general hospital alexis mashup
Credit: Images: Arlene Richie/JPI, Howard Wise/JPI, Jill Johnson/JPI

Surprise — it’s you!

On September 27, Nancy Lee Grahn took to Instagram with one simple goal in mind: to say thank you. The actress was celebrating a quarter of a century in the role of General Hospital attorney Alexis Davis, and she wanted to make damn sure that you knew how she felt.

“Today I begin my 25th year on” the ABC soap, she began. “So this is all going to be about you. It is because of you that I have this anniversary. It is because of you that I have gotten to do what I love to do. It is because of you that I’ve stayed motivated to portray Alexis as truthfully as I can, which means occasionally having to defend her honor, which is not always easy.”

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Grahn, a two-time Daytime Emmy winner (once for her work as Alexis, once for her work as Santa Barbara lawyer Julia Wainwright), was just getting warmed up. She wasn’t merely professionally grateful to her admirers, she was personally grateful, too. “It is because of you that I’ve been able to raise [my daughter] Kate in the way I’ve always dreamed about,” she went on. “It is because of your kindness, love and loyalty that I still want to act for you.”

In short, she concluded, “it is all because of you.”

It’s been a wild ride for Grahn over the last 25 years. Alexis got to know her Cassadine relatives, for better and worse, got into and out of a series of relationships (all of which fell under the heading of “It’s complicated”), developed a drinking problem and a reputation as hell on wheels, and most recently, as far as she knows, [bleeped] a boyfriend to death. But back when we first met the character, all we knew about her was that she meant business.

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As you can see in the clip below, Alexis showed up in Port Charles brimming with confidence. “I understand you’re looking for a good attorney,” she said, introducing herself to Lucy Coe. “Alexis Davis. And I’m better than good, I’m the best.”

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Not only did Alexis have a way with words — a way that she has maintained to this day, we might add — but she had a way with people. “I’m not an ambulance chaser,” she made clear right up front, “just someone who enjoys a good challenge — a challenge, not the hype and publicity that frequently go along with this work.”

No wonder we fell so quickly in love with her — and have stayed in love all these years. On your way to the comments to congratulate Grahn on her milestone, perhaps you’d enjoy perusing the below photo gallery, which recounts the sometimes less-than-starmaking first soap roles played by actors who went on to become daytime legends. (Yes, Grahn is on the list — and no, not for Santa Barbara; Julia was a smash!)