Soap scribe Harding Lemay has died

Posted Monday, July 09, 2018 5:45:57 AM
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Harding Lemay, who wrote for Another World, As the World Turns, and Guiding Light, has passed away.

One of daytime's most prolific writers, Harding "Pete" Lemay, has died. The talented soap opera scribe was 96.

Shortly after taking on his first daytime role -- that of head writer at Another World in 1971 -- it quickly became apparent that Lemay was not your ordinary soap scribe. Rather than focusing on soapy clichés like evil twins and amnesia, Lemay preferred stories that were character driven -- an attitude that won him a Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Writing in a Drama Series in 1975.

After eight years at AW, Lemay went on to serve as a writer for Guiding Light from 1980 to 1981 (where he won a second Daytime Emmy), the head writer of The Doctors from 1981 to 1982, and a story consultant for One Life to Live from 1998 to 1999. Lemay also co-created the short-lived drama series Lovers and Friends, which was later retooled and made into For Richer, For Poorer.

The New York native's wealth of story ideas perhaps stemmed from his rather turbulent upbringing. Born into rural poverty as the fifth of thirteen children, Lemay escaped his mother's alcoholism and his father's suicide by running away to New York City at the age of 17.

Long before entering the world of daytime television, Lemay put his writing skills to use via the publishing world, where he eventually wrote a memoir called Inside, Looking Out. The book was such a success, Newsweek magazine called it "an American classic." He also wrote his second memoir, titled Eight Years in Another World, following his long tenure at the now defunct soap opera.

In addition to writing books and television, Lemay was a celebrated playwright who wrote thirteen plays and became a long-serving board member of New Dramatists, an NYC playwrights laboratory. He also was a part of the Pen American Prison Writing Program, where, each year, he read dozens of plays written by incarcerated Americans. Lemay also taught literature and drama for many years at Hunter College and the New School for Social Research.

Lemay is survived by his wife of 20 years, Gloria Gardner, of New York City; his two children, a son, Stephen Lemay, and daughter, Susan Pain, (whom he fathered with his late wife Dorothy), and his son-in-law Kevin Pain; and three grandchildren.

If you are interested in reading Lemay's memoir, it is available in an ebook format here.

Were you watching Another World when Lemay held the writing reins? What are some of your favorite moments from his tenure in daytime? We want to hear from you -- and there are many ways you can share your thoughts.

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