In Memoriam: Remembering those the soap community lost in 2016

Posted Wednesday, December 28, 2016 8:24:57 AM
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In Memoriam: Remembering those the soap community lost in 2016

The loss of numerous beloved and notable names in the daytime community made 2016 a tough year for soap opera fans. This extensive In Memoriam special honors the legends and masters we've had to bid farewell.

The daytime community experienced heavy losses in 2016, making it one of the saddest years in recent history. Fans bid farewell to on-screen heavy hitters like Days of our Lives' Joseph Mascolo (ex-Stefano DiMera) and The Bold and the Beautiful's Alan Thicke (ex-Rich Ginger), as well as behind-the-scenes pioneers like All My Children and One Life to Live creator Agnes Nixon and legendary daytime casting agent Joan D'Incecco.

Each and every daytime master left behind compelling stories and unforgettable legacies, which Soap Central explores in this extensive 2016 In Memoriam special.

Joseph Mascolo

Actor: Stefano DiMera, Days of our Lives; Nicholas Van Buren, General Hospital; Massimo Marone, The Bold and the Beautiful

March 13, 1929 - December 7, 2016

Full Obituary: Click here

Hartford, Connecticut native Joseph Mascolo passed away at the age of 87 after battling Alzheimer's disease for many years. Originally a classical musician, the actor went on to win the hearts (and hatred) of daytime fans as one of soap opera's most nefarious villains, Days of our Lives' Stefano DiMera, a role he originated in 1981.

Funny enough, it wasn't an easy task for then-head writer Pat Falken-Smith to convince Mascolo to take the role she had created especially for him. He was hesitant to sign a contract that would tie him down, but Falken-Smith's relentless pursuit eventually persuaded him to take on DAYS' fictional crime lord.

During the over three-decade run Mascolo had with the NBC soap, Stefano died and rose from the ashes countless times, earning the character the much-deserved nickname the Phoenix. However, his shocking on-screen exit in early 2016 was his final farewell and came with no chance of Stefano returning from the dead. Mascolo suffered a stroke in the spring of 2015, which limited his ability to work at DAYS and inspired the storyline in which Kristian Alfonso's Hope blasted her longtime nemesis with a round of bullets to the chest.

Though Mascolo is no longer with us, his legacy character lives on. Stefano's death is still fueling story today, and it's unlikely the fallout will wrap up anytime soon.

"The smile on Joe's face is something we'd all come to find comfort in, and he will be sorely missed," says DAYS' executive producer, Ken Corday. "His larger than life presence, kind heart, and unwavering positivity has impacted us all for decades and will live on in the memories of his many fans."

Agnes Nixon

Show Creator: All My Children, One Life to Live, Loving, The City

Writer: AMC, OLTL, Guiding Light, Another World, Search For Tomorrow

December 10, 1922 - September 28, 2016

Full Obituary: Click here

Chicago native Agnes Nixon passed away at the age of 93 from pneumonia resulting from Parkinson's disease. Known as the "Grand Dame of Serial Drama," the trailblazing writer is credited for bringing daytime's first cancer storyline to the screen (on GL) and TV's first abortion story to the screen (on AMC), and she was responsible for some of the first soap opera stories dealing with race and LGBT issues.

In fact, her most successful soap opera creations -- AMC and OLTL -- debuted not only rich with social issue storylines, but also full of characters with different cultural, racial, and financial backgrounds.

"On the social issues, whether the Vietnam War or abortion or racism, I never thought I could change the way most people felt," Nixon told the Catholic magazine America in 2002. "I just wanted to show the unfairness of it, the inequality, the injustice."

Nixon's status as a soap opera pioneer nearly never happened -- and the reason why is something right out of one of her scripts. Relatively uncommon in the 1930s and 1940s, Nixon's parents divorced when she was an infant, and Nixon suffered from what she called "abandonment issues." Her father tried to crush Nixon's dreams of becoming a writer because he wanted his daughter to follow his footsteps and be part of his burial garments business. In fact, it was her father who arranged the meeting between Nixon and GL, AW, and As the World Turns creator Irna Phillips with the hopes that Phillips would crush Agnes' dreams of pursuing a career in writing. It ended with Phillips hiring Nixon, thus paving the way for the soap legend to shine.

Upon Nixon's death earlier this fall, Robert A. Iger, chairman and CEO, The Walt Disney Company, said in a statement: "It is with a heavy heart I mourn the passing of television pioneer Agnes Nixon, someone I was proud to call a friend. Agnes' impact on daytime television and pop culture is undeniable. She was the first to champion socially relevant topics, and the towns and characters Agnes brought to life leave an indelible imprint on television that will be remembered forever."

Larkin Malloy

Actor: Travis Montgomery, All My Children; Schuyler Whitney, The Edge of Night; Kyle Sampson, Guiding Light; Clay Alden, Loving; Dr. Weston, As The World Turns

Director: Another World

Acting Coach: As The World Turns

September 24, 1954 - September 28, 2016

Full Obituary: Click here

New York City native Larkin Malloy passed away at the age of 62 due to complications from a heart attack. The former stage actor starred on several daytime shows, but he was most popular for playing Travis Montgomery, one of Erica Kane's many loves on AMC.

However, Malloy also worked behind the scenes in daytime television. He directed for Another World and later became the on-site acting coach at As the World Turns. During his seven years coaching at ATWT, nine of his actors were nominated for Daytime Emmy awards.

Malloy's former AMC costar Walt Willy (ex-Jackson Montgomery) shared, "Larkin Malloy welcomed me like a brother when I joined the cast in 1987. We worked together, did appearances together, partied together, vacationed together. He was an 'actor's actor,' spending many years teaching the craft, and a gentleman in the Old World style. We spent many hours together, both on set and off, and truly were 'Irish brothers from another mother.'"

Joan D'Incecco

Casting Director: All My Children, One Life to Live

1927 - December 16, 2016

Full Obituary: Click here

Wisconsin native Joan D'Incecco passed away from heart failure at the age of 89. The renowned casting director began her work on shows like The Patty Duke Show and For The People, but it was her work at AMC and OLTL that helped put her -- and the ABC Daytime shows -- on the map.

D'Incecco is responsible for discovering several notable daytime stars, including OLTL's Laurence Fishburne (ex-Dr. Joshua Hall), Tom Berenger (Timmy Seigel), and Erika Slezak (Victoria Lord), as well as AMC's Kelly Ripa (Hayley Santos) and Susan Lucci (ex-Erika Kane).

"She cared about actors and always wanted them to win and to get the part," says her daughter, Nicole Kahn. "If she saw somebody who was young and considered a little green, she'd give them every opportunity to shine."

Anthony Addabbo

Actor: Rush/Jonny Carerra, The Bold and the Beautiful; Jim Lemay, Guiding Light; Jeff Peters, Dallas; Jason, Generations; Dimitri Marick, All My Children

September 14, 1960 - October 18, 2016

Full Obituary: Click here

Florida native Anthony Addabbo died of unknown causes at the age of 56. After toying with the idea of becoming a tree surgeon, the actor moved to New York and worked as a model before making a name for himself in the daytime world with roles like B&B's Rush/Jonny Carrera and GL's Jeff Peters.

Upon hearing the news of his friend and former B&B costar's death, Winsor Harmom (Thorne Forrester) shared, "We lost a damn good man a father and great actor. Here's to you TA. We shared many glasses of Vino Rosso together brother. I'll never forget how excited you were to land B&B. By the way you still owe me that lobster dinner. I'll collect next time I see ya. We will miss you my dear friend. RIP. I know you're walking the streets of Gold bringing joy to the Angels as you did here on earth."

James Westmoreland (a.k.a. Rad Fulton)

Actor: Teddy Holmes, General Hospital; Decker, The Young and the Restless

November 25, 1935 - September 14, 2016

Full Obituary: Click here

Michigan native James Westmoreland (also known as his former stage name, Rad Fulton) died at the age of 80 in a hospital near his home in La Quinta, California. The actor starred in several classic Hollywood films before landing his GH role, which was short but memorable.

The character of Teddy Holmes showed up at General Hospital after contracting Serum Hepatitis from shooting up with dirty needles while in Vietnam.

"General Hospital was fun for me and the cast were all professionals and easy to get along with," Westmoreland shared on his official website. "Unfortunately after working on at least one hundred and forty shows I came down with a serious illness and I had to leave the show and the most wonderful part I had ever had came to an end."

Alan Thicke

Actor: Rich Ginger, The Bold and the Beautiful

March 1, 1947 - December 13, 2016

Full Obituary: Click here

Canada-born Alan Thicke died of a heart attack at the age of 69. Though he was best known for his role as psychologist dad Jason Seaver on the 1980s sitcom Growing Pains, he had several ties to the daytime community. Not only was he married to form Days of our Lives star Gloria Loring (ex-Liz Chandler), but he also appeared in a recurring role as talk show host Rich Ginger on CBS's The Bold and the Beautiful from 2006 to 2009.

But that's not the only soap opera connection the beloved actor had. He recently appeared opposite former Y&R star Justin Hartley (ex-Adam Newman) on NBC's hit series This Is Us and opposite One Life to Live's John Brotherton (ex-Jared Banks) on the Full House spin-off Fuller House.

"Thank you for your kindness concerning Alan Thicke's passing," Loring wrote on Facebook. "It is a shock. We were all just together for Thanksgiving. He was talented, funny and deeply devoted to his family. Rest In Peace, dear one."

Patricia Barry

Actress: Addie Horton, Days of our Lives; Peg English, All My Children; Miss Sally, Guiding Light; Isabelle Alden, Loving

November 16, 1921 - October 11, 2016

Full Obituary: Click here

Iowa native Patricia Barry passed away peacefully in her home at the age of 93. The actress got her big break when she won a Rita Hayworth look-alike contest in the 1940s, which landed her a contract with Warner Bros. However, her work in daytime won the hearts of soap opera fans. After all, she turned heads as Bill Hayes's wife on DAYS, ran an international drug cartel as the Cobra on AMC, and wowed as the scheming Miss Sally on GL.

Barry also turned heads in the entertainment industry as a whole. She was one of the earliest members of Women in Film and a former president of the nonprofit advocacy organization; she was also the recipient of Women in Film's prestigious Founder's Award in 1999.

Claire Labine

Show Creator: Ryan's Hope

Writer: General Hospital, One Life to Live, Where the Heart Is, Love of Life,Ryan's Hope

June 28, 1934 - November 11, 2016

Full Obituary: Click here

Florida native Claire Labine passed away at the age of 82 due to undisclosed reasons. Though she began her career as a wannabe actress, the writer quickly found her true calling via writing jobs on Captain Kangaroo and the CBS soaps Where the Heart Is and Love of Life. It was her work on the latter show that caught the eye of ABC Daytime, prompting the network to ask her to create a new soap similar to General Hospital. And thus, Ryan's Hope was born, with Labine and former Where the Heart Is writer Paul Avila Mayer credited as co-creators.

Some soap fans would argue, however, that Labine's greatest legacy in the daytime world was the creation of mega popular character Sony Corinthos (Maurice Benard), whom she created while serving as GH's head writer in the mid-90s.

"Claire Labine you will be missed," tweeted Benard after Labine's passing. "You gave me a chance to play a character that had so many levels when no one else would. [S]o grateful to you."

Robert Vaughn

Actor: Bishop Corrington, One Life to Live; Milton Fanshaw, Coronation Street

November 22, 1932 - November 11, 2016

Full Obituary: Click here

New York native Robert Vaughn died at the age of 83 following a battle with acute leukemia. The actor was most known for his role as Napoleon Solo on NBC's 1960s spy series, The Man From U.N.C.L.E., but soap fans likely recognize him as OLTL's Bishop Corrington, a role he played in 1996, or from the British soap Coronation Street, on which he starred as Milton Fanshaw in 2012.

General Hospital's Kin Shriner (Scott Baldwin) took to Twitter with a farewell message for Vaughn, writing, "Sorry to hear we lost an u.n.c.l.e Agent. RIP Robert Vaughn"

Gloria DeHaven

Actress: Bess Shelby, Ryan's Hope; Sara Fuller, As the World Turns; Emma Mallory, All My Children

July 23, 1925 - July 30, 2016

Full Obituary: Click here

California native Gloria DeHaven passed away at the age of 91 after suffering a stroke while in hospice care. The beloved star got her start as a perky singer in a slew of 1940s MGM musicals opposite Hollywood legends like Frank Sinatra and Glenn Ford. But she won over daytime fans with roles like As the World Turns' Sara Fuller, All My Children's Emma Mallory, and Bess Shelby on Ryan's Hope, which she played from 1983 to 1985.

Peter Sumner

Actor: Jim Westlake, Dynasty

January 29, 1942 - November 22, 2016

Full Obituary: Click here

Australian-born actor Peter Sumner died at the age of 74, following a long illness. Soap fans will always remember him as Dynasty's Jim Westlake, but the actor is most famous for his appearance as Lt. Pol Treidum, a security officer on the Death Star in Star Wars: A New Hope. In fact, the actor reportedly joked that he fully expected to be remembered solely for the line "TK-421, do you copy?"

His wife, Lynda, told the Sydney Morning Herald that Sumner happened to be vacationing with his family in England when he saw the casting call for Star Wars. Desperate for money, the actor took the role that only paid £60 a day for two days of work along with the uncredited role of operating the trash compactor monster. In the film, he's heard wondering why Stormtrooper TK-421 isn't at his post and later is knocked out by Chewbacca.

Meg Mundy

Actress: Eugenia von Voynavitch, All My Children; Mona Aldrich, The Doctors; Isabelle Alden, Loving; Julia Stoddard, Guiding Light

January 4, 1915 - January 12, 2016

Full Obituary: Click here

London-born actress Meg Mundy died just days after her 101th birthday in an assisted living facility. Before becoming an actress, Mundy had a job as a soloist with the New York Philharmonic, served as a chorus girl in several Broadway shows and worked as a highly requested model for publications like Vogue (despite legendary modeling agent John Robert Powers reportedly telling her she was no beauty, but she would likely "photograph well").

The talented beauty moved into the world of acting and starred in a slew of classic Hollywood films and early television shows. She was semi-retired and working as a stylist and fashion editor for Vogue and Mademoiselle when her agent convinced her to take on the showy role of Mona on the soap opera The Doctors. Mundy starred on the show from 1972 to 1979, with soap press calling her "the Katharine Hepburn of daytime."

Mundy's last acting gig was playing Gillian Andrassy's grandmother, Hungarian duchess Eugenia, on AMC from 1997 to 2001.

Ronnie Claire Edwards

Actress: Lydia, Dallas; Sister Theresa, Dynasty; Maxie McCoy, Falcon Crest

February 9, 1933 - June 14, 2016

Full Obituary: Click here

Oklahoma native Ronnie Claire Edwards died peacefully in her sleep at the age of 83. Though she was mostly known to audiences as the shopkeeper's busybody wife Corabeth Walton Godsey on the iconic TV show The Waltons, Edwards left her mark in daytime via the roles of Lydia on Dallas, Sister Theresa on Dynasty, and Maxie McCoy on Falcon Crest.

The actress was quite an inspiration for acting hopefuls of the world, having picked up acting after she turned 30.

Alice Drummond

Actress: Nurse Jackson, Dark Shadows; Loretta Jardin, Where the Heart Is; Susie Simpson, Ryan's Hope;

May 21, 1928 - November 30, 2016

Full Obituary: Click here

Rhode Island native Alice Drummond died at the age of 88 due to complications following a fall. Though she later went on to star in big hits like 1984's Ghostbusters and 1990's Awakenings, the actress got her big break when she was cast as Nurse Jackson on the classic soap Dark Shadows, a role that paved the way for her four-decade acting career.

Barry Jenner

Actor: Evan Webster, Another World; Jeff Cunningham, Knott's Landing; Matt MacKenzie, Days of our Lives; Dr. Jerry Kenderson, Dallas; Prosecuting Attorney Loomis, Falcon Crest

January 14, 1941 - August 8, 2016

Full Obituary: Click here

Pennsylvania native Barry Jenner passed away at the age of 75 from acute myeloid leukemia. Though he was best known to audiences as Admiral William Ross on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Lt. Lieu Murtaugh on the sitcom Family Matters, the soap opera veteran held many roles on daytime television, including Another World's Evan Webster from 1976 to 1977, Knots Landing's Jeff Cunningham in 1981, Dallas's Dr. Jerry Kenderson from 1984 to 1986, and Days of our Lives' Matt MacKenzie in 1985.

Robert E. Short

Production Manager: As the World Turns; Another World; The Edge of Night; Search for Tomorrow; Guiding Light

1921 - July 25, 2016

Full Obituary: Click here

Ohio native Robert E. Short passed away at the age of 95 due to undisclosed causes. The Procter & Gamble executive contributed to many daytime dramas during his 34-year tenure with the company, including As the World Turns, Guiding Light, Search for Tomorrow, Another World, and The Edge of Night.

George Kennedy

Actor: Albert Miller, The Young and the Restless; Carter McKay, Dallas

February 18, 1925 - February 28, 2016

Full Obituary: Click here

New York native George Kennedy passed away at the age of 91 after a long history of heart problems. The actor spent 16 years in the US Army before he officially broke into the entertainment industry. While with the Army, he worked for the Armed Forces Radio and participated in the opening of the Army Information Office, which provided technical advice to the entertainment industry as a whole. His role as technical adviser to The Phil Silvers Show eventually led to his early career in television.

Kennedy had roles on notable televisions shows like Dallas (ex-Carter McKay, 1988-1991), Sarge, The Blue Knight, and The Love Boat. He most recently played the part of Albert Miller, Victor's (Eric Braeden) absentee father, which he took on in 2003 and resumed in 2010.

Humbert Allen Astredo

Actor: Nicholas Blair, Dark Shadows; Bruno Weston, One Life to Live; Joe Bruno, Another World; Mayor Finley The Edge of Night, Dr. Applegate, Love of Life

April 4, 1929 - February 19, 2016

Full Obituary: Click here

California native Humbert Allen Astredo died at the age of 86 due to undisclosed causes. The actor is best known for his role as Dark Shadows' Nicholas, a demon-summoning warlock that appeared from 1968 to 1971 and was at the center of a brief controversy when real-life Christian groups protested when it seemed Nicholas was preparing to meet Satan. In response, the show's writers reportedly switched gears by renaming the Satan character Diablos and dressing him in Grim Reaper style, instead.

He also appeared on Another World, Guiding Light, Loving, One Life To Live, Love Of Life, The Edge Of Night, Somerset, Texas, and For Richer, For Poorer. He retired in the1980s.

James Noble

Actor: Vic Price, The Edge of Night; Donald Hughes, As the World Turns; Rev. Harris, Another World; Dr. Bill Winters, The Doctors; Dr. Morris, One Life to Live;

March 5, 1922 - March 28, 2016

Full Obituary: Click here

Texas native James Noble died at the age of 94 after suffering a stroke. The actor got his start in the 1949 Broadway production The Velvet Glove before going on to star in a slew of television series like Benson, First Impressions, and Perfect Strangers. However, it was his work on roles like Vic Price in The Edge of Night, Donald Hughes in As the World Turns, Rev. Harris in Another World, Dr. Bill Winters in The Doctors, and Dr. Morris in One Life to Live that are most remembered by soap fans.

Ken Howard

Actor: George Summers, The Young and the Restless

March 28, 1944 - March 23, 2016

Full Obituary: Click here

California native Ken Howard passed away at the age of 71. The actor's career spanned several decades, but soap opera fans know him best as Phyllis and Avery's dad, George Summers, a The Young and the Restless role he played for a brief period in 2012.

Howard was serving as the SAG-AFTRA President at the time of his death, a position he had been holding since 2009.

Peter Brown

Actor: George Summers, The Young and the Restless

October 5, 1935 - March 21, 2016

Full Obituary: Click here

New York native Peter Brown passed away at the age of 80 due to undisclosed causes. The actor got his start in the entertainment industry by organizing a theater group while he was stationed in Alaska for the US Army. He later enrolled in an acting program at UCLA, which eventually landed him several jobs in western action/comedy series. When his contract with Universal Pictures expired in the early 70s, Brown made the switch to soap operas with his first major daytime role being DAYS' Greg Peters, which he played from 1972 to 1978.

Following his Salem stint, Brown starred in several television shows, including Generations. He then landed the role of Y&R's Robert Laurence, which he played from 1989 to 1991, and then B&B's Blake Hayes, which he played from 1991 to 1992. He also had short roles on One Life to Live (Charles Sanders), Dallas (Tom Flintoff), and Loving (Roger Forbes).

James Douglas

Actor: Grant Coleman, As the World Turns; Dr. Marcus Polk, One Life to Live; Philip Manning, The Doctors

December 16, 1933 - March 5, 2016

Full Obituary: Click here

California native James Douglas passed away at the age of 86 due to undisclosed causes. Perhaps best known for his role as Steven Cord on the TV drama Peyton Place, Douglas won the hearts of soap fans via his roles on As the World Turns, where he played the character of Grant Coleman; One Life to Live, where he played Dr. Marcus Polk; and The Doctors, where he played Philip Manning.

Barbara Tarbuck

Actress: Lady Jane Jacks, General Hospital; Agnes, Dallas; Dr. Holton, Dynasty; Dr. Randall, Falcon Crest; Mrs. Schumacher, Knott's Landing; Sister Allegra, Santa Barbara

January 15, 1942 - December 27, 2016

Full Obituary: Click here

Michigan native Barbara Tarbuck passed away at the age of 74 due to undisclosed causes. Though she eventually became a successful actress with roles in popular series like The Waltons, Quincy M.E., Cagney & Lacey, The Golden Girls, Dexter, American Horror Story: Asylum, and Mad Men, she was actually afraid to give her professional acting career the start it needed. In fact, she admits that despite having starred in a children's radio program when she was a kid, studying theater for several years, and even teaching the art, she was hesitant to try her hand in the business until after landing a Fulbright Grant to study in London.

"I recently found an essay I had written about the theatre years ago. In it I write I had been afraid to take myself seriously as an artist until I won the Fulbright Grant to study in London," the actress shared on her official website. "It was then I was asked, 'What made me decide to make the theatre my life.' I don't remember what I answered. What I do remember is that I was accorded the respect and regard of a professional. It was no longer every little girl's dream."

Thankfully for soap opera fans, her leap into the acting community eventually brought her to the world of daytime, where she wowed in roles like Dallas's Agnes, Dynasty's Dr. Holton, Falcon Crest's Dr. Randall, Knott's Landing's Mrs. Schumacher, Santa Barbara's Sister Allegra, and General Hospital's Lady Jane Jacks, a character she originated in 1996 and played on a recurring basis until 2010.

William Christopher

Actor: Father Tobias, Days of our Lives

October 20, 1932 - December 31, 2016

Full Obituary: Click here

William Christopher, known as both Days of our Lives' Father Tobias and M.A.S.H.'s Father John Mulcahy, died Saturday, December 31 from a non-small cell lung carcinoma. He was 84.

Christopher married his wife, Barbara, in 1957. They had two children. He was active in the cause of autism awareness. He and his wife co-authored a book about raising an autistic son.

Other notable daytime community deaths in 2016 include Coronation Street's Jean Alexander (Hilda Ogden); Love of Life's Jean McBride (Meg Harper); Aharon Ipale (Dr. Elliott, Search for Tomorrow; Sheik Abdul Ben-Hani, General Hospital); Andrew Sachs (Ramsay Clegg, Coronation Street; Cyril Bishop, EastEnders); Angela Paton (Harriet Anderson, Falcon Crest); Julius La Rosa (Reynoldo, Another World); Reg Grundy (creator of Neighbours); Morag Siller (Esther Warren, Coronation Street); Doris Roberts (Flo Flotsky, Soap); Frankie Michaels (Tom Hughes, As the World Turns); Toni Bull Bua (Tess Krakauer Prentiss Randolph, Love of Life); Tony Warren (creator of Coronation Street); Louise Plowright (Julie Cooper, EastEnders); Joe Santos (Cy Agnew, Santa Barbara); George S Irving (Forrest Turner, Ryan's Hope); Earl Hamner Jr. (producer, Falcon Crest); Robert Horton (Whitney McColl, As the World Turns); and Zsa Zsa Gabor (Lydia Marlow, As the World Turns).

Which of these soap opera deaths hit you the hardest? How do you normally deal with the death of a beloved celebrity? We want to hear from you -- and there are many ways you can share your thoughts.

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