Daytime runs on the trials and tribulations of its soap opera heroines – the steadfast female characters that viewers tune it to watch five days a week, 52 weeks a year.
Top 10 Soap Opera Heroines
There have been hundreds of admirable ones over the decades. Check out our list of 10 of the most beloved of all time.
1. Marlena, Days of Our Lives
The original Good Doctor, Marlena (Deidre Hall) arrived on the Salem scene in 1976 to counsel the ailing Mickey (John Clarke). She’s been doling out advice and helping save lives ever since. Plus, she’s raised a loving family and is one of Salem’s most respected citizens.
2. Katie, The Bold and the Beautiful
After years of living in her sisters’ shadows, Katie (Heather Tom) blossomed into a strong confidant woman, when she met and married Bill Spencer (Don Diamont). Along the way, this heroine underwent two transplants and bore a child, giving new meaning to the word unsinkable.
3. Anna, General Hospital
Granted, this Port Charles super spy was once a double agent, but Anna (Finola Hughes) turned her life around and emerged into one of the soaps’ most admirable women. She’s formidable and fierce, and the perfect example of a woman who’s truly in charge.
4. Ashley, The Young and the Restless
Perhaps daytime’s most independent woman, Ashley (Eileen Davidson) has had her share of romances and marriages, yet has never needed a man to be fulfilled. She’s quite content being a strong force in the business world and a loving mother to her daughter, Abby (Melissa Ordway).
5. Lily, As the World Turns
A teen heroine, who blossomed into a woman torn between her share of men, As the World Turns’ Lily (Martha Byrne) grew up before viewers’ eyes. She wasn’t perfect, but she was always a relatable good girl, surviving attacks, explosions, and an addiction to diet pills.
6. Viki, One Life to Live
The brainy matriarch of the Lord family, Viki (Erika Slezak) was a powerhouse on the work front and a revered wife and mother on the home front. Yet, she wasn’t without her flaws, suffering bouts of dissociative identity disorder. Nevertheless, she always overcame.
7. Reva, Guiding Light
Reva’s twisted love life – she wed H.B., Billy, and Josh Lewis — and wild plots made her a character to root for on Guiding Light, and actress Kim Zimmer a legend for portraying her. Her life motto was clearly, “never give up,” and she proved it by overcoming every obstacle that came her way.
8. Ruth, All My Children
Mary Fickett’s portrayal of Ruth, a trusted nurse, loyal wife, and devoted mother, was always spot on and admirable. The character is perhaps best remembered for her anti-Vietnam War speech, expressing her doubts about the war and fears for her drafted son, resonating with viewers across America.
9. Eden, Santa Barbara
Tough as nails, albeit tender in the presence of her true love Cruz (A Martinez), Eden (Marcy Walker) was a mix of all things bold, brave, and beautiful. She pursued what she believed in, never gave up anything without a fight, and was the epitome of resilience.
10. Maeve, Ryan’s Hope
The heart and soul of the Ryan clan, Maeve (Helen Gallagher) helped run the family bar, but not at the expense of rearing her children. She had a fierce temper, when scolding those who deserved it, but was foremost kind and loving. Yet, Maeve is best remembered for singing Danny Boy every St. Patrick’s Day like a true soap opera heroine.