As the World Stops Turning: Soap Actors Turned Super Stars

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It's the end of one of television's most long-running, beloved affairs: today, after 54 years on the air, "As the World Turns" comes to a screeching halt.

The CBS soap opera made its debut in 1956, sponsored by Procter & Gamble, the famous maker of household products. It was once a major hit, but last year CBS announced that it would cancel "As the World Turns" on Sept. 17, 2010 because of low ratings. In its place, the network will start a new daytime, female-friendly talk show called "The Talk," in the same vein of ABC's "The View."

In more than five decades on the air, "As the World Turns" launched a host of careers. It's not the only soap with that distinction: "Guiding Light," which ended its 72-year-long run on television last year, also gave a start to some of today's top stars. So did other soaps like "The Young and the Restless" and "Knots Landing."

Below, take a look at 12 actors who found serious stardom after a soap opera stint.

Julianne Moore

Before the big Hollywood roles rolled in, Julianne Moore was a New York City waitress, born in North Carolina, who got her start in the acting world on "As the World Turns." In 1985, Moore was cast in the dual roles of half-sisters Frannie and Sabrina Hughes. She played the girls for three years and won a Daytime Emmy for her work in 1988.

From there, it was on to the film world. Moore appeared in hits throughout the '90s, including "The Fugitive," "The Hand That Rocks the Cradle" and "Jurassic Park." She got her first Oscar nomination, for best supporting actress, playing a porn star in 1997's "Boogie Knights." Critical acclaim kept coming for her roles in "The End of the Affair," "The Hours" and "Far from Heaven."

Moore has cemented her status as an A-list star, most recently starring in the film "Chloe" alongside Liam Neeson and guesting on "30 Rock" with fellow soap opera alum Alec Baldwin. But she hasn't forgotten her roots -- after CBS announced that it would be canceling "As the World Turns," Moore returned to reprise her role as Frannie Hughes for an April episode. Moore blew into Oakdale, the show's fictional setting, to celebrate the wedding anniversary of her TV stepmom and dad, Bob and Kim, much to the delight of the soap's fans.

Marisa Tomei

The big actress from Brooklyn got her start on the New York City set of "As the World Turns." In 1983, while studying at New York University, Marisa Tomei landed the role of teenager Marcy Thompson Cushing on the soap opera. She dropped out of school to pursue her acting ambitions, staying on "As the World Turns" until 1985.

After that, Tomei went on to the sitcom "A Different World" before landing her breakthrough role in 1992's "My Cousin Vinny." Tomei won a best supporting actress Oscar for the film and went on to an enviable career. Most recently, she wowed audiences and critics in "The Wrestler" and "Cyrus."

Jason Biggs

He might be best known for his "American Pie" antics, but before making love to a plate of pastry, Jason Biggs cut his teeth in the acting world on "As the World Turns."

Biggs started his career early, at the age of 5. His first major turn on television came in 1994, when he was cast as the troubled teen Pete Wendall on the soap opera. Critics perked up: he earned a Daytime Emmy nomination for best young actor for the role.

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