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ABC/Courtesy of the Everett Collection, Jill Johnson/JPI, CBS/Courtesy of the Everett Collection (3)

Nathaniel Marston passed away on November 11, 2015.

If ever there was any doubt of the cruelty of fate… damn. When Nathaniel Marston suffered critical injuries in an October 30, 2015, accident on a state highway, he was on his way to reclaiming his life after battling addictions to drugs and alcohol, his mother Elizabeth Jackson told The Sun Chronicle at the time.

So bad had things gotten at one point for the actor that he was charged with four counts of second-degree assault, menacing, reckless endangerment and resisting arrest stemming from a 2007 altercation at a Manhattan gas station. That had all changed, though…

AS THE WORLD TURNS, from left: Nathaniel Marston, Ben Jorgensen, 1990s, 1956-2010. ph: Robert Milazzo /© CBS /Courtesy Everett Collection

Above: Marston’s As the World Turns castmate Ben Jorgensen died by suicide in 2020.

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On the Verge of a Fresh Start

“He was going to go back to L.A. He’d gotten his sobriety back,” Jackson said. But it wasn’t meant to be. After his truck drifted across the lane and overturned repeatedly, he was in terrible shape, owing at least in part to the fact that he hadn’t been wearing his seatbelt.

Almost two weeks later, she took to Facebook to update his family, friends and fans. “It is with a heavy heart that I share this devastating news,” she wrote. “My beloved and cherished son, who was putting up the good fight until last night, was not able to continue due to the traumatic and devastating nature of his injuries.

“Nathaniel passed away peacefully as I held him in my arms,” she continued. “His injuries, which doctors did their best to heal, were not responding to treatment, and one after another, his bodily functions failed to support his life.”

ABC Super Soap WeekendsDisney's California Adventure 5/31/03 ©Jesse Grant/JPI 310-657-9661

Above: The One Life to Live co-stars “made waves” at the 2003 Super Soap Weekend.

In the saddest way imaginable, Marston’s passing may have been a blessing in disguise. “Had Nathaniel lived, he would have required a ventilator and would never have been able to utter one more word and would have been sentenced to life as a quadriplegic — a condition that Nate would have never have been able to tolerate,” Jackson said. “By God’s love and mercy, Nathaniel was spared this living hell.”

A Life Full of Promise

Anyone who knows Marston’s work knows what a talent was snuffed out with his passing. As Eddie Silva on As the World Turns, soap fans were given a taste of his charisma and intensity. But it was as One Life to Live’s Al Holden that viewers really fell in love with him. His romance with Kathy Brier’s Marcie Walsh became so popular with the audience that they wouldn’t accept it when he was killed off; instead, Al had to be resurrected in the form of Michael McBain and the storyline continued. (Remind yourself of how magical they actually were via the clip below.)

“From the first moment Nathaniel and I caught each other’s eyes on set, there was an instant connection,” said the actress, who sang “Hallelujah” at his memorial service. “I felt as though I had always known him somehow, a recollection of our souls. We pretty much spoke in shorthand from the very beginning, and most times, no words needed to be spoken.

“We would just look at each other,” she added, “and know.”

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On this crushing anniversary, pay your respects to the actors we’ve lost this year by pouring over photos of the stars who now shine only in the heavens.

Video: YouTube/Colleen J. Chance