From 1979-98, this former Westerns star was da man on One Life to Live, tough-as-leather, sweet-as-sorghum cowpoke/tycoon Clint Buchanan. Jerry verDorn was a fine, if very different, replacement. But his charisma did little to make us forget what we’d lost in the character’s originator.
19. Shemar Moore
Sorry, there was just something special about this newbie who went on to win a Daytime Emmy 20 years ago for his work as Malcolm Winters on The Young and the Restless. And no, that “something special” wasn’t the abs (although let’s be real, they were — and are — nice.)
18. Ian Buchanan
Will you never learn, General Hospital? When the ABC soap killed off this Daytime Emmy winner in 1989 and tried to recast him, fans revolted. So they killed off the recast and resurrected the original in 2012. Only to kill him off again five years later!!! Are you trying to upset us? No. Seriously. W the actual H?
17. Jane Elliot
“The bitch is back!” hollered General Hospital fans every time Elliot reprised her role of sasshole Tracy Quartermaine. But the cheering stopped in 2017, when she called it quits for what we feared was for good. (Thank goodness she subsequently proved us wrong!)
16. Daniel Goddard
Upon being let go as The Young and the Restless’ Cane Ashby in 2019, the actor admitted to his fans that “I am as shocked and gutted as you are.” He was wrong, though; after spending over a decade enjoying his work — not to mention Cane and Lily’s roller-coaster romance — fans were, and remain, even more gutted.
15. Wayne Northrop
It’s true that we accepted Drake Hogestyn as Days of our Lives’ Roman Brady before we found out that he was really and always had been John Black. But he’s flippin’ Drake Hogestyn; that doesn’t mean that we didn’t miss Northrop after he skedaddled in 1984. Or, for that matter, 1994!
14. James Scott
You know you’ve done something not just right but extremely right when the soap you’ve starred on — in Scott’s case, Days of our Lives — resurrects your “deceased” character — in Scott’s case, EJ DiMera — but refuses to recast, keeping your alter ego swaddled in enough gauze to stock a CVS shelf full of Band-Aids.
13. Robin Strasser
So deathly a blow was it to Another World when this future Emmy winner (for her work as Dorian Lord on One Life to Live) left her role of scheme queen Rachel Davis that its first recast failed utterly — she lasted just a couple of months — before a more suitable replacement was found. Miraculously, we might add.
12. Jaime Lyn Bauer
Newer soap viewers will be like, “Who the hell is this?” Who she is, people, is the siren who played The Young and the Restless’ Lorie Brooks, a man-eater on par with the Great White in her proficiency. When she cut bait and ran in 1982, she changed the entire landscape of Genoa City.
11. Alison Sweeney
Imagine a salsa dip without spice. That’s kinda what we felt that Days of our Lives was like without this natural born scene stealer playing Sami Brady. So when she took a powder from her long-running role, there wasn’t enough Frank’s RedHot in the world to make us feel better.
10. Martha Byrne
We thought that As the World Turns had learned its lesson when it tried — and utterly failed — to recast this Emmy winner after she got the hell outta Dodge Oakdale in 1989. But no, they tried to replace her again as Lily Snyder in 2008, which only rubbed salt in a wound that never should’ve been inflicted.
9. Ronn Moss
Don’t get us wrong, we love Thorsten Kaye and have gotten over — well, mostly — what an entirely different character The Bold and the Beautiful’s Ridge Forrester has seemed to be since he assumed the role in 2013. (Well, he’s still a horndog!) But losing Moss after 25 years… c’mon, people. That was a shock to the system!
8. Vanessa Marcil
When General Hospital’s Sonny Corinthos left Brenda Barrett at the altar, he had his henchman, Jason Morgan, tell her that it was a great ride. But, as she well knew, what they’d had had been much more, which is why Marcil’s exits, especially the one in 1998, still smart like a bruise that worsens rather than heals.
7. Marcy Walker
Honestly, they should’ve just cancelled Santa Barbara when Eden Capwell fell into the ocean in 1991; the show was never the same. Her portrayer went on to enjoy a highly successful return to All My Children as Liza Colby, sure, but we remained as wrecked as Eden’s widower, Cruz Castillo.
6. Sarah Brown
Jennifer Bransford notwithstanding, we can’t say that General Hospital hasn’t done a bang-up job of casting new Carly Corinthoses. But that in no way diminishes the “Oh my God, no!”-ness of her original portrayer’s exit in 2001. Hey, you always remember your first… Carly.
5. Victoria Rowell
If we knew then what we know now, that there weren’t going to be any takesy-backsies on the death of The Young and the Restless’ Drucilla Winters, we would’ve begged — make that pleaded — with her portrayer to have stayed off that cliff in 2007.
4. Beverlee McKinsey
The incomparable diva who first played Guiding Light’s Alexandra Spaulding sure knew how to make an exit: In 1992, she exercised an out in her contract that the powers that be had apparently overlooked, walking just before her annual two-month vacation… and continuing to walk ever further away!
3. Peter Reckell
We know, we know. The soap legend who originated the role of Days of our Lives’ Bo Brady left more than once (and we even named his replacement one of daytime’s best recasts ever). That doesn’t mean that we’ve recovered from his last — and we do mean last — exit; it killed us as surely as it did his character.
2. Anthony Geary
The record-holder for most Daytime Emmy wins as Outstanding Lead Actor — he has eight statuettes for his work as General Hospital’s Luke Spencer! — retired to Amsterdam in 2015 and never looked back. Well, except for that one time that he returned to help usher off the canvas the superstar at No. 17 on this list.
1. Susan Flannery
After a quarter of a century as The Bold and the Beautiful’s domineering Stephanie Forrester, the four-time Emmy winner hung it up in 2012, leaving a Mommie Dearest-sized hole in the canvas — and a big, empty space on the wall — that no other actress or her portrait could possibly hope to fill.