HOLLYWOOD—There is something interesting transpiring in the soap world. Three major soaps have all lost notable actors who have filled the shoes of a popular character for years. You want to know what’s even scarier, all of this ‘chaos’ as some would like to call it, transpired in the past year or so.
For starters Michelle Stafford, who played the delicious role of Phyllis on “The Young and Restless” for nearly 20 years, vacated the role and jumped ship to “General Hospital” where she is now portraying the juicy role of Nina Clay. Steve Burton who played mobster Jason Morgan on “General Hospital” for more than 20 plus years vacated the role and jumped ship to “The Young and Restless” where he is now portraying the role of Dylan McAvoy.
Perhaps the role that fans are in uproar about is the exit of Alison Sweeney who has been playing the conniving, bitchy and a hoot to watch Sami Brady for nearly 20 years on the NBC sudser “Days of Our Lives.” Sweeney’s final scenes on the soap aired this week as
Sami decided to leave Salem in hopes for Hollywood. Many had been speculating for weeks just how the actress would exit the canvas. I was hoping the actress would be killed off because I truly can’t see another actress being able to fill the shoes of an actress of Sweeney’s caliber; I mean she’s one of a kind.
The entire exit storyline comes in the midst of her co-star James Scott aka EJ Dimera being killed off on the show. Yeah, his death was a shocker to many, but what’s even more fun to watch is the mystery unfold as to who was responsible for EJ’s demise. But just remember soap lovers in the soap arena, a character is never ever truly dead.
Sami’s heartbreaking exit had her interacting with the entire Brady clan including her close friends, parents and past lovers. It was indeed a tearjerker to say the least, so what will Salem do now that the wicked one who has recently turned a leaf to become a more suitable individual is no longer in its presence? That is a good question. Many new characters have surfaced in the quaint town to wreck havoc, but there will only be one Sami Brady.
This brings up the question of rather a soap legend can be recast by another actor or actress when they choose to vacate a role they’ve played for years. Gina Tognoni recently assumed the role of Phyllis on “Y&R” and I must say she is doing a great job, but fans are still clamoring for Stafford to return to the role that made her a star.
The same can be said for Steve Burton’s character of Jason Morgan on “GH.” The role has now been assumed by Billy Miller, who became a fan favorite on “Y&R” as Billy Abbot. I will admit Miller fits the shoes of mobster Morgan quite well, audiences know he is capable of portraying a dark character as he did years back on the now departed “All My Children.”
My head is literally spinning of an actress who might be able to fill the role of Sami Brady on “DOOL,” but at the moment nothing comes to mind. I have a feeling the soap will recast the role, but they’ll wait a substantial amount of time to do so. Wise choice, give the audience a chance to decompress with the departure before adding a new face they’re not familiar with.
I do believe in the soap arena, you can only portray a specific character for so long before change becomes evident. It may not be so much that you are bored with the character, it’s just the idea of trying something new that changes it all.
By Donald Thompson