Emmy-winning One Life to Live head writer Michael Malone has died

Posted Sunday, August 21, 2022 12:14:58 AM
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Michael Malone, who served as head writer during what many fans consider One Life to Live's golden age, has passed away.

Emmy-winning daytime writer Michael Malone has passed away. The news of his passing was shared by former colleague Jean Passanante.

"I want to write about my adored, extraordinary friend Michael Malone who died last night," Passanante wrote on Facebook. "Right now, though, I'm just trying to adjust to the impossible idea of a world without him. 'And when he shall die, Take him and cut him out in little stars...'"

Best known for his work on One Life to Live, Malone garnered critical acclaim for some of that soap's most talked about storylines. Between 1991 and 1996, Malone's stories included the friendship of a priest and an ostracized gay teen as well as the creation of Todd Manning and the character's gang rape of Marty Saybrooke. Entertainment Weekly wrote that during that time, One Life to Live was "airing some of the most literate drama ever to hit daytime."

Indeed, 1994 was a big year for OLTL at the Daytime Emmys. In addition to the show winning top honors for its Writing Team, Hillary B. Smith (Nora Gannon) was named Outstanding Lead Actress, Susan Haskell (Marty Saybrooke) earned the Outstanding Supporting Actress award, and Roger Howarth (Todd Manning) claimed Outstanding Younger Actor honors.

In a statement to Soap Hub, Smith recalled Malone's work fondly. "He gave me Nora, he gave Nora a beau called Bo. He wrote an Emmy Award-winning story for me to play with other Emmy Award-winning actors. He wrote me emotions to play that were so complex, I could only let them consume me. He wrote women with brains and hearts, with courage and fear and all of it wrapped up in bravado."

Thom Christopher, who won the 1992 Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actor for his work as OLTL's Carlo Hesser, wrote on Facebook that Malone was a "grand man of words and creative ideas. His words are written on the winds of memory for a number of actors."

Erika Slezak was another Emmy winner during Malone's first stint as head writer. She was named Outstanding Lead Actress in 1992 and 1995.

In a message on her official web site, Slezak shared, "I am so deeply saddened by the news of Michael Malone’s passing. He was a charming talented and wonderful man who created such great stories for One Life to Live and Another World, including the development of Viki’s other personalities. He challenged me in the best possible way; what fun we had together. But he was also the author of so many novels, all of which I have read and loved. I send sincerest sympathies to his family and friends.”

In accepting his Daytime Emmy, Malone said, "There are a lot of us up here, but there are hundreds more that should be -- other writers, the cast and crew, the producers and directors of One Life To Live -- without you what we do would just be typing." Malone also praised OLTL creator Agnes Nixon, stating, "If Charles Dickens is the father of daytime, she's his daughter and we're very proud to be among her children. Thank you."

After leaving OLTL in 1996, Malone popped up the following year on NBC's Another World. He would eventually return to One Life to Live as co-head writer from 2003 to 2004. During his second stint at OLTL, Malone wrote a novel called The Killing Club. The real-life book factored into the show's fictional storylines for months. The Killing Club even made the New York Times' Best Seller list

Some of Malone's other novels include Handling Sin (1983), Foolscap (1991), the murder mystery First Lady (2001), and his final novel The Four Corners of the Sky , which was published in 2009.

Born in Durham, North Carolina, in 1942, Malone passed away on Friday, August 19, at his home in Clinton, Connecticut. He will be buried in the cemetery of St. Matthews Episcopal Church in Hillsborough, North Carolina.

He is survived by his wife, Maureen Quilligan, his daughter Maggie, son-in-law Matt, a six-year-old granddaughter Maisie, sister Sheila Waller, brother David Malone, five nieces, and one nephew.

The family has asked that donations be made in Malone's memory to the Southern Poverty Law Center, a charity to which he gave for over 40 years.

What are some of your favorite memories from Michael Malone's time has head writer of One Life to Live? Would you like to offer condolences to his family? We want to hear from you -- and there are many ways you can share your thoughts.

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