Image: J Graylock, John P Iblis, Jill Johnson/JPI

Movie stars who got their start in soap operas.

Before becoming box office draws and Oscar winners, some of our favorite celebrities were soap stars. Many popular celebrities actually started their careers in soap operas such as All My Children, Another World, As the World Turns, A World Apart, Capitol, Days of our Lives, The Doctors, General Hospital, Guiding Light, Love of Life, Loving, Ryan’s Hope, Search for Tomorrow, Santa Barbara, and Young and Restless. Soaps.com provides a little tease about where these actors have gone: One famous actor went on to star as The Last Jedi, while another played one of the greatest villains in movies, Darth Vader. One well-known star who once drove Miss Daisy, used to play a detective on Texas, while Superman got his start on Love of Life. Buffy the Vampire Slayer debuted on All My Children in the early 90s while another AMC alum has her own talk show.

Kevin Bacon Todd Adamson Search for Tomorrow (1979), Tim Werner Guiding Light (1980 – 1981)

Alec Baldwin Billy Aldrich The Doctors  (1980-1982)

Elizabeth Banks Rosalie All My Children (1999)
kathy bates in soaps

Kathy Bates Belle Bodelle All My Children Phyllis The Doctors, Evelyn Maddox One Life to Live

Jason Biggs Pete Wendall As The World Turns (1994 – 1995)

Jordana Brewster Nikki Munson  As The World Turns (1995 – 1998)

Lacey Chabert Bianca Montgomery All My Children (1992 – 1993)

Mark Consuelos Mateo Santos All My Children (1995 – 2010)

Courtney Cox Bunny As The World Turns (1984)

Marcia Cross Tanya Another World (1986), One Life to Live Kate Sanders (1987)

Ted Danson Mitch Pierson The Doctors (1997)

Kristin Davis Nurse Betsy Chilson General Hospital (1991)

Leonardo DiCaprio Young Mason Capwell Santa Barbara (One episode 1990)

Taye Diggs Adrien “Sugar Hill” Guiding Light (1997)

Josh Duhamel Le du Pres All My Children (1999 – 2002)

Kirsten Dunst Young child Loving (1990 – 1991)

William Fichtner Rod Landry/Josh Snyder As The World Turns (1987 – 1993)

Laurence Fishburne Dr. Joshua Hall #1 One Life to Live (1973 – 1976)laurence fishburne in soaps

Calista Flockhart Elise Guiding Light (1989)

Morgan Freeman Detective Michaels Texas (1981), Cicero Murphy Ryan’s Hope Dr. Roy Bingham Another World (1982 – 1984)

Melissa Fumero Arianna Kramer Balsom One Life to Live (1998 – 2011)

Sarah Michelle Gellar Kendall All My Children (1993 – 1995)

Kelsey Grammer Dr. Canard Another World (1984 – 1985)

Larry Hagman Curt Williams Search for Tomorrow (1957)

Justin Hartley Fox Crane Passions (2002 – 2006), Adam Newman/Gabriel Bingham Young and the Restless (2014 – 2016)

Mark Hamill Kent Murray General Hospital (1972 – 19730)

David Hasselhoff William “Snapper” Foster Jr. The Young and the Restless (1975)

Teri Hatcher Angelica Stimac Clegg Capitol (1986 – 1987)

Anne Heche Vicky/Marley Hudson Another World (1987 – 1991)

Lauren Hill Kira Johnson As The World Turns (1991)

James Earl Jones Dr. Jerry Turner As The World Turns (1966), Guiding Light (Dr. Jim Frazier #2 (1996)james earl jones soaps

Tommy Lee Jones Dr. Mark Toland One Life to Live (1971 – 1979)

Melissa Leo Linda Warner All My Children (1988)

Kevin Kline Woody Reed Search for Tomorrow (1976)

Swoosie Kurtz Ellie Bradley As The World Turns (1971)

Judith Light as Karen Wolek One Life to Live (1978 – 1983)

Ray Liotta Joey Perrini Another World (1980 – 1981)

James Lipton Guiding Light (1953)

Lindsay Lohan Alli Fowler Another World (1996 – 1997)

Nia Long Katherine ‘Kat’ Speakes Guiding Light (1991 – 1993)

Eva Longoria Isabella Brana Young and the Restless (2001 – 2003)

Lori Loughlin Jody Travis Edge of Night (1980 – 1983)

William H. Macy Frank Fisk Another World (1982)

Ricky Martin Miguel Morez General Hospital (1994 – 1995)

Demi Moore Jackie Templeton General Hospital (1982 – 1983)julianne moore in soaps

Julianne Moore Twin sisters, Frannie/Sabrina Hughes As The World Turns (1985-1988)

Shemar Moore Malcolm Winters Young and the Restless (1994 – 2002, 2004 – 2005; 2015)

Hayden Panettiere Sarah Victoria ‘Flash’ Roberts One Life to Live (1994 – 1997) Lizzie Spaulding  Guiding Light (1998 – 2000)

Amanda Peet Layle One Life to Live (1995)

Ryan Phillippe Billy Douglas (The first gay teenager on a daytime soap opera.) One Life to Live (1992 – 1993)

Parker Posey Tess Shelby As The World Turns (1991 – 1992)

Brad Pitt Chris Another World (Two episodes – 1998)

Levin Rambin Lily Montgomery Lavery/Ava Benton All My Children (2004 – 2010)

Phylicia Rashad Courtney Wright One Life to Live (1984)  Felicia Dalton Santa Barbara (1985)

Christopher Reeve Ben Harper Love of Life (1974 – 1976)kelly ripa, mark consuelos in soaps

Larry Riley Ex- Frank and Ex-Calvin  The Doctors

Kelly Ripa Hayley Vaughan All My Children (1990 – 2010)

Meg Ryan Betsey Stewart Montgomery Andropolous As The World Turns (1982-1984)

Susan Sarandon Patrice Kahlman A World Apart (One episode 1971), Susan Fairbanks Search for Tomorrow (1972)

Kyra Sedgwick Julia Shearer As The World Turns (1982 – 1983)

Christian Slater D.J. LaSalle Ryan’s Hope (1985)

Brittany Snow Susan Lemay Guiding Light (1999 – 2000)
kathleen turner in soaps

John Stamos Blackie Parish General Hospital (1982-1984)

Marisa Tomei Marci Thompson As The World Turns (1983 – 1985)

Kathleen Turner Nola Dancy Aldrich The Doctors (1978-1979)

Blair Underwood Bobby Blue One Life to Live (1985 – 1986)

James Van Der Beek Stephen Anderson  As The World Turns  (1995)

Paul Walker Brandon Collins Young and the Restless (1992)

Robin Wright Kelly Capwell Santa Barbara  (1984 – 1988)

Originally written by Christine Fix August 29, 2006. Refreshed July 10, 2018.