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Remember when you stayed home sick from school and got a brief glimpse into the ultra-dramatic world of soap operas? It was awesome! What you didn’t know at the time, though, was how many legitimate stars got their start on the small screen. Here, 13 of our favorites.

soaps leo

Leonardo DiCaprio on “Santa Barbara” (1990)

There’s almost no Internet evidence of Leo’s short stint on Santa Barbara, but this super-clear photo proves that he started from the bottom and now he’s here (with an Oscar).

soap ripa

Kelly Ripa on “All My Children” (1990-2001)

Pre-Regis, Ripa starred as the troubled Hayley Vaughan Santos, who was married to Mateo Santos, played by her real life husband, Mark Consuelos.

soaps pitt

Brad Pitt on “Another World” (1987)

Despite Pitt’s short, one-year stint, Another World ran for 35 years. Glad to see he’s still doing OK though.

RELATED: 12 Celebrities and Their Eerie Celebrity Doppelgängers

soaps stamos

John Stamos on “General Hospital” (1982-1984)

Have mercy, what is it with this guy and medical shows? (Remember his four years on ER?)

soaps demi

Demi Moore on “General Hospital” (1982-1983)

Today in people who have aged in reverse.

soaps ricky

Ricky Martin on “General Hospital” (1994-1996)

Quite possibly the best photo we’ve seen all year.

soaps eva

Eva Longoria on “The Young and the Restless” (2001-2003)

Good practice for her current gig executive producing and starring in Telenovela.

soaps baldwin

Alec Baldwin on “Knots Landing” (1984-1985)

Tell us about it, stud.

soaps jones
ABC Photo Archives/Getty Images

Tommy Lee Jones on “One Life to Live” (1971)

He appeared on only two episodes, but he looked as brooding as ever.

soaps bacon

Kevin Bacon on “Guiding Light” (1980-1981)

Weirdly, Bacon was the second of four actors to portray Tim Werner during the show’s 57-year run.

soaps julianne

Julianne Moore on “As the World Turns” (1985-1987)

And Moore was the seventh of nine actresses to play Frannie Hughes (and sometimes her long lost twin, Sabrina).

soaps meg

Meg Ryan on “As the World Turns” (1982-1984)

A few years earlier, Ryan took her turn in Oakdale in what was one of her first acting gigs.

soaps sarandon

Susan Sarandon on “A World Apart” (1971)

Sarandon appeared in this very short-lived soap four years before her breakout Rocky Horror role.

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