AS THE WORLD TURNS, Michael David Morrison, 1990s, 1956-2010.  © CBS /Courtesy Everett Collection

CBS/Courtesy of the Everett Collection

When Michael David Morrison died on February 18, 1993, he left behind a wife, a child and so many questions.

The moment that Michael David Morrison joined As the World Turns in 1988, the globe started to spin just a little bit faster. By then, Jon Hensley had already made Holden Snyder the CBS soap’s top heartthrob. But as his kid brother, Caleb, Morrison not only held his own, he shone, bringing to bear an edginess and humor that turned Oakdale into a two-hunk town.

In short, the New Orleans native was going places. 

So it wasn’t just a surprise, it was a crushing blow when the news broke that only a short while after Valentine’s Day in 1988, Morrison had slipped away in his sleep at the New York apartment of a female friend. The cause of the 33-year-old’s death? Acute intoxication caused by the combination of ethanol, cocaine and opiates, according to a report published by the New York Times.

Even now, our eyes widen in shock at the memory. There remain so many unanswered questions. Morrison and wife Amy McDonald were raising a 2-year-old. And his star was only beginning to rise on As the World Turns, where he was half of a budding supercouple with Susan Marie Snyder, who played Julie Wendell.

In 2011, the actress recalled for Santa Barbara Online that after her leading man’s sudden passing, the producers “replaced him the next day. That was pretty traumatic. The part of me that made Julie real was deeply in love with the part of Michael that played Caleb.

“It was very difficult,” she added, “to separate that out.”

We can only imagine. On this sad anniversary, perhaps you might like to check out Morrison in action opposite Martha Byrne (Lily) above. And you can return to Oakdale, at least for a little while longer, via the below photo gallery, a collection of rare images and bittersweet memories of As the World Turns.