Legendary Soap Opera Actress Marj Dusay Dead at 83, Remembered As Welcoming and Wonderful
Image: John Paschal/JPI
Soap opera alum’s career spanned five decades in television.
Marjorie Dusay, an actress many Soaps.com readers will know from one or more of her memorable roles on daytime soap operas including Capitol, Santa Barbara, Days of our Lives, All My Children and Guiding Light, passed away on January 28, 2020 at the age of 83. The actress was mourned online by her many fans and her former colleagues including Carrie Genzel, who appeared on All My Children as Skye Chandler. She posted that she was ‘heartbroken’ to hear of Dusay’s passing, and noted ‘she was always so welcoming and wonderful to me’.
Marj Dusay was born in Russell, Kansas in 1936 as Marjorie Ellen Pivonka Mahoney, and as a child was an accomplished equestrian, earning the title ‘Country Rodeo Queen’. She married Dr. John Murray Dusay in 1955 and began her career as a model while they lived in Kansas City. The couple had two children together, a son, Randall, and a daughter, Debra, before divorcing in 1962. In 1967, Dusay married Thomas Perine, who later passed away in 1988. Dusay’s son died of AIDS in 1993. The actress has sponsored the Marj Dusay Celebrity Golf Tournament, a fundraiser for the Kansas Child Abuse Prevention Centers, in her hometown since 1984.
Marj Dusay’s acting career kicked off in 1967 and she was a founding member of the late 1960s L.A. comedy improv troupe, ‘The Session’. She appeared in dozens of hit television series, including Get Smart, Bonanza, Hawaii Five-0, Family Affair, The Odd Couple, Star Trek, The F.B.I., The Bionic Woman, Barnaby Jones, and The Facts of Life, before taking her first soap opera role as Myrna Clegg on Capitol in 1983. She went on to play Pamela Capwell Conrad on Santa Barbara, Vivian Alamain on Days of our Lives, Vanessa Bennett Cortlandt on All My Children, and Alexandra Spaulding on Guiding Light until 2009.
Marj Dusay is survived by her daughter Debra Blocker, and son-in-law, David Blocker, and granddaughter, Deena Blocker.
Soaps.com extends condolences to Marj Dusay’s loved ones and former co-workers. Please feel free to browse in the gallery to remember other soap opera actors we’ve lost in the past year.
I am heartbroken to hear of the passing of #MarjDusay. We had mutual friends in NYC and she was always so welcoming and wonderful to me. My heart goes out to her friends and family, and, her many fans who appreciated her on and off camera. #RIP ❤️
— Carrie Genzel (@carrie_genzel) January 29, 2020