|Guiding Light character|
|Portrayed by||Beth Ehlers|
|First appearance||September 1987|
|Last appearance||June 23, 2008|
|Created by||Pam Long|
|Introduced by||Robert Calhoun|
Harley Cooper is a fictional character on the popular CBS daytime soap opera, Guiding Light. She is the daughter of Frank "Buzz" Cooper Sr. and the late Nadine Corley. Harley was named after her father's favorite motorcycle.
She has been portrayed by Beth Ehlers from September 1987 to September 28, 1993 and later appeared for a brief visit from January 21 to January 30, 1997. Ehlers returned on May 29, 1997 and her last appearance was June 23, 2008.
Ehlers has garnered four Daytime Emmy nominations for Outstanding Younger Actress, Outstanding Supporting Actress and Outstanding Lead Actress for portraying Harley, the last being in 2006. In 2005, Ehlers and co-star, Ricky Paull Goldin, won an award for "Most Irresistible Combination" at the Daytime Emmy Awards for their portrayals of Harley and Gus Aitoro.
Harley Davidson Cooper, named after her father's favorite motorcycle, grew up on the wrong side of Springfield's 5th Street and was raised by her older brother, Frank, ever since the death of their father and their mother's desertion. Since they had no parents, they were forced to depend on each other.
In 1987, Harley would become pregnant with Dylan Lewis's child. Harley eventually gave up the child, Daisy, for adoption. Harley would later marry Alan-Michael Spaulding, but the marriage would result in divorce. In 1993, Harley was shocked to learn that her father, Buzz Cooper, was alive. It was believed that he had died in combat during the Vietnam War. Despite his return, Harley and her brother wanted nothing to do with their father. Harley would marry A.C. Mallet and the two would leave for Florida later that year.
Harley divorced Mallet in 1997 and subsequently returned to Springfield. After arriving back in Springfield her life continued and she later learned that the daughter she gave up for adoption years ago was back looking for her. Daisy, now going by Susan, wanted to find her birth mother after her adoptive mother died. Later, Harley would marry Phillip Spaulding and bear him a son, but again the marriage would end in divorce and Harley found comfort in the arms of Rick Bauer, with whom she also had a son, Jude. Harley though did not stay with Rick and later developed a relationship with Gus Aitoro, who she would later marry in 2005. Together, Harley and Gus made an attempt to adopt a baby named Sydney they had been raising, which failed in adoption court and Sydney was given back to her birth parents. In 2006, Harley was transformed into the superhero 'The Guiding Light' for a day. Also over these few years in the early 2000s, Harley's relationship with her daughter Daisy was strained especially after Harley found out Daisy had feelings for Gus and tried to drug him in order to sleep with him. After the introduction of Gus Aitoro's former love interest Natalia and their son, Rafe, Harley and Gus's marriage ended in divorce in 2007, although these were not the only reasons the marriage ended.
As of 2008, Harley is living in Greece with her two sons, Zach and Jude.
Harley's Angels is a detective agency started by Harley in 2002. The original angels were Mel Boudreau Bauer, Blake Marler, and Harley herself. She closed the agency down in 2004, only to re-open it in 2007 with her niece Marina Cooper and Dinah Marler. The agency solved many crimes over the years, but later faded into the background of Springfield society. Upon Harley's departure from Springfield, the detective agency was assumed to have shut down.
Past and present members include:
- Harley Cooper (2002-2004) (2007-2008)
- Mel Boudreau Bauer (2002-2004)
- Blake Marler (2002-2004)
- Marina Cooper (2007-2008)
- Dinah Marler (2007)
- Cyrus Foley (2007-2008)