Beloved Emmy-winning soap writer Claire Labine has died. She was 82. A cause of death has not yet been disclosed.
The Bold and the Beautiful writer Michele Val Jean shared the news of Labine's passing on her social media feeds.
"As if this week couldn't get any worse, just found out Claire Labine died," Val Jean wrote. "I'm heartbroken. She was a genius and a warm, loving person. It was my honor to write with her and learn from her. Rest in power, dear Claire. I will always carry what you gave me."
Labine originally wanted a career on-camera as an actress, but as often happens, she landed where she was meant to be. She attended the University of Kentucky, where she majored in journalism, but later switched to a playwriting major at Columbia University's School of Dramatic Arts (now Columbia University School of the Arts).
Labine's first professional gig as a writer was on the children's show Captain Kangaroo. She entered the world of daytime dramas as a scriptwriter for the CBS soap Where the Heart Is in 1970. After just a year with the show, she was elevated to head writer in 1971. Labine and writing partner Paul Avila Mayer boosted the show's ratings during their tenure, but the show was eventually canceled in 1973.
When Where the Heart Is went off the air, Labine became head writer of CBS's Love of Life. It was there that she caught the attention of ABC Daytime. In late 1974, Labine and Mayer were asked to create a new soap similar to General Hospital. Labine and Mayer expanded ABC's vision of the show, adding a large Irish family. With that, Ryan's Hope was created. Under Labine, Ryan's Hope earned six Daytime Emmys for its writing and two Daytime Emmys as Outstanding Drama Series. Labine also earned a Writers Guild of America Award every year that she wrote for the show.
After her time at Ryan's Hope ended, CBS also asked Labine to develop a new daytime serial. The show was to have been called Celebration, but it never made it to air.
In 1993, Labine returned to daytime as head writer of ABC's General Hospital. Under Labine, General Hospital enjoyed a renaissance of sorts. She created the character of Sonny Corinthos and wrote the love story of Robin and Stone and B.J. heart transplant storyline.
"Claire Labine you will be missed," Maurice Benard (Sonny Corinthos, GH) shared on Twitter. "You gave me a chance to play a character that had so many levels when no one else would. [S]o grateful to you."
Labine picked up her seventh Daytime Emmy in the Writing Team category in 1995. She also developed a GH spinoff called Heart and Soul that focused on Wally Kurth's Ned and Rena Sofer's Lois. The show was not picked up, with ABC instead opting for Port Charles.
In 1996, Labine became head writer of One Life to Live and remained with the ABC soap through early 1998.
Labine's most recent stint as head writer was from 2000 to 2001 on Guiding Light. That tenure was fraught with turmoil, as rumors surfaced that Labine, executive producer Paul Rauch, and Executive in Charge of Production Mary Alice Dwyer-Dobbin had frequent arguments about the show's direction. On November 7, 2000, Labine was let go as head writer. Two weeks later, the show had a change of heart and un-fired Labine. In May 2001, Labine and Guiding Light did ultimately part ways.
Kassie DePaiva (ex-Blair Cramer, OLTL; ex-Chelsea Reardon, GL) wrote, "Claire Labine was one of the best! Rest In Peace dear gifted lady."
"I had the privilege of working with the great Claire Labine -- talented, loved, and respected," former GH executive producer Wendy Riche shared. "Rest in Peace dear Claire."
"Claire Labine healed my soul & millions of others hearts through her art," Vanessa Marcil wrote on Twitter. "She always stepped away if things became inauthentic #BadassChicks ."
"We are sad to learn of the death of our friend and former colleague Claire Labine. As creator of Ryan's Hope and head writer of both General Hospital and One Life to Live in the 90s, Claire was an imaginative storyteller who inspired hope and sparked conversations through her stories and characters paving the way for a new generation of writers who would follow in her footsteps," ABC said in a statement. "We are proud and honored she was a part of our ABC Daytime family. We send our deepest condolences to her family and those closest to her."
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