Soap operas are notorious for recasting characters, it is the nature of the business. Whether it is the actor/actress choice to leave a show or the person is not the right git for the role, recasts happen all the time.
Unfortunately, in many instances, fans never fully embrace a new actor in a role. However, there are also several fabulous recasts that fans love as much or even more than the actor or actress who played the role previously.
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Over the years many actors and actresses have been recast in a role and become a fan favorite for that part. Some have even managed to make fans forget there was ever another actor or actress playing the role. We are here to celebrate the best soap opera recasts.
Guiding Light: Marj Dusay as Alexandra Spaulding
There were two distinctive sides to Alexandra Spaulding. The first was embodied by Beverly McKinsey as she created a grand woman with a hard edge. It was when Marj Dusay took over the role that the full emotional range of the character became available. With Dusay at the wheel, fans came to love Alexandra and urge her romantic notions. Dusay portrayed the role on and off over the years with a final appearance in the series finale in which Alexandra reunited with her long-time love, Fletcher Reed.
General Hospital: Laura Wright as Carly Corinthos
Laura Wright had big shoes to fill when she took over the role of Carly Corinthos. Not one but two actresses before her had found massive success in the role. Wright quickly came in and made Carly her own by showcasing the character as a badass with a big heart, whose desire to try and help did not always go according to plan. It is hard to imagine anyone else in the role, even those fabulous other two actresses, Sarah Joy Brown and Tamara Braun.
Days of Our Lives: Martha Madison as Belle Black
Martha Madison is Belle Black; there is no doubt about that. However, since she has played the role for almost 15 years, fans may have forgotten she was a recast for Kirsten Storms. Madison took the character from teen angst to the drama of a young woman and finally an adult who almost pulled the plug on her mother. Even though she has played the role off and on, Madison brought more layers and depth to the character and fans will forever be grateful.
As The World Turns: Cady McClain as Rosanna Cabot
Cady McClain was best known as Dixie Martin on All My Children when she shockingly took on the recast role of Rosanna Cabot. Fans of the actress were outraged, but As The World Turns moved forward, and McClain is now the only actress in the role people remember. She made Roseanna human, vulnerable, tough, classy, and forgiving. Fans not only embraced her as a recast but also welcomed her playing a new role which is not always the case. What a testament to the multifaceted talents of the lovely McClain.
The Young & The Restless: Jason Thompson as Billy Abbott
Jason Thompson is the sixth actor to play Billy Abbott, but it looks like the show finally found the perfect fit. Rumors floated around last year Billy Miller might reprise the role, but fans have made it clear Thompson is the only choice. The current storyline of Billy's downfall is showcasing the unbelievable talents of Thompson. It is heartbreaking, show-stopping, and is proving that Y&R has struck gold with the actor. Even Thompson's General Hospital fans have accepted him as Billy Abbott, and that speaks volumes.
General Hospital: Roger Howarth as Franco
Roger Howarth took over the role of Franco from James Franco, not an easy task. The talented One Life To Live alum took his time developing the character, and it has paid off. Howarth turned the psychopathic killer into a likable person. Yes, it is also thanks to great writing, but he made the transformation believable with his facial expressions, body movements, humor, and sarcasm. Franco is now a guy the fans root for as opposed to despising, and many prefer his Franco to that other guy's Franco.
Days of Our Lives: Billy Flynn as Chad DiMera
Fans were heartbroken when Casey Jon Deidrick vacated the role of Chad DiMera. However, their disappointment was short-lived because Billy Flynn stepped into the role wowing them with his good looks and amazing talent. The portrayal of the character changed dramatically with Flynn, and although it took fans time to adjust, they eventually loved the new Chad and Flynn. Unfortunately, the actor recently announced he would be leaving the role, and his final episodes will air in January 2019.
One Life To Live: Bree Williamson as Jessica Buchanan
Bree Williamson was an acting newbie when she took over the role of Jessica Buchanan. She had her work cut out for her taking over for Erin Torpey, who played the role for 13 years. Williamson's resemblance to Tropey did help ease the transition. Her acting ability during the Dissociative Identity Disorder, where alter ego Tess emerged, earned her mad respect from fans as well as three Daytime Emmy Nominations. Ironically Williamson was once turned down for a job on OLTL because of her resemblance to Torpey.
The Young & The Restless: Jess Walton as Jill Abbott
If you have not been a viewer of The Young & The Restless for at least 30 years, you may not realize Jess Walton was a recast for the role of Jill Abbott. Brenda Dickson may have originated the role, but Walton brought the vindictive vixen to life. She was one of the first villainesses in daytime that you loved to hate. Although time slightly softened Jill, Walton still keeps that tough as nails spirit that genuinely speaks to Jill's character never losing the core of what makes this iconic woman tick.
Another World: Jensen Buchanan as Vicky Hudson/Marley Love
When fan favorite Anne Heche left the role of playing twins Vicky Hudson and Marley Love, it was unimaginable another actress would do the characters justice. However, Jensen Buchanan not only nailed it as the twins, but she also put her stamp on each one. She made Marley not as mousey while making Vicky more likable even when she was scheming. She even portrayed Vicky on As The World Turns for a short stint when AW got canceled but the character got killed when Buchannan did not want to sign a contract.
The Young & The Restless: Gina Tognoni as Phyllis Summers
Gina Togoni was no stranger to soap operas when she took over the role of Phyllis Summers. She was faced with a challenge, taking on the role previously played by the beloved Michelle Stafford. Being a pure talent that she is, Togoni was up for the challenge and likely the only other actress fans can see as Phyllis. Every aspect Togoni has brought to the character works from her body movements, facial expressions, even her voice says so much more than the words written on the page.
One Life to Live: Kassie DePaiva as Blair Cramer
Now, this might come as a shock to many soap opera fans, but Kassie DePavia was a recast. In fact, the original portrayer was half Asian, and the character got revamped when she was hired. DePavia molded the character, who soon became one half of the super couple Todd & Blair thanks to her chemistry with Roger Howarth. It is worth nothing DePavia could also be on this list for her portrayal of Eve Donovan on Days of Our Lives. She is full of talent and owns any character she plays.
All My Children: Alicia Minshew as Kendall Hart
Sarah Michelle Gellar may have originated the role of Kendall Hart, but Alicia Minshew is Kendall Hart. Even though the character was aged with Minshew, she still kept the core traits such as the complexity, anger and abandonment issues. It was the complexity of the character that drew Minshew to the role and helped her grow as an actress. Kendall Hart may have launched Gellar's career, but it was Minshew who turned her into a fan favorite. Plus, Minshew had fantastic chemistry with Susan Lucci; their scenes were perfection.
Guiding Light: Ron Raines as Alan Spaulding
Ron Raines was the Alan Spaulding Guiding Light needed after Christopher Bernau, who originated the role vacated due to health reasons and Daniel Pilon's stint was short-lived when Alan went to prison. Raines brought new life to the character while keeping his core traits that made Alan liked and hated at the same time. His portrayal of the evil Spaulding patriarch was embraced by fans very quickly, and he was a fan favorite until GL ended in 2009.
The Young & The Restless: Peter Bergman as Jack Abbott
When Peter Bergman stepped into the role of Jack Abbott his physical appearance was so shockingly different from Terry Lester, fans had a hard time embracing him in the role. But Bergman quickly proved not only was he an excellent actor, but he added depth to Jack, making him more likable to fans. Bergman gave Jack a presence about him that demanded everyone's attention the minute the character entered a room. Fans could not get enough, and almost 40 years later, he will forever be the one and only Jack Abbott.
One Life To Live: Robin Strasser as Dorian Lord
Robin Strasser is best known for playing Dorian Lord on One Life To Live, but the role wasn't always hers. Two actresses played the iconic character before Strasser, but you will be hard pressed to find anyone who remembers another actress as Dorian. She brought to life the vindictive, ruthless woman, who battled claustrophobia and softened only for her beloved family. Her chemistry with costar Erika Slezak a.k.a. Victoria Lord gave fans one of the best frenemies storylines in daytime television.
Another World: Victoria Wyndham as Rachel Cory
Speaking of the beloved Robin Strasser did you know she originated the role of Rachel Cory on Another World. Yes, Victoria Wyndham was a recast. Wyndham took the character from a villain to a heroine throughout her almost three decades of playing Rachel. The actress made sure Rachel never lost her tough, villainous side but gave the character a loving, softer side that fans were happy to embrace throughout her run on the show.
Guiding Light: Beth Chamberlin as Beth Raines
Judi Evans may have originated the role of Beth Raines on Guiding Light, but there is no doubt Beth Chamberlin will forever be the real Beth Raines. She played the role on and off for 30-years until the show ended. Her portrayal of the heroine fans loved gave the character more depth, a backbone, and a fighting spirit while maintaining core values that made Beth so popular. Plus, Chamberlin had terrific chemistry with every actor on the show making it believable when the character was paired up with different partners.