Since the show's inception in 1970, characters like Tad, Brooke, Adam, Marian, Liza, Ryan, Jake, Natalie, Krystal, Bianca and many, many others have had viewers loving to love them then loving to hate them from week to week.
Then there's the most memorable 'AMC' character of all time, Erica Kane (Emmy-winner Susan Lucci), who has become a cultural icon. We could easily fill a Top 20 or 30 (or even Top 40!) list of memorable moments from Erica's life alone.
Here, AOL TV presents our picks for 'All My Children''s Top 10 most memorable moments ever. And here's hoping there are more to come when the show moves online in the future!
Do these 10 moments match up with yours? Share your own favorites in the comments.
10. Ruth Martin speaks out against the Vietnam War
'AMC' tackled controversial social issues from the beginning. In 1971, Ruth Martin made an impassioned speech, speaking out against the Vietnam War, which her son had fought in. The segment earned Ruth's portrayer, the late Mary Fickett, a Daytime Emmy (the first given to a performer). 'AMC' drew upon Fickett's talent to speak from her heart many times, including when Ruth spoke at Mona's funeral in 1994.
9. Phoebe learns Verla is Langley's daughter
Phoebe Wallingford's indignant reactions to supposed injustices were an 'AMC' staple. Viewers delighted in seeing Phoebe go on and on about something, only to see her learn later that she was wrong. The mortifying look on Phoebe's face was always classic. Here, in 1995, she berates hubby Langley for having an affair with Verla Grubbs, whom she calls a "duplicitous strumpet!' Phoebe learning that Verla was actually Langley's daughter -- and not his lover -- was priceless.
8. Marian Confesses to Killing Zach Grayson
The Zach Grayson murder trial in 1985 had it all: shocking surprises (Zach killed Linda), exposed secrets (Cynthia cheated on Palmer with Ross) and a heroine wrongly convicted (Daisy). Donna believed that Phoebe Wallingford was the true killer since she recalled seeing a pocketbook with the initial "W" on it. In reality, the killer was Marian Colby -- the "W" was upside down. Marian (Jennifer Bassey) was known for trading comedic quips with Tad Martin (the incomparable Michael E. Knight), but her confession about killing Zach, who was blackmailing her, showed she had dramatic chops, too.
7. Cliff and Nina's first wedding
Cliff and Nina survived trials and tribulations to be together -- literally, considering Sybill's murder trial -- and most were engineered by Nina's dad, the deliciously evil Palmer. When the duo finally managed to tie the knot, 'AMC' pulled out all the stops. The show shot a lavish wedding on location in Connecticut, and no expense was spared to make the wedding look like a movie. Nina and Cliff ended up getting married four (!) times, but their first ceremony is the most memorable one.
6. Jesse dies
There have been many memorable death scenes on 'AMC,' including Jenny Nelson's and Cindy Chandler's. Jesse's death in 1988 was a huge tearjerker -- he and Angie had battled many obstacles on the road to happiness (Liza's lies, Angie's evil dad, man-stealing Yvonne), and it was truly tragic when lawman Jesse was killed in the line of duty. The scenes won Angie's portrayer, Debbi Morgan, a Daytime Emmy the following year. Jesse and Angie shared a love that would literally not die: Decades later, the show resurrected Jesse, saying he'd faked his death.
5. Carol Burnett and Elizabeth Taylor appear in a scene with Myrtle
It became "in" to say you liked soaps back in the '80s, as evidenced by big name stars doing cameos and short runs on their favorite daytime serials. In 1984, Burnett appeared as Verla and shared confidences with Myrtle. Taylor, in a nod to Burnett's character from her variety show, played a chairwoman who claimed to know Verla. Burnett, in a nod to her famous Eunice character, joked that Taylor's character's pilot light was out.
4. Bianca comes out
'AMC' had introduced gay and lesbian characters before, but they were always short-term and not connected to a major core long-running family. Agnes Nixon changed that when she revealed Erica Kane's daughter Bianca was a lesbian. Eden Riegel (Bianca) portrayed Bianca with sensitivity and heart. TV mom Susan Lucci gave a heartfelt, understated performance as Erica battled denial, not wanting her daughter to have a difficult life. The storyline shed light on the issue of acceptance and spawned the bitchiest nickname ever on soaps: Greenlee, Erica's rival, delighted in calling Bianca "Lesbianca."
3. Tom tells Brooke that their daughter Laura was killed
Divorced duo Tom and Brooke remained pals as they co-parented their daughter Laura. Tom interrupted Brooke's evening with Adam to deliver the devastating news that Laura had been struck and killed by a drunk driver. The look on Tom's face said it all. Brooke kept saying "no" over and over, each denial more emphatic than the previous one. This scene proved why Julia Barr is the Gladys Knight of daytime serials -- she may not get the credit that others do, but her work is simply incredible.
2. Greg stops Jenny's wedding to Tony
This was the type of climax that soap fans would invest years in to see. Greg had written a letter to Jenny that he still loved her after enemies and circumstances had torn them apart. She decided to marry evil Tony Barclay. Fortunately, Greg raced to the ceremony and interrupted the wedding to let Jenny know how he truly felt. As a bonus, he clocked Tony, a moment viewers had longed to see.
1. Susan Lucci wins her Emmy
Erica Kane's done it all during 'AMC''s 41-year run. She's been married, divorced, yelled at a bear, been kidnapped, stabbed and impersonated. She told off the whole town while under the influence of a drug and shared many powder room showdowns with rival/pal Brooke English. Any or all of those moments could have been selected to represent Pine Valley's favorite diva. But, as often is the case, truth is stranger than fiction. The number one moment in 'AMC' history, at least chosen for this list, is Erica's portrayer, Susan Lucci, winning her Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series in 1999.
Now share with us -- what's your favorite 'All My Children' moment of all time?