Meet the "Guiding Light" Cast 57 Years Since the First Episode Was Aired

For 72 years “Guiding Light”, the longest-running soap opera ever, was part of American households either through radio, where it started, or television. Throughout the years it became a launching pad for several of today’s biggest stars like Kevin Bacon, James Earl Jones, and Calista Flockhart. Let’s find out what happened to the cast 57 years after its first episode.

Image Credits: Getty Images

Image Credits: Getty Images


 

Kim Zimmer

Reva Shayne, Kim Zimmer’s character on “Guiding Light”, and one of the show’s main characters, was certainly not a boring one. From being diagnosed as a manic-depressive, being taken for dead twice, losing her memory, fighting a clone that tried to overtake her life and marrying 7 different men, she sure gave viewers a lot to be entertained with.

Image Credits: Getty Images

Image Credits: Getty Images


 

Three Deaths, Seven Husbands and a Clone

After the end of Guiding Light, Kim was part of the Off-Broadway hit “Love, Loss, and What I Wore” and to appear in several productions of the musical “Gipsy”. In  2011 she released a memoir called “I'm Just Sayin'!: Three Deaths, Seven Husbands and a Clone! My Life as a Daytime Diva.”

Image Credits: Getty Images

Image Credits: Getty Images

 

Almost 10 years after Guiding Light ended, and even though she considers herself retired, she has been recently seen playing the role of Tori in the sixth season of the show “Venice the Series”, along with “Guiding Light’s” fellow actor Robert Newman, with whom she is destined to share a romance in the new show.

Image Credits: Getty Images

Image Credits: Getty Images


 

It runs in the family

Two years before first appearing on “Guiding Light”, Zimmer got married to actor/director A.C. Weary with whom she had 3 children: Rachel, Max and Jake Weary. Jake was the only one of the three to follow his parents’ footsteps in showbiz. As an actor, Jake has been on shows such as “Law and Order: SVU” and, more recently, “Animal Kingdom”.  

Image Credits: Getty Images

Image Credits: Getty Images


 

Grant Aleksander

Actor Grant Aleksander played the role of Philip Spaulding from 1983 to 2009 on “Guiding Light”, a role that got him 4 Emmy nominations. Although being let go by the show in 2004 and having his character killed, producers wanted him back 5 years later, which led to a plot twist that revealed his character was actually alive.

Image Credits: Getty Images

Image Credits: Getty Images


 

A love for the stage

A few years after the show ended, Aleksander went back to school to get his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Theatre. He was part of the “Tainted Dreams” show for 3 years as Adam Clark, but apart from that he has since been almost solely dedicated to theatre projects, such as the plays “Mary, Mary” and the Off-Broadway “Perfect Crime”.

Image Credits: Getty Images

Image Credits: Getty Images


 

Saving animals

The actor is married to former actress Sherry Ramsey since 1987 and is currently living in New Jersey. A confessed vegetarian, Aleksander is very much involved in animal rights causes (he and his wife are known for regularly taking in stray animals) and is an active member of the organization PETA.

Image Credits: Getty Images

Image Credits: Getty Images


 

Robert Newman

His role as bad boy Joshua Lewis, Reva Shayne’s on and off husband in “Guiding Light”, which he played for 28 years straight, has won him 2 Emmy nominations for Outstanding Leading Actor in a Drama Series. Along with Kim Zimmer, he became one of the show’s main characters.

Image Credits: Getty Images

Image Credits: Getty Images


 

Once a TV star, always a TV star

After Guiding Light, Newman went on to appear as a guest star in several TV shows such as “Law and Order”, “NCIS” and “House of Cards”, and to appear on the blockbuster hit “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” as the Police Captain. In 2013 he joined Kim Zimmer in the show “Venice the Series”, where he played the role of Richard.   

Image Credits: Getty Images

Image Credits: Getty Images


 

Blissful love

Unlike his character Josh Lewis on “Guiding Light”, 62-year-old Newman has had quite a stable personal life throughout the years. He is married to Britt Helfer with whom he’s been for more than 35 years. Together they had two children, Connor and Kendal.


 

Beth Chamberlin

Chamberlin played the role of Beth Raines in “Guiding Light” from 1989 to 1991, and later from 1997 to the end of the show in 2009. She also played the role of Lorelei Hills, Beth’s dissociative personality. The role of Beth got her 2 Emmy nominations as well as 2 nominations at the Soap Opera Digest Awards.

Image Credits: Yodaluver28 / YouTube

Image Credits: Yodaluver28 / YouTube


 

The show must go on

After the end of “Guiding Light”, Chamberlin went on to appear as a guest star on a number of TV shows such as “Steamboat”, “Chicago Med”, “Law and Order” and “House of Cards”. During her “Guiding Light” hiatus, from 1991 to 1997, the actress also appeared on the shows “Days of Our Lives” and “Columbo”.

Image Credits: Getty Images

Image Credits: Getty Images


 

She got physical

Chamberlin has been married to chiropractor Peter Roy since 1994. She is an avid fitness fan, certified kettlebell trainer and a member of the National Strength and Conditioning Association. In 2008 she launched the DVDs “The Kettlebell Way to Your Perfect Body” (volume 1 and volume 2), as well as a fitness website.  

Image Credits: Ann Kelly / YouTube

Image Credits: Ann Kelly / YouTube


 

Maureen Garrett

Actress Maureen Garrett played the role of one of the show’s most conflicted and complex characters, the spoiled and neurotic Holly Lindsey. From an alcohol addiction to being committed to a psychiatric facility and kidnapping several children, her character was anything but boring. Maureen got 3 Emmy nominations and 3 Soap Opera Digest Awards nominations for her role.

Image Credits: BLACKDAHLIA1972 / YouTube

Image Credits: BLACKDAHLIA1972 / YouTube


 

A mysterious disappearance

After “Guiding Light” ended in 2009, we never heard again from the actress, not even in the “60 Minutes” episode about the show’s cancellation, which included interviews with several of GL’s main actors. She seemed to have retired from acting altogether. She ended up leaving New York and pursuing other interests such as sculpting, writing and learning Spanish.

 “I no longer felt the desire to pursue acting,” she later said about her retirement from showbiz. “That muse had flown.”

Image Credits: Getty Images

Image Credits: Getty Images

 

She did, however, return to acting in 2012 when she accepted the invitation of artistic director Charles Towers to play the role of Vivian Woosley in the play “Ghost Writer”. For her, it ended up being a return to her acting roots and a way of overcoming her mother’s recent passing.

Image Credits: Merrimack Repertory Theatre / YouTube

Image Credits: Merrimack Repertory Theatre / YouTube


 

A surprising announcement

2012 was also the year that she revealed some personal information publicly that she had never spoken about before. After 20 years of being together, Garrett finally talked about her relationship with her partner Janet Morgan, with whom she’s had three sons.

Image Credits: bandstandmike / YouTube

Image Credits: bandstandmike / YouTube

 

All of their kids are somehow involved in environmental and humanitarian projects. Garrett is also deeply interested in many issues such as clean water, healthy food, and agroforestry. She and Janet have been helping out their second son to develop a food forest in Costa Rica.

Image Credits: Getty Images

Image Credits: Getty Images


 

Michael O’ Leary

O’Leary played the role of Dr. Frederick “Rick” Bauer from 1983 to 2009, for which he also received an Emmy nomination.  Philip Spaulding’s best friend contributed to many of the show’s most dramatic and exciting moments, such as aiding Michelle Bauer's escape from prison or being responsible for Ross Marler’s death.

Image Credits: Getty Images

Image Credits: Getty Images


 

A theatre man

From 1991 to 1995, O’Leary took a break from “Guiding Light”, a period in which he appeared on a few episodes of “Doogie Howser M.D.”, co-wrote and starred on the play “Scars” and wrote the play “Rain”. His latest know film role was in the movie “The Glorious Resurrection of Claire Owens”, currently in post-production.

Image Credits: Getty Images

Image Credits: Getty Images


 

New Love

The actor was married for 28 years to Joni Parker with whom he had two daughters: Kate McKenna and Caroline Parker. Their marriage ended in 2016. In 2019 he announced that he was engaged to Christina, a woman he met on a dating app.

Image Credits: Getty Images

Image Credits: Getty Images


 

Marj Dusay

Dusay was one of the 4 actresses that played the role of matriarch Alexandra Spaulding on “Guiding Light”. She was also the one who played it the longest, even though on and off, from 1993 to 2009. Her performance got her an Emmy nomination in 1995 for Outstanding Lead Actress and for Outstanding Villainess at the Soap Opera Digest Awards.

Image Credits: bandstandmike / YouTube

Image Credits: bandstandmike / YouTube


 

Permanently evil

During one of her hiatuses from “Guiding Light”, Dusay played the role of the evil Vanessa Bennett in the show “All my Children” (1998 to 2002). The actress also appeared on a number of movies such as “Love Walked In” and “Pride & Loyalty”.

Image Credits: Getty Images

Image Credits: Getty Images


 

The end

The actress was married twice in her life: with John Dusay from 1955 to 1962, with whom she had two children; and with Thomas Perine from 1967 to 1987, the year he died. Sadly, Dusay passed away in January 2020, in her sleep, at 83 years old.

Image Credits: Getty Images

Image Credits: Getty Images


 

Kevin Bacon

Acclaimed and award-winning actor Kevin Bacon played the teenage alcoholic Tim “T.J.” Werner for one year from 1980 to 1981 on “Guiding Light”. It wasn’t the actor's first time on a soap opera since he had already appeared on the show “Search for Tomorrow”.

Image Credits: Getty Images

Image Credits: Getty Images


 

Dancing his way to success

After “Guiding Light”, Bacon went on to star in the box-office hit “Footloose” (1984) which catapulted into stardom. He’s had a highly successful career which includes roles in major hit movies such as “Tremors” (1990), “JKF” (1991) and “Mystic River” (2003). Recently he has been seen playing the role of Jackie Rohr in the show “City on a Hill”.

Image Credits: Getty Images

Image Credits: Getty Images


 

A family of stars

He’s been married to actress Kyra Sedgwick since 1988. They met while filming the TV movie “Lemon Sky” and ended up getting married that same year. They’ve had 2 children together: Travis and Sosie Ruth Bacon. Their daughter ended up following her parents’ footsteps: she is an actress best known for playing Skye in the show “13 Reasons Why”.

Image Credits: Getty Images

Image Credits: Getty Images

 

Do you still remember watching “Guiding Light”? Who was your favorite character from the show? Let us know all about it in the comments section and don’t forget to share the article with other fans of the popular soap-opera!

Sources: Out, NYTimes, IMDB, People, Thrillist

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