Credit: Image: Jennifer Graylock, Jill Johnson, Landmark/JPI; Kathy Hutchins/Shutterstock
1. Kevin Bacon
Kevin Bacon, best known for playing Ren in the 80’s film Footloose and as Ryan Hardy in the series The Following landed his first role on soaps as Todd Adamson on Search for Tomorrow in 1979. He went on to play Tim Werner on Guiding Light from 1980 to 1981.
2. Alec Baldwin
Alec Baldwin’s first documented role was playing Billy Aldrich on The Doctors from 1980 to 1982. He also appeared as Joshua Rush in the 80’s primetime soap Knots Landing and has over 140 roles under his belt.
3. Elizabeth Banks
Modern family star Elizabeth Banks, who has played Sal since 2009, started out in soaps. In 1999, she played Rosalie on All My Children.
4. Kathy Bates
Kathy Bates, who will always be remembered for playing a crazed fan in Misery, has a few soap credits. Her first role was playing Phyllis on The Doctors in 1978, then Belle Bodelle on All My Children in 1984 and as Evelyn Maddox on One Life to Live that same year.
5. Jason Biggs
Jason Biggs, of American Pie fame, played Pete Wendall on As The World Turns from 1994 to 1995. He’s held numerous roles and appeared as Larry Bloom on Orange Is The New Black from 2013 to 2019 and stars as Mike on the series Outmatched.
6. Jordana Brewster
Jordana Brewster’s (Fast & Furious franchise) first acting role was as Anita Santos on All My Children in 1995. She also played Nikki Munson on As The World Turns from 1995 to 1998 and appeared as Elena Ramos in the Dallas reboot from 2012 to 2014.
7. Lacey Chabert
Lacey Chabert, who viewers likely recognize from numerous Hallmark movies, played a young Bianca Montgomery on All My Children from 1992 to 1993. She first made a name for herself as Claudia Salinger in the series Party of Five.
8. Mark Consuelos
Mark Consuelos appeared as Mateo Santos on All My Children from 1995 to 2010. In fact, he met his wife Kelly Ripa (Hayley Vaughan) on the ABC soap and the couple has been married since 1996.
9. Courteney Cox
Courtney Cox played Bunny on As the World Turns in1984 and appeared as the young concert goer in the 1984 Bruce Springsteen video Dancing In the Dark. Cox will always be remembered for playing Monica on Friends from 1994 to 2004.
10. Marcia Cross
Marcia Cross appeared on a few soaps before Melrose Place and Desperate Housewives. She played Liz Corell on The Edge of Night in 1984, Tanya on Another World in 1986 and Kate Sanders on One Life to Live in 1987.
11. Ted Danson
Before everybody knew his name on Cheers, Ted Danson played Tom Conway on the NBC soap Somerset. He went on to appear as Mitch Pierson on The Doctors in 1977.
12. Kristin Davis
Kristin Davis played Nurse Betsy Chilson on General Hospital for 23 episodes in 1991. However, it was her roles on Melrose Place and Sex and the City that brought her popularly.
13. Leonardo DiCaprio
Before he won hearts as Titanic’s Jack Dawson, Leonardo DiCaprio played a young Mason Capwell on Santa Barbara in one episode in 1990. Though he’s had roles in various series, the big screen is where the actor thrives.
14. Taye Diggs
One of Taye Diggs’ first roles was a playing Adrien ‘Sugar Hill’ on Guiding Light in 1997. His Springfield character was a music producer.
15. Josh Duhamel
Josh Duhamel (Transformers franchise) played Leo du Pres on All My Children on and off from 1999 until his character’s death in 2002. However, Duhamel’s character surfaced in 2011 in Greenlee Smythe’s (Rebecca Budig) dream.
16. Kirsten Dunst
Kirsten Dunst appeared as a young child on Loving from 1990 to 1991. The actress has had an extensive career in primetime and film and played Mary Jane Watson in the Spiderman movies.
17. William Fichtner
William Fichtner first appeared in daytime on the CBS soap As The World Turns as Rod Landry aka Josh Snyder in 1987. He played the role until 1993 then returned for 1 episode in 2006.
18. Laurence Fishburne
Veteran actor Laurence Fishburne’s second role was on an ABC soap opera. He played Dr. Joshua Hall on One Life to Live from 1974 to 1976 before making it to the big time.
19. Calista Flockhart
Calista Flockhart may have gained a fan following as Ally McBeal but actually appeared on 3 soap operas beforehand. In 1989 she played Elise on Guiding Light then in 1990 appeared as Stacey on As the World Turns and as a young woman on Loving.
20. Morgan Freeman
Morgan Freeman appeared on 3 soap operas as well. In 1981, he tried his hand at two daytime roles, as Detective Michaels on Texas and as Cicero Murphy on Ryan’s Hope before heading over to Another World as Dr. Roy Bingham from 1982 to 1984.
21. Melissa Fumero
Melissa Fumero was well-known in daytime before making it in primetime as Amy Santiago on Brooklyn Nine-Nine. She played Arianna Kramer Balsom on One Life to Live from 1998 to 2011 and crossed over to All My Children in the same role in 2005. Fumero met her husband while working on One Life, David Fumero, who played Cristian Vega.
22. Sarah Michelle Gellar
Sarah Michelle Gellar originated the popular role of Kendall Hart on All My Children in 1993. She played Erica Kane’s (Susan Lucci) daughter until 1995 before venturing into her 6 year primetime role as Buffy Summers in Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
23. Kelsey Grammer
Kelsey Grammer played Dr. Frasier Crane on Cheers before going solo with the character on Frasier in 1993. Before that, his first role was in 1979 as a waiter on Ryan’s Hope followed by appearing as Dr. Canard on Another World from 1984 to 1985.
24. Larry Hagman
The late Larry Hagman will always be remembered as I Dream of Jeannie’s Major Anthony Nelson and Dallas’ J.R. Ewing. Before making the question “Who shot J.R.” a household phrase, he appeared as Curt Williams in Search for Tomorrow in 1957 and as Ed Gibson in The Edge of Night in 1961.
25. Justin Hartley
One of the most popular stars to come out of daytime, Justin Hartley first hit the scene as Fox Crane on Passions in 2002 to 2006. He landed the role of Adam Newman, son of the great Victor Newman (Eric Braeden), on Young and the Restless in 2014 then left in 2016 before originating the role of Kevin Pearson on the hit NBC series This Is Us.
26. Mark Hamill
When one thinks of Mark Hamill, it’s hard not to connect the actor with Star Wars’ Luke Skywalker. However, from 1972 to 1973, he played Kent Murray on General Hospital and has over 340 credits to his name.
27. David Hasselhoff
David Hasselhoff (The Hoff) was a big soap star in the 70’s and 80’s before his Night Rider days. He played the role of William ‘Snapper’ Foster Jr. on Young and the Restless from 1975 until 1982 and even returned for a guest spot in June 2010.
28. Teri Hatcher
Teri Hatcher is known for playing Lois Kane on Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, as well as Susan Mayer on Desperate Housewives. But from 1986 to 1987, she appeared as Angelica Stimac Clegg on the soap Capitol.
29. Anne Hache
The late Anne Heche has had great success in film and primetime. But before there was Ally McBeal’s Melanie West or Everwood’s Amanda Hayes, she played Vicky/Marley Hudson on Another World from 1987 to 1991.
30. Lauryn Hill
Singer, songwriter and rapper Lauryn Hill has filled stadiums around the world. She also took on her first acting role in 1991 as Kira Johnson on As the World Turns.
31. James Earl Jones
James Earl Jones has often been described as “one of America’s most distinguished and versatile” actors. In 1966, he took on two daytime roles, first playing Dr. Jim Frazier on Guiding Light then as Dr. Jerry Turner on As the World Turns.
32. Tommy Lee Jones
Tommy Lee Jones is best known for roles in The Fugitive and the Men in Black films. Back in the day, he appeared on One Life to Live as Dr. Mark Toland from 1971 to 1975.
33. Melissa Leo
Melissa Leo is no stranger to crime dramas such as Homicide: Life on the Street, Law & Order and CSI. But in 1988, she took on a new genre playing Linda Warner on All My Children.
34. Kevin Kline
Oscar and Tony award winner Kevin Kline has made his mark in Hollywood. His first documented role was playing Woody Reed on Search for Tomorrow in 1976.
35. Swoosie Kurtz
Swoosie Kurtz can be seen playing Beverly, the sassy mom to Matt LeBlanc’s Adam Burns on Man With A Plan. In 1971, she turned up on As the World Turns as Ellie Bradley then as a student nurse on The Doctors in 1978.
36. Judith Light
Judith Light landed the role of One Life to Live’s Karen Wolek in 1978 to 1983. But playing single mom Angela Bower on Who’s the Boss was only the beginning of her primetime rise to stardom. She also played Judith Ryland in the 2013 Dallas reboot.
37. Ray Liotta
The late Ray Liotta has played in comedies, action and drama features since launching his career in the late 70’s. One of his first roles was on the soap Another World as Joey Perrini from 1980 to 1981.
38. James Lipton
The late James Lipton was known as a co-creator and host for the television series Inside the Actors Studio. Though he didn’t have many primetime and film credits, he did appear in daytime as Dr. Dick Grant on Guiding Light in 1953.
39. Lindsay Lohan
Before Lindsay Lohan played cute twins Hallie Parker/Annie James in The Parent Trap, she dabbled in daytime a couple of years prior. The actress played Alli Fowler on Another World from 1996 to 1997.
40. Nia Long
Nia Long, known for 90’s films Boyz n the Hood and Friday tried her hand at soaps early on. She appeared in four episodes of Guiding Light as Katherine ‘Kat’ Speakes from 1992 to 1993.
41. Eva Longoria
Eva Longoria had an 8 year run playing Gabrielle Solis on Desperate Housewives and has since served as a writer, director and producer in various projects. Though she’ll be familiar to daytime fans for playing Isabella Brana on Young and the Restless from 2001 to 2003, her first soap role was appearing as a Brenda Barrett (Vanessa Marcil) lookalike on ABC’s General Hospital in 2000.
42. Lori Loughlin
Lori Loughlin was the other half of fellow soap alum John Stamos’ Jesse, having played ‘Aunt Becky’ in Full House and its Fuller House spin-off. Though the actress was caught up in the drama surrounding 2019’s college admission scandal, she once appeared on the soap drama The Edge of Night as Jody Travis from 1980 to 1983.
43. William H. Macy
William H. Macy is recognized for playing Frank Gallagher on the Showtime hit series Shameless, not to mention well-over 100 other roles. One of his first was playing Frank Fisk on Another World in 1982.
44. Ricky Martin
The King of Latin Pop, Ricky Martin, is known for his sizzle dance moves and sexy voice. However, longtime General Hospital fans will recall that he played Miguel Morez in Port Charles from 1994 to 1995.
45. Demi Moore
Demi Moore took the 80’s by storm with movies like St. Elmo’s Fire and About Last Night and went on to star in big features such as Striptease, Indecent Proposal and G.I. Jane. Moore’s daytime roots stem back to 1982 when she played Jackie Templeton on General Hospital until 1983.
46. Julianne Moore
Prolific actress Julianne Moore appeared in three different daytime roles. First as Carmen Engler on The Edge of Night in 1984, followed by an appearance as a stewardess on Another World in 1985 then as twin sisters Frannie and Sabrina Hughes on As the World Turns from 1985 to 1988.
47. Shemar Moore
Shemar Moore’s presence in Hollywood takes him back to his soap days playing Young and the Restless’ Malcolm Winters on and off since 1994, with his last appearance in 2019 for a special tribute to the late Kristoff St. John, Moore’s onscreen brother Neil Winters. Two of his major roles in primetime have been a 12 year run as Derek Morgan on Criminal Minds and playing Daniel ‘Hondo’ Harrelson on S.W.A.T.
48. Hayden Panettiere
Hayden Panettiere, of Nashville fame, started out on soaps. In 1994 she played Sarah Victoria Roberts on One Life to Live until 1997 then went on to appear as Lizzie Spaulding on Guiding Light from 1998 to 2000.
49. Amanda Peet
Amanda Peet is another actress whose first role was on a soap. She played Layle on One Life to Live in 1995 and went on to appear in films and primetime in such series as The Good Wife, Brockmire and Dirty John.
50. Ryan Phillippe
Ryan Phillippe’s soap role is one that went down in the history books. His character, Billy Douglas, was the first gay teenager on One Life to Live (1992 – 1993) but his claim to fame happened in the 90’s beginning with movies I Know What You Did Last Summer and Cruel Intentions.
51. Parker Posey
Parker Posey, known for the films Scream, Dazed and Confused and Blade, just to name a few, had her second acting role on a soap. She played Tess Shelby on As the World Turns from 1991 to 1992.
52. Brad Pitt
Film producer and award-winning actor Brad Pitt stole the heart of many in the 80’s and has been acknowledged as one of the American Entertainment Industry’s most influential and powerful people to date. One of his first roles in 1987 was playing Chris on Another World for two episodes.
53. Leven Rambin
Leven Rambin has turned up in popular series such as One Tree Hill, True Detective and The Path. But the actress’ popularity began in 2004 when she played Lily Montgomery Lavery/Ava Benton on All My Children until 2010.
54. Phylicia Rashad
Phylicia Rashad will forever be linked to The Cosby Show as the matriarch Clair Huxtable. The actress also appeared on soaps in the 80’s, as Courtney Wright on One Life to Live (1984) and Felicia Dalton on Santa Barbara (1985).
55. Christopher Reeve
Memories of the late Christopher Reeve are accompanied by his role playing Superman/Clark Kent. Before he became known as The Man of Steel, he played Ben Harper on Love of Life from 1974 to 1976.
56. Kelly Ripa
Kelly Ripa has had a successful career as an actress and talk show host. In 1990 she landed the role of Hayley Vaughan on All My Children until 2001 then returned for two episodes in 2010.
57. Meg Ryan
Meg Ryan is known for her 80’s and 90’s roles on Top Gun and When Harry Met Sally, plus When A Man Loves a Woman, and has appeared in numerous films since. In 1982, she played Betsey Stewart Montgomery Andropoulos on As the World Turns until 1984.
58. Susan Sarandon
With over 160 credits, Susan Sarandon began her acting career in 1970 and has received many awards for her work. In that same year, she took a role on the soap A World Apart as Patrice Kahlman for 326 episodes before leaving in 1971 and heading over to Search for Tomorrow as Susan Fairbanks in 1972.
59. Kyra Sedgwick
Kyra Sedgwick has been married to fellow soap alum Kevin Bacon since September 1988. The actress appeared opposite John Travolta in the hit film Phenomenon and as Chief Wuntch on Brooklyn Nine-Nine since 2014. From 1982 to 1983 she played Julia Shearer on As the World Turns.
60. Christian Slater
Christian Slater was an 80’s heartthrob who played Binx in The Legend of Billie Jean and can be seen as Dan Broderick in the series Dirty John. His first role was playing a boy in a hospital on Search for Tomorrow before appearing as Scotty Riley on All My Children in 1984 then D.J. LaSalle on Ryan’s Hope in 1985.
61. Brittany Snow
Brittany Snow’s known for roles in Harry’s Law, Ben and Kate, Full Circle, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Almost Family and of course the Pitch Perfect films. From 1999 to 2000 she played Susan Lemay on Guiding Light.
62. John Stamos
John Stamos is most recognized for playing Jesse Katsopolis on Full House and its spin-off Fuller House. He was also very popular on General Hospital as Blackie Parish from 1982 to 1984.
63. Marisa Tomei
Marisa Tomei made viewers laugh as Mona Lisa Vito in My Cousin Vinny and has appeared in primetime series such as Seinfeld and Empire and played Aunt May in Avengers: Endgame. In 1983 she was cast as Marci Thompson on As the World Turns until 1985.
64. Kathleen Turner
Kathleen Turner made a niche in film and primetime with Serial Mom, Friends, King of the Hill and more. From 1978 to 1979, she played Nola Dancy Aldrich on The Doctors for 243 episodes.
65. Blair Underwood
Award-winning actor Blair Underwood’s debut film was playing Russell Walker in Krush Groove. However, it was his 1985 Cosby Show guest spot that landed him the role of Bobby Blue on One Life to Live that same year until 1986.
66. James Van Der Beek
The role that made James Van Der Beek popular was playing Dawson Leery on Dawson’s Creek from 1998 to 2003. Before that, he appeared on As the World Turns in 1995 as Stephen Anderson.
67. Paul Walker
Paul Walker, who lost his life in 2013 after a car accident, starred in the Fast & Furious franchise. Back in 1992, he played Brandon Collins on Young and the Restless.
68. Robin Wright
Robin Wright was a popular soap actress in the 80’s having played Kelly Capwell on Santa Barbara from 1984 to 1988. She went on to appear in films and primetime like Forrester Gump, Empire Falls and most recently as Claire Underwood on House of Cards.