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Iconic on more than one soap


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I think it’s easy to think more of longevity in the post 2000’s era of soaps seeming iconic.  Because they are still there clinging to life.  Part of iconic for me is that the show absolutely needed their character, revolved around them to a degree, and when they left it created a huge absence or storyline shift for their costars.


There is no question in my mind that performers like Beverlee McKinsey, Marcy Walker, Liz Hubbard, Justin Deas, Peter Bergman, and Eileen Davidson count 100%.  I do tend to lean towards Nancy Lee Grahn counting as well, but I can also see the reasons why not, as Alexis is not as successful as Julia, due to terrible writing.


People like Kelly Monaco, Michael Easton, Kim Zimmer, Lindsay Hartley, Maurice Bernard etc may have been on several shows, even in popular characters, but I don’t they count as iconic, because only one of their characters was important to the entire show, always the A story, or their show was not big enough.  I may have enjoyed Port Charles, but nobody was iconic on that show due to middle of the road writing the majority of the time.  Maybe Easton counts for OLTL and as Caleb.  Maybe.

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20 hours ago, Darn said:

The word is iconic, people. Not employed.

Not gonna lie, this is why I debated even some of the people I named. I'll pick on Jacqueline Courtney, for instance. No one's going to doubt her importance in the grand scheme of AW. But when it comes to OLTL, is is what Pat brought to the show or what Jacqui brought to the show? When I picked Ruth Warrick, I was thinking about what Edith Hughes meant to the depiction of adultery on soaps, as well as her work on AMC.

54 minutes ago, titan1978 said:

 I may have enjoyed Port Charles, but nobody was iconic on that show due to middle of the road writing the majority of the time.

Conversely, can people outside the big four* be considered iconic on Dark Shadows because of his or her multiple roles and what they meant or didn't mean to the show's mythology?

*Frid, Hall, Parker and Selby, who need no caveats.

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I don't know if we've already done a list of actors who were cast against type, but I would submit Susan Pratt to that list and this one.  On GH she was Nurse Annie Logan, famous for being a virgin, Audrey's niece, and a Heather Webber antagonist.  I would argue that any character cited in the General Hospi-tale rap deserves icon status ( Jeff wants Annie for his wife - But he might have to wait all of his life - Cause good girls don't, and Annie won't - And you all know what I mean ).  Later on GL she was Dr Claire Ramsey, famous for being the mother of Michelle, she deflowed of Rick, and she was part of the legondary Beirut quad with Fletcher, Ed, and Maureen.


A similar saint to sinner casting was done for Nancy Frangione who went from butter wouldn't melt in her mouth all-American Tara Martin on AMC to quasi-European vixen Cecile DePoulignac on AW.


And finally the male version of prince to beast goes to John Wesley Shipp, who went from GL's speedo-clad-cuckold with a song in his heart Dr. Kelly Nelson to creepy MILF stalker Douglas Cummings on ATWT (although it could be argued that his emergence as a villain was planned as surprise to the audience by casting him against type).  Shipp was later cast on OLTL, but I think we can agree that it was less than iconic.


EDIT NOTE: not only has there been a "cast against type" discussion, but I started it in 2018 and used Pratt and Shipp as my primary examples (hits hand on head)

Edited by j swift
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13 minutes ago, titan1978 said:

Same with Lisa Brown as Nola and Ivy.

I think there is an interesting new topic of discussion of actors who were cast because they were muses for certain writers or producers (i.e. Kevin McClatchy)

18 minutes ago, titan1978 said:

Was Barbara Montgomery an important character for Pratt on AMC?

Although her slap fight with Erica remains memorable, and this may be controverted, I would say that the repetition of the returned-past-lover/bitchy-romantic-antagonists on AMC (Barbara, Cynthia, Racquel, etc..) diminishes their icon status.

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Ray McDonnell

Phil Capice (Edge of Night)

Dr Joe Martin (All My Children)


Meg Bennett

Liza (SFT)

Julia (Y&R)


I'm going to include Rosemary Prinz

Penny (ATWT)

Amy (AMC) although only there 6 months her icon status was used to launch the show, she got star billing and her story of mothering Phil was important to the show's initial stories.

Edited by Paul Raven
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11 hours ago, Faulkner said:

I wouldn’t count the failures. Just the roles that made an outsize impact. Does the character  (as played by the actors) have an impactful place in soap history? If we were making a multi-part documentary on the history of soaps, would it be a huge oversight to not talk about them, even just in passing?


But when you think of true icons, the list is somewhat short. That’s why I guess it’s a major achievement have done it more than once. So many stars flop trying to recapture past successes. Like you mentioned Tangie was a flop, but, thankfully, MW immediately redeemed herself by resurrecting Liza to renewed acclaim. (She’d be iconic just from her first run as Liza alone, of course.)


I would argue Stone is definitely iconic. Lily not so much. We cared about Stone in addition to his sad and never-seen-before story, and we still talk about him. Lily is best known for getting blown up.


I was thinking that when NLG passes away, Alexis would almost certainly be mentioned first, simply because she played her so long and more recently, even though Julia had much greater pop-culture impact as one half of a supercouple (Mason/Julia) and was highly regarded as a pioneering feminist character in soaps. But Alexis would be a footnote in soap history.


I definitely misspoke when I said Lily was iconic lol.  I think I just meant more memorable than a lot of better characters we have seen.  And a lot more memorable than her counterpart in the story, Miranda.

For sure, NLG would most likely be remembered for Alexis just like Laura Wright will probably be remembered for Carly, even if that's not really their definitive role.

It would probably be interesting to do a thread of Iconic in role, a disaster in another.  That thread would fill up fast.

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On 10/9/2020 at 10:38 PM, Chris B said:

Julie Pinson is another. Of course she was beloved as Eve on Port Charles and then she to many people is the definitive Billie on Days, despite being a recast. 



I don't think I would agree with that.  I think Lisa Rinna is generally thought of as the definitive Billy Reed.  

On 10/12/2020 at 12:42 PM, carolineg said:


Eileen Davidson's YR Ashley/Days Kristen et all is truly the best example for this thread.


I would argue that Susan Flannery, who was Laura on DAYS and Stephanie on B&B, is the best example.  She was the biggest star on both shows for many years. 


I don't think any other actor can say that.  The closest other example would be Robin Strasser as Rachel on AW and Dorian on OLTL.  But I don't think either of her character's were quite at the same level as Flannery's.  



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@StevieM With Rinna it’s tricky because she was huge during her first stint with RKK as Bo, but both of her returns were huge flops. Especially the last one where it was as if she’d forgotten to act completely. If they were going to bring her back now I don’t think fans would be asking for Rinna. 

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