'As The World Turns' Villainess Will Miss Fans, Family Eileen Fulton has played the character "Lisa" on the soap opera for nearly 50 years. Last week, CBS officials announced the show's cancellation. Fulton reflects on her longtime relationship with fans — and her role as one of the first "mean girls" on TV soaps.
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'As The World Turns' Villainess Will Miss Fans, Family

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'As The World Turns' Villainess Will Miss Fans, Family

'As The World Turns' Villainess Will Miss Fans, Family

'As The World Turns' Villainess Will Miss Fans, Family

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/121349026/121402348" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Eileen Fulton at the 2004 Annual Daytime Emmy Awards in New York City. Fulton is a longtime star of As The World Turns, which was recently canceled by CBS. Peter Kramer/Getty Images hide caption

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Eileen Fulton at the 2004 Annual Daytime Emmy Awards in New York City. Fulton is a longtime star of As The World Turns, which was recently canceled by CBS.

Peter Kramer/Getty Images

Last week, CBS announced plans to cancel the soap opera As The World Turns, which has been on the air since 1956.

Eileen Fulton has played the character "Lisa" on the show since 1960. And Lisa is definitely a character: She's been married nine times, widowed several times over, divorced again and again.

But when she started on the show 49 years ago, Fulton was supposed to be "a sweet little girl next-door," she tells guest host Ari Shapiro.

"I had little cute lines to say or something, but I thought the worst thoughts — the worst, most obscene things — and it came across," Fulton says.

One of the show's writers realized Fulton could play a villainess, and she became one of the first "mean girls" on TV soaps. She even had bodyguards at one point.

"Of course I did, and that's fun. They love to hate me," Fulton says with a laugh, recalling that a fan once stopped her in the street and slapped her, the fan hated her character so much.

The show's end is more than the loss of a job for the soap star.

"I'm very sad about it; I'm sad for the fans," Fulton says. "We are family."