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Veteran Soap Star Joan Copeland Dead at 99

Joan Copeland

Broadway actress and soap star Joan Copeland died Jan. 4 at age 99, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The sister of legendary playwright Arthur Miller, Copeland became one of the first members of The Actors Studio and starred in a number of daytime dramas.

Born Joan Miller in 1922 in New York, Copeland made her professional stage debut in 1945, starring in a Brooklyn Academy of Music production of Romeo and Juliet. Adopting a stage surname, she made her Broadway debut three years later.

In 1959, Copeland briefly popped up on The Edge of Night as Mary Appleman, then appeared on As the World Turns in 1966 and 1982. From 1960 to 1963, she portrayed twins Maggie and Kay Logan on the CBS soap Love of Life. Copeland next moved to Search for Tomorrow, where she played baddie Andrea Whiting from 1967 to 1972. Copeland appeared as Monica Courtland in NBC's daytime serial How to Survive a Marriage throughout its 1974-1975 run.

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In 1995, she guested on ABC's One Life to Live as Selma Hanen, mother to Nora Hanen (Hillary B. Smith). Primetime viewers might also recognize Copeland from her recurring role as Judge Rebecca Stein on Law & Order or her appearances on Cagney & Lacey, ER, All in the Family, and NYPD Blue. 

Besides her daytime work, Copeland is perhaps best known for her stints on Broadway. Her numerous appearances on the Great White Way include in 1950's Detective Story; she also starred in a 1976 revival of Pal Joey and garnered a Drama Desk Award for her work in a 1980 production of Miller's The American Clock. She also earned fame amongst younger generations for her role voicing Tanaka in the 2003 animated feature Brother Bear. 

Copeland was married to George Kupchick from 1943 until he died in 1989. Survivors include son Eric, who confirmed her death in her sleep at her Manhattan home, and niece Rebecca Miller.