The Daytime Emmys love a “Carly.” This name has an unusually strong track record at these awards. To date, five women have earned a total of 15 nominations and six wins for playing a character by that name. And even those who failed to win for that role eventually claimed Emmys later in their career, so playing Carly, it seems, always pays off.
Among the most successful actresses to take the name was Maura West. She debuted in the role of Carly Tenney on CBS’s now defunct “As the World Turns” in 1995, and though she didn’t earn her first Emmy bid until 2001, she was a perennial nominee after that, earning two nominations as a supporting actress and then five more as a lead. She won Best Actress twice (2007 and 2010).
Crystal Chappell first played Carly Manning on NBC’s “Days of Our Lives” from 1990 to 1993, but didn’t get on Emmy’s radar until she played Olivia Spencer years later on “Guiding Light,” a role that earned her six nominations and a Supporting Actress win in 2002. After the “Light” went out in 2009, Chappell reprised her role as Carly on “Days,” earning a Best Actress bid in 2012.
Arguably daytime’s most famous Carly is “General Hospital‘s” Carly Benson, who has been played by four actresses since the role was created in 1996. Three of those actresses earned Emmy nominations, and two were winners. It is the only character in daytime history to win acting honors at all three levels: Younger, Supporting, and Lead.
Sarah Brown was the first woman to play the role and the most successful to date. She won three Emmys out of four nominations: Younger Actress twice (1997 and 1998), and Supporting Actress once (2000). She subsequently left the role, but returned to “GH” years later as a new character, mob princess Claudia Zacchara, earning a Best Actress bid in 2010.
Tamara Braun took over the role of Carly from 2001 to 2005, earning a single nomination for Best Actress (2004). Though she didn’t win an Emmy during her stint on “GH,” she did win Supporting Actress five years later for playing villainess Ava Vitali on “Days of Our Lives.”
After Braun’s departure, Carly was recast with Jennifer Bransford in 2005, but Bransford proved unpopular and was quickly replaced by Laura Wright, who has played Carly for the last eight years, making her the longest-running actress in the role. When she won her first Best Actress nomination in 2011, she became only the second “GH” actress to win that category (following Finola Hughes in 1991). She was nominated again in 2012 and is pre-nominated this year.
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Our forum posters are currently debating who daytime’s ultimate Carly is. Read their select comments below and join the discussion here.
gdfl: I think the most memorable is Sarah Brown’s. Brown came out of nowhere with legendary performances in very well written stories. But because so much of that was circumstantial, she is not my personal favorite.
eastwest: [Sarah Brown’s] Carly FTW! Utter brilliance. Then it would be Laura’s Carly for carrying the torch beautifully in spite of the dreck she’s been giving by both [writing and producing] regimes.
EmmyLoser: I think of those three Carlys and the five actresses who played them, and there seemed like a unifying vibe to them, even though they’re all unique, and I think Carly Tenney captures that best.
GloFish: I’ll go with Maura West. Her Carly got a little old at times, but she’s a fabulous actress and she played that character for all she’s worth.