.
No sooner had the Emmy winner left The Young and the Restless and his role of Malcolm than he began lining up primetime gigs and movie shoots. Despite the speed with which his star was rising, he returned to the soap in 2004, and even after making it not big but ginormous as the handsomest face on Criminal Minds, revisited Genoa City twice more, in 2014 and — to honor the late Kristoff St. John (Neil) — in 2019.
Following her initial run as General Hospital badass Anna, the Emmy winner continued kicking butt in primetime — in series such as Jack’s Place (with erstwhile Barney Miller Hal Linden), Blossom (with The Big Bang Theory’s Mayim Bialik) and Aaron Spelling’s Pacific Palisades (with General Hospital’s future Jim, Greg Evigan). Yet she came back to daytime in 1999 as Anna’s twin sister, Alex, on All My Children and eventually returned Anna to Port Charles.
The future Knots Landing supervixen spent the late 1960s doing daytime, appearing first on The Secret Storm, then Love Is a Many Splendored Thing. Play Misty for Me made her a movie star in 1971, and, of course, Abby Ewing made her a primetime icon. But in 2014, she returned to afternoon television to play Nina’s Mommie Dearest, Madeline Reeves, on General Hospital.
Michael E. Knight
From 1982-86, the Daytime Emmy winner pretty much owned All My Children’s frontburner as “Tad the Cad.” But we assumed that after his charming performance in the feature Date With an Angel (opposite Phoebe Cates) in 1987, soapdom would never see him again. So imagine our surprise — and delight — when he ultimately returned to All My Children (and later joined the cast of The Young and the Restless as Simon and, most recently, General Hospital as smarmy lawyer Martin).
After scoring a major role in 1996’s The Rock — she played Nicolas Cage’s girlfriend — General Hospital fans thought that Marcil was gone for good when she left the soap two years later. And she did score a frontburner role on Beverly Hills, 90210. Nonetheless, she brought Brenda back to Port Charles in 2002, moved to primetime’s Las Vegas a year later, then returned to General Hospital yet again in 2010 (and 2013 and… TBD).
The Daytime Emmy winner actually had a long history in primetime before he took his first soap role — remember Diego on The Young and the Restless? Anyway, after playing General Hospital do-gooder Lucky and Days of Our Lives hero Eric, he returned to evening fare with OWN’s Queen Sugar, only to come back to daytime — and the NBC soap — yet again. So you can’t fault us for hoping that Salem hasn’t seen the last of him.
With four Daytime Emmys sparkling in his trophy case, Lucky’s portrayer was a hot property when he left General Hospital in 1999. In no time, he was starring in major motion pictures like The Deep End of the Ocean with Michelle Pfeiffer and Tuck Everlasting with Gilmore Girls’ Alexis Bledel. Still, a decade later, he reclaimed his old role (recast twice in his absence) and came back yet again for a quick visit when on-screen dad Anthony Geary (ex-Luke) retired.
When primetime mega-hit Knots Landing cast Reckell as Johnny Rourke in 1988, the daytime MVP was on his way. But after only a single season on the Dallas spinoff, he was on his way back to Days of Our Lives and the role of Bo for which he was so beloved.
The ingenue was the toast of daytime during her 1981-84 run as All My Children sweetheart Jenny. And when she moved on, first becoming a series regular on NYPD Blue, then Army Wives, we assumed that she was gone for good. But lo and behold, in 2020, General Hospital lured her back into a lather to assume the role of Jackie, previously played by big-screen big deal Demi Moore.
Already a soap vet when General Hospital cast her as Lois in 1993, Sofer hung her hat in Port Charles for four years before taking Hollywood by storm, appearing on everything from Seinfeld and Friends to Heroes and 24. Then, after more than a decade away from daytime, she came back in 2013 in order to sink her teeth into the juicy role of The Bold and the Beautiful scheme queen Quinn.
In the wake of a highly impactful run on All My Children as Nico, the future Daytime Emmy winner nabbed the part of a lifetime when he was cast in 1991 as Desi Arnaz in the TV movie Lucy & Desi: Before the Laughter. Alas, when the small-screen biopic wasn’t a big hit, he was drawn back to soaps, where — well, this has worked out awfully well, hasn’t it? — he accepted the part of Sonny on General Hospital.
More than once, this legendary sex symbol returned to her soap roots. After a four-year stint as Search for Tomorrow temptress Jennifer Pace, she struck it big in primetime sudsers like Flamingo Road, Paper Dolls and Falcon Crest. Years later, she helped transform Loving into The City in 1995 by joining the cast as Sydney Chase. Then in 2017, she passed through Days of Our Lives as the latest incarnation of Anjelica Deveraux.
Just three years into his run as The Young and the Restless’ Nick, Hollywood took notice of the then-two-time Emmy nominee and cast him opposite Rachel Ward in the tawdry TV movie My Stepson, My Lover. But — and this makes Morrow a real anomaly for this list — he never left the CBS soap for longer than it took him to shoot the telepic (to date, his only one). That’s dedication.