When Guiding Light was created by Irma Phillips the good Rev. John Ruthledge offered his kind council to the families of Five Points. And when I think of Guiding Light today the first thing that comes to mind are the FAMILIES that made the show so interesting. Like the Bauer’s who were the show’s original core family. The highly dysfunctional Spaulding family. The working-class Cooper family. The Santos family where blood truly is thicker than water. And the Lewis family who are never too far from their “down home” Oklahoma roots. At its true center Guiding Light was about family.
However, there were several friendships that added to the beauty of Guiding Light. Quite frankly I have yet to see a soap do friendships like Guiding Light did. Thinking about some of the show’s more special and long-term friendships I combined those with a generalized list of my personal favorites and VIOLA!
The Friendships of Guiding Light:
Daisy Lemay and Ashlee Wolfe: Ashlee and Daisy met when Ashlee defended Daisy against two bullies who were giving Daisy a hard time. Months later they would meet up at, of all places, a juvenile detention center they were both sent to. Once again Ashlee came to Daisy’s rescue when Daisy was being harassed by some other girls. From that moment forward these two would be one of the few younger generation friendships on Guiding Light in its final years. It wasn’t always perfect, Ashlee tried convincing Daisy that Grady was a bad guy to no avail. Ashlee finally told Daisy that she couldn’t condone her relationship with Grady and but after a few months Ashlee missed her friend and the two reconciled. In 2009, Ashlee led a quiet life working at WSPR and being a friend to Daisy. The final scenes of Guiding Light show Daisy and Ashlee being accepted into Berkley and planning to move into a house together. While Ashlee usually ended up being Daisy’s “sidekick” storyline-wise I tend to view Ashlee as the strength in this friendship, the one who held it up. Without Ashlee who knows how Daisy would have ended up. Married to greasy Grady? My only wish is that Daisy could have paid back her friend in kind and given her the same support in Ashlee’s relationship with Coop.
Marcus Williams and Dinah Marler: In August of 1995 Marcus came to Springfield to visit with his good friend Dinah Marler. The two had been friends in Europe and soon after his arrival in Springfield he was suspected of murdering Detective Patrick Cutter. In 1995 Dinah wasn’t a particularly likeable character. She was self-centered and spoiled having lived in Europe, had dropped out of school, and was in fact broke. But her reaction when she read of Marcus arrest showed how much she treasured him as a friend, she believed in his innocence and insisted that he could never do something like that. After seeing the anger and bitterness of Dinah it was her friendship with Marcus that allowed for the softer side to emerge.
Marah Lewis and Michelle Bauer: Though this was more of a subtle friendship I found it to be realistic and important to two of my favorite relationships on Guiding Light, Manny and Marony. This friendship made the most sense because no one else knew what it was like loving a Santos except for Michelle so it was natural for Marah and her to bond. Marah and Michelle’s friendship truly developed while both were nursing broken hearts, each for a Santos, Marah for Tony and Michelle for Danny. They endured a disastrous night of speed dating together at the behest of Ben Reade and afterwards bonded over fairy tales being at fault for the unrealistic idea of love. But throughout the rest of 2002 Marah and Michelle’s friendship continues to grow and by 2003 Michelle could be classified as Marah’s best friend. Finally in 2003 when both couples reunite they make a new “Fab Four” with Michelle even asking Marah to be her maid of honor and to design her wedding dress. In fact it is Marah, with help from Tony, who throw Danny and Michelle their 2003 surprise wedding at the Bauer Bar-B-Que. When Jordi left and Marony was decimated I was afraid that they would ruin the great bond these two had established over the years, but that was not to be the case. Instead the writers through them into the awful Maryanne Carruthers storyline with Marina Cooper. Though it was awful (and I mean AWFUL) at least the bonds of friendship were not all together dead.
Henry Chamberlain and H.B. Lewis: When Henry Chamberlain suffered a heart attack in 1983 he managed to scribble out the name of his best friend H.B. Lewis who promptly arrived from Tulsa, Oklahoma. H.B.’s arrival didn’t just help Henry heal it gave him a will to live. Both men were delighted when Henry’s daughter Vanessa and H.B.’s son Billy fell and love and got married in 1984. And though that marriage would not last Henry and H.B. remained great friends on-screen until Henry left on to visit his son Quinton for an extended stay in 1995. But I imagine these two continued their friendship all the way until Henry’s death in 1997. On the surface H.B. and Henry were as different as night and day, Henry was wealthy and cultured and H.B. was a boisterous and self-made man. But the truth was that although Henry was raised with money he never looked down on anyone and had a genuine love for people and H.B.’s fierce loyalty to his friends and family made them a great match. And don’t they look like they so adorable together? Like they belong on a Lipton tea commercial!
Hampton Speakes and Billy Lewis: Ex-football star Hampton Speakes came to Springfield in 1989 with good friend Billy Lewis to attend the wedding of Josh and Reva and together they opened up a nightclub named Heartbreakers. Not only was Hamp Billy’s friend but he was an old friend of Reva’s as well and one of the few people who was privy to the knowledge that she put her and Billy’s son up for adoption. And before Vince William’s departure in 1996 Hamp and Billy were a dynamic duo of mutual support when the other needed it. Like when Billy’s son Dylan was trapped in an elevator and Billy was reluctant to accept Roger Thorpe’s help. Hamp summed it up by saying, “If the devil himself gave you his hand you should take it and smile man.” Or in 1992 when Billy recruits the rest of the men to kidnap Hamp so that he can play at Panther’s stadium because Hamp missed out on playing there during his football career. When Billy’s ex-wife Vanessa was nearly raped by Jack Kiley Billy and Hamp teamed up to get his confession on tape. Hamp ran the Towers club before slowly fading from canvas though character comments say he is in Europe. Billy and Hamp had a great friendship but sadly the actor who portrayed Hampton Speakes (Vince Williams) passed away in 1997 of pancreatic cancer which most likely contributed to his departure. Hamp and Billy’s friendship was my personal favorite friendship of the 90s.
Vanessa Chamberlain and Maureen Reardon: Maureen “Mo” Reardon and Vanessa Chamberlain’s friendship was the kind of friendship that is rare on television these days, especially on daytime television. It was loving and mutually supportive of the other, it was a treasured friendship that ran deep. So deep that when Ed had a one night stand with nurse Lillian Raines who did Mo turn to? Her best friend in the world Vanessa. I can still remember Vanessa’s words, “I’d do anything in the world for you” which summed up their friendship perfectly. When Maureen got in a car accident after confronting Ed and died Vanessa was especially effected. She lost her best friend. The sudden tragic loss of Mo causes Vanessa to seize every opportunity and live her life, which will eventually lead her to meeting Matt Reardon, Maureen’s nephew. Vanessa and Matt pay tribute to Maureen by naming their daughter after Vanessa’s best friend Mo. I think Maureen would have approved.
Danny, Ray, and Tony Santos: I was trying to avoid family attachments but I think the trio of Santos cousins qualifies under friendship as well. Why? Because these three were not just family they were best friends as well. And they depended on each other for the majority of their lives because growing up Santos you never knew who truly had your back. Tony relied on Danny and Ray’s advice and guidance to navigate his way through the more dark times of his life just like Danny relied on Tony to stand beside him in business and in family matters. Then there was Ray who offered not only spiritual guidance but was a constant source of support for them both. Just like any other friendship these three had their share of faults. Tony was hot-headed and though Danny and Ray would do their best to give him advice often times he wouldn’t listen (like when Danny advises him not to marry Catalina, Danny warns him about Eden being a predator in his relationship with Marah, etc). As head of the Santos “Family” Danny was used to giving orders and being followed, the same when he was the boss in Infierno. After his presumed death in 2002 he and Tony became full partners but to Tony it seemed like Danny was still issuing orders. And poor Ray, always torn between family and the laws of the Church (Like in regards to Maria’s hit on Danny and Catalina lying about the baby to Tony). But through it all these three made it through with the great love, respect, and devotion they had shown each other their entire lives until Jordi left the show in 2003.
Reva Shayne and Billy Lewis: These two certainly didn’t start off as friends, they were more like enemies. Although Reva loved Billy’s brother Josh she married Billy when they lived in Oklahoma before divorcing prior to his moving to Springfield. When Billy was happy and moving on with a new love Alan Spaulding brough Reva Shayne to Springfield who claimed they weren’t legally divorced and so she wanted $5 million dollars for a divorce. Meanwhile, to Billy’s shock, Reva suddenly married H.B. Later, when H.B. was out-of-town, Billy caught Reva and Josh in bed and, furious, he threw Reva out of the house. However, later he would start to accept their relationship and when Reva became pregnant with H.B.’s child, Billy urged Josh to convince Reva to have an abortion. Then in 1985 Billy’s wife ran over pregnant Reva and she lost the baby. It was around this time that the frost in their relationship began to thaw. However, Billy soon learned that Reva and him shared a child together that she put up for adoption named Dylan. But their relationship improved and the two developed a great friendship where each was a constant source of support for the other. A true testament of their friendship was in 2006 when Reva learned she had cancer and Billy went to her and sincerely offered his help. Billy took Reva to the doctor who informed her that the cancer was spreading–he wanted to try an experimental treatment in Minnesota. Billy continued to be there for Reva. Soon after, Colin informed Billy and Reva that her test results weren’t good—she had to return to the clinic to have a bone marrow transplant. The poor prognosis shook Billy up and when he broke out in tears, Reva comforted him by saying she was going to fight this. Before the procedure, Colin asked Billy to put together a list of family members and their phone number for bone marrow donors in case the procedure didn’t work. The stress of the situation became too much for Billy and he went to a bar and ordered a drink but decided against drinking it. Unfortunately the procedure didn’t work and Reva was terminal. Reva asked Billy’s help in helping her to plan her death so Billy got Reva a red brand new convertible so she could go on with her plan of driving off and ending her life in a blaze of glory by driving off a bridge. Reva had one more request—she wanted Billy to help her plan the biggest, flashiest good-bye party Springfield’s ever seen – for everyone she’d ever known. After Reva’s party, while Reva was going to plunge to her death, a heartbroken Billy found solace in the bottle again. When Josh and Cassie discovered Billy drinking, Josh called Reva to help Billy. Although she was all set to take the plunge, Reva scrapped her plans for Billy’s sake. Despite Billy occasionally mistaking his affection for Reva as romantic love these two were a great duo. Where Josh was usually the calm to Reva’s storm Billy was equally as rowdy so the two made for some hilarious interactions.
Michelle Bauer/Bill Lewis/Ben Reade– This trio were friends since childhood and this friendship lasted even as adults. In 1993 Bill helped Michelle run away after her mother died even though it was jut to his closet. It was also with Michelle that Bill shared his first kiss (Bill confusing friendship with romantic feelings will be a continuing theme for those two). But throughout their childhood these three friends were inseparable and shared many happy times together. In 2002, while attending Springfield University, Bill and Ben were roommates at the Carriage House then later at the Museum. Sadly in 2003, the character of Ben was assassinated by the writers and made to be a serial killer. Even his oldest and closest friends didn’t realize how low their friend had fallen. Ben ended up committing suicide but before dying he was visited by those he shared some of the happiest times of his life with, Bill and Michelle. Michelle would leave Springfield with her family a few years later leaving Bill essentially alone for a few years. But in the final days of Guiding Light Michelle and her family returned and Michelle and her good friend Bill were reunited.
Quinton Chamberlain and Anthony (Tony) Reardon: (This was before my viewing time so bear with me if I don’t get all the details right) Quint and Tony became friends when Nola went to work for Quint as his live-in assistant. Quint and Nola began a rocky road to romance that included searching being kidnapped by Quinton’s nemesis, Silas Crocker. By the time Tony and Quint rescued Nola, she was seriously ill. From scenes around the Quint and Nola wedding it is clear that Quinton and Tony share an easy camaraderie and that mixing with the Reardon’s really loosened Quinton up. Tony is the first to make a speech at Quinton’s bachelor party welcoming him to the family (And who doesn’t love his speech? “A bachelor is a man who gives in when he’s wrong. A married man is a man who gives in when he’s right.”), It’s poor Tony who has to inform his friend that Nola is missing at her own wedding (more like forgotten) and then has to calm him down when he panics, and The reception is held at Tony’s neighborhood bar. Tony, Quinton, Annabelle (Tony’s wife), and Nola also discovered that Bandon Spaulding had a shipping business in Barbados which led to the discovery that the patriarch had faked his death. Nola and Quinton’s son was named Anthony James after Nola’s brother and Quinton’s friend.
Phillip Spaulding and Rick Bauer: As one half as what has been coined “The Four Musketeers” Rick and Phillip friendship was a “bromance” before the term bromance was ever created. Phillip and Rick became best friends in 1982 when Phillip covered for Rick driving without a license and the rest, the say, is history. These two have been through it all, which while not always pretty, was realistic as teenagers and then later as adults. As teenagers their major conflicts included them both falling in love with the same two women (the other two Musketeers Beth and Mindy) and Rick knowing about Phillip’s true parentage (which prompted Phillip to reveal his tryst with Mindy). Following this was Rick’s romance with Dr. Meredith Reade. Rick finally had a chance at happiness but after a brief argument Meredith sought comfort with Phillip and got pregnant. After going into premature labor Rick had to choose between saving Meredith or the baby and Phillip told him to choose Meredith because she made him happy. When all was revealed Rick punched out his best friend saying that he hated him. Phillip’s reply? “I know. But I still love you.” In 2001 Rick slept with Phillip’s ex-wife Harley leading to the birth of Jude. And when Rick was dying of a heart problem he begged his best friend to help Harley raise him if he was to die, to which Phillip agreed. In 2005 Phillip faked his own death with Rick’s reluctant assistance. Although Rick informed everyone that he’d seen Phillip in the grave, it turned out he was lying. Having received calls from a very much alive Phillip, Rick promised to help his troubled friend keep his secret as long as he needed. In Guiding Light’s final weeks Phillip returned to Springfield and Rick filled him in on some of what he missed proving that Rick had been in contact with his best friend all along. The Four Musketeers attended their high school reunion together and when the show fast forwarded One Year Later Phillip and Beth were happily married and toasted Rick on the eve of his wedding to Mindy. Life long friends who had been through it all, and then some, Rick and Phillip were friends that even when they faltered never truly gave up on one another.
Beth Raines and Mindy Lewis: The other two members of the Four Musketeers. Beth and Mindy met when Beth was thrown down a flight of stars by her stepfather and admitted to the hospital, her roommate was none other than Mindy Sue Lewis. Mindy was in the hospital after making it look like her horse trampled her in a bid to get her boyfriend Phillip Spaulding to pay attention to her. The shy artistic Beth and the saucy Mindy were a surprising friendship but it set into motion the revolving Four Musketeers quad with Phillip and Rick each falling for one of the ladies at different times. Mindy left Springfield in the late 90s and only made periodic appearances; like in 2002 when Rick was suffering from a heart ailment and also to attend Josh and Reva’s wedding (where Marah introduced Tony to her). In 2004, Mindy returned for Phillips funeral where Rick, Mindy, and Beth reminisced about the Phillip they all loved. In 2009, Mindy returned to Springfield for her high school reunion where her and Beth shared a great friendship scene where they both laugh over memories. One of the final scenes was the four Muskateers reunited and celebrating Mindy and Rick’s marriage.
Ed Bauer and Ross Marler: Long-time friends Ed and Ross were there for each other when the other needed it. I say “long-term” because I am not precisely sure when this friendship exactly began, it was just always there from the time I began watching until Ross’ death in 2006. GLManny and I speculate it began around the mid 80s because it would be after Ross defended Roger (Ed’s life long enemy) and by the early 90s Ross and Ed were best friends. Either way, they ended up being best friends who provided the other with advice and support. Which made sense since it was Ed who helped raise Ross’ wife Blake (even walking her down the aisle in their wedding in 1994). It was Ross who gave a elegy at Maureen’s funeral and afterwards reached out to Ed and made him laugh. And when Ed left to do reasearch in Africa it was Ross who quietly and without complaint took up the role Ed vacated as fill-in father as best he could for Rick and Michelle until Ed returned in 2002. And in 2003, Ed bestowed upon Ross the glorious honor of being Grill Master at the Bauer BBQ for all the times he stood in for his family while he was gone. Unfortunatel;y the writers neglected this friendship when Ross was killed in 2006 because Ed was once again in Africa doing research. After so many years of friendship, Ross standing in for Ed while he was away licking his wounds, the least they could have done is have Ed pay Ross the same respect.
Roger Thorpe and Maureen Bauer: Maureen was a kind, warm, and caring woman so she had many friends in townnot counting her best friend Vanessa. But who would have ever guessed that one of her close friends was none other than Roger Thorpe?! This friendship was really significant in that Roger and Maureen’s husband Ed were life-long enemies and Roger Thorpe was, well he was the town villain. So the idea of the man with the terrible past being friends with the caring and compassionate Mo seems incomprehensible. But Maureen accepted Roger for who he was and didn’t try to change him, and unlike the rest of Springfield wasn’t constantly judging him by his past misdeeds. Roger Thorpe’s enemies were many and his friends were few, so few they could be counted on one hand, one finger actually. And that solitary friend was Maureen Bauer. Take Maureen’s death for example, I think Roger’s reaction to Mo’s death was the biggest example of the human fraility behind Roger’s tough guy exterior. We as viewers knew they were friends but seeing the intense vulnerability on Roger’s face when he gets the news was great insight into just how much he cared for Maureen. Then to add insult to injury he is not even permitted to attend the funeral. He sends flowers through Holly, and Vanessa removes the card so that Ed does not know they are from him. Even Blake tells her mother, “Maureen is special to him“. He mourns for his dear friend but unlike the others he is left to mourn alone.
It is no coincidence that the one person in Springfield to see Roger as a true human being brought forth from him the most tender, vulnerable emotion.
These are just some of the many friendships that Guiding Light gave viewers throughout its many years. Afterall, “There is a destiny that makes us brothers, No one goes his way alone....”. Not even Roger Thorpe.