Multi-talented actress/singer/author/composer Micki Grant -- who is credited with playing daytime's first contract Black character, Another World's Peggy Nolan -- has passed away. She was 92. (Editor's Note: Although Grant's birth year has frequently been reported as 1941, which would have made her 80 at the time of death, a relative informed Deadline that the actress had lowered her age early in her career to expand her range of potential roles.)
Hailing from Chicago, Illinois, Grant studied at the Chicago School of Music, the University of Illinois, and Lehman College before breaking into the entertainment industry with roles in the 1960s productions The Blacks, Brecht on Brecht, and The Cradle Will Rock. Much of her early stage work was done with director Vinnette Carroll, the first Black woman to direct on Broadway. The two collaborated on the 1972 Black musical revue Don't Bother Me, I Can't Cope -- in which Grant starred and for which she wrote the music, book, and lyrics -- and Your Arms Too Short to Box with God -- for which Grant wrote additional lyrics and music.
Before she made her seminal stand on Broadway, however, Grant starred as Another World character Peggy Nolan, a role she held from 1965 to 1972. Grant's time on the NBC drama is notable not just for her spectacular performances as the fictional attorney, but also because it was the first time an African American performer was on contract at a soap opera and the first time a Black character was heavily featured in soap storylines written specifically for her.
In an interview Grant gave to American Theatre in June of this year, she opened up about the circumstances that led to her being the first Black performer to be given a contract in the daytime drama genre.
"My agent told [the powers that be] I couldn't keep coming back to town to do the show when I was getting work out of town," she recalled. "And when they tried to replace me, they didn't like the people they were bringing in, and my agent said, 'She can't keep running back here every time you call. If you want her, you have to give her a contract.' So, I became the first Black to have a soap opera contract."
In addition to her seven-year run on Another World, Grant appeared as Arlene Goodman on The Edge of Night in the mid-70s, as Helen Tynan on Guiding Light in 1982, and as Mrs. Remington on All My Children in 2008.
Grant earned a multitude of awards over the course of her career, including the OBIE, NAACP Image, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, Audelco's Outstanding Pioneer, AEA's Paul Robe-son, and the National Black Theatre Festival's Living Legend and Sidney Poitier Lifelong Achievement awards. Grant was also the 2012 recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Dramatists Guild of America.
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