14 soap opera stars who played different characters on the same show

Posted Monday, October 16, 2017 12:32:46 PM
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14 soap opera stars who played different characters on the same show

These 14 soap opera stars baffled audiences by playing completely different, unrelated roles on the exact same show.

In the land of soap operas, anything goes. Returns from the dead, extreme amnesia, baby swaps, and other soap staples rarely warrant the batting of an eye. In fact, the super free and super imaginative environment has led to situations in which one actor portrays two (sometimes more) completely different characters on the same show! We're not talking about twins or doppelgängers. It may sound implausible and outrageously confusing, but talented performers and show writers have made it work time and time again.

Below is a list of 14 actors who have appeared as more than one character on the same show. Check it out then let us know which recast situations you loved and hated the most over the years. There are even more actors who've pulled off more than one character on the same show -- so we're going to do our part and be back soon with another list of characters.

Josh Taylor, Days of our Lives

Many Days of our Lives fans can't imagine Josh Taylor as anyone but Roman Brady, a role he's played since 1998. But serious fans know that he actually spent a decade on the NBC soap opera, playing Chris Kositchek. The bartender/lawyer was a big part of Salem from 1977 to 1987. In fact, Chris was so chummy with 80s supercouple Roman Brady (Wayne Northrop) and Marlena Evans (Deidre Hall), he served as a groomsman in their wedding.

Sarah Brown, General Hospital

Longtime General Hospital fans have seen the character of Carly change dramatically over the years. Sarah Brown originated the dynamic role in 1996 and won fans over during her five-year stint. Two more actresses stepped into the role before Laura Wright landed the part and made it her own in 2005. But that didn't stop Brown from returning to Port Charles in 2008, this time as mob boss princess Claudia Zacchara, whom she portrayed for almost two years.

Carrie Nye, Guiding Light

Tony Award-nominated stage actress Carrie Nye shook up Guiding Light's Springfield in the mid-80s with her portrayal of unscrupulous real estate agent Susan Piper. The villainous character was rather unpopular, so it was quite satisfying for fans when Susan's demise came in the form of sinking in quicksand. But that wasn't Nye's final dance on the canvas. The actress' friend, Ellen Weston, took over head writing duties for the soap in 2003 and created another character for Nye -- the short-lived part of Carolyn Carruthers, who shared a shameful past with some of the town's patriarchs.

Renee Jones, Days of our Lives

Salem has consistently delivered entertaining shenanigans, one of which included James Reynolds' Abe Carver dating two different women played by Renee Jones. The actress first played Abe's girlfriend Nikki Wade in the early 80s and later returned in 1993 as Stefano's long lost daughter, Lexie, whom Abe eventually married and shared a child with.

Judith Chapman, The Young and the Restless

Crazy enough, a lot of Y&R fans have no idea that Judith Chapman, who has been playing Gloria Abbott since 2005, actually debuted on the show as Jill Abbott, a character famously played by Jess Walton. Chapman stepped into the role for a brief period while Walton was out sick and must have impressed the powers that be, considering she was hired to replace Joan Van Ark in the contract role of Gloria not long after.

Michael Easton, Kristen Alderson, and Roger Howarth, General Hospital

This one is truly a head spinner: Michael Easton has appeared as not two but four different characters in the General Hospital world. He first appeared as Caleb Morley in the soap's spin-off series Port Charles in 2003, then later appeared as his popular One Life to Live character John McBain when GH's sister soap went off the air. Following a lawsuit with a production company that halted use of the OLTL character being used on GH, the show's head writer created a new character for Easton to play: Stephen Clay's brother, Silas. Ultimately, the show got rid of that character but brought Easton back once again in the role of Dr. Hamilton Finn.

After OLTL went off the air in 2012, Kristen Alderson took her Llanview alter ego Starr Manning to GH's Port Charles. But after a lawsuit with the production company that took OLTL online, ABC lost the rights to use the character. Rather than letting a talented actress go, the powers that be at GH wrote a new character for Alderson, thus Kiki Jerome was born.

Just like Kristen Alderson, Roger Howarth took his OLTL alter ego, Todd Manning, to GH after Llanview shenanigans stopped with the cancellation of the show. And just like Alderson, he was no longer allowed to play Todd after a lawsuit with Prospect Park (the company that took OLTL online) halted GH's use of the character. So, with a little magic from the writers, Howarth took on the role of Franco (previously played by Hollywood actor James Franco).

Judi Evans, Days of our Lives

Judi Evans has been a Salem staple in her on-again, off-again role as Adrienne Kiriakis for the last thirty years, but she hasn't always played the beloved character. After leaving the role of Adrienne in the early 90s, she returned to DAYS in 2003 as a quite funny gold digger named Bonnie Lockhart. The actress portrayed the con artist until 2007, after which she resumed the role of beloved Adrienne. However, much to fans' delight, DAYS' new head writer Ron Carlivati recently brought Bonnie back to the canvas, allowing Evans to play both her Salem alter egos at the same time!

Bethany Joy Lenz, Guiding Light

It's hard to imagine fans being okay with anyone replacing soap opera favorite Rebecca Budig (ex-Hayden Barnes, GH; ex-Greenlee Smythe, All My Children) these days, but Bethany Joy Lenz successfully took over Budig's role as GL's Michelle Bauer in 1998 -- and it was a move most fans actually supported.

Lenz first appeared on the now-defunct soap for a nine-episode stint as the teenage clone of Reva Shayne (Kim Zimmer), but she so impressed the brass that they ousted Budig and put Lenz in the role, instead. Though she only played the part for two years, she soared to superstar status, mainly due to the Michelle/Danny Santos (Paul Anthony Stewart) romance.

Wayne Northrop, Days of our Lives

Believe it or not, Wayne Northrup was the original Roman Brady (now played by Josh Taylor). In fact, he played the character for several years in the 80s and 90s -- so it was a bit of a shock for DAYS fans when he returned to Salem in 2005 as the evil Dr. Alex North.

Kin Shriner, The Young and the Restless

Fan favorite GH actor Kin Shriner burst on the scene at The Young and the Restless in 2004 as Harrison Bartlett, who swiftly informed Jeanne Cooper's Kay that his stepfather/her lover, Arthur (David Hedison), had killed Harrison's mother for money. The role was short lived, so execs at Y&R brought Shriner in as a temporary replacement for Ted Shackelford, who was sidelined in the role of Jeffrey Baldwin in 2011.

John Aniston, Days of our Lives

It's nearly impossible to imagine John Aniston playing anyone but DAYS' villainous mobster Victor Kiriakis, whom he's been portraying since 1985. But believe it or not, from 1969 to 1970, the Greek actor played Salem doctor Eric Richards.

Chloe Lanier, General Hospital

Chloe Lanier first appeared in Port Charles as Young Patricia Spencer for a stunning storyline celebrating GH's 52nd anniversary back in 2015. She nailed the part and made a serious impression on both viewers and the powers that be -- so much so that executive producer Frank Valentini put the casting of new character Nelle Hayes on hold while Lanier filmed the television series Kingdom so that he could bring her in for the role. She debuted as Nelle in 2016, and nobody has looked back.

Which of the above casting scenarios was your favorite? Which, if any, of the casting scenarios failed? We want to hear from you -- so drop your comments in the Comments section below, tweet about it on Twitter, share it on Facebook, or chat about it on our Message Boards.

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