rita walter atwt
Credit: CBS screenshot

Rita Walter (née McLaughlin) passed away on Christmas.

On December 26, David McLaughlin, the brother of former As the World Turns star Rita Walter, reported that she had died a day earlier, on the anniversary of her exit from the soap in 1981 following an 11-year run as Carol Deming Hughes Stallings Andropoulos Frazier.

“My sweet, loving sister Rita was called to Jesus… on His birthday,” read his message. “She was a well-known actress as well as dedicated server of the Lord Jesus. 

“May you rest in peace, sis. I love you forever,” he added. “You’ve taken my heart with you.”

Walter, who has three children with her reverend husband, got her big break in the 1960s when she landed the uncredited role of Patty Duke’s double on The Patty Duke Show. Six years later, the budding soap star made her daytime debut as Wendy Phillips on The Secret Storm.

But it was the role of As the World Turns’ plucky Carol that really put Walter on the map. Introduced to the Oakdale scene as a college student working for much-married Lisa, the heroine tied the knot with her boss’ son, Tom, only to have second husband Jay Stallings cheat on her with her ex’s subsequent wife, Natalie!

AS THE WORLD TURNS, Nina Hart, Jerry Lacy, Larry Bryggman, Swoosie Kurtz; Ethel Remey, Fran Carlon, Henderson Forsythe, Marie Masters; Peter Galman, Eileen Fulton,Phoebe Dorin, Rita McLaughlin; Santos Ortega, Don MacLaughlin, Helen Wagner, William Johnstone, (1971), 1956-2010. ph: Sheldon Secunda / ©CBS / Courtesy Everett Collection

That’s Walter on the right, third row down.

Credit: CBS/Courtesy of the Everett Collection

Later, Carol, who seemed to attract calamities like flames do moths, wound up adopting Natalie’s daughter with Jay, who was killed in a construction accident from which he could’ve been saved by colleague Steve Andropoulos, who, needless to say, became her next husband. Following their split — Carol wouldn’t put her daughter’s neck on the line so that Steve could conduct shady business with James Stenbeck — art imitated life when she married a reverend and left town.

Since retiring from showbiz, Walter, 71 when she passed away, had been working as an optician. On this somber occasion, pay your respects to the other soap alumni we’ve lost in 2022 via the below photo gallery.