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The Best Actors to Start Their Careers on Soaps

List Criteria: Famous Actors Who Got Their Start On Soap Operas

This is a list of the best actors to start their careers on soap operas, as voted on by experts and fans alike. Like the best film actors who got famous on TV first, one can take many routes to become Hollywood stars. Some actors start out on in theatre, while others start out in modeling. Many notable actors though start their careers on daytime soap operas. Famous actors that started on soaps gained credits and notoriety on daytime television so they could move on to land bigger roles. While many of them are now bigshots in Hollywood, to some, they will always just be old soap opera stars. 

Soap operas are a guilty pleasure among many television viewers, whether they are during the daytime or at night. The stories may be far-fetched -- with the dead returning as their own twin and heiresses who have been switched at birth -- and even sexy, with several characters bedding one another at the same time -- but they are nonetheless intriguing escapism. The plots keep viewers glued to their television sets and the acting is larger than life. No one has ever said that a soap opera is boring.

The list contains many notable actors. Actors like Tommy Lee Jones, Brad Pitt, and Sarah Michelle Gellar all appeared on soap operas before moving on in their professional acting career. Latter generations of film and television fans will be surprised to find out a top-notch actor like Kevin Kline and Susan Sarandon got their starts as part of the cast of the long-forgotten "A World Apart"

This answers the question "What actors got their starts on soaps?" and "What actors started out in soap operas?"

Vote for the greatest actors who got their start on soaps. If you don't see your favorite performers on this list, feel free to add them so that other voters could chime in. And when you're done, please check out this list: Best Film Actors Who Got Famous On TV First.

Check out more lists like the actors who became musicians, actors who hate what made them famous, and the most intense method actors in the business

The Best Actors to Start Their Careers on Soaps People In TV
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  1. 1
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    - 83

    The Twilight Zone, Another World, Madam Secretary

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  2. 2
    + 336
    - 73

    Lonesome Dove, The Executioner's Song

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  3. 3
    + 278
    - 76

    Blue Bloods, Magnum, P.I.

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  4. 4
    + 322
    - 97

    Roseanne, Growing Pains, Santa Barbara

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  5. 5
    + 269
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    The Simpsons, Merlin, Jesus of Nazareth

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  6. 6
    + 220
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    As the World Turns, Game Change, I'll Take Manhattan

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  7. 7
    + 240
    - 90

    The Following, Bored to Death, The Closer

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  8. 8
    + 242
    - 95

    Freedom: A History of Us, His Way, Glory Days (1990)

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  9. 9
    + 199
    - 73

    added by Benjamin Dunn
    Supernatural, Smallville, Dawson's Creek

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  10. 10
    + 211
    - 85

    Full House, ER, General Hospital

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  11. 11
    + 236
    - 103

    Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly, Castle

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  12. 12
    + 200
    - 89

    Hannibal, black-ish, Pee-wee's Playhouse

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  13. 13
    + 189
    - 84

    Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Ringer, The Crazy Ones

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  14. 14
    + 197
    - 90

    You Don't Know Jack, Frank Herbert's Dune, Search for Tomorrow

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  15. 15
    + 170
    - 76

    added by persongee
    Coronation Street, Vicious, The Prisoner Started of in Coronation street back in the day. (British ongoing tv drama)

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  16. 16
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    Hope for Haiti Now: A Global Benefit for Earthquake Relief, Wildside, One ...

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  17. 17
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    Another World, Smith, Our Family Honor

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  18. 18
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    - 79

    Love of Life, Faerie Tale Theatre, The Carol Burnett Show (1991)

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  19. 19
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    Seinfeld, A Different World, Game Over

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  20. 20
    + 141
    - 63

    added by JimJennings
    Criminal Minds, The Young and the Restless, Birds of Prey

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  21. 21
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    Fanboy & Chum Chum, Las Vegas, All My Children

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  22. 22
    + 152
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    Friends, Family Ties, Cougar Town

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  23. 23
    + 138
    - 75

    Search for Tomorrow, Filmland, Cinema 3

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  24. 24
    + 59
    - 15

    added by dee123
    Home and Away, Guinevere Jones

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  25. 25
    + 135
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    The Doctors

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  26. 26
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    - 92

    If These Walls Could Talk, Eric B, The Conversation with Amanda de Cadenet ...

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  27. 27
    + 137
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    Another World, Zombie Apocalypse, Monday Mornings

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  28. 28
    + 127
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    Heroes, Nashville, Malcolm in the Middle

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  29. 29
    + 107
    - 64

    House of Cards, Santa Barbara, A TV Dante

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  30. 30
    + 114
    - 72

    Modern Family, Married... with Children, Kick Buttowski: Suburban ...

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  31. 31
    + 124
    - 81

    The Closer, Amazing Stories, Another World

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  32. 32
    + 121
    - 79

    Great Performances

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  33. 33
    + 86
    - 51

    added by hiitsjustme
    Full House, 90210, The Edge of Night

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  34. 34
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    My Own Worst Enemy, The Forgotten, Breaking In

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  35. 35
    + 77
    - 49

    added by hiitsjustme
    Knots Landing, Love Is a Many Splendored Thing, Alice in Wonderland

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  36. 36
    + 45
    - 21

    added by dee123
    The Elephant Princess

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  37. 37
    + 107
    - 82

    Desperate Housewives, Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, ...

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  38. 38
    + 26
    - 7

    added by dee123
    Roar, Home and Away, Ship to Shore

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  39. 39
    + 37
    - 18

    added by dee123
    Sleepwalkers, Hey Dad..!, Brides of Christ

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  40. 40
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    The Cosby Show, Little Bill, Do No Harm

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  41. 41
    + 22
    - 4

    added by MarybethKramer
    Veronica Mars, Big Love

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  42. 42
    + 23
    - 6

    added by MarybethKramer
    American Horror Story, Six Feet Under, NYPD Blue

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  43. 43
    + 103
    - 88

    added by ginac02013
    Desperate Housewives, General Hospital, The Young and the Restless

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  44. 44
    + 95
    - 80

    Cheers, Frasier, Medium

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  45. 45
    + 23
    - 8

    added by dee123
    The Mentalist, The Guardian, Into the West

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  46. 46
    + 94
    - 80

    American Horror Story, ER, Ryan's Hope

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  47. 47
    + 87
    - 73

    House, Two and a Half Men, General Hospital

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  48. 48
    + 90
    - 77

    Damages, Secrets and Lies

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  49. 49
    + 87
    - 76

    Sex and the City, L.A. Law, The New Adventures of Old Christine

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  50. 50
    + 21
    - 10

    added by dee123
    Neighbours, The Late Show, The Young Doctors

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