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All My Children Actors Who Have Sadly Died

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. 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.

Billy Miller (Richie Novak)

Though not the only soap opera Billy Miller was in, "All My Children" was his first. The actor portrayed Richie Novak, the son of Walter Novak who returns to town after serving seven years in prison. Richie initially lies about who he is, going by the name of Wes to snag a job at a local restaurant. He was previously in jail because he killed someone as a child, and even though he served time, he hasn't turned away from his criminal behavior.

From lying about his identity to kidnapping and stealing, Richie continues his less-than-savory ways. He is so untrustworthy that, when he claims to have leukemia, no one initially believes him. Though a blood test confirms his diagnosis, the other residents of Pine Valley still keep him at arm's length. After just a year on the soap, his sister Annie (Melissa Claire Egan) kills him after he kidnaps Babe (Alexa Havins), a woman he's in love with.

Miller's first on-screen role was in an episode of "CSI: NY." From there, he appeared in "All My Children" before landing the role of Billy Abbott in "The Young and the Restless." He appeared in the soap for six years. Miller also played the dual roles of Drew Cain and Jason Morgan in "General Hospital." He died by suicide on September 15, 2023, at age 43. 

Jeffrey Carlson (Zoe Luper)

Jeffrey Carlson made TV history when he portrayed Zoe Luper, credited as the first transgender character on daytime TV. Over the course of several months, audiences watched Zoe come out and transition. Originally a rock star, when Zoe arrives in Pine Valley, she is suspected of murder. While she is not a murderer, she is keeping her feelings for Bianca Montgomery (Eden Riegel) a secret. 

Bianca and Zoe eventually come together after Zoe comes out during a New Year's Eve party. The two take a trip to Europe together after Zoe's transition, but they don't last because the rock star misses her former life. "All My Children" won the 2007 GLAAD Media Award for outstanding daily drama for the story. It was the show's fourth time receiving the award.

Carlson's role as Zoe is one of the most significant of his career, and the series was his last on-screen role. Before starring in the soap opera, Carlson was in the movies "Hitch" and "Backseat," and had a stage career, acting in the Broadway revival of Tartuffe. He died on July 6, 2023, at age 48.

John Callahan (Edmund Grey)

John Callahan debuted as Edmund Gresham Grey in 1992. Edmund is a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter who could tell something was off about Dimitri Marick (Michael Nader). He kidnaps Dimitri's girlfriend, Erica Kane, and they work together to prove he is Dimitri's half-brother. The new-found brothers have a contentious relationship, which includes sleeping with each other's wives.

Edmund is as hot-headed as his brother is brooding. His longest relationship is with Dr. Maria Santos (Eva LaRue), but their marriage is rocky. At one point, Maria is presumed dead after a plane crash but is found alive — despite having amnesia — after he's moved on. Though she regains her memory and they reunite, his jealous streak and a paralyzing accident send him over the edge into madness. Edmund is murdered while 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 "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" in 1982. He had roles on the night-time soap "Falcon Crest" from 1986 to 1988, and the daytime soap "Santa Barbara" from 1989 to 1992. He also 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, and they had one child before divorcing in 2005. Callahan had a stroke and passed away on March 28, 2020, at the age of 66.

Ruth Warrick (Phoebe Tyler Wallingford)

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 (Hugh Franklin), Phoebe was born Phoebe English. She is a socialite who enjoys her status as a doctor's wife and as a member of one of the wealthiest families in town. The epitome of snobbery, she meddles in the lives of her several children, stepchildren, grandchildren, and godchildren throughout her time on the show. She was also once married to a man who planned to kill her for her fortune. Eventually, she becomes a beloved figurehead in town. She is 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 (Palmer Cortlandt)

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

Like Palmer, Mitchell had humble origins in a small town. He became a dancer-slash-choreographer, and worked with famed choreographer Agnes De Mille on stage and in film, including in the dream sequence of "Oklahoma!" 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," where he met his partner, Albert Wolsky. Palmer Cortlandt was his last and longest TV role, though he wasn't on as often in his last years due to declining health. He retired in 2009 and passed away at age 89 from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease exacerbated by pneumonia on January 22, 2010.

Hugh Hale Franklin (Dr. Charles Tyler)

Hugh Hale Franklin's Dr. Charles Tyler is the respected Chief of Staff at Pine Valley Hospital who is frequently portrayed as tough, yet still kind and understanding. He marries Phoebe English, but the marriage is chaotic and unhappy. Charles falls in love with his more stable secretary, Mona Kane (Frances Heflin). After several stops and starts, including Phoebe faking an injury, Charles finally divorces her and marries Mona. He frequently acts as a father to the volatile Erica, Mona's daughter, and stands by his own children and grandchildren when they have problems. His life has tragedy, too, like when his daughter Anne (Gwyn Gilliss) is 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.

Frances Heflin (Mona Kane Tyler)

Frances Heflin originated Mona Kane in 1970. The divorced mother of the narcissistic Erica Kane is the beloved secretary of Dr. Charles Tyler. The two have a years-long affair before Charles divorces his selfish wife, Phoebe, and marries Mona.

Mona is one of Pine Valley's moral paragons — if you make exceptions for her affair with the married Charles, and that time she kills someone ... oh, and that time she blackmails Phoebe so Phoebe will finally grant Charles a divorce. Her daughter is the Erica Kane, after all –- she has a lot to handle! In contrast to Erica, Mona is a saint. (And in contrast to Phoebe, for that matter.) Mona is forgiven a lot of sins that turn other characters into villains because of the obstacles she faces as a single mother early on, and also because she takes responsibility for her actions. Charles is actually amused by the blackmail scheme when she confesses it to him and he ends up forgiving her. Mona is also exonerated for the killing because it was accidental and happened while 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 sadly passed away on May 31, 1994.

David Canary (Adam and Stuart Chandler)

David Canary's Adam Chandler is a business tycoon whose ruthlessness outdoes even that of his main rival, Palmer Cortlandt. Palmer is involved with Adam's sister, Lottie, and when he abandons her, she takes her own life. Adam swears revenge and comes to Pine Valley to exact it. Like his rival, Adam is also possessive in love and commits many crimes, including gaslighting Dixie Cooney (Cady McClain) to get custody of their son and blackmailing, gaslighting, and kidnapping (at different times separately) Erica Kane. Adam and Erica are married and divorced twice. He has several other marriages and affairs, as well as numerous children and grandchildren. His twin brother, Stuart (also played by Canary), acts as his conscience. Adam accidentally shoots and kills Stuart, but Stuart is brought back to life through typical soap shenanigans. Adam appears 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 the primetime drama "Peyton Place," films such as "Hombre," 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 to 1973. He also popped up in the "Curb Your Enthusiasm" episode, "The Bi-Sexual." Canary died on November 16, 2015, at age 77 of natural causes after having Alzheimer's disease for years.

Marj Dusay (Vanessa Bennett)

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

Vanessa is more than a bad girl -– she is evil. She tries to ingratiate herself with Erica Kane, whom she despises, and she marries Palmer Cortlandt, who mutually blackmail each other. Vanessa swindles money from Erica and from Adam Chandler; is involved in accidental murder and deliberate attempted murder; and is finally revealed to be Pine Valley's druglord Proteus. Vanessa is presumed dead along with Leo when he grabs her and jumps 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. She was in Rob Reiner's improv group, The Session, and her credits include the Elvis Presley film, "Clambake." She also acted in "Star Trek: The Original Series," in the 1968 episode, "Spock's Brain." She played Kara, the alien who steals Spock's brain. Additionally, she appeared on "The Facts of Life" as Blair Warner's mother, Monica, several times from 1981 to 1987. Besides "All My Children," she appeared in 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.

Candice Earley Nolan (Donna Beck Tyler)

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

Throughout her years in Pine Valley, Donna suffers the loss of her memory, her marriages (including a tumultuous one with Palmer Cortlandt), and two children with Chuck. One is stillborn and the other, Johnny, dies of smoke inhalation in a fire. Despite it all, Donna perseveres and ultimately leaves Pine Valley in 1992, once again married to her old flame Chuck. They return 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 had for eight years before passing away on January 31, 2019. She was 68.

Mark LaMura (Mark Dalton)

Mark Dalton (Mark LaMura) makes a big splash in Pine Valley in 1978. First paired with Erica Kane, Mark is a heartthrob. His romance with Erica is short-lived, however, as it turns out he is Erica's half-brother from one of her father's many affairs. Fortunately for Mark and Erica, her mother Mona stops them from consummating their relationship. Mark is also the center of a major topical storyline dealing with drug addiction. Mark becomes addicted to cocaine, and Erica stages an intervention for him. Eventually, Mark and Ellen (Kathleen Noone) leave together in 1989 to live in Japan. He makes guest appearances in 1994, 1995, and 2005, the latter to stage an intervention for Erica, who is abusing alcohol.

LaMura (also spelled "La Mura" for some roles) performed on Broadway and off-Broadway. He also had several television and movie roles, notably as John Doe in the "Star Trek: The Next Generation" episode, "Transfiguration," and as Alan Kaplan in "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, from lung cancer at age 68.

Louis Edmonds (Langley Wallingford)

Langley Wallingford, played by Louis Edmonds, is a con man who winds up wooing and marrying Phoebe Tyler for her money. Langley pretends to be a professor, thrilling Phoebe with his poetry and charm. They are known as one of the few soap "super-couples" over the age of 50.

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

Edmonds first appeared on "All My Children" in 1979 and was a regular until 1992, making special appearances in later years after his bout with cancer. Prior to "All My Children," he 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 in his 70s via his biography, "Big Lou" by Craig Hamrick. He passed away at age 77 on March 3, 2001, from respiratory failure.

Michael Nader (Dimitri Marick)

Michael Nader's dashing Dimitri Marick comes to Pine Valley in 1991 and immediately catches the eye of several of Pine Valley's finest — including the fickle Erica Kane. Marick is a member of Hungarian royalty, with the formal title Count Andrassy. His dark nature frequently comes out in shocking ways, yet his mysterious past keeps the ladies attracted.

Marick is a complicated man with a complicated family tree. He has a life-long rivalry with Edmund Grey, who is revealed to be his brother; he sleeps with Edmund's wife and thinks he fathers a child with her; and he has several marriages (including two with Erica). Marick is mentioned on the 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 (also played by Hughes).

Nader had a robust acting career before "All My Children," progressing from unnamed characters such as "Beach Boy" in "Beach Party," 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 was hit by a drunk driver at the age of 6. 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 on August 23, 2021 after a bout with cancer. He was 76.

Nancy Frangione (Tara Martin)

Tara Martin is one of the original teen characters introduced at the start of "All My Children." Played by four different actresses over the course of the series, audiences watch Tara grow and evolve through adulthood as she deals with love, grief, and even more grief. Her family initially moves to Pine Valley after her mother's death to be closer to other family members.

Tara is regularly torn between Phil and Chuck, her two love interests, though she eventually marries Phil before his tragic death. She moves away from Pine Valley after remarrying, only to come back when her daughter runs away to the small town after Tara's divorce.

"All My Children" is one of the most significant roles Nancy Frangione had during her career. After her two-year stint as the character from 1977 to 1979, she went on to be in the soap opera "Another World" as Cecile DePoulignac. In 1984, she won the award for outstanding villainess at the 1st Soap Opera Digest Awards for playing DePoulignac. Her role in "Another World" was her last on-screen appearance and ended in 1995 after 15 years on the series. Frangione died on August 18, 2023, at age 70.

Mary Fickett (Ruth Martin)

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

Ruth is a good mother to her adopted sons Philip Brent and Tad "the Cad" Gardner (Michael E. Knight), and to her son with Joe, Joey. Because they are older when they conceive Joey, the show deals with the possibility he could be born with Down syndrome. Ruth is also a mother figure to many in Pine Valley. She weathers some serious storms, including being raped by Tad's biological father, but she never loses her sense of self. She cheats on Joe once, but their love is 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 from Alzheimer's at the age of 83 on September 8, 2011.

Nick Benedict (Phillip Brent)

Phillip Brent, known as Phil, has a turbulent life in Pine Valley. While he falls in love with Tara, something always seems to get in the young couple's way. After a first broken engagement, Phil gets in a car crash that gives him temporary amnesia. While he tries to regain his memories, Tara almost marries Chuck. Later, as Tara and Phil grow closer again, he is drafted and goes away to fight in the Vietnam War. But, before he leaves, he and Tara marry.

After he is presumed dead during the war, Phil returns to Pine Valley to find Tara has moved on. He eventually marries Erica Kane, who has a long-time crush on him, but it doesn't work out. After another reunion with Tara, he begins working with the Narcotics Bureau in the nation's capital. When he goes missing on the job again, it is forever.

Nick Benedict was the son of Richard Benedict, the acclaimed actor known for "Ace in the Hole." "All My Children" was Nick's breakout role before he went on to appear in the soap operas "The Young and the Restless" and "Days of Our Lives." His time in soap operas came to an end in 2001 when he played Curtis Reed on "Days of Our Lives" for the last time. His final acting appearance came in 2011 with the movie "A Beautiful Friendship." The actor died on July 14, 2023, from complications stemming from a spinal cord surgery. 

Ray MacDonnell (Dr. Joe Martin)

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

Joe falls in love with nurse Ruth Brent, but the two do not get together until after her husband dies. Joe nearly strays from Ruth once when he gets too involved emotionally with a patient, but their separation doesn't last long before the two reconcile. He can be stern, especially with his wayward adopted son Tad, but Joe always loves his family. He is possibly the most beloved person in Pine Valley (don't tell Erica Kane). When he has a massive heart attack, seemingly every denizen of the town comes to his bedside.

MacDonnell's biggest roles before he was cast in "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 from natural causes at age 93, on June 10, 2021.

Eileen Herlie (Myrtle Lum Fargate)

Although Myrtle Fargate (Eileen Herlie) is an eccentric con-woman, she becomes a beloved figure in Pine Valley. Myrtle comes to town in 1976 and becomes best friends with Mona Kane. After Mona's death, she is a surrogate mother to her daughter, Erica.

Myrtle owns a boarding house in town and a shop called "The Boutique," and through it, befriends or mentors several residents. She is Pine Valley's own favorite colorful aunt, often involved in some of the sillier storylines, like the time she saves Christmas. At her core, she is 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," 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.

Pamela Blair (Maida Andrews)

Pamela Blair is known for originating the role of Valerie Clark in "A Chorus Line" on Broadway, but on-screen she was in several soap operas, including "All My Children." In the soap, she portrayed the characters Maida Andrews and Mrs. Goodman, and is credited with four episodes total. Both were guest roles in the series. 

Before appearing on-screen, Blair was known for her work on Broadway. Her first stage performance was in 1968 with the musical "Promises, Promises," and her last was "A Few Good Men" in 1989. Her first on-screen role was in the series "Ryan's Hope," where she played Elizabeth Shrank Ryan for nine episodes. After appearing in "All My Children," she was in the soap "Another World" for four episodes. Her last on-screen appearance was in the 2003 movie "21 Grams" as a doctor. Blair died on July 23, 2023, at age 73.

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