In 1987, a young Brad Pitt played Chris, a high school basketball student who appeared on two episodes. It was his first speaking role on TV. Other celebrities who appeared in walk-on parts before they were famous: Billy Dee Williams, Henry Winkler, Kelsey Grammer, Chris Noth, Luke Perry, Ed O'Neill, Scott Bakula, Marcia Cross, Thomas Gibson, Matt Lauer, and Marla Maples.
Esther and Richard Shapiro, the creators of DYNASTY, are friends of former head writer Harding Lemay. They not only named their family after Lemay's super bitch Iris Carrington, but the Krystle-Blake-Fallon triangle was borrowed heavily from the Rachel-Mac-Iris story. The Shapiros have also claimed they modeled Joan Collins' Alexis after the super glamorous Iris.
Originally, Mac and Rachel were not planned to have a romantic coupling. Writer Head writer Harding Lemay noticed the chemistry between actors Douglass Watson and Victoria Wyndham, and wrote a slow-developing love story for them. Fearing backlash from viewers who may have found an older man-younger woman relationship tasteless, Lemay penned chance encounters for the two characters, which led to innocent yet intimate conversations. By the time the characters had their first kiss, the story had gone on for six months.
Many actors got their roles testing for other characters. Both Ricky Paul Goldin (Dean Frame) and Chris Bruno (Dennis Wheeler) tested for the role of Sam Fowler. Judi Evans auditioned for the Vicky Hudson recast, but got the Paulina recast instead. Anna Stuart auditioned for the role of Felicia Gallant; producers loved her so much they created Donna Love specifically for her. Meanwhile, MArk Pinter auditioned for the role of Grant Harrison, but lost to Dack Rambo. After Rambo left, producers called Pinter back to takeover the role.
Beverlee McKinsey played a short run as Steve Frame's plain-jane older sister Emma Ordway, a farmer's wife. Headwriter Harding Lemay loved McKinsey so much that he created a whole new character for her: glamorous jet setting villainess Iris Cory Carrington.
The show celebrated it 25th anniversary with a week long anniversary commemorating Cory Publishing's 25th anniversary, enabling many fan favorites from the past to return to help take part. Jacquie Courtney, Beverly Penberthy, Nick Coster, Dorothy Lyman, Christine Jones and George Reinholt were among those who returned for the proceedings. Former AW stars who were asked to participate but declined to guest star included Susan Sullivan, Maeve Kinkead, Christopher Rich and Leon Russom.
In the late 1970s, Harding Lemay penned a story that would introduce the first gay character to daytime. He planned to have Michael Randolph, son of show stalwarts John and Pat Randolph, return home from college and announce his homosexuality, which would in turn contribute to his parent's marital breakup. Procter and Gamble, the show's owner, axed the story days before the first scene of the story was to be filmed.
Harding Lemay was rehired to be the show's head writer in 1988, but a long-standing writers' strike kept him from participating. Donna Swajeski wrote the show during the strike, and was kept on to co-write the show with Lemay after the strike was over. The two clashed on the show's direction, and Lemay left. His return lasted only two months. In that time, he set up the stories that many claim Swajeski took much of the credit for: the return of Iris and the Frame family with never before seen members, including Janice Frame's long-lost son Evan Bates, and the romance of Felicia and Mitch.
In an unusual experiment, the show expanded from 60 to 90 minutes on Monday, 5 March 1979. This hurt the ratings, and the show went back to an hour on Monday, 4 August 1980. The show never recovered in the ratings.
The character of Pat Randolph went on trial two times for murder. in 1964, she was charged with killing Tom Baxter, the young man who forced her to have an abortion. In 1979, she was charged with killing Greg Barnard, her daughter's lover.