Remembering a Soap Heartthrob Felled by AIDS On the 28th Anniversary of His Death
NBC/Courtesy of the Everett Collection
He may be gone, but he is most definitely not forgotten.
The name David Oliver may not be familiar to you — not at first. But if you watched Another World in the mid-1980s, you most definitely knew the handsome actor.
From 1983-85, the native of Concord, Calif., played the NBC soap’s Perry Hutchins, the son of the nefarious Carl Hutchins (the late, great Charles Keating). In the baby-faced character’s romance with Nancy McGowan, Another World hoped to capture the same lightning in a bottle that had made All My Children’s Greg and Jenny a supercouple.
It didn’t quite happen. But Oliver, a born charmer with a smile that lit up the screen, nonetheless made an impression.
By all accounts, after Perry was killed off — he took a fatal fall from a barn loft after catching sight of Marley Love’s twin sister, Victoria — his portrayer was going places. He appeared briefly on NBC’s Santa Barbara, then co-starred in the big-screen thriller Night of the Creeps (with, among others, John J. York, later Mac on General Hospital).
The up-and-comer even landed one of the leads on NBC’s primetime miniseries, A Year in the Life, which was so successful that it was turned, however briefly, into a series.
Oliver’s wife on the show? No less than future megastar Sarah Jessica Parker. At the time, she was trying to capitalize on the higher profile she’d achieved thanks to Girls Just Want to Have Fun — the movie, not the song — and Flight of the Navigator. (That’s Oliver and Parker together at the top of this article.)
Alas, all of Oliver’s promise was wiped out on this day — November 12 — in 1992, when his life was cut short due to complications from AIDS. Left behind were his parents, stepfather, seven — yes, seven — siblings, significant other Terry Houlihan and us, his fans.
May we never forget the damage done by that horrible disease or the losses we’ve all suffered. Since you’re here and already clearly in a somber mood, maybe the below photo gallery, in which we pay homage to the soap stars lost in 2020, is the unfortunate, perfect thing for you. Or perhaps you’d prefer to watch Oliver in happier days, competing on the game show Go in 1983 with Another World castmates Mary Page Keller (Sally), Laura Malone (Blaine) and Anna Stuart (Donna) against the stars of Search for Tomorrow.