Veteran soap opera actress Marj Dusay, whose long list of daytime-TV credits included stints on Guiding Light, Santa Barbara, All My Children and Days of Our Lives, has died. She was 83.
During Dusay’s decades-long daytime career, she established herself as one of the industry’s most reliable recasts. Dusay made her suds debut in 1983 when she replaced Carolyn Jones as Washington, D.C. matriarch Myrna Clegg on CBS’ Capitol. Following that show’s cancellation in 1987, Dusay jumped to NBC’s Santa Barbara, where she took over the role of Mason Capwell’s mentally unstable mother Pamela from actress Shirley Ann Field. In 1993, she temporarily filled in for Louise Sorel as villainess Vivian Alamain on NBC’s Days of Our Lives, after which she succeeded Beverlee McKinsey as Alexandra Spaulding CBS’ Guiding Light, a role she played on and off from 1993 to 2009 and one that earned her a 1995 Daytime Emmy nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress.
It was in 1999 that Dusay finally originated her first soap role when she was cast as the evil Vanessa Bennett (mother to (Josh Duhamel’s Leo and Vincent Irizarry’s David) on ABC’s All My Children. She exited the soap in 2002.
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Prior to making a name for herself in the soap world, Dusay made frequent guest appearances in primetime, most memorably on the original Star Trek (as alien Kara) and The Facts of Life (as Blair’s mother Monica).