The Soap Queens of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills
Lisa Rinna and Eileen Davidson, joined The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, for its fifth season, marking perhaps the best-known names ever to join the franchise.
For those of you who didn't spend your formative years skipping third period to catch up on the on-goings of Salem, we prepared this crash course in two of the fiercest daytime soap queens to ever grace the small screen. (And evening soap queens! Don't think we forgot about you, Miss Melrose Place, Lisa Rinna.)
Best Known For: Days of Our Lives, Melrose Place
Lisa Rinna's the absolute best of the b-list. Early on in her career, she made the jump from daytime to one of the buzziest evening soaps ever, but that power play translated to a string of TV hosting gigs rather than an ascension to the A-list.
Lisa also married Harry Hamlin of L.A. Law and Mad Men, and even starred alongside him in a stage production of Chicago, but little of that prestige drama or Broadway gloss wore off on her. For better or worse (better, if you ask us), Lisa Rinna is That Woman With The Lips, and that's just the way we like her.
As we gear up for the day we get to see Lisa toss a wine glass at a fellow Real Housewife, here's a look back at what led her to Housewives.
First Gig: Naughty Naughty
When Lisa was 22 she made an appearance in the video for John Parr's "Naughty Naughty." She wasn't the naughty one, though. In the video, Lisa jumps out of John's car and tosses her necklace at him when he gets handsy. Once she's out of the picture, he drives off for a foursome with three other women. Naughty, Naughty!
Big Break: Days of Our Lives
Remember Billie, Bo's on-again, off-again love on Days of Our Lives, who he loved when Hope wasn't dead or missing or forgetting all her memories? That was the role that catapulted Lisa to the national consciousness in 1992. She portrayed Billie for just two years, then returned to reclaim the role for another year from 2002-2003.
Lisa's already drawn comparisons between RHOBH and her first big evening TV gig, calling Housewives, "Melrose Place without the script." After Days, Lisa joined Melrose Place in 1996 while the show was in its fifth season (maybe she has a thing for fifth seasons?) as the opportunistic Taylor McBride.
In 1997, Lisa married Harry Hamlin, of L.A. Law and Mad Men, who she now has two daughters with. It was the third marriage for Harry, who has a bit of a thing for soap stars – his previous wives, Nicollette Sheridan and Laura Johnson, were on Knots Landing and Falcon Crest respectively.
Best Known For: Days Of Our Lives, The Young and the Restless, The Bold and The Beautiful
Eileen Davidson has had a major arc on three of the biggest daytime soaps in history. She's won loads of soap awards though, save for a few brief stints, she never really broke into the world of evening TV.
She did, however, parlay her soap status into a career as the author of several soap-themed mystery novels and made her way to RHOBH with a record-breaking salary reported to be three quarters of a million dollars.
Big Break: The Young and the Restless
Eileen beat out more than 100 candidates to win the role of Ashley Abbot, a character she originated on The Young and the Restless. She became one of the headliners of the show, filling the role for three stints, with the first ending in 1988 when she quit and suggested Brenda Epperson, a waitress she met, take her place.
Days of Our Lives
After her first prime time gig, Broken Badges, was cancelled in 1991 after just one season, Eileen returned to daytime as Kristen Blake, the nemesis of Days of Our Lives villain Stefano. Soon enough Kristen was a villain, too, then Eileen was a Kristen look-alike Susan Banks, then three additional characters. At one point, Eileen-Kristen even had Eileen-Susan trapped on an island. Soaps!
Eileen's Orphan Black-ish take on five characters on Days earned her the most coveted nod a soap star can receive: a daytime Emmy nod. Though she didn't win that year ('98), she was nominated again after returning to Y&R in 1999, which she was fired from in 2006 after her storyline fizzled.
The super silver lining: earlier this year, Eileen finally landed herself some hardware when she took home the daytime Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress In A Drama Series for Days of Our Lives which, BTW, she returned to in 2012. (Her daytime back-and-forth has our head spinning...and we didn't even mention her stint on Y&R's sister-soap The Bold and the Beautiful.)
We've seen plenty of cookbooks and how-to's from Real Housewives, but a mystery novel? This may be a first. Back in 2008, Eileen co-wrote a mystery novel called Death In Daytime. She followed it up with three sequels, including the excellently-named Dial Emmy For Murder (which, not coincidentally, was penned before she'd won her statue).