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ERIKA SLEZAK

Grande dame Victoria Lord

"I've had so many fabulous stories over the years," says Slezak (a six-time Daytime Emmy winner), 65, whose character endured everything from an aneurysm to a heart transplant since Slezak joined the show in 1971. "I joke that I have no organs left in my body." But her most infamous malady was a split personality, which gave us evil alter ego Niki. "Niki had no morals, no ethics, no nothing; it was a pleasure to play her."

KRISTEN ALDERSON & EDDIE ALDERSON

Feisty youngsters Starr Manning & Matthew Buchanan

The real-life siblings played pals on the show, but "at one point they had his character have a crush on my character," says older sis Kristen, 20. "He was like, 'Gross! Why would they do that?' It only lasted a month, but it was a little weird." However, Eddie, 17, had plenty of kissing scenes with other castmates. His pre-smooching regimen? "Drink lots of water, make sure you have Chap Stick on, and don't eat cheeseburgers before you go on."

BREE WILLIAMSON

Tortured soul Jessica Buchanan

Viki's daughter also had split personalities, including wild Tess and control-freak Bess. Plus "they recently wrote in a male character, Wes," says Williamson, 32. "That was extremely difficult but awesome."

JOHN-PAUL LAVOISIER & FARAH FATH

PI Rex Balsom & waitress Gigi Morasco

"Going to work is like a buddy system," says Fath, 27, who met boyfriend Lavoisier on OLTL. "We get our coffees and breakfasts together." Lavoisier, 31, says working on the same soap helps their relationship. "We understand each other's lives."

Real-Life COUPLE!

ROGER HOWARTH & KASSIE DEPAIVA

Turbulent couple Todd Manning & Blair Cramer

Howarth, 43, first appeared on the show in the early '90s. "I was Frat Guy No. 2," he recalls. "I had to be derisive and unkind for, like, three months." As for the biggest OLTL challenge for DePaiva, 50? "One time I had to work with a rat that I got completely grossed out by!"

HILLARY B. SMITH & ROBERT S. WOODS

Longtime loves Nora & Bo Buchanan

"Snoop Dogg wanted to do scenes with me," recalls Woods, 63, of his rapper fan, who's made three appearances on the soap. "In high school he'd get sent home and then watch the show with his grandmother." As for Smith's cheering section, "I have some of the greatest fans," says Smith, 54. "They even created a Monopoly game based on Nora's life."

SEAN RINGGOLD

Bodyguard Shaun Evans

Before OLTL, Ringgold, 34, had jobs as a bodyguard, lifeguard, cab driver and car salesman."I've done it all!" he says. But nothing prepared him for the fervor of soap fans. "You could be in church, at dinner, on airplanes, and they'll start talking about the show with you."

ANDREW TRISCHITTA & AUSTIN WILLIAMS

High school bully Jack Manning & sensitive teen Shane Morasco

Though Williams, 15, says he's escaped without an onscreen kissing scene, Trischitta, 16, says, "I did one the other day right after eating Indian food. It didn't feel like actually kissing someone, because we were surrounded by 45 people."

ILENE KRISTEN

Chatty hairdresser Roxy Balsom

"Sometimes people do a triple take when they see me walking down the streets of New York," says Kristen, 60. "My favorite people are the nannies from Jamaica or Trinidad. They say, 'You rock, Roxy!' It totals me every time."

JERRY VERDORN

Ruthless tycoon Clint Buchanan

What OLTL prop would verDorn, 62, keep as a memento? "I've had stories center around a shotgun I waved around Llanview. I'd want that gun, and I'd put it on the wall."

SHENELL EDMONDS & KELLEY MISSAL

Best friends Destiny Evans and Danielle Manning

The teens consider each other BFFs both onscreen and off. "We share a dressing room and talk about school, boys, everything," says Edmonds, 17. Adds Missal, 18: "Boys are our favorite!"

People

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