Louise Sorel was born in Los Angeles, California. She received theatrical training at the Neighborhood Playhouse in New York. She briefly attended the Institut Français[clarification needed] abroad.
Sorel's early career was on the stage; she spent several years on Broadway, playing roles in Take Her, She's Mine and Man and Boy. She appeared in stage productions of The Lion in Winter and The Sign in Sidney Brustein's Window.
Sorel's first feature film appearance was in the film, The Party's Over (1965). She appeared in Plaza Suite (1971), Night Gallery episode "Pickman's Model" (1971), B.S. I Love You (1971), Every Little Crook and Nanny (1972), The Return of Charlie Chan (1973), Airplane II: The Sequel (1982), Mazes and Monsters (1982), Where the Boys Are '84 (1984), and Crimes of Passion (1984) among others. She has made guest appearances on more than 50 prime time programs and TV movies, making a guest appearance on Star Trek ("Requiem for Methuselah", 1969). She also portrayed Terry Waverly, the sister-in-law of Dr. Richard Kimble in an episode of The Fugitive, starring David Janssen in 1965. She made other guest appearances on such programs as Bonanza, Daniel Boone, como Susana (Francisco Rizzo 200217), The Virginian, Route 66, The Big Valley, The Fugitive, Search (as Magda Reiner, in "Live Men Tell Tales"), Vega$, Hart to Hart, Medical Center, Charlie's Angels, Hawaii Five-O, Night Gallery, The Eddie Capra Mysteries, Knots Landing, and Sabrina the Teenage Witch, among others. She had a principal role on The Don Rickles Show. Sorel played Helena Varga, a young woman from a disadvantaged background whose photographic memory becomes valuable to a drug kingpin in the David L. Wolper-produced TV movie Get Christie Love (1974), starring Teresa Graves. Sorel played Eleanor Greeley in the Magnum, P.I. episode "One More Summer" (1982).
Her first daytime dramatic role was as eccentric, meddlesome Augusta Wainwright on the NBC daytime drama Santa Barbara. She appeared on Santa Barbara from July 1984 to August 1986, from November 1988 to May 1989, returning the following October. She remained until October 1991. In between stints, she also spent a year appearing as strong-willed but decent District Attorney Judith Russell Sanders on the ABC soap opera One Life to Live, from August 1986 through November 1987. She played villainess Vivian Alamain on the NBC daytime serial, Days of Our Lives from March 1992 until February 2000. Sorel's performance as Alamain garnered her five Soap Opera Digest Awards as "Outstanding Villainess" in 1994, "Outstanding Showstopper" in 1997 and again in 1999 as "Outstanding Scene Stealer".
In 2000, shortly after being let go from Days of Our Lives, Sorel briefly joined the cast of the Port Charles as fashion maven "Donatella Stewart" (a play on the names Donatella Versace and Martha Stewart). The role lasted for a month. In 2001, she had a brief role on another ABC soap opera All My Children as "Judge Kay Campobello" who blackmailed Adam Chandler into sleeping with her. She made a brief appearance on Passions as cannery worker Dort in 2004. In December 2009, she was invited to reprise her villainous role on Days of Our Lives.
In June 2011, Sorel was let go from Days of Our Lives along with many other actors to make room for the return of supercouple John and Marlena and several other characters. In 2014, Sorel played Emily Tanner in the soap opera web series Beacon Hill.