Soap's originals

 Soap Opera Digest, 1989

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Characters who were trend breakers or trend makers. Once in a great while, a soap introduces a character so unique, his or her presence transforms the show, and expands the limits of daytime television in the process. More often than not these particular stars initiate their own trends, rather than follow established ones. Soon after they achieve stardom, their clones and / or thinly disguised prototypes start appearing on others soaps. Here are a few of those we call "soap originals."

Cruz Castillo, Santa Barbara

Before Santa Barbara introduced Cruz, Hispanics on daytime had been cast mainly as servants and thugs. But Cruz appeared as a solid, forthright young man on the ride side of the law. A dedicated police officer, Cruz fights demons of various sorts, especially the ones that are after his true love, blue-blooded Eden. He possesses the old values that Americans used to cherish. Cruz doesn't need money to find the good things in life. He's smart, sensitive, tender, honest and he knows how to channel his fiery temper.

Cruz demonstrated that you don't have to be a corporate-type or a rebel to become a show's leading man. You can be a family man who respects his own heritage. So far, no show has been able to duplicate him.