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actors The Best Actors to Start Their Careers on Soaps

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List Rules 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

1
+ - 547 148
Morgan Freeman is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Actors to Start Their Careers on Soaps
Morgan Freeman The Twilight Zone, Another World Madam Secretary

50 Famous Actors Who Started in Daytime Soaps The Best English Poets of All Time

2
+ - 441 135
Tommy Lee Jones is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Actors to Start Their Careers on Soaps
Tommy Lee Jones Lonesome Dove, The Executioner's Song

3
+ - 550 190
Jensen Ackles is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Actors to Start Their Careers on Soaps
Jensen Ackles Supernatural, Smallville Dawson's Creek

4
+ - 451 155
Leonardo DiCaprio is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Actors to Start Their Careers on Soaps
Leonardo DiCaprio Roseanne, Growing Pains Santa Barbara

5
+ - 360 121
James Earl Jones is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Actors to Start Their Careers on Soaps
James Earl Jones The Simpsons, Merlin Jesus of Nazareth

6
+ - 358 134
Tom Selleck is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Actors to Start Their Careers on Soaps
Tom Selleck Blue Bloods, Magnum P.I.

7
+ - 327 135
Brad Pitt is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Actors to Start Their Careers on Soaps
Brad Pitt Freedom: A History of Us, His Way Glory Days (1990)

8
+ - 318 130
Kevin Bacon is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Actors to Start Their Careers on Soaps
Kevin Bacon The Following, Bored to Death The Closer

9
+ - 301 121
Julianne Moore is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Actors to Start Their Careers on Soaps
Julianne Moore As the World Turns, Game Change I'll Take Manhattan

10
+ - 291 132
John Stamos is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Actors to Start Their Careers on Soaps
John Stamos Full House, ER General Hospital

11
+ - 264 126
Susan Sarandon is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Actors to Start Their Careers on Soaps
Susan Sarandon You Don't Know Jack, Frank Herbert's Dune Search for Tomorrow

12
+ - 261 124
Sarah Michelle Gellar is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Actors to Start Their Careers on Soaps
Sarah Michelle Gellar Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Ringer The Crazy Ones

13
+ - 230 104
Ian McKellen is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Actors to Start Their Careers on Soaps
Ian McKellen Coronation Street, Vicious The Prisoner - Started of in Coronation street back in the day. (British ongoing tv drama)

14
+ - 255 125
Laurence Fishburne is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Actors to Start Their Careers on Soaps
Laurence Fishburne Hannibal, black-ish Pee-wee's Playhouse

15
+ - 285 148
Nathan Fillion is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Actors to Start Their Careers on Soaps
Nathan Fillion Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly Castle

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+ - 251 125
Meg Ryan is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Actors to Start Their Careers on Soaps
Meg Ryan Hope for Haiti Now: A Global Benefit for Earthquake Relief, Wildside One of the Boys

17
+ - 226 108
Ray Liotta is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Actors to Start Their Careers on Soaps
Ray Liotta Another World, Smith Our Family Honor

18
+ - 214 104
Christopher Reeve is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Actors to Start Their Careers on Soaps
Christopher Reeve Love of Life, Faerie Tale Theatre The Carol Burnett Show (1991)

19
+ - 203 98
Shemar Moore is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Actors to Start Their Careers on Soaps
Shemar Moore Criminal Minds, The Young and the Restless Birds of Prey

20
+ - 227 118
Marisa Tomei is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Actors to Start Their Careers on Soaps
Marisa Tomei Seinfeld, A Different World Game Over

21
+ - 126 44
Chris Hemsworth is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Actors to Start Their Careers on Soaps
Chris Hemsworth Home and Away, Guinevere Jones

22
+ - 193 98
Josh Duhamel is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Actors to Start Their Careers on Soaps
Josh Duhamel Fanboy & Chum Chum, Las Vegas All My Children

23
+ - 204 116
Courteney Cox is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Actors to Start Their Careers on Soaps
Courteney Cox Friends, Family Ties Cougar Town

24
+ - 180 108
Hayden Panettiere is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Actors to Start Their Careers on Soaps
Hayden Panettiere Heroes, Nashville Malcolm in the Middle

25
+ - 177 108
Viggo Mortensen is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Actors to Start Their Careers on Soaps
Viggo Mortensen Search for Tomorrow, Filmland Cinema 3

26
+ - 76 22
Kathy Bates is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Actors to Start Their Careers on Soaps
Kathy Bates American Horror Story, Six Feet Under NYPD Blue

27
+ - 87 32
Heath Ledger is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Actors to Start Their Careers on Soaps
Heath Ledger Roar, Home and Away Ship to Shore

28
+ - 170 108
Kathleen Turner is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Actors to Start Their Careers on Soaps
Kathleen Turner The Doctors

29
+ - 189 126
Demi Moore is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Actors to Start Their Careers on Soaps
Demi Moore If These Walls Could Talk, Eric B The Conversation with Amanda de Cadenet

The Most Horrible TV Character Personalities Ever The Biggest Turn Ons in a Person

30
+ - 138 81
Lori Loughlin is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Actors to Start Their Careers on Soaps
Lori Loughlin Full House, 90210 The Edge of Night

31
+ - 152 100
Ed O'Neill is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Actors to Start Their Careers on Soaps
Ed O'Neill Modern Family, Married... with Children Kick Buttowski: Suburban Daredevil

32
+ - 152 101
Christian Slater is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Actors to Start Their Careers on Soaps
Christian Slater My Own Worst Enemy, The Forgotten Breaking In

33
+ - 167 117
Ving Rhames is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Actors to Start Their Careers on Soaps
Ving Rhames Another World, Zombie Apocalypse Monday Mornings

34
+ - 141 95
Robin Wright is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Actors to Start Their Careers on Soaps
Robin Wright House of Cards, Santa Barbara A TV Dante

35
+ - 156 115
Kyra Sedgwick is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Actors to Start Their Careers on Soaps
Kyra Sedgwick The Closer, Amazing Stories Another World

36
+ - 89 52
Liam Hemsworth is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Actors to Start Their Careers on Soaps
Liam Hemsworth The Elephant Princess

37
+ - 145 112
Kevin Kline is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Actors to Start Their Careers on Soaps
Kevin Kline Great Performances

38
+ - 70 37
Russell Crowe is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Actors to Start Their Careers on Soaps
Russell Crowe Neighbours, The Late Show The Young Doctors

39
+ - 146 118
Eva Longoria is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Actors to Start Their Careers on Soaps
Eva Longoria Desperate Housewives, General Hospital The Young and the Restless

40
+ - 143 116
Teri Hatcher is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Actors to Start Their Careers on Soaps
Teri Hatcher Desperate Housewives, Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman Capitol

41
+ - 133 108
Kelsey Grammer is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Actors to Start Their Careers on Soaps
Kelsey Grammer Cheers, Frasier Medium

42
+ - 129 105
Angela Bassett is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Actors to Start Their Careers on Soaps
Angela Bassett American Horror Story, ER Ryan's Hope

43
+ - 122 107
Ryan Phillippe is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Actors to Start Their Careers on Soaps
Ryan Phillippe Damages, Secrets and Lies

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44
+ - 55 33
Amanda Seyfried is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Actors to Start Their Careers on Soaps
Amanda Seyfried Veronica Mars, Big Love

45
+ - 98 87
Donna Mills is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Actors to Start Their Careers on Soaps
Donna Mills Knots Landing, Love Is a Many Splendored Thing Alice in Wonderland

46
+ - 125 118
Phylicia Rashād is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Actors to Start Their Careers on Soaps
Phylicia Rashād The Cosby Show, Little Bill Do No Harm

47
+ - 61 49
Naomi Watts is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Actors to Start Their Careers on Soaps
Naomi Watts Sleepwalkers, Hey Dad..! Brides of Christ

48
+ - 51 38
Simon Baker is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Actors to Start Their Careers on Soaps
Simon Baker The Mentalist, The Guardian Into the West

49
+ - 108 106
Amber Tamblyn is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Actors to Start Their Careers on Soaps
Amber Tamblyn House, Two and a Half Men General Hospital

50
+ - 111 115
Jane Krakowski is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Actors to Start Their Careers on Soaps
Jane Krakowski 30 Rock, Ally McBeal Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt