Soap Opera Actresses Who Simply Cannot Be Recast

Published on August 30, 2022.

An iconic soap opera character can often live on without the performer who made them iconic in the first place! Take a look at The Bold and the Beautiful’s (B&B) Taylor Hayes, General Hospital’s (GH) Trina Robinson, The Young and the Restless’ (Y&R) Phyllis Summers and Days Of Our Lives’ (DOOL) Billie Reed; they’re all fan-favorites, yet they’ve also survived being recasted in recent years! So let’s look at a special group of soap opera actresses who are so entwined with their characters, they simply cannot be recast!

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12. Christel Khalil As Lily Winters (Y&R)

Much like her onscreen adoptive brother, portrayed by Bryton James, Christel Khalil has literally grown up in front of Y&R viewers. The star was 34 when she celebrated two decades of playing Lily Winters, a character who evolved from a teenage brat to successful CEO of Chancellor-Winters. While her role was recast once, with Davetta Sherwood assuming duties, it clearly didn’t take because Khalil was back within a year! We suspect that Y&R has learned its lesson!

© Howard Wise/

11. Beth Maitland As Traci Abbott (Y&R)

Beth Maitland is soap opera royalty. Back in the day, she attained super couple status with Don Diamont (Brad Carlton), had a vicious rivalry with sister Ashley (Eileen Davidson) and even tackled serious social issues with her eating disorder storyline. Thankfully, Traci’s life is much more settled these days, allowing Maitland to be a supporting pillar as Y&R continues to expand the Abbott family. Her warmth and kindness literally radiates through viewers’ screens, providing a ray of sunshine even when storylines are tense.

© Howard Wise/

10. Laura Wright As Carly Corinthos (GH)

Laura Wright is hardly the first actress to portray Carly Corinthos – in fact, she’s the fourth! However, there’s no doubt in any GH viewer’s mind that Wright is the ultimate Carly. Equal parts beautiful, daring and ferocious, Wright’s portrayal has even made it clear to her co-star Maurice Benard that nobody else can follow this act.

© Jill Johnson/

9. Sharon Case as Sharon Collins (Y&R)

Sharon Case wasn’t the first actress to play Sharon Collins, but much like Laura Wright, she’ll definitely be the last.”If three times is the charm, this should be it,” Case explained, noting that Y&R was her third soap and she was the third actress to take the role. From girl-next-store to conniving psycho, Sharon has done virtuous and terrible things — but fans readily forgive her. Recently, Case’s performance when her onscreen hubby Rey passed away went viral on Twitter, with many predicting a Daytime Emmy win in 2023. Y&R may underutilize her, but they can never replace her!

© Jill Johnson/

8. Kimberlin Brown As Sheila Carter (B&B, Y&R)

Can you imagine anyone playing the devious and maniacal Sheila Carter other than Kimberlin Brown? It’s just about impossible to imagine, not only because Brown originated the role but because her icy smile and dagger eyes are truly irreplaceable. Even when Sheila had plastic surgery to resemble Phyllis Summers and the role was shared with Michelle Stafford, it just wasn’t the same. Nobody can replace this menace!

© Jill Johnson/

7. Alison Sweeney As Sami Brady (DOOL)

Alison Sweeney is a rare talent. Not only is she a beloved actress on DOOL, but she’s proven herself capable of drawing a crowd in both reality television and movies. So could anyone else really portray Sami Brady? DOOL producers clearly don’t think so, since they leave the role vacated whenever Sweeney is working on other projects. Clearly, viewers would rather see the show come up with new reasons for Sami to leave town than watch anyone else play her part.

© Jill Johnson/

6. Leslie Charleson As Monica Quartermaine (GH)

Upon the milestone of Leslie Charleson’s 45th anniversary, rumors began to fly that the ironic actress was ready to retire. While Charleson has yet to address that speculation, viewers are bracing themselves for the departure of Monica Quartermaine because nobody else can fill those shoes! To prove our point: in 2022, the role of Monica was indeed recast when Charleson was sidelined by an injury – but viewers weren’t having it. For the remainder of Charleson’s time off, GH opted to leave Monica off canvas, recognizing that it was foolish to replace the daytime drama legend.

© Jill Johnson/

5. Jess Walton As Jill Foster Abbott (Y&R)

Jess Walton wasn’t the first actress to portray Jill Foster, but after 35 years in the role, there’s certainly nobody else who can match her strength, vulnerability and glamor. Walton only makes rare appearances on Y&R these days, which is a shame, since her screen presence would add considerable oomph to the business drama at Chancellor-Winters. Alas, even if Jill’s days in Genoa City are numbered, Walton’s dynamic chemistry — whether that’s in romance (with John Abbott), business (against Victor Newman and Jack Abbott) or friendship (with Katherine Chancellor) — remains unparalleled.

© Jill Johnson/

4. Jacqueline MacInnes Wood As Steffy Forrester (B&B)

The impact Jacqueline MacInnes Wood has made on B&B in the past 15 years has been remarkable. Her portrayal of Steffy has brought an army of fans to the soap, thanks in no small part to her romances with Liam (Scott Clifton) and Finn (Tanner Novlan). But the feisty brunette doesn’t need to be part of a super couple to shine. Between her other film work and maternity leaves, B&B has never attempted to recast the role, knowing full well that fans would have none of it!

© Denis Guignebourg/

3. Deidre Hall As Marlena Evans (DOOL)

Deidre Hall has been a muse for DOOL writers for over thirty years: they’ve made her the center of the soap’s biggest romances and weirdest experiments. While we’d say there’s no way to replace Doc, this is DOOL we’re talking about. It’s very possible that a future storyline will involve putting Marlena’s consciousness into a younger character’s body, should Deidre Hall choose to retire. But until she makes that choice – or until DOOL ceases to exist – Marlena Evans will always be portrayed by Hall.

© Jill Johnson/

2. Melody Thomas Scott As Nikki Newman (Y&R)

A stripper who became the Queen of Genoa City? Well, that’s only ever going to happen once – and it happened to Nikki Newman. Melody Thomas Scott has navigated this character through personal heartbreak, addiction problems, business triumphs and a series of explosive relationships. In the process, she has ascended to the rarified air of her on-screen and off-screen friend, Jeanne Cooper, who as Katherine Chancellor stands as the figurehead of the soap.

© Howard Wise/

1. Katherine Kelly Lang As Brooke Logan (B&B)

Much like co-star John McCook, Katherine Kelly Lang has starred in B&B since its very first episode. Yet her impact on the show goes far beyond the historical. Lang is a cultural icon, from the heyday of soap operas right up to the present day. Her acting chops and classic looks have imprinted themselves onto the canvas with planetary force, to the point that many storylines tend to orbit her rivalries and romances. If Lang ever decides to leave B&B, the enormous saga of Brooke Logan will certainly walk out the door with her!

© Howard Wise/

Soap Opera Actors Who Simply Cannot Be Recast

Soap Operas

Soap Opera Actors Who Simply Cannot Be Recast

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