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10 Soap Opera Patriarchs We've Loved and Lost


No. 10: Edward Quartermaine, General Hospital

This week, the dysfunctional, insanely-rich Quartermaine family of Port Charles, New York will say a final farewell to patriarch Edward Quartermaine. The Sept. 2012 passing of John Ingle, who began playing the role in 1993, led the brass at General Hospital to allow Edward to die with Ingle.

GH is paying tribute to Edward and Ingle by having the beloved curmudgeon's death coincide with Thanksgiving, the Q's most infamously-disastrous holiday. Edward's grandson Ned Ashton (Wally Kurth) and adopted granddaughter Skye Chandler Quartermaine (Robin Christopher) will join surviving Q's, Dr. Monica Quartermaine (Leslie Charleson), Tracy Quartermaine (Jane Elliot), Michael Corinthos III (Chad Duell), Sam McCall Morgan (Kelly Monaco), Baby Danny Morgan and fresh-from-the-dead AJ (Sean Kanan), to say goodbye to their beloved "Grandfather".


No. 9: Palmer Cortlandt, All My Children

Self-made billionaire Palmer Cortlandt (Pete Cooney to the folks back home in Pigeon Hollow!) passed away in 2010 on All My Children. The demise of the mogul, who had made fortunes via brands as varied as electronics to fried chicken, was precipitated by the real-life passing of actor James Mitchell. The accomplished actor and dancer also died in 2010.

Palmer left behind numerous loved ones (Opal, Petey, Daisy, Nina) and at least one bitter enemy (Hello, Adam Chandler!), but the impact he made during his over three decades in Pine Valley, Pennsylvania was felt right up until AMC's last air show.    

Photo credit: ABC


No. 8: Asa Buchanan, One Life to Live

Much-married, Texas-born tycoon Asa Buchanan made his last deal on One Life to Live in 2007. Asa's death actually preceded his portrayer Phil Carey's.Carey died in 2009, yet had exited the role in 2007, due to failing health.

In one of soaps' most moving tributes, Asa's sons Clint (Jerry verDorn) and Bo (Robert S. Woods) were sent reeling by the expiration of their beloved "Pa", while primetime and film star Nathan Fillion reprised the role of Asa's grandson Joey.

Asa's wife Renée (Patricia Elliott), daughters-in-law Viki (Erika Slezak) and Nora (Hillary B. Smith) and various grandchildren great-grandchildren and ex-wives were also forever impacted by the ruthless gent's passing.

Photo credit: ABC


No. 7: Hal Munson, As The World Turns

The tragic suicide of actor Benjamin Hendrickson in 2006 resulted in his popular character Hal Munson being written off As The World Turns that same year. The courageous, top cop was gunned down while on assignment in Washington, D.C.

While much younger than most of the late patriarchs on our list, Hal had an equally impressive number of progeny. Daughters Nikki and Jennifer (adopted) and sons Adam, Will and Parker all mourned the loss of their father. Also affected by his passing were wives Barbara Ryan (Colleen Zenk), Carly Tenney (Maura West) and Emily Stewart (Kelley Menighan Hensley). 


No. 6: Dr. Steve Hardy, General Hospital

Watching General Hospital today—complete with its high stakes spy dramas, mob wars and scene-stealing mental patients—it's hard to believe the soap once simply revolved around a heroic physician, diligently working on the 7th floor of a metro hospital. Former pro baseball player John Beradino portrayed that heroic doc, Steve Hardy, from GH's April 1, 1963 premiere until 1996, when he was felled by pancreatic cancer.

Later the same year, Steve's wife Audrey (Rachel Ames) was dealt quite the blow when her husband died of a heart attack. Today, the Hardy family's presence is still felt at Port Charles General Hospital, as namesake grandson Dr. Steve Webber (Scott Reeves) and granddaughter Elizabeth Webber, R.N. (Rebecca Herbst) both work there.  

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Photo credit: ABC


No. 5: Dr. Tom Horton, Days Of Our Lives

"Like sands through the hourglass, so are the Days of Our Lives." That phrase, recited by the late MacDonald Carey, is as synonymous with NBC's Days of Our Lives as the graphic of the aforementioned timepiece. Much like Port Charles' Dr. Steve Hardy on General Hospital, Salem, U.S.A's Dr. Tom Horton was central to the action on DAYS when the show began airing in 1965. Only, instead of workplace drama, it was Tom's tumultuous home life with wife Alice (the late Frances Reid), their five children and brazen granddaughter Julie that drove stories during the soap's first few decades on air.

When Carey passed away in 1994, Tom died off screen. While his beloved Alice joined him in Soap Heaven in 2010, daughter-in-law Maggie (Suzanne Rogers), granddaughters Julie (Susan Seaforth Hayes), Hope (Kristian Alfonso) and Jennifer (Melissa Reeves), grandson Lucas (Bryan Dattilo) and great-grandchildren Abigail (Kate Mansi), Nick (Blake Berris), Will (Chandler Massey), Ciara (Lauren Boles) and Allie are all in town to hang ornaments on the Horton Tree this Christmas. 

Photo credit: NBC


No. 4: Mac Cory, Another World

When asked what marked the beginning of the end for NBC's long-running, Procter and Gamble sudser Another World, more than one soap critic has cited the death of acting legend Douglass Watson. Watson's shocking demise from a heart attack in 1989 left a gaping hole in the AW canvas. 

Publishing czar Mackenzie Cory's stormy-yet-loving relationship with three-time wife Rachel Davis (Victoria Wyndham) had anchored the soap since Watson assumed the role back in 1974. Following the death of Watson and Mac, AW struggled to find an adequate leading man for the indomitable Wyndham. Eventually, the soap found success with the controversial pairing of Rachel with Mac's mortal enemy Carl Hutchins (Charles Keating). As popular as the couple proved to be, Carl and Rachel never came close to capturing the magic that was Mac and Rachel. 

Photo credit: Procter and Gamble


No. 3: Chris Hughes, As The World Turns

Radio actor Don MacLaughlin originated the role of Oakdale, Illinois barrister Chris Hughes on As The World Turns back in 1956. Chris and wife Nancy (the late Helen Wagner) often served as ATWT's Greek Chorus, fretting over the romantic entanglements their children and grandchildren kept getting themselves into.

When MacLaughlin died in 1986, Chris also perished.  Many of the patriarch's loved ones, including a grandson named Chris Hughes (last played by Daniel Cosgrove), still called Oakdale home when ATWT went off the air in 2010.  

Photo credit: Procter and Gamble


No. 2: Jock Ewing, Dallas

The bitter feud for control of Southfork that played out on TNT's sexy Dallas reboot last summer has been simmering since the late 70's; even longer off screen! All the fuss was started by one man, wildcatter-turned-oil-kingpin Jock Ewing on the original CBS hit.

Burly Jim Davis, a veteran of big screen Westerns, portrayed the Ewing patriarch from 1978-81. Jock was the only person to ever truly inspire fear in the heart of his son J.R. (Larry Hagman), not to mention the jealously the eldest Ewing offspring felt over Jock's affection for youngest son Bobby (Patrick Duffy).  

Davis' death was written into the Dallas storyline in 1982, as Miss Ellie (Barbara Bel Geddes) and the rest of the Ewings learned Jock had died in a helicopter crash. Today, the battle for Jock and Ellie's empire rages on, with grandsons John Ross (Josh Henderson) and Christopher (Jesse Metcalfe) picking up where J.R. and Bobby left off. 

Photo credit: Warner Horizon


No. 1: Friedrich "Papa" Bauer, Guiding Light

When popular radio serial The Guiding Light made the jump to television in 1952, creator Irna Phillips took the focus off Reverend Ruthledge and his congregation and centered the rebooted soap opera on the German immigrant Bauer clan, headed by blustery Friedrich "Papa" Bauer. 

From 1949 to 1972 the role of Papa Bauer was held by Theo Goetz. Following Goetz's death, Papa died in his sleep in 1973. Papa's children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and even great-great grandchildren kept the Bauer name going until the Light went out in 2009.