No. 5: Claudia Zacchara, General Hospital
Daytime television has been full of dangerous women practically since the invention of the soap opera. Perhaps the most lethal of all female soap characters is the lady gangster. Mobbed up femme fatales, like the late Claudia Zacchara (Sarah Brown) on General Hospital, aren't afraid to be just as ruthless and unhinged as their male counterparts to get what they want — and they want everything!
Ms. Z and her adopted brother/bio son Johnny (Brandon Barash) thought they were so clever, when they put a hit out on Sonny Corinthos (Maurice Benard). Claudia barely lost a night's sleep, when her gunman took down Sonny's little boy, Michael (then Dylan Cash), instead.
Claudia eventually married Sonny, combining their rival mafia families. The naughty nuptials didn't make the sociopathic brunette feel any more secure. In fact, she went so bonkers, she tried to kidnap Josslyn, the daughter of Sonny's ex-wife Carly Corinthos-Jacks (Laura Wright)! Good thing a rapidly-aged Michael (then Drew Garrett) knew how to swing an axe handle by that point.
No. 4: Vanessa Bennett aka Proteus, All My Children
When Vanessa Bennett (Marj Dusay) first arrived in Pine Valley on All My Children, she appeared to be little more than Dr. David Hayward's (Vincent Irizarry) grifter mother. The Erica Kane-obsessed con woman bounced checks all over town, yet managed to sucker Palmer Cortlandt (the late James Mitchell) into marriage.
Little did the Valley denizens know, Vanessa wasn't your run-of-the-mill gold digger. She was also an international drug overlord, going by the code name Proteus. Take that, Walter White!
Vanessa's younger son Leo (a pre-movie star Josh Duhamel) managed to save several distressed damsels from his toxic mother, most notably true love Greenlee Smythe (Rebeccca Budig). Leo's heroics cost him dearly.
When Vanessa kidnapped Greenlee, the drug queenpin and her son had one last fatal encounter over a waterfall. Greenlee survived, while both Leo and Vanessa were presumed dead.
No. 3: Carmen Santos, Guiding Light
Danny Santos (Paul Anthony Stewart) had one simple task on Guiding Light — kill the WASP princess who murdered his brother Mick. Danny's mobster mama, Carmen (Saundra Santiago), didn't count on her son falling hard for Michelle "Meee-Shell" Bauer (Bethany Joy Lenz).
To say Carmen proved to be the mother-in-law from hell, would be an understatement on par with mentioning Reva Shayne (Kim Zimmer) being slightly promiscuous. Carmen spent years trying to off Michelle (by then Nancy St. Alban), all the while desperately trying to keep Danny from leaving a life of crime.
For a time, Carmen found a kindred spirit in diabolical royal Edmund Winslow (David Andrew MacDonald). There wasn't much time for romance for our Carmen, however, what with running an organized crime empire and constantly trying to rid the earth of Michelle.
Carmen's final battle with Dr. Ed Bauer's (Peter Simon) daughter ended with the deranged lady boss languishing in a coma. She's probably consumed with thoughts of destroying "Meeee-Shell" to this day.
No. 2: Faith Roscoe, General Hospital
Faith Roscoe (Cynthia Preston) was determined to seize control of the Corinthos family's territory on General Hospital. She found ready allies in Ned Ashton (Wally Kurth) and Ric Lansing (Rick Hearst). When neither had the stones to go as far as Faith was willing to go, she found a more lethal co-conspirator in arms dealer Lorenzo Alcazar (Ted King).
Eventually, Faith realized a woman of means had to go it alone. After it was all said and done, Faith proved to be no match for Sonny, but damn if she didn't give it the college try! Who can ever forget her church house shoot-out with Sonny's top henchman, Jason Morgan (Steve Burton)?
Photo credit: ABC
No. 1: The Jerome Sisters, General Hospital
In the late 80's/early 90's, Olivia Jerome (Tonya Walker) battled with her brother Julian (then Jason Culp) for control of their father's mob empire on General Hospital. While as ruthless as the men in her powerful family, Olivia's obsession with ex-lover Duke Lavery (Ian Buchanan) proved quite the designer Achilles heel.
Flash forward to 2013, and another brutal blonde going by the surname Jerome descended upon Port Charles, New York. Like her half-sister, Ava Jerome (Maura West) has a weakness for dark, brooding men (Silas, Morgan, Sonny). Unlike Olivia, however, Ava has quite the knack for never getting caught redhanded — and we love her for it.
In less than a year, Julian's (William deVry) kid sister has managed to get away with shooting Olivia Falconeri (Lisa LoCicero), committing fraud against the Quartermaines, killing Connie (Kelly Sullivan), framing AJ (Sean Kanan) and covering up the Q scion's murder, alongside rival mob boss Sonny Corinthos.
Did we forget to mention she just might have dispatched a henchman on a pregnant nurse? I guess blondes really do have more fun.
If you love lady bosses, check out The Santangelo novels by Jackie Collins!