James Earl Jones
It's hard to believe that the actor known for his basso voice, most notably as Darth Vader in the "Star Wars" films, once stuttered so bad he refused to speak. But in high school, a teacher coaxed him to read poetry aloud and James Earl Jones' interest in performing bloomed.
He took roles in television to augment his theater work and became the first black man to have a continuing role on a daytime serial when he portrayed Dr. Jerry Turner on "As the World Turns" in 1966 and later, as Dr. Jim Frazier on "The Guiding Light."
Other "World" alumns include independent film queen Parker Posey and "Desperate Housewives" star Dana Delaney.
Before he got footloose, actor Kevin Bacon played the teenage alcoholic Tim "T.J." Werner on "Guiding Light" from 1980 to 1981. Bacon also starred as Tom Adamson on the soap opera "Search for Tomorrow" in 1979. His first big screen break came as Timothy Fenwick Jr. in the 1982 film "Diner," where he co-starred alongside Steve Guttenberg, Daniel Stern, Mickey Rourke, Tim Daly and Ellen Barkin. The buzz he stirred as Fenwick led to one of Bacon's biggest roles to date, as the foot-frenzied Ren McCormack in the 1985 hit film "Footloose."
Before she made a name for herself as the quirky "Ally McBeal" in 1997, Calista Flockhart had a minor role in 1989 as the babysitter for one of "Guiding Light's" most memorable characters, the diva Reva Shayne Lewis (Kim Zimmer). Flockhart went on to win a Golden Globe for her role on "Ally" in 1998.
She currently stars as communications director Kitty Walker on the ABC show "Brothers and Sisters," and is engaged to actor Harrison Ford.
Other celebrities who have appeared on "Guiding Light" include Ruby Dee, Hayden Panettiere, Melina Kanakaredes and JoBeth Williams.
Demi Moore's acting debut was in a 1982 science fiction film that was a hit on the drive-in circuit, but she became widely known playing reporter Jackie Templeton on "General Hospital," from 1982 to 1983. That would make Ashton Kutcher just 4 years old when his future wife made her daytime debut.
Moore didn't stick around long, however. Cast in 1985's "St. Elmo's Fire," she took off on the big screen, starring in "Ghost," "A Few Good Men," "Indecent Proposal" and "Charlie's Angels."
Other stars who owe their careers to "General Hospital" include John Stamos, "Sex and the City's" Kristin Davis, Mark Hamil from "Star Wars" and Leonard Nimoy.
He currently plays the slick-mouthed Jack Donaghy on the TV show "30 Rock," but Alec Baldwin's acting career had more humble beginnings. His first role was as Billy Allison Aldrich on the soap opera "The Doctors" from 1980-1982. The Emmy-winning show took place in the fictional Hope Memorial Hospital, and focused on a hospital team and the medical emergencies they faced.
Baldwin got his big break on the primetime soap opera "Knots Landing," as the lunatic preacher Joshua Rush from 1984-1985. The show focused on five married couples living in the fictional town of Knots Landing. Rush returned to his mother Lilimae, played by Julie Harris, who abandoned him as a baby. He attempted to kill his wife Cathy, played by Lisa Hartman, but in the process ended up killing himself.