Guiding Light: She’s Gone, But Is She Coming Back?

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. 

13 Responses

  1. Profile photo of Lewis0817

    I love Beth Ehlers .. she was great as Harley, but now all i want to see is her leave Guiding Light and move to another soap. I have finally given up on Guiding Light a few days ago, the soap right now is unfixable and unwatchable. Please bring Beth Ehlers to All My Children, i think she would make a great addition to as well.

  2. Profile photo of anna

    If Harley ‘s got any sence she will follow Gus into the night. Before the light goes out completely ,after watching this show in one form or another for 63 years , maybe once a week to seeif theyhavecome to there sences.

  3. Profile photo of THEBEST

    I have a feeling that Hayley Vaughn Santos will be turning up in Pine Valley very soon, while Lucy Cooper finds her way back to Springfield. ;)

    ***///Living In The World Of Soaps Since 1985\\\***

  4. Profile photo of muze

    I hope she stays and they figure it out. I can’t fathom Springfield without her. If she goes to AMC she’ll just be a bit player behind all the other big contracts they need to feature.

  5. Profile photo of glloulou


    I read with interest your comments about Beth Ehlers and Harley, and I agree with you that Ehlers’ departure would leave a huge hole in the canvas. But in discussing Harley’s past, you mentioned a rap sheet which sounded rather dire. No doubt some of those dastardly crimes were involved in detective work (although I’m not remembering blackmail), but the arrest for prostitution was an unfair/false arrest which was HUGE for the character. It led her to her life’s work of being a cop.

    At what point she became a heroine is really a matter of opinion. I found myself rooting for her almost from day one, but I think giving Daisy up for adoption was a big step in the heroic direction. At that time, GL was written beautifully, and there was no doubt that Harley did the right thing. I understand the reason she would second guess herself from time to time, but the show should never write it so the audience second guesses her. That’s not honest writing which is one big problem GL has – the storytelling is not honest.

    As for Harley not having any life in her, I need to point out that she is grieving, and that’s hard to do while “bouncing” around. If she were full of vim, vigor and vitality it would be hard to say she is missing Gus and is terribly sad. One time Beth Ehlers remarked that if Harley ever lost Gus, she would lose it. Well, I think we’re seeing Harley trying very hard to hang on and not lose it. The big question is will she be able to do it.

    I absolutely agree about the poverty part. It’s an insult to Harley and to Gus that the house is unpainted and an insult to Harley that the bills are mounting up. I can believe she’s in debt, though, without having to see her sorting through those bills so many times. But then it’s easier to show Harley looking at the bills as a video rather than writing decent dialogue. I’ll stop here because that’s cause for a major rant.


  6. Profile photo of muze

    I like the idea of people on tv reflecting reality to some degree, ergo someone being in deep debt and losing it all makes a lot of sense, especially in a recession. But this person can’t be Harley. Sorry. She’s getting support from her kids’ dads, and do you really think Gus would have changed his will to exclude the boys? Well, not the real Gus and therein lies the problem.

    I don’t trust AMC to do anything with Beth when they have a REAL Greenlee, Erica Kane and Alicia Minshew on the canvas. Have other soap couples successfully reunited on another soap? How were Mary Beth Evans and Steven Nichols on GH?

  7. Profile photo of muze

    Oh I agree that soaps have always been about rich people. But they’ve never been about rich people completely, I wouldn’t watch them if they were. Harley started out on GL as down on her luck. The fun was watching her make her way in the world, first without money, then by winning the hearts of very rich men, and now frankly, she ought to be doing just fine. Look at Nola/Quint. We fall for those characters because of the fairy tale aspects, not because we like watching poor little rich girls fall in love with poor little rich guys! That’s boring. They don’t need to show soup kitchens, but give me a reason to root for these characters. I don’t need to see Paris Hilton falling in love with Paris Latsis.

  8. Profile photo of anna

    that isn’t Springfield , ihave yet to figure out what it is, it’s not company anymore. I seen Domino’s pizza outside on the day of hte what ever. thats not the Bauer house , it may be the Beth house and her kids house . as far as Harley goes the writers and big wheel Ellen has drug her down so far it’s pitiful . Gus had a good job and would never have left her with a lot of bills. that is not the house Gus and Harley was making when they were togather. I have grived alot, lost my parents and two brothers and I’ll tell you I didn’t make a fool of myself like they being the big shot Ellen Wheeler is making of Harley. in fact she has made a fool out of Olivia and a few more. They need to get rid of herbeing ellen wheeler

  9. Profile photo of Jamey Giddens
    Jamey Giddens

    I think with the country in a recession, soaps SHOULD’T show poverty! Telenovelas are wildly popular in poor countries because they portray the fantasy of the poor, down trodden women being rescued by the fabulously wealthy man. I am not saying American soaps should copy that, but during times of war, hardship and crisis, give up something lush and glamorous to aspire to. You can do that while being socially relevant. Look at Brothers and Sisters. Nora’s house is fabulous, they have their own million dollar business, etc. but there is always some realistic struggle, either with the war or the food company or something, but we are treated to stunning visuals of glamorous dinner parties and the like. I can’t imagine a lower middle class mom, struggling to pay her bills, wanting to tune in to watch a struggling lower middle class mom, struggling to pay her bills. It’s called escapism.

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