Marnie Schulenburg
Credit: Ash V Photography

“I want to be able to tell my own story.” 

In November of 2020, Marnie Schulenburg — whom I’d met briefly years earlier when she was playing As The World Turns‘ Alison — approached us with a pitch. Rather than be interviewed, the actress wanted the opportunity to use her own words to try and help others. What followed was several weeks in which she wrote and rewrote her own unique story. It proved to be one that no interview could capture, and it began with this paragraph, which was heartbreaking and yet somehow humorous in equal measure:

“On the eve of my 36th birthday,” she wrote, “instead of searching for a place to drink multiple Bloody Marys (my birthdays always involve Bloody Marys, boats and lobster, not in any particular order), I was repeating the same question over and over again in my head: “How does one celebrate a birthday with a new baby in the middle of a global pandemic while coming to terms with a Stage IV, metastatic, borderline triple negative inflammatory breast cancer diagnosis?”

Hers was a tale of darkness and light, sadness and laughter, sorrow and hope. “How,” she asked,  “can there be such a fine line between life and death?” Sadly, that story has come to an end: Schulenburg has passed away at the age of 37. Only a few weeks earlier, she had celebrated — as best one could under the circumstances — being released from the hospital in time to spend Mother’s Day with Coda, her two-year-old daughter with husband Zack Robidas.

“I know that me being here for her is the best gift I can give her,” wrote the ailing mom on Facebook upon her release, “but right now, it feels like settling since she’s getting a half-life version of myself. My mother showed up 100 percent all day every day for me growing up, or at least it seemed that way. I want to give Coda the same, but I must be kind to myself and remember that nothing is permanent.”

More: Read Marnie’s story, in her own words, here

Although best remembered by daytime fans for her role on As The World Turns, Schulenburg also appeared as Jo Sullivan on One Life to Live. One of her final roles, that of Maggie Claysen on the third season of the Showtime series City On a Hill, will begin airing next month.

Join us in remembering some of the other much-loved daytime stars we lost far too soon