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23 Famous Actors Who Started in Daytime Soaps

Updated June 14, 2019 433.5k views23 items
Editor's Note: Voting and Reranking have been closed.

This is a list of celebrities who started in daytime soap operas. Several Hollywood actors and actresses launched their careers on popular soaps. Television opened the doors for many of today's A-list stars and this list of famous people who starred in a soap prove that everyone has to start somewhere in show business. A countless number of former struggling actors-turned-high-profile celebs, like Brad Pitt, Lindsay Lohan, Demi Moore, Alec Baldwin, Morgan Freeman, and many more all owe their success to a soap opera. Some of these in-demand entertainers even appeared on more than one daytime series during their early years before landing roles in big budget movies.

What are some of the most popular and long-running daytime soap operas on television? This list includes celebs who at one time in their careers appeared on daytime serial fan favorites like Days of Our Lives, All My Children, One Life to Live, The Young and the Restless, Guiding Light, and As The World Turns. There are also classic soaps like Ryan's Hope, The Doctors, Search for Tomorrow, and Santa Barbara that gave various actors and actresses their first big break. Here's some trivia for you: the actors who went on to play Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker, Superman, Buffy, and Frasier Crane all jump started their careers on a soap.

The gallery below of well-known stars who have acted in highly-rated and award-winning soap operas are completely votable, so vote up anyone who you think deserves to be on top of the list. Let us know if we've missed anyone in the comments below and we'll make sure to add them. Also, check out Ranker's list of longest running American soaps and shocking soap opera moments.
  • Video: YouTube
    From 1986 to 1988, Julianne Moore played long lost twins Frannie and Sabrina Hughes on As the World Turns.
    • Age: 60
    • Birthplace: Fayetteville, North Carolina, USA
  • Video: YouTube
    Leonardo DiCaprio played a young Mason Capwell on NBC's Santa Barbara in 1984 when he was just 10 years old.
    • Age: 46
    • Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States of America
  • Video: YouTube
    As a fresh-faced 16-year-old, Christian Slater had a six-episode arc on ABC's Ryan's Hope in 1985. He played bad boy D. J. LaSalle alongside Yasmine Bleeth.
    • Age: 52
    • Birthplace: New York, New York, USA
  • Photo: Georges Biard / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0
    Well before his multiple Oscar nominations and his win for Best Supporting Actor in 1994, Tommy Lee Jones was making a name for himself as Dr. Mark Toland on One Life to Live. Jones played the conniving physician from 1971 until the character's onscreen death in 1975.
    • Age: 75
    • Birthplace: San Saba, Texas, United States of America