Iconic Soap Opera Characters
Some may find them mundane and tedious to watch while for others they were one of the key points of their youth. Around the world, soap operas were some of the highest ranking TV programs for much of the 70s, 80s and 90s. The popularity of this genre has seriously diminished in the new century but some of them are still airing with plenty of success, while others were cancelled due to lack of interest.
Whether you enjoyed them or resented them over the years, some key soap opera characters have become true TV icons and their performances will never be forgotten. We take a quick look back through the ages at some of the most iconic soap opera characters that ever graced our TV screens.
Victor Newman (The Young and the Restless)
Played by Eric Braeden, Victor Newman is surely one of the most impressive and iconic characters to have ever appeared in soap operas. Originally, the character was supposed to last only a few weeks and be killed off and was intended as contempt worthy character that the audience would hate. However, the actor’s performance impressed the producers and he was signed onto a contract while Newman’s character turned into the key male role in the popular soap opera.
Over the years on the show, The Mustache, as Newman is nicknamed, developed multiple romantic connections and fathered multiple children with several women. He also formed a massive international corporation which made him ultra-rich and successful. Braeden’s performance in this role earned him a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in Drama Series.
Stefano DiMera (Days of Our Lives)
Known as the ultimate villain of the soap opera world, Stefano DiMera was the biggest negative role in the mega-popular TV show Days of Our Lives. Joseph Mascalo depicted this crime lord for many year with great success and turned the character into somewhat of an icon in the world of TV shows in general, not just soap operas.
The story of DiMera starts with his move to Salem as a wealthy European businessman, but it is quickly revealed that his ties to the Mafia are substantial. Over the years on the show, the character tortured the population of the town and was named the all-time best villain by the Soap Opera Digest.
Laura Spencer (General Hospital)
Played by Stacey Baldwin, Laura Spencer is one of the key characters of General Hospital, ABC’s hit soap opera. The character was first introduced in 1974 but grew into the key figure in the series following her marriage to Luke Spencer during the 1981 episodes. Since then, the two have been considered to be the best supercouple in the whole soap opera genre.
Despite the actress being fired from the show at one point, she came back simply because the support of her fans was too big and the producers had no other choice but to bring her back. To this day, Laura Spencer is one of the most important characters in General Hospital.
Erica Kane (All My Children)
It is not clear if All My Children is the best soap opera of all time, but Erica Kane was without much doubt the most iconic character to ever grace the genre. Erica was played by Susana Lucci and first appeared on the show in 1970. Initially, the character was just another rebellious teenage girl, but over the years she grew to be the villainess for some and hero for others.
Whether you love her or hate her, if you are any kind of a soap opera lover you will surely know the name or Erica Kane. What’s even more, even years after the show was cancelled, Kane is still a household name and one that inspired songs and much drama during her years in the popular soap opera.
For an even more in-depth look at some of the most popular characters and actors who ever appeared in soap operas, check out the infographic below and see all the key stats, figures and names from the genre across its many decades: