Remembering Beloved Soap Opera Actors, Writers & Crew Who Died 2019
Image: D Guignebourg, Jill Johnson, Brian Lowe, Arlene Richie, Lisa Rose, Nick Sined, Howard Wise/JPI
Saying goodbye to members of the daytime community who passed away this year.
Soaps.com looks back members of the soap opera community who sadly passed away in 2019. Whether they were in front of or behind the scenes, a beloved current cast member or a guest star from years ago, they all left their mark on viewers. Join us as we remember the cast and crew daytime lost from All My Children, Another World, As the World Turns, The Bold and the Beautiful, Dallas, Dark Shadows, Days of our Lives, The Edge of Night, General Hospital, Loving, One Life to Live, Passions, Santa Barbara, and The Young and the Restless.
Though he died on November 6, 2018, the news of Stephen Markle’s death (Mel Hayes, One Life to Live) wasn’t widely circulated until 2019. Markle died due to complications from Parkinson’s disease. He was 73.
The Bold and the Beautiful and The Young and the Restless crew member Scha Jani was honored by both CBS soaps with an ‘In loving memory of’ notice after their January 2 episodes. Scha Jani, who died November 26, 2018, was part of 16 Daytime Emmy Award winning technical teams.
General Hospital’s revered head of hair and makeup, Donna Messina, died on December 6, 2018, but the news did not come out until January. Donna Messina won six Daytime Emmys for her work on the ABC soap opera and was honored on-air when Sonny and Carly Corinthos’ (Maurice Benard, Laura Wright) newborn was named after her.
William Morgan Sheppard
William Morgan Sheppard died January 6 at the age of 86. The actor who played Charles on Days of our Lives from 2000 – 2001 graduated from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and served in the Merchant Navy.
The daughter of the late science fiction writer Ray Bradbury had a successful writing career herself serving as a soap opera scribe for All My Children, Days of our Lives, One Life to Live and Santa Barbara. Bettina Bradbury died January 13. She was 63 years old.
Former Days of our Lives guest star Steve Bean, who battled sino-squamous cell carcinoma, died on January 21. The 58-year-old actor got his start doing stand-up comedy and had roles on Shameless and Ray Donovan.
All My Children’s Candice Early (Donna Tyler Beck) died on January 31 due to Multiple System Atrophy. A former Miss Lawton, Oklahoma pageant winner, Early was honored with a statue in Lawton’s Shepler Square Park, which still stands.
Born in Australia, Carmen Duncan died of cancer on February 2. The 76-year-old was best known to soap opera fans as the third and final version of Iris Wheeler on Another World. She also filled in as Lisa Grimaldi for a couple of episodes on As the World Turns.
Perhaps best known as Marilyn Munster on The Munsters, Beverley Owen died February 21 at age 81. The actress who received a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan also had roles on As the World Turns, Another World and The Doctors.
Star of the ultimate soap opera send-up Soap, Katherine Helmond died from Alzheimer’s Disease complications on February 23. Helmond was also well known for her role on the 80s sitcom Who’s the Boss. She was 89.
Kristoff St. John
The beloved The Young and the Restless star Kristoff St. John passed away on February 3 of “heart disease combined with an accidental alcohol overdose.” He was 52. Former co-stars Shemar Moore (Malcolm Winters) and Victoria Rowell (Drucilla Winters) returned for the CBS soap opera’s emotional tribute episodes to the actor and his character Neil Winters.
Luke Perry died unexpectedly of a stroke on March 4. Perry is best remembered for his role as rebel Dylan McKay on Beverly Hills 90210. The actor also appeared on Another World, Loving and most recently Riverdale. He was 52.
Santa Barbara’s patriarch Jed Allan (C.C. Capwell) died March 10 at age 84. The soap opera alum also had stints on The Bay, Beverly Hills 90210, Days of our Lives, General Hospital and Port Charles.
Passions alum Georgia Engel (Esmeralda) died at 70 on April 12. Engle is best known for her role as Georgette Baxter on The Mary Tyler Moore Show and recently appeared on the rebooted One Day at a Time.
Former Dallas star, Ken Kercheval (Cliff Barnes) died April 20 at age 83. The actor who reprised his iconic role for the Dallas reboot from 2012 – 2014 also starred in The Secret Storm and Search for Tomorrow.
All My Children and One Life to Live guest star Sylvia Miles passed away June 12 at the age of 94. The actress was nominated for an Academy Award for her roles in Midnight Cowboy and Farewell, My Lovely.
Susan Bernard succumbed to a heart attack at the age of 71 on June 21. Bernard, a former Playboy playmate of the month, starred in the cult film Faster, PussyCat! Kill! Kill! and played Beverly Cleveland Fairchild on General Hospital.
As the World Turns and The Edge of Night director Joel Aronowitz died June 29 after a brief illness at the age of 79. The director, who was also involved with the television coverage of the 1969 moon landing, won an Emmy Award as part of the directing team of As the World Turns.
Comedic actor Arte Johnson died of heart failure on July 3. Best known for his many characters on Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In, Johnson also guest-starred on many popular TV shows of the 80s including Fantasy Island, voiced characters on several cartoons such as Animaniacs and played the recurring General Hospital character Finian O’Toole in 1991.
Cameron Boyce shockingly died in his sleep due to epilepsy. He was just 20 years old. The young actor appeared as Michael ‘Stone’ Cates Jr on General Hospital: Night Shift, as well as starred in Disney’s Descendants and Jessie. Boyce was also an activist who won a Pioneering Spirit Award at the 2018 Thirst Gala.
The soap opera alum, also known for her role as Violet Beauregarde in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, died on July 11. Denise Nickerson, who suffered a stroke a year before her death, played Amy Collins on Dark Shadows and Liza Kendall on Search for Tomorrow.
Guiding Light’s Adam Thorpe, Robert Milli, lost his battle with cancer on July 18. The New York Yankees fan also starred as Lars Bogard on All My Children. He was 86.
David Hedison passed away July 18. The daytime alum played Arthur Hendricks on The Young and the Restless, Spencer Harrison on Another World and appeared on Dynasty and The Colbys, shows his wife Bridget Hedison worked on behind the scenes.
Makeup artist to the casts of The Bold and the Beautiful and The Young and the Restless, Jenna Wittman, died in July. Heartfelt words and warm memories of Wittman filled the social media feeds of soap opera stars such as Melody Thomas Scott (Nikki Newman) and Scott Clifton (Liam Spencer).
The Bold and the Beautiful’s production designer Sy Tomashoff died July 28 at the age of 96. The Emmy winner is remembered for creating the Collins family manor sets on Dark Shadows and the classic Forrester mansion sets on the CBS soap opera.
The 77-year-old soap opera alum died on September 3 from a heart attack she suffered in her sleep. Carol Lynley starred in The Poseidon Adventure and played a judge for a couple of episodes on Another World.
Roccina ‘Rocci’ Chatfield died of natural causes on August 24. The Writers Guild of America Service Award honoree wrote for Days of our Lives, Generations and Knots Landing.
On September 13, Brian Turk (Bo Crowell, General Hospital) died due to complications from brain cancer. The Colorado native, who had roles on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Carnivále, was 49.
One Life to Live’s original Renee Divine Buchanan, Phyllis Newman, passed away in her home on September 15. The actress who won a Tony Award for her role in Subways Are For Sleeping was diagnosed with breast cancer in the 80s and raised millions of dollars for her Women’s Health Initiative.
Actress and comedian Suzanne Whang succumbed to breast cancer on September 17. Whang was godmother to Vanessa Marcil’s (Brenda Barrett, General Hospital) son Kassius, hosted HGTV’s House Hunters and played Carol Chang on General Hospital in 2011.
On September 20, the 94-year-old Another World writer Jan Merlin died. The actor turned soap opera scribe was also a novelist, often writing about Hollywood.
News of soap opera writer Hogan Sheffer’s death circulated in September. The 61-year-old Emmy winning head writer helmed writing teams for As the World Turns, Days of our Lives and The Young and the Restless.
Character actor Lewis Dauber died October 3 from liver cancer. The 70-year-old former banker had roles on several TV shows including Beverly Hills 90210, Melrose Place and Days of our Lives where he played a character named Frank in 1993.
Legendary actress Diahann Carroll died on October 4 from cancer at 84-years-old. Carroll had roles in iconic movies Carmen Jones and Porgy and Bess and headlined the groundbreaking TV series, Julia. She also starred in Dynasty, The Colbys, and A Different World.
Days of our Lives’ John Clarke died October 16 due to complications of pneumonia. Before retiring from playing Mickey Horton on the NBC soap opera in 2004, Clarke appeared on Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman and Hart to Hart.
Former Maude star Bill Macy died on October 17 at age 97. Macy’s role as a cab driver on The Edge of Night launched his acting career which included appearances on All in the Family, NYPD Blue, and many others.
Sound mixer Christopher Banninger died on October 31 of a massive heart attack. The ex-husband of The Young and the Restless’ Beth Maitland (Traci Abbott) worked on, among other primetime shows, the online version of All My Children and most recently General Hospital.
One Life to Live alum Brian Tarantina (Lucky Lippman) died on November 2 at 60-years-old. His other roles included stints on Gilmore Girls, The Sopranos and most recently the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.
William Wintersole who played Katherine Chancellor’s lawyer Mitchell Sherman on The Young and the Restless died on November 5. The actor was part of the American Forces Radio and Television service during the Korean War and had parts on Bonanza, The Waltons, and Emergency.
Shelley Morrison died December 1 from heart failure. Best known for her role as Rosario Salazar on Will & Grace, Morrison guest-starred on over 150 TV series, including playing Mrs. Ramirez on General Hospital, and has a street sign with her name on it in New York as part of the Bronx Walk of Fame.
Lisa De Cazotte
After battling a long illness, soap opera producer Lisa De Cazotte died at age 58 on December 7. De Cazotte was an executive producer on Passions and General Hospital: Night Shift and served as a supervising producer for The Young and the Restless at the time of her death.
Stage and screen actress Pamela Payton-Wright passed away December 14 at 78. She got her start in daytime playing Hazel on Another World, but she is best known to soap opera fans for the long-running role of Addie Cramer on One Life to Live.