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.