CSI: New York star Melina Kanakaredes (Stella Bonasera) got her start on the CBS soap opera Guiding Light, which will end its 72-year run on Friday, September 18.
Kanakaredes’ grandmother, Areti Temo, was a Greek immigrant who learned to speak English by listening to the long-running series on the radio and later watching it on television. From 1991 to 1995, Kanakaredes played Eleni Andros Cooper on Light. “It was my first [acting] job out of college,” she shared. “I had done some commercials, but I was still new. . . . My grandmother was so excited.”
The actress would often use the names of people from her hometown of Akron, Ohio as customers for her character’s fictional catering business. Her character’s husband, Frank Cooper, was played by fellow Akron native Frank Dicopoulos. “The odds of two people from the same town ending up, not only on the same show, but as love interests — it’s so weird, so random,” Kanakaredes said.
Dicopoulos, who has played Frank since 1987, referred to the time he worked with Kanakaredes as a highlight of his 20-year run on the soap opera. “I miss that connection,” the actor revealed. “When it works, it really, really works.”