The grand dame of daytime television drama, Agnes Nixon, said “everyone’s life is a soap opera.” For proof, she offered up her own.
She had an “abandonment complex” because her parents divorced. Growing up in an Irish-Catholic enclave in Nashville in the 1930s-40s, she felt different because her father was “nearly psychotic” and schemed to crush her dream of being a writer.
He arranged for her to meet Irna Phillips, a writer of radio serials he thought would set her “straight” regarding the foolishness of a writing career, Nixon often said.
But Phillips read a sample script, and Nixon was offered a job.
Nixon — who went on to create “One Life to Life” and “All My Children” and had a hand in “As the World Turns,” “Guiding Light,” “Another World” and “Search for Tomorrow” — died Wednesday at a senior living facility in Pennsylvania. She was 93, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Although her characters were embroiled in melodrama, Nixon was repeatedly honored for elevating soaps during a career that spanned more than 60 years. She pioneered socially relevant themes, bringing attention to such once-taboo topics as racism, AIDS, lesbian relationships and teenage prostitution.
Nixon acknowledged “All My Children” as her favorite. The show was set in Pine Valley, the presumptive dramatic equivalent of Rosemont, the Philadelphia suburb where she grew up. She based villain Adam Chandler, who didn’t “know how to love,” on her father and gave her favorite character, manipulative Erica Kane, abandonment issues.
Susan Lucci, who played Erica until the program’s end in 2011, called Nixon “a genius as a storyteller.”
Among the daytime TV actors first on social media to thank her for giving them a break were Scott Evans, Melissa Claire Egan, Leven Rambin, Cady McClain and Cameron Mathison.
MILEY ON HANNAH
Miley Cyrus, who was once synonymous with the character Hannah Montana, reveals in Elle Magazine she wasn’t the show’s highest-paid star.
“I did not grow up spoiled in any way. I just wanted to be on TV,” she said. “I mean, at one point — they’ll probably kill me for saying it — I was probably the least-paid person on my cast because I didn’t know any better. I was just like, ‘I can be on Disney! Yeah, I want to do it!’”
Alec Baldwin has signed on to play Donald Trump, for the whole season, on “Saturday Night Live.”
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