Helen Wagner
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Oakdale Presence
Original cast member; April 2, 1956 to April 5, 2010
At A Glance

Helen, who played matriarch Nancy Hughes from As the World Turns' inception, graduated from Monmouth College in Illinois, where she earned degrees in dramatics and music. She later moved to New York, where she continued her voice and piano training and gained experience as a soloist in various church choirs.

Helen made her television debut in the role of a queen in a fairytale that General Electric produced at its experimental television station in Schenectady, New York. She later appeared in many dramatic television roles, including the productions of Studio One, Philco Radio Television, and Suspense. She made her daytime debut on Guiding Light in 1952 before joining As the World Turns four years later.

In 1988, Monmouth College awarded Helen with an honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters. The following year, Helen chaired a national committee that raised more than $1,000,000 to replace the school's "little theater" with a state-of-the-art theater. On opening night in Monmouth's new theater, Helen reprised her role of Eleanor in The Lion In Winter.

A little-known fact is that Helen was originally fired from As the World Turns by the late Irna Phillips, who was unhappy with Helen's portrayal of Nancy. After thirteen weeks, however, a suitable replacement couldn't be found and Helen was rehired.

Helen was married to Broadway producer, Robert Willey, from 1954 until his passing on May 12, 2009. Helen Wagner died on May 1, 2010.

Acting Portfolio: TELEVISION
As The World Turns
Nancy Hughes McClosky
April 2, 1956 to April 5, 2010

The World of Mr. Sweeney
Marge Franklin

Guiding Light
Trudy Bauer

Acting Portfolio
Sunny River


The Bad Seed

My Name is Acquilon

Love of Four Colonels

Acting Portfolio
Streetcar Named Desire

Lion in Winter
In Illinois

Lovers and Other Strangers
All female roles

Awards & Acclaim
Daytime Emmys Winner, Lifetime Achievement Award (2005)
Vital Statistics

DATE OF BIRTH: September 3, 1918
DATE OF DEATH: May 1, 2010

PLACE OF BIRTH: Lubbock, Texas

MARITAL STATUS: Widowed, Robert Willey [Jun 21, 1954 to May 2009]

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