We love soap operas (they are one of life’s greatest guilty pleasures, after all), but when you are engrossed in Days of Our Lives or The Young and the Restless, you’re not normally thinking, “Now that’s an Academy Award-winning performance!” as you watch all the drama unfold. On the contrary, the fact that the acting is sometimes truly awful is what makes soap operas so addicting. Sometimes, they’re so bad, they’re good.
But the truth of the matter is, as cheesy as soaps are, they’re a serious breeding ground for Hollywood’s elite. A ton of sitcom actors, movie stars and pop singers all got their feet wet in appearances on some of our favorite daytime soaps. Everybody’s got to start somewhere, right?
You can hate on soaps all you want — but they’ve given birth to some pretty serious acting careers.
Originally published April 2015. Updated September 2017.
Kim Matula, who now stars on FOX’s newest comedy sitcom LA to Vegas, originally got her start on Bold and the Beautiful playing fan-favorite Hope from 2010-2016.
It’s no surprise that a beauty like Demi Moore started out on a soap opera. As Jackie Templeton, her big hair was made for the small screen. Moore appeared on General Hospital from 1982-83.
Before his famous stint on Full House, John Stamos played Blackie on General Hospital in 1983.
Before landing the CBS show Battle Creek, Josh Duhamel used to rock leather pants on All My Children as Leo du Pres from 1999-2002.
Don’t recognize this actress? You should! Elizabeth Banks played Leo du Pres’ perky waitress on All My Children back in 1999.
Love or hate the guy, Alec Baldwin played Billy Aldrich on the daytime soap, The Doctors from 1980-82. He then appeared as Joshua Rush on the nighttime soap Knots Landing from 1984-85.
You may know Michelle Trachtenberg best from Buffy or Gossip Girl, but she got an early start on her career playing Lily Benton Montgomery on All My Children from 1993-96.
Beloved fitness guru Richard Simmons appeared as himself, a high-energy aerobics teacher, on General Hospital in 1980. Hey, where are the Dolphin shorts and bedazzled tank top?
Brad Pitt played Chris on the daytime soap, Another World, in 1987 before appearing on the nighttime soap, Dallas, from 1987-88.
Oscar-winner Julianne Moore played Frannie Hughes on As the World Turns from 1986-87.
Another Oscar winner, Marisa Tomei, played Marcy Thompson on As the World Turns in 1984.
Tommy Lee Jones
Yes, that’s Tommy Lee Jones in the white tux. He played Dr. Mark Toland on One Life to Live in 1971. Jones went on to win an Oscar for his role in The Fugitive.
We all know him from Baywatch and embarrassing home videos, but the star also played Snapper Foster on The Young and the Restless way back in 1980 (yes, they had color TV sets back then).
You may be too young to remember Ricky Martin’s boy band, Menudo, but you may also be surprised to know that he once sported some serious rock ‘n’ roll hair as Miguel Morez on General Hospital from 1994-95.
Sexy Kevin Bacon has had quite the acting career, but before he even made Footloose, he appeared as Todd Adamson on Search for Tomorrow in 1979.
Adorable Meg Ryan played Betsy Stewart on As the World Turns from 1982-84. Ryan went on to become queen of the rom-coms in the ’80s and ’90s.
Sarah Michelle Gellar
Sarah Michelle Gellar will forever be known as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but slaying bloodsuckers isn’t where she got her start. From 1993-95, Gellar played Kendall Hart Lang, daughter of the infamous Erica Kane on All My Children.
Most people know Leonardo DiCaprio started acting as a child, but most people probably don’t know he played young Mason Capwell on Santa Barbara in 1990. DiCaprio went on to be a six-time Oscar nominee and one-time winner (finally).
Who knew the Princess Bride starred as Kelly Capwell Perkins on Santa Barbara from 1984-88. Robin Wright can now be seen on the hit Netflix show, House of Cards.
Leave a Comment