Daytime, today. Superstardom, tomorrow. That’s been the case with some high-profile actors and actresses, including a few Academy Award winners, who got their start on soap opera soundstages. Here’s a look at the top 10 celebrities who started out in daytime.
1. Susan Sarandon
Wild and wonderful Thelma & Louise star, Susan Sarandon, made her television debut as Patrice Kahlman on A World Apart from 1970 to 1971. She followed that up with a gig as murderous drifter Sarah Fairbanks on Search for Tomorrow in 1972. It’s where she learned “how to work with cameras,” Sarandon once revealed in an interview.
2. Demi Moore
Decades before she was tough-as-nails Navy SEAL G.I. Jane or sculpting pottery in Ghost, Demi More broke into the business playing a reporter named Jackie Templeton on General Hospital. She got to work opposite Anthony Geary’s Luke Spencer from 1982 to 1984.
3. Tom Selleck
Best known as Magnum P.I., before tackling Friends, Blue Bloods, and film classic Three Men and a Baby, Tom Selleck portrayed sexy Jed Andrews on The Young and The Restless. In fact, he had a couple of steamy shower scenes with co-star Jaime Lyn Bauer (ex-Lorie) during his 1974 to 1975 run.
4. Julianne Moore
A gig as Carmen Engler on Edge of Night in 1984 and tackling half-sisters/cousins Frannie and Sabrina Hughes (they shared the same dad and their moms were sisters) on As the World Turns (1987-1988) prepared Julianne Moore for an array of feature film success. It all culminated with her Oscar-winning performance as a linguistics professor diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease in the 2015 film, Still Alice.
5. Meg Ryan
She’s known as a romantic comedy queen. Think When Harry Met Sally and Sleepless in Seattle. But Meg Ryan’s career started out playing drama in the daytime genre. She portrayed Betsy Stewart on As The World Turns from 1982 to 1984, a girl next door torn between two men.
6. Josh Duhamel
Did you know that Love, Simon star, Josh Duhamel, started out as a con-man named Leo Du Pres on All My Children (1999-2002)? He wreaked havoc in Pine Valley until his character plummeted over a waterfall to his “death.” That is, before reprising the role for a pair of episodes when the soap went off the air in 2011.
7. Justin Hartley
It all began on a soap opera for Hollywood “It Boy,” Justin Hartley. The future Smallville, Revenge, Mistresses, and This Is Us star got his big break when he was cast as Fox Crane on Passions (2002-2006). He tackled the genre again from 2014 to 2016, when he played Adam Newman on The Young and the Restless.
8. Sarah Michelle Gellar
Long before Sarah Michelle Gellar was kicking butt as Buffy, the Vampire Slayer, she was playing daytime superstar Susan Lucci’s daughter, Kendall Hart, on All My Children. The two-year gig earned Gellar a Daytime Emmy as Outstanding Younger Leading Actress in 1995.
9. Ryan Phillippe
Film and primetime star Ryan Phillippe made his TV debut in a memorable One Life to Live role. He portrayed Billy Douglas, one of the first openly gay teenagers on television, from 1992 to 1993. The character resonated with young fans who related to his performance.
10. Marisa Tomei
Perhaps best known for her Oscar-winning performance as Mona Lisa Vito in My Cousin Vinnie, Marisa Tomei actually kicked off her career on soaps. She played Marcy Thompson on the soap opera As the World Turns from 1983 to 1985, a trouble-making teenager who falsely accused Bob Hughes of sexual harassment.