Soap operas’ most fascinating fathers
Image: Aaron Montgomery/JPI
Fathers going all out for their family on the soaps sometimes in ways that aren’t always on the up and up.
This Father’s Day we at Soaps.com are giving a shout out to all of the soap opera dads who have represented all that is good, bad and therapy-worthy over the years. Because there are so many fathers who have made such a big impression, we focused our picks on dads from The Bold and the Beautiful, Days of our Lives, General Hospital, and The Young and the Restless. With so many options though we could never include them all, so let us know in the comments if we missed your favorite dad and why.
Days’ Clyde Weston
During his short stint on Days of our Lives’ Clyde Weston (James Read) certainly stirred up some stuff, from killing the wildly popular EJ DiMera (James Scott) to swapping Abigail’s (Kate Mansi) paternity results. But more than that, this Poplar Bluff pop’s own relationships with his two children was about as layered and complex as it gets – and left us only wanting more as time went on. With Jordan (Chrishell Stause) we were horrified and confused about what their life was like with the loss of her mother, and with Ben (Robert Scott Wilson), we got something different. Sweeter, darker – maybe a misguided attempt to right the wrongs with his daughter that went overboard? We eventually learned that while Clyde had some love for his kids, he was not, by any stretch of the imagination, a good father or a good person.
B&B’s Eric Forrester
The ultimate good guy patriarch of daytime, Bold and Beautiful’s Eric Forrester (John McCook) looms over his family in a way that is very positive, yet drives his children to act in the most outrageous ways in an attempt to best themselves for his affections. And he does have quite a few kids to look out for too – four with Stephanie (Susan Flannery), two with Brooke (Katherine Kelly Lang) and one via adoption. That’s quite a brood to keep in check, especially when you add in one more very special child who everyone else deems Eric’s favorite, despite not even being blood-related. Ridge (Thorsten Kaye), who turned out to not be Eric’s biological son like he had long thought, is forever a lightning rod for Rick (Jacob Young) who just can’t get over their non-sibling rivalry. Still, we can’t help but love that when Eric plays that piano everyone forgets their problems and joins in on a family sing along.
Y&R’s Black Knight
There are not many characters in soap history like “The Moustache,” Victor Newman (Eric Braeden) when it comes to familial machinations, all with the expressed intent of love. He has two children with the love of his life Nikki (Melody Thomas Scott) – Victoria (Amelia Heinle) and Nicholas (Joshua Morrow) – in addition to Abby (Melissa Ordway) with Ashley (Eileen Davidson) and Adam (Justin Hartley) with Hope (Signy Coleman), a woman he was once briefly married too whom he loved deeply. And instead of fighting for their father’s affections – for the most part – the Newman kids seem to stick together in solidarity against their father’s overbearing ways unless there is lots of money or title involved. So maybe Victor’s heavy-handed ways of keeping the family together are actually having their desired effect, even if he isn’t always a welcome part of the group.
GH’s Edward Q
Strict, strong, overbearing and absolutely hilarious are all ways to describe the kind of man Edward Quartermaine (David Lewis, John Ingle) was to those who knew him, and there was no one who aspired to get that love more than his daughter Tracy (Jane Elliot). Not that she regularly got it right. In fact, in most cases, she got it spectacularly wrong. But so did her brother Alan (Stuart Damon), as well as his other kids including Jimmy Lee Holt (Steve Bond). Through his gruffness, Edward only wanted a legacy to pass on to his family, and for his children to not mess it all up. Was that too much to ask? Still, his deathbed scenes with Tracy were heartbreaking, and despite being gone his presence continues to guide his children’s actions today. And maybe that will be his legacy even more than ELQ.
Days’ The Phoenix
Could any list about fascinating fathers be complete without Stefano DiMera (Joe Mascolo)? Absolutely not. Stefano loved his children, of that there was no doubt. Unless you asked them because most times his offspring were wondering exactly where they stood in their father’s estimation. The dynamic between him and EJ was at times disturbing and dark, but the love between them was clear. Still, it was hard for anyone to live up to his daughter Lexi (Renee Jones) and the deep connection he had with not only her but her son Theo (Kyler Pettis). Stefano may have invented helicopter parenting and employed heavy-handed tactics much more than your typical strict dad, but even with his departure from Salem thanks to a trigger-happy Hope (Kristian Alfonso), his living children are still around to keep the name DiMera as upsetting around town as it has ever been.
GH’s The Godfather
Despite a tumultuous relationship with his own father Mike Corbin (Ron Hale), there was a lot of love between the two men, a love that is so very much like what General Hospital’s Sonny Corinthos (Maurice Benard) feels for his own children. Overprotective, he is a walking epitome of “do as I say, not as I do” when it comes to his kids, but it’s only because he knows how dangerous being a mobster would be for them. He also has some serious gender issues, expecting different things from his daughters than his sons, and that is certainly the old school Italian in him that is a part of who he is down to the core. He will battle to the ends to get Avery in his home, and most recently, has shown incredible depth and devotion helping Morgan (Bryan Craig) battle his bipolar disorder, moving beyond his guilt at passing it down to total compassion and care to move them both forward.
Days’ The Mercenary
John Black (Drake Hogestyn) is like an absentee father who was actually around quite a bit – and the kids never really let him forget it. His relationship with Brady (Eric Martsolf) is complicated but filled with love and pride, and a little bit of dumb luck over the fact his fiancée Theresa (Jen Lilley) didn’t actually kill John when she whacked him in the head with a fire poker. John’s relationships with his daughters are even more complicated as if he never got comfortable being around them, leaving a lot of that work to Marlena (Deidre Hall). And then there’s the son he actually was absent from most of his life, Paul (Sean Christopher), who slowly became a close confidant and friend. Still, maybe it’s because he is only just now learning the truth about his own parents, but John has a lot of opening up to do before he can be considered a cuddler. We can’t blame him, knowing that his father was absent and when he did come around (kidnap John and his son Paul), he wasn’t exactly father of the year.
Days’ Kiriakis Patriarch
Talk about tough love. Don’t let his soft, grandfatherly looks fool you – Victor Kiriakis (John Aniston) is all about making his loved ones work for the caring words he rarely doles out, especially to poor Philip (John-Paul Lavoisier, Jay Kenneth Johnson) now that brother Bo (Peter Reckell) is gone. It’s unfortunate too that Victor holds his offspring to such high standards, considering his past making money on drugs and pornography. He loves his grandkids too, but pities no fools, especially when it comes to avoidable mess-ups like Brady has been prone to do. Still, if anyone can get down to that soft interior it is his love for Maggie (Suzanne Rogers) and her constant voice in his ear to be a better man and father.
Y&R’s Nick Newman
Nick Newman (Joshua Morrow) may have learned from the best what not to do because unlike his father Victor he is one of the kindest, most loving fathers on daytime today. He dotes on his children, goes out of his way to make sure he and their mothers all do the right thing for their future, and would rather be spending time with any one of them than anything else in the world. When he thought Christian had died, his raw emotion was something that will stick with us for a while, just like it had when Cassie (Camryn Grimes) died. He is the quintessential pop we all wish we had growing up – the one who would play catch, read bedtime stories, chase away the monsters, go to the daddy-daughter dance and beat up anyone who was mean to us. In a sea of sad dads, he’s a gem.
B&B’s Dollar Bill
There’s nothing Bill Spencer. (Don Diamont) won’t do for his sons – it just depends on which way the wind is blowing on which day to determine which one. Never able to raise Liam (Scott Clifton) or Wyatt (Darin Brooks) from birth, Bill has a gruffness about him that reeks of a man who never had to change a diaper before, yet expects all the spoils from being the father of the year. Sure, he’s got little William now, but thanks to Katie (Heather Tom) he doesn’t have to get his hands too dirty. Still, Bill has proved he loves his children despite his ways of showing it, and would do whatever it takes to help them advance in a life he knows all too well can try to beat you down.
Last month we recounted soap opera’s most surprising births. Which shocked you? And in 2013 we listed our favorite dynamic father and son duos, including picks from All My Children and One Life to Live.
(Refreshed by Christine Fix February 27, 2018)