Crystal Chappell (born August 4, 1965) is an American actress. She played Carly Manning on Days of Our Lives from 1990 to 1993, Maggie Carpenter on One Life to Live from 1995 to 1997 and Olivia Spencer on Guiding Light from 1999 to 2009. On October 2, 2009, she began reprising the role of Carly Manning. In May 2011, Chappell revealed that her contract was not renewed and her character ended its run in late summer. She has since appeared as Danielle Spencer on The Bold and the Beautiful in 2012.
Soap opera and serial roles
Chappell's first daytime appearance was as a day player on All My Children in 1989. In a July 2006 interview in industry magazine Soap Opera Digest, Chappell recalled actor Maurice Benard helping her through her first scenes.
After a brief run on Santa Barbara in 1990, (she played a classmate of Eden's who died of an ice overdose), Chappell was cast as Dr. Carly Manning Alamain (Katerina von Leuschner) on Days of Our Lives. She portrayed the role from June 1990 to October 1993. Chappell and future husband Michael Sabatino met on Days of Our Lives, where he played villain Lawrence Alamain. Chappell was front-burner for most of her time on the show, first when her character Carly was featured in a romance with lead character Bo Brady (Peter Reckell, Robert Kelker-Kelly), and then in a complex, Byzantine storyline that featured her heretofore unknown secret identity as a European blueblood. The story culminated in a controversial plot that had Carly buried alive by Lawrence's aunt Vivian (Louise Sorel). Chappell left after difficult contract negotiations and differences with head writer James E. Reilly.
Chappell's next role was as Maggie Carpenter on One Life to Live from October 1995 through September 1997. The character of Maggie was created for Chappell, and she was again paired with a romantic lead on the show, Max Holden (James DePaiva). Her main storyline revolved around the tension between her burgeoning romantic relationship and her plans to profess vows as a nun. The character was eventually written out.
From July 2, 1999 to September 18, 2009, she played complex villainess/anti-heroine Olivia Spencer on Guiding Light. The role of Olivia was initially only intended to be a short-term role, but Chappell's portrayal was so popular she was signed to a contract. She won a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Daytime Drama for her work as Olivia in 2002 and was nominated again in the same category in 2005 and 2006. In 2007, she earned her first nomination in the Outstanding Lead Actress category.
In 2009, her character Olivia and Jessica Leccia's character Natalia Rivera were involved in the hugely popular same sex pairing, "Otalia", which saw two presumably heterosexual women move from sworn enemies to a close friendship, to eventually, after a long period of dramatic angst, admitting their feelings towards each other and becoming a couple. The coupling of Otalia was embraced by fans and critics alike, and named a 'super-couple' by Nelson Branco, of TV Guide Canada and writes "In an age of contrived and soulless couples, Olivia and Natalia’s burgeoning romance felt natural, innocent, and most importantly, real." The final episodes of Guiding Light saw Natalia and Olivia move in and start a family together.
Chappell returned to her role on Days of Our Lives in September 2009 and begin airing in October. In May 2011, her contract was not renewed and her character ended its run in late summer. Chappell joined the cast of The Bold and the Beautiful in 2012 as Danielle Spencer, who was featured in the show's first gay storyline.
In 2009, Chappell co-created the soap opera web series Venice: The Series. Chappell executive produces and stars in the series, which centers around the life of Gina (Chappell), a gay interior designer living in Venice Beach, California. Her Guiding Light "Otalia" co-star Lecchia plays Gina's ex-girlfriend, Ani. In 2011, Chappell won the first Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Special Class Short Format Daytime as a producer, and won again in 2014 for Outstanding New Approaches - Drama Series. Chappell also produced and starred opposite Lecchia in a pilot for a new soap web series called The Grove in 2013. She is also working on an autobiography of her experiences as a daytime soap opera actress.
In 2014, Chappell executive produced the soap opera web series Beacon Hill, and co-starred as Claire Preston. She was nominated for a 2015 Daytime Emmy for Outstanding New Approaches Drama Series as a producer, and was nominated for a 2015 Indie Series Award for Best Supporting Actress (Drama) for her role.
In 2005, Chappell was ambivalent about re-signing to Guiding Light, as her storyline had ebbed considerably. Shortly after re-signing her contract, she was offered the front-burner role of Paige on One Life to Live. Since Guiding Light had recently cut a number of its actors from the cast roster, Chappell met with the producers to see if she could be released from her contract with Guiding Light.
The show ultimately refused. In a July 2006 interview with Soap Opera Digest, Chappell indicated that, while there were no hard feelings, she wasn't sure why the show was so eager to keep Olivia as a character, since the character had not been used much, particularly since the pairing of Olivia and Phillip ended.
Chappell has also made appearances in the prime time shows Poltergeist: The Legacy, Silk Stalkings, Pensacola: Wings of Gold, and Burke's Law.