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4 soap stars/couples who played multiple characters

Last week, news broke that Kristen Alderson would soon be leaving General Hospital. Whether by her choice or the show’s depends on whom you believe.

It wasn’t too much of a surprise, though, as Alderson’s character never really caught on with fans. Or, rather, Alderson’s characters never caught on.

A daytime vet, Alderson began playing the role of Starr on One Life to Live in 1998, at the ripe old age of six. (This was after she’d already appeared on Broadway as Molly in the musical Annie. Feeling like an underachiever yet?) Alderson grew up in the part until the show’s cancellation in 2012, whereupon Starr was relocated to Port Charles and GH. However, a lawsuit from Prospect Park, the company that bought the rights to revive OLTL online, forced GH to send Starr out of town. They then brought on a totally new character, Kiki Jerome—who, for reasons never explained or acknowledged, happened to look exactly like Starr and was also, coincidentally, played by Alderson.

Soaps try to pulls these kinds of switcheroos all the time, taking popular actors, giving them new character names, and hoping that lightning will strike twice. Especially when it comes to super-couples.

Unfortunately, it never, ever works.

In 1975, there was no hotter couple on daytime television than Another World‘s Steve and Alice. After surviving AW‘s definitive love triangle, the newly married couple was finally blissfully happy. Alas, while on a business trip, Steve’s plane went down and he was presumed dead.

The onscreen cause of Steve’s death may have been bad tailwinds, but the offscreen reason was an ongoing feud between actor George Reinholt and AW‘s head writer, Harding Lemay. When Reinhold butted heads one too many times with Lemay and executive producer Paul Rauch, he was fired. A few months later, his love interest, actress Jacqueline Courtney, was recast.

Almost immediately, their time-slot competition, OLTL, swept in to hire both actors, creating the characters of star-crossed lovers Tony and Pat in the hope that the duo would become as big of a sensation in Llanview as they had been in Bay City.

They did not.

Reinholt left OLTL within two years, insisting that though he and Courtney had single-handedly saved the show from cancellation, ABC did not adequately honor the terms of their contract. Courtney, however, would stick around through 1983. (She was fired just before the aforementioned Rauch was brought on as the new producer.)

Since 1975, several other soaps have attempted to reunite couples who’d been huge on other shows in the hope of mimicking their earlier success. Favorites include:

Mary Beth Evans and Stephen Nichols

As Kayla and Patch on Days of Our Lives, they were the scruffy, reformed bad boy with the moniker-inspiring eyewear and his “Sweetness.” As GH‘s refined Prince Stefan and scheming Katherine, they came the closest anyone ever had to making a different pairing work, mainly due to their GH characters being such polar opposites from who they’d played on DOOL.

Nancy Lee Grahn and Lane Davies

On Santa Barbara, Grahn played outspoken lawyer Julia to Davies’ Shakespeare-quoting alcoholic who is convinced his father never loved him. On GH, Grahn was outspoken lawyer Alexis (see, totally different), while Davies was Cameron, whose son was convinced his father never loved him (though Shakespeare rarely came up). It proved the Second Act that Never Happened when, after less than two years on the air, GH cut its losses, and Cameron died buried under debris.

Beth Ehlers and Ricky Paull Goldin

The actors made serious sparks fly as Harley and Gus on Guiding Light. When Goldin jumped ship in 2008 for All My Children, he convinced Ehlers to come with him. At the time, Ehlers was arguably the premier younger leading lady of GL, but AMC was promising a fantastic story for the former super-couple. Her character there, Army vet Taylor, barely lasted out the year, as her romance with Goldin’s Jake quickly fizzled.

Debbi Morgan and Darnell Williams

A rare case of it worked, then it didn’t, then it did again. On AMC, Morgan and Williams were daytime’s hottest African-American super-couple to date. Williams’ character, Jesse, was killed off. But, when Morgan as Angie moved to Loving, she ran into Jacob, who looked exactly like Jesse (though at least here, it was constantly commented on). Angie and Jacob didn’t exactly set the world on fire. However, after Angie later returned to Pine Valley and AMC, it turned out Jesse hadn’t died after all. And they were, once again, awesome.

Of course, couple or on your own, it is very difficult for a single actor associated with a character on one show to make an equally big splash on another show, or on the same show as another character. Even daytime’s biggest names, Luke and Laura themselves (Genie Francis and Tony Geary), couldn’t stir up the same passions, separately, as Diana on DOOL or Ceara on AMC, or as Luke’s cousin Bill on GH. (Though stay tuned, there may be more to that one.)

Which brings us back to Alderson. She wasn’t the only one forced to make the move from OLTL, then be shuffled offscreen, only to return to GH as a totally different person. Costars Michael Easton and Roger Howarth were subjected to the same fate. Howarth had played Alderson’s father, Todd, on OLTL. On GH, he was only at first presumed to be her father. Then Easton turned out to be Kiki’s dad. (See? Again, it’s totally different.)

Got examples of actors who managed to move from character to character with equal success? How about other pairings that failed to catch on when moved from to show?

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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