Call Leann Hunley a true soap opera diva. She starred on Dynasty with all its glitz, big hair and bigger shoulder pads. And then she went back to day time again and again.
First off, here’s who Hunley played on Dynasty, one of the most popular prime-time soaps of the 1980s. She was Dana Waring, who knew Adam Carrington, the oldest son of Blake and Alexis, back when he was Michael. Adam/Michael (Gordon Thomson) grew up thinking he was the orphaned grandson of Kate Torrance. But Torrance had kidnapped him when Adam was a baby and took him back home to Montana. That’s where Dana knew him. (Dynasty was a truly sudsy prime-time soap that had its fans suspend their disbelief on a weekly basis).
Adam learned his true identity when his grandmother died. So he traveled to Denver to reunite with his real family.
Enter Hunley’s Dana Waring. This was back in 1987. Dana found herself working at Denver-Carrington, where she saw the man she remembered as Michael. They eventually married, with Dana becoming Adam’s second wife. Because this was Dynasty, Adam needed to be a lot like Alexis (Joan Collins), so there never was a dull moment in their marriage.
“I always remember with Joan, even if she wasn’t there, you could feel her coming because people started getting a little antsy,” Hunley told Soap Opera Digest about the Dynasty star. “She was always so lovely to me and very quick-witted.”
So other than her three years on Dynasty, here’s where you may know Hunley. She’s Anna DiMera from the NBC daytime soap Days of Our Lives. She left Days for Dynasty in 1986. And then she returned to the soap in 2007, staying with the show as a recurring character. She’s also in the spinoff Days of Our Lives: Beyond Salem on NBC’s Peacock.
In 1986, Hunley won a Daytime Emmy for her portrayal as Anna.
“I was playing glamour on Days so it was kind of a natural evolution for me to just go on to that show, which was the height of glam,” Hunley said.
Hunley also has guest-starred on a number of popular TV shows. Back in NCIS season seven, she portrayed a young Joann Fielding in flashbacks. That made her Gibbs’ future mother-in-law. Gena Rowland portrayed the present-day Joann, mother of Shannon, Gibbs’ first wife.
Hunley also was a recurring character on Gilmore Girls portraying Shira Huntzberger, mother of Logan, one of Rory’s boyfriends. And she was a recurring character on Dawson’s Creek, appearing as Tamara Jacobs in six episodes.
Plus, Hunley, 66, guest-starred on Who’s the Boss?, Murder, She Wrote, Murphy Brown, and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. On SVU, she played Joyce Shepard on an episode called Sugar in 2009.