All My Children Legend Mary Fickett Dead at 83

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In a sad, real life twist, Mary Fickett, who originated the role of heroine Ruth Brent Martin on All My Children, has passed away. The news comes just as the iconic sudser Fickett starred on is preparing to leave the network television airwaves later this month. Fickett died on Sept. 8 at her home in Callao, Virginia, according to the Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star. She was 83. 

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Debuting on AMC in 1970, Fickett portrayed Ruth for nearly 30 years. She saw her legendary character protest the Vietnam War, deal with the secret that her "son" Phil (Richard Hatch) was really her nephew, fall in love and marry Dr. Joe Martin (Ray MacDonnell), endure the vicious rape of Ray Gardner (Gil Rogers) and adopt Ray and Opal's (Dorothy Lyman, Jill Larson) abandoned son Tad (most notably Michael E. Knight), all before giving birth to her and Joe's biological son Joey aka Jake (now played by Ricky Paull Goldin). Watch a clip of Fickett as Ruth giving the eulogy at Mona Kane's (Frances Heflin) funeral after the jump: