The Guiding Light Soap Opera

The Guiding Light Soap Opera Cast

Series Description

The Guiding Light Soap Opera was a daytime drama series that aired first on NBC and then on CBS (see trivia below). Each episode was 15 minutes in length until 1968 when they were extended to 30 minutes and then lengthened again to one hour in 1977. The plotlines varied dramatically over the series 68 years on the radio and television. There were numerous marriages with some characters divorcing and marrying many times. There were also a large number of deaths, some from murder and again, some characters were "killed off" more than once. It was typical soap opera fare but obviously done better than most.

The Guiding Light Cast

Kim Zimmer .... Reva Shayne (584 Episodes, 1983-2009)
Robert Newman .... Joshua Lewis (545 Episodes, 1981-2009)
Lia Yang .... Susan (506 Episodes, 1993-2007)
Ron Raines .... Alan Spaulding (444 Episodes, 1994-2009)
Beth Chamberlin .... Lorelei Hills (439 Episodes, 1989-2009)
Bradley Cole .... Jeffrey O'Neill (395 Episodes, 1999-2009)
Marcy Rylan .... Lizzie Spaulding (393 Episodes, 2006-2009)
Justin Deas .... Buzz Cooper (392 Episodes, 1992-2009)
Frank Dicopoulos .... Frank Cooper (389 Episodes, 1987-2009)
Crystal Chappell .... Olivia Spencer (377 Episodes, 1999-2009)
Beth Ehlers .... Harley Davidson Cooper (374 Episodes, 1987-2008)
Mandy Bruno .... Marina Cooper (369 Episodes, 2004-2009)
Gina Tognoni .... Dinah Marler (368 Episodes, 2004-2009)
Robert Bogue .... A.C. Mallet (338 Episodes, 2005-2009)
Nicole Forester .... Cassie Winslow (299 Episodes, 2005-2008)
Bonnie Dennison .... Daisy Lemay (286 Episodes, 2007-2009)
Michael O'Leary .... Rick Bauer (273 Episodes, 1983-2009)
Daniel Cosgrove .... Bill Lewis (266 Episodes, 2002-2009)
Jordan Clarke .... Billy Lewis (257 Episodes, 1983-2009)
Murray Bartlett .... Cyrus Foley (257 Episodes, 2007-2009)
Grant Aleksander .... Phillip Granville Spaulding (248 Episodes, 1983-2009)
Jessica Leccia .... Natalia Rivera (247 Episodes, 2007-2009)
Lawrence Saint-Victor .... Remy Boudreau (235 Episodes, 2006-2009)
Caitlin Van Zandt .... Ashlee Wolfe (224 Episodes, 2006-2009)
Sharon Leal .... Dahlia Crede (218 Episodes, 1996-1999)
Michelle Ray Smith .... Ava Peralta (218 Episodes, 2005-2009)
Ricky Paull Goldin .... Gus Aitoro (211 Episodes, 2001-2008)
John Driscoll .... Coop Bradshaw (200 Episodes, 2004-2009)
Elizabeth Keifer .... Christina "Blake" Marler (193 Episodes, 1998-2009)
Tina Sloan .... Lillian Raines (173 Episodes, 1983-2009)
Laura Wright .... Cassandra "Cassie" Elizabeth Layne (164 Episodes, 1997-2005)
Orlagh Cassidy .... Doris Wolfe (163 Episodes, 2000-2009)
E.J. Bonilla .... Rafe Rivera (158 Episodes, 2007-2009)
Marty West .... Shayne Lewis (155 Episodes, 2003-2006)
Tom Pelphrey .... Jonathan Randall (153 Episodes, 2004-2009)
Maeve Kinkead .... Vanessa Reardon (152 Episodes, 1982-2009)
Stephanie Gatschet .... Tammy Layne-Winslow (140 Episodes, 2002-2008)
Kurt McKinney .... Matt Reardon (128 Episodes, 1997-2009)
David Andrew MacDonald .... Edmund Sebastian Winslow (122 Episodes, 1999-2009)
Yvonna Kopacz Wright .... Mel Boudreau (118 Episodes, 2001-2009)
Marj Dusay .... Alexandra Spaulding (118 Episodes, 2003-2009)
Chaz Brewer .... Kid (117 Episodes, 1993-2006)
Jeff Branson .... Shayne Lewis (116 Episodes, 2008-2009)
Kane Manera .... Grady Foley (102 Episodes, 2006-2009)
Jerry Ver Dorn .... Ross James Marler (101 Episodes, 1982-2004)
Victoria Gabrielle Platt .... Vicky Spaulding #2 (94 Episodes, 1998-2001)
Hunt Block .... Ben Warren (93 Episodes, 1997-2000)
Gavin Houston .... Remy Boudreau #2 (90 Episodes, 2002-2006)
Jacqueline Tsirkin .... Emma Spaulding (84 Episodes, 2007-2009)
Michael Dempsey .... Alan-Michael Spaulding (82 Episodes, 2005-2007)
Wendy Moniz .... Dinah Marler Thorpe Jessup (78 Episodes, 1995-1999)
Paul Anthony Stewart .... Daniel "Danny" Santos (77 Episodes, 1998-2009)
Paulo Benedeti .... Jesse Blue (76 Episodes, 1997-2000)
Frank Grillo .... Hart Jessup (74 Episodes, 1996-1999)
Karla Mosley .... Christina Moore (69 Episodes, 2008-2009)
Miles Williams .... R.J. Winslow (66 Episodes, 2004-2008)
Jean Carol .... Nadine Cooper (63 Episodes, 1988-2006)
Zack Conroy .... James Spaulding (61 Episodes, 2009)
Maureen Garrett .... Holly Norris Bauer Thorpe Lindsey (57 Episodes, 1976-2009)
Aaron Hart .... Jude Cooper Bauer (53 Episodes, 2005-2007)
Rachel Miner .... Michelle Bert Bauer #2 (48 Episodes, 1990-1995)
Melina Kanakaredes .... Eleni Andros Cooper (47 Episodes, 1991-1995)
Ty Simpkins .... Jude Cooper Bauer (47 Episodes, 2001-2005)
Rebecca Budig .... Michelle Bauer (46 Episodes, 1995-1998)
Nancy St. Alban .... Michelle Bert Bauer Santos (46 Episodes, 2000-2009)
Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick .... Will Winslow (45 Episodes, 2007-2008)
William Bumiller .... Sean McCullough (43 Episodes, 1998)
Tammy Blanchard .... Drew Jacobs (43 Episodes, 1997-2000)
Bethany Joy Galeotti .... Michelle Bauer Santos Santos #4 (43 Episodes, 1998-2000)
Peter Hermann .... Dr. Michael Burke (42 Episodes, 1997-1998)
Hayden Panettiere .... Elizabeth "Lizzie" Spaulding (41 Episodes, 1996-2000)
John Fiore .... Salerno (39 Episodes, 2003-2008)
Amy Ecklund .... Abigail "Abby" Blume Bauer (38 Episodes, 1995-2000)
Brian Gaskill .... Dylan Lewis (38 Episodes, 2007-2008)
Nicholas Art .... Zach Spaulding (36 Episodes, 2002-2008)
George Alvarez .... Ray Santos #2 (35 Episodes, 1999-2009)
Peter Simon .... Ed Bauer (29 Episodes, 1982-2009)
Darnell Williams .... Griggs (29 Episodes, 2007)
Scott Bailey .... Sandy Foster (27 Episodes, 2004-2006)
Joseph Tuccio .... Towers Bartender (27 Episodes, 2002-2006)
Kimberly J. Brown .... Marah Lewis #4 (26 Episodes, 1993-2006)
Gary Hilborn .... Reporter (26 Episodes, 2004-2008)

The Guiding Light Trivia

This series began as "The Guiding Light Radio Show" on January 25, 1937 on NBC and then moved to CBS radio stations in 1952. It had run for approximately 4000 episodes by the time it left radio in 1956. On June 30, 1952, however, the show also began airing on television and aired 15,762 TV episodes until its final episode on September 18, 2009. The Guiding Light's 57 years on TV and 15 years on the radio made it the longest-running drama series of all time!

During the years where The Guiding Light was both on the radio and on television, the same Cast had to broadcast the show twice per day!

The series' title, "The Guiding Light" is a reference to a lamp in the window of Reverend John Ruthledge who was a main character when the series first aired on the radio. It "guided" the residents of Five Points, Illinois to the place where they could get help in times of trouble.

The Guiding Light's setting didn't remain in the fictional Chicago suburb of Five Points, Illinois forever. In 1947 it moved to the fictional Los Angeles suburb of Selby Flats, California and in 1966 to Sprinfield, Illinois.

The show was also broadcast from three different locations over its lifetime. From Chicago, Illinois (1937-1946); Hollywood, California (1947-1949) and New York City after that till the series' end.

Many actors got their starts in show business with parts on TV series and soap operas were no exception. Some big names who appeared on The Guiding Light include Kevin Bacon, Joseph Campanella ("The Colbys"), Blythe Danner ("Huff"), Calista Flockhart ("Brothers and Sisters"), Allison Janney ("The West Wing"), James Earl Jones ("Gabriel's Fire"), Hayden Pannettiere ("Heroes"), Jimmy Smits ("LA Law"), Cicely Tyson ("East Side/West Side"), Christopher Walken (7 times host of "Saturday Night Live"), Billy Dee Williams, and JoBeth Williams ("Payne").

The Guiding Light is the only series that was aired on all three major networks ... kind of. It began on NBC in 1937. In 1946 NBC split into two networks called "NBC Red" and "NBC Blue" and the show was broadcast on both networks. The Blue nework eventually became ABC. Then, in 1947, CBS picked up the series when it was canceled on NBC.

The Guiding Light had a real struggle to remain on the air so long. The ratings eventually dropped to a point where NBC wanted to cancel it. This was especially true during and after World War II when women joined the workplace in huge numbers. They weren't home to listen in anymore! But the Guiding Light's hardcore fans wouldn't hear of it! Tremendous numbers of complaint letters were sent to NBC when they threatened to cancel the show in 1939, 1941, 1942, 1944 and 1946! Then in 1947, a brand new CBS TV network happily bought the series and the rest is history!

Just as with many other TV shows that aired prior to the invention of videotape in 1956, many early episodes of The Guiding Light are lost forever. Some were recorded on "kinescopes". Kinescopes were 16mm films that were sometimes placed right next to the TV camera that was broadcasting the show live. These were often used to re-broadcast the show at a later time on the West Coast due to time zone differences. Most producers saw no reason to archive TV shows at that time. After all, who would want to rewatch a show that had already aired? Little did they realize that cable TV, video tape sales, and dvds would someday provide a huge market for archived shows.

The Guiding Light soap opera aired in black and white until September 11, 1967 when the first color episode aired.

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