Daytime Community Mourns Irene Dailey

The daytime soap opera community is mourning the loss of Irene Dailey (Pamela, The Edge of Night; Liz, Another World). She was 88. While most Another World fans who grew up in the 80’s and 90’s like I did probably think of the names Cory, Hudson, Love or McKinnon when they think of the show’s core families, however, it was the Matthews, led by the indominable Aunt Liz, who were the show’s premiere clan. 

Snobby Liz looked down her nose on Russ and Pat, the blue collar niece and nephew of her late husband William, when the show first premiered in 1964. By the time this fan picked up his grandparents’ AW habit in the 80’s, Liz was the trusted secretary of Mac Cory (Douglass Watson) and a surrogate aunt to his children and grandchildren. "Aunt Liz" was that meddling, busybody aunt we all knew and loved from our own real life experiences.

My favorite memories of Aunt Liz involved the storylines that introduced Russ’s daughters, the illegitimate Josie and the spoiled Olivia. When Olivia became involved with Sam Fowler, the husband of Mac and Rachel’s daughter Amanda, the society maven found herself torn between her real family and her honorary one.

Gone are the days when soaps had characters like Aunt Liz or Mona Kane who tried to talk their nieces or daughters out of doing bad things. These characters said the things audiences were dying to convey and it is to daytime’s detriment that they aren’t still around. The above clip from FebWriter is actually a clip juxtaposing Sam’s love for his daughter Ali with Russ’s complicated relationship with Olivia, around the 3:00 mark is a brief scene with Liz and Olivia. Godspeed Mrs. Dailey, you will be missed.

2 Responses

  1. Profile photo of Fletcher

    This is perhaps the saddest day for daytime-television since the death of Charita Bauer.

    Aunt Liz was an iconic character in daytime. She represented a soap-opera archetype — the meddling aunt (meddling mother, or grandmother). In the past, many soaps inculded this archetype. But I can’t think of any remaining today. That’s sorta sad.

    Liz Matthews will, however, live-on in American pop-culture.

    There are really only four names from daytime-drama, that have truly permeated American culture. By that, I mean — if you mention any of these names to the average American, he/she will have a good idea what you mean — just through name-recognition, or recognition of the archetype.

    Those names are: Nancy Hughes, Erica Kane, Barnabas Collins, and Aunt Liz.

    God bless you, Ms. Irene Daily. I hope you found happiness in life. I also hope you were aware of your thousands of fans — those of us who could relate to Liz Matthews and her difficulties. After all, every family has an “Aunt Liz.”

    Rest peacefully. You are missed already by your family of admirers.


    “Definitely not of the desired demographic, but confident this genre can be saved. It won’t require brain surgery — just good writing.”

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