After getting over the shock of The Young and the Restless making the boneheaded decision to recast Malcolm Winters, one of daytime's most popular hunks ever, with Family Matters alum Darius McCrary, an actor about as physically dissimilar to Shemar Moore—the Emmy-winning, wildly popular stud who originated the role— as humanly possible, I couldn't help but recall other ridiculous recasts soaps have attempted over the years. Some worked. Some didn't, but one thing is for sure, this is nothing new for daytime!
No. 10: Adam Lazarre-White for Randy Brooks as Nathan on The Young and the Restless
The Young and the Restless seems to make a habit of not bothering to make sure their African-American actors resemble the people they are replacing. In 1995, light-skinned, green-eyed Adam Lazarre-White took over the role of Nathan Hastings from the darker toned Randy Brooks. To go along with Nate's new skin and eye color, the soap quickly wrote the reformed mob henchman-turned-upstanding P.I. into a corner by having him cheat on wife Dr. Olivia Barber Hastings (Tonya Lee Williams) with an HIV-positive Keesha. Nate was killed off in 1996. Results: Failed.
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No. 9: Robin Christopher for Alicia Coppola as Lorna on Another World
Glamorous romance novelist Felicia Gallant (Linda Dano) searched for years for the daughter she gave birth to as an unwed, teen mother. Imagine her surprise, when Lorna Devon (Alicia Coppola), the scheming music exec/henchwoman of resident villain Carl Hutchins (Charles Keating) turned out to be Felicia's long lost love child with one-named mob kingpin Lucas (John Aprea). Italian American Coppola quickly shot to popularity on Another World as Lorna, due to her volatile scenes opposite Dano, Aprea and Alla Korot who played Lucas and Felicia's adopted daughter Jenna. When the actress left the role in 1994 after a three-year stint, TPTB decided to replace the olive-skinned, dark-haired actress with flame-haired, porcelain-toned All My Children veteran Robin Christopher. While the recast was initially jarring, Christopher eventually made the role her own, thanks to a ready chemistry with Dano (the two would later play mother and daughter again as Rae Cummings and Skye Chandler Quartermaine on the ABC soap lineup) and popularity opposite John Bolger, who played Lorna's tragic love Gabe. Results: Mixed.
No. 8: Drake Hogestyn for Wayne Northrop as Roman on Days of our Lives
Days of our Lives fans went into an extreme state of mourning in 1984 when Roman Brady, the beloved, supercop played by Wayne Northrop, "died" in his little brother Bo's (Peter Reckell) arms. Roman had fallen from a cliff after being shot by demented villain Stefano (Joe Mascolo) on his tropical island. Bo left his brother to go for help, and when he returned the body was gone! How would Roman's widow, sainted psychiatrist Dr. Marlena Evans (Deidre Hall) ever go on? In 1986 a mysterious man going by "The Pawn" (played by Drake Hogestyn) entered Doc's orbit. After mistaking The Pawn, who later adopted the name John Black, for Stefano, Marlena learned he was really Roman! Or so she thought. The fact that Hogestyn was much taller than Northrop, with straight hair to Northrop's kinky and a burly, hairy chest, while Northrop was as smooth as a baby's bottom didn't matter to DAYS fans. All we could see was the smoldering chemistry between Hogestyn and Hall. Fast forward to 1991 when Hall and Northrop were lured back to the soap after years away from Salem, and it was revealed that Hogestyn's Roman was a fake, brainwashed and implanted into the Bradys' lives by Stefano. The real Roman was back, but fans could care less. Hogestyn's insane onscreen connection with Hall resulted in the show scripting a torrid affair between John and Marlena that saw that couple's popularity surpassing Roman and Doc's by far. Results: Successful.
No. 7 Jamie Luner for Marcy Walker as Liza on All My Children
Poor Jamie Luner. The red-headed Savannah and Melrose Place sex pot didn't know what she was in for when she accepted pal Chuck Pratt's offer to take on the role of Liza Colby, a character made popular on All My Children by one of daytime's most beloved blondes, Marcy Walker. Fans were enraged that TIIC assumed we would accept Luner in the role, or believe for one second she had gone to high school with Jesse (Darnell Williams) and Angie (Debbi Morgan). Couple that with the decision to have the once icy snob screwing Zach Slater (Thorsten Kaye) on a blackjack table on her very first episode, and this recast was the perfect recipe for disaster. Results: TurboFailure.
No. 6: Joan Collins for Marj Dusay as Alex on Guiding Light
Look up stunt casting in the soap opera dictionary and Joan Collins' campy, three-month stint as Alexandra Spaulding on Guiding Light in 2002 will be cited. While it was neat to see the Dynasty legend back on our screens, it was more than apparent from episode one Collins wasn't trying to channel the role's previous holder's Beverlee McKinsey or Marj Dusay. No, she was playing Alexis Carrington in Springfield, complete with her British accent and startled, over-the-top looks and inflection! Fun, but silly. Results: Failed.
No. 5: James DePaiva for Nicholas Walker as Max on One Life to Live
No one could play con man Max Holden on One Life to Live quite like James DePaiva. So when the ABC soap had the opportunity to bring DePaiva back to replace Nicholas Walker in 1991, they jumped at the chance. Who cared if it had already been explained in story that Max had received reconstructive surgery? With DePaiva back in the role, OLTL knew fans would accept the minor glossing over of that particular story point. Results: Successful.
No. 4: Greg Beecroft for Ian Buchanan as Duke Lavery on General Hospital
What was General Hospital thinking when they attempted to replace daytime superstar Ian Buchanan with Greg Beecroft in 1989? The heat Buchanan shared with Finola Hughes's Anna, wasn't something easily duplicated. Then, just when fans were finally starting to warm up to Beecroft in the role, badfella Julian Jerome killed the mobster with the heart of gold. Results: Failed.
No. 3: Josh Taylor for Wayne Northrop as Roman on Days of our Lives
What is it about the role of Roman Brady on Days of our Lives that causes TPTB to attempt insane recasts? After somehow managing to convince fans that Drake Hogestyn hadn't been playing the role of Roman for five years (1986-91), and that Wayne Northop's version was the "real" Roman (Stay with me), in 1997 DAYS once again brought the character of Roman back to Salem, this time played by none other than Josh Taylor, who from 1977-87 had played the popular role of Chris Kositchek,one of the groomsmen at Roman and Marlena's first wedding. Sigh. Results: Failed.
No. 2: Kassie DePaiva for Mia Korf as Blair on One Life to Live
We've seen a lot of ridiculous recasts in our time. Blondes being recast with brunettes, Hairy guys being switched with smooth ones, short soapers replaced with tall ones, but we can only recall one time when a character's ethnicity was changed via recast! From 1991-93 Amerasian actress Mia Korf played the role of Dorian Lord's scheming niece Blair Cramer. Blair, the daughter of Dorian's sister, had been conceived via rape, supposedly by a man of Asian descent. When blonde-haired, Southern-twanged Kassie DePaiva (then Wesley) took over the role in 1993, OLTL hoped fans wouldn't pay much attention to Blair's new look, or her accent for that matter. DePaiva proved so popular as the hell-on-wheels schemer it soon didn't matter where Blair's parents originated from. Llanview lovers were just glad Blair was back in town and DePaiva was playing her! Results: Successful.
No. 1: Joan Crawford for Christina Crawford as Joan on The Secret Storm
The most ridonkulous recast in soap history has to be when film legend Joan Crawford subbed for her hospitalized daughter Christina on the now-defunct soap opera The Secret Storm in 1968. Whoever thought America would be dumb enough to buy a 60-year-old woman playing a role generally inhabited by her 29-year-old adopted daughter had to be smoking a little sumthin, sumthin. It made for one helluva chapter in Christina's book Mommie Dearest though! Results: Failed.