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All My Children Actors You May Not Know Passed Away

In 1965, soap opera pioneer Agnes Nixon created "All My Children," although it didn't get picked up right away. First airing on January 5, 1970 on ABC, it was standard soap fare focused on the lives of fictional Pine Valley's Martin, Kane, and Tyler families. Things changed when Nixon, who passed away at 93 in 2016, broke through ABC's barriers against topical issues for the show. 

One of the many major social issues Nixon tackled was the Vietnam War. "All My Children" also had the first legal abortion on daytime when Erica Kane (Susan Lucci) — a character who became synonymous with soap operas — decided to put her modeling career over motherhood. The show was among the first to deal with social issues such as homophobia and the AIDS crisis. "All My Children" garnered dozens of awards over its 41-year span on ABC, including the first Daytime Emmy for a Black actress when Debbi Morgan won in 1989.

After ABC canceled "All My Children" in 2011, it was briefly revived by Prospect Park and began airing in April 2013 on The OnLine Network. The new web experience didn't catch on with soap opera fans, and the show was canceled that September. According to Deadline, a new version has been in development at ABC for primetime since 2020, and will be executive produced by former series stars Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos. Unfortunately, several fan favorites won't be around to reprise their roles. Here are some "All My Children" actors you may not know who passed away.

Ruth Warrick

Ruth Warrick portrayed the Grande Dame of Pine Valley, Phoebe Tyler (later Phoebe Wallingford) from 1970 until 2005. Married in the beginning to Dr. Charles Tyler, Phoebe was born Phoebe English. She's a socialite enjoying her status as a doctor's wife and as a member of one of the wealthiest families in town. The epitome of snobbery, she meddled in the lives of her several children, stepchildren, grandchildren, and godchildren throughout her time on the show. She was once married to a man who planned to kill her for her fortune. Eventually, she became a beloved figurehead in town. She was one of those people soap fans loved to hate and, eventually, grew to just love.

Warrick got her start in radio dramas and modeling. She was cast by Orson Welles to play Emily, who becomes Mrs. Charles Foster Kane, in 1941's "Citizen Kane," and became one of Welles' Mercury Theater players. Warrick did live theater, and appeared in several other films before moving to TV, where she appeared in a mix of primetime and daytime shows, scoring a primetime Emmy nod in 1967 for her role in "Peyton Place." She was married five or perhaps six times, depending on the source — more than even Phoebe. She was also a staunch advocate of arts and education programs. Warrick passed away from pneumonia-related issues on January 15, 2005 at age 88.

James Mitchell

Though not an original Pine Valley family, the Cortlandts soon became mainstays. The wealthy family was headed by James Mitchell's debonair Palmer Cortlandt from 1979 to 2010. A great friend of Phoebe's and a father figure to Erica Kane, Palmer could be generous, but would turn diabolical when jealous — just ask his long-suffering ex-wife, Daisy (Gillian Spencer).Palmer was born in poverty as Pete Cooney and was embarrassed by his humble origins. He had a long-time rivalry with rich businessman Adam Chandler, and lost his fortune more than once, but got it back through hard work. He also loved having attractive women by his side.

Like Palmer, Mitchell had humble origins in a small town. He became a dancer/choreographer, and worked with famed choreographer Agnes De Mille on stage and in film, including in the dream sequence of "Oklahoma!" (1955). Mitchell also danced with the American Ballet Theatre. He won several awards, including a Theater World award for "Brigadoon" in 1947. He later turned to acting and appeared in several TV series and films, such as the dance drama, "The Turning Point" (1977), where he met his partner, Albert Wolsky. Palmer Cortlandt was his last and longest TV role, though he wasn't on as often in the last years due to declining health. He retired in 2009 and passed away at 89 from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease exacerbated by pneumonia on January 22, 2010.

Hugh Hale Franklin

Hugh Hale Franklin's Dr. Charles Tyler was the respected Chief of Staff at Pine Valley Hospital. He was frequently portrayed as tough, but still kind and understanding. He married Phoebe English, but the marriage was chaotic and unhappy. Charles fell in love with his more stable secretary, Mona Kane. After several stops and starts, including Phoebe faking an injury, Charles finally divorced her and married Mona. He frequently acted as a father to the volatile Erica, Mona's daughter, and stood by his own children and grandchildren when they had problems. His life had tragedy, too, when his daughter Anne was killed by a car bomb.

Years before "All My Children," Franklin did a six-episode stint as Richard Garner in the 1966-67 season of "Dark Shadows: The Vampire's Curse." He did a smattering of film work, but his longest stint was on TV as Charles from 1970 to 1983. Franklin also appeared on Broadway, including performing Charles Beecher in "Harriet" opposite Helen Hayes. He also played Petr Trofimov in a revival of "The Cherry Orchard," where he met an ensemble player, Madeleine L'Engle. The two were later married. L'Engle, the award-winning author of "A Wrinkle In Time," wrote "Two-Part Invention: The Story of a Marriage" about her life with Franklin. Franklin died of cancer on September 26, 1986.

Francis Heflin

Frances Heflin originated Mona Kane in 1970. The divorced mother of the narcissistic Erica Kane was the beloved secretary of Dr. Charles Tyler. The two had a years-long affair before Charles could divorce his selfish wife, Phoebe, and marry Mona.

Mona was one of Pine Valley's moral paragons ... if you make exceptions for her affair with the married Charles ... and that time she killed someone ... oh, and that time she blackmailed Phoebe so Phoebe would finally grant Charles a divorce. Her daughter was the Erica Kane, after all –- she had a lot to handle! In contrast to Erica, Mona was a saint. And in contrast to Phoebe, for that matter. Mona was forgiven a lot of sins that turned other characters into villains because of the obstacles she faced as a single mother early on, and also because she took responsibility for her actions. Charles was actually amused about the blackmail scheme when she confessed it to him and forgave her. Mona was also exonerated for the killing because it was accidental and happened because she was protecting Erica. 

Heflin, born Mary Frances Heflin, was the sister of Van Heflin, an Academy Award winner in 1943. Like several other "All My Children" actors, she began her career on stage before changing over to film and television. Heflin's real-life lung cancer was written into the show as Mona battled the disease while all of Pine Valley rallied around her. Though Mona made it through, Heflin finally succumbed on May 31, 1994.

David Canary

David Canary's Adam Chandler is a business tycoon whose ruthlessness outdid even that of his main rival, Palmer Cortlandt. Palmer was involved with Adam's sister, Lottie, and when he abandoned her, she killed herself. Adam swore revenge and came to Pine Valley to exact it. Like his rival, Adam was also possessive in love and committed many crimes, including gaslighting Dixie Cooney (Cady McClain) to get custody of their son, and blackmailing, gaslighting, and kidnapping (all separately) Erica Kane. Adam and Erica were married and divorced twice. He had several other marriages and affairs, as well as numerous children and grandchildren. His twin brother, Stuart (also played by Canary), acted as his conscience. Adam accidentally shot and killed Stuart, but Stuart was brought back to life through typical soap shenanigans. Adam appeared on "All My Children" from 1983 until the 2011 cancelation, returning briefly in the reboot in 2013.

Canary was drafted into the AFL by the Denver Broncos, but didn't play because he decided to pursue acting. Prior to his time on "All My Children," Canary appeared in primetime drama "Peyton Place," films such as "Hombre" (1967), and several other primetime and daytime TV series. His most famous character besides Adam Chandler was Candy Canaday, the Cartwright clan's ranch foreman, on "Bonanza," whom he portrayed from 1967-1973. He also pops up in the "Curb Your Enthusiasm" episode, "The Bi-Sexual." Canary died on November 16, 2015, at age 77 of natural causes after a long battle with Alzheimer's.

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline​ at​ 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.

Candice Earley Nolan

Candice Earley Nolan's Donna Beck arrived in Pine Valley in 1976, though actress Francesca Poston originated the role. Nolan took over and made Donna a popular character. Donna was a teenage sex worker on Pine Valley's infamous Locust Street. Dr. Chuck Tyler, grandson of Phoebe and Charles Tyler, cared for Donna when she was hospitalized and they fell in love. Naturally, the star-crossed lovers from different sides of the tracks had many obstacles in their way.

Throughout her years in Pine Valley, Donna suffered the loss of her memory, her marriages (including a tumultuous one with Palmer Cortlandt), and two children with Chuck. One was stillborn and the other, Johnny, died of smoke inhalation in a fire. Despite it all, Donna persevered and ultimately left Pine Valley in 1992, once again married to old flame Chuck. They returned in 1993 and 1995 to attend family functions on the show.

Nolan was a supporter of the arts, especially in her hometown of Lawton, Oklahoma. "All My Children" was her main TV acting credit, and she performed on stage in musicals, including "Hair" and "Grease." Her singing chops were occasionally showcased on the soap. She married Robert Nolan in 1992 and retired from acting. Nolan developed Multiple Systems Atrophy, which she fought for eight years before succumbing on January 31, 2019. She was 68.

Mark LaMura

Mark LaMura's Mark Dalton made a big splash in Pine Valley in 1978. First paired with Erica Kane, Mark was a heartthrob. His romance with Erica was short-lived, however, as it turned out he was Erica's half-brother from one of her father's many affairs. Fortunately for Mark and Erica, her mother Mona stopped them from consummating their relationship. He was the center of a major topical storyline dealing with drug addiction. Mark became addicted to cocaine, and Erica staged an intervention to save him. Mark and Ellen left together in 1989 to live in Japan. He made guest appearances in 1994-95 and 2004-05, the latter to stage an intervention for Erica, who was abusing alcohol.

LaMura (also spelled "La Mura" for some roles) performed on Broadway and off-Broadway. He also had several television movies and roles, notably as John Doe in the "Star Trek: The Next Generation" episode, "Transfiguration," and as Alan Kaplan on "The Sopranos" episode, "Kennedy and Heidi." LaMura had mixed feelings about his time on "All My Children," once telling We Love Soaps that acting in them "was like being able to play all 88 keys on a piano and only being allowed to plunk out the same 8 every day." He passed away on September 11, 2017 at age 68 from lung cancer.

Louis Edmonds

Langley Wallingford, played by Louis Edmonds, was a con man who wound up wooing and marrying Phoebe Tyler for her money. Langley pretended to be a professor, thrilling Phoebe with his poetry and charm. According to Soap Central, they were one of the few soap "super-couples" over the age of 50.

Phoebe eventually found out Langley was really Lenny Wlasuk thanks to his old pal, Myrtle Fargate (Eileen Herlie). From there, Langley and Phoebe broke up and got back together several times, once when he uncouthly had an affair with the maid. They bickered frequently, but in a comedic way. Langley also had a grown daughter, Verla Grubbs, portrayed by none other than Carol Burnett. Langley's appearances decreased because Edmonds developed throat cancer. When the actor returned after treatment, he was sidelined because of his frailty.

Edmonds' Langley first appeared in 1979. He was a regular until 1992, making special appearances in later years after his bout with cancer. Prior to "All My Children," Edmonds performed in stage plays and musicals. His first television role was on "Studio One" in 1950, but his biggest role was as villainous Roger Collins on "Dark Shadows: The Vampire Curse." He was also Joshua Collins and Edward Collins — and three other characters! Edmonds came out as gay when in his 70s via his biography, "Big Lou" by Craig Hamrick. He passed away at age 77 on March 3, 2001, from respiratory failure.

Marj Dusay

Vanessa Bennett made her grand entrance into Pine Valley society in 1988. Played by Marj Dusay, Vanessa was crafty, but also overbearing, especially when it came to two of her sons, Leo DuPres (Josh Duhamel) and Dr. David Hayward (Vincent Irizarry).

Vanessa was more than a bad girl -– she was evil. She tried to ingratiate herself with Erica Kane, whom she despised, and married Palmer Cortlandt, where they mutually blackmailed each other. Vanessa swindled money from Erica and from Adam Chandler, was involved in accidental murder and deliberate attempted murder, and finally revealed to be Pine Valley's druglord Proteus. Vanessa was presumed dead along with Leo when he grabbed her and jumped over Miller's Falls while trying to protect his beloved, Greenlee (Rebecca Budig), from his murderous mother in 2002.

Dusay had a long and colorful career. According to the Hollywood Reporter, she was in Rob Reiner's improv group, The Session. Her credits include the Elvis Presley film, "Clambake" (1957). She acted in "Star Trek: The Original Series," in the 1968 episode, "Spock's Brain." She played Kara, the alien who steals Spock's brain. She also appeared several times from 1981 to 1987 on "The Facts of Life" as Blair Warner's mother, Monica. Besides "All My Children," she appeared on four other soaps: "Capitol," "Santa Barbara," "Days of Our Lives," and "Guiding Light." She was 83 when she passed away from natural causes on January 28, 2020.

Mary Fickett

Ruth Brent Martin, played by Mary Fickett, is one of the original "All My Children" characters. She was a nurse at Pine Valley Hospital. She was widowed early on and became involved with a widower, Dr. Joe Martin. The two married and despite some troubles and a separation, remained married the entire show.

Ruth was a good mother to her adopted sons Philip Brent and Tad "the Cad" Gardner (Michael E. Knight), as well as her son with Joe, Joey. Because they were older when they conceived Joey, the show dealt with the possibility he would be born with Down syndrome. Ruth was also a mother figure to many in Pine Valley. She weathered some serious storms, including being raped by Tad's biological father, but she never lost her sense of self. She cheated on Joe once, but their love was strong enough to survive her indiscretion.

Fickett debuted on Broadway in 1949, and began acting in television "theater shows," such as "Ponds Theater" and "General Electric Theater," in 1953. She was nominated for a Tony in 1958 for her role in "Sunrise at Campobello." In 1973, she became the first daytime performer to win an Emmy, fittingly for Ruth's protest of the Vietnam War. Fickett portrayed Ruth from 1970 to 1996, retiring to be with her family. She was replaced by Lee Meriwether, returned briefly from 1999 to 2000, then fully retired. Fickett passed away at the age of 83 on September 8, 2011 of Alzheimer's.

Ray MacDonnell

Dr. Joe Martin, portrayed by Ray MacDonell, was Pine Valley's paragon of virtue. He became Chief of Staff at Pine Valley Hospital after Dr. Charles Tyler passed away. His good bedside manner and strong moral compass made him the patriarch of Pine Valley.

Joe fell in love with nurse Ruth Brent, but the two did not get together until after her husband died. Joe nearly strayed from Ruth once when he got too involved emotionally with a patient, but their separation didn't last long before the two reconciled. He could be stern, especially with wayward adopted son Tad, but Joe always loved his family. He was possibly the most beloved person in Pine Valley (don't tell Erica Kane!). When he had a massive heart attack, seemingly every denizen of the town came to his bedside.

MacDonnell's biggest roles before he was cast on "All My Children" were in "Mame" on Broadway, and as Dick Tracy in a 1967 pilot that was not picked up. His second-longest role to Joe Martin was as Phil Capice on the soap opera, "The Edge of Night," from 1961 to 1969. MacDonnell played Joe from 1970 through 2009, when he retired from acting. He briefly reprised the role in 2011, and returned for several episodes of the 2013 reboot. Before retiring, he was one of only two original actors from 1970 on the show, the other being Susan Lucci. MacDonnell passed away at age 93 on June 10, 2021 of natural causes.

Michael Nader

Michael Nader's dashing Dimitri Marick came to Pine Valley in 1991 and immediately caught the eye of several of Pine Valley's finest — including the fickle Erica Kane. Marick was Hungarian royalty, with the formal title Count Andrassy. His dark nature frequently came out in shocking ways, yet his mysterious past attracted several women to him.

Marick was a complicated man with a complicated family tree. He had a life-long rivalry with Edmund Grey, who was revealed as his brother. He slept with Edmund's wife, thought he'd fathered a child with her, had several marriages (including two with Erica). Marick was mentioned on ABC soap "General Hospital" as recently as 2021 in relation to his former wife, Alex Devane (Finola Hughes), twin sister of "General Hospital" character Anna Devane.

Nader had a robust acting career before "All My Children," progressing from unnamed characters, such as "Beach Boy" in "Beach Party" (1963), to Siddo on "Gidget" from 1965 to 1966. Nader's biggest role was Dex Dexter on "Dynasty," whom he played from 1983 to 1989. Nader's distinctive facial scar came from an accident when he was six and hit by a drunk driver. Unfortunately, Nader had some well-publicized personal problems that cost him his job on "All My Children" in 2001, though he returned for the 2013 reboot. Nader passed away after a bout with cancer on August 23, 2021. He was 76.

John Callahan

John Callahan debuted as Edmund Gresham Grey in 1992. Edmund was a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter who knew something was off about Dimitri Marick. He kidnapped Dimitri's girlfriend, Erica Kane, who worked with him to prove he was Dimitri's half-brother. The new-found brothers had a contentious relationship, including sleeping with each other's wives.

Edmund was as hot-headed as his brother was brooding. His longest relationship was with Dr. Maria Santos (Eva LaRue), but their marriage was rocky.  Maria was presumed dead was presumed dead after a plane crash, but was found alive but with amnesia after he moved on. Though she regained her memory and they reunited, his jealous streak and a paralyzing accident sent him over the edge into madness. Edmund was murdered investigating a shooting, having changed his will to leave his wife and children nothing.

Callahan's first credited role was as a reporter on the TV series of "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" in 1982. He had roles on night-time soap "Falcon Crest" from 1986 to 1988, and daytime soap "Santa Barbara" from 1989 to 1992. He played Edmund Grey on an episode of "Spin City" in 1997. After "All My Children," he did a series of B-movies and a stint on "Days of Our Lives" from 2008 to 2010. Callahan married his co-star LaRue in 1996. They share on child and were divorced in 2005. Callahan had a stroke and passed away on March 28, 2020 at the age of 66.

Eileen Herlie

Although Eileen Herlie's Myrtle Fargate was a carny and a con-woman, she became a beloved figure in Pine Valley. Myrtle came to town in 1976 and became best friends with Mona Kane. After Mona's death, she was a surrogate mother to Mona's daughter, Erica.

Myrtle owns a boarding house in town and a shop called "The Boutique," and through it, befriends or mentors several residents. She was Pine Valley's own favorite colorful aunt, often involved in some of the sillier storylines, like the time she saved Christmas. At her core, she was kind and loving, and very popular with the townsfolk, even patrician Phoebe Wallingford.

Herlie, born Eileen Herlihy, was a stage and film actress before she was on "All My Children." The Scottish actress performed in London in the 1940s and 1950s before heading to New York. She played Gertrude in Laurence Olivier's film, "Hamlet" (1948), even though she was younger than he was by a decade. She later played Gertrude on Broadway opposite Richard Burton as Hamlet, and was in the filmed version of the play, which was co-directed by Sir John Gielgud, in 1964. Myrtle, though, was her last credited role. Herlie passed away at the age of 90 on October 8, 2008 of complications from pneumonia.