13 Soap Opera Sobbers Who Have Perfected The Oprah Ugly Cry

No. 13: Kelly Monaco, General Hospital

It's a good thing Frank Valentini is excellent at managing General Hospital's budget, otherwise ABC's last remaining soap might have gone broke from buying Kleenex for the character of Sam McCall (Kelly Monaco)! Sam hasn't had many opportunities to turn on the water works lately. She's too busy being happy with Dr. Silas Clay (Michael Easton), but if and when she learns Robin (Kimberly McCullough) is off trying to save Jason, Port Charles, New York will once again be under a flood warning.

 — Regan Cellura

No. 12: Allen Leech, Downton Abbey

Allen Leech's Tom Branson is Downton Abbey's stoic former chauffer-turned-in-law. However, while watching his beloved Lady Sybil (Jessica Brown Findlay) die in child birth, he showcased the ability to deliver quite the Ugly Cry.

 — Jenna Dorsi

19 Responses

  1. Profile photo of soapbaby

    I don’t get the reference, “The Oprah Ugly Cry”. Can someone enlighten me?

    Also, I’m not sure what the criteria is for eligibility. Does an actor have to appear ugly when they cry? Does the actor have to currently act on television?

    I think Laura Wright has mastered the soap actress’ cry from her time on Loving to Guiding Light to General Hospital.

    When playing a young Lily Walsh, Martha Byrne could cry with the best of them.

    Honorable mentions to: Patsy Pease (Kimberly Brady Donovan, DAYS), Judith Light (Karen Wolek on the stand!, OLTL) Trevor St. John (Todd Manning being executed, OLTL)

  2. Profile photo of Jon

    I don’t get the Oprah Ugly Cry reference either. I never much watched her. I agree with all your choices but I think Susan Seaforth Hayes, Eric Braeden and Peter Bergman are great criers too.

  3. Profile photo of SoapArmageddon

    I go weak at the knees when I see a sexy, bad guy shedding tears, so my list would include:

    James Scott as EJ on Days
    Lammon Rucker as Marshall Travers on ATWT
    Hunt Block as Craig Montgomery on ATWT (in his case they were usually crocodile tears)
    Justin Deas as Keith Timmons on Santa Barbara (not sexy but cute as hell)

    I’d also include every actor/actress who has played a member of the Spencer family on GH. :)

  4. Profile photo of MrRHS

    The Oprah Ugly Cry is basically a full-fledged snot nose, uncontrollable tears, scrunched-up face type of crying. You’re not trying to maintain your composure.

  5. Profile photo of RebeccaJ

    WHAT?! You can’t list uglee criers and not have Sharon Case on the list! Geez, I thought she’d be neck and neck for the number one spot w/Melody Thomas Scott!

  6. Profile photo of

    And let’s not forget Finola Hughes, though she hardly looks ugly when she cries. Every time anyone even mentions Robin’s name, water gushes from her eyes.

  7. Profile photo of Mets82

    Yeah, I have to put Finola Hughes on there as well as Judith Light on the stand. Brooke from B&B and Katie from B&B I thnk cry the most of anyone. Yes, I’ll put Paul from Y&R on there as well.

  8. Profile photo of liason4real

    Lawd. Lucky Spencer snotted his way around PC the last time JJ was on the show, which is one of the reasons that I hope the actor stays far, far, away from GH!

  9. Profile photo of ChrisGa

    Yeah, Jonathan Jackson and Doug Davidson definitely need to be at the top of this list, along with Hayden Panetierre.

    However, I’m stunned that one actress–who could’ve cried so many tears that it filled up that fountain she danced around in when she proclaimed herself the “Slut of Springfield”–didn’t make this list. Hello, KIM ZIMMER anyone? If memory serves, she even cried on cue for Oprah back in the day when she was doing one of her soap-themed episodes and the topic of crying on soaps came up.

    I’d probably also add scenery-chewer extraordinaire Florencia Lozano to the list.

  10. Profile photo of timepass

    [quote=RebeccaJ]WHAT?! You can’t list uglee criers and not have Sharon Case on the list! Geez, I thought she’d be neck and neck for the number one spot w/Melody Thomas Scott![/quote]

    Here, here this list is ridiculous without Sharon Case.

  11. Profile photo of AlexB

    Melodie, no! “Enough H20 to solve the California drought problem and tear stains on chinchilla coats”…I shouldn’t be laughing loud enough to scare my own self. Imma need you to stop it. LOL.

    And that damn Jonathan Jackson….I’m amazed he was never hospitalized due to extreme dehydration.

  12. Profile photo of Jamestx

    Let’s not forget Debbi Morgan; specifically on the online version of All My Children. When her daughter was kidnapped by human traffickers, those tears were a flowin thru much of the short lived online version.

  13. Profile photo of twb6yz

    I don’t know about “ugly” crier but wen Lesli Kay portrayed Molly on ATWT I thought she was the best crier on daytime. Martha Byrne was an ugly crier and Kelly Hensley was the most annoying crier with a weird moan at the same time as she cried.

  14. Profile photo of marknsprmo

    This should have a response with 10 beautiful criers. Susan Seaforth Hayes would top my list. She turns crying into high art. With her head leaning to the side like a ballet dancer doing swan lake and those eye lashes extended for days, Susan looks like she’s posing for Da Vinci when the tears pour down. Geez I kinda miss the old days when her mascara would run too! A solid second place would go to Deidre Hall. She never looks more beautiful than when her eyes are filled with tears and she is fighting back that sob! Maybe her most memorable scene ever is the day she returned to Salem and saw John for the first time. However nearly all of her crying scenes are memorable.
    And Eric Braeden is at his most likeable when he is shedding tears. His vulnerable side is what keeps him from being a total jerk.

    And while we are at it, we might go for the can’t cry on cue to save their life. No. 1 on that list would be Kristen Alphonse. No matter how she scrunches up that pretty face, she can’t seem to produce a single tear. I do admire her for not resorting to the eye drops trick though.

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