As The World Turns' Helen Wagner Dead at 91

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As The World Turns is mourning the loss of series matriarch Helen Wagner (Nancy Hughes), who passed away Saturday, May 1. She was 91. With ATWT ending its run this September and wrapping production in June, this news couldn't come at a sadder time for the cast, crew and fans of the soap opera.

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"All of us at As The World Turns are deeply saddened by Helen's passing," said ATWT executive producer Christopher Goutman in a statement. "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."


Wagner's character, Nancy Hughes spoke the serial's first lines. The native of Lubbock, Texas was discovered by the legendary Oscar Hammerstein, while Wagner was performing at the St. Louis Municipal Opera. Wagner went on to star in Hammerstein's Broadway hit Sunny River.

Wagner also starred on Broadway in Rodgers and Hammerstein's Oklahoma!,The Bad Seed, My Name Is Acquilon and Love of Four Colonels. She also toured as Blanche in A Streetcar Named Desire with Lee Marvin