Lady Bosses: 6 Female Soap Opera Gangsters Who Put Hits Out on Daytime Television




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.

14 Responses

  1. Profile photo of nysam
    nysam

    Sad to see that 75% of the female mobsters are from GH.

    Cartoony had an opportunity to cut back on the gloom and doom of mafia stories that Guza loved so much but they haven’t. Sonny, Milo, Max, Shawn, Morgan, Duke, Luke, Julian, Carlos and Ava….the mob characters are more under this regime than under previous ones.

    I almost makes me nostalgic for the days when GH’s mob stories were just Sonny and Jason vs. what we have today.

  2. Profile photo of Mets82
    Mets82

    I liked Faith Roscoe. She was a hottie. Also, do you think they’d ever bring back Olivia Jerome? I wasnt watching GH during the first Jerome run, but did she die?

  3. Profile photo of ChrisGa
    ChrisGa

    Wow, Saundra Santiago as Carmen Santos. Talk about scenery chewing, any dozen weed whackers combined couldn’t mow down as much scenery as that woman; gotta say I was not at all a fan of that aspect of Guiding Light. And the whole Danny/Michelle/Carmen dynamic was made even more unbearable when Michelle was recast with the inferior Nancy St. Alban, who lacked the charisma or chemistry with Paul Anthony Stewart that Bethany Joy Lenz had in spades. Not one of that shows better long-term arcs IMO.

    On another note, that pic above really makes me miss Marj Dusay on my screen(she probably would’ve been great as Madeline against Kathleen Gati on GH although I’m certainly not complaining because Donna Mills has been EVERYTHING in that role so far). I’d love to see her back on a soap in the future.

  4. Profile photo of twb6yz
    twb6yz

    Going way back on AMC, Brooke English’s mother on AMC was The Cobra. I remember for years she was a sweet invalid in a wheelchair for years then rising up out of a chair with a gun to shoot someone. Great reveal!

    Would we consider Orleana Grimaldi from ATWT a mobster?

  5. Profile photo of ChrisGa
    ChrisGa

    [quote=twb6yz]Would we consider Orleana Grimaldi from ATWT a mobster?[/quote]

    Haha, I totally forgot about Orlena Grimaldi; Claire Bloom was fantastic in that role. It lost a lot when the role was recast after she left.

  6. Profile photo of blake3b
    blake3b

    [quote=ChrisGa]Wow, Saundra Santiago as Carmen Santos. Talk about scenery chewing, any dozen weed whackers combined couldn’t mow down as much scenery as that woman; gotta say I was not at all a fan of that aspect of Guiding Light. And the whole Danny/Michelle/Carmen dynamic was made even more unbearable when Michelle was recast with the inferior Nancy St. Alban, who lacked the charisma or chemistry with Paul Anthony Stewart that Bethany Joy Lenz had in spades. Not one of that shows better long-term arcs IMO.[/quote]

    I agree with all of this!!!!

  7. Profile photo of nysam
    nysam

    @Mets82….yes, Olivia Jerome did die circa 1990 after being redeemed by the love of Colton Shore (Lucy’s cousin). If memory serves me she was gunned down in a courtroom and died in Colton’s arms.

    With Cartoony at the helm her death certainly means squat…..in his 2 year tenure… Julian, Duke, Faison, Robin, AJ, Jerry, Jason, Stavros, Helena have all returned from the dead so it is possible for Olivia to return but highly unlikely since she shares the same name as Dante’s mother.

  8. Profile photo of SwanQueen59
    SwanQueen59

    [quote=blake3b][quote=ChrisGa]Wow, Saundra Santiago as Carmen Santos. Talk about scenery chewing, any dozen weed whackers combined couldn’t mow down as much scenery as that woman; gotta say I was not at all a fan of that aspect of Guiding Light. And the whole Danny/Michelle/Carmen dynamic was made even more unbearable when Michelle was recast with the inferior Nancy St. Alban, who lacked the charisma or chemistry with Paul Anthony Stewart that Bethany Joy Lenz had in spades. Not one of that shows better long-term arcs IMO.[/quote]

    I agree with all of this!!!![/quote]

    Count me in on this one. Sigh. Danny and Michelle were never the same chemistry intense couple once Bethany Joy Lenz (now Galleoti), left the role. Reminds how the current Lante has deflated since the role of L was recast. But that’s me….. 0:)

  9. Profile photo of Daniel St. John
    Daniel St. John

    I still think AMC dropped the ball big tine by making Vanessa into Proteus. There was so much more potential for the character as the scheming grande dame and her complicated relationships with her sons were some if the best mother/child stuff on the show. Plus she served a role that I always found lacking on AMC in that she was the perfect nemesis for Erica Kane that didn ‘t revolve around fighting over a man. The twisted jealous hatred Vanessa had for Erica should have been mined for all of the delicious bitchy catfights the show could muster.
    And I was really hoping to see Vanessa turn her attention to Adam after she was done with Palmer.

  10. Profile photo of Ryan45212
    Ryan45212

    I for one loved Carmen and loved how SS played her. The show messed up with the recast though in time I did like Nancy..once she got better.. They messed up Carmen by having her killed then bringing her back the character wasnt the same… I did think Carmen and Ed bauer had great chemistry.. So what if your gf wanted your daughter dead.

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