Popular But Forgotten Soap Opera Actors

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In the summer of 1952, CBC aired the very first daytime drama on U.S. television when the show Guiding Light made its transition to TV from radio. Over the next six decades, audiences would come to fall in love with soap operas and begin to tune in weekly to get their daily dose of drama, romance, and adventure. As such, audiences also became deeply invested in the larger-than-life characters that were portrayed on these soaps, genuinely caring and interested in what would happen next in their lives. Since that time many soap opera shows (not to mention actors and actresses) have come and gone. Below is a list of some popular forgotten soap opera actors.

20. Y&R: Vincent Irizarry

A soap opera veteran, Irizarry has played on a variety of daytime dramas, from Days of Our Lives to Santa Barbara, One Life to Live, All My Children, and of course, the Y&R. Joining the cast in 2006, Vincent played the slimy David Chow, a man who manipulated Nikki Newman into a relationship.

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19. B&B: Jim Storm As Bill Spencer, Sr.

Long before the wise-cracking, take no prisoners Dollar Bill Spencer arrived in Los Angeles, his father Bill Spencer, Sr., was stirring up all kinds of trouble. Portrayed by Jim Storm, Bill Sr. was in the debut episode of the B&B in 1987, attending a party at the Forrester mansion alongside his daughter Caroline. He was married to Margo for a couple of years and had flings with both Donna and Darla. Bill Sr. was on the B&B until 1994 and in 2009, when his son first appeared, it was revealed the character had passed away. Storm has appeared in several television series and movies since his departure from the sudser.

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18. Days: Jensen Ackles

When Eric Brady was SORASed in the late 1990s, actor Jensen Ackles entered the role, and became wildly popular in the land of Salem. The actor would snag three Daytime Emmy nominations for the Outstanding Younger Actor category, and won a Soap Opera Digest Award in 1998. With daytime success, primetime came calling, and Ackles exited the show in 2000.

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17. GH: Paul Satterfield Jr.

Believe it or not, Paul Hornsby was a pretty decent person when he first landed in Port Charles, circa the early ‘90s. At that point in time, he was played by actor Paul Satterfield Jr., and while Hornsby was good-natured and incredibly handsome, it wasn’t until Paul returned in 2015 did his vile personality come out. Was it his relationship with Tracy that turned him so sour? Regardless, fans may not only remember Satterfield from his GH role, but also work he did on One Life to Life, Bold and the Beautiful, and films like Bruce Almighty.

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16. Y&R: Greg Vaughan

For those avid daytime drama fans, you may recognize this soap veteran from his roles on Days of Our Lives and General Hospital, but Greg Vaughan was also once wrapped up in some pretty heavy drama on the Y&R as well, playing Diego Guttierez. In the early 2000s, a needy Sharon was smitten with Diego and seduced the handsome coffee server into a one-night stand. As luck would have it, Victoria Newman was also taken by Diego too. What would unravel next was a pretty intense storyline which involved the Newman family’s lack of approval, and poor Sharon and Nick were dragged into it too. Sadly, Guittierez ended up leaving the little town in 2003, which meant fans had to say goodbye to actor Greg Vaughan.

©John Paschal/jpistudios.com

15. B&B: Ian Buchanan As Dr. James Warwick

Ian Buchanan regularly appeared on the B&B as Dr. James Warwick from 1993 to 1999. This popular and charming Scottish actor was romantically linked to Taylor, Brooke, Stephanie, Sheila and Maggie during his time on the soap. Buchanan still occasionally appeared on B&B over the years, but his last onscreen appearance was in 2017. He is still acting and is credited in several movies that are currently in pre-production.

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14. Days: Michael T. Weiss

One of the many actors to play Mike Horton over the years, Weiss was in the role from 1985 to 1990, although he did end up leaving the show to pursue primetime television opportunities. Playing a handsome, charming, smart, and kind doctor came easy to Michael, and his super couple relationship with April Ramirez may be best remembered by DOOL fans.

©Jill Johnson/jpistudios.com

13. GH: Jason Cook

For any avid soap lover that watches both GH and Days of Our Lives, you’d not only remember actor Jason Cook as Dr. Matt Hunter who fell in love with Maxi Jones (played by actress Kirsten Storms), circa 2008, but also as Days’ original Shawn-Douglas Brady, who had a super couple relationship with Belle Brady (also played by Storms), circa the early 2000s. Guess the idea was to try to get the two to relive some of that Salem magic in Port Charles, but the couple didn’t work out. With that said, many still miss Cook and Dr. Matt.

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12. Y&R: J. Eddie Peck

A veteran of both daytime and primetime soap opera, actor J. Eddie Peck has been on All My Children, Days of Our Lives, Dynasty, Dallas and Y&R. Peck played novelist Cole Howard. When he first entered Genoa City in the early ‘90s, he was Nikki’s stable hand, and it didn’t take long for these two to jump in the hay (so to speak), especially since Nikki had thought that Victor had passed on, and Cole offered her a shoulder to cry on. Cole and Nikki’s daughter Victoria would eventually hook up, and even got married at one point. Howard would move to other relationships and affairs, including a marriage to Ashley Abbott. Alas, in late 1999, Cole left Genoa City to accept a job as a professor at Oxford University in England. Would anyone else love to see him return?

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11. B&B: Texas Battle As Marcus Forrester

Marcus Forrester, played by Texas Battle, was the illegitimate son of Donna Logan and Justin Barber. He first appeared on the B&B in May 2008 as a caterer at a Forrester party, hoping to meet his biological mother. When Donna’s husband Eric discovered his wife had a son, he legally adopted him. While on the soap, Marcus was involved in relationships with Steffy and Amber. He eventually left LA in October 2013 moving to Johannesburg, South Africa with his wife Dayzee and his and Amber’s daughter Rosie.

© John Paschal/jpistudios.com

10. Days: Jason Brooks

Fans may recall that Kristen DiMera (who was first introduced to audiences as Kristen Blake), entered the land of DOOL with a younger brother, Peter. Actor Jason Brooks was in the role from 1993 to 1998, and was romantically linked to Jennifer Horton; the two were even married at one point. While he was the adoptive son of Stefano DiMera, his true colors would eventually show, and Blake was sent to prison. Interestingly enough, in 2019, Abe Carver did say that Peter had disappeared when he was released from jail, so there is always a chance he could return to Salem!

©Jill Johnson/jpistudios.com

9. GH: Ted King

Speaking of GH’s mob scene, in the early 2000s the Alcazar family became a huge thorn in Sonny Corinthos’ side. Ted King not only played Luis Alcazar, but also Lorenzo, and it was Lorenzo that made a huge impact on the Port Charles scene. He snagged Sonny’s main squeeze Carly away for a bit and even married her. He also had a fling with Skye Quartermaine. His wicked ways landed him many enemies in the small town when all was said and done. King portrayed the character(s) from 2002 to 2007, and with Luis dead, but hints of Lorenzo being alive, there is always a small window of opportunity for him to return.

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8. Y&R: Anthony Pena

Who doesn’t miss the man who was able to keep the Newman Ranch in order 24-7? Miguel Rodriguez was a butler, chauffeur, nanny, confidante, and all-around manservant to Victor and Nikki for over thirty years. While Rodriguez didn’t always have a prominent storyline, actor Anthony Pena was a staple on Y&R for many years, with the character engaging in some flings of his own. He hooked up with Katherine Chancellor’s maid at one point, Ester Valentine, and was also involved with Sarah Lindsey, who was going by the name of Veronica Martin. Alas, Pena simply disappeared in late 2005, never to be heard from again. It wasn’t until 2008 that writers filled in the gap for fans, saying that he had left Genoa City to care for a sick Aunt of his.

©Shelly Doss/JPI

7. B&B: Daniel McVicar As Clarke Garrison

Forrester and Spectra designer Clarke Garrison may have been a cad and a womanizer, but his portrayer Daniel McVicar was one of the most popular actors on B&B during his run on the sudser, from 1987 to 2009. His most memorable romances on the soap were Kristen, Margo, and Sally, who he was married to for a few years,. Since McVicar’s B&B departure, this popular bilingual actor has appeared in many American and Italian television series and movies.

©Jill Johnson/jpistudios.com

6. Days: Billy Warlock

When one mentions the name ‘Billy Warlock’ visions of Eddie Kramer running down a beach may come to mind. While he may be best known for his Baywatch character, Warlock was also a huge soap opera actor at one point, appearing on shows like As the World Turns, One Life to Life, and The Young and the Restless. His two most famous daytime drama roles included a run as the infamous AJ Quartermaine on General Hospital, as well as Frankie Brady on DOOL. Playing the character on-and-off from 1986 all the way to 2010, Frankie was a staple on the show at one point, and the love interest of fan-favorite Jennifer Horton.

©George De Sota/jpistudios.com

5. GH: John Reilly

It’s been a while since GH fans have seen Robert Scorpio’s BFF Sean Donely. For a decade in the mid-’80s to ‘90s, we came to love him as the superspy that always fought for justice and loved adventure. His romance with Tiffany Hill captivated audiences’ hearts and the duo became a super couple staple on the show. While he has worked on other soaps over the years, including As the World Turns, Days of Our Lives, and Passions (as well as primetime shows like Beverly Hills 90210 and Melrose Place), GH fans will always simply see Sean when they see John Reilly.

NBC©Paul Skipper/jpistudios.com

4. Y&R: Scott Reeves

A young Scott Reeves hopped into the Genoa City scene in 1991 as Ryan McNeil, a young man looking to take the corporate world by storm. He started from the bottom in the Newman’s mailroom and eventually became an executive for the company. He wowed everyone in the Genoa City business world and managed to steal some hearts along the way. There was a serious love affair with Nina Webster, but his true love may have been Victoria Newman. He married Vicky in 1992, but it ended in 1993 due to intimacy issues and an affair. Still, the two gave it a go once again in the early 2000s, and were almost re-wed. Unfortunately, a jealous ex-lover (Tricia Dennison) shot Ryan at the altar right before he and Vicky were supposed to say “I do” for a second time.

© Jill Johnson/jpistudios.com

3. B&B: Pierson Fodé As Thomas Forrester

Pierson Fodé made the role of Thomas Forrester his own when he played Ridge and Taylor’s son on the B&B from 2015 to 2018. He slept with Caroline while she was married to his father and found out months later that Ridge and Caroline’s son Douglas was his child. Thomas was in love with Sally but left her in the lurch to be with Caroline and their son in New York. Fodé was replaced by Matthew Atkinson in 2019 but the popular actor has kept busy since then, making guest appearances in television series and a number of films.

© Howard Wise/jpistudios.com

2. Days: Wayne Northrop

Whether he was playing Roman Brady or the evil Dr. Alex North, former DOOL actor Wayne Northrop was always a pleasure to watch. He originated the Roman Brady role in 1981 and then left the show in 1984. Shortly after his exit, John Black was born; however, when Northrop returned in 1991 as Brady, things got more than a little sticky. While Northrop would remain as Roman for another short stint (leaving in 1994), he did return to DOOL for an interesting storyline as a new character, Dr. Alex North, Marlena’s first husband! Regardless of what character he is portraying, Northrop is a popular DOOL actor of the past, who is still quite missed by fans, even today.

©Paul Skipper.jpistudios.com

1. GH: Michael Sutton

Who else misses Stone Cates? His love affair with Robin Scorpio was epic, and his HIV/AIDS storyline was historic when it came to raising awareness around this illness within the daytime drama world. While Stone passed away in 1995, he created a significant impact on the show during his short tenure and built real roots. Friends with mob boss Sonny Corinthos, Sonny ended up naming his son Morgan Stone to honor Cates. Stone’s legacy still lives on in the show today, with references to him now and again. A Stone ghost even showed up in 2010 to assist Robin in a dire situation she was in. While Stone is gone, his memory still lives on in GH storylines and angles, even to this day.

© Jill Johnson/jpistudios.com

Dorathy Gass

Dorathy Gass

Dorathy Gass is an avid fan of daytime drama and has been watching Days of Our Lives, General Hospital, and Young and the Restless for over two decades now. As a full-time freelance writer, she gets to combine her love of soap operas and writing through her Fame 10 articles. Also a mother of two busy girls and a mommy blogger, she's been published multiple times over in Huffington Post Parents and Scary Mommy.