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    TV Stars Who Got Their Starts on Daytime Soaps

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    The Last Outlaw
    The Last Outlaw
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    PostThe Last Outlaw Sat Jun 20, 2020 3:45 pm

    From Joal Ryan of TV GUIDE Magazine

    TV Stars Who Got Their Starts on Daytime Soaps BB15F2Hj

    TV Stars Who Got Their Starts on Daytime Soaps

    From All My Children to The Young and the Restless, daytime TV soap operas have been making stars for more than 70 years. While the medium has crowned Daytime Emmy winners and given rise to legends like Susan Lucci, it has also served as a career launching pad. Shemar Moore, Kelly Ripa, Tom Selleck and Eva Longoria are among the soap stars who've gained even more fame as primetime stars. Here's a look at 20 actors and actresses who you know today from Empire, Riverdale, This Is Us, and more -- and a glimpse at what they looked like back in the daytime drama day.

    Alec Baldwin

    TV Stars Who Got Their Starts on Daytime Soaps BB15F2Hp

    A box-office star of the 1990s, Alec Baldwin has been primarily a TV star since 30 Rock. After winning two Primetime Emmys for playing Liz Lemon's vexing boss, Jack Donaghy, on the 2006-2013 NBC comedy, he claimed a third career statuette for playing President Trump on Saturday Night Live. Since 2016, he's hosted ABC's Match Game (pictured). The foundation for all this career? A long-ago NBC daytime soap.

    Alec Baldwin, The Doctors, (NBC)

    TV Stars Who Got Their Starts on Daytime Soaps BB15F55P

    In the early 1980s, Alec Baldwin rocked a dangerous bandanna as bad boy Billy Aldrich on The Doctors. After the show's 1982 cancellation, Baldwin found breakout success via a 1984-1985 run as a bad-boy preacher on the primetime soap, Knots Landing.

    Kelly Ripa

    TV Stars Who Got Their Starts on Daytime Soaps BB15FbD8

    Seen in a 2019 episode of ABC's American Housewife, Kelly Ripa starred as Hope Fairfield in the 2003-2006 sitcom, Hope & Faith. She is best known for her run as a daytime-talk host on the show that currently pairs her with Ryan Seacrest, Live with Kelly and Ryan.

    The New Jersey native has said she owes her career to her years spent in the fictional Pennsylvania town of Pine Valley.

    Kelly Ripa, All My Children (ABC)

    TV Stars Who Got Their Starts on Daytime Soaps BB15EVIJ

    In 1990, at age 20, Kelly Ripa debuted on the ABC soap, All My Children, as Hayley Vaughan, the wild child turned eventual heroine. She remained with the serial for 12 years, even after her talk-show career took off. All My Children was literally family to her: She met her future husband, Mark Consuelos, on the show.

    Mark Consuelos

    TV Stars Who Got Their Starts on Daytime Soaps BB15F8ZU

    Mark Conseulos stars as mogul Hiram Lodge on The CW's Riverdale (pictured). His other primetime and streaming credits include Pitch, Alpha House, American Horror Story: Asylum, and a recurring stint on Hope & Faith, starring his wife, Kelly Ripa.

    Before they were a real-life couple, Conseulos and Ripa were a daytime soap couple.

    Mark Consuelos, All My Children (ABC)

    TV Stars Who Got Their Starts on Daytime Soaps BB15FbDl

    Mark Consuelos joined All My Children in 1995 as Mateo Santos, a member of Pine Valley's Santos family. (One of his TV siblings was played by Eva La Rue.) His character met Kelly Ripa's Hayley Vaughan on a beach after her character had ditched her own wedding. Consuelos and Ripa were married in real life in 1996; their AMC characters followed suit in 2000.

    Consuelos rated one Daytime Emmy nomination for his AMC work; Ripa pulled in two.

    Shemar Moore

    TV Stars Who Got Their Starts on Daytime Soaps BB15F8ZY

    Shemar Moore starred on Criminal Minds from 2005-2017 before moving onto S.W.A.T. (pictured). He has headlined the series as Daniel "Hondo" Harrelson since 2017. He previously starred on the short-lived CW comic-book drama, Birds of Prey.

    Moore got his start in daytime, starring opposite a daytime TV legend.

    Shemar Moore, The Young and the Restless (CBS)

    TV Stars Who Got Their Starts on Daytime Soaps BB15F6Ie

    In 1994, Shemar Moore joined the cast of The Young and the Restless as Malcolm Winters, the half-brother of Genoa City hero Neil Winters, played by Kristoff St. John. Moore eventually won a Daytime Emmy for his work.

    In 2002, Moore departed the serial for primetime, but he would return to his original TV home time and again. When St. John died in 2019, Moore appeared in a Y&R tribute to his mentor. He also reprised his role of Malcolm as the character returned to Genoa City to attend Neil's funeral.

    Tom Selleck

    TV Stars Who Got Their Starts on Daytime Soaps BB15EYlV

    From Magnum, P.I. to Blue Bloods (pictured), with stops at Friends and the Jesse Stone movies along the way, Tom Selleck has been a primetime star for 40 years and counting. But before he jumped into Thomas Magnum's Ferrari, or grew a mustache, he was a star of a then-new CBS daytime soap.

    Tom Selleck, The Young and the Restless (CBS)

    TV Stars Who Got Their Starts on Daytime Soaps BB15EYlZ

    From 1974-1975, a clean-shaven Tom Selleck co-starred alongside Deidre Hall (pictured, left) and Jaime Lyn Bauer (right) as unfaithful husband Jed Andrews on CBS' The Young and the Restless. Like Selleck, Hall left Y&R to establish her name elsewhere -- in her case, as the signature star of NBC's Days of Our Lives.

    Tichina Arnold

    TV Stars Who Got Their Starts on Daytime Soaps BB15EVJ5

    A longtime TV favorite, Tichina Arnold has starred on a string of primetime comedies, including Martin, One on One, and Everybody Hates Chris, for which she earned two BET Award nominations. She currently stars as Tina Butler on CBS' The Neighborhood.

    Arnold got her big TV break as a teen -- playing a teen -- on an ABC soap.

    Tichina Arnold, Ryan's Hope (ABC)

    TV Stars Who Got Their Starts on Daytime Soaps BB15EYm6

    After a handful of TV appearances, and a featured role in the 1986 movie musical Little Shop of Horrors, Tichina Arnold earned breakout acclaim -- and a Daytime Emmy nomination -- as Zena Brown on Ryan's Hope. Before moving onto Martin, she had a 1991 stint on another ABC soap, All My Children.

    Justin Hartley

    TV Stars Who Got Their Starts on Daytime Soaps BB15EYmc

    Justin Hartley has gone to dark places as seemingly shallow ex-sitcom star Kevin Pearson on This Is Us.

    Hartley's first big break was Kevin-esque, but instead of a dopey sitcom, a la The Manny, Hartley starred on a whacked-out NBC daytime soap best known for its saga about a witch and a living doll named Timmy.

    Justin Hartley, Passions (NBC)

    TV Stars Who Got Their Starts on Daytime Soaps BB15FbE1

    Seen here on Passions, Justin Hartley debuted as the caddish and occasionally shirtless Fox Crane on the NBC soap in December 2002.

    Though Hartley departed Passions in 2006 for the CW's Smallville, where he played Oliver Queen for five seasons, he returned to daytime in 2014 for a two-year, Daytime Emmy-nominated run on The Young and the Restless. There, he played Victor Newman's son Adam.

    Christine Baranski

    TV Stars Who Got Their Starts on Daytime Soaps BB15EVJl

    Even with big-screen roles in The Birdcage and the Mamma Mia! movies, as well as a Primetime Emmy-winning run on the 1990s sitcom, Cybill, Christine Baranski is perhaps most identifiable as Diane Lockhart, the litigator she's portrayed since 2009 on The Good Wife and, of late, on CBS All Access' The Good Fight.

    Baranski's earliest screen roles came via daytime soaps.

    Christine Baranski, All My Children (ABC)

    TV Stars Who Got Their Starts on Daytime Soaps BB15F57a

    In 1984, after a stint on NBC's Another World, Christine Baranski moved to ABC's All My Children, where she played Jewel Maniscalo, a partner in crime of Pine Valley villain, Billy Clyde Tuggle, played by Baranski's real-life husband Matthew Cowles. Cowles died in 2014.

    Laurence Fishburne

    TV Stars Who Got Their Starts on Daytime Soaps BB15EYmA

    After an acclaimed run in films, including The Matrix franchise, Laurence Fishburne transitioned to primetime TV starting with CSI. Since 2014, he's played the grandfather Pops on the ABC comedy black-ish (pictured).

    An actor since he was a child, one of Fishburne's earliest roles came via an ABC soap opera.

    Laurence Fishburne, One Life to Live (ABC)

    TV Stars Who Got Their Starts on Daytime Soaps BB15F2Ii

    On One Life to Live, Laurence Fishburne played Josh West, a wayward youth who is eventually adopted by Llanview police investigator Ed Hall. Fishburne was with the daytime drama from roughly 1973-1976, when, at age 14, he left for the Philippines to star as a Vietnam War-era soldier in Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now (pictured).

    [size=24]Vivica A. Fox

    TV Stars Who Got Their Starts on Daytime Soaps BB15F2Il

    The veteran actress appeared as Candace Holloway Mason, the oldest sister of Taraji P. Henson's Cookie Lyon, on Seasons 2-6 of Fox's blockbuster Empire.

    Decades earlier, Vivica A. Fox made her mark helping lead the cast of a pioneering daytime soap.

    Vivica A. Fox, Days of Our Lives (NBC)

    TV Stars Who Got Their Starts on Daytime Soaps BB15FbEl

    In 1989, Vivica A. Fox jumped from a small role on NBC's Days of Our Lives, to a featured role as Maya Reubens on Generations, a soap on the same network that broke ground as the first daytime-TV drama to focus on an African-American family. Fox's TV father was played by Shaft icon Richard Roundtree; her first love scene was with a young Kristoff St. John. Fox remained with Generations until it was canceled in 1991.

    Lisa Rinna

    TV Stars Who Got Their Starts on Daytime Soaps BB15F57r

    Lisa Rinna is seen guesting on a May 2020 episode of the Bravo talk show, Watch What Happens Live. Since 2014, the Melrose Place alum turned reality star has been a main cast member of Bravo's The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. Rinna's fame dates back to daytime TV.

    Lisa Rinna, Days of Our Lives (NBC)

    TV Stars Who Got Their Starts on Daytime Soaps BB15EYmX

    Lisa Rinna first rumpled bedding as the free-spirited Billie Reed on NBC's Days of Our Lives in 1992. Over the years, she has left and returned a number of times. She was most recently seen in Salem in 2018.

    Nathan Fillion

    TV Stars Who Got Their Starts on Daytime Soaps BB15F57F

    Since 2018, Nathan Fillion has starred as John Nolan on ABC's The Rookie (pictured). He previously starred on Castle, Firefly, and Two Guys and a Girl and had recurring roles on Modern Family and Santa Clarita Diet. The primetime favorite scored his breakthrough in the world of daytime dramas.

    Nathan Fillion, One Life to Live, (ABC)

    TV Stars Who Got Their Starts on Daytime Soaps BB15F6Jh

    A 23-year-old Nathan Fillion made his One Life to Live debut in 1994 (pictured); he inherited the role of Joey Buchanan, the younger son of Llanview heroine Victoria Lord (Erika Slezak). He picked up a Daytime Emmy nomination in 1996, and remained on the show until 1997. He returned for a couple of special episodes in 2007.

    Debbi Morgan

    TV Stars Who Got Their Starts on Daytime Soaps BB15EYni

    Throughout her career, Debbi Morgan has shifted between daytime, primetime and film (Eve's Bayou). Of late, she's had a recurring role in the Starz series, Power, and is due to appear in its upcoming spin-off, Power Book II: Ghost. And while she's also starred on several daytime soaps, it was her first daytime soap that helped her make history.

    Debbi Morgan, All My Children (ABC)

    TV Stars Who Got Their Starts on Daytime Soaps BB15EYns

    When Debbi Morgan made her 1982 debut on All My Children (pictured), she was already primetime veteran, with credits in What's Happening!! and Roots: The Next Generation. At the same time, she was a daytime trailblazer. With AMC co-star Darnell Williams, she was half of daytime TV's first African American super-couple. In 1989, she became the first African American actress to win a Daytime Emmy.

    Kate Mulgrew

    TV Stars Who Got Their Starts on Daytime Soaps BB15FbEN

    Kate Mulgrew headlined her first primetime series (Mrs. Columbo) before she was 25, and made history as the Star Trek franchise's first female captain, on Star Trek: Voyager. But she didn't earn her first Primetime Emmy nomination until her 2013-2019 run as Red on Netflix's Orange Is the New Black (pictured).

    Mulgrew's long TV career was launched by an ABC soap.

    Kate Mulgrew, Ryan's Hope (ABC)

    TV Stars Who Got Their Starts on Daytime Soaps BB15EYnF

    Kate Mulgrew played heroine Mary Ryan on Ryan's Hope from the show's inception in 1975-1978, though she returned on occasion throughout the show's run, which ended in 1989.

    Jensen Ackles

    TV Stars Who Got Their Starts on Daytime Soaps BB15FbF1

    For 15 seasons, Jensen Ackles has played demon hunter Dean Winchester on the CW's Supernatural (pictured). Other primetime credits include Smallville, Dawson's Creek, and Dark Angel.

    Though Ackles has been a primetime fixture dating back to the 1990s (and a short-lived sitcom called Mr. Rhodes), it was an NBC soap that gave Ackles his breakout moment.

    Jensen Ackles, Days of Our Lives (NBC)

    TV Stars Who Got Their Starts on Daytime Soaps BB15F58r

    Jensen Ackles earned three Daytime Emmy nominations during his 1997-2000 run as Salem's in-demand Eric Brady on NBC's Days of Our Lives.

    Eva Longoria

    TV Stars Who Got Their Starts on Daytime Soaps BB15F2Jk

    Seen here in Grand Hotel, the 2019 ABC drama that she worked on as an executive producer, Eva Longoria is best known for her 2004-2012 romp as Gabrielle Solis on Desperate Housewives. Longoria honed her primetime soap skills on a CBS daytime soap.

    Eva Longoria, The Young and the Restless (CBS)

    TV Stars Who Got Their Starts on Daytime Soaps BB15ELpw

    From 2001-2003, Eva Longoria played the, well, unhinged Isabella Braña on CBS' The Young and the Restless; she'd earlier had a one-episode stint on ABC's General Hospital.

    John Stamos

    TV Stars Who Got Their Starts on Daytime Soaps BB15EYo4

    John Stamos is seen here in a Season 5 episode of Fuller House, the Netflix spin-off of Full House that he helped bring to life as a producer. Stamos began playing the franchise's Uncle Jesse in 1987, three years after he first found fame in the fictional town of Port Charles.

    John Stamos, General Hospital, (ABC)

    TV Stars Who Got Their Starts on Daytime Soaps BB15FbFu

    John Stamos played rebel youth Blackie Parrish from 1982-1984; he earned a Daytime Emmy nomination in 1983.

    Marg Helgenberger

    TV Stars Who Got Their Starts on Daytime Soaps BB15F6K3

    In the first season of CBS' All Rise, Marg Helgenberger was seen in the recurring role of Judge Lisa Benner (pictured). She is best known for her 12-season, Primetime Emmy-nominated run on CSI. The role of Catherine Willows is her longest after one she originated on an ABC soap.

    Marg Helgenberger, Ryan's Hope (ABC)

    TV Stars Who Got Their Starts on Daytime Soaps BB15EYon

    In 1982, Marg Helgenberger graduated from college -- and took over the role of Siobhan Ryan on Ryan's Hope. She remained with the soap until 1986. Within a couple of years of her departure, she was a star of the Vietnam War drama China Beach; she won a Primetime Emmy for her work on that show.

    Jonathan Jackson

    TV Stars Who Got Their Starts on Daytime Soaps BB15F91r

    Jonathan Jackson starred as singer-songwriter Avery Barkley on Nashville from 2012-2018. His big break came years earlier when he was cast on a daytime soap as the son of two iconic characters.

    Jonathan Jackson, General Hospital

    TV Stars Who Got Their Starts on Daytime Soaps BB15EVKo

    In 1993, a young Jonathan Jackson debuted on ABC's General Hospital as Lucky Spencer, son of Port Charles super-couple Luke (Anthony Geary) and Laura (Genie Francis). He has played Lucky mainly in two stints, from 1993-1999, and from 2009-2011. Along the way, he won five Daytime Emmys in the role.

    Eva La Rue

    TV Stars Who Got Their Starts on Daytime Soaps BB15F6Kh

    From 2005-2012, Eva La Rue starred as Natalia Boa Vista on CSI: Miami (pictured). More recently, she appeared on Netflix's Fuller House and played the role of Celeste Rosales on the CBS soap, The Young and the Restless.

    Nominated for a 2020 Daytime Emmy for her Y&R work, the TV veteran first made her mark on another daytime soap.

    Eva La Rue, All My Children (ABC)

    TV Stars Who Got Their Starts on Daytime Soaps BB15F59H

    After a brief run on the NBC soap, Santa Barbara, in 1988, and a gig co-hosting the video-clip show, Candid Camera, Eva La Rue found fame (and a Daytime Emmy nomination) on ABC's All My Children as the saintly Dr. Maria Santos. La Rue played Maria off and on from 1993-2011, when AMC ended its ABC run. Along the way, La Rue's character fell in love with and married writer Edmund Grey (pictured), portrayed by John Callahan. La Rue and Callahan wed in real life in 1996. The pair divorced in 2005. In 2020, La Rue and other former AMC castmates, including Kelly Ripa, publicly mourned Callahan after he died of a stroke.

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