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April 20, 2014

Helen Wagner, 'As the World Turns' Legend, Dies at 91

by Allison Waldman, posted May 2nd 2010 10:00PM
helen_wagner_nancy_as_the_world_turns_cbsOne of the legendary actors of daytime television, 'As the World Turns' star Helen Wagner, passed away Saturday, May 1, 2010. She was 91 years old and still an active member of the CBS soap opera.

In fact, Helen Wagner was daytime marvel. She was on 'As the World Turns' when it premiered on April 2, 1956, and continued in the role of Nancy Hughes ever since. She's in the Guinness Book of World Records for the longest run by an actor in a television show.

Announcing Wagner's death, 'As the World Turns'' executive producer Christopher Goutman said, "All of us are deeply saddened by Helen's passing. She is loved by generations of fans and while we will miss her greatly, Helen will always remain the heart and soul of 'As the World Turns.'"

Here's a scene from 2009, showing just how Helen remained an important part of the soap's legacy:




I had the privilege of interviewing Helen Wagner when 'As the World Turns' celebrated its 50th anniversary on the air in 2006. She made it clear that Nancy Hughes had evolved over time. "She's grown up. She started off being a demanding soul and she'd tell everybody exactly what to do and how to do it, and she was kind, but she was 'taking care of things.' I think she's learned how to be more tolerant; she's matured, she's mellowed, she's gotten less possessive of her family. ... She wasn't independent, but she was not under [her husband, Chris'] thumb by any means. She wasn't in need of being liberated. She was a homebody by choice."

In a year when 'Days of Our Lives' star Frances Reid also succumbed, daytime has lost two of the true legends of the genre.

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D Colin

Oh my, I read this and just felt so sad. I'm 34 and have been watching ATWT since I was a young child. Started watching , in the summers, with my grandma. Nancy & Kim from ATWT and Katherine form Y&R all give me this sense of connection to my grandma. I love when Nancy is featured, it was never enough, she was the voice of reason, she was the loving grandma you want to embrace. It's weird to have this overwhelming sense of loss of someone you don't know personally, but when you have watched someone for 28 years you feel like you do.
From her storyline (past/present)of dealing with her Dan's alzheimer's to giving Casey advice I will miss her presence on the show.
I feel for her family, friends, all that knew her and watched her -- she'll be missed

May 03 2010 at 12:26 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
SusanRandy

I am so sad to hear about Ms. Wagner's passing. She was one of my favorite actresses. I've been watching "As The World Turns" since I was born (so almost 42 years now). I will greatly miss seeing her on the show. It feels like Nancy Hughes is a family member because she was continually "in" my home for all these years. RIP Helen Wagner.

May 02 2010 at 11:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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