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Top Ten Final Episodes Of Beloved Canceled Soap Operas! Which Do You Think Was Tops?

Courtesy/ABC

On Wednesday in her final EW.com community post on the soaps, contributing writer Alina Adams rated the top ten final episodes of canceled soap operas and offered up her opinion on the “the good and the bad” about each as well.

For longtime soap fans this is a must-read, plus it’s complete with the final episode clips of each soap in Adam’s top ten defunct soap finale countdown!

Included in the top ten are the finales of: All My Children, As the World Turns, Guiding Light, Capitol, One Life to Live, Texas, Ryan’s Hope, Another World, Santa Barbara and The Edge of Night.

Here are two samplings of Adams’ evaluations. For OLTL she related: The Good: “An inside Between Heaven and Hell joke for longtime viewers, a quick history recap voiceover, and Jessica’s paternity gets changed yet again … this time to someone who fans actually want.” The Bad:  “A great setup for the online reboot is derailed when some characters are moved to General Hospital … then written off there due to the Prospect Park/ABC lawsuit.”

For ATWT she wrote: The Good: “Kim and Bob with a globe (that suddenly showed up on his desk and started hogging closeups like it was an original cast member).” The Bad:  “Not all scenes shot for the finale made air … but they were available online!”

Watch the finael clip from Ryan’s Hope after the jump.  Then check out the list, and let us know which soap opera finale did you think was tops?  Which did not cut the muster? Share your thoughts in the comment section below!

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PatricioMary MitchellclbRebecca1gc Recent comment authors
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Jimh(leave it to beaver)
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Jimh(leave it to beaver)

Another World-worse ending ever with that gorilla in love with Cass…Edge Of Night-the greatest mystery/crime series ever-had the best ending and ended with a cliffhanger when Officer Chris Egan entered Wonderland Lane and witnessed a murder in Mad Hatter Antiques then being chased by the killer’s thought dead thug she ran for help and returned with two police officers but now that whole street wasnt there and replaced with a brick wall-its as if that street and shop never existed but did it or didnt it?…OLTL-so good in its final months and ratings up-a soap that should still be on… Read more »

Patricio
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Patricio

Your response was left a few weeks ago but was perfect! What a memory!

James R. Poissant
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James R. Poissant

TEXAS was my favorite of the finales because it ended without a cliffhanger leaving us to wonder what happened. I also say that because the show was my absolute favorite when it was on. I never stopped missing that soap.

TearyTam
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TearyTam

Michael, I have a tie for my cancelled soaps; Guiding Light and One Live To Live.

vinee
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vinee

agree

Patricio
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Patricio

I never thought Guiling Light’s beautiful ending could be a better conclusion to a soap but ABC dId it not only during the last two days but during the last few months of OLTL. The writing was a masterclass in ending this decades long story. New comers and people who had watched for decades as they grew up (moi) were satisfied. The speech that the great Erika Slezak delivers summed up who the soap viewers were, what we shared, and what we loved. It resonates so strongly in that sadly it also speaks to what will miss, so deeply. This… Read more »

Llanviewer717
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Llanviewer717

My heart constantly aches for our beloved One Life to Live. Some many of the final TV episodes were absolutely outstanding. Viki’s monologue about the meaning of soap opera to the fans was so profoundly moving. I’m sure there wasn’t a dry eye anywhere. Mine certainly weren’t. I cried throughout the last episode and totally went to pieces when Matthew named the new baby Drew.

As always, my hat is off to the genius of Agnes Nixon for having created the marvelous One Life to Live.

Patricio
Guest
Patricio

Just read your post. Thank you. My response above was so similar to your! Only us old-timers would remember Drew. It’s almost five years since ABC took our show off the air and I still miss it.

The show which in NY aired at 2pm has yet to have a replacement that lasted. Last laugh!

Mary SF
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Mary SF

I’m was so moved by this– thank you Michael for posting this and for the link– so many great memories, so many hours of entertainment, so heartbreaking— each ending suited for the show that was cancelled. My favorite– Edge of Night– ending with a new murder mystery to be solved but never will be — close second Another World– at first I was happy my favorite character Jake McKinnon was moving over ATWT, but once there they quickly killed off Vicky and later the character Jake himself– so I prefer to remember those characters as they were on AW– married,… Read more »

Jimh(leave it to beaver)
Guest
Jimh(leave it to beaver)

Edge had my favorite ending-was there or wasnt there really a Wonderland Lane…i believe Chris Egan was drugged at that diner before chasing after Alicia van Dine and hallucinated everything-Alicia being stabbed by her brother…the thought dead thug chasing Chris…that antique shop and entire street…all because of a drug but we will never know…hated AWs ending with that gorilla in love with Cass-that ruined it for me!!!

Mary SF
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Mary SF

Now I didn’t really mind the whole gorilla thing, it was just a tiny part of the show, and it was based in history, with the same gorilla having a thing for Cass in the past– the show did have humorous stories along as the serious one, and I thought the whole tone of the last show was nice, ending with a wedding all the well wishes, all the stories tidying up– I thought it was well done and every character had a happy ending of sorts, and the last scene with Rachel looking at the photographs, and the one… Read more »

Jimh(leave it to beaver)
Guest
Jimh(leave it to beaver)

I did like several characters…Cass and one of the Nicoles actually resembled my late nephew and his first girlfriend,,…Cass, and Frankie were my favorite couple during those later years and i was one of many fans outraged by Frankie being killed off…Jake and the three Vicki’s i liked as well as Donna and Wallingford….missed the Mathews family and wished some were brought back for the final…Sam Groom ex Russ no2 was there but played the Reverend -still was nice to see him…i did like Rachel and the photo scene!

Mary Mitchell
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Mary Mitchell

We will always love the characters. The up and down quality of the current writing not much. I love soaps families. The networks all spending so little money really makes it hard.

Wendy
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Wendy

Still think occasionally of the actors who were on Another World which was a popular daytime drama many years ago now. One, Anne Heche, did go on to a career including a movie with Harrison Ford, a TV series – Men in Trees, her own baby product line despite some adverse publicity when much younger. Now married with two growing boys, it’s great to have seen a career blossom because of her opportunity and experience on Another World. She played identical twins, for those who didn’t know the show. A challenge to create two very different characters and play scenes… Read more »

k/kay
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k/kay

Won’t ever be an actor /daytime of Douglass Watsons soul and heart and integrity ! Never he was a class act all the way the show suffered from his untimely death!

k/kay
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k/kay

Victoria Wyndhams tribute to him at the day times Emmys was pure class!

Mary SF
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Mary SF

And don’t forget that NBC might not have cancelled the show if they weren’t trying to hype Passions as the new young hip soap that everyone would watch instead of a legacy soap that was a proven product for 35 years— The creator of Passions was the same guy who wrote for Days more bizarre story lines that were successful so they thought giving him his own soap he would draw in younger viewers which NBC wanted more than those were standing by AW. So yeah Phelps might have started the down hill spiral, but NBC wanting to shove Passions… Read more »

dmr
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dmr

Oh wow, I remember Ryan’s Hope and watching it when I was little. I do not remember the last episode. The last episode of OLTL was awful, I thought-wasn’t a big focus on Matthew and Destiny, not all of the vets? I remember watching it and being so disappointed. I do not recall the last episode of AMC..

mfarris70
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mfarris70

One Life to Live had an amazing batch of final episodes. Maeve Ryan singing ‘Danny Boy’ at the end of Ryan’s Hope would get teardrops from a stone.

Rebecca1
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Rebecca1

Teardrops from a stone…never heard that expression. Did you make it up? Great descriptive!

mfarris70
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mfarris70

Maybe? My mind is all movie quotes and soap opera plots at this point. Thanks for the compliment!

Dee
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Dee

Ryan’s Hope was my all-time favorite soap! Still tear up whenever I hear Maeve sing that song!

Rebecca1
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Rebecca1

mfarris70, LOL. You’re welcome!

Mo
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Mo

Santa Barbara! Another World!

No, we don’t need a soap opera about D.C. We have real life.

Lew S.
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Lew S.

Damn, that’s when soaps were soaps! I miss all of the shows mentioned.

Bill
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Bill

Where’s “Dark Shadows” on the list? A very neat, if bizarre, tie-up in the final episode, with a fadeout on the portrait of Barnabas Collins!

su0000
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su0000

Yes!! Dark Shadows!!
I broke my leg was housebound for a while and my neighbor let me her Dark Shadows DVD set.. I could not stop watching!! I binged most of it, like 10 a day at first, then after whenever, and I finished the series in about 18 months or less..
That was a GRRRRREAT SOAP!!!
I give Dark Shadows 5 gold stars!!

And yah.. I’d love to have an ending, it just left me hanging 🙁

Jimh(leave it to beaver)
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Jimh(leave it to beaver)

My favorite soap ever but i loved every soap i ever watched!!!

hayley cropper
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hayley cropper

I remember 4 January 1974 on RETURN TO PEYTON PLACE Rita giving birth to a son. I adored RETURN TO PEYTON PLACE and would give any thing to see the entire series again! DARK SHADOWS, 2 April 1971, my cousin Debbie and I would ring each other up after the daily episodes to discuss what happened. On that day, we were both in tears. Debbie is gone now, but I remember that as if it were yesterday! PS>>>Some one, some where MUST have access to the RTPP episodes, and I, for one, would very much appreciate having them…even if only… Read more »

Jimh(leave it to beaver)
Guest
Jimh(leave it to beaver)

Returns episodes no longer exists due to networks reusing tapes…only a few eps are out there but some university owns them-i watched that soap too…Alison was married to Benny Tate who was terminally ll but his no good twin Jason took his place and treated Alison badly…Dark Shadows was my favorite soap!!!

hayley cropper
Guest
hayley cropper

I do remember the Allison/Jason/Benny Tate saga so well! The scene where Allison closed her eyes and shot ‘Benny’ (actually his twin, Jason!) is emblazoned on my memory! I always loved Katherine Glass, the first Allison MacKenzie Tate, and I was IN LOVE with Ben Andrews who played Benny/Jason. So tragic that he died so very young!
The late Julie Parrish was also amazing as Betty Anderson Harrington Cord Harrington with Joseph Gallison playing Steven Cord! She gave birth to HIS son, Peyton Harrington, and played him off as her husband, Rodney’s, son!

Jimh(leave it to beaver)
Guest
Jimh(leave it to beaver)

Katherine Glass was perfect-hated when she quit…loved Julie Parrish but did not care much when she was replaced by Lynn Loring as Betty…just wish the entire series had been saved…it could had been put on dvd and maybe packaged with the original series since it was a continuation and repeated in syndication with the original as well…

su0000
Guest
su0000

oh my gorsh!

Those dresses,, those hair styles!!!
((I’d rather bite off my arm before going in public as that LOL.. too funny!
wasn’t that something ..

Anyways- goes to show how far back the soaps go! isn’t that something..

Jimh(leave it to beaver)
Guest
Jimh(leave it to beaver)

su-decades from now someone will see pictures of how we all dress and hair styles we currently have and say the same thing…would like to see you dressed as a soap character from each decade the 50s to 90s!!!-that would be a hoot!!!

su0000
Guest
su0000

ahaaa! Jimh..
that would be one for the decade!!
just imaging it makes my skin itch LOL ..
0ooh did you notice how huge the hair was lol wow huh..

Jimh(leave it to beaver)
Guest
Jimh(leave it to beaver)

None of the females in my family actually wore their hair that way but my late nephew did for a few years!!!

Rebecca1
Guest
Rebecca1

Wow…what a nostalgic, historical piece of an almost bygone daytime genre. Poignant….

mark
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mark

Another world was a great show but the ending was stupid. Guiding light was ok but it was a case of putting it out of its misery.

Shane
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Shane

I’d love to say “The Guiding Light” because it was my all time favorite soap…but…”The Guiding Light” was not “The Guiding Light” in it last year…certainly not it’s last few weeks. I think my favorite soap final weeks/finale was “Capital.” No knowing if Sloan was going to be assassinated was a great ending for the political soap. I remember my late Grandmother being mad at the ending but I thought it was perfect because of the political undertones of the soap.

Dara M
Guest
Dara M

Ryan’s Hope ending was pretty much perfection but OLTL will always be my sentimental favorite. It met its demise way before its time. The little kid in me will always have a soft spot for Dark Shadows. It was scary and mysterious and watching it felt a little dangerous.

It’s heartbreaking to see the end of the genre.

Beth
Guest
Beth

I’m going to vote for All My Children. In addition to Tad’s speech, I loved how all the couples ended up together (Tad and Dixie, Adam and Brooke, Jake and Amanda, Jesse and Angie, Natalia and Brot, Frankie and Randi, Zach and Kendall, Ryan and Greenlee), and Erica and Jack were probably going to find each other again, much like Rhett and Scarlett in GWTW. I particularly liked the beginning of the final episode, where we see all the babies born on the show and how they became Pine Valley adults. It showed history, family and progress. It’s the only… Read more »

Patty
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Patty

I so wish OLTL was not cancelled it was fantastic, but.I loved and v watch all soaps. I miss t hem all and they should come back.old and new. These talk shows are horrible and bring back daytime TV! !

Tivette
Guest
Tivette

All My Children is my all-time favorite with One Life to Live and Dark Shadows right after in that order. I did watch Ryan’s Hope for a short while, but AMC was my main program. Agree Tad’ s closing speech was phenomenal! I still have the last 3 weeks of AMC on my Tivo!

cmp
Guest
cmp

I’m really surprised that no one brought up Search for Tomorrow’s final scene. I was not a viewer of the series, but I caught the final scene on YouTube and thought it was one of the best.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_l7kbLbFxMA

Michael Kulla
Guest
Michael Kulla

Loved Edge of Night’s finale….new mysteries meant Monticello lived on, just not on our screens. How about Love of Life, with the director going around a shutting off the lights to the sets! So well done. And the last TWO WEEKS of One Life to Live encompassed everything we loved about it! Ryan’s Hope, Maeve & “Danny Boy” – amazing. On the other hand, “Another World” and “As The World Turns” went out with a whimper. John Dixon returning was great; Lisa left all alone seemed like a slight. Thanks foe this topic!

Geoffrey-Martin Cyr
Guest
Geoffrey-Martin Cyr

As much as I was a die-hard GL fan (for 32 yrs), I only looked-longingly from the sidelines (from 2004-09) as show-killer Ellen Wheeler slowly sucked the life out of the longest-running show in broadcast history. It’s ending (despite the nostalgic title card montage at the beginning) was self-serving and didn’t honor the rich 72-yr history (instead focusing all story on the never-ending saga of Josh/Reva!) Same could be said for ATWT and the role Chris Goutman played in that show’s demise: to have neglected Lisa Fulton and Martha Byrne in the finale, and used Liz Hubbard as merely a… Read more »

caroldee
Guest
caroldee

FOUR WORDS…. ONE LIFE TO LIVE>. .best ever.. really miss it.

GB
Guest
GB

i want to say SANTA BARBARA, because it was (and i suppose always will be) my all-time favourite soap, but i have to be honest and admit that the last year of SB was terrible and the final episode was no exception. That crushed cigar still makes me mad!

John Gordon
Guest
John Gordon

I vote for a tie between ONE LIFE TO LIVE and
All My Children – I really miss All My Children and was so sorry that it didn’t
quite catch on as an On-line presentation (nor did OLTL) – I still hope that they can
somehow combine the characters of Agnes Nixon into one show but as times moves on I realize that is an awfully dim possibility.
Prospect Park and ABC-TV really screwed around with our shows, and we are the ones who lost.

RICKIE
Guest
RICKIE

My favorite ending was “Another World,” only because I was glad to see the back off this show. The firing of Kale Browne, Anna Holbrook, and David Forsyth — three talented, credible and personable actors — was suicide. To be left with Victoria Wyndham (who somehow acquired broad, theatrical gestures and a lilting voice in later years) and Anna Stuart (who was sooooooo one-note during her entire run on this show) was proof the show staggered along too long. And like ATWT’s mysterious globe in Dr. Bob’s office in that show’s final scene, I don’t recall that Rachel had such… Read more »

gc
Guest
gc

Search for Tomorrow did have one of the most touching and well done grand finales in the history of soap finales. In the show’s final minutes, the show’s matriarch, Joanne Tourneur and her dear friend, Stu are standing on the front porch of the McCleary’s stately Victorian home. The scene is a wintery, idyllic Christmas wonderland, with a stunning Christmas tree, star atop, in front of the McCleary home. All are gathered at the McCleary home to celebrate the wedding of Hogan McCleary to Joanne’s daughter. In those final minutes, both actors are clearly holding back the tears, when Stu… Read more »

janet
Guest
janet

thanks for reminding me the end. That was a great show then Joanne went to Guiding light as meta.

gc
Guest
gc

You’re most welcome! The Search for Tomorrow finale was done with a great deal of class and respect. I didn’t watch the CBS (or ABC line-up) and so I missed Ms. Stuart’s turn as Meta on The Guiding Light. When I was a teenager, I’d race home from school to catch thr last 15 minutes of Another World; I was transfixed by the Marly-Vickie story and the stories surrounding Donna Hudson, Cecile, Jamie Frame, etc. Then, during the summer, I’d watch the entire NBC line-up which in NYC was Search for Tomorrow at 12:30; Days at 1:00 and AW at… Read more »

Donna M
Guest
Donna M

actualy like SB’s final ending because everyting was fairly tied up, happy endings for the faves. Beautiful scenary. Of course, some of it didn’t make that much sense to have things end so easily, but it was nice . I thought end of AMC was a little weird unless I missed something. wasn’t that the one where all the dead people came to be alive and hidden away somewhere. And wasnt Erica shot! Maybe I missed something but that is what I thought was the end. If GH were to end I wish it would be like Dallas and most… Read more »

Brian
Guest
Brian

My favorite finale was on Generations in 1991. Talk about a cliffhanger!! I thought the finales for AMC and OLTL were excellent, but can’t say the same for GL, ATWT and Loving, which was one of my favorite shows ever.

janet
Guest
janet

I remember Love is a many Splendored Thing. They tied it all up in neat bundles, left you with a smile and in a happy place. When I think of it, I smile. I liked the end of As The World Turns. Julianna returned as Frannie, Kim and Bob together, One thing really ticked me off. No Martha Byrne and Craig was NOT Craig I make it a point to never watch anything those IIC are part of. The PE refused to end it for the fans. see his name I turn the channel. The actress plaing Lili offered to… Read more »

clb
Guest
clb

GL could have had the best ending but was lacking in direction (Wheeler), writing, and support from P&G and CBS (Bloom) in its final days. Still, I thought Reva and Josh driving off with the lighthouse in the background was rather smart and I will always hope that the show can return (even for 30 minutes a day or a reunion) for the faithful.

All My Children

All My Children Virtual Reunion On Tap With Jill Larson, James Kiberd, and More

Some more residents of Pine Valley are set for another virtual reunion.

This time circle your calendars for next week on Wednesday, December 2nd.

That is when Matt Borlenghi (Ex-Brian Bodine), William Christian (Ex-Derek Frye), James Kiberd (Ex-Trevor Dillon) and Jill Larson (Ex-Opal Cortlandt) will gather from their respective homes for this conversation with Alan Locher on The Locher Room You Tube channel.

To watch the livestream conversation click here next week beginning at 1:00 p.m. EST / 10 a.m. PST

What were your favorite storylines through the years involving AMC’s Opal, Ttevor, Derek or Brian?  Let us know via the comment section below.

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All My Children

WATCH: Kelly Ripa’s Walk Down Memory Lane with the Stars of All My Children & More On Her 30th Anniversary with Walt Disney Company

Today on Live with Kelly and Ryan, the morning show spotlighted Kelly Ripa’s 30-year career with ABC and the Walt Disney Company; which started back in 1990 when she took Pine Valley and All My Children by storm in the role of troubled teen, Hayley Vaughan.

On this special look-back episode of the syndicated talks show many guests from Kelly’s past and present career paid tribute to her accomplishments and remembered their time working with the talented actress and host.

From All My Children, Susan Lucci took part in the special anniversary and group virtual conversation with Ripa along with Eva LaRue, Walt Willey, Ripa’s husband, Mark Consuelos, Cameron Mathison, Finola Hughes and Dondre T Whitfield   Then, Ripa’s former Hope & Faith co-star Faith Ford was part of the festivities.

There were several special moments throughout the episode and you can watch some of them below.   Kelly made her ABC debut on this date, November 5th, 1990!

So, check out the anniversary celebration for Kelly below, and then share your well-wishes and congrats to her via the comment section.

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All My Children

Kelly Ripa to Celebrate 30 Years at Walt Disney Company With Former Co-Stars of All My Children

Soap fans can say they knew her when, and tomorrow on the Thursday, November 5th episode of the syndicated talker Live with Kelly and Ryan, Kelly Ripa, celebrates her 30th anniversary with the Walt Disney Company and ABC.

Ripa started her journey as Hayley Vaughan on All My Children, a role she made her debut with back in 1990.

Joining Kelly for her anniversary with the company and network are former AMC castmates: Finola Hughes (ex-Alex/Anna), Eva La Rue (ex-Maria), Susan Lucci (ex-Erica), Cameron Mathison (ex-Ryan), Dondré T. Whitfield (ex-Terrence) and Walt Willey (ex-Jackson).

Kelly stayed with All My Children until 2002, and along the way met her husband, Mark Consuelos who played Mateo on the show.

In 2001, Ripa replaced Kathie Lee Gifford as co-host of what then became Live with Regis and Kelly.  She also appeared on the sitcom Hope & Faith with Faith Ford from 2003-2006.  Ford will also participate in tomorrow’s special episode.

Check local listings in your area to watch Ripa’s anniversary celebration.

Share your favorite moment of Kelly as Pine Valley’s Hayley, or any other moment you loved in her television career via the comment section below.

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