Noelle Beck courtesy
Effective May 8, Noelle Beck is the new Lily Snyder on As the World Turns. The actress - most recently of Cashmere Mafia - will replace fan icon Martha Byrne, whose last episode airs April 22. Byrne quit the soap in a volcanic contract dispute, but she's handling the transition like a pro.

"I received an incredible bouquet of flowers from Martha on my first day of work," Beck tells me. "To have her support makes me feel great. She's one very classy lady." Beck is no stranger to daytime suds - she spent nine years as Trisha on Loving - but the mother of three has lately stuck to recurring roles (the conniving Cilla on Cashmere, Tommy's almost-lover, almost-sister Mariel on Rescue Me).

"We had to take a family vote about the ATWT offer," says Beck, who is married to hotshot New York restaurateur Eric Petterson. "Everybody said, 'Go back to work!' I thought they were going to say, 'Please, don't work full-time!' I'm such a crazy soccer mom; I think they want me off the field." As for Byrne's controversial exit, Beck says, "I can't get involved with the politics. Hopefully, the audience will be patient and supportive of the change. If not," she adds with a laugh, "I'm back on the soccer field!" - Michael Logan