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Top 3 favorite soap-opera hoppers

On Wednesday, January 13, The Young and the Restless’ comatose Billy will be waking up a new man. Because he will be played by actor Jason Thompson—who, only last week, as Patrick on General Hospital, was (re)marrying Robin and heading out of town with their daughter for a presumed Happily Ever After (or as close as a soap can get to one).

One of the guests at Patrick and Robin’s wedding was Jason, played by Billy Miller. Billy Miller used to play Billy (Abbott) on Y&R. The actor who played Jason on GH prior to Miller was Steve Burton. Burton now plays Dylan on Y&R. Got that?

You should. Because it’s just another day in the world of soap hopping. Back when there were over a dozen shows on the air, actors had a lot more roles to inhabit (and some even played two different characters on the same show, though usually separated by a period of years). Now the circles they spin in are a lot smaller, and the time gaps between roles a lot shorter. GH, for instance, brought on actors Michael Eston, Kristen Alderson, and Roger Howarth as their One Life to Live characters. A lawsuit from Prospect Park, which had relaunched OLTL online, forced the show to turn all three into new people in a matter of months.

Meanwhile, due to the furiously shrunken soap-opera universe, actor Tristan Rogers (above) is pretty much bouncing back and forth as Colin on Y&R (where he plays the ex-husband of Genie Francis, who was his best friend’s wife on GH, and is now back in Port Charles as Laura) and Robert on GH. Eileen Davidson is doing the same as Ashley on Y&R and Kristen on DOOL. And Wally Kurth is splitting his time between Justin on DOOL and Ned on GH. Because of the shows’ different shooting schedules, they sometimes air on both networks simultaneously.

Now, word comes that a pair of soap hoppers, Vincent Irizarry of Guiding Light (where he played two different roles), Santa Barbara, Y&R, and All My Children, and Jordi Vilasuso of Guiding Light and All My Children, are coming to DOOL.

The reasons for casting the same actors over and over again are numerous. But the main two reasons are that they bring their fan base from the previous show(s) and, when faced with 40-script pages that need to be done in one take, they know how to do it. That last bit counts for a lot when it comes to producers—who most definitely don’t want to pay overtime.

Soap hoppers are daytime’s reliable MVPs. And in honor of them, we list our three favorites below. (Note: We are not ranking the actors who’ve assumed the most roles total, but rather the ones who’ve had serious impact in most of the parts they’ve played.)

Nicolas Coster

From two roles on As the World Turns (both of which required him to tangle with the formidable Lisa—in daytime and its primetime spinoff, Our Private World) … to the march to the beat of his own drummer, Lionel, on SB … to a kidnapper on AMC … and classics like The Secret Storm, Young Doctor Malone, Another World, Somerset, OLTL … and even a web soap, The Bay, in between … Coster has done it all. Which he helpfully pointed out in the comments of this EW post.

Marj Dusay

Marj Dusay has appeared on Capitol, SB, DOOL, GL, and AMC. But what’s ironic is that, except for Vanessa on AMC (where she played the mother of the above-mentioned Vincent Irizarry—and Transformers hunk Josh Duhamel), Dusay has never originated a daytime role. She was always a recast. But in each case (save DOOL, where she was just a temporary recast), she outlasted the first performer by many years. And here is the funnest of fun facts and/or a weird coincidence: Dusay appeared in several episodes of The Facts of Life as Blair’s mother (where, by the way, she also wasn’t the first actress to play the role; just the longest-running one). And who played Blair’s father? Why, none other than Nicolas Coster! Bet they knew a lot of the same people.

But while both Coster and Dusay racked up their impressive list of credits over a pair of long and illustrious careers, one daytime actor managed to appear on four different soaps before entering high school! His name is:

Damion Scheller

Between the ages of 10 and 14, Damion played Gregory on Texas, Josh on Search for Tomorrow (as the son of future Oscar-winner Olympia Dukakis), Paul on ATWT, and Jonathan on GL. Regarding GL, he admits:

Playing Jonathan had its challenges, especially some of the dialogue I had to memorize. There were times when I had absolutely no idea what my dialogue meant but had to find a way to say it and make it believable. I was really bummed out when my character’s storyline ended. I’ll never forget crying on my last day when I realized that I wasn’t coming back to the set again.

His remarkably successful acting career came to an end when, as Scheller explained in an exclusive interview:

At the time I was cast on ATWT, I was deep in the midst of my own real-life soap opera. It was around this time that I discovered that my mother had been embezzling my earnings as a child actor to help her play out her own extravagant lifestyle. With no available recourse against what she was doing, I simply stopped acting as a protest. I believe my stint on ATWT lasted one or two days. I felt extremely betrayed by my mother’s actions, and as a result, became quite surly and confused. I clearly remember coming on to the set and delivering one of the most uninspired performances I’ve ever delivered, just hoping that they would tell me that I didn’t need to come back.

Read about soap couples who jumped shows in pairs here.

And tell us your favorite soap-hopper in the comments below! (Nicolas Coster is welcome to chime in again too.)

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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