Some say there is no such thing as “soap actors” – but there are actors who work on soaps. This is evidenced by the fact that many soap stars have worked in other genres.
Soap Stars On The Mary Tyler Moore Show
Here’s a list of five performers who appeared on the beloved hit sitcom The Mary Tyler Moore Show who later popped up in the soap genre playing memorable characters.
Eric Braeden “The Critic,” January 8, 1977
On The Young and the Restless, Eric Braeden uses Victor Newman’s power and wealth to get what he wants. At the WJM-TV newsroom, Braeden’s character, Karl Heller, used his words and intimidating tone to slice and dice the topics he’d address as the resident on-air critic. Everyone at the station thought he was terrific until Karl turned his poisoned tone on the hand that fed him. Speaking of food, Karl told a pie-wielding Sue Ann Nivens (Betty White, who went on to play Ann on The Bold and the Beautiful) that only a fool would vent their frustrations by hitting him with a pie. Cue Ted Baxter (Ted Knight), who walked by and pushed the dessert into Karl’s puss.
Darlene Conley, “Will Mary Richards Go To Jail,” September 14, 1974
The answer to the question that the episode title raised was “Yes!” Mary (Mary Tyler Moore) was taken into custody for not revealing her source to a judge. A subsequent episode got her off the hook, but Mary’s trip to the local jail had to be believable. Enter Darlene Conley, who went on to play Sally Spectra on BB, to play a stern matron who patrolled the hallways of the county facility where Mary had to spend the night with two ladies of the evening.
John Reilly, “Lou Dates Mary,” March 12, 1977
Reilly had already made his mark among us as Dan Stewart on As the World Turns before appearing on Moore’s sitcom. He played Mary’s date, Jake, who misread Mary’s impression of him as evidenced by his taking his shirt off – not once but twice during their date. This prompted Mary to re-examine who she was dating. Georgette (Georgia Engel) suggested to Mary that she date someone who had all the qualities in a man she admired – Lou Grant (Ed Asner). Jake wasn’t the guy for Mary, and neither was Lou. Reilly went on to join the cast of General Hospital in 1985 as Sean Donley.
Jed Allan, “And Now, Sitting in for Ted Baxter,” November 13, 1971
Ted Baxter never wanted to go on vacation because he feared his replacement would keep his job permanently. That almost happened when Rod Porter (Allan) filled in for the bumbling anchorman. Fortunately, Rod was so good at his job he landed a position as an on-air personality at the network. Ted’s job was safe. Allan went in to play memorable roles on daytime including Days of our Lives’ Don Craig and Santa Barbara’s C.C. Capwell. He also briefly subbed as Edward Quartermaine on General Hospital.
John Gabriel, “Hi There, Sports Fans,” October 13, 1973
The good news in this episode is that Lou gave Mary more responsibility at the newsroom. The bad news is Mary was charged with hiring a new sportscaster for the news show and letting the old one go. The even worse news was that she let the old one go before she hired his replacement. (Oops!) Things turned around when Mary brought on sports reporter Andy Rivers (played by Gabriel) to do the job. Andy landed more than a spot on the news team. He and Mary dated for a bit and Gabriel appeared in a total of five episodes. After making his final appearance on the sitcom in early 1975, Gabriel moved east and made his debut as Dr. Seneca Beaulac on Ryan’s Hope the same year. He remained with other soap stars on RH until its finale in early 1989.