No one puts the drama into daytime better than a really diabolical scoundrel. And the medium has had many of them during its long tenure. Here’s a look at the top 10 soap opera villains.
Soap Opera Vile Villains
10. Ray Gardner
All My Children’s Ray Gardner (Gil Rogers) was a cruel sadistic soap opera monster. After abusing and abandoning his son, Tad (Michael E. Knight), he turned up on the Martins’ doorstep looking to extort money from the family who’d taken him in. When they refused, he retaliated by raping Tad’s adoptive mother, Ruth (Mary Fickett), and made it his mission to destroy the entire clan.
9. Alistair Crane
One of the most devious and perverse villains of all time, Passions’ Alistair Crane (John Reilly) used his power as the patriarch of Harmony’s wealthiest family to control everyone. He tortured and raped numerous women; kidnapped his daughter Sheridan (Mackenzie Westmore), took her baby, and tried to kill her. He also changed DNA tests proving Julian had a son with Eve.
8. Mitch Lawrence
A conman and cult leader, One Life to Live’s Mitch Lawrence (Roscoe Born) wreaked havoc on the lives of Viki (Erika Slezak) and her children for years. Among his most heinous soap opera acts, he drugged and raped Viki; orchestrated the switch of her baby daughters, Jessica and Natalie; and, years later, kidnapped, drugged, and tortured Jessica.
7. Helena Cassadine
From the moment she placed a curse on newlyweds Luke (Anthony Geary) and Laura (Genie Francis), it was clear Helena Cassadine, originally portrayed by Elizabeth Taylor, was in a cold calculating class by herself. Her depravity continued in the hands of Constance Towers, as the character killed, kidnapped, and perhaps most horrifyingly, slit the throat of Alexis’s mother.
6. Sheila Carter
Obsessive Love would be the title of the expose on Sheila Carter (Kimberlin Brown). On The Young and the Restless, she fixated on Scott (Peter Barton), while Eric (John McCook) and James (Ian Buchanan) were the objects of her affection on The Bold and the Beautiful. Along the way, she stole babies, swapped paternity tests, and attempted to kill Lauren, Stephanie (Susan Flannery), and more.
5. James Stenbeck
As the World Turns’ James Stenbeck (Anthony Herrera) terrorized the citizens of Oakdale, but, perhaps, none other as much as his own family. A master manipulator, he mentally abused his wife Barbara (Colleen Zenk) and their son, Paul. His other dastardly misdeeds included blackmail, abduction, arms-dealing and multiple murders.
4. Todd Manning
Twisted Todd Manning (Roger Howarth) started off his One Life to Live reign of soap opera villainy instigating the brutal gang rape of Marty Saybrooke (Susan Haskell). And his despicable deeds never stopped. He went on to terrorize Nora (Hillary B. Smith) and even gave away his own baby, making his wife Blair (Kassie DePaiva) believe the child had died.
3. Roger Thorpe
The litany of crimes committed by Guiding Light’s dastardly Roger Thorpe (Michael Zaslow) ranged from bad-guy-ordinary, like blackmail and extortion, to upper level detestable. He drove Henry Chamberlain (William Roerick) to suicide by stealing all of his money and shockingly raped his own wife Holly (Maureen Garrett).
2. Cesar Faison
An agent for the DVX crime cartel with a lifelong obsession for Anna (Finola Hughes), Faison’s (Anders Hove) evil knew no boundaries on General Hospital. He tormented Anna and her daughter, Robin (Kimberly McCullough), for years and played a key role in the kidnappings and “deaths” of two of Port Charles’ most beloved citizens, Lucky (Jonathan Jackson) and Jason (Steve Burton).
1. Stefano DiMera
Fueled by his vendetta against the Brady family, Stefano DiMera, played by the iconic Joseph Mascolo, brought villainy to a new level when he debuted on Days of Our Lives in 1982. Over the decades, he’s masterminded brainwashings, baby switches, and more, while trying to gain control of his “Queen of the Night” Marlena (Deidre Hall).
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