Fourteen Years After His Passing, We Pay Tribute to a Fan Favorite Who It Turned Out Had *More* Than One Life to Live
ABC/Courtesy of the Everett Collection
Lee Patterson made such a big impression on fans of the ABC soap that he wasn’t resurrected, he was given a whole new character.
There actually is something romantic about the fact that Lee Patterson passed away at the age of 77 on Valentine’s Day in 2007. So charismatic was the actor that he’d made us fall in love with him not once but twice on One Life to Live.
An original cast member, Patterson threw sparks with All My Children’s future Daisy Cortlandt, Gillian Spencer, as Victoria Lord in his role of Banner reporter Joe Riley. He was the enduring heroine’s first — and, some would say, true — love.
But when his former boss from ABC’s The Nurses quit as executive producer to put NBC’s The Doctors on life support, Patterson grew disgruntled — so disgruntled that he allowed his character to be felled by a brain tumor in 1979. (Of note, Joe is the biological father of both of Viki’s sons, Kevin and Joey.)
It hardly mattered. In 1986, Patterson returned to One Life to Live as — surprise — Joe’s twin brother, Tom Dennison. Need we mention that Erika Slezak’s Viki was as drawn to the lookalike as she had been to the original? Didn’t think so.
“Lee was wonderful,” the Emmy winner told SoapCentral in 2014. “We had this chemistry. Sometimes Viki could be uptight. Joe had a way of loosening her up. Lee did that for me. He was fun, kind, great to work with.”
And daytime has yet to know his ilk again. While you’re here, and clearly in the mood to live it up with your One Life to Live, why not peruse the below photo gallery, which revisits highlights of the soap’s entire run on ABC.