Emmy-winning soap opera writer Hogan Sheffer dead at 61

Posted Monday, September 30, 2019 6:38:45 AM
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Hogan Sheffer, an award-winning writer who worked on As the World Turns, Days of our Lives, and The Young and the Restless, has died. He was 61.

The daytime community is mourning the passing of soap opera writer Hogan Sheffer, who recently passed away at the age of 61.

Sheffer, who was born in York, Pennsylvania, as Mark Wayne Sheffer, is credited with leading the team of writers who turned the floundering As the World Turns around in the early 2000s. During his tenure on the show, which lasted from 2000 to 2005, Sheffer won two Daytime Emmy awards in the Outstanding Drama Series category (2000 and 2002) and four in the Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series category (2000, 2001, 2003, and 2004) -- which was a huge feat, as he'd never written for a soap opera before joining the long-running daytime series.

In March of 2006, Sheffer left ATWT for what was intended to be a 17-week sabbatical. However, during his absence, P&G chose not to extend his contract.

After completing his award-winning stint at ATWT, Sheffer joined Days of Our Lives as co-head writer alongside Meg Kelly in 2006 and wrote for the NBC series until 2008. He joined The Young and the Restless as co-head writer that same year and wrote for the CBS soap opera alongside Maria Arena Bell and Scott Hamner until 2013, picking up his fifth Daytime Emmy as part of the Y&R writing team.

Sheffer began his writing career as a freelancer who did script analysis for various production companies, working with the likes of Mary Stuart Masterson. From 1997 to 2000, he was employed by DreamWorks as the Director of Screenplay Development, where he helped develop screenplays for films like My Dog Skip, Galaxy Quest, and What Lies Beneath.

Following Sheffer's passing, daytime writer Tom Casiello -- whose credits include ATWT, Another World, DAYS, Y&R, and One Life to Live -- shared some memories of his colleague on Facebook.

"There is...was...no more generous human being in the world than Hoag. Period," Casiello writes. "This man was raking in millions and turning right around and giving it to others. He didn't need much in his own life. Smokes. Beers. Ground beef. Hot dogs. Mac and cheese. That pretty much summed it up. Might as well give the rest of it to those who need it."

He continues, "Hogan stormed into my life in early 2000 when he was brought on to ATWT with a trial deal as a breakdown writer. The guy had never written a day of soap opera in his life. Nobody had high expectations. And this ENORMOUS ogre who barely fit in the studio hallway, well over six feet and with a huge Afro and coke bottle glasses, waddled into our lives. He was a total train wreck...but man, was he funny. He said all the things that you wish you could say, and got away with each and every one of them somehow. To say 'he made us laugh' was the understatement of the decade. So maybe this guy forced on us by the network wouldn't be so bad after all. Ten weeks later, he became our new head writer. I think he had written three breakdowns in that time. That's it. Three breakdowns. And now he was in charge...Within a year, this gigantic wonderful hot mess of a human took a 50-something year old show, and led it to an unprecedented Emmy sweep, including Directing, Writing (my first two!), multiple acting awards, and Best Show."

Casiello sums up his post by writing directly to his friend.

"You once told me you'd haunt me for the rest of my life when you died. And then you go and die on my birthday. If that doesn't sum you up with a hearty laugh, I don't know what does," he writes. "I'll cry sometimes, but not as much as I usually would. Instead, I celebrate you, you big smoking, drinking, eat a pound of raw ground beef with a fork lug. We always knew it was borrowed time. As the song says, this world was never meant for one as beautiful as you. And yes. You are beautiful, Hoag. You were truly one of the most beautiful people I have ever known. And you remain my hero. I love you. I thank you. I will always be thanking you. Godspeed, boss. Give 'em all hell."

What are some of your favorite memories from Sheffer's tenure as a daytime writer on the soap operas As the World Turns, Days of our Lives, and The Young and the Restless? We want to hear from you -- and there are many ways you can share your thoughts.

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