One of soap opera's most beloved creators, Claire Labine, has died. Writers and actors who worked with the soap industry icon are reeling from the news of her passing on social media.
Val Jean was hired by Labine at General Hospital in 1993 and was part of a creative team that staged quite the renaissance for the long-running soap opera. During Labine's tenure as GH's head writer (1993-1996), the Quartermaine family was rebooted for a new generation and supercouple Sonny Corinthos (Maurice Benard) and Brenda Barrett (Vanessa Marcil) took off.
Labine's GH, with Wendy Riche serving as executive producer, was known for its powerful social stories, including BJ's (Brighton Hertford) death/Maxie (Robyn Richards) receiving her heart, Stone Cates (Michael Sutton) dying of AIDS/Robin (Kimberly McCullough) contracting HIV and Dr. Monica Quartermaine (Leslie Charleson) being diagnosed with breast cancer. From the time Labine left the ABC soap opera right up until her passing, fans vocally clamored for her return.
Labine studied journalism in college before switching to drama, according to her biography. Her first showbiz job was writing for the kids show Captain Kangaroo.
A gig with CBS Daytime's Where The Heart Is cut Labine's soap opera teeth. She also wrote for Love of Life before creating critically-acclaimed Irish-Catholic sudser Ryan's Hope (with Paul Avila Mayer). RH ran on ABC Daytime from 1975-1989. Later in her career, Labine held top writing positions at One Life to Live and Guiding Light.
Kassie DePaiva played scheming sexpot Blair Cramer on OLTL during Labine's stint. She tweeted:
Labine also created Heart & Soul (with son Matthew), a planned General Hospital spinoff featuring popular characters Ned Ashton (Wally Kurth) and Lois Cerullo (Rena Sofer). ABC Daytime passed on the show, instead green-lighting the more cost-effective Port Charles.
For more on Labine's legacy, check out We Love Soaps' brilliant 2010 interview with her.