Soap Operas and AIDS: From Tragedies to Triumph





Stuart's Wife Cindy Dies on All My Children, 1989

In 1989, Cindy Chandler (Ellen Wheeler), the wife of Adam's (David Canary) kind-hearted twin Stuart (also Canary), succumbed to AIDS, leaving behind her son Scott for the Chandlers to raise. Cindy didn't only have to deal with the ravages of AIDS. She had to face paranoia and hate-mongering in Pine Valley, namely from Stuart's own niece Skye (Robin Christopher), who acted out in fear and ignorance. Luckily, Skye eventually saw the error of her ways, and Cindy had the support of Stuart, Brooke (Julia Barr) and Dr. Angela Hubbard (Debbi Morgan). Wheeler won the Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for her powerful-yet-gentle portrayal of Cindy during this groundbreaking story arc.


Comments

Ryan-Scott's picture
Member since:
4 May 2009
Last activity:
1 hour 20 min

Thank you to Claire Labine and Wendy Riche for the GH story.

Thank you to Agnes Nixon for the AMC story.

Thank you to Bill Bell for the Y&R stories (Jessica - Cricket's mom & the story with Nathan and....can't remember her name)

Thank you to Douglas Marland for the ATWT story with Margo.

Thank you to Thom Racina for AW's story with Dawn.

luverica's picture
Member since:
16 March 2008
Last activity:
1 hour 32 min

Jamey, you got me crying over here at work watching these clips. Ryan-Scott, I couldn't said it better. It points out why stories are not what they use to be. Bill and Douglas are no longer with us, Agnes is not writing regularly, and no one has the God-given sense to hire Claire Labine as their Head Writer. Good times!

Member since:
31 January 2010
Last activity:
2 weeks 5 days

Sorry, Jamey, but I'm only with you in part on this issue. There have indeed been some very admirable aspects of daytime soaps' treatment of the AIDS crisis. But I believe it's essential to note the repeated avoidance of any storyline focusing on a gay male character with AIDS.

This avoidance was especially shameful because it occurred even as gay men from within the daytime soap industry--some who were seen on the air, some who worked behind the camera--were dying of AIDS. In my view, these men were betrayed by their own industry, which didn't have the courage and integrity to treat THEIR deaths as important.

(NOTE: edited because when I wrote this I left out the crucial word "gay" at the end of the first paragraph.)

alstonboy4315's picture
Member since:
12 February 2010
Last activity:
6 weeks 1 day

Ryan Scott, it was Keesha and Nathan. I think she was also involved with Malcolm..............

We all owe a debt of gratitude to the GRAND DAMES of soaps who had the courage, skill and understanding to craft these timelessly relevant stories.

We all probably know someone who has had this horrible disease, and I hope and pray that a cure is found soon!!!

curacaoman's picture
Member since:
10 February 2009
Last activity:
1 hour 7 min

LUZA, LUZA, LUZA, how low will you go?

I used to really appreciate GH's awesome efforts to commemorate World Aids Day.

What did we get today?: NOTHING, NADA, NIENTE, NIKS.

Would it have been so hard to let Robin light a candle in honor of everyone surviving with or who succmubed to the disease?

I have never hated Robert Guza Jr., THE LUZA, as much as I do this day. GO TO HELL, LUZA

Ryan-Scott's picture
Member since:
4 May 2009
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1 hour 20 min

Keesha! Yes Alstonboy!
Thanks! It was on the tip of my tongue. Smile

Miry's picture
Member since:
30 October 2008
Last activity:
3 days 3 hours

Three things:
1.) Who the F*ck would kill off Stuart!?!
2.) Rev. Andrew Carpenter had my cryin' over here ya'll! And dang was Ryan P. awesome in this storyline.
3.) Thanks for posting!! These stories were amazing!

Ryan-Scott's picture
Member since:
4 May 2009
Last activity:
1 hour 20 min

Oh God! I forgot about OLTL! Thanks for the reminder.
Thank you Michael Malone & Linda Gottlieb.
When they shot on location and had pieces of the quilt....gives me chills just thinking about it.

As for Stuart, Chuck Pratt killed him using Adam. Don't ask how or why.
Suffice to say it was 24 carat Grade A CRAP.

Member since:
22 August 2008
Last activity:
3 years 19 weeks

On ATWT, Hank's mostly offscreen boyfriend Charles had AIDS in the 1988-89 time period too. Hank's struggles to see and help make healthcare choices for his partner over the objections of his family were an integral part of the storyline, and an issue LGBT couples still face today. I don't know why Hank Eliot is always forgotten as the first on-going, integrated, significant LGBT character on soaps.