Discovery can happen anytime, anywhere, and to anyone. But it helps if your already familiar to audiences for your work in some arena of the entertainment industry. That’s why so many actors and actresses flock to commercials – it’s good money, easy work, and it gets their face into people’s homes. All three of these General Hospital performers are known for their work in commercials.
Which General Hospital Star Was It?
However, only one of them was able to parlay their endorsement of a product into an offer to appear in a feature film in the science fiction genre. But who can that actress be? Is it Leslie Charleson (Dr. Monica Quartermaine), Rebecca Herbst (Elizabeth Webber Baldwin), or Kirsten Storms (Maxie Jones West)?
Herbst’s desire to become an actress was a mercenary one – she was tired of watching all those “professional” children playing with the advertised toy. Soon, she was getting first dibs on the latest releases and her work eventually resulted in her appearance in over 60 nationally televised commercials.
Though she did appear in one motion picture – the 1990 caper comedy, Why Me? – and a science fiction project (the Nickelodeon series Space Cases), Herbst didn’t nab either role because of her work in commercials.
Storms set a goal for herself when she was 5 years old. “I told [my agent], ‘When I grow up I’m going to be on a soap opera. You can get me commercials and stuff now, but what I really want to do someday is be on a soap opera.'”
A prophetic declaration. Storms began her acting career in a commercial for Galoob Baby Doll and after a few subsequent advertisements, she began appearing in television shows.
But even though Storms is known to many sci-fi aficionados for her work as Zenon in the Disney channel franchise Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century, those movies were made for television and not a result of her commercial efforts.
In the early 1970s, Charleson appeared in a number of adverts for Pearl Drops Tooth Polish. The ads featured the A Flame in the Wind and Love Is a Many Splendored Thing alum explaining the virtues of the product: “Pearl Drops is the modern way to help you get your teeth their whitest” – and ended with her licking her teeth and declaring, “Mmmmm…it’s a great feeling.”
Director Mike Nichols, who helmed legendary films like Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, The Graduate, and Catch-22 (among many others), spotted Charleson in one of those commercials and hired her for his 1973 effort, The Day of the Dolphin with George C. Scott. Not bad considering the fact that Charleson had accepted the Pearl Drops gig without permission from her agent!