Both soap opera fans and Broadway fans are mourning the passing of actress Peg Murray (ex-Olga Swenson, All My Children), who passed away on November 29 following a period of declining health that was precipitated by a stroke. She was 96.
The Colorado native began her illustrious career on the stage with roles in productions like The Great Sebastians, Gypsy, She Loves Me, Anyone Can Whistle, The Subject Was Roses, and Something More! She won a Tony Award in 1967 for her portrayal of Fršulein Kost in the original Broadway production of Cabaret.
However, television fans likely recognize Murray from her work in daytime dramas. Some of her earliest credits in the genre include Miss Stewart on The Doctors and the Nurses (later just The Nurses), Carrie Lovett on Love of Life, and substituting for Constance Ford in the role of Ada Hobson on Another World. She also played Mary Pat in a few episodes of Loving in 1992, but her most recognizable soap role was playing All My Children modeling agent Olga Swenson, a character she portrayed on a recurring basis from 1983 to 1996. As fans of the show may recall, Olga was Jenny Gardner's (Kim Delaney) agent in New York and also worked with Erica Kane (Susan Lucci).
Murray was born February 14, 1924, in Denver, Colorado, and spent most of her adolescence growing up in New York. She broke into the entertainment industry early, having booked a gig at a local radio station at the tender age of three. From there, she honed her talents at Mamaroneck High School and Case Western Reserve University, where she attended on a theatre scholarship. Upon graduating, she performed in a number of international USO shows after the end of World War II, and when she returned to the States, Murray joined The Touring Players, which brought performance to communities across the country.
Throughout her life, Murray was passionate about creating equitable theatre workspaces. She formed Greenport Summer Players with Amie Sponza in the 1980s, which went on to become Northeast Stage. She also worked with NYC Mayor John Lindsay to create Broadway in the Streets, bringing performance to underprivileged neighborhoods.
"Over the past five days, as we knew she was nearing the end, I saw the impact she had on others through the outpouring of people who wanted to talk to and connect with her," said friend and caretaker Sue Stanley to the Suffolk Times. "She had a ripple effect on their lives."
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