Headwriter Who Crafted Some of One Life to Live’s Most Daring Storylines Dead at 80
Daytime has lost one on its greats.
It’s a sad day indeed for daytime and its fans. Michael Malone passed away on August 19 at the age of 80. And while you may not immediately recognize his name, if you watched One Life to Live at all in the 1990s, you definitely know his genius.
An incredibly bold storyteller, Malone ushered in a brave new era of the show, one that included what Entertainment Weekly called “some of the most literate drama ever to hit daytime — too good to be called ‘soap opera.'” Among the characters that he created were Susan Batten’s trippy Luna Moody, future General Hospital star Roger Howarth’s (initially) vile Todd Manning and movie-star-to-be Ryan Phillippe’s Billy Douglas, whose coming out was a first for a daytime teenager.
Malone’s unforgettable plots included the horrifying gang rape of Susan Haskell’s Marty Saybrooke and the subsequent trial, which earned Emmys for not only him and his writing team but also Haskell, Howarth and Hillary B. Smith, whose Nora Hanen was Todd’s attorney.
A prolific author outside of daytime, Malone’s novel The Killing Club was incorporated into the soap as a book written by Kathy Brier’s Marcie Walsh. It eventually rose to No. 11 on the New York Times Best Seller list.
In announcing Malone’s death via Facebook, colleague Jean Passanante said that “right now… I’m just trying to adjust to the impossible idea of a world without him. ‘And when he shall die, Take him and cut him out in little stars… ‘”
Pay your respects to the other daytimers that we’ve lost in 2022 via the below photo gallery.
Video: YouTube/Candyabble, Steven Capsuto