The ‘Soap’ Cast: Where Are They Now?

In its day, SOAP, named after its parodying topic, rose many an eyebrow with larger-than-life take on what was such a popular past time: soap operas.

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The TV show ran from 1977 to 1981 for four seasons on the ABC network. The show was a sitcom and poked fun in every way, from cast member portrayal to hot topics, politics, crimes, relationships, sex, infidelity, and much more—the storyline centered on the Tate family, a wealthy blue-collar family. The show, however, stayed in the news at times for false claims others for the soap opera feel the show gave viewers.

When the show was canceled, no one wanted to put money behind or run adverts on the show anymore, with such a divisive piece of content. Here are the cast members and a little refresher on the show!

Rod Roddy

Perhaps the most important of the show is the announcer, voiced by Rod Roddy. Because, without him, how would we know what craziness the cast on the tv series is getting into? The announcer was originally Casem Kasem, but Roddy took over. Roddy was also known for other tv series Love Connection, Hit Man, and Battlestars. He also announced some of The Price is Right (6 episodes). He died in 2001 of Colon cancer. 

Katherine Helmond

Jessica Tate, portrayed by Helmond, was a member of the Tate family and one fo the characters the show follows closely. She is married to Chester Tate but later leaves him. She’s naive but, as many protagonists are, is heavily sought after most heavily but stays faithful to a deceptive, cheating husband- because… well, its a soap opera, right? Katherine Helmond is one of the two characters that appear in every episode. She voiced a character in the Disney/Pixar collaborative film Cars, as well. She was also in Who’s the Boss, where she was nominated for Best Supporting Actress, and she later featured in Everybody loves Raymond. She died in 2019 from complications of Alzheimer’s disease.

Robert Mandan

Chester Tate, husband to Jessica, as we have already discussed, is a cheater. That’s the bulk of his character, all the women he is sleeping around with, including, at one point, Jessica’s sister, Mary. This was before the two wed, however. His other most significant role was in Threes a Crowd, a spinoff of Three’s Company. It only lasted for one season. He died in 2018 from cancer in Los Angeles.

Jimmy Baio

Jessica and Chester Tate’s only son, Billy Tate, was brought to life by Jimmy Baio. He lives adventurously getting roped into a cult, and f*ing his high school teacher, Leslie Walker. He remains in the hot seat as she tries to kill him or a family member, needing a taste of Tate blood vengefully. Jimmy Baio is from a family of entertainers; he’s cousins with Vampire Weekend’s Chris Baio and actor Scott Baio. He appeared in many TV spots, including The Facts of Life, Fantasy Island, Matlock, The Love Boat, and Family Feud. Baio is most known as Billy Tate. Today he is 58 years old and taking it easy.

Diana Canova

Corinne Tate is Billy Tate’s sister. In the show, her character is put through the wringer for being sexually liberated- a HUGE double standard considering the life her father flaunts. A secret about her identity comes out in later seasons. She later has a son with an ex-priest and names their son Timmy. Timmy is possessed, because, well… Soap opera logic, remember? After SOAP, Canova joins the church of Scientology, married, and had two kids. While she still has the kids, she has since left the church.

Jennifer Salt

Eunice Tate is another daughter of Jessica and Chester. She has her eyes set on the social ladder, and one of her stops is a married congressman during season 1. Salt has since leveled up to be a screenwriter as well as a producer. One of the screenplays she co-wrote was the popular Julia Roberts film, Eat Pray Love, based on the novel by Elizabeth Gilbert. She was nominated for the Writers Guild of America Award in 2006. She has since been producing American Horror Story.

Robert Guillaume

The Tate family employs a butler/cook named Benson DuBois. He is often subject to racism by members of the family. Despite this, he cares deeply for many of them, including Corinne, Billy, and Jessica. He does, however, often disengage with members of the family who are misbehaving, especially Chester, the cheater. The only spinoff from the show went to Benson; it was entitled Benson. After SOAP, he voiced Rafiki in various The Lion King films. In addition to acting, Guillaume is also a singer. He died in 2017 of cancer in Los Angeles, California.

Sal Viscuso

Former Catholic priest, Father Timothy Flotsky, leaves he priesthood to be with Corinne Tate. He later decides to leave her; leaving is just his thing. His mother is the reason his son with Corinne Tate, Timmy, is born possessed. If Viscuso’s voice seemed familiar to you, it might be because you heard it on MASH; he was the unseen announcer on the PA system. He also appeared in Diagnosis: Murder alongside Dick Van Dyke (a classic). He is now 71 years old.

Donnelly Rhodes

Dutch Leitner marries Eunice Tate. The only problem with Leitner is the fact that he is an escaped convict. But, if the Tates’ didn’t want him in the family, maybe they wouldn’t have let him hide out at their house for so long. So, there’s that. He was also in love with Eunice’s sister for a short time. Donnelly Rhodes was also on an actual soap, The Young and the Restless. He also acted on the Sci-Fi Channel tv series Battlestar Galactica. Rhodes died of cancer at the age of 80 in 2017.

Arthur Peterson, Jr.

The character referred to solely as “the Major” is Jessica Tate and Mary Campbell’s father. He often appears in costume, believing he is in World War II; he has dementia. Extending his manly love, he often calls Chester the cheater, “The colonel.” He’s openly racist towards Benson and Benson’s later replacement Saunders, played by Roscoe Lee Browne. Peterson appeared in ABC’s very first sitcom, That’s O’Toole. He played in a few films and off-broadway. He died of Alzheimer’s in 1996.

Cathryn Damon

In SOAP, Damon plays Mary Campbell, Jessica Tate’s sister. She is the opposite of her sister, not in looks, but is often the foil to her sister’s dramedy. She is married to her second husband, Burt Campbell, who coincidentally killed her first husband, Johnny Dallas. Damon had guest roles in Murder, She Wrote, Matlock, Fantasy Island, and The Love Boat. She won an Emmy Award with her co-star, Richard Mulligan, for SOAP in 1980. She died in May 1987 at 56 in Los Angeles, California.

Richard Mulligan

The only other actor in the show to appear in every episode besides Katherine Helmond is Rich Mulligan. He plays Burt Campbell, Mary Campbell’s second husband. Burt is a building contractor who has a mental illness. He carries the weight of having had to kill his wife’s ex-husband, among other things, like thinking he can make himself invisible by snapping. He later gets involved in politics. Mulligan starred in TV series Empty Nest, which he won an Emmy and a Gloden Globe Award for. He voiced in Oliver & Company, the Disney film, and Hey Arnold. Mulligan died in 2000.


Jay Johnson

In the show, this guy plays two characters…in a way. He’s a ventriloquist, so he’s himself but also the puppet. Chuck and Bob Campbell are their [his?] names. As expected, the man, Chuck Campbell, Burt Campbell’s son, is mild-mannered and well-liked. His dummy says all the things he’s afraid to and pretty much exposes him as an asshole. Jay is, in reality, a ventriloquist. He also appeared on Empty Nest, The Love Boat, The Facts of Life, Simon & Simon, and Gimme a Break! Johnson also opened on Broadway in 2008 and won excellent reviews. In 2009 he started in a documentary called I’m No Dummy.

Ted Wass

Danny Dallas is Mary Campbell’s oldest son. Sweet, but not very bright, gets involved with low-level crime. He later becomes Burt’s deputy sheriff. He doesn’t act anymore but has recently directed things like the Big Bang Theory, 2 Broke Girls, Spin City, and Less Than Perfect. His directing credits span over 40 tv series episodes.

Billy Crystal

Jodie Dallas is Mary Campbell’s first son. he is an openly gay man and is stereotypically “soft” as society played these types of men back when “macho” was the thing a man was allowed to be. He is further turned into a joke as mental illness adds to his character. Billy Crystal later became a well-known host on Saturday Night Live. Today he is a writer, producer, director, singer, and comedian.

What do you think?

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