The Five Most Popular Soap Opera Stars of All Time | TV News

Soap operas have brought some of the most recognizable and popular figures on television and here are the five most popular of all-time. Read more here!


Who Are the Most Popular Soap Opera Stars of All-Time?


Soap operas are some of the most popular television programs on TV today and have been so for decades. In fact, soap operas were some of the earliest television programs, coming over from radio where they had captivated audiences with their dramatic storylines and heartfelt tragedies.


Some of the most popular soap operas of all-time date back to the earliest days of television. People were finding out how the world turned after 1956, and they had a Guiding Light drawing them to their television as far back as 1952. It is remarkable the longevity of some of these programs.


Some Have Managed to Stand Out


One of the unique aspects of soap operas is that the actors and actresses often go unnoticed. What we mean is that people identify with the show and not necessarily with the person playing the part in the show. People are captivated with the dramatic storylines and the struggle to overcome or to escape a tragedy, and they generally are caught up by the character, not the actor playing that character.


What this can often mean is that actors and actresses can play a part for 10 years or more, and garner very little critical acclaim. While there have been several actors who have transitioned to prime-time television, even into movies, most are relegated to being recognized primarily by those sitting at home during the day.


That is not the case in every instance, however. There are some soap opera stars who have risen to become superstars within the television and entertainment industries. Here are five such stars. To be fair, we excluded those who were in shows that aired during prime-time. They had a clear advantage that eliminated them from this survey.


Susan Lucci


There is no denying that Susan Lucci is arguably the biggest name in soap opera history. Portraying Erica Kane on All My Children, Lucci became one of the biggest stars on a show that had a successful run of over 40 years. The actress was dubbed “Daytime’s Leading Lady” by TV Guide, and it has been rumored that she was the highest-paid actress in daytime television.


What made her story even more captivating is that Lucci was long ignored for her achievements by the Daytime Emmy Awards. She had been nominated 17 times before finally winning the award in 1999. This slight of her performances helped to catapult her as a household name, even among those who do not watch soap operas.


David Canary


Canary has appeared in several daytime soap operas, but his stature grew from his 27 years on All My Children. The actor began his career on legendary soap opera shows, such as Peyton Place, and he appeared on One Life to Live, Another World, and Search for Tomorrow.


Canary have rugged looks, and a great set of hair. He had the perfect look that attracted women, and his personality and persona on television made him the ideal leading man in the series. Canary won five Daytime Emmy Awards as Outstanding Lead Actor.


Rick Braeden

Braeden began his role as Victor Newman on The Young and the Restless back in 1980 and has been there ever since. He has a spectacular look that has made him incredibly popular. A suave and debonair character who could easily star in a James Bond movie. In fact, he actually has appeared in secret agent type programs, guest starring in The Man From U.N.C.L.E. and has appeared in several other TV series and movies.


Braeden has been nominated for and has won several awards, including winning a Daytime Emmy, a People’s Choice award and several Soap Opera Digest awards. The German born actor first began his career in 1960 and is still going strong today at age 79.


Anthony Geary


Geary became one of the most recognizable personalities in daytime television when he starred as Luke Spencer on the show General Hospital. Following the love affair of Luke and Laura, which eventually led to the two getting married on the show, fans were drawn in and remained enamored with the storyline. In fact, the episode where the two got married still is the highest rated program for any single show in daytime soap opera history.


Geary was loved by fans and critics, as he was nominated for 16 Daytime Emmy awards, winning eight of them. We will admit that adding Geary to the list and not including Genie Francis, who played Laura, seems wrong. However, Geary is the choice.


Erika Slezak


Slezak makes the list because of how impressive she was in turning her career around. After failing to receive the role as Mary Kennicott on All My Children, Sleazak did not get encouraged. Instead, she became Viki on One Life to Live, and has earned six Daytime Emmys in the role, a record for any female performer.


Slezak played the role until the show ended in 2011, spanning four decades. She continues to be one of the most influential and well-recognized soap opera stars of all-time.


There is no doubt that some will debate the names on this list. There are definitely some omissions who should be considered, but putting a top five together means the very best of the best can only be included. Take a look at the following infographic to find out more:


Soap Operas Latest Charts



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