Nothing hurts viewers more than one of their favorite actors or actresses leaving a soap they love. Unfortunately, it happens all too often in the daytime world. Here’s a look back at the top 10 most shocking soap star exits.
Soap Star Swan Songs
10. Cady McClain
Death, via poisoned pancakes, was the last thing All My Children fans expected for their beloved Dixie. But that was the character’s fate in 2007 when the soap delivered the character’s weird demise. At the time, Cady McClain said she believed the move was “a dig” by one of the show’s scribes after she’d requested a specific scene between Dixie, Tad (Michael Knight), and their kids.
9. Ronn Moss
Ronn Moss, who’d become an international superstar via his 25-year tenure as Ridge on The Bold and the Beautiful, stunned the daytime world when he refused to renew his contract in 2012. So after Ridge remarried his true love, Brooke (Katherine Kelly Lang), the duo took off on a trip from which the groom would never return (at least as Ronn Moss). Fans were stunned to learn the happy couple had split on their honeymoon.
8. Marcy Walker
Santa Barbara was never the same without leading lady and legendary soap star Marcy Walker, who opted to exit the soap in 1991. The show’s writers scripted a multiple personality disorder for Eden, who threatened to jump off a cliff, while Cruz (A Martinez) pleaded with her not to. When she plummeted into the ocean, viewers were as traumatized as Cruz was.
7. Steve Burton
There was no big drama behind the scenes regarding Steve Burton’s departure after 20-plus years as Jason on General Hospital in 2012. The actor simply wanted a change. Onscreen, the popular character was shot and pushed off the pier into the river to his “death,” leaving his family, friends, and fans devastated.
6. Daniel Goddard
Part of the ultra-popular Cane and Lily pairing for over a decade, Daniel Goddard was as shocked as fans when he learned he was being written off The Young and the Restless in 2019. He shared the news on Twitter, admitting he was “gutted” by his dismissal, but realized that without the late Kristoff St. John as Neil and Christel Khalil as Lily “there just is no Cane.”
5. Beverlee McKinsey
Talk about a dramatic soap star exit. On the last day before her annual vacation in 1992, Beverlee McKinsey announced she wouldn’t be returning to her role of Alexandra on Guiding Light. The actress had warned the show’s executive producer that she was unhappy with her storyline and might quit, but wasn’t taken seriously. Too bad, because it left a huge hole in the show.
4. Robin Strasser
Another World lost premiere villainess Robin Strasser in 1972 when she left the soap after a five-year run as Rachel, the thorn in supercouple Alice and Steve’s side. The show’s initial recast was such a flop that Strasser agreed to return for a few months but ultimately bid a permanent adieu to Bay City.
3. Susan Flannery
After 25 years of playing Stephanie Forrester on The Bold and the Beautiful, veteran Susan Flannery opted to retire from the show in 2012. A terminal cancer storyline was scripted for her character, who planned a party to say goodbye to all her family and friends before she perished.
2. Peter Reckell
Although he left Days of Our Lives twice before, Peter Reckell’s last departure as Bo was particularly heartbreaking. Bo returned following a long absence and saved Hope (Kristian Alfonso) from her murderous new husband Aiden. Then, only a few days later, he was diagnosed with a brain tumor and died in Hope’s arms.
1. Genie Francis
Luke (Anthony Geary) and Laura fans were beside themselves, when, shortly after the couple wed, iconic soap star Genie Francis announced she was leaving General Hospital. Laura vanished on a pier into the fog after an encounter with David Grey in 1982 and was later presumed dead.
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