And now for the long-awaited TOP FIVE! These are the ones that I consider to be most notable in Guiding Light’s illustrious history in terms of villainous behavior. A couple just might surprise you….
5. Lucille Wexler – Deranged villainess Lucille Wexler was first introduced in July 1978. Lucille had a daughter named Amanda who was a talented classical pianist whom Lucille sheltered and treated like a little girl. However, Amanda soon began blossoming into a woman, thanks to artist Ben McFarren. Amanda admitted to him that she couldn’t shake the memory of being twelve years old and hearing a man beating Lucille in her bedroom. The horrible episode ended with Lucille telling Amanda firmly that she must never trust a man. Lucille continued to nurture this fear throughout her daughter’s life, to the extent that Amanda remained essentially a child, talking to dolls and avoiding intimate contact with men. With Ben’s help, Amanda threw away her dolls and became her own person. One day while Ben was getting ready for a shower, Lucille walked into the cottage and, behind Ben’s back, threw Ben’s electric razor into the shower. She also tried to poison his food with arsenic! Meanwhile, when Brandon Spaulding fell ill and was hovering near death, Lucille went to visit him at his nursing home. Brandon admitted to Lucille that Amanda was, in fact, his son Alan’s daughter by a woman whose name Brandon whispered to Lucille. Brandon insisted that Lucille tell Amanda the truth, but Lucille adamantly refused. During the intense confrontation, Lucille slowed down the IV drip, and he became short of breath while Lucille brusquely left the scene without summoning his nurse. Moments later, Lucille heard on her car radio that the legendary millionaire Brandon Spaulding was dead. The name that Brandon had whispered was Jane Marie Stafford. A woman named Jennifer Richards became the household manager. Jane Marie/Jennifer was forming such a close bond with Amanda and Lucille was becoming insanely jealous. Lucille also knew that Jennifer had caught on to her scheme to separate Ben and Amanda. A deranged Lucille began terrorizing Amanda with anonymous phone calls and hanging up whenever Amanda answered. She also began to remove items from her mansion so that she could frame Jennifer for theft. Lucille lunging at Jennifer with a gold-plated letter opener. As the two struggled, Lucille fell on the blunt instrument. When Amanda heard the commotion and rushed in, Lucille weakly murmured that Jennifer had tried to kill her. Lucille died on the operating table. After Lucille died on the operating table on October 20, 1980, Jennifer was arrested for her murder. The sordid truth about Amanda’s parentage was later revealed to everyone, and Jennifer was acquitted of Lucille’s murder. I never got to see Lucille Wexler live, just on YouTube. But with one scene I knew I was watching one twisted sister. Turns out I was absolutely correct! And just reading the short biography on the character is reading a list of misdeeds by a deranged woman.
4. Annie Dutton – Annie Dutton wasn’t always a “villain”, in fact when she first came to Springfield in 1994 she was a caring nurse who helped heal Josh after he broke his leg in the Fifth Street fire and they quickly fell in love. However, unknown to everyone was that she had been married to Dr. Rick Bauer but their marriage had broken down due to her alcohol problems. A bigger problem was that they were still legally married since his lawyer had died before the papers were filed! Annie conveniently neglected to inform Josh of this and the pair were engaged. Josh forgave Annie and they married. However, during their wedding on the carousel that Josh had built for Annie, Alexandra Spaulding arrived and told Josh that Reva was in fact alive, so they were still legally married! Though unnerved by Reva’s reappearance, Josh was determined to stay with Annie. Later, Josh and Reva fought for custody for their children, Marah and Shayne. Josh and Reva grew closer again but Shayne, and especially Marah, loved Annie and wanted her as their mommy, so Reva decided to stay away and told Josh she was in love with another man. In March 1996, Reva married Buzz Cooper and Josh legally married Annie in the Cedars chapel. Unfortunately, Annie knew that Josh was still in love with Reva. This infuriated Annie, who, by this time, started drinking again and became addicted to painkillers that she took to relieve migraines. Soon she was caught stealing drugs from the hospital and forging Rick’s name on prescriptions, and was consequently fired by Lillian Raines. Annie was still obsessed with Josh and decided the only way to keep him was to get pregnant. When Josh, who didn’t want another baby, stopped sleeping with her, an increasingly desperate Annie slashed her diaphragm, and then was twice artificially inseminated. Meanwhile, Annie succeeded in getting Josh back into her bed. In January 1997 her second insemination took and Annie became pregnant. When Annie told Josh about her pregnancy, without knowing for sure if she was pregnant, Josh decided to stay with Annie until the baby was born and then divorce her. After miscarrying the baby, she kept the dead fetus inside her just long enough to get in a fight with Reva. After provoking Reva to throw her down a staircase, she framed her rival for the miscarriage. Her deceptions were soon discovered though. Josh promptly ran back to Reva. Increasingly unbalanced, Annie moved in with her frequent co-conspirator Alan Spaulding. Together they tried to take over Lewis Oil and to sabotage the relationship between Reva and her newfound sister Cassie Layne. She soon returned to kidnap Reva. After leaving Reva on a plane to crash, she jumped without a parachute. Reva survived, Annie was presumed dead. Annie returned later, with a brand new face (Due to the recast Signy Coleman). Thanks to plastic surgery, she had her face remodeled after a woman named Teri DeMarco and returned to Springfield as a police detective. She began drugging Josh to break him away from Reva, seduced Alan and began seducing Frank. In January 2003, Josh and Reva managed to pry Annie’s location out of Alan, who was keeping Annie in a mental facility and footing the bill. At this time, Reva was receiving threatening phone calls and immediately wondered if Annie was the culprit. When she and Josh visited Annie, they were shocked to discover that while they had moved on with their lives, Annie had not. Annie was living in a replica of their study, believing that she was still married to Josh and raising his children. Annie was a great Villainess, especially the original Cynthia Waltros version. Annie was smart and caring but also fragile and dangerous. The Reva/Annie rivalry and subsequent Reva/Josh/Annie triangle is one of the more popular ones in Guiding Light history.
3. Alan Spaulding – Unlike many of the other characters Alan Spaulding would remain a fixture at Guiding Light from around 1977 onward. And so a paragraph would be insufficient in even scratching the surface of Alan’s many misdeeds…but I could highlight some of the more devious and cunning acts performed by this villainous character over the years. Alan Spaulding is a native of Chicago and was the owner of Spaulding Enterprises, after he wrested the company away from his own father, Brandon. The baby Alan’s wife Elizabeth was carrying died and afraid that she wouldn’t be able to handle the news Alan arranged an illegal adoption of Philip. Elizabeth quickly grew tired of Alan’s controlling nature and their marriage deteriorated. During their divorce he bribed Ramon de Vilar to claim to be Elizabeth’s lover to help gain custody. In 1984 Alan had eyes on wooing Vanessa Chamberlain but she had eyes on Billy Lewis. To break up Vanessa and Billy, Alan brought Billy’s ex-wife, Reva Shayne to town. Several weeks later, at a mask ball, Alan was shocked when a masked woman suddenly unmasked herself–it was Alexandra! Alex told her brother in no uncertain terms she was now in Springfield to make sure Alan’s days as President of Spaulding Enterprises were numbered! Alexandra arrived in town. She hated Alan for helping their father give her son Lujack up. Alex discovered that Alan was involved in the Dreaming Death plot to manufacture the Dreaming Death virus as a biological weapon. In 1987, Alan and India got involved in the black art market together. Alan got
the paintings into the states through India’s new art gallery. Alan then hired Reva to break up Alex and H.B and, in return, he arranged a paternity for her to discover if Josh or Kyle was Marah’s father. When Alan learned that Josh was indeed the father, he bribed the doctor to keep quiet to keep Reva and Josh apart. Alan changed the test results to look it like Kyle was Marah’s father. Alan staged a series of accidents to keep Phillip from marrying Blake but didn’t succeed. In 1994 Alan was released from prison and returned to Springfield in secret. Using the alias As Mr. Tashiwa, Alan tried to gain control of Spaulding and enlisted Roger’s help. Roger discovered Tashiwa’s true identity and became Alan’s partner while he successfully schemed to get back at Alex. Determined to break up Josh and Reva, Alan worked together with Josh’s ex-wife Annie Dutton. They found her in stripper Cassie Layne, who happened to be Reva’s long-lost sister. By threatening to make sure Cassie never saw Tammy again, Alan was able to force her to do what he wanted. Unfortunately, Alan still lost out when the Lewis’s found out who Cassie was and helped her secure custody of Tammy. In 2002 he kidnapped Alex and attempted to coerce her, by holding on an island, into signing back the presidency of Spaulding Enterprises. Speaking of Tammy….in 2007 he put a hit out on Jonathan Randall which resulted in Tammy Winslow’s death. According to Alexandra, Alan’s biggest secret was he had been drafted to go to Vietnam War but was too scared to go. Alan asked his father to get him out of it so Brandon arranged for another man, Gerry, to go in his place. Alan later found out that Gerry was killed in the war. Alan admitted to Phillip that since the day he was drafted, he hadn’t made a single brave choice. Afterwards, Alexandra admitted to Phillip that Alan sent an anonymous check to the soldier’s widow every year. Perhaps one of the more sensitive aspects of Alan’s personality, along with his frailty. Alan would ultimately sacrifice his life in order to save Philip’s, the very son he shot in 2004. Alan died of a heart attack and was hailed as a hero in Springfield. Not bad for a villain huh? Alan’s main passions in life were power and family, often at the expense of his family. Like his father, he showed his love for them by controlling their lives. He was ruthless and merciless wether it be in business or a perceived threat to him or his family (sometimes one in the same). But it would ultimately be a father’s love that would bring about the end of Springfield’s most long-term villain’s.
2. Brent Lawrence (AKA Marion Crane)– Brent Lawrence arrived in Springfield in 1995 as an employee at Spaulding Enterprises. Brent initially seemed to be a great guy and he started dating Lucy Cooper, Alan-Michael Spaulding’s secretary. Lucy had feelings for Alan-Michael and when he didn’t return them she started dating Brent. But gradually Alan-Michael became jealous over the relationship. Brent offered to break up with Lucy for a promotion. One night while on a date with Lucy they were having a good time until a virginal Lucy told Brent that she was reluctant to sleep with him. Brent drugged her with a spiked drink and raped her. Ashamed, Lucy told no one about the rape and when Alan-Michael confessed his love for her, she ran away, making Alan-Michael realize something was wrong. Brent went to Lucy’s apartment and talked about their night together, Lucy yelled that he’d raped her! At this moment, Alan-Michael arrived and beat Brent up! Alan-Michael comforted Lucy and convinced her to tell the Coopers and to press charges against Brent when he threatened to rape her again. Turns out that Alan Spaulding had hired Brent to sabotage Spaulding files so Alan could attempt to take the presidency from his son. Alan-Michael was forced to step down as president of Spaulding thanks to Brent’s manipulations but he and Lucy exposed Brent by getting him to confess to the rape on tape. Brent would later reappear and threatened Lucy and Alan-Michael with a gun demanding to take Lucy with him. Alan-Michael struggled with Brent and then shot him. However, when the police arrived, Brent was nowhere to be found! Later, it was learned Brent was injured when he called Alan-Michael and demanded that Alan-Michael come to see him at the docks. When Alan-Michael arrived, he saw a mortally injured Brent who apologized for what he’d done to Lucy and when Brent’s sister, Cassie Lawrence, arrived, Brent apparently died. What Alan-Michael did not know was that Alan later found Brent (Brent and his sister apparently faked his death) alive and paid him and his sister, Cassie, to leave town to avoid a scandal. Brent soon reappeared, in Springfield, as a woman named Marion Crane and began working at Spaulding Enterprises and even tried to get a room at the Reardon boarding house right next to Lucy Cooper’s room. Brent stalked Lucy and gained her friendship by claiming to be a rape victim. When Lucy went to group therapy, Marion also attended and was even invited to Alan-Michael’s yacht when Alan-Michael and Lucy got engaged. In addition to bugging the yacht, Marion also stabbed and killed Lucky Fowler when Fowler attacked him/her! At this time, Lucy had an HIV test done since she could have been infected at the time Brent raped her. Brent broke in the Cedars lab and manipulated the test and Lucy would learn weeks later that she was infected. Luckily a second test would come back negative. Though Lucy never suspected that Marion was, in fact, Brent, Buzz’s ex-wife, Nadine, accidentally learned the truth when she began snooping around Brent’s apartment. Nadine was about to leave town, but had a premonition that Marion was in grave danger. So Brent killed Nadine with a candlestick. Meanwhile, Brent was desperate to get Lucy. Planning on murdering her, he went to Lucy’s room and attacked her while she was showering. Unfortunately, the woman in Lucy’s shower was her friend Susan Bates, not Lucy (Murder a la Psycho style). Finally on New Year’s Eve/Day 1995, 1996, Brent kidnapped Lucy at the Country Club’s annual New Year’s Eve costume party and brought her to the lighthouse to kill her. There he confessed all his crimes, including masquerading as Marion, and told Lucy that he was abused by his mother. Alan-Michael arrived at the lighthouse to rescue Lucy. At the same time, Alan-Michael’s father, Alan, got in touch with Brent and offered a Spaulding jet and $10 million in exchange for Lucy and Alan-Michael’s safety. Brent dragged Lucy to the top of the lighthouse and Lucy threw the money from Alan over the edge. Alan-Michael caught the money and after struggling with Brent, rescued Lucy when she was about to fall over the edge. Brent was also in danger of falling to his death but was saved by Frank who promptly arrested him. In the end, Brent, who slipped into his Marion persona, went to a mental institution. Without a doubt Brent Lawrence was mentally unstable, but the acting by Frank Beaty (and temporarily by Marc Wolf) was so fantastic) you felt yourself being drawn into a storyline that felt like it was out of a Hollywood thriller. In fact, it was very Hitchcock in nature which was probably why it was so good to watch! Plus, it had the added benefit of bringing together one of my favorite couples Alan-Michael and Lucy. Brent usually doesn’t top Villain lists but I have to give credit where it is due. He had me on the edge of my seat and the true psychotic nature of the character as it slowly emerged was a sight to behold! Want to watch some of the Brent Lawrence decent into madness? Here you go! Guiding Light March 1995
And what Soap Opera Villains list would be complete without…..
1. Roger Thorpe – From 1970 to 1980, then again from 1989 until 1997 one of the most legendary characters in daytime television history could be found on Guiding Light. Roger Thorpe first came to Springfield as an employee of wealthy business man Stanley Norris. Stanley was Holly Norris’s father and he thought that the slick and ambitious Roger would do anything to climb the ladder to success so he gave Roger the mission to bring naive Holly into line with her stocks. Roger was eager to do this and he began wooing Holly. Holly found Roger quite irresistible and fell for his smooth line. However, as much as Holly wanted Roger, he was too busy eyeing Holly’s brother’s (Ken Norris) wife, Janet. Disgraced, Roger left Springfield and began a series of both failed business ventures in Texas and affairs with numerous women. Meanwhile, Holly, still smarting from her embarrassing infatuation with Roger, began to fall for her doctor, Ed Bauer. She eventually got Ed to marry her, albeit while he was drunk and had no clue what was happening. Holly soon became somewhat bored with her marriage and as soon as Roger returned to Springfield she approached him. Though Roger was trying to prove he had changed, he fell for Holly’s charms and they conceived a child, Christina. Roger became Alan’s right hand man despite the fierce competition of Dean Blackford who would at one point go as far as to run Roger down with his car. However, as Roger continued improving his position at Spaulding, he embarked upon a seemingly paranoid campaign against Ed Bauer. Apparently, Roger was diagnosed as being sterile, meaning Christina was to be his only child, and Roger was insanely jealous that Holly allowed Chrissy to continue seeing Ed. At first, Roger seduced Ed’s vulnerable half-sister, Hillary, but he soon became much more dangerous. One night, Roger approached Rita, who was now engaged to Ed, and demanded that she pay him back for saving her at the trial and also demeaned Ed. When Rita refused to have sex with him, Roger threw to the floor and raped her! Convinced that marrying Holly would keep him close to Christina, Roger got Holly to do so. At first Holly and Roger’s marriage was very passionate, but Holly soon became disenchanted with Roger and refused to have sex with him. Convinced that Holly was holding out on him for Ed, Roger brutally raped Holly. A confused and battered Holly turned to Ed for help and Ed suggested that she bring charges against Roger. With Mike Bauer as her attorney, Holly did just that. An astonished Roger used anew hotshot lawyer, Ross Marler to defend him. Ross did a wonderful job, depicting Holly as the villain, not Roger, however, Rita, who had felt horrible about keeping quiet, came forward. Her testimony that Roger had raped her also, was enough to convict Roger, but he was let on bail. Roger then began a series of attempts to kidnap Christina, the first being at a carnival sponsored by Cedars where he dressed up like a clown in an effort to get close to his daughter. Holly and Christina were flown to Santo Domingo by Ed, where subsequently Roger followed and dragged Holly through the jungle. Roger nearly fell off the side of an enormous cliff, but a wounded Ed, valiantly tried to save the life of the man who had basically killed his child, raped his wife, and tried to murder him. Despite Ed’s efforts, Roger’s hand slipped, and he fell to his second presumed death.
Instead of dying when he fell from the cliff in Santo Domingo, Roger bounced and was rescued by the CIA who in return for saving his life got Roger to become an agent. Coincidentally, Alexandra Spaulding and Fletcher Reade crashed on that island. Seeing opportunity, Roger hid his face behind a mask, called himself Adam Malik and brought Alex to a cave where he began seducing her. Though Alex tried to hide him in the wine cellar of her mansion, Alan’s suspicions were raised and the two consummate frauds spent months trying to outdo one another in a dangerous game of cat-and-mouse. It ended in a gun battle at Blake and Phillip’s wedding which left both Phillip and Roger with gun shot wounds. With Alan now in prison, Roger positioned himself for power. He tried to repair his relationship with both Holly and his daughter and convinced Phillip to make him Vice President of Spaulding. When Alexandra returned to town, he seduced her again. Ruthless in business as in all else, he schemed to bilk Henry Chamberlain of all his money through rigged poker games. As he bought up real estate, the Coopers refused to sell and a thug Roger hired burned down their property, killing ‘Pops’ Cooper in the fire. Thorpe managed to save himself from being implicated by shooting the man who set the blaze.
After a particularly heated fight at the country club, where virtually the entire town ganged up on him, Roger wound up shot. Everyone assumed he was dead and that Alex killed him but, in fact, he was hiding in Holly’s basement. Sneaking out at night, he spied on his enemies around town and realized that the police wanted him for fraud and other crimes. Finally, at the brink of death from his wound, he revealed himself to Holly. Roger made contact with a mysterious Asian businessman name Tashiwa who wanted to enlist Roger’s help in taking over Spaulding Enterprises. He soon discovered that the mystery man was none other than Alan, out of prison and ready to take everything back. He and Roger made a deal and Roger began to seduce Alex yet again while Alan stole the company out from under her. Although Alex and Roger never slept together, once she realized what was happening, she told Holly that they had. Holly promptly dumped him and turned back to Fletcher. He fought to get her back, threatening to kill Alan unless he revealed their plot to her. He kept trying to get her back, faking a car accident and amnesia to solicit pity and attention but nothing worked.
Going back to his old ways, he hooked up with Dinah Marler, daughter of two of his old enemies (Vanessa and Ross) whom he saved from a kidnapping. They got married, which appalled everyone, and the fighting between everyone involved continued. When Hart finally learned that Roger had killed his grandfather, he seduced Dinah and began destroying his father’s life. Of course, the marriage was already crumbling because Roger was embezzling all of her money and whatever he could get from her family. Instead of divorcing him, she and Hart decided to torture him and make him think he was going insane. The plan worked, and Roger became gradually unhinged and more violent than ever, attacking both of them and drugging Dinah in an attempt to force her to commit suicide. Seeing how dangerous things were, they upped the ante with Hart fighting his father at gunpoint and faking his own death. He then ‘haunted’ his guilty father, pushing him into suicidal behavior. After Roger tried to kill Dinah again, he was locked up. When he was released, Hart and Dinah publicly confronted him, humiliating him and sending him into a breakdown. He was locked in a mental hospital but broke out and went looking for his wife and son.
He began faking amnesia and started acting good and self-controlled again. At a second competency hearing, Hart and Dinah were discovered together and a “kind, benevolent” Roger was finally released from the mental institution without having to attack anyone else. Within a couple of weeks Roger decided to get back in his son’s good graces, so he made some street thugs mad, got beat up and used Hart’s sympathy to worm his way back into Hart’s life. Dinah wasn’t quite so trusting, so Roger set it up for her to get locked in a grain silo on the Jessup farm. She nearly suffocated as the silo filled up with grain, but just in time, Thorpe “rescued” her.Playing up his reformed act, he seduced Amanda Spaulding in a bid to get back into the company and began blackmailing Vanessa. He and Amanda abruptly moved to California and he died several years later.
To describe Roger Thorpe in one word would be; complex. He was a fully developed, three-dimensional villain who always managed to rationalize his evil deeds. Roger Thorpe had great capacity for evil but could also loved deeply. As the late Michael Zaslow said about his character, “he wants to be loved and to love. He has a lot of love. He’s trying to protect what’s his, and himself. There’s a lot of self-protection with characters like his.” Another hallmark of this character was his relationship with Holly. Though their love story is often overshadowed by the betrayal of his rape, people still loved them and rooted for them as a couple. Even now, Roger Thorpe is considered an icon among Guiding Light fans. Hell, soap fans in general! In the words of Alfred Hitchcock, “The more successful the Villain, the more successful the picture”. The same rings true for daytime television even years later because there will NEVER be another Roger Thorpe or Michael Zaslow.