Beth Ehlers is taking a month long haitus from her role as Harley Davidson Cooper Spaulding Mallet Spaulding Aituro, according to Soap Opera Digest. The Guiding Light actress is no longer on contract and filmed her final scenes on April 25. Online rumors report that she is checking out her options with other shows while she tries to work on negotiations with Guiding Light. The show does not comment on contract negotiations.
Harley has been a Springfield fixture since she rolled into town in 1987. Aside from a period in the 90s when she was gone, Ehlers made Harley her own. New viewers may see her as a heroine, but longtime viewers know differently. Her past reads like a rap sheet: fraud, blackmail, prostitution, and break-ins (some in the name of being an A-1 detective no doubt).
Ehlers' possible departure follows on the heels of Ricky Paull Goldin's sudden defection to All My Children. One could speculate that the show would have a hard time bouncing back from life without Harley, but since Gus and Harley split, there has been no life in her. She has two children from the most influential Springfield families, yet sulks around in poverty in a house that was never finished. That's not the spunky, go-getting Harley we know. There are other characters that could step into the heroine role, but there is no doubt that Ehlers will be leaving a giant hole in the Guiding Light canvas.