Credit: CBS/Courtesy of the Everett Collection (5)
Bert Bauer’s death
Longtime stalwart cast member Charita Bauer died in 1985. Her death was integrated into that of her character, Bertha ‘Bert’, matriarch of the Bauer clan. While perhaps not the most dramatic of moments, it registered strongly with longtime viewers, reminding them of the depth with which their lives were connected to the series and its long history.
Leslie’s accidental death
In June 1976, Leslie Jackson Bauer (Lynne Adams) was killed off when she was run down by a drunk driver. Another seemingly random accident, it was particularly surprising since the young character was so popular.
Phillip’s true paternity revealed
In spite of their extraordinary wealth, the Spaulding family was rarely functional either in business or in their private dealings. Although the history of the family is littered with double-dealing and betrayal, one of the more surprising moments came when Alan (Christopher Bernau) was about to confess to his son Philip (Grant Aleksander), that he was not really his father. Before that could happen, Bradley (James Rebhorn) shocked Phillip by telling him that he was actually a Marler. Paternity panics would haunt the rest of Phillip’s life.
Roger rapes Holly
Guiding Light shocked audiences again by featuring the first marital rape story on daytime. Although Roger Thorpe (Michael Zaslow) had raped Rita Stapleton (Lenore Kasdorf) only a few months before, his rape of his wife Holly (Maureen Garrett) on March 5, 1979 left even more viewers unsettled thanks to its disturbing graphicness.
The Death of Maureen
Fans were appalled when Maureen Reardon Bauer died (Ellen Parker, Ellen Dolan) in a car crash on January 11, 1993. Most shocking of all was its random quality. Maureen had recently discovered that her husband Ed (Peter Simon) was having an affair with her best friend Lillian Raines (Tina Sloan). When he attempted to sort things out with her, she drove away in a fury and crashed her car.
Reva and Josh’s first wedding
Reva Shayne (Kim Zimmer) left one of her first major impressions on audiences by leaping into a fountain. But this would only be the start of many memorable watery moments, including plummeting to her apparent death by suicide. In one of the more treasured incidents, she and Josh (Robert Newman) had the first of their many weddings at Cross Creek, with her making a grand entrance by boat.
Annie Dutton’s escape
Annie Dutton (Cynthia Watros, Signy Coleman) rarely had a bad scene and her villainous plots included everything from attempted murder to kidnapping Lizzie Spaulding and drugging Josh. But the severely mentally unstable nurse and her frequent bouts of pill-popping and boozing hit a special peak during her wedding to Alan when her secrets were revealed. She was promptly hauled off by the cops, but quickly escaped by knocking out the guard and setting her mattress on fire.
Reva’s clone grows up
Although many may want to, few viewers would be able to forget that time that Josh cloned Reva. In January 1998, Bethany Joy Lenz began to appear as the cloned Reva, now a mischievous teenager. While the clone had been introduced as a baby, it wasn’t until her leap into burgeoning maturity that the extent of the show’s leap over the shark took full effect.
Ross and Rick fighting over Blake’s twins
In a convoluted plot twist that would be used by several soaps, Blake Marler (Elizabeth Keifer) wound up getting pregnant with twins, each from a different father. Etched even more in the minds of the viewers however was the brutal confrontation between the fathers, Ross Marler (Jerry verDorn) and Rick Bauer (Michael O’Leary) which included Ross spitting in his rival’s face. In the end it turned out that Ross was the father of both.
Jonathan’s breakdown at Tammy’s death
Reva’s son Jonathan (Tom Pelphrey) quickly made a name for himself as even more of an emotional powder keg than this mother. His persistent emotional outbursts won the actor several Daytime Emmys, but probably no scene registered more in the minds of viewers than his emotional collapse following the death of his lover Tammy (Stephanie Gatschet), which included him climbing on top of her corpse at Cedars Hospital.