10 Primetime and Film Stars Who Won Daytime Emmys

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With Daytime Emmy season here once again, I thought it would be fun to look back at some of the past winners, who went on to take Hollyweird by storm! They say soaps are the best training ground for a thespian; these 10 actors proved that notion and then some!

No. 10: Josh Duhamel, All My Children

Long before he was helping Autobots save the world from Decepticons, or salvaging rom-coms starring Katherine Heigl, movie hunk Josh Duhamel won the Daytime Emmy for his work as con artist-turned-hero Leo DuPres on ABC Daytime's All My Children. Duhamel took home the golden lady for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series in 2002. That same year, the former model left the sudser to costar with James Caan and fellow daytime fave Vanessa Marcil Giovinazzo inNBC's long-running primetime hit Las Vegas (2003-08).

In addition to portraying suave casino exec Danny McCoy in Las Vegas, Duhamel managed to make the transition to film in 2004's The Picture of Dorian Gray and Win a Date With Tad Hamilton! However, it was his turn as Capt. William Lennox in 2007's motion picture adaptation of 80's cartoon series Transformers (and two sequels) that cemented this Daytime Emmy winner's status as one of Hollywood's most in demand leading men. To show he's never forgotten his award-winning, sudsy roots, Duhamel reprised the role of Leo in 2011, as All My Children was wrapping its storied network television run. 


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No. 9: Rena Sofer, General Hospital


Rena Sofer is one of the busiest primetime character actresses working today, most recently appearing in Fox's medical drama House and USA network's spy drama Covert Affairs. Then there were those memorable stints on TV's top drama NCIS (as Margaret Hart), NBC's superhero saga Heroes (as Heidi Petrelli) and 24 (as Marilyn Bauer).

Sofer's primetime success should come as no surprise to fans of ballsy, Bensonhurst-bred Lois Cerullo Ashton, the character she portrayed on ABC Daytime's General Hospital from 1993-96 and again in 1997. Sofer took home the Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for playing Lois in 1995.

After leaving GH, the actress quickly began booking primetime sitcom guest spots on such series as Seinfeld and Ellen, before snagging a series regular role as Amanda Woodward's (Heather Locklear) whacked out rival Eve Cleary during the final season of primetime sudser Melrose Place. While not all of Sofer's primetime projects have proven successful (NBC's version of Coupling, anyone?), there's no denying this Daytime Emmy winner has definitely carved out a successful post-soap career for herself.


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No. 8: Shemar Moore, The Young and the Restless

Since 2005, Shemar Moore has been making profiling serial killers, and other various sickos, look easy as Derek Morgan on the hit CBS procedural Criminal Minds. Before that, the sexy actor was making millions of soap fans horny five-days-a-week on another Tiffany Network series, The Young and the Restless.

Moore played ab-tastic, photographer Malcolm Winters on and off from 1994-2005. He won the Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series in 2000, one year after he had the pop culture-defining task of presenting All My Children's Susan Lucci with her first and only Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series. The streak was over, indeed.

In addition to his stints on Y&R, Moore made the jump to the big screen in flicks like The Brothers (2001) and Tyler Perry's Diary of a Mad Black Woman (2005), before comfortably landing in primetime.


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No. 7: Jennifer Finnigan, The Bold and the Beautiful


Canadian actress Jennifer Finnigan has worked steadily since moving stateside. The beauty—who was recently seen in an episode of USA Network's Psyche, and before that, ABC's short-lived sitcom Better With You—has snagged a role in Monday Mornings, a new medical drama in development at cabler TNT. Anyone who watched Finnigan during her four-year stint as fashion heiress Bridget Forrester on CBS Daytime's The Bold and the Beautiful knew this starlet was destined for big things.


Finnigan won the Oustanding Younger Actress in a Drama Series trophy for three years straight (2003-05)!  After leaving B&B, she booked an arc on NBC's profiler drama Crossing Jordan in 2004. The quickly-cancelled Peacock network sitcom Committed followed in 2005. Finnigan next starred in the critically-acclaimed CBS legal drama Close to Home from 2005-07. During this same time frame, she appeared in Stephen King's Dead Zone on USA.


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No. 6: Dorothy Lyman, All My Children


While famed actress/director/producer Dorothy Lyman has appeared on several daytime soap operas (A World Apart, Another World, The Edge of Night, GenerationsThe Bold and the Beautiful), it was her work as the original Opal Gardner on All My Children which won her back-to-back Daytime Emmy Awards. In 1982, Lyman took home the award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for her portrayal of Tad Martin's (Michael E. Knight) wacky bio mama.The following year, she snagged the Outstanding Lead Actress trophy.

While still appearing as Opal, Lyman began playing another scene-stealing, on-the-make character, Thelma Harper's (Vicki Lawrence) jezebel of a daughter-in-law Naomi on Mama's Family. A spinoff of The Carol Burnett Show, Mama's Family premiered on NBC in 1983, and was quickly cancelled. In 1986, a retooled version of the laffer premiered in first-run syndication, staying in production until 1990.

Following the end of Mama's Family, Lyman briefly returned to her sudsy roots, appearing as a recast for the role of Rebecca Whitmore in NBC's Generations (1990-91) and later as Bonnie Roberts on The Bold and The Beautiful (1991-92). In 1993, Lyman decided to go behind the lens, as a producer and director on Fran Drescher's hit CBS sitcom The Nanny.

Lyman still keeps her acting chops sharp, however, appearing as Socrata Thrace in the space opera Battlestar Galactica in 2007 and as a judge in Law & Order in 2009.

Photo credit: IMDB


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No. 5: Cynthia Watros, Guiding Light


Fans of ABC's monster hit primetime drama Lost will forever remember Cynthia Watros as doomed shrink Libby Smith, a character she played from 2005-06. Guiding Light fans, however, will always think of bat shit crazy nurse Annie Dutton when Watros comes to mind.

Watros won the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Daytime Drama Series award in 1998 for the role of Annie, a once sweat Nightingale, who lost her marbles when her husband's ex-wife came back from the dead and claimed dibs. Who could blame her? 

After leaving GL in 1998, Watros briefly pinch hit for an ailing Jensen Buchanan as Vicky on NBC's Another World, before saying goodbye to soaps for primetime. She had a series regular role in Fox's sitcom Titus (2000-02), followed by a lengthy stint as the female lead in The Drew Carey Show (2002-04).

Since that time, Watros has done several high-profile pilots, including a planned Gossip Girl spinoff called Valley Girls, which didn't make it to air. She recently appeared in a guest star role on ABC's long-running medical sudser Grey's Anatomy.

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No. 4: Anne Heche, Another World


It was kinda silly that Anne Heche was up for Outstanding Younger Actress in a Drama Series in 1991. Her twin characters—the brazen Vicky Hudson and her fragile sister Marley Love—had been driving story on NBC's Another World for years! Even still, Heche fans (The one writing this being chief among them!) were thrilled when she took home the award. 

After leaving AW, Heche quickly landed a role in the 1992 Hallmark Hall of Fame movie O Pioneers! She made her big screen debut in 1993's The Adventures of Huck Finn. Heche's post-soap breakout role came in the highly-lauded, 1996 HBO movie If These Walls Could Talk. She played a college student who decided to get an abortion in the powerful anthology.

By 1997, Heche began booking steady work in film. That year, she starred as: Johnny Depp's wife in Donnie Brasco; an earthquake specialist in Volcano (1997); a woman caught up in the drama of a political sex scandal in Wag The Dog and as a backwoods red herring in the hit, teen slasher flick I Know What You Did Last Summer.

The following year, Heche was the female lead, opposite Harrison Ford, in Seven Days Seven Nights. She also appeared in the drama Return to Paradise with Vince Vaughn and Joaquin Phoenix in 1988. According to Heche, the blacklash she received following going public with her lesbian romance with future daytime talk show host Ellen Degeneres, caused her film career to stumble around that time. A much-publicized break up from Degeneres, amid a battle with mental illness for Heche, followed in 2000.

In 2001, Heche took primetime by storm in a hilarious arc on Fox's Ally McBeal. She also appeared on the Great White Way in Proof. The year 2002 saw Heche return to the big screen, as an unfeeling hospital administrator  in Denzel Washington's John Q.

Heche continued to work steadily throughout the 00's, nabbing gigs in primetime (EverwoodNip/Tuck, Gracie's Choice), film (Prozac Nation, Birth) and on Broadway (Twentieth Century). In 2006, she was poised for her biggest primetime success to date, starring in the ABC rom-com Men In Trees, however, the 2008 Writers Strike helped put the Alaska-set series on ice.

From 2009-11, Heche appeared opposite Thomas Jane in HBO's buzzy-yet-low rated dramedy Hung. The talented actress is set to return to primetime next season as the lead in NBC's spiritual dramedy Save Me.  


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No. 3: Sarah Michelle Gellar, All My Children


Sarah Michelle Gellar's doppelganger drama Ringer might have lost out in its bid to be picked up for a second season by The CW, but this 1995 Daytime Emmy winner for Outstanding Younger Actress in a Drama series will always be a winner to fans of her bitch-nasty All My Children character Kendall Hart.

Gellar left the role of Erica Kane's (Susan Lucci) vengeful, long-lost daughter amid rumors the two divas couldn't stand one another! Two years later, Gellar was cast in the role that would come to define her career — vapid cheerleader-turned-world savior Buffy Summers in The WB adaptation of Joss Whedon's Buffy The Vampire Slayer.

This Buffy shared very little in common with the cheestastic, 1992 motion picture of the same name. In fact, TV's Buffy became one of the most critically-worshipped, cult hit television series of all time during its seven-season run on two netlets.

The same year Buffy premiered, Gellar blasted onto the big screen in box office hits I Know What You Did Last Summer and Scream 2.

Gellar was easily channeling her Pine Valley roots in 1999's Cruel Intentions, a re-imagining of Les Liaisons dangereuses. Gellar starred as Kathryn Merteuil, the vicious, incestuous stepsister of fellow soap alum Ryan Phillippe's Sebastian Valmont. The low budget flick earned a massive $75.9 million at the box office.

In 2002, Gellar appeared with her real-life leading man Freddie Prinze, Jr. in the live action version of old school cartoon Scooby Doo. She played Daphne to his Fred. The duo reprised their roles for 2004's Scooby Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed. Despite that fact, we still love them.

Gellar next got back to her horror roots in $187 million-grossing The Grudge. The 2006 sequel, The Grudge 2, wasn't nearly the money maker the first flick was. By the end of the 00's, Gellar's career had slowed down a bit. It was the perfect time to start a family with Prinze! In 2009, the couple welcomed a daughter they named Charlotte Grace. While we're sad her return to TV in RInger was short-lived, Gellar and Prinz have a second baby on the way to keep them both busy for the time being.


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No. 2:  Judith Light, One Life to Live

Acclaimed actress Judith Light swore she'd never do a soap opera or a sitcom. Luckily for the millions of fans who adored her during her Daytime Emmy-winning stint as Karen Wolek on One Life to Live, and later as Angela Bower on the hit 80's sitcom Who's The Boss?, someone convinced Light to eat those words!

Light dominated the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series category two years running (1980-81), with her legendary portrait of a housewife-turned-hooker. She left the serial in 1983 and headed straight for primetime, where she starred opposite Tony Danza in Who's The Boss? for eight seasons.

The 1990's saw Light cast in a slew of female-centric Made-For-TV movies. Along the way, she continued to work on the stage. In 2000, she appeared on Broadway in the Pulitzer Prize-winning play Wit

Light began a lengthy association with NBC's Law & Order franchise in 2002, recurring as Judge Elizabeth Donnelly on Law & Order: SVU. From 2006-10, Light returned to her Mouse House roots in the primetime hit Ugly Betty, playing boozing matriarch Claire Meade. The role allowed Light to draw on both her sudsy and sitcom pasts at the same time.

This Daytime Emmy winner is currently celebrating being nominated for another award, a Tony, for her work in Other Desert Cities on Broadway in 2011.   

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No. 1: Julianne Moore, As the World Turns


Arguably the most successful Daytime Emmy winner, Julianne Moore has navigated her way right to the top of Hollywood's A-List. Moore has yet to receive an Oscar—after four nominations— but what she does have is a shiny, Outstanding Younger Actress in a Drama Series Daytime Emmy from 1988 on her mantle. The actress won for her dual role as Frannie and Sabrina Hughes on As The World Turns

Moore left the CBS Daytime sudser in 1988. She appeared in a few forgettable parts in primetime and film, prior to landing her film break in the thriller The Hand That Rocks The Cradle in 1992. Outside of a role in the 1993 blockbuster The Fugitive, Moore continued to struggle to find roles worthy her talent; that was until 1997's Boogie Nights. Moore was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, a Golden Globe and a SAG Award for the chops she displayed as porn star Amber Waves. It was official: Julianne Moore was a movie star!

Moore continued to stand out on the big screen in films like The Big Lebowski (1998), The End of The Affair (1999) and Magnolia (1999) as the 90's came to an end. In 2001, she took on the role of FBI Agent Clarice Starling—made famous by Jodie Foster in Silence of The Lambs—in the sequel Hannibal. The film, which saw Sir Anthony Hopkins reprise the unspeaking title character, grossed over $350 million.

In 2002. Moore won ever more acclaim in the period films The Hours and Far From Heaven. She was nominated for the Academy Award for both films — Outstanding Lead Actress for Far From Heaven and Outstanding Supporting Actress for The Hours

In 2004, Moore attempted to change pace a bit from the meaty dramas she'd been doing, by starring opposite Pierce Brosnan in the romantic comedy Laws of Attraction. Unfortunately, the experiment flopped at the box office.

Moore continued to appear in independent and/or lesser known films throughout much of the remainder of the 00's, before being nominated for yet another Golden Globe for the role of Charley, opposite Colin Firth in Tom Ford's 2009 directorial debut A Single Man. That year also saw Moore return to As The World Turns as Frannie Hughes for a goodbye cameo.

Her career on an upswing, Moore garnered further acclaim in 2010's lesbian family dramedy The Kids Are Alright. The year 2012 saw Moore embody controversial—and oft times comical—former vice-presidential hopeful Sarah Palin in the HBO film Game Change.

It was recently confirmed that Moore will play the mother of Carrie in a remake of the Stephen King horror classic. Not too shabby for an ex-Daytimer!

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