10 Stars Who Appeared on ‘One Life to Live,’ Which Ended 10 Years Ago

Nathan Fillion One Life to Live
E.J. Carr/ABC/Courtesy Everett Collection
Nathan Fillion of 'One Life to Live' in 1996

Going from the fictional town of Llanview to the stranger-than-fiction town of Hollywood, many TV stars got their start on One Life to Live, an ABC daytime drama that ended its linear run 10 years ago, on January 13, 2012.

One Life to Live aired more than 11,000 episodes over 44 seasons—if you don’t count the ill-fated online revival—making the show one of America’s longest-running soap operas. And as you’ll see in the gallery below, big names in showbiz owe the soap a debt of gratitude. Here are some of Llanview’s most notable former residents…

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Marcia Cross
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Marcia Cross

Cross, better known for her Melrose Place and Desperate Housewives roles, played archaeologist Kate Sanders on One Life to Live between 1986 and 1988.

Nathan Fillion
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Nathan Fillion

The lead of The Rookie played a teen version of photographer-turned-clergyman Joey Buchanan between 1994 and 1997, then returned to the part in 2007.

Laurence Fishburne
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Laurence Fishburne

This star of The Matrix and Black-ish wasn’t even a teenager when he started playing troubled youth Josh Hall, a role he kept from 1973 to 1976.

Renée Elise Goldsberry
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Renée Elise Goldsberry

The Girls5eva star and Hamilton Tony winner earned two Daytime Emmy Award nominations for her role as lawyer Evangeline Williamson, which she played between 1999 and 2007.

Tommy Lee Jones
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Tommy Lee Jones

This actor of Men in Black and The Fugitive fame spent the first half of the 1970s appearing on One Life to Live, playing Dr. Mark Boland.

Judith Light
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Judith Light

Long before her days on Ugly Betty and Transparent, Light starred on OLTL as housewife Karen Wolek from 1977 to 1983, ultimately leaving the show for her famous role in Who’s the Boss?

Hayden Panettiere
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Hayden Panettiere

Now known for her roles on Heroes and Nashville, this actress portrayed Sarah, daughter of Tina Lord and Cord Roberts, between 1994 and 1997.

Ryan Phillippe
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Ryan Phillippe

The ’90s heartthrob, now starring on MacGruber, appeared on OLTL from 1992 to 1993, playing groundbreaking gay character Billy Douglas on the soap.

Tika Sumpter
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Tika Sumpter

This star of Mixed-ish and The Haves and the Have Nots appeared on the show from 2006 to 2011, playing fashionista and actress Layla Williamson.

Blair Underwood
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Blair Underwood

From 1985 to 1986—just before he hit it big on L.A. Law—Underwood portrayed Bobby Blue on One Life to Live.