The soap opera community has lost another legend. Marguerite Ray, who played the original Mamie Johnson on The Young and the Restless, has died. She was 89.
As longtime Y&R viewers may remember, Mamie was the Abbott family's trusted housekeeper. She helped raise John Abbott's (Jerry Douglas) children -- Jack (Peter Bergman), Ashley (Eileen Davidson), and Traci (Beth Maitland) -- after Dina Mergeron (Marla Adams) left the family. Mamie was also later revealed to be the aunt of the Barber sisters Olivia (Tonya Williams) and Drucilla (Victoria Rowell). Ray originated the character in 1980 and played her until 1989. Actress Veronica Redd Forrest took over the role in 1990.
Though Ray was best known for playing Y&R's Mamie, she also had several other television roles, including Evelyn Lewis on Sanford, Jane Matthews on Dynasty, and Miss O'Connell on The Cosby Show. She also briefly played a character named Sara Blandish on Days of our Lives in 1971.
According to her obituary in the New York Times, Ray graduated from Oakland Technical High School in 1948 and continued her education at UC Berkeley, where she graduated in 1953 with a degree in Recreation and Theatre Arts. She briefly worked in the Bay Area before moving to Europe in the late 50s to take on the role of Recreation and Entertainment Director with the U.S. Special Services.
Upon returning to the U.S. in 1965, Ray helped form the acting group The Aldridge Players-West, which performed in San Francisco and toured the HBCUs. In 1969, she moved to Los Angeles, where she landed her many roles in theater and television. She worked at Inner City Cultural Center and served on the boards of several advocacy groups, notably Kwanza Foundation, Jenesse Center, and the Actors Fund. She retired in the early 2000s.
Ray is survived by her sister, Jacqueline (James) Jackson; her sister-in-law, Cynthia Ray; and several nieces, nephews, great-nieces, great-nephews, cousins, godchildren, and friends.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Ray's celebration of life has been postponed for the time being. However, Soap Central encourages fans to share their memories and love for Ray in our Comments section below.
Would you like to leave your condolences for Ray's family? What are your favorite memories and storylines from the actress' time as Y&R's Mamie? We want to hear from you -- and there are many ways you can share your thoughts.