Major soap opera characters are often killed off or go mysteriously missing when a popular actor or actress chooses to leave a soap. There have been major explosive exits on the four daytime dramas currently airing, only to have the characters return a few years later. Here’s our list of the top 10 comebacks from Days of our Lives, General Hospital, The Bold and the Beautiful, and The Young and the Restless.
Soap Opera Returns
1. Laura Spencer, GH.
Luke (Anthony Geary) mourned the loss of his beloved Laura after she vanished and was presumed dead. When Genie Francis agreed to resume the role, it paved the way for General Hospital’s greatest return. Laura escaped the island where the Cassadines were holding her captive and arrived on the grounds of the mayor’s mansion, right after Luke was elected to the post. Spotting her from the balcony, he raced downstairs, screamed out her name, and she ran into his arms.
2. Stefano DiMera, DAYS
Unquestionably, Days of our Lives leads the pack when it comes to huge returns, and Stefano tops the list. The notorious villain, known as “The Phoenix,” has risen from the ashes numerous times, and each and every one of them has made for spectacular drama, with actor Joseph Mascolo uttering the memorable phrase, “It’s good to be back.”
3. Phillip Chancellor III, YR
Driving drunk after a party claimed the life of young Phillip, or so everyone thought. Decades later, Thom Bierdz resurfaced in the part, as Phillip returned to Genoa City and admitted he’d faked his own death and moved to Australia to begin a new life under the alias Langley. After reconnecting with family, Phillip announced he was gay.
4. Sheila Carter, YR and BB
Reports of Sheila’s demise have been exaggerated a couple of times. Presumed dead on YR, she’s shown up alive on BB, where she’s wreaked havoc on the town’s citizens. Played to diabolical perfection by Kimberlin Brown, the character has disappeared and even had plastic surgery to continue her evil antics.
5. Jason Morgan, GH
Shot and kicked off the pier by Faison, Jason was presumed dead. Two years later, his amnesiac twin (played by Billy Miller) surfaced and assumed his soap opera life. It turned out to be a scam, when Steve Burton returned as the real Jason, escaping the Russian clinic where he’d been held captive for five years, making his way home, and reclaiming his life. “I am Jason Morgan,” he declared.
6. Bo Brady, DAYS
After taking Caroline to a clinic for Alzheimer’s treatment, Bo contacted Hope, explaining he was embarking on an ISA mission. In reality, he’d been captured, tortured, and held prisoner for years. Peter Reckell triumphantly returned in the heroic role in 2015, just in time to save Hope from her murderous new husband, Aiden. But sadly, within days, the character succumbed to a brain tumor.
7. Adam Newman, YR
Neither death nor recasts can stop Adam. Initially killed off in a fiery car crash, while being played by Michael Muhney, Adam returned with a new face portrayed by Justin Hartley. The character perished again in a cabin explosion, only to be found alive, living in Vegas, and going by the name Spyder. Now Mark Grossman’s version of the black sheep Newman is stirring the pot in Genoa City.
8. Helena Cassadine, GH
You can’t keep a black queen down, particularly one as vile as Helena. Constance Towers took over the role of the uber villainess in 1997, orchestrating murders, abductions, brain washings, and more. Despite many attempts to snuff her out, including Luke shooting her at point-blank range, she returned time after time. Finally, dying for real in 2018, Helena continues to make dastardly comebacks, only now in flashbacks or fantasies.
9. Marlena Evans, DAYS
When Deidre Hall left DAYS to focus on her primetime show, Our House, in 1987, Marlena was “killed off” in a plane crash orchestrated by Orpheus. She was revealed to be alive and in Stefano’s possession, three years later, when Hall opted to rejoin the soap. Marlena reunited with Roman (later revealed to be John) in a foggy scene on the docks, as they both were overcome with tears and joy.
10. Robin Scorpio, GH
While attempting to concoct a drug to save Jason’s life, Robin “died” in a lab explosion, ending Kimberly McCullough’s run in the role. It turned out she was abducted by Faison and later held captive by Jerry Jacks, who insisted she find a cure for a disease that was killing him. Robin escaped in time to make it to the church, where Patrick (Jason Thompson) was marrying Sabrina. Her daughter, Emma, spotted her and gasped, “Mommy,” bringing the nuptials to a halt.